Backcountry Skiing at the Kees and Claire Hut

Whistler | British Columbia
5.00
4 REVIEWS
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go skiing at Kees and Claire Hut

  • Trip Highlight

    A three-day getaway exploring places only known by locals

  • Trip Highlight

    Discover the Whistler backcountry from your energy-efficient hut

  • Trip Highlight

    Located on the border of tree skiing and big alpine peaks

The Whistler backcountry provides a lifetime of ski touring possibilities. But how many people get to ride big powder stashes and mountain lines only the locals know about? That’s exactly what you get on this 3-day ski trip at the Kees and Clair Hut in the Fitzsimmons Range led by local guides. Sitting at 1,950 meters on the edge of Russet Lake, you’ll have direct access to both tree skiing on stormy days and big alpine peaks, such as Mount Fissile, when it’s blue sky and dreamy. Recover at your state-of-the-art, energy-efficient backcountry hut so you can feel good about both your ski runs and environmental footprint too!

Season

February through March

Nearest city

Vancouver, British Columbia is 2 hours away

Duration

3 days

Skill level

Beginner to advanced

Itineraries

Book this adventure

Guided Backcountry Skiing at the Kees and Claire Hut

3 days

Let the only thing you hear be the gliding of your skis on fresh powder for three days straight. At the Kees and Claire Hut, that’s what you can expect—along with incredibly varied terrain and untracked snow. Located at 1,950 meters in the Fitzsimmons Range on the edge of Russet Lake, the hut provides unbeatable access to backcountry powder as soon as you step out the door. Let your guides show you the secret places and never worry about bad weather—explore high alpine lines when the sky breaks blue or find refuge among the trees if it’s stormy!

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Approach day

Meet your guide at 8 a.m. at the Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Base. Upload a gondola and ski to the Kees and Claire Hut, which will take around 4 hours. Leave your gear and go out ski touring for the day. The Kees and Claire Hut is located at 1,950m (6,398 ft) behind Whistler Ski Resort in the Fitzsimmons Range on the edge of Russet Lake. First of the three huts that will create a hut system along the popular Spearhead Traverse, it features 38 sleeping spaces divided into 6 sleeping areas. It’s a state-of-the-art energy-efficient backcountry hut with composting toilets, wood-burning stove, and water from the lake and snow. When you’re not out skiing, rest at your cozy hut and let your guides take care of the cooking.

Kees and Clair Hut in the snow

Day 2: Ski day

Take advantage of the hut’s ideal position and ski a ton of pow for the next two days. With its incredibly varied terrain and 11 meters (36 ft) of snowfall a year, the area around the Kees and Claire Hut offers a ton of easily accessible ski touring. It’s a great zone for storm days as it features open tree skiing in the subalpine glades, but you can also reach big alpine peaks like Mount Fissile. Carve turns in fresh snow, shred the powder on the ridges and descend from high alpine peaks. Let your guides show you all the secret powder stashes that only the locals know! As the sun goes down, retreat to your hut.

A couple of skiers going down a ridge

Day 3: Final day

Have a hearty breakfast before your final day of backcountry skiing. There’s a whole day ahead of you, so ski some more and enjoy the solitude, as the only thing you’ll be hearing is the gentle glide of your skis. At around 4 p.m., ski back to the Whistler Mountain Base and recharge before saying goodbye to Whistler!

A skier leaving a trace on powder
Reviews

Reviews (4)

Ashley Green about Black Sheep Adventure Sports

Monte is a great guide! Very knowledgeable, fun and safe. I would recommend him to anyone wanting to get out in the back country or rock climbing. He can teach you skills or just show you a great stress free time in the mountains!

Colin N about Black Sheep Adventure Sports

I have been on a number of backcountry ski/ski mountaineering trips with Monte & Black Sheep Adventure Sports over the past several years. These trips have included avalanche safety training (level 2), and multiple multi-day hut trips in some expert level terrain (such as the Tantalus range near Squamish, BC).
On all the trips Monte and his guides have displayed excellent professionalism, tuition, and decision making in the mountains.
In mixed ability groups, Monte will tailor the trip to all ability/fitness levels, ensuring everyone has a great time. Monte has also pushed me to tackle steeper terrain than I was used to skiing in the backcountry (both on the up and down).
I would not hesitate to go on more trips in Monte in future.

Adam Thompson about Black Sheep Adventure Sports

I’ve used Monte (head guide at Black Sheep) for 2 seasons now for backcountry ski-touring. He’s very experienced, inspires confidence, and ensures you develop your skills as you go while feeling safe. He’s also highly capable of finding fine powder lines, great views, and good company to ski with. Can’t recommend him enough.

Ovi Van about Black Sheep Adventure Sports

I have done multiple instruction courses and guided trips with BlackSheep Adventure Sports over the past years, and can’t praise Monte’s professionalism and experience as a guide enough.
From rock climbing (sport, trad, multi-pitch), ice climbing, backcountry skiing/touring, crevasse rescue training, glacier travel and multiple adventures climbing mountains, Monte has been my trusted mentor on my journey to become an alpinist. During all the group courses and trips he still paid close attention to my individual development and risk tolerance, and he keeps pushing me to the next level, taking me places I’d never imagine I could go. We are already planning what training and trips we could do next.
He also brews a pretty decent alpine coffee, so that’s a plus. 😉

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Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Canada

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Canada, please refer to British Columbia Centre for Disease Control.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

    • An experienced, ACMG-certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • Three days of backcountry ski touring
    • Group equipment
    • Hut fees
    • Meals
    • 5% GST

What’s not included:

    • Personal ski & safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel, etc.)
    • Transportation to Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Base
    • Backcountry lift pass (can be arranged for $55)
    • Sleeping bags

How fit do I need to be?

To enjoy the backcountry skiing tour at the Kees and Claire Hut, you need to have at least a moderate fitness level. This backcountry skiing adventure offers intermediate to advanced difficulties, which means that some previous skiing experience is required but no backcountry or avalanche experience is necessary. Keep in mind that for this adventure, you have to be able to walk uphill for a few hours.

What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?

Backcountry skiing isn’t just for pros looking for the ultimate thrill ride, it’s also beginner-friendly, meaning anyone with solid blue or black level resort experience can have fun in the backcountry. If you’ve never backcountry skied before, heading out with a guide is your best bet. They’ll take care of the planning, introduce you to the basics, like skinning uphill, and teach you how to manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training to keep you safe.

What equipment do I need to bring?

For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

    • Touring skis or splitboard with skins
    • Touring boots and poles
    • Helmet
    • Ski and boot crampons
    • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
      • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
      • Lightweight snow shovel and avalanche probe

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

    • 40-50L ski pack
    • Sunglasses and ski goggles
    • Sun and lip cream
    • Face mask
    • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Down jacket or vest
    • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
    • Mid-insulation fleece of puffy jacket
    • Warm outer puffy jacket
    • Toque (wool or synthetic)
    • Brimmed cap
    • Face warmer (scarf, neck tube, face mask, buff, etc.)
    • Light gloves and insulated gloves or mitts
    • Water bottle and 1L of water
    • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
    • Lunch for day 1
    • Food you can eat on-the-go
    • First aid kit
    • Camera — optional

For the Kees and Clair Hut, you will need to bring:

    • Comfortable clothing for lounging around the hut
    • Slippers
    • Sleeping bag (about 0 to +5 degree range)
    • Sleeping pad
    • Small pillow
    • Phone charging cord
    • Headlamp
    • Toiletries

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent an avalanche safety pack (transceiver, probe, and shovel) with your guide for $30 a day or $100 a week.

Other mandatory gear, such as skis, poles, boots, or skins are available to rent from the following companies in Whistler: Whistler Blackcomb Rentals or Escape Route. Your guides can pick up the rental ski equipment if needed by clients, but please let us know at least a week in advance.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and pricing:

    • For this adventure, the max client-to-guide ratio is 6:1. All prices are per person.
    • Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.

Ski touring at the Kees and Clair Hut can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Accommodation and amenities

With state-of-the-art equipment, homey atmosphere and majestic vistas, this charming backcountry alpine oasis is bound to win you over. The hut is even more unique once you learn that it was built in homage to Cornelius “Kees” Brenninkmeyer and Claire Dixon, a couple that tragically passed away in 2007. Hundreds of volunteers donated and built this stunning backcountry shelter where their names and legacy will continue to live on forever.

The Kees and Claire Hut is an energy-efficient backcountry hut with 38 sleeping spaces divided into 6 sleeping areas. It is heated, so all you’ll need is a light sleeping bag (and mattress, for the time being – the hut hopes to provide mattresses in the not too distant future).

The hut is fully equipped with propane stoves, equipment, pots, plates, utensils, etc. Only food needs to be carried in.  The hut has electricity and lights and USB ports for charging phones, etc. There is also cell phone service at the hut. The hut has indoor composting toilets for your comfort and to minimize environmental impact.

Deposits and cancellation policy

A $500 deposit is due upon Booking.  Final payments are due sixty (60) days prior to the departure date unless otherwise specified. Failure to make this final payment by the deadline will result in forfeiture of the trip and deposit. If booking a trip within 60 days of the departure date, full payment is due upon booking.

  • Deposits are non-refundable, but transferable at the discretion of your guiding company as long as the cancellation is made more than sixty (60) days prior to the trip or is initiated by your guiding company.
  • Cancellations to trips made less than thirty (30) calendar days prior to the departure date for any reason are non-refundable, but potentially transferable to another trip or date at the discretion of your guides. Any such transfers are subject to a 25% administrative fee and recovery of any sunk costs. No more than one transfer will be offered. Your guiding company will accept a substitute guest should you not be able to attend, provided they meet the skill level requirements for the trip. Your guiding company reserves the right to determine if the substitute guest meets these requirements. Any such substitutions are subject to a 10% administrative fee.

Your guides reserve the right to modify or cancel a trip at any time due to unfavorable weather conditions, injury/illness, or other reasons without penalty. Clients will be notified as soon as possible and refunded less any sunk costs. If the weather doesn’t permit flying into the hut/ lodge, the client would not be refunded for the day. However, the guides would still take clients skiing somewhere. On the other hand, if the weather doesn’t permit leaving the lodge on schedule, the client would not be charged for the extra lodge day.

Getting there and meeting location

The nearest village to the mountain base you’re meeting at is Whistler. To get to Whistler, most people fly into Vancouver International Airport. From there, it’s a two-hour drive to Whistler by car or with a shuttle service.

On day 1 of your Kees and Claire Hut backcountry skiing adventure, you’ll meet your guide at 8 a.m. at the Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Base.

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