January 19, 2016

Pillow Talk: Canadian Powder

Words + Photos : Erik Hedberg

Backcountry touring at the Blanket Glacier Chalet

 

Lift Off: “When we were invited to go on a Canadian Hut Trip with good friends, promise of powder, and access to incredible terrain — we couldn’t say no. Beginning in Seattle, we caravanned Northeast to Revelstoke and got a room for the night. With a 5am wakeup call and a helicopter flight to follow, it was safe to say we all had a tough time falling asleep. In the morning we were headed to a family farm at the headwaters of the Columbia River. It was here the heli would pick us up and fly us into the remote Canadian Wilderness for a few days of backcountry touring — to a small slice of heaven otherwise known as the Blanket Glacier Chalet.”

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THE CHALET

“Nestled on the shores of a high Alpine Lake, the Blanket Glacier Chalet was built in the 80s as a backcountry center for recreational fun having. A rustic A frame with 3 outhouses, drying room, and a wood burning sauna, this place is as magical as they come. With his dad being the owner, it has been a major part of our guide Marty’s life throughout his childhood. Growing up splitboarding the backyard and helping his dad guide guests around the terrain, Marty knows this place better than anyone. As a Canadian Mountain Guide, avalanche educator, and incredible human being, it’s fitting that his dad is handing over the reins and letting him run the Blanket from here on out.”

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GET UP TO GET DOWN

“Aside from having deep fireside chats with our friends, the main objective was to backcountry ski and splitboard as much terrain as possible over our 4 days at the Blanket. After a thorough avalanche safety refresher, we walked out the front yard and took for the hills. Following Marty and his zero kickturn policy around these mountains was like being a kid in a candy store. Endless lines everywhere you looked and the perfect guy to tell you exactly how to ride them.”

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HOW TO TALK TO PILLOWS

“The backyard at the Chalet is chock full of pillow lines. With close access and easy scoping, there was something for everyone. You could pretty much go as big or small as you wanted, some people opted for maximum airtime.”

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BREAKING THE FOG

“From pea soup to bluebird on Caribou Ridge — It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, there’s something truly magical about how the clouds move around the mountains.”

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3 DAYS, 3 SUMMITS

“Starting off each morning with a walk up to the top of a remote peak, then riding down, then going back for more, then hitting pillows, then hanging out with a bunch of friends in a remote wilderness chalet — yes please.”

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DEATH GNAR

“When Marty told us we were going to head up to “Death Gnar” and check it out, I think we were all a little curious about what we were in for. Turns out it’s an incredibly aesthetic peak with a relatively mellow way down one side, and a death defying gnarly way down the other side. We took the mellow route, but took our time at the top scoping incredible views and eating delicious snacks.”

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PEN & PAPER

“I always keep a sketchbook when I travel, it’s a good way to relax and summarize the day’s activities through visual interpretation. It was also means to pass the time when our helicopter got grounded for an extra day and a half because of freezing fog and our gear had already been flown out.”

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THANKS

“To Marty Schaffer, Al Shaffer, Jamie, and Izzy Lynch of Capow Guiding. To our incredible chef Lee who is also an incredible person. To Captain Chris and Selkirk Mountain Heli for getting us in and out safely. To the old and new friends who made this trip something special. And to Moment for letting me take a little time off to play in the woods. This is a trip we won’t soon forget. “What time is it? Best time of your life!”

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