Somehow things have fallen into place and I’ll be heading up to the Fairy Meadows Hut in the Selkirk Mountains of Canada in less than a month. A fellow J-Holer scored in the lottery for hut reservations last year (yeah…because it’s so sick, there is a lottery for reservations) and was able to book the hut for the week of the full moon at the beginning of March. From what I hear, this is prime time for the area and the same time of year some friends and I visited Rogers Pass and attended the Kootenay Cold Smoke Festival last year.
Ski touring in the Adamant Mountains near the Fairy Meadows Hut.
Photos courtesy CosleyHouston.com.
The Fairy Meadows, or Bill Putnum Hut, was built by the Alpine Club of Canada in 1965 and is often called the best hut in Canada for ski touring. A pretty big claim since there are about 25 huts to choose from in the mountains of southern British Columbia. I’m really looking forward to this trip and I’ll be going with 18 others, most from Jackson and some that you’ve seen on these pages in the past. The hut is accessed by helicopter and the trip will be catered, making the organizing process super easy and giving us more time to enjoy the hut experience, and of course…SKI! I hope to also hook up with some friends in Revelstoke for some skiing on Rogers prior to flight into Fairy Meadows and it’s always fun getting out with real life, honest to goodness Canadians.
I’ve never been to the hut before, so if anyone has any suggestions on routes or tours, or anything in general, please share them with me in the comments section. I’ve been scoping things out on Google Earth and Lee Lau has some great trip reports and photos from his past trips. There are a few guidebooks out there like Selkirks North, Summits and Icefields: Columbia Mountains and Backcountry Huts and Lodges of the Rockies and Columbias, but I’m not really sure which is the best for ski-touring. So if anyone can help there with some insight…that would be great. Thanks!
Hey Steve what service is organizing the trip for you? Will be at the Icefall the same time (if your not familiar here’s the link http://www.icefall.ca/) looks to be a great season and should be interesting to compare trip reports.
Have a great time in BC!
hi doug…I’m not sure what you mean by “what service”. The hut is regulated by the alpine club of canada and there is no guide needed when visiting the fairy meadows hut, so we won’t have one…a plus IMHO. our trip will be catered by patti’s pantry…but i doubt that is what you wanted to know.
Congrats! Looks like an amazing place! I’ve heard nothing but of the contrary from friends who have been there.
you’re confusing me chris…
I have been to the hut once for a eight day trip. We got shutdown though…it snowed a foot a night for six nights. Just a couple inches over six feet in the week we were there. Breaking trail and avi conditions shut us down from the alpine, but forested terrain around the hut, while short runs, are amazing. Pillow lines and cool rock formations creating mini chutes. We entertained ourselves easily for the eight days.
My only advise…sack up and cook for yourselfs! Really? I guess four star accomadations go where ever Jholers go. Cooking teams of three responsible for one days food for the group…water and breakfast in the morning, lunch stuff, apps, drinks and dinner. Sure you miss an hour of skiing with the cooking and cleaning, but it’s only one day. The rest of the time it’s like a catered trip, but you have a bunch of cash in your pocket. Sack up! Don’t be afarid of dishpan hands Steve…
I’ve been there, and lucked out to powder and a week of bluebird. Great ascents/descents include: Mt. Sir Williams, Pioneer Peak, Collosal. There are also endless chutes/steeps in the gothics. there is also a killer chute within 2km of the cabin, but would need to email you directions. Let me know if you want me to email you.
smokey…thanks for the great advice. but after the antarctica trip…i’m used to being catered to with 4 course, 5-star meals…so there’s now way i could event think about cooking for myself.
i’m also bringing my own butler so i don’t even have to wipe my own butt. 🙂
hey cam…i sent you an email. thanks.
congrats steve that is great score,cant wait for the trip report.
smokey, what’s the four star accommodations got to do with jholers in particular? Someone from jackson steal your girl/boy friend? If you want to talk about “sacking up” why the hell are you being such a pussy and taking a goddam heli into a hut? Skin in with your 80 lb pack, you could get there in a full day each way, weather permitting, from highway 1. A whole bunch more cash left in your pocket. Where’s your sack? hypocrite.
The catering service is out of Golden, that is what they are in business to do, for the broad variety of international clientele using the huts in the area. pretty standard stuff.
If you add the cost between the 20 or so people at the cabin it really doesn’t come out to that much more than doing it yourself. Especially when you factor in the time spent organizing beforehand, buying the food, packing for the heli, etc. It is not insignificant. If your time is worthless & you want to spend it doing that, good for you. Personally I’d rather be skiing powder.
On top of that, I’d rather have my food done by someone that is fresh, than some sloppy, smelly, tired skier just back from a 10 hour day on the glaciers, with a bunch of alcohol coursing through his dehydrated body. You just know that some wasted skier is right on top of his food handling hygiene when cooking for 20 hungry folks… right.
agreed…but a little harsh for my taste.
i wouldn’t say “sacking up” even describes making one’s own dinner. hell…i do that everyday and it’s not like doing it at the hut is going to be that much harder. but with 20 people who have totally different tastes and preferences…planning and actually shopping for food is more of what i’m looking forward to not having to deal with…as opposed to actually cooking.
i’m having trouble even just deciding which skis to bring. imagine how i would do shopping for myself and 19 others!
just got back from there yesterday! it was my second trip there having gone the last two january’s in a row. last year had extremely high avy danger and no new snow making for not much skiable terrain. this past week it was 12-16" of fresh blower and VERY stable conditions so we were able to ski all over. if you have any questions feel free to email me for recommendations, I would be happy to help you out if i can. cheers and enjoy and watch out for that pesky pine martin that stoops around there. pics from last year can be found here: http://www.garrettgrove.com/#/STORIES/N.%20SELKIRKS,%20BC/1 new pics should be up by weeks end.
thanks garret! one of your bros emailed me a link to your website earlier…but its nice to have a link right to your pics from last year. cool shots!!!!!
interesting website design too!
The food service is great…they prepack and make it mindless and yummy–no need for a chef, though it would be nice. We hit FM about 9 years ago (my wife’s article about it was in Couloir…) and didn’t have a ton of fresh but it was bluebird so we could ski pretty much everything we could get to. Great runs near and far from the hut. Awesome environment. Some friends just got back and said it was stellar. Have fun. The sauna is pretty sweet.
Hey Smokey, About 1% of the JHole area residents can afford 4 star accommodations. Most of us work 2-3 jobs and consider a burger and a PBR fine dining. STFU!
Whoa…sensitive crowd down there. Sorry if folks missed my tone…All I’m saying is that our group of twenty did the FM trip for a hair over $600.00 a piece. Flight in, hut rental, travel, booze etc. Granted this was “low season” rates before they jacked prices…sure it took a bit of planning, but come on your all smart folks. It’s easy really…
Curious…whats the price tag on “Paid in Full”.
Sorry to offend J-holers…I undertsnad their is a huge rift between the served and servers down there.
apology accepted smokey. the hut costs $820/person for the high season these days.
820 catered is a no brainer really, as pointed out already beard hair in my oatmeal and drippy noses over the fajitas are worth 200 bucks to avoid.
$820 just gets you the hut for 7 days and a flight out. Hopefully you can dovertail on a flight in with another party coming out. Doesn’t include food, booze, getting to Golden, etc…
Beam me up Scotty!
800…a grand…whatever. I’ll still skip the Dysentary Special and not spend my trip hunched over the shitter due to poor kitchen hygine.
smokey, you just don’t get it, do you? Here you are traveling into the selkirks and paying good money for a freakin helicopter to fly you into a remote cabin to ski pow for a week, and from that standpoint you have the nerve to slander other people (making broad generalizations as you go) as being “4-star”. There are more than a few skiers, right here in jhole and elsewhere, for whom $600 would be a whole season’s ski budget, who would rightly call you out for being a 4-star pussy just for blowing $600 on a heli & hut. I’ll say it again : hypocrite.
As far as “Whoa…sensitive crowd down there”
are you saying that anyone other than a jholer would be totally cool with you telling them to “sack up”? Are you naïve, clueless, or willfully ignorant?
At least if you’re going to be a dick, own it. If you really had a sack, you would not come back with
“Whoa…sensitive crowd down there. Sorry if folks missed my tone…All I’m saying is…”
My god what an exercise in sacklessness. You just show yourself to be the worst kind of weaselly coward, afraid to stand up for his own words.
Sorry about the harshness, Steve. As you said : “i wouldn’t say “sacking up” even describes making one’s own dinner”
right on. there you have it.
Tony : Well said !
i have a feeling patty’s culinary cuisine will be way more scrumptious (and timely) than anything i’d be cheffing together up there as well.
yep, you’re pretty much the biggest puss out there if you cook your own food.
I don’t care if the Jackson crew hikes in, takes a private heli, cooks their own food or has the sweedish bikini team serve them in the sauna. The area has amazing terrain and if weather permits there will be great skking done. I’m looking forward to the photos and report.
Please… Someone, Give Tony A Couple Of Qualudes !
Holy shit Tony you are fucking intense. Is it just me or is Tony overreacting to Smokey.? What a fucking soap opera regarding sacks, sacklessness, sacking up, backs cracks and sacks.
Really people. Just have a great time. Cook or have someone cook who fucking cares right? It is going to be a great time to be at the Fairy Meadows. Fly this Tony and cook it too if you like> .1.
Dave, you are like, all over Tony’s sack for what he said to Smokey. You need to back off a little because Tony and Smokey are just sharing their feelings about sacks. Your comments are sackphemous.
I did the Fairy Meadow hut for four-hunge, cooked for everybody, skied the entire Adamant range, then hauled everybody’s trash out to Revelstoke. And I don’t even have a sack. I am not sure that having a sack would have even mattered at all?
Fairy Meadows rocks. Here are some pics of a trip Molly and i did there over New Years this year:
Pioneer, Fria, Sentinel, Colossal, Enterprise, Sir William and others are all great in good weather. Houdini shoots are good in marginal weather and the tree skiing can be really sweet in fair weather.
Have a great trip. I really enjoyed your Antarctica trip pictures.
i love the internets….
kevin…thanks for the link…nice photos. thought i saw a glimpse of jeannie wall in there.
Steve You May Find This Site Helpful For Beta On Fairy Meadows. http://www.stanwagon.com
There Is A Trip Report For Fairy Meadows Hut, It Can Be Found Under The
Canadian Skiing Heading. Lot’s Of Other Good Stuff On This Site That You May Enjoy.
No Worries Steve, ENJOY.
If You Get A Chance Check Out Stan’s Little Section On Colorado Skiing, May Give You A Few Ideas, If You Happen To Venture South In The Future.
Steve, In case you hadn’t come across these Web sites for info on the Selkirks snowpack, I thought I’d pass them along.
The conditions at Sorcerer Lodge and Golden Alpine are probably the most relevant for Fairy Meadows.
Mountain Conditions Report (MCR): http://www.acmg.ca/mcr/default.asp
Guides voluntarily submit their observations here
Canadian Avalanche Association: http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/
The bulletins for North Columbia, South Columbia, and Glacier Park are probably the most relevant for Fairy Meadows. The Glacier Park bulletin contains a lot of useful information. However, the incidents that it reports are sometimes too old to be relevant and the hazard ratings that it gives are notoriously conservative. They are intended for public consumption and tend to be pinned at “Considerable” all year. The stability ratings (good, fair, poor, etc.) at Wisegoat and MCR are intended to be read by pros, and are more informative.
[…] days tuning up the legs after the drive at Rogers Pass (or where ever), before heading into the Fairy Meadows Hut on Saturday. I’m rolling full vacation style on this trip, with no satellite phone, internet […]