The 2013 Skier Boyz International Conference was held this past January at the Bill Putnam (Fairy Meadow) Hut just outside of Golden, BC. Ten representatives from 5 regions rendezvoused at the elegant Rondo Motel. Efficient sleeping arrangements kept the daily rate in the $10/person range. The next day we drove higher into the mountains to the heli-port for a week of skiing in the Selkirk Mountains.
We got super lucky on the weather: 3' of high quality, low density snow came in on days 1-5, a greybird transition day on 6, and finished with bluebird for days 7 and 8. Kid Bufo's earlier post documents the significance of the trip and the pillow line / glacier madness.
The Fairy Meadow Hut (capacity: 20) is owned and operated by the Alpine Club of Canada. The trip leader needs to purchase ACC membership to be eligible to book the hut. Demand grows as the days get longer so is necessary to use the lottery system if you are interested in spring dates. December and January have much lower demand, but you can still enter the lottery to be on the safe side.
Winter access is by helicopter out of Chatter Creek. Chatter Creek is a private company whose main business is providing cat skiing at a remote fully staffed lodge. They have no real relationship with ACC; other than being the hired contractor that provides access to several ACC huts.
At Chatter Creek there were no ACC representatives, no list of who had paid for the trip, and a general "who gives a shit" attitude by everyone there including the dogs. Who can blame them? They are basically providing a service to their direct competition. We were told to arrive at 11:00 AM; but we sat for hours waiting for our ride.
When the ride did show up, there was confusion as to what heli we would be using. But once they figured it out, there was more than enough capacity for all of our gear and food. Basically pack like you are going car camping for the weekend.
|Chief Hucks-with-Whippet in Helo-1|
The group from the previous week was waiting to load their gear and they were very helpful with the loading / unloading. From the LZ it is a shortish uphill walk to the hut. After several shuttle laps, we were ready to settle in.
|The Wood Stove|
|The Water Jug and Kitchen|
|The Hut from Below|
|GMFR Representative: Gremmie|
|Filling up at the Spring|
|Welcome: Have a Fresca|
|Front Door with Storm Boards|
|Gremmie, Bret, GB6K, & The Hammer Slayer|
|Another Brefan and Steve|
|I'm a Dishwasher in Golden|
|Wood Shed - Cut but not Split|
|The Fairy on the Sauna|
|Jay, Gramps, GB6K, Brefan|
|The Whole Gang|
January has short days, cold weather, and the potential for more wind compared to the spring, but you are much more likely to find the hut well below capacity.
This is an awesome place to visit for a week (or two or three). There are plenty of ski options for storm days and incredible alpine routes for good weather. There is no cell reception, wi-fi, or other techno distractions. It super to reconnect with these amazing people free from distractions. I can't wait to go back.
Thanks to everyone for a great trip!
Next year - Ovando or burst!