When Bruno, Jeff and Andrew brought up a cabin they had checked out in the summer, located deep in the Selkirks, my curiosity was piqued.  I have lived on one side of the Selkirks or the other for 7 years now, and this was the first I had heard of it.  Since I have noticed people commenting on the telling of secret stashes on a few of my favorite blogs,  I will refrain from revealing Cabin “X”‘s location.  Let’s  just say that it is roughly 50 km drive from Revelstoke  to one of the access drainages, and another 20km (1000m elevation gain) ski in via our chosen route.  

Cabin "X"

We planned around our schedules and came up with four days in December.  When the time came, we where a bit sceptical about the weather, but the forecast precip amounts seemed reasonable, so off we went.  As we forged past the beaten path under socked in skies and rapidly accumulating “blower” powder, I am sure we were all wondering if we had made the right call.   After nine hours of heavy trailbreaking, with the short winter day drawing to a close, our tired minds and beaten bodies where ready for the warmth of the cabin and a good meal.  If only we could find it… 

Finally, on the verge of darkness, I could make out a silhouette against a clearing ahead!  “Found it!”  I yelled out to Andrew, and we got to work digging out the chimney and getting the fire going, extremely relieved we were not going to have a forced bivy.  According to the hut journal, there had not been winter visitors here for NINE years!  The fire proved ineffective against the drafts around the ill-fitting door, windows, and as daylight would prove, the joints between roof and gable ends.  We covered the windows with wool blankets, did some work on the door, and huddled around the fire in what we dubbed “the cave”,  dark day or night.  We fell into an exhausted sleep wondering what tomorrow would bring, the snow fall showing no signs of abating.  

Me getting ready in the a.m. photo copyright Bruno Long

Day two had 20cms of fresh and still snowing, and we headed for some terrain directly across the valley from the cabin that we had glimpsed on the way in.  Trail breaking was strenuous.   “Whumpf’s”  across open areas in the valley bottom  let us know the surface hoar being loaded by this storm cycle was reactive.  As we gained elevation some of the small opening in the trees has waist deep ski penetration, but the settlements were less evident.  Gaining the ridge took up an inordinate amount of time(and effort), but we pushed along it until larger, steeper slopes turned us downhill.  We cautiously worked our way down a treed rib, the snow seemed to be bonding better on the steeps. 

Bruno Long

The skiing was fantastic. 

Andrew M

Here is another great photo from Bruno, taken at dusk in chest deep powder.  

Ghost skier. photo copyright Bruno Long

Again the light was failing fast, so we scrambled to get another short run out of the uptrack.  Then back to the cave for a feast, some roots music, and an opportunity to try out the low light capabilities of the G-11.  Here are a couple that I like. 

Andrew M

These appeared just as a heavy metal song came on the sound system. Weird.

This photo was made by mistake, but I like it.

Oh, and it’s still dumping. 

The third day had us treading lightly up the feature directly behind the cabin, hunting out one and a half runs in the more heavily timbered areas.  The trail breaking was insane!  But again, it was all worth it,  for the skiing was as deep as it gets. 

The third night in the cave was a bit more comfortable with the rapidly rising air temps outside (yikes), and a better system with the stove bringing the interior to above freezing… but not enough to dry anything out. 

With the spiking temperatures,  HEAVY precipitation (well beyond the forecast), and a known buried weakness, we plodded the 20km back to the car happy that we had managed to get some phenomenal skiing in a new zone with minimal exposure.  Eight hours and thirty minutes later, whipped to the bone, but with big smiles on our face and the gained knowledge of this secret stash, we arrived at the van.  Wait for the high pressure next time… 

Another happy face, thanks Mel B!