Mount Brew is a nice little zone that has a lot to offer backcountry skiers and snowboarders: friendly terrain on all aspects, a selection of open bowls of varying steepness, tree-riding options, and a hut with incredible views.
The area is not nearly as popular or busy as other zones in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor, most likely because it is comparatively small, somewhat lacking in big-mountain terrain, and the 15-kilometer access route can be a bit long and boring.
Despite these factors keeping the crowds away, Mount Brew shouldn’t be written off as a mission that’s not worth the effort. There’s lots of fun skiing and riding to be had up here, the area gets significantly more snow than the Spearhead Range or anything off of Duffey Lake Road, and the views are absolutely unbeatable. To the south and southwest, Tricouni, Cypress, Cloudburst, and the Tantalus Range puncture the skyline. Across the valley to the east and southeast are Black Tusk and Mount Garibaldi, and to the north the Whistler Blackcomb ski area, Wedge, and Mount Currie loom in the distance.
The most commonly used winter trail to access Mount Brew begins on the Chance Creek Forest Service road and follows the Roe Creek drainage before climbing up the south ridge of Mount Brew. For those who have the option of snowmobile assistance, it’s possible to get about halfway up to the cabin, leaving only about 4 kilometers and 300 meters of walking to access the alpine, and 7 kilometers to the hut. Skiers without the luxury of a snowmobile should be cautious of snowcats and public snowmobiles on this first section of the road, which may not be a serene and quiet wilderness experience, but at least it’s easy to make good time on the groomed trail.
Perhaps the most appealing factor attracting skiers to Brew: the VOC Brew Hut allows for overnighting in style, and it is surrounded by skiing and riding options. The most obvious and mellowest ski runs drop off the ridge down toward the lake from the west alongside on the skin track leading up toward the hut. There are also steep north-facing runs beginning from the door of the hut leading down toward Brandywine Creek, and a tree run from a small lake just east of the hut leads down to a bench at around 1,300 meters.
Two large open bowls on the west side of the ridge divide Brew Lake from the Roe Creek drainage, which could serve as an alternate exit plan rather than riding down the skin track, depending on the snow conditions. To the northwest, Keg Peak has some more advanced north-facing terrain and an alpine ridge that connects with the Cypress Peak cat skiing area.
As always, there are inherent risks involved in backcountry travel. Much of the terrain on Mount Brew features rolling convexities and terrain traps to be aware of, and overhead cornice hazards may be present in many areas of the alpine as well.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.