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The Whitecap Way

A British Columbia Backcountry Escape

05.12.17

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The Whitecap Way

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  • Our ride to the lodge!- The Whitecap Way
  • Heli safety talk before boarding.- The Whitecap Way
  • Before skiing off in groups, we had an avalanche safety refresher.- The Whitecap Way
  • Shovels, probes, and beacons out and ready!- The Whitecap Way
  • Whitecap is surrounded by avalanche terrain, so knowing your gear and best practices is essential before heading out for pow runs.- The Whitecap Way
  • The McGillvray Pass Lodge was built in 1972 and is the home of Whitecap Alpine Adventures, owned and operated by Lars Andrews (pictured).- The Whitecap Way
  • Becca, a Cordon Bleu-trained chef and our cook for the week, made magic in the kitchen every day for our group to enjoy - while still getting her time on snow between meals.- The Whitecap Way
  • The ever-important boot room.- The Whitecap Way
  • Skinning up for our first run down Home Run.- The Whitecap Way
  • Daily flurries made for some very fun skiing.- The Whitecap Way
  • But the sun made its appearance as much as possible throughout the trip.- The Whitecap Way
  • A glimpse through the trees.- The Whitecap Way
  • When the sun comes out, the views will stop you in your tracks.- The Whitecap Way
  • Big snowfall and windy conditions make for giant cornices flanking the entrance to some lines.- The Whitecap Way
  • The plentiful snow and playful terrain in Telephone Gullies is amazingly fun.- The Whitecap Way
  • When I say epic skiing, I mean it.- The Whitecap Way
  • Going up for one more Home Run.- The Whitecap Way
  • I had to stop and just stare for a few minutes...- The Whitecap Way
  • It's hard not to smile ear-to-ear when you're shredding this terrain.- The Whitecap Way
  • Every night the entire valley was coated in a new layer of blower powder - and every morning we hurried out and up to play in it!- The Whitecap Way
  • Boot packing our way to a new zone on our final day.- The Whitecap Way
  • Looking down into Middle Finger before dropping.- The Whitecap Way
  • Dropping into Middle Finger for one of our final (and best!) runs of the trip.- The Whitecap Way
  • The snow was perfect and Becca showed off her style on the last run.- The Whitecap Way
  • Glorious British Columbia snow!- The Whitecap Way
  • Looking back up at Star Peak. You can see our tracks down Middle Finger on the right.- The Whitecap Way
  • The buttress of Star Peak.- The Whitecap Way
  • As customary for the 21+ crowd, the shotski comes out after the final run of the trip!- The Whitecap Way
  • The last moments of snow before loading into the heli to go back to town.- The Whitecap Way
  • The view looking out of the helicopter as we approached our parked cars and the long drive home.- The Whitecap Way
  • The trip was over, but I couldn't help but stare longingly back up towards Whitecap just wishing that I could go back...- The Whitecap Way
Article
Team

British Columbia is one of those places that consistently leaves you breathless from it's incredible beauty, and the area of McGillvray Pass is no exception. Nestled in the heart of Canada's Coast Range and the Southern Chilcotin Mountains, a small backcountry lodge named after the pass it calls home is an outdoor-lover's base camp for year-round exploration - and it would be an understatement to say that the surrounding peaks and limitless options stun all who have the pleasure of visiting. Because this place is truly a heaven on earth. Craving some 'pinch me' moments? Look no further...

The McGillvray Pass Lodge

Built in 1972, the McGillvray Pass Lodge was always intended to serve as a base for a year-round outdoor recreation. Given the plentiful ski touring, summer trekking, and mountaineering opportunities, McGillvray Pass gained a reputation as a premier backcountry experience no matter the time of year. The wildlife and blooms that called this range home brought the McGillvray Pass Lodge to the top of many a nature lover's bucket list, as well. 

As popularity grew, the lodge expanded to include four outbuildings and three sleeping yurts for visitors to reserve. Today guest amenities include double and four-person rooms, hot showers, a sauna, a wood burning fireplace, heated outhouses, a fully-equipped kitchen, and plenty of outlets to stay fully charged throughout a stay.

Photo by Paul Wright.

Whitecap Alpine Adventures

Recently the McGillvray Pass Lodge also became home to Whitecap, a mountain adventure company created by and for passionate mountaineers. Run by Lars Andrews, who has literally grown up in the lodge and knows all of its secret stashes, Whitecap offers amazing opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts looking for unique, international exploration. They've found some of the world's best backcountry locations, tapped into their years of experience and local knowledge in each region, and covered all of the logistical guesswork and trip coordination to create unparalleled journeys into the heart of each native mountain culture. Perhaps their site summarizes it best: "At Whitecap, we're in the business of 'trips of a lifetime'."

In addition to incredible, professionally-guided and fully-catered stays at the McGillvray Pass Lodge, Whitecap offers guided tours and international trips to their favorite locales around the globe. It's only natural that Whitecap offers multiple options showcasing the legendary and jaw-dropping geography of western Canada, but they also take charge and lead clientele through the epic backcountry terrain of Japan, Norway, the Swiss and French Alps, and more! Learn more about their adventures and start planning your "trip of a lifetime" today. No matter the time of year or location of choice, you won't be disappointed. Plus, all trip pricing is in Canadian dollars (CAD) so Americans will have the exchange rate working in their favor!

Whitecap offers stand-out services in it's own right, and yet Lars and his team have joined forces with Seattle-based, outdoor-gear retailer, evo, to step things up a notch for the adventurous-at-heart. evo has recently broken into the business of trip guiding through evoTrip, offering the ultimate international experiences by both ski and bike. The pictures featured in this post are from the most recent evoTrip, a five-day Women's-specific Whitecap trip at the end of March; other trips offered include mountain biking through South America, pow-hunting around Japan (with the help of Whitecap Alpine Adventures), and experiencing the iconic skiing and legendary food of Austria - all while immersing yourself into the small towns and indigenous cultures, ensuring the complete package. 

More Options in British Columbia 

British Columbia has an incredible system of backcountry huts, cabins, and lodging choices all over the vast province, and there are ample options as to how remote, inclusive or luxurious you want your vacation to be. While the McGillvray Pass Lodge offers an incredible, rustic atmosphere - off the grid yet still modern - we realize that backcountry adventure can mean many things to different people.

Another great lodge option in the Coast Range that offers incredible terrain access with a bit more in the way of amenities and guest comforts is the Journeyman Lodge, located in the Whistler backcountry. More of a mountain inn, Journeyman can accommodate much larger groups, and the staff prides themselves on their exquisite meals, proximity and convenience, and diverse adventure offerings for everyone in the family. Visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing, ski tours, day hikes, snowshoeing, dog- and kid-friendly day trips, and more!

We also recommend checking out the Alpine Club of Canada for more primitive (and affordable) trip ideas; ACC boasts the largest network of backcountry huts in North America and offers "family-friendly huts in alpine meadows, backcountry powder paradises, remote climbers’ refuges and everything in between." 

All-in-all, no matter what you're looking for in a Canadian escape, there is something for you in British Columbia. Join in on a pre-planned, fully-guided vacation or customize your very own trip to fit your needs and ideas; it's up to you - just make sure to add this incredible region to your bucket list and find out what all the fuss is about!

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