Well, it’s no secret that winter was a bit slow to reach the west coast this season, but we’re about to let you in on a secret stash that is always on. Not so far away from Whistler BC, a not-so-little lodge sits in the very very snowy Callaghan Valley. Phrases like “Callaghan cold smoke” and “deeper than the valley” are often passed around when people talk about Journeyman Lodge but the truth is, most of the people that utter these phrases have not put them to the test. Don’t mind if we do!
Splitboards tuned, coffee to go and curiosity at an all-time high we loaded the snowcat en route for pillow paradise. It was nuking the whole ride. With the last swig of coffee down the hatchet, the snowcat made the last corner – hello lodge! Hard to miss this three and a half story palace lingering in the last of the treeline, even if it was completely covered in snow. Jonesing to riding the stacking snow, the hot soup waiting for us inside by the fire brought us in for a quick lodge tour and fuel-up before jet setting into the snowy abyss.
Welp, we weren’t in Whistler anymore and that was evident by the first shuffle on the skin track. The Callaghan had over double the snow that Whistler Blackcomb claimed as a base – yes we checked. Rumors confirmed, she was deep and seven degrees cooler keeping the falling snowflakes perfect temperature for blower conditions.
Vis wasn’t great, but that’s the trade-off when it’s nuking – zero complaints. We opted for steep laps in the trees and snuck in a few cheeky pillows. With January’s early evenings we called it quits in time to make our way to the sauna perched on the riverbank before appetizers and dinner.
So, everyone talks about the snow at Journeyman Lodge which is surely the main attraction but can we take a second to talk about the luxury that is the lodge?! Three-course dinners fit for a royalty, a rustic sauna, fresh bedding, a pool table, and running water, what was this affordable place? And how?! Those questions didn’t need answering in our mind, we were just stoked to be there.
Is there anything better than waking up to powder? Or the smell of coffee for you that you didn’t have to make? Or maybe fresh croissants? Okay, how about all three at the same time? Yeah, that’s real life at Journeyman Lodge, I pinched myself to confirm.
With another storm day in session, we ogled the terrain book over multiple coffees and made moves as soon as it was bright enough outside. Putting in a fresh skin track was no easy task with an added 40cm overnight. Playing it conservative based on the Avalanche Canada forecast, we had another epic day below the alpine. It was so full of face shots we almost forgot to eat our lunch, who knew snow was so filling? No nutritional value though, it only feeds the soul.
We didn’t see too much of the Callaghan Valley, according to the terrain book we didn’t even make a dent in the offerings but we left frothing to tell its tales and endless potential – also to confirm the rumors, very very true. We cracked a beer, hopped in the snowcat to return to Whistler and promised we’d be back. Thanks, Journeyman Lodge!
HOT TIPS FOR JOURNEYMAN LODGE
- As per any backcountry, outing make sure you have the proper training, gear, knowledge, forecast, and an avalanche educated crew.
- Escape Route has splitboard kits ready to go in Whistler.
- Study the terrain book at the lodge, it will tell you everything.
- No snowmobiles allowed – this is splitboarders paradise, brappp elsewhere friends.
- Yes, the pillow talk is real, check out our skier friend Stan Rey’s video part shot here.
- BYOB and swimsuit
- Everything else you need to know about booking is here.