Words:: Sarah Bulford
It’s late January. There’s no snow in town and maybe you’re feeling a bit bummed about a current lack of adventure in your life. You’re sitting on your couch, watching some latest series on Netflix. The screen goes black and reads “Are you sure you want to continue?”. At this point you’ve probably been binge watching a little too hard. You gaze off into a trance envisioning bombing down a fresh powder line or sitting around a fire laughing with your friends. You’re probably craving that lodge life feeling. Getting away from it all, finding fresh tracks after fresh tracks and making memories with great people. If only there was an app for that.
Oh wait…there is.
The 57 hours app’s homepage reads “Spend more time outside’’. The premise behind the app is: You can book a mountain guide, anytime, from your phone in a few painless steps. The app’s slick design makes it easy to choose from a variety of activities, trips, locations and guides.
After you instantly book a trip, and it’s confirmed, you will be paired with a guide and can communicate for more information. Or, you can browse guides, read up on their qualifications and see which ones are in your area. After 3 clicks, your next adventure is booked.
The Fine Print
My partner and I just arrived back from our 5 day trip to Callaghan Valley’s Journeyman Lodge located in stunning, Whistler BC. We booked the trip using 57 Hours and were linked up with ski guide, Monte Johnston of Blacksheep Adventure Sports. The trip offered 5 days of skiing with only missing 3 days of work (if you have weekends off). It was a max of 6 people to 1 guide, offered shuttle to lodge, all meals, individual rooms and 3,500 hectares of amazing ski terrain. Cost were between $1365 – $1605/person depending on room selection. Head here for more details.
What Went Down
The weather gods couldn’t have dowsed us with a greater storm. The day we loaded the cat for our trip into the lodge, 30cm had fallen and another 20 was on its way.
We loaded the machine and were surrounded by a group of ecstatic skiers. Everyone was vibrating with stoke and had high hopes of fresh turns. Monte, our guide, was equally as enthused and we cozied up for our ride into Journeyman.
The lodge is truly picturesque. It’s nestled in the upper Callaghan basin at 1,370m above sea level. Surrounded by pristine forest and stellar views, it is a backcountry skiers utopia.
When you enter the lodge, you are greeted by the most friendly, warm and caring staff around. You smell delicious home cooking wafting from the kitchen and a cozy log fire burns in the other room. But you are never far from the mountains, as you move about the lodge, the views follow you through the big windows.
The main floor has benches, a large drying area and a separate dining hall. As you continue up to the second floor, you’ll find a cozy après area with couches, games (including a pool table), fireplace and a wide selection of books. There are a collection of rooms (on the 2nd and 3rd floor) that are equipped with several drying hooks, comfortable bedding and that cozy cabin feel.
We tossed our bags inside, did a quick avalanche rescue practice and set out to get some freshies. Peering up at the peaks that encompassed us, I couldn’t help but feel giddy. My stomach was filled with butterflies as we began to build the first uptrack…
What happened next would make any of your friends stuck in the office jealous. Powder. SO much powder. The terrain was endless and the conditions were beyond what we had expected. We did a few laps, hooting and hollering at our luck, before heading in for a sauna.
Oh ya, did I mention there’s a wood fired sauna just out back? A sauna, up from a path, that leads to an exposed, icy creek – perfect for a scandinavian dip.
After a sauna, hot shower and an impressive 5:30 après spread, there was just enough time to chill and visit before a lodge family dinner. Joe, the cook and resident shredder, created some mouth watering meals for our crew. The menu includes things like, seared sockeye salmon, lemon scented rice, topped with Tarragon cream and finishing with a chocolate creme brulee.
For the Memory Bank
There were far too many highs on this trip to jot down. Some of my favourite moments were: Summiting nearby peaks (Journeyman 2,134m – we even got a sticker to prove it)
And high-fiving, fist bumping or laughing at the end of each run. Our group spent the days enjoying the views on the climb, swapping stories and keeping each other entertained.
Mountains really bring out the best in people. Our guide, Monte, was absolutely dialed – he kept everyone feeling safe and was able to adapt to weather and cater to our groups individual abilities. Even in -27, he kept the psych up.
Stepping into the lodge after a quality ski day was always a highlight for me. It felt like home, somewhere to hang your toque and put your feet up. If you are looking for your next adventure, do not overlook Journeyman. I promise it’ll be better than what’s trending on Netflix.