In early December 2019 I was able to join a group of friends traveling out of Vancouver to go back-country telemark skiing at the Brew Hut. The hut is a small structure roughly 60km north of the city and west of the Sea to Sky Highway which connects Squamish to Whistler. It was built and is managed by the Varsity Outdoors Club of the University of British Columbia.
I had been in Vancouver working for the week and it had been a thoroughly rainy and miserable week. As we left town early on Saturday morning in the fog, the outlook for the weekend was equally bleak. Fortunately the rain stopped and we were able to set off in relative comfort.
The hike up was a tricky mix of gravel roads, trails, icy trails, rocky trails, icy rocky trails, and eventually snow. We arrived at the hut in the late afternoon. Because of dense fog we didn’t have many views and I didn’t take any pictures. We did get some afternoon skiing done and even did some short laps by moonlight before heading in for dinner.
The next morning surprised me with weather I have never encountered before in British Columbia’s coastal mountains. Not a cloud in the sky and an incredible sunrise. Spirits were high setting out to ski on this Sunday.
Despite the terrible weather in Vancouver, many brave souls hiked/skied to the hut on Saturday and the hut was packed with 15+ people inside and a few slept in tents outside. There was a solid layer of dense snow covering most of the rocks in the alpine, with a bit of softer snow on top that made skiing a joy. Our group practiced our telemark skiing until our thighs burned and it was time to head home.
The journey down the mountain was not easy, as our heavy packs made skiing difficult on the snow that only decreased in quality and became more icy as we lost altitude. We all elected to remove our skis, and eventually traded ski boots for hiking boots or runners at different elevations along the descent – each according to their own patience and risk tolerance.