Backcountry Magazine | Mountain Skills: Twelve Things I Learned at Icefall Lodge’s Ski Mountaineering Course

With a weeklong ski mountaineering course on glaciers of the remote Canadian Rockies ahead of me, I was anxious. What if I was the slowest hiker, the weakest skier? By the time I met the eight other students at the heli-staging area north of Golden, B.C., however, I was more than ready to get into the mountains and leave that anxiety behind.

I first skied at Icefall Lodge, which sits on a tenure of 50,000 acres in the Canadian Rockies, in February and was captivated by the terrain. After an unforgettable week, I decided to return for the mountaineering course to improve my route-planning skills, learn crevasse rescue techniques and ski some of the area’s bigger lines.

The annual Spring Mountaineering Course is taught at Icefall Lodge by owner Larry Dolecki, a certified IFMGA mountain guide of more than 20 years who built his ski touring lodge near the western border of Banff National Park in 2005. “This should be a great week in the mountains, filled with lots of learning and great lines,” Dolecki wrote in the course intro packet. It certainly was.

 

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