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View Full Version : Golden Alpine Holidays, anybody have experience with them?



splitinbend
03-05-2015, 01:03 AM
I came across this company and their lodges and it looks insane, but I'm having trouble getting all the beta I need to put together a cost sheet for a group. I saw the lodge rental costs and that they heli you to their the lodges from Golden but other than that it's kind of vague. I will be contacting them but was curious if anybody has stayed in any of their lodges on a trip? How was the experience?

Eldo
03-05-2015, 08:39 AM
Their new website sure is lousy. (At least the one I viewed on an ipad.)

You need to go under Contact and then Information and Policy to find useful info. Not sure why it's hidden there.

I've never been to GAH but know people who have gone like a dozen times and rave about the experience.

I'm sure some maggs will pipe up.

AKPogue
03-05-2015, 08:55 AM
I stayed at the Sentry lodge a few years ago and had a blast. When I was there, they flew us out of a base outside of Golden. Lodge was awesome and so was the skiing around the lodge. There was plenty of skiing for both good and bad weather. The caretaker we had was a good guy.

eldereldo
03-05-2015, 10:05 AM
They have a number of lodges. Sentry is the newest as it was rebuilt a couple of years ago after it burned down. It is also the most swish, micro hydro, running water, toilets, showers and Internet access. The other lodges are more primitive, you have to haul water, outhouses and no Internet. Skiing is good out of all of the huts but does vary in intensity with Sentry being the most mellow. Doesn't mean it is all intermediate, just that it does have easier stuff closer to the lodge. Best to call them and discuss your groups requirements for terrain vs accommodation.

sillybunt2
03-05-2015, 10:28 AM
I've had a couple of great trips (Sunrise and Meadow) with GAH and their facilities and terrain are excellent. There's no glaciated terrain but lots of variety and exposure for various conditions. I think their management has changed but typically you pay for lodge rental for your whole group and there's a per person helicopter fee. You may also need to rent a radio for keeping in touch with their base operations.

slowk
03-05-2015, 02:46 PM
I've been to 3 of them: Sunrise, Meadow and Sentry. Pretty easy to book and straightforward. Price depends on which lodge and when you go. Sentry is the most expensive. I think Sunrise is next followed by Vista and Meadow. The hell flight is per person and price depends on which lodge. I actually like the older lodges more compared to Sentry (with the exception of the ping pong table).

Sunrise has great trees and good options for poor stability. Meadow has unreal pillows and avi paths but there are limited options (drinking) during poor stability. I've heard Vista is great and it's on my list of places to go.

schwerty
03-05-2015, 08:53 PM
I've been to GAH huts. Good stuff up there. Solid owners but I think it sold since I have been up there though.

mntlion
03-05-2015, 10:11 PM
hoji runs camps out of there in early season.

Best to call them with questions. Its golden BC, not so interweb savy

mtnjam
03-06-2015, 03:11 PM
Allison and her sister? were running GAH back when we went.
Went to Vista Hut a few years back, there is some great alpine terrain around Vista. Went over to Colpitti Basin, huge amount of touring terrain there and just above Vista (Hasta La Vista) also. The tree's below the hut are OK, but when we were there it seems like we spent way too much time down there.
The two guides were good. Andrew was great, but he was on his guiding apprenticeship so Wayne kind of ran the show. Some of the terrain Wayne picked was somewhat questionable and opinions were voiced including Andrew as to why the group was skiing there. We ended up putting 12 people onto a narrow treed slidepath and was completely bumped out by the time I got around to skiing it. Pillow lines were fun, but sure do wish we could have spent more time in the alpine. Some of us wanted to tour seperately from the rest of the larger group we met at the hut, but the guides didn't want to split up so just a word of warning there if you're going to meet up with another larger guided group. They slowly warmed up to the idea of splitting up after a few days of skiing.
Food was decent for what they had, but it was clear they were trying to save money by using cheaper (lower quality) foods. The chef was fantastic for what she had to work with.
If I did go back I'd certainly like to book the whole hut and tour sans guide, but I don't know if they do self supported trips.

Seriously though, give them a call and ask them about availability, nice folks.

slowk
03-06-2015, 05:04 PM
Allison and her sister? were running GAH back when we went.
Went to Vista Hut a few years back, there is some great alpine terrain around Vista. Went over to Colpitti Basin, huge amount of touring terrain there and just above Vista (Hasta La Vista) also. The tree's below the hut are OK, but when we were there it seems like we spent way too much time down there.
The two guides were good. Andrew was great, but he was on his guiding apprenticeship so Wayne kind of ran the show. Some of the terrain Wayne picked was somewhat questionable and opinions were voiced including Andrew as to why the group was skiing there. We ended up putting 12 people onto a narrow treed slidepath and was completely bumped out by the time I got around to skiing it. Pillow lines were fun, but sure do wish we could have spent more time in the alpine. Some of us wanted to tour seperately from the rest of the larger group we met at the hut, but the guides didn't want to split up so just a word of warning there if you're going to meet up with another larger guided group. They slowly warmed up to the idea of splitting up after a few days of skiing.
Food was decent for what they had, but it was clear they were trying to save money by using cheaper (lower quality) foods. The chef was fantastic for what she had to work with.
If I did go back I'd certainly like to book the whole hut and tour sans guide, but I don't know if they do self supported trips.

Seriously though, give them a call and ask them about availability, nice folks.

Allison hasn't owned it for a while. Pretty sure Jon Bell does now but it's up for sale if you have a few million. They offer all combinations of guided, catered and self supported. Even if you want guided and/or catered I would just rent out the whole place and then find your own guide/cook. Super fun lodges.

splitinbend
03-06-2015, 08:13 PM
We have a tight group of 10 guys(done a fee hut trips together) that are looking into a self guided trip. I wasn't able to get ahold of them yet as it was a busy week. Based on terrain, it's hard to imagine having more than ten, which might end up being two groups of five just for safety reasons. It says limit to 40lbs per person of gear but hopefully that doesn't include food and beer also as no glass is permitted which will result in lots of cans or a keg. We would rent a lodge, probably meadows for four nights which wasn't too expensive, but $375 pp for the heli portage is steep. Thanks for all the feedback. For those of you that stayed with gah did you get hotels in golden the night prior and after? Another possible cost?

good4nothing
03-06-2015, 08:57 PM
+1 on the positive feedback. Spent a week at the meadow hut to ski pillows - staff, hut, price, etc were all sick and I would highly recommend. We took 14 guys, everyone got after it, there was tons of terrain we never touched.

Do it, you'll be stoked.

PaulB
03-06-2015, 10:30 PM
Consider one of Brad Harrison's guided trips based out of the GAH lodges, He was a co-owner for 20+ years, and is one of the most experienced and funniest guys you'll ever spend time in the mountains with.

http://www.colwest.ca/Ski-Touring

goral
03-07-2015, 07:53 PM
Pretty simple to figure out cost if you are going self-guided and self-catered. Add lodge rental cost to heli cost for you group size, add some tax (GST only I think), divide by group size and you have per person cost. GAH won't do catering for you - need to set it up on your own.

Sunrise/Meadow/Vista are pretty basic lodges compared to some of the newer lodges out there (there are lots of them - check out http://www.backcountrylodgesofbc.com) but they are comfortable and adequate. The price is a bit lower compared to some of the newer places though. Seem to get good snow despite being on the lee side of the Selkirks and often a safe early season choice. Terrain is pretty nice - have been to Meadow twice and lots of sustained steep north facing terrain (but tricky in high hazard). Sweet pillow lines out the front door. Access to alpine as well. Vista has some good alpine terrain but the good runs felt a bit more spread out and a fair bit of the close skiing is south facing. Lots of little mini golf lines close by. Never been to Sunrise. One comment about the GAH lodges is their tenures are a bit smaller than some other places. Not an issue if you have a blank slate at the start of the week but if it hasn't snowed for a while you don't have quite the same options. Having said that would go back to Meadow - it is nice if Vista is empty when you are there because accessing some of the Vista terrain from Meadow if very doable.

You will need to stay in Golden the night before as you meet at staging pretty early. If flying home don't book flights the day you are supposed to be flying out of the lodge. Delays can happen. Keep in mind that with a 4 day trip if weather delays your flight in by a day you are losing a larger proportion of your trip than on a week long trip (skiing 5 days instead of 6 isn't too bad, skiing 2 days instead of 3 is a bit of a bummer). Also worth mentioning that GAH could potentially be flying all four lodges in using one helicopter which means that the first day of your trip could be spent waiting around as other lodges get flown in. This always bugged me as with other lodges in BC you are the only group flying in so usually you are in by mid morning. With GAH have had some after lunch arrivals.

meter-man
09-28-2015, 12:41 PM
Pretty simple to figure out cost if you are going self-guided and self-catered. Add lodge rental cost to heli cost for you group size, add some tax (GST only I think), divide by group size and you have per person cost. GAH won't do catering for you - need to set it up on your own.

Sunrise/Meadow/Vista are pretty basic lodges compared to some of the newer lodges out there (there are lots of them - check out http://www.backcountrylodgesofbc.com) but they are comfortable and adequate. The price is a bit lower compared to some of the newer places though. Seem to get good snow despite being on the lee side of the Selkirks and often a safe early season choice. Terrain is pretty nice - have been to Meadow twice and lots of sustained steep north facing terrain (but tricky in high hazard). Sweet pillow lines out the front door. Access to alpine as well. Vista has some good alpine terrain but the good runs felt a bit more spread out and a fair bit of the close skiing is south facing. Lots of little mini golf lines close by. Never been to Sunrise. One comment about the GAH lodges is their tenures are a bit smaller than some other places. Not an issue if you have a blank slate at the start of the week but if it hasn't snowed for a while you don't have quite the same options. Having said that would go back to Meadow - it is nice if Vista is empty when you are there because accessing some of the Vista terrain from Meadow if very doable.

You will need to stay in Golden the night before as you meet at staging pretty early. If flying home don't book flights the day you are supposed to be flying out of the lodge. Delays can happen. Keep in mind that with a 4 day trip if weather delays your flight in by a day you are losing a larger proportion of your trip than on a week long trip (skiing 5 days instead of 6 isn't too bad, skiing 2 days instead of 3 is a bit of a bummer). Also worth mentioning that GAH could potentially be flying all four lodges in using one helicopter which means that the first day of your trip could be spent waiting around as other lodges get flown in. This always bugged me as with other lodges in BC you are the only group flying in so usually you are in by mid morning. With GAH have had some after lunch arrivals.

Thanks for the beta. Considering a trip up to GAH, and looking primarily at Vista and Meadow (Sentry is booked up, and Sunrise doesn't sound like all that).

Looking at late January or March 19-26 at Meadow (due to no availability in Feb/early March) or anytime at Vista. I am not too familiar with seasonal conditions in the Selkirks or the aspects and terrain in the immediate vicinity of these cabins. And there doesn't seem to be a lot of maps online (or I just haven't found them).

Does late March usually have good corn conditions, and good aspects near these cabins? Or would it be a mistake to miss mid-winter pow season for these lodges and the N-facing pillows, etc.? Of course, there is seasonal variability, storm cycles, etc., etc., just trying to get a feel for the place. For example, in CA, we can say that late March through late April tend to offer really stable conditions with pow on north faces and consistent corn cycles on E and S faces.

We'd definitely ski the alpine if there are stable conditions. Group of experienced BC skiers and mountaineers.

Z
09-29-2015, 02:09 PM
^^^I'm not sure if it's posted on their website but if you email them you can get a google earth kmz file with the overlay of their tenure, exactly where each lodge is located and general ski runs marked. They are very similar drainages with Sentry being a bit different/more open. I have been only to Meadow, but have now flown over the Esplanade range a few times.....if I went back to GAH I would do Sentry. The huts are high, but non-glaciated and lack the cooling that can come with. March could go either way, just like anywhere. For the past three years I've flown into different huts in this zone on the second week of Feb, directly following a big high pressure/thaw that seems to happen frequently around that time. Obviously take that weather info with a grain of salt.

They fly 4 groups in/out on one day from the same pad, but make you show early. Hurry up and wait, par for the course when a helicopter is involved. Have fun!

sillybunt2
09-29-2015, 02:43 PM
I've been to Sunrise and Meadow. Sunrise has a lot of terrain you can access without too much marching around which is great. Its also a quick pop in with the heli so we got in while the other groups were skunked for a day. If you end up going there PM me and I'll send you a map with suggested uptracks (provided I can find it). We tried to track it out in a week of perfect conditions (late January/early Feb in a good year) and there was still enough terrain to keep us more then happy and we averaged 5K a day vert. Went to Meadow a year later with a PWL (persistent weak layer) in the March snowpack and ended up skiing somewhat limited treed runs (lots of terrain but all the same aspect down valley from the hut) as the more alpine terrain was popping loose on many aspects due to the buried surface hoar. The huts are compact but well equipped for a fun week with your friends. Have fun.

Lindahl
09-29-2015, 03:02 PM
if I went back to GAH I would do Sentry.

Why Sentry over the others?

This minigolf terrain just out the door always looked amazing and will someday make the trip, but curious on your thoughts on why.

169974

Z
09-30-2015, 02:18 PM
Just saw some cool terrain (like you posted) while flying over the area. Also the terrain to the North is non-tenured (no huts) so you could explore all of that stuff with easy access too. But mainly the ping-pong table. I'm serious about ping-pong.

ShakeMeUp
10-02-2015, 12:20 AM
Did Sunrise last February guided and catered. Had a blast, would definitely go back.

meter-man
09-30-2016, 05:58 PM
Any recs for best way to get to Golden from Lower 48 (US)?

This (http://www.tourismgolden.com/getting-here/flying) says 3 hours from Calgary airport, and 2.5 from Cranbrook. Does either route close due to winter conditions? Is there a preferred or cheaper choice?

Z
10-01-2016, 12:27 PM
I'd say the best option is fly to calgary - shuttle or cab to greyhound station - greyhound to Golden (drops you at the Husky station on the transcanada)

We've had people fly into spokane - rent a vehicle - ski the powder highway on the way to Golden.....Spendy, and your vehicle sits while you are on your trip.

I haven't lived here long enough to comment on highway closures, I'll let someone else chime in there. Regardless of what you do you'll have to get to the staging area for GAH which is about 35km or so from Golden.

grinch
10-01-2016, 01:13 PM
Not sure if it's an option but new this year is a flight from vancouver to revelstoke twice a week during ski season. 2 hour drive from Revy airport to alpine heli pad in golden if the roads are good

meter-man
04-21-2017, 02:50 PM
TR from Sunrise: https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/311198-TR-GAH-Sunrise-Lodge-Mar-18-25-2017

Feel free to PM for beta. HIGHLY recommended.