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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    248

    TR: Fairy Meadows, Mar. 2018

    My party of 9 was lucky enough to book a week at the Bill Putnam (Fairy Meadows) hut through the Alpine Club of Canada lottery. The hut is located about 60 km north of Revelstoke, BC in the Adamant range at an elevation of about 2000m. We picked the last week of March in hopes of getting sunny, mild, high pressure weather that would allow us to explore the huge glaciers and high alpine peaks that Fairy Meadows is known for.

    Unfortunately, the only bluebird days we got were the days we flew in and out. The rest of the week was full on mid-winter. It snowed ~150cm while we were there and a combination of high winds, poor vis, and storm/windslabs kept us from spending much time on the glaciers or in the alpine at all, which was a bit disappointing.

    But, the upside of lots of snow is... lots of snow. You don't go to FM to ride trees, as there isn't much easily accessible subalpine terrain, but we had an absolute blast riding what was available. Most of the 17 people in the hut including myself proclaimed it was the deepest and lightest snow we'd ever ridden. I'd heard of mythical so-called choker pow that you can't help but suffocate on as you plow through it, but this was my first time experiencing it. GoPro footage was comical, as every clip would consist of 1-2 turns (or 1-2 seconds of straight-lining) before the lens was plastered in pow (see video). Most of the week was spent doing as many bottomless 2-300m laps as our legs could handle.



    Our first day poking around after arriving. Looking north at the hut and Cycle peak behind it from the top of the "practice slopes"


    Looking west towards the Granite Glacier and Unicorn and Colossal Peaks. We only made it onto the Granite one day.


    Skinning up to the practice slopes. The Needle chutes in the background.


    Heading to Friendship Col, the gateway to the Gothic Glacier. The day started out with reasonable vis, but that would soon change. This was the one day we managed to get up there.






    Looking north from Friendship Col. Weather came just as we gained the col and we were in a whiteout on the Gothic. We had hoped to ascend Sentinel and Pioneer but were forced back.


    As a consolation, we booted up one of the Needle chutes, figuring the rock walls would provide enough contrast to make this the only alpine line with enough vis to ride.


    Exiting the chute. One of many choker pow turns


    Over the next couple days it stormed so we retreated to Outpost Bowl and trees. We rode this chute pretty close to the hut on our way


    Our first look at Outpost couloir. A couple members of the other party in the hut rode it a couple stormy and windy days after this pic was taken. Given the slab risk, this was outside of my comfort zone but we watched them slay it and it looked glorious. We were jealous to say the least. We attempted it a couple days after them, but a huge whoompf as we approached the fanout turned us around. I would rank this as the best line I saw at FM and I will be back to slay it!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    248
    This was what we spent most of our time doing:













    This pic of my wife is probably my favourite of the trip








    This was the one day that weather broke enough for us to attempt to get onto the Granite glacier. The day started out bluebird but gradually got more socked in. Also, it was really fucking cold. I measured -20C at this col and it was howling so windchill was much worse. This was one of the few times I've skinned wearing every layer I brought plus my balaclava and goggles.

    About to get onto the Granite


    On the Granite looking south at the highest peaks of the Adamants, all guarded by crevasse fields




    We did a couple hippie turn laps under Pioneer pass




    Then we set off for the Unicorn/Colossal col, but a combination of incoming weather and an equipment failure turned us back


    Our aforementioned unsuccessful attempt at Outpost couloir


    ...aaaand back to trees and pillows!










    Of course, our fly out day was a perfect windless, mild, bluebird day






    I was a little disappointed at not being able to spend more time in the alpine but such is nature of booking a hut a year in advance. The ridiculous snow we got to ride made up for it. I had heard about the FM hut for so long and after finally getting there, it's no wonder a lottery is required. The terrain at FM is mind-bottling. I will keep coming back until I get a week of bluebird!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Your Mom's House
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    Nice work!

    Our group was at FM in early Feb and had similar conditions. I've been meaning to post a few pics over here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    All ye punterz! Leave thine stupid heavy skis in the past, or at least in the resort category, for the age of lightweight pussy sticks is upon us! Behold! Keep up with the randocommandos on their carbon blades of shortness! Break thine tibias into spiral splinters with pintech extravagance!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    A shame about the quintuple overhead blower but as you say, when in FM make pow turns.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    248
    ^ read your TR from 2007 when researching for our trip. Looks like we got about the same luck as your first week there (love that you stayed for 2 weeks). Been back since?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by raypruit View Post
    ^ read your TR from 2007 when researching for our trip. Looks like we got about the same luck as your first week there (love that you stayed for 2 weeks). Been back since?
    Back once since then but its never been close to being as good. Next time i went back I stayed one week at Great Cairn then traversed to FM for another week then went another week to ski out via Mica

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    A shame about the quintuple overhead blower
    Ha! Great photos. God bless Canada. Unreal.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Vancouver BC
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    Talk about making lemonade out of lemons haha. Great pics/vid the terrain looks amazing if you get the right conditions. Shame about all the pow

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    726
    Quote Originally Posted by raypruit View Post
    This was what we spent most of our time doing:


    This was the one day that weather broke enough for us to attempt to get onto the Granite glacier. The day started out bluebird but gradually got more socked in. Also, it was really fucking cold. I measured -20C at this col and it was howling so windchill was much worse. This was one of the few times I've skinned wearing every layer I brought plus my balaclava and goggles.



    I was a little disappointed at not being able to spend more time in the alpine but such is nature of booking a hut a year in advance. The ridiculous snow we got to ride made up for it. I had heard about the FM hut for so long and after finally getting there, it's no wonder a lottery is required. The terrain at FM is mind-bottling. I will keep coming back until I get a week of bluebird!

    Looks awesome but feel your frustration. I have no idea how people book ski trips more than 2 weeks out let alone a year out.
    Last edited by nortonwhis; 04-14-2018 at 05:09 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    248
    Quote Originally Posted by nortonwhis View Post
    Looks awesome but feel your frustration. I have no idea how people book ski trips more than 2 weeks out let alone a year out.
    unfortunately, that's the only option for pretty much all huts. You have to book the more popular ones 2 years out. Having to arrange a week of babysitting for a kid also ups the required planning.

  11. #11
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    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    Quote Originally Posted by nortonwhis View Post

    Looks awesome but feel your frustration. I have no idea how people book ski trips more than 2 weeks out let alone a year out.
    I've going into Great Cairn then traversed to FM and skied it. There's a last minute to FM for late April right now that i bet i can snag for 1k apiece fully catered which isn't bad given how much i eat. That's the way to go but only if you're pretty flexible

  12. #12
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    Sep 2009
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    Down by the river, Terrace, BC
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    That pow looked OK. Thanks for posting ray.
    “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    4
    I went to Fairy Meadows in March 2017. Your trip report brought back some good memories! We had better luck with weather though. I bootpacked and skied the outpost couloir. I'll try to figure out how to post some photos.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    vernon
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    Leaving today for FM. Super stoked!!!!
    www.skevikskis.com Check em out!

  15. #15
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    Nov 2012
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    Eug, Or
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    Quote Originally Posted by el hefe View Post
    Leaving today for FM. Super stoked!!!!
    Give us an update when you get back! Heading there next month. What’s the snow pack like and what lines did you end up skiing?

  16. #16
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    Sep 2007
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    vernon
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    Snowpack is solid. No slide activity excluding some small winds labs while climbing/touring. Had a major wind event 2nd day with 80 to 100kmh gusts. Most higher exposed lines got nuked but we had about 50cm total snowfall after that so majority of skiing was excellent. Got outpost couloir and pioneer peak. Tons of trees down to fairy meadows proper.
    Near summit of pioneer peak. Sir Sanford in background.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    www.skevikskis.com Check em out!

  17. #17
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    Nov 2014
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    248
    rad. looks like you hit it just right. i want to go back

  18. #18
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    Nov 2012
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    Eug, Or
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    Thanks for the update! I leave for Golden a week from today!

  19. #19
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    Sep 2007
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    vernon
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    ^^^ it was amazing! Great snow, sun, and stability. Sauna is great, not a bad idea to get it warm in the morning prior to heading out. We left the door open that separates the sauna from the shower/change room during the day as well so that wasn't freezing.

    Make sure the kitchen windows are closed before going skiing too, Nigel the pine marten will get in otherwise.
    www.skevikskis.com Check em out!

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