Where is Callaghan Country?
Callaghan Country is located in the Southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Just 110 km (68 miles) north of Vancouver and 20 km (12.4 miles) southwest of the world-famous resort town of Whistler, BC. Our base facility, the Alexander Falls Touring Centre, is directly adjacent to Whistler Olympic Park – which was the venue for all Nordic and ski jumping events during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Where is the Journeyman Lodge?
12.5km (7.7 miles) from the main staging area, in the Upper Callaghan Valley.
How do I get from Whistler to the Callaghan Country staging area?
From Whistler, head south-west on Highway 99 towards Vancouver. Approximately 13km (8 miles) from Whistler Village, turn right off Highway 99 onto the Callaghan Valley Access Road. Follow the main route for about 8.5 km. Immediately before the entrance to Whistler Olympic Park, you will see our banner on your left. Turn left, cross over a bridge and follow the signs into our base facility.
What do your packages include and what different types do you offer?
All of our packages, starting with our base option - the Nightly Self-Propelled package - include luggage transfers, all meals and non-alcoholic beverages (coffee, tea, milk, juice, and hot chocolate), as well as the use of lodge snowshoes, toboggans, and our creekside Scandinavian sauna. For backcountry skiers who want to maximize their time in the alpine, we also offer select packages that bundle in mechanized transfers via snowmobile or snowcat.
What time will my luggage be transferred to and from the lodge?
The luggage transfer departs from the Callaghan Country base at approximately 12:00pm. Please be sure to arrive at the base no later than 11:30am, if you wish to take advantage of this service.
From the lodge itself, the luggage transfer typically departs at around 10:00pm, depending on the weather. It is typical for the luggage to be back down at the base and available for pick up by 11:30am. Please plan your departure from the lodge accordingly. For those who would require an earlier luggage transfer, we can arrange a custom time upon request. Please be aware there will likely need to be an additional charge for this, depending on our operational constraints on that particular day. Alternatively, please pack light and use a backpack so that you can ski out with your gear.
How is the ski in to the lodge?
There are two Nordic routes to access the lodge. The first is the 13.5km ski up the Mainline trail to Callaghan Lake and then onto Parkway and across Upper Wild Spirit. This route is designated as an intermediate level ski and it offers incredible views of the Callaghan Valley as well as the peaks of Black Tusk, Metal Dome, Brandywine, and Mt. Callaghan. The bulk of the climbing is along the first few kilometres of the trail.
The second option is to ski up the shorter, but more difficult Wild Spirit trail. This 12.5km ski features some challenging climbs as it winds its way through the stunning old growth forests of the Callaghan Valley. Skiers are advised that we use the Lower Wild Spirit trail to access the lodge via snowmobile, so be prepared to encounter some machine traffic on the trail.
What isn’t included in the traditional package price?
While our packages cover most of your needs there are still a few outstanding details that we do not include:
- Ground transfers from Whistler or Vancouver to the staging area. However, if you would like some guidance or suggestions on getting here, we'd be happy to assist.
- Alcoholic beverages. Please feel free to bring your own , but be sure to pack it carefully to prevent breakage en route.
- Certified guiding. We work with several local guiding companies who are familiar with our terrain. You can check them out and book through them.
- XC ski equipment is not included in the package pricing but is available at our Access Callaghan ski shop, where you check in for the lodge.
- Ski touring and backcountry safety equipment
- Winter outerwear (see our packing list and if you require assistance obtaining the appropriate gear, let us know)
- Applicable taxes
- Gratuities for service excellence
Do I need to know how to drive a snowmobile?
No, but you do need to be at least 16 years of age to drive, and must have a valid driver’s license. All of our snowmobiles come with standard safety features and they are comfortable and easy to operate. Before departure, each group will be given a safety orientation before setting out and will be following directly behind our staff. That being said, accidents can happen – usually due to people driving to fast or not paying attention. In the event of an accident, the driver of the machine will be responsible for any resulting damage to the snowmobile.
How long does it take to get to Journeyman Lodge?
It takes an average skier in reasonably good shape about 3 to 3.5 hours to ski (classic) to the lodge. Elite skate skiers can do it in about 1 hour. It takes about half as long to ski out. Those who choose to snowshoe to the lodge should plan for the trip to take at least 5 hours each direction. On average it takes about 45 minutes by snowmobile to reach the lodge. The time it takes to get to the lodge is weather dependent. In storm conditions it can sometimes take much longer. The trip to the lodge is definitely a part of the adventure experience at Callaghan Country!
How should I dress for the trip?
If you are traveling by snowmobile, you should arrive at the staging area dressed in warm winter clothes. This means heavy mitts or gloves, toques (warm hat), neck warmer, long underwear, warm socks, fleece jackets, and weatherproof outer jackets and snow pants. Snowboarders can wear their snowboard boots for the snowcat / snowmobile journey, but skiers must have a pair of warm winter boots for the ride. If you are traveling by Snowcat, it is not as important to dress in warm winter clothes, however keep in mind that you will need these clothes once you arrive at the lodge, so it might be best to wear them to start out.
Is it true that Callaghan Country gets more snow than Whistler?
Absolutely. The Callaghan Valley is located in the Coastal snowbelt – guaranteeing abundant snowfalls and a very reliable snowpack. The valley is ringed on three sides by glaciated terrain; as the warm moist maritime air pushes up over the glaciers of Brandywine, Metal Dome, and Powder Mountains, the air gets super-cooled. To the north and east, are the Pemberton Ice Cap and the Rainbow Glacier, which means that Callaghan Country is a natural dumping ground for plenty of the white stuff.
What is the weather like?
The key point to keep in mind is that we are located in the Coastal snowbelt which means that we definitely see our share of winter storms. We also have lots of great blue sky days, but if you are prepared for snow, you will not be disappointed. Despite the copious amounts of snow that the area receives each winter, the region enjoys the same moderate Pacific temperatures as other Northwest ski areas.
Can I come to Callaghan Country just for the day?
Yes! We offer plenty of trails for both classic & skate cross-country skiers and snowshoers to enjoy and explore. Please visit our Admissions & Fees area on the website for pricing info.
How should I pack for my trip?
Please pack light. All guest luggage must be transported in a snowmobile trailer to the lodge. Everything you bring should fit into one small duffel bag (or backpack) and a ski equipment bag. Please see our Winter Packing List webpage for a list of recommended gear. In addition to your ski clothes and equipment, don’t forget to bring warm and cozy lodge clothes – there’s nothing like a hot shower, a pair of fleece pyjamas and warm down booties or slippers at the end of an exhilarating winter day of playing outside in the mountains!
Do we need to bring sleeping bags or towels?
No. All of the rooms in the lodge feature cozy goose down comforters, and come with pillows and sheets. We also provide towels and face cloths, but you will want to bring your own toiletries.
Is there indoor plumbing and electricity?
Yes! Unlike most other remote lodges, Callaghan Lodge has running water, indoor plumbing, and electricity. That being said, because the electricity is provided by a generator, it is only available when the generator is running:
Morning...Approximately 7:30am – 9:30am
Evening...Approximately 4:00pm – 10:00pm
1. Our water pump is powered by the generator. Accordingly, showers, flushing the toilet and using the taps is only possible when the generator is on. Showers should be planned accordingly. When the generator is not on, each toilet will only have one flush. Use it wisely.
2. Please conserve water as much as possible. Our holding tank is quite small.
3. Please bring a headlamp or flashlight in case you need to get up in the night.
4. Please leave your hairdryers and other devices requiring electricity at home.
Can I bring my children?
Children are always welcome to come in for the day, but in order to better realize the Journeyman Lodge experience for all of our guests we cannot accept overnight reservations for kids under the age of 13. However, as it isn't our intention to exclude any guests or families, we do maintain specified family friendly periods. And, of course, if you wish to reserve the entire lodge, exceptions to this rule would be made.
Can I bring my pet?
All of our trails are dog friendly and we invite everyone to enjoy a ski or snowshoe with their four-legged companions. However, while we at Callaghan Country all love animals, we need to be sensitive to the needs of all of our guests. Due to the nature of a remote backcountry lodge, we have a very limited capacity to limit exposure between pets and individuals with severe allergies. For this reason, we do not allow any pets be brought into the lodge itself. If you are skiing up for lunch, you are able to leash them up outside. We just ask that you are ensuring their comfort while in an outdoor winter environment.
Can we rent out the entire Lodge?
Definitely. The Lodge makes an ideal location for small group getaways of any kind. Lodge rental rates are based on a group size of 24 people. Please be aware that renting out the lodge does not guarantee 100% exclusive use of the facility or our operating area. As a Nordic ski area, our trail system is open to the public, and the lodge’s first floor (reception room, bathroom, and dining room) is also open to the public. Lodge rentals include exclusive overnight use of the lodge, as well as exclusive use of the second and third floors of the lodge. The main floor of the lodge (including the dining room) will remain open to the public, however we do make every effort to minimize any impacts that may be caused (i.e. scheduling specific times for privacy in the dining room for lunch, closing off a particular area at a specific time for a wedding ceremony, etc.). You should also know that there is a 2-night minimum on lodge rentals during Christmas week.
What kinds of activities are available at the Lodge?
We offer a variety of winter recreation activities, suitable for every age and activity level. For cross country skiers, we maintain a network of track-set classic cross country ski trails – depending on weather and snow conditions, we have the ability to track-set up to 39km of trails. There is virtually unlimited rolling terrain through old-growth forests and across subalpine meadows available for Nordic ski touring. There are also several sets of snowshoes available, and a great tobogganing hill just steps away from the lodge.
Can I skate ski at the lodge?
Yes, we maintain a network of track-set (‘classic’) cross country trails throughout the winter which are also groomed with a lane for skate skiing. However, as we can expect to see significant snowfall systems move through the valley, there will be certain days with heavy accumulation where grooming for ideal skate skiing conditions will not be possible. We always recommend checking the weather before your stay to judge whether skate or classic would be a better option for you. And, of course, if you don't have your own gear, we have rentals available through our Access Callaghan Ski Shop located at our parking lot in the same spot where you check-in for the lodge.
What about backcountry ski touring?
Surrounded by peaks and glaciers, Callaghan Lodge is an ideal venue for backcountry ski touring (also known as alpine ski touring, randonnée skiing, ski mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and ski hiking). The area features an incredible variety of terrain including high alpine bowls, glaciers, glades, pillow drops and gently rolling hills. To be enjoyed to the fullest, guests should be of intermediate skiing ability or better, in good physical condition, and capable of handling the challenges of ascending and descending in a variety of snow conditions. We do not provide or rent any of the ski equipment necessary for backcountry skiing, there are locations in Whistler Village where these items can be arranged including our ski shop's sister store Excess Backcountry. Please know that backcountry ski touring is not without risk. We strongly recommend that any groups wishing to go ski touring are knowledgeable and experienced in backcountry travel and avalanche safety. All ski touring parties will be responsible for self-rescue and will be required to read and sign a Self-Guided Release of Liability or Waiver of Claims Agreement prior to their departure.
I am looking to do some guided backcountry ski touring around the lodge. What are my options?
While we do not have any guiding available directly through our own staff, we regularly work in conjunction with several local backcountry guides who provide certified guided adventures out of the Journeyman Lodge. You can peruse our Guides Webpage to get in contact with them and determine their availability.
What types of outdoor post-ski amenities do you have at the lodge?
We have a creekside, wood-fired sauna that's just a five minute walk from the lodge. After the big ski into the lodge, it's proven to be the "icing on the cake" for our guests' stay. And in true nordic fashion, you can get those added benefits from taking a cold plunge in the creek between sauna sessions.
Is there a television at the Lodge?
No, there is not. We strive to deliver an unplugged, off-the-grid experience, which would be defeated by a television droning on in the background. However, we don't believe you'll find yourself lacking for things to do, as we have a pool / ping pong table, dart board and plenty of books, magazines, and board games to enjoy. We even have a house guitar for those musically inclined among us.
What kind of cell reception can I expect at the Lodge?
Our lodge staff have a cellular phone that will work most of the time (it won’t work in storm situations). If you have a cell phone, you can bring it. If it is an analog or ‘tri-mode’ phone, it might even work. If you have a cell phone, you can bring it. If it is an analog or ‘tri-mode’ phone, it might even work. If you want to leave a contact number for friends or family, please give them our reservations number (604.938.0616), and we will make sure to relay any messages to you. And of course, we also have a radio for emergencies.
Will there be any alcohol available at the Lodge?
As we are not licensed to serve alcohol, we instead welcome you to bring your own. Packing your own mix is also a great idea, if you want to be sure to have it on hand. Please be aware that anything you bring has to be transported to the lodge in a snowmobile trailer or snowcat; therefore, cans are better than bottles (although, they should still be separated from each other to prevent impact punctures). Any glass bottles should be wrapped in plastic (just in case) and then well-packed to protect from breakage. We cannot accept responsibility for alcohol that gets damaged along the way, so please use due care.
What sort of motorized/mechanical restrictions exist in the area?
In December, 2008, the Upper Callaghan Valley was declared a winter non-motorized zone by the BC Provincial Government, through Section 58 (1) of the Forest and Range Practices Act. As such, the area is closed to snowmobiles from November 1st – May 15th. We have special permission to operate our own snowmobiles and our grooming equipment – expressly for the purpose of transporting guests and maintaining the trails. This does mean you are not able to make use of any personal snowmobiles or other motorized vehicles.
Is it completely necessary that I sign a waiver before heading to the Journeyman Lodge?
Yes. Backcountry recreation is not without risk. Reliable prediction of factors such as weather, snow and terrain conditions can never be guaranteed. All guests will be required to read and sign a comprehensive Release of Liability and Waiver of Claims Agreement prior to departure for the lodge. A copy of the waiver can be found on our website for those who wish to read it ahead of time. In addition, please note that adventure sport activities are not recommended for individuals who are pregnant, or who suffer from back or neck pain, or who have heart or respiratory distress. If in doubt, please contact your physician prior to booking.
What applicable taxes are charged on your packages?
Both GST and BC's Accommodation Tax are currently charged on all packages.