Back in 1972 a group of enthusiasts erected a log cabin in the McGillvary Pass. For the past 20 years the Andrews family have referred to it as their “winter home” and the operation now run out of this lodge is called Whitecap Alpine. While visiting Whitecap I was lucky enough to be guided by the operation’s head honcho, Lars Andrews. Lars grew up in these mountains and has skied almost all the lines in this area that one can rationally conceive.
Accompanied by photographer Bruno Long, we kicked things off with a heli bump up to the lodge, which was not only incredibly scenic, but also gave us great views of the terrain. Bruno and I were pairing up to capture photos of Whitecap in order to share the moments spent in the mountains.
Upon landing, we then went through transceiver training and a briefing of the first day’s plan. We were eager to taste the goods and as soon as the formalities were over, we quickly trekked out into the surrounding terrain.
We toured and skied alongside an incredible crew of mountain enthusiasts while covering a lot of vertical. It is my belief that Lars himself could have probably doubled that distance had he been by himself, but being the gentleman that he is, he waited for us to bumble around and set up shots. In saying this, there is no reason to be concerned about being a slow walker- part of the joy is taking it all in. While Lars seemed immune to the rigours of walking up hill, I on the other hand am not sure how much more I could have handled. The light and the snow remained excellent for the entire duration of our stay and it is safe to say I had my fill. It seemed like the rest of the guests also shared my appreciation for the abundance and quality of snow we put tracks in.
Life around Whitecap is truly exceptional. You simultaneously experience life out in the wilderness, alongside the luxuries of a catered lodge. After a day in the mountains you come back to cold beer, good music, happy banter and delicious snacks – the perfect aprés environment. If you need to really knock it out of the park you can hit the sauna, which is fired up and ready to go each afternoon. Whitecap also has a number of local wildings that have become quite familiar with the lodge. Namely Douglas Phillip McGillvary (or “@bbq_Doug”), a pine martin who frequents the BBQ area. Gathering to chat, eat and drink at the main lodge creates an amazing team environment. However for those that need some time alone to rest up for the next day, Yurtlandia and the sleeping quarters provide the perfect place to lay your head.
If you’ve read this far, you can probably tell that I really, thoroughly enjoyed my time at Whitecap Alpine. It is truly a magical place that will no doubt leave you with an unforgettable experience.