Selkirk Wilderness Skiing? Never heard of it. But that is the name that kept popping into people’s minds when we asked around as to what the best catskiing operation on the planet was. SWS is the orginal catskiing operation and it began in 1975. Since then, hundreds have tried to imitate them. But the original is still the best.
The machines and the lodge at SWS.
Why had we never heard of them? Well, pretty much ever since their inception, SWS has had a waiting list hundreds of people long. In the last few years with the economy not looking so positive, the waiting list has vanished and they have finally began a marketing push. Needless to say everyone at Dendrite Studios would be very suprised if that waiting list doesn’t start up again. All those people who suggested SWS were right. Damn right.
Fuel up. You'll be riding pow all day!
The crew consisted of Dendrite Studios heads Athan Merrick and Nicolas Teichrob, as well as athletes Chris Turpin, Eliel Hindert, Brett Crabtree, and Maxim Arsenault. The boys were amped to get after it.
The athletes are hungry.
Welcome to the Selkirks. Meadow Creek to be exact. On a normal year the town would be buried in snow and guests would take the cat right from town to the lodge. This year the town is dry and we drove in cars almost all the way to the lodge. As we arrived to the lodge we noticed the high freezing levels (which was expected based on reports). Welcome to El Nino. We could see the anxious looks on our athletes’ faces, while the guides assured us even though it is one of the worst snow years ever for the operation there is plenty of pow to be had.
No snow in a couple weeks? High freezing levels? You'll still ski pow. Eliel Hindert does just that.
And pow we feasted upon. Selkirk’s terrain is unmatched. They have the classic trees and pillows of every cat op in BC, but they also have spectacular alpine terrain. There are faces in every direction. Since this is an El Nino year with high freezing levels and hard sun we mostly stuck to North faces. It hadn’t really snowed in weeks but the pow was deep, plentiful, and light. Was it over the head blower? No. We had a hard time fathoming how much better the trip could get. Many times between gigantic smiles and laughter all of us said, “Can you imagine if we had blower pow on this trip?” With stoke levels at an all time high, it is hard to imagine life getting any better.
Right to the top with a cat? Ya, that's right.
The guides assured us that 95% of the time it is better. Speaking of guides hats off to Kevin and Scott who kept up with our antics and brought us to the goods safely and effectively. Those two guys are top notch and a blast to ski with.
Those are some cool dudes. Our guides Kevin and Scott eating dinner and keeping the good times rolling.
Turpin kept everyone entertained with rope swing antics and a different vision.
Chris Turpin is from a different planet. But we like that here at Dendrite Studios.
Crabtree became known as Stomptree.
Brett Stomptree...er I mean Crabtree.
Eliel continued to push the envelope.
Eliel Hindert giggling like a school girl. We love that laugh!
Maxim just did what he always does, fast and big.
Maxim Arsenault giving er!
The boys worked up a hunger feasting upon Selkirk’s delights, which brings us to food.
Fresh OJ at breakfast. Yes please.
Wow. We are all ski bums. We eat things like PB and J, and ramen, and free soup crackers from ski areas. We had never eaten so much food in our lives. Giant hot and fresh breakfasts with things like dill omelettes, eggs benedict, pancakes, and bacon. Lunch is eaten in the cat so you don’t miss any skiing time with two different types of giant sandwiches. Ruebens and seafood one day and Ham and Turkey the next. Veggies, fruit, fresh baked cookies, and the special Selkirk tea complete the mid day feast. Just when you thought you were full you get back to the lodge and appetizers are served with Thai soup and lamb kebobs with tzatziki and spanikopita. By the time the ski clothes are off and a quick hot tub rests those tired muscles, dinner is served. Steaks one night and seafood pasta another. Always with fresh salads. Awesome veggies and bread and desert. Needless to say no one ever left the dining room hungry or unhappy. Many thanks to the kitchen staff for working hard to keep hungry skiers immensely happy.
Dinner doesn't get much better.
Besides all these great things the best thing about Selkirk is the vibe. You are home, among family. The dining room has a few big communal tables where everyone mixes and mingles and stories from the day are shared. We never sat next to the same person. After dinner the small bar becomes a hang out place where the ping pong table and the pool table light up. The couches are full and people are stoked. And when the staff rallies everyone for a game of the famous Selkirk Crud, make sure you participate. It is ridiculously fun. Only a pool table, the cue ball, the number thirteen, and everyone in pure chaotic fun.
That face means they really like the famous tea in their hands. Can we get the recipe?
Stay tuned for the Selkirk Wilderness Skiing edition of Dendrite Studios’ Perspectives web clip series and many, many thanks to all of the guests and the staff at Selkirk for one of the most amazing weeks any of us have ever had!
Forest can drive a cat like no other. He's the man.
All photos taken by Nicolas Teichrob