Icefall Lodge: A week in Winter Wonderland

In January of 2016, Korey Heatherington, Ian Hamilton, and Danny Arnold took a dream trip to Icefall Lodge, a heli-accessed touring paradise outside of Golden, BC. Here’s the trip report from Ian.

I first heard of Icefall Lodge in the summer of 2015 while I was beginning to plan out my winter.  Bill at Revision contacted me and extended an invitation to do a week long stay at an awesome lodge outside Golden, BC.  When I found out my best buddy Danny Arnold was also going on the trip I was completely sold.  I had never been on touring trip for a entire week, especially not one deep in helicopter-accessed mountains. 

As it snowed more and more throughout December my anticipation built.  At the start of January I flew to Vancouver to shred a couple days at Whistler Blackcomb before linking up with Korey Heatherington for the 8 hour drive to Golden.  After an eventful trip with car breakdowns and snowstorms, we all managed to get ourselves to the meeting point to fly into the lodge. 

Sunset outside of Golden, British Columbia at Icefall Lodge.

The flight in was awe-inspiring.  Gigantic peaks and expansive glaciers entranced us as we stared out the window of the heli.  After a short flight we touched down right in front of the three-story Icefall Lodge.  After unpacking Danny immediately crashed into his bed for some well deserved travel recovery while Korey and I did a little exploring and jump building.  The first thing that struck us was the absolute enormity of the terrain around Icefall. 

Nestled between avalanche paths at 6000 feet, Icefall Lodge offers easy access to both alpine and tree skiing.  There is terrain to please anyone from the hardcore mountaineer to the mellow tree skier.  The added benefit of this wide range of terrain is there are places to ski no matter how dangerous the avalanche conditions become.  The lodge itself is a paradise despite being so far from civilization.  We had three delicious meals a day prepared by our personal chef, Mat.  From salmon and steak to mousse and carrot cake, the food was top notch.  There is even a sauna and showers to relax after a long day.  Lacking plumbing, the showers are repurposed watering pails and there are two outhouses that can also be used as backyard jumps.

Popping and pooping at Icefall Lodge, Golden BC.    

In addition there is even a climbing route on the ceiling of the second floor and yoga mats to stretch out sore muscles.  It is the coziest spot in which I have ever stayed surrounded by the most epic mountains I have ever witnessed.

Serene, starry sky at Icefall Lodge.

Snow conditions and weather are the ultimate dictators of terrain choice and when we arrived the avalanche danger was considerable.  The snow skied great but about a foot down there was an intensely weak layer that sheared very easily and made us reluctant to venture out of the trees.  This was compounded on day two when a storm started puking powder on the lodge. 

We were able to find some great pillows and cliffs in the trees but even some of these were dangerous as the pillows would break immediately and if you didn’t stomp the landing you could be crushed by a pillow falling behind you.  We got a lot of practice in risk evaluation and management, and unfortunately we had to back off of our goals to ski big lines in the alpine but we did manage to to pillage the deep snow in the trees.  In terrain so immense and remote even a small injury can be dangerous so we played it safe. 

Icefall Lodge offers some sick terrain.

The next day we awoke to clear skies and immediately headed into the alpine bowl above the lodge.  We only made it to the first ridge before the an incoming storm and unstable snow conditions forced us to turn around.  You can’t fight the snow Gods, so we got creative with what we had and built a veritable terrain park around the lodge.  Jumps off both the outhouses combined with a pillow transfer jump kept us entertained while the snow kept falling.  Our decision to turn back from the alpine turned out to be a good one as we heard multiple huge avalanches from the lodge, two of which were right next to the zone we had been in. 

The sun finally pops through at Icefall Lodge.

The snow, however, treated us to some extremely deep runs through the mellow trees below the lodge.  The fluff continued to fall and the stability didn’t improve the next day so we had to get extra imaginative.  We adapted our pillow gap into two separate jumps and practiced our timing in order to get a perfectly simultaneous two man jump shot.  It took a few tries but we nailed it on our third attempt. 

Timing double jumps at Icefall Lodge, Golden, BC.

To celebrate we took a pow lap and did some backflips.  Unfortunately Korey managed to find the only skin track in the landing, with his ribs, and put himself out of commission for the last day.  Although the weak layers were beginning to heal we were uneasy venturing up into the alpine one man short.  Instead we followed the other two guests at the lodge, Tom and Chino, to some of their favorite runs for some great POV pillow popping. 

Popping pillows at Icefall Lodge.

We were exhausted after a week of touring through deep snow, so the Icefall Lodge sauna was much appreciated and we slept like rocks.  The next morning we woke early to pack and clean with a sense of nostalgia.  The week truly flew by. None of us could believe it was over and we still can’t wait for our next trip back to the majestic Icefall Lodge.

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Filming Advance at Grand Targhee Resort

 Over the winter of 2014/2015, Grand Targhee Resort was the playground where the Revision crew filmed part of our short film, “Advance.” Revision skis athletes Chris McKeever, Danny Arnold, and Jake Fagrelius, filmer Mike Kvackay, and photographer Arthur Balluff hit the resort on March 12th. Half of the guys had road tripped from Colorado, a 6-hour white knuckle ride through a blizzard in a rented Toyota Camry (note from Mike, Teton Pass is not advisable in 2wd in a whiteout). We caught up with the guys to talk about the trip and also to gain some perspective on everything that goes into creating a film like “Advance.”

Grand Targhee Resort is located in the Teton Mountains, in the town of Alta, a quick ride north of Jackson. The crew was put up in the Sioux Lodge, which is conveniently located right at the base of the hill and made for a great bonding experience in the comfy quarters of the lodge.

The overnight snowstorm ended up dumping about 8″ of freshies, and the crew headed out the first morning to what Kvackay describes as “probably the gnarliest in bounds terrain of any resort I have been to.” Grand Targhee offers over 2,600 acres of terrain, has a vertical drop of nearly 2,300 feet, and five lifts which spread out the crowds and keep lift lines short. With awesome terrain and the cold smoke powder found in the interior, it was the perfect setting for the opening scenes for “Advance.” 

Danny Arnold backflip

Danny with a nice backie into that perfect Grand Targhee pow – photo credit Arthur Balluff

After the first dump, the rest of the trip was quite warm and dry. No more snow fell and the temps climbed into the 40s, but still, freshies were to be found. “The backcountry access was perfect. 3 days after our storm, we could still find fresh tracks only a few hundred feet from a lift.”  – Mike Kvackay, Filmer

Creating even a short film like Advance is an exhausting effort that a lot of people take for granted. Even working with the rad Grand Targhee terrain, the crew shot for 6 days, with only a handful of shoots ever making it to the viewer’s eyes. There can be a lot of variables in a shot, such as camera errors like missed focus or simply the skier just didn’t land it. On hill, Kvackay was the only snowboarder on a “ski only” trip, which was hard. Whether traversing to a film spot, or unstrapping after getting stuck, and lugging 20 pounds of camera pack, the going was tough for him. After the filming is done, Mike needed to edit and label shots for hours after 6 hours of hiking and skiing around. “Let’s just say that it is a full time job with everything combined together.”

Revision skis athlete Jake Fagrelius spinning on Subtraction pow skis at Grand Targhee

Jake Fagrelius jibbing a Grand Targhee pillow – photo credit Arthur Balluff

“All of the athletes stepped up their game. Danny killed it. I love skiing with him and he really pushes himself on every feature. I would have to say his naked backflip was my favorite. The snow had been sunbaked so getting speed was an issue but he pulled that bad boy around with nothing on but his ski boots and his transceiver. Chris also charged hard on resort, not even speed checking through gullies riddled with moguls and trees. Everyone was super friendly, the stoke was high and we got some killer shots from the trip. I cannot wait to head back soon.” – Mike Kvackay

 

All told, Grand Targhee turned out to be the perfect place to film for “Advance.” We’re thankful for the opportunity and their generosity in hosting us.

 

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8″ of dry Grand Targhee powder on Day 1

 

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Grand Targhee Day 2

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Grand Targhee Resort Day 3

Advance Ski Movie

While filming the Advance ski movie, we spent the last season chasing snow with friends in both the backcountry and the streets. We had some deep days cat skiing with our friends at Fernie Wilderness Adventures, where the snow always seems to hit for us.  Our time at Grand Targhee was great as well, but we weren’t as lucky on the weather. Other legs of the trip while filming included street skiing in Sweden and Russia, along with a bunch of other great spots across the Western states. Hit play, sit back, and enjoy the Advance ski movie, featuring skiers Mike King, Sandy Boville, Chris McKeever, Tobias Sedlacek, Erik Pousette, Sakarias Majander, Leo Bjorklund, Douglas Kallsbo, Ian Hamilton, Danny Arnold, Sam Zahner, Jake Fagrelius, and Tanner Berg. We hope you enjoy watching ‘Advance’ as much as we did filming it.

Advance Ski Movie Locations

  • British Columbia
  • Wyoming
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Sweden
  • Russia
  • More….

Advance Ski Movie - Targhee

Danny Arnold Skiing Season Edit 2013-2014

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Danny Arnold

Danny Arnold spent last season living in Whistler, British Columbia and traveling around BC. Here is Danny’s season edit with a bunch of great powder skiing and big lines in Fernie, Whistler, and Revelstoke.

While Danny was living in Whistler, he supported his skiing lifestyle by working at a hostel. When Danny wasn’t working, he was taking advantage of the vast terrain at (and near) Whistler Blackcomb. Whistler Blackcomb is located 75 miles north of Vancouver and is considered the largest ski resort in North America.  It is 50% larger than the next largest competing resort and also features the iconic Peak 2 Peak gondola which transports skiers from the top of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. The Peak 2 Peak gondola holds two world records – it is the highest cable car above ground and the longest unsupported span between two cable car towers.

 

Whistler Blackcomb is situated in the Fitzsimmons range of the Coast Mountain range in BC, Canada. It is located on the north western edge of Garibaldi Provincial Park. Whistler was originally called London Mountain because of the frequent fog at low elevations. Consistently ranked as the top resort in North America, more than 2 million people visit annually. Whistler Mountain has a vertical of 5,020 feet and a skiable area of 4,757 acres. Blackcomb Mountain has a vertical of 5,133 feet and a skiable area of 3,414 acres. The longest runs at both Whistler (Burnt Stew) and Blackcomb (Green Road) are 6.8 miles long. Whistler Blackcomb is a large enough resort that they have terrain options for any type of skier.  Options abound for skiing legendary chutes, steeps, cliffs, couloirs, high alpine, powder filled bowls, gladed trees, and flowing groomers.

Whistler also has a wide variety of summertime activities and is famous for the Whistler Bike Park.  The bike park is world class and draws both amateur and professional mountain bikers from around the world.  Other summer activities include camping, hiking, bungee jumpingglacier skiing, and more.

Catskiing Canada with Fernie Wilderness Adventures

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Catskiing Canada

After a few months of somewhat hit or miss conditions here in the states, we were ready to go catskiing in Canada. The Trimmings crew along with the Revision Skis crew packed up and rallied north to go to the Canadian promise land. As we pulled up to the lodge at Fernie Wilderness Adventures (FWA), the snow had been hammering down all afternoon and we knew instantly that we would not be disappointed. Located in the northern Rockies, Fernie Wilderness Adventures’ catskiing Canada paradise has over 5,000 acres of gladed meadows, pristine pillow fields, and endless tree skiing. Serviced by two large passenger snowcats, and a handful of the happiest employees I’ve ever met, we knew we were in the right place. After day one, the common phrase repeated by everyone on the trip became, “I’ve never experienced that before!” Whether we were describing the bottomless powder, the amazing terrain, or the guides who couldn’t have been more accommodating, FWA had literally everything we could have asked for. Each day began with a delicious hot breakfast cooked by the staff before we piled into the snowcat and headed straight up to 7000 ft. Our options seemed endless plowing up and over knife ridges through blower pow as we hung our heads out the cab windows in anticipation of our next run choked with the lightest snow any of us have ever experienced. Each day was concluded with countless high-fives, a huge feast, and a soak in the wood-fired hot tub complimented by a few ice cold beers. After four days of living the life of luxury, reluctantly, it was time to part ways and return to our own lives. It goes without saying that we will, without a doubt, be returning next season to pick up where we left off! Thanks again to the entire staff at FWA for showing us the goods! Words by Jake Fagrelius.

Early Season in the Park with Revision Skis

We have spent the last few weeks getting our ski legs back, cruising the parks of Summit County, and having an all-around good time with our crew.  With the bulk of the ski season in front of us, it’s an exciting time of the year to be hitting the slopes with our friends.

“I hadn’t been on snow for six months while I was finishing up my International Business degree, so my days in Colorado were my first of the season. It was the best escape from school and I felt right at home as soon as the camera came out. Getting back on my skis was the same feeling as putting on a pair of perfectly broken in shoes that you haven’t worn in a long time. A Thanksgiving spent skiing and celebrating among friends was an amazing way to start the season,” said a stoked Ian Hamilton.

Sandy Boville shared, “Colorado in the beginning of the season is always a good time. Multiple mountains and great early season parks provide tons of variety. We’ve had a few snow days, allowing for some high speed shralping down the mountain. I’ve been skiing the 181 Talisman for all mountain riding as it gives me a bit more ski underfoot. The 176 is a blast in the park with a buttery nose to flex and a stiffer tail for stomping landings. The short size allows me to be a little more snappy. I know people will see how fun the Talisman is after watching everyone rip it.”

“Early season in Summit County is pretty good for riding some good old fashion park, especially when there’s not much snow elsewhere yet.  Getting your feet back under you is easy because of how perfect Breck’s early season jumps are. Good times lapping with the boys,” explained Chris McKeever.

Danny Arnold told us, “I had a great time riding with my friends on my days off between working at Fun For you Snowmobile Rentals, and doing my Outdoor Recreation Leadership Degree at CMC. It was great to film a little with the Revision boys and get some early season park laps in. Pray for Pow!”

“Filming my friends and riding two of the best early season parks in the country has been a blast. Armed with my new camera and a ton of creative, talented skiers, my work was cut out for me.  After shooting for just five short days mixing in sunshine, snow and clouds, I was able to get a ton of shots and make a killer video. I am super stoked on our crew and can’t wait for the season to unfold,” explained Revision Skis filmer Mike Kvackay.

We hope you enjoy this video of the highlights of our early season riding the Revision Skis Talisman in the park with Sandy Boville, Ian Hamilton, Sam Zahner, Chris McKeever, Ty Wellman, Danny Arnold, Tanner Berg and filmer Mike Kvackay. From here, we will be following the snow into the backcountry and streets for the remainder of the season.  See you on the slopes!

A Fresh Outlook on Skiing by Revision Skis

Revision Skis is a small, accessible freestyle skiing company that makes the skis that our family wants to ride.  Our focus is on having fun while expressing our own individual creativity and style. We are in the freeskiing business for the love of it and we do things our own way. We look forward to continuing to connect with the community in the future and are excited to hear from you. As we officially launch our fresh, new brand of skis, we hope you enjoy this video of our family enjoying our twin tip skis in a variety of conditions. We hope you will stop and take a moment to check out our lineup of park skis, powder skis, and all mountain skis.

Video edited by Mike Kvackay | Filmed by Bobby Jahrig, Frank King, Mike Kvackay, Andrew Keyser, The Bunch, Sam Trefaller, Arthur Baluff, Ben Zeimet & Thomas Vincent