Transported to Skiing Nirvana – Part 2

Posted on December 29, 2012


The newly constructed Mica Heliskiing Lodge

As we made our way to the Mica Heliskiing lodge entrance, I felt the need to stop and comprehend that we were now up in the clouds, literally. I could barely see the lake far below, and the peaks were shrouded in clouds. We were greeted by a scurry of trades people, finishers, painters, unpackers, tour guides, maintenance crew and staff. Hubby and I were led to an awaiting room to drop our gear before further introductions and a walk through the lodge.

Wood-burning fireplace and lounge on lower level of the resort

From the two spacious lounges with massive stone fireplaces, to the dining area with its 180-degree view and floor-to-ceiling windows, to the luxurious cedar timbers and chiseled slate floor, to the contemporary yet warm decor, every detail was being finished or polished for inspection.

Things are almost ready in the dining area

Our room alone was appointed with a gorgeous sleigh-type bed, a toasty thick duvet, heated stone bathroom tiles, a walk-in stone and pebble rain-shower stall, and a funky, sliding barn-door style closet. With a snow drift of nearly three feet outside our window, you hardly noticed the absence of a view on that cloudy day! As Hubby delved into work, I tried to not interrupt the crews and their work deadlines by finding a quiet place removed from the traffic with my laptop. The hectic flow of workers only ceased as nighttime arrived, total blackness outside except for a couple of spotlights to guide staff between the main lodge and the exclusive chalet building beside it.

Just a short walk from the main lodge to the private chalet

(The chalet is an amazing cedar beam structure, a few years older than the newly constructed lodge. It is primarily for the use of Mica Heli’s private guests, those people who enjoy their privacy and are serious about their playtime on the hills.) As part of the work crew, we dined on roast beef in the dining area and “christened” the bar area, as liquor bottles were unpacked for service.

The place to be after a day of skiing

It seemed like a little reward for the hard-working staff, and they were happy to enjoy this new part of the lodge. I imagined that those trades people who had been up at the resort for a month or two during its construction could be really lonesome, longing to be with their families as Christmas neared. Our trip was only a quick in-and-out thing, not weeks being on the mountain top, working day after day. But, oh, what a jewel of a resort to be proud of at the end of it all. I could not have imagined the beauty in store for us the next morning, as we were up for breakfast before sunrise. The cloud cover had nearly vanished, leaving the snowy peaks bathed in a surreal blueness. The vastness of Kinbasket Lake below was spectacular.

Sunrise over the peaks

The Monashee and Selkirk Mountain ranges were to the south of our vista and the Rockies were just beyond to the east. As the sun eventually bathed the ridges with its golden rays, the blueness transferred to the skies and the snow glowed. I became giddy with delight, grabbed my camera and coat and headed outside. How blessed I was to witness God’s creation on that morning! It was as if prayers had been answered for special weather on its official opening; you couldn’t have got better.

Kinbasket Lake below the lodge

The job pace quickened even more than the previous day as the tour guides and pilots had to rehearse a disaster scenario, including critically injured bodies (dummies), with ground staff at the lodge. It was fascinating to hear the calls over the radio receivers as the staged drama unfolded. Getting injured in the high back country is no laughing matter since it can take a long time for medical attention to be flown in, etc. I have a new appreciation for search and rescue personnel after listening to that scenario.

Like the John Denver song goes, our bags were packed and ready to go after the two helicopters were finished with the rescue protocol and de-briefing done. All the ladders and boxes were removed and the cleaning completed. As Hubby and I and a couple of finishers waited for our incoming helicopter to take us back down the mountain to our car, to begin the long drive homeward, I took a last panoramic scan of the mountains and snow-encrusted trees. There would be partying tonight at the Mica Heliskiing lodge; its completion was an epic endeavour logistically, with a small army of skilled people. They earned a celebration.

And so, with clouds moving in, back again at the staging site, we waved goodbye to our pilots and turned towards our car. Expecting to have to dig it out from under the snow, we were pleasantly surprised to find that an earlier group had done that for us. We were even happier to find that the main road back to Revelstoke had recently been scraped and grit sprayed, making for a quicker and safer route back.

Hubby and I were tired from the long days, but we were happy to find our own bed that night. What an inspirational couple of days it had been! I felt like a tiny cog in the big machine, but fortunate to witness something so grand coming together, situated in a place that is so breath-taking. It was a super early Christmas present that I’ll never forget!