TRIP PLANNING INFORMATION
You can download and print this information from our info pack doc.
GETTING HERE - TRAVEL INFORMATION
Guests must provide their own transportation to the town of Nelson, British Columbia, where they will meet with the helicopter pilot on the morning of their departure for a safety briefing. After the safety briefing is completed, guests will need to provide their own transportation to the staging site in Kaslo. DO NOT stay in Kaslo on the Friday night before staging. Stay in Nelson as you will have to meet in Nelson at the hangar on Saturday morning.
There are two tour companies that offer shuttle service from the Spokane airport to the Nelson and Kaslo helipad: Gravity Adventures (gravityadventures.ca) and Queen City Shuttle and Charters (kootenayshuttle.com).
Nelson has a small airport but there are no regularly scheduled domestic flights during the winter. The closest airport is in Castlegar, BUT, we do not recommend using this airport as flights are frequently cancelled in the winter. For those coming from the United States or abroad, the best airport to use is Spokane, Washington. This is the closest international airport to Nelson. It is about a 4 hr drive south of Nelson. The best way to go is to rent a vehicle and drive to Nelson, crossing at the Patterson border crossing near Rossland, BC (the only local border crossing open 24 hours).
TRIP ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE TIMES
On the morning of your departure for your trip to Powder Creek you’ll need to be in Nelson at the High Terrain hangar at 8:00 AM PST for the helicopter safety briefing. After the briefing, you’ll need to make your way to the Kaslo lift site, a 70 km (44 mi) drive that takes approximately 1 hr. The first flight with guests from Kaslo will depart around 10:15 AM, and all guests should be at the lodge by around 11:30 AM (weather allowing).
NOTE: the High Terrain hangar is NOT at the airport.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE GOOGLE MAPS DIRECTIONS FOR THE HIGH TERRAIN HELIPORT IS INCORRECT. TO GET TO THE HANGAR, IT IS ABOUT 2KM (1.5MILES) WEST ON HWY 3A FROM NELSON.
At the end of your trip you can expect to be back in the valley about noon (weather allowing). Keep in mind when making connecting travel plans that poor weather often delays heli flights by a few hours (especially early season) and occasionally even a day or more. We strongly recommend you purchase trip cancellation insurance for all modes of travel and give yourself extra time to allow for delays.
Dancing Bear Inn: Clean, attractive, and the owners are great to deal with.
Adventure Hotel: Renovated modern hotel with a funky vibe.
Prestige Lakeside: Nice location on the water, higher price range.
Mountain Hound Hotel: Older ‘boutique’ style hotel.
Best Western Baker Street Inn: Great location on main street but on the quieter end.
Hume Hotel: Classy heritage hotel located in the middle of downtown with 3 bars and a restaurant.
Villa Motel: Reasonably priced motel with kitchen units in a quiet location just outside of town.
Alpine Motel: Reasonably priced, quiet place to stay.
Nelson Restaurants (our favorites)
Jackson’s Hole Restaurant: Great food and atmosphere.
Rel-ish Bistro: Locally-sourced, great food.
All Season’s Café: Fine dining, outstanding food.
Other Great Places: Oso Negro Coffee, The Preserved Seed, Cantina del Centro
Outdoor Gear Stores
Valhalla Pure Outfitters
R.O.A.M. - Rivers Oceans & Mountains Shop
Snowpack Outdoor Experience
Gerick Cycle & Sports
Other Things of Interest
Nelson Brewing Company (microbrewery)
Ainsworth Hot Springs
Resort skiing: Whitewater Ski Resort (Nelson), Red Mountain Resort (Rossland)
Cat Skiing: Valhalla Powder Cats, Baldface Lodge, Retallack, Selkirk Wilderness
Heli-Skiing: Stellar, Snowwater
Our facilities at Powder Creek consist of the main timber frame lodge building, a sauna building and a compost-outhouse building. The lodge and sauna are lighted throughout with electricity generated on-site by a hydroelectric system and solar system. Both buildings are heated with a combination of propane and wood. Toilet facilities consist of inside pee toilets in the main lodge and sauna, and composting outhouse-style toilets in a separate building. Bathing facilities consist of a wash-up area in the main lodge, and a shower in the sauna building. In the event of an emergency, we have first aid kits, a rescue toboggan, spine board, oxygen, rope rescue gear, AED and an emergency rescue pack.
The cedar sauna is wood heated and can accommodate 8-10 people comfortably. There is also a hot water shower.
The kitchen contains everything you could possibly need to prepare meals. Dish soap and other cleaning products, sponges, dishtowels, and bleach are also provided. Cooking is done on a 6-burner propane stove with a full-sized oven and broiler, or on the propane BBQ on the awesome south-facing deck. There is cold and hot running water in the kitchen.
The dining room consists of a large octagonal table with a rotating section in the middle that permits everyone to sit at one table to allow for socializing and to make serving easy. The living room contains built-in couches, a luxurious woodstove, lots of magazines, books, games, satellite radio, Bluetooth stereo, and a slide projector & screen is available upon request. We also have yoga mats, stretching aids, 2 guitars and great views from every window!
There are 6 private bedrooms available for guest use with a total of 15 beds. Three of these rooms are 2-person rooms, and three are 3-person rooms. All individual bedrooms are carpeted and each has plenty of shelving, benches, hanging hooks and all bedding (synthetic duvets, pillows, blankets, sheets and pillow cases). All beds are twins and they can be pushed together to accommodate couples.
We have a large and efficient drying area upstairs with lots of room for all your gear. The front entry room is also heated to dry skins, and boot shells.
We have an extensive shop with all sorts of tools, ski iron/waxing equipment, and repair equipment.
All guests are flown in and out of the lodge by helicopter. Guests meet the helicopter at the Kaslo hangar near the town of Kaslo and are transported across Kootenay Lake on a scenic 10 minute flight up the Powder Creek drainage to the lodge. Guests must provide their own transportation to Kaslo. There is no ‘ski-out’ option offered at this lodge. As mentioned above, guests first need to meet in Nelson at the High Terrain hangar on Saturday morning, THEN, after the meeting, will commute to the Kaslo Hangar staging area.
Being a helicopter accessed lodge, weather dictates whether we can fly into/out of the lodge. Weather at the staging sites in Nelson and Kaslo can be very different from weather at the lodge at 2164 metres (7100 feet). It is common for flights to be delayed by several hours and occasionally even a day or more. We typically have delays of more than 1 day about once or twice a season. Also, although we try to ensure that groups get flown in/out together, occasionally weather intervenes and only a portion of the group will get transported and groups can get temporarily split up.
HELICOPTER SAFETY BRIEFING
All members of your group are required to attend a mandatory helicopter safety briefing and instructions on loading procedures prior to leaving for the lodge. The meeting place is at High Terrain Helicopter's hangar at 8:00 a.m. PST sharp. Please be on time as delays can sometimes mean the difference to making it into the lodge successfully. The hangar is NOT at the airport! To find the hangar from the 4 way stoplight at the West end of Baker Street in Nelson, turn left onto Highway 3A, then take the first right onto Highway 6/3A. Follow Highway 6/3A West for approximately 2.8 km (1.75 mi) to the signed turnoff to High Terrain Helicopter's on the left. It is a bit tricky to spot coming from Nelson direction so watch carefully! See the street map included with this package for specific details.
From the parking area, please leave all your gear in your vehicle and proceed up to the waiting room where you'll be met by a Powder Creek Lodge staff member who will answer any questions and distribute and collect waivers. When the waiver signing is completed, a staff member of High Terrain Helicopters will conduct a helicopter safety briefing. Once the safety briefing is completed, guests may be asked to drop off some of their gear/food to be flown in on the first flight. Guests should keep in mind potential flight delays due to poor weather, and keep essential items with them. This first flight to leave will be around 9:30 a.m. PST (weather permitting) from the Nelson hangar.
After the safety briefing is completed and gear is dropped off, all guests will need to drive to the Kaslo staging site at the Kaslo Airport. To find the Kaslo Airport, follow signs for Hwy 3A north towards Kaslo:
- Retrace the route to the 4 way stop light at the West end of Baker Street,
- From the light, stay straight on Vernon Street/Hwy 3A and continue for 4 blocks to the first lights,
- Turn left at the lights onto Front St/Hwy 3A and follow through town as it turns into Anderson Ave. and then Nelson Ave. (these streets are all parts of signed Hwy 3A route),
- Cross the Big Orange Bridge and drive north on Highway 3A for approximately 70 km (44 mi) from bridge
- Landmark on the Esso gas station on the right side of the highway, then from there drive another 250m and look for the airport sign. At the airport sign turn left on to Balfour Ave., there is a Powder Creek Lodge sign on the left side of Balfour Ave at the turn. Drive 2km along Balfour Ave until you reach the Kaslo Airport. Enter the gate and park at the airport.
This drive will take approximately an hour and guests will need to drive straight to the site without delays to avoid missing their flights.
Once the group arrives at the transportation site in Kaslo a representative of Powder Creek Lodge will meet them. He/she will help organize guests into groups of up to 5 people and their gear. Gear to be flown in will be weighed and if gear is too bulky or if total weight limits are exceeded there will be a charge for an extra flight (see ‘Weight Limitations’ section).
The helicopter normally arrives at the Kaslo staging site around 10:15 a.m., weather permitting. Guests and gear will be flown into the lodge with each trip usually taking about 17 minutes (round trip). The custodian will coordinate unloading people and gear when they arrive at the lodge.
Guests should prepare for deep blowing snow and cold temperatures once they arrive at the lodge. We recommend wearing warm layered clothing with a waterproof shell on the outside, ski boots, gloves, hats, and ski goggles.
WEIGHT LIMITATIONS & EXTRA FLIGHTS
Because Powder Creek Lodge is helicopter-accessed you will be somewhat restricted as to what you can bring with you both weight-wise and space-wise.
If your group decides that they want to bring in more gear than the standard weight/space allotment you can arrange for an extra flight, which will allow for an extra 495 kg (1100 lb.), or 42 kg. (92 lb.) each for a group of 12. The total cost of an extra one-way flight is $1300.00 (Canadian) plus taxes, and if an additional flight were also required at the end of the week that price would be doubled. Groups typically only need the extra flight going in as they use up their food/alcohol during the week. Guests must book and pay for an extra flight prior to their trip.
The standard weight allotment for a self-guided/self-catered group of 12 is 32 kg. (70 lb.) each, and for a guided/catered group of 12 is 22kg. (50 lb.) each. This is a total weight and includes all gear, daypack, clothing, food (for self-catered groups) and beverages (only juices, coffee and tea provided for catered groups), but excludes skis, poles and what you wear on the helicopter. Please weigh everything you want to have flown into the lodge (excluding skis, poles and boots) prior to arriving at the helicopter hangar.
POSSIBLE ADDITIONAL HELICOPTER TRANSPORT COSTS
The helicopter company charges us a fixed rate to transport guests, and we in turn pass that charge on to guests as part of the trip package price. This fixed rate is based on the all flights occurring consecutively and the costs being shared by both incoming and outgoing guests (‘dovetailing’). If guests create circumstances that increase the standard fixed rate we are charged by the helicopter company there will be an additional charge to them. Some of these circumstances where extra charges apply are where guests miss flights, require a mid-week flight, insist on being flown even it if means all flights cannot be done consecutively (i.e. poor weather where only one flight can be completed), bring large, bulky items so that the helicopter can’t be packed efficiently, or bring more than the standard weight allotment. These extra charges will be at the discretion of the helicopter transport company and will vary with the circumstances.
HOW TO PACK
When you are packing for your trip try to keep things small so they can be efficiently packed in the helicopter to make the best use of the available cargo space. NO LARGE DUFFEL BAGS! Several small to medium sport bags or packs are better than one large one. Food and beverages should be packed separately from personal gear in small boxes (e.g. liquor boxes or copy paper boxes) that are taped shut. NO COOLERS or Plastic Bins! Write your name on the outside of the boxes. Do not leave random items out to be packed into the helicopter as they can be misplaced, eg. Loose shoes, boots, shopping bags, etc.
Keep all individually packaged item weights to a max of 20 – 30 lb each as everything has to be carried to the lodge once you arrive at the site. Pack lightweight items (e.g. collapsible shovels) with other heavier items to prevent them from blowing around in the helicopter rotor wash. Any sharp or delicate objects should be well cushioned to prevent damage, and any items that you don’t want to get wet should be packaged in plastic bags to protect them when they sit in the snow on the helipads.
Please strap skis and poles together and no ski bags please.
WHAT TO BRING
- Passport (mandatory for those crossing the US/Canada border)
- Food (self-catered groups only)
- POWDER Skis, splitboard and ski poles (no ski bags please)
- Spare pares of skis and poles for the group (max 3 pairs)
- Climbing skins, skin waxes, base waxes
- Ski Goggles
- Digital avalanche transceiver
- Collapsible snow shovel
- Collapsible avalanche probe
- Snow pit assessment kit (self-guided groups)
- Repair kit and spare parts for bindings
- Personal first aid and blister kit, personal medications
- Ski boots, indoor shoes (we have snow boots and extra hut slippers at the lodge)
- Camera and charger
- VHF radio (we have several radios at the lodge for guest to use)
- Satellite phone (highly recommended especially for self-guided groups)
- Spare batteries
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip protection
- Water bottle and small thermos
- Several changes of moisture-wicking clothing that can be layered
- Water proof outerwear and some extra warm clothing (i.e. down jacket or vest)
- Several pairs of hats, gloves, mitts and socks
- Comfortable lodge clothing (the lodge is warm)
- Personal toiletries (we provide bodywash/shampoo, hand sanitizers and lotion)
- Music/iPhone, etc
- Reading material
- Duct tape
- Cash (Canadian or US) or credit card to purchase souvenir items at the lodge, buy maps, use satellite phone, etc.
- Cash for tips
At the lodge we have a base satellite phone and a portable phone for emergency use. Guests wishing to make calls can do so and charges can be paid at the end of the trip ($2/minute or portion).
We also have a base station VHF radio and portable radios. Our radio frequency is licensed for our use and is 164.790 (Tx and Rx, no tones, narrowband). We have a repeater as well and the frequencies are 164.790 receive and 171.225 transmit, tone 203.5, narrowband. We encourage groups to bring their own VHF radios if they have them. The Powder Creek staff, guides and cooks all carry VHF radios and monitor this frequency. We also have several VHF radios for self-guided groups to use. These radios are far superior to basic FRS radios and we discourage the FRS use.
We also have limited internet access (see below).
The NRC government topographic map for this area is Kaslo 82F/15.
We also have great waterproof, tear-proof field maps for sale at the lodge for $10 or you can print your own off our website.
FOOD PREPARATION AND STORAGE
Food storage at the lodge consists of a walk-in insulated pantry that is cooled with outside air. During most of the season the pantry is kept at a temperature of 3-8 degrees Celsius. Items like fresh vegetables, fruit, eggs, and diary products usually last a week in good condition if kept in the pantry. We recommend pre-freezing all meats at home to ensure there is no food spoilage unless the meat will be used early in the week. Frozen food items can be stashed in plastic storage containers provided at the lodge and buried in a snow bank outside to keep contents frozen.
MEAL PLANNING FOR SELF-CATERED GROUPS
As everyone must share the same cooking facilities we ask that your group include the custodian in all cooked meals. If the group is jointly cooking breakfasts and dinners they could provide food/cook for the custodian for 6 days, and the custodian could provide food/cook dinner for the whole group for one day. We ask that the group organizer contact us before making food/cooking plans for the trip so that we can put them in touch with our custodian. It works best if the guests split up into groups of 2 and each group cooks one night for the whole group. The custodian will also cook for the whole group one night. Please note that we do not have a freezer for guest use at the lodge so plan meals accordingly. We also cannot leave frozen food outside.
MEAL PLANNING FOR CATERED GROUPS
In order to assist our chef in planning a menu that suits all group members, we ask that the group organizer check with all group members about dietary requirements, food allergies and food preferences and relay that information to us. Vegetarian options are available at no extra cost. Dietary restrictions and allergen-free food options are available for an additional cost of $150 + GST/person. Special meal requests must be received at least 2 weeks in advance.
A copy of our menu will be provided although some items may vary depending on produce availability. Note that guests must provide their own alcohol. Please bring beer in cans. Note that it is bad luck to fly alcohol OUT of the lodge so plan your amount accordingly!
We will supply small plastic containers for your lunch that you can reuse throughout the week.
Please note that we greatly appreciate it if everyone in the group can take turns helping wash dishes!
The main floor of the lodge is an internet-free zone. We have a limited satellite internet connection available. This system is very slow and limited so we request that guests deal with anything they need to before they arrive and use the internet sparingly to quickly check email etc. Please, no streaming, video or picture downloads/uploads as it will tax the system. The internet is turned on for 1.5 hours in the morning and evening.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBER
Our satellite phone number, (600) 700-1347, can be used as an emergency contact number for people needing to reach guests at the lodge. Guests wishing to use the phone to make/receive calls will be charged $2 CDN per minute (any fraction of a minute counts as a full minute) for all calls made or received, payable in cash only. The best way to reach people at the lodge is via email.
RETAIL ITEMS FOR SALE AT LODGE
We offer a number of souvenir retail items for sale at the lodge. These items include things like short and long-sleeved T-shirts, hats/touques, and ball caps, all bearing our ‘Powder Creek Lodge’ logo. Retail items are only for sale at the lodge during the trip and can be paid for with cash (Canadian or US), or Visa/Mastercard.
For each group that stays at the lodge we provide an accompanying lodge custodian(s). The role of the lodge custodian is to coordinate loading and unloading of guests and gear, orient guests, maintain communications with the helicopter company, complete snow reports each morning and afternoon, cut firewood, start and maintain fires, haul water, shovel snow, maintain propane appliances and compost toilets, conduct general cleaning, and help coordinate any rescues should emergencies arise.
We require that all persons going on a trip to Powder Creek Lodge read our operating policies provided in the following section as it is assumed when people place a booking with us that they have read and accept all the conditions stated in our policies. If you have any questions about any of these policies please do not hesitate to contact us.
Poor Weather Policy
As mentioned above, it is not uncommon for flights to be delayed by several hours and occasionally even a day or days. If this occurs, guests that are forced by weather to stay an extra night(s) in the lodge will not be charged any extra fees. However, guests delayed on their flights into the lodge are responsible for any expenses due to the delay (eg lodging and meals). No refunds or rain cheques will be given for delays or trip cancellations due to bad weather.
All payments are non-refundable. Please see website for details. We strongly recommend you purchase trip cancellation insurance when you place a booking with us.
Emergency Evacuation Policy
In the event of an accident where evacuation is necessary, payment of any rescue or evacuation costs will be the responsibility of the injured party. Because any evacuation from Powder Creek will need to be conducted by helicopter it will be expensive! We strongly recommend that you consider purchasing Hospital/Medical Evacuation insurance for your trip and ensure it covers both air and ground transport. Any non-Canadian guests should check into their personal insurance to ensure air evacuation is included as they will not receive coverage here in Canada. Non-BC residents should also check on their coverage.
We strongly recommend you consider purchasing Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance and Hospital/Medical Evacuation Insurance when you book a trip with us. We recommend contacting Lifestyle Financial Services at 250.542.8577 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out their online form at http://www.lifestylefinancial.ca/index.php/travelinsurance/blbca. This company has been endorsed by our lodge owners association and offers comprehensive trip insurance packages. American guests may be eligible for coverage if they are members of the American Alpine Club.
Please note that we do not accept minors under the age of 19.
Guests are not permitted to bring any pets to the lodge under any conditions regardless of their pet’s experience or training (includes avalanche dogs). Our dog may be at the lodge from time to time. This is our winter home and he is part of the family.
Waiver of Liability Requirement
A copy of our self-guided and guided waivers can be viewed on our website and are also attached at the end of this document. You do not need to print these as we will have you sign a copy when you arrive for the helicopter safety briefing. Your signature must be witnessed by a Powder Creek staff member.
Please review the waiver at home before you arrive and note that the waiver cannot be altered/changed/adjusted in any way. If you do not sign the waiver, you will not be allowed on the helicopter and your trip will be cancelled without refund.
SAFETY AROUND HELICOPTERS
Powder Creek Lodge is only accessible by helicopter. All guests will be required to attend a mandatory helicopter safety briefing and orientation prior to flying into the lodge. The information provided below includes some of the safety considerations the pilot will cover in the briefing. Guests not accustomed to helicopter transport should familiarize themselves with this information so they have a better understanding of how to prepare for the trip and what to expect.
1. A Powder Creek staff member will always be present to organize and conduct loading and unloading of guests and gear so guests won’t have to handle gear themselves around the helicopter. They will also open/close doors and signal guests when to get in/out.
2. Gear to be transported by helicopter should be placed on the helipad prior to helicopter arrival. Gear will need to be stacked on both sides of where the helicopter will land. The custodian will organize the gear piles.
3. Persons waiting to be transported should stand together in a group where they will be directed by a Powder Creek staff member.
4. Wait for the Powder Creek staff member or pilot’s signal before approaching or leaving the helicopter, and enter the side of the aircraft they direct.
5. Fasten seat belt upon entering the helicopter and leave it fastened during flight. Upon landing, leave your belt fastened, and wait for the pilot’s signal before unbuckling. Before exiting the helicopter, reach back and fasten your seat belt behind you. This makes it easy to find for the next passenger and prevents unused belts from catching in the door.
6. During loading and unloading carry gear at your side; never lift anything over your shoulder or head or extend your arms upward. Keep a firm grip on gear at all times and never throw anything. Drag skis by their tips.
7. When exiting the helicopter, exit to the direction indicated by staff. Staff will also direct you where to move to a safe location away from the helicopter, then they will unload all gear. Stay at the identified safe location until the helicopter leaves. Do not attempt to approach the helicopter again.
8. Always crouch down while you pass under the main rotor as wind can make it dip down unexpectedly.
9. Never, for any reason, raise your arms or raise/throw any items while under the helicopter rotors.
10. Never, for any reason, walk any further towards the rear of the helicopter than the back baggage compartment. Never walk under the tail for any reason.