Have you had a chance to watch Sweet and Sour Movie yet?
If not, the film is available online HERE and it’s a great film!
A segment of the movie was filmed at Silvertip Lodge last February. Athletes Richard Permin and Victor de Le Rue spent two weeks with us, exploring the Cariboo Mountains and filming many of the beautiful powder shots shown in the film.
The Silvertip narrative starts at 19 min 20 sec. Most of the film is focused on “Alaska” but the tale is more about the journey of Richard and Victor getting to Alaska, which Silvertip Lodge was a big piece of, even if just lightly mentioned.
Congratulations to all on making this one-of-a-kind inspirational film.
“Sweet and Sour Movie looks into the lives of Richard Permin (skier) and Victor de Le Rue (snowboarder). Experience the joys, the fears, the challenges, and the thrills of shredding Alaska with two of the world’s very best. Experience the Sweet and the Sour. Beginning from two very different places, both athletes decide to join forces and travel deep into Alaska in search of shared challenges and rewards. Richard and Victor might have been going to Alaska in two totally different frames of mind, but both have their eyes on the same shared prize: deep Alaskan powder.
Here are a few photos by Grant Gunderson taken while filming at Silvertip Lodge.
Published by Teton Gravity
See the full story here: https://www.tetongravity.com/feature/ski/rogue-elements-silvertip
Story by Jonathan Desabris
An average ski season for a professional athlete is all about flow. It takes an ungodly amount of nerve and skill to ski at a level to be on the top of the sport. Winters might begin with early season days at one’s home mountain with family and friends with time (to spare). Time is spent on honing in new gear and becoming comfortable on skis all over again. It can be a frustrating process; with memories of last season’s accomplishments still fresh in the mind, it’s a process the requires patience. Filming doesn’t really kick off until mid-January when the snowpack thickens and the first significant storms of the season begin to make landfall.For Dash Longe, his year of filming with TGR started on a long drive from Salt Lake City to Williams Lake, British Columbia in order to meet up with fellow shredders Nick McNutt and Tim Durtschi. The plan: spend ten days exploring the relatively unknown terrain surrounding Silvertip Lodge.
Even for a seasoned pro skier like Dash, this trip was different, as it was an entirely new location. “I’ve filmed in a ton of sick locations in British Columbia and have been to a lot of cat and heli operations. Silvertip is definitely one of the more unique, isolated, desolate places I have skied. It’s in the Caribou Mountains, located on the far east side of Lake Quesnel. You stage out of Williams Lake, a small town that is still about a 40-minute helicopter ride from the lodge.”
Silvertip Lodge has an interesting history when it comes to skiing. It used to be a CMH heli-ski operation until about ten years ago when the company decided to close it down. Its only function since then has been serving as a fly-fishing destination in the summer. Recently, it has come under new ownership with the idea of transforming this fisherman’s paradise into a skier’s playground.
Silvertip’s remote location, however, makes this goal much more difficult. According to Dash, “You can see that people spend time out there maybe in the summer, but most of this is logging roads. On some parts of the lake there are small cabins, but for the most part flying out there, you are heading into these pristine beautiful mountains in the middle of nowhere. It’s really a lot of work for them to get food and supplies out to the lodge. It’s a major process.”
TGR athletes are professionals not only in skiing and riding, but also in navigating and exploring remote areas that are unfamiliar to them. We now live in a world where a ton of ski terrain has been thoroughly explored. The unknown element of the Silvertip area is exactly what made this trip unique.
“We often go to new places that are foreign to us. Maybe one of the skiers has been there before, which can be really helpful. Usually, we are going to places where we have seen footage from or they have worked with film crews before. Oftentimes, it’s later in the year where the guides have a better understanding of the snowpack and what zones they are more comfortable with to bring a crew like ours. This trip was definitely unique in the fact that the main proprietor and the lead guide knew the terrain well in the summer, but it was fresh ski terrain for him.”
It’s when this lack of local knowledge occurs that the skill sets of seasoned vets like Dash are the most useful. “A typical trip starts with laying out the land and heading out in the helicopter and accessing. This is where you get the best idea of where you can film because you get a sense of light and where it is during the duration of the day.” Good light is a valuable and often rarely seen resource when filming skiing, creating dramatic contrasts that make both for better footage and easier skiing. Without it, it’s often like driving at night without headlights.
Some trips turn into a perfect dream when conditions, lighting, and snow all align to create a beautiful cocktail of stoked skiing. This trip, however, was not one of those times. “We saw some really cool terrain and it’s clear that Silvertip is epic. I think the biggest setback as far as skiing it was weather and avalanche conditions. We had cloudy weather a lot, which is pretty indicative of that time of year. The days are shorter and there are a lot of storms. You can’t really predict that stuff.”
Fortunately, the crew was stacked with talent that can take advantage of this situation. A former winner of Powder Magazines’ Breakout Performance, Nick McNutt is one of the rare talents that can make any type of skiing look beautiful and effortless. “McNutt is great, he is super chill and does well in a wide variety of terrain. He can ski everything and make it look good, from the trees to huge AK walls. He is probably the most versatile guy on the crew right now. Durtschi has it all as well. He doesn’t quite get as techy on the smaller airs but is still insane. For me, it turns into helping McNutt and not hitting the same stuff when we are in the smaller zones. He can make things that are really small look really cool; he’s got all types of shiftys and tweaks. For me, I just need more mountain. It was a great exploratory mission to put that place on the map again.”
What is the moral of this trip? It might be difficult to pinpoint an exact reason for an outsider. No first lines were skied and the weather wasn’t up to par. What these trips end up being are seeds—seeds that sprout into fully fledged dreams that might not be ripe until years later. For Dash, there are still plenty of mountains left to ride and I can’t wait to watch the whole journey.
Photos by Mason Mashon
I see the scorched trees before we land.
The infernos of last July surrounded this B.C. community of Williams Lake. Including, as I can clearly see, either side of the runway where I’ve just touched down.
Central BC’s Cariboo is big country, however, and while stands of charred trees are visible in spots, there are many millions of wilderness hectares that remain untouched.
Quesnel Lake is one such area. Three-armed and enveloped by steep slopes of conifer forest, this major Fraser River tertiary is considered the deepest fjord lake in the world. Anglers join backpackers and grizzly gazers during spring, summer, and fall.
In winter, heli-skiers migrate to Silvertip Lodge for access to 1,440 square kilometers of tenure. Yes, the Cariboo is big country.
Like most operators, Silvertip saw its summer operation stymied by the July fires. Outfitters and guides who rely upon the seasonal influx of visitors were also hit hard by the lack of access. Hundreds of reservations were canceled. Every outfitter has a “Summer of ‘17” story to share. One example: renowned bear whisperer and EcoTours BC proprietor Gary Zorn postponed the launch of the much-anticipated Glamping with Grizzlies experience to next spring.
I meet Gary on the Mitchell River, a tributary that flows into the North Arm of Quesnel Lake, where he is leading two National Geographic photographers out scouting for bears.
“Our bear and wildlife watching is completely all natural, no viewing platforms, and we observe unhabituated animals. The diversity of this area, along with one of the province’s largest grizzly populations, is virtually unlimited.”
Gary goes on to list regular wildlife sightings: wolves, owls and lynx in winter, calving mountain caribou and moose in spring, as well as mountain goats, grizzly sows with cubs, and, my current fantasy species, wolverines!
EcoTours BC guests observe this fecund diversity in all four seasons. Trekking up the river among grizzlies during the salmon spawn, snowshoeing to howl with wolves, or seeking wintering moose habitats are just a few of their guided wilderness adventures.
Standing knee deep in the serpentine Mitchell River it’s easy to imagine the landscape transitioning like a child’s pop-up book through the seasons, the lynx turning white, the massive bear prints replaced with equally impressive wolf indentations.
At this very moment, I stand among hundreds of spawning sockeye, their flesh rouge as a Parisian dancer’s blush. My inconsistent cast fools one healthy rainbow trout after another.
Later on, Silvertip Lodge beckons me away from a planned tour for a few hours of reading, writing, and napping in the great room that overlooks an expansive lawn. Beyond is the water and several glacier-blanketed peaks. The temptation to forego an amazing excursion in favour of some R&R is one of the few conflicts I encounter in wilderness lodges. Silver tip’s well placed jars of freshly baked cookies doesn’t help.
These timber four-star lodges can change you. Not only because the WiFi is often (thankfully!) spotty, but because living a simpler life suddenly makes so much sense.
This may also explain why so many isolated lodges are owned by individuals who, having made handsome livings elsewhere, pour their savings and souls into these operations.
Built in 1967 for fishing and hunting, Silvertip Lodge, located at the southern end of 100-km Quesnel Lake, was exclusively a heli-ski accommodation until recently.
There is now a strong summer operation of hiking and fishing that keeps growing. Summer guests can arrive either by air or by boat. Winter guests are flown directly from Williams Lake. They then board an eight-passenger Bell 212 helicopter in search of 1,500-meter descents through dependably dry snow.
I have yet to explore Wells Gray Provincial Park, a vast wilderness that spans 5,400 square kilometers in the heart of the Cariboo Mountains. The park is less than a day’s hike from Silvertip’s backdoor, but I only make it halfway, distracted by the many crystalline waterfalls that tumble along the creek amid the old-growth cedars that thrive here.
Though it’s still mostly dry when I visit, the autumn rains will eventually turn to snow, filling pockets in Silvertip’s tenure with upwards of 30 meters of virgin powder. The grizzlies will have dug in for winter, and the choppy water will transform to ice so thick it serves as the Bell 212’s helipad.
The seasons will change again, the 2017 fires will grow more distant, and the local outfitters will prepare once more to showcase this amazing wilderness they call the Cariboo.
Interested in booking a trip of a lifetime next summer? Look no further.
For the best fishing guiding outfit in the Cariboos, please contact Doug at https://caribooriverfishing.com/
For avid back-country hikers who are looking for a higher level of adventure, the Silvertip Lodge provides the closest access point to the spectacular landscape of Wells Grey Provincial Park, located in British Columbia. Few hikers have made the trek through this area, which remains largely untouched by human contact. Welcome to the stunning Cariboo Mountains!
As a day trip from the Silvertip Lodge, the Summit Creek Trail that connects Quesnel Lake to Hobson Lake provides a fantastic hike for people with an adventurist spirit.
The trail to Summit Lake and Hobson Lake provides a wild and remote route that is full of history.
The first part of the trail is located just outside of Wells Gray Provincial Park and ends in the park located beside Hobson Lake. Much of the Cariboo Mountains lie within Wells Gray Provincial Park which was created in 1939 and is currently the 4th largest park in British Columbia.
Many years ago a wagon road was built between Quesnel Lake, Summit Lake and Hobson Lake by Mr. Hobson. This road eventually became overgrown and, as a result, rendered useless.
In 1930 and 1931 a new road was built to haul mining equipment and supplies for the Hobson Creek Placers and the Blue Ice Property. More information here available on Wikipedia.
The trailhead can be reached from the east end of Quesnel Lake, a few minutes from Silvertip Lodge.
The trail goes through a low pass with less than a 400 feet climb over a distance of 10 km.
The valley is typical west coast topography with cedar and hemlock forming the main tree varieties. This forest is part of the interior wet-belt of the Columbia Mountains and contains over 700 species of vascular plants, over 200 species of mushrooms, 56 species of mammals and 219 species of birds.
Indigenous plants including Devil’s Club, bracken and salmonberry have continually overrun the trail for many years with only a narrow footpath available if regular clearing didn’t occur. Today, however, the trail is maintained and as a result, hikers have a beautiful and enjoyable route.
Silvertip Lodge is one of the most remote and exclusive Canadian wilderness powder skiing experience. Located in the world-famous Cariboo Mountains of British Columbia, there is no comparable heli-skiing experience to Silvertip Lodge.
Glaciated alpine mountains, open terrain, naturally spaced trees, and of course, reliable Canadian champagne powder is what makes the Cariboo Mountains the best skiing in the world.
Silvertip Lodge owners and staff revel in providing guests a heli-skiing experience that is custom-designed to suit their individual desires, all based from an original backcountry lodge in the Canadian wilderness.
Ski how you like, as long as you like.
Choose your ski group, select your runs, lunch on the mountains or back at the lodge, maximize vertical, or explore distant peaks. It’s all up to you.
Silvertip Lodge is able to host 8-16 skiers at one time (who come as a group) and allow them to design their ski day. Your heli-skiing schedule is up to you, with safety as the only rule.
The terrain at Silvertip is extremely varied. Wide open alpine vistas with deep untouched powder are mixed with exceptional tree skiing. Some of the best terrain is mere moments from the lodge so there’s no time lost preparing in the morning. With 1,440 square kilometers of tenure, it is simply you, your group and the snow-covered mountains for you to enjoy!
Fresh tracks await all skiers of all levels. Silvertip Lodge has hosted advanced level Norwegian skiers who were born with skis on their feet, to first-time skiers from Papua New Guinea.
With the helicopter always at your disposal, you can choose to ski three runs before lunch, or maybe seven or eight. It’s all up to you! Go back and fly off that boulder you weren’t ready for earlier in the day, or ski untracked runs that haven’t been skied in several days – maybe even several years.
Every movement is at your own pace, and many skiing fantasies have been realized within the Silvertip tenure. Weddings, engagements, family reunions, executive retreats, or an exceptional week of heli-skiing – every occasion can be planned and flawlessly executed at Silvertip Lodge.
Fly from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in the morning to Williams Lake (TWL). After a quick helicopter transfer to the Silvertip Lodge and a safety debriefing, you’ll be ready to go heli-skiing or snowboarding that same day.
Established in 1967, the Silvertip Lodge was built to house in comfort avid fishermen and hunters after their daily excursions. Named after the Silvertip Bear (also referred to as the Grizzly bear), the wilderness lodge hosted guests looking for authentic remote experiences, which offered absolute privacy in its location.
Original owners on the old front deck of the lodge.
In the early years a fire in the area swept through the nearby forest, the damage can be seen in the background. The lodge is now surrounded in trees, mostly cedar, birch, and cottonwood.
The area has long been known for the excellent fishing opportunities. Incorporate your catch into your gourmet meals, or package it up to travel home with you.
Construction in progress – 1967.
It turns out the location is not just perfect for summer fishing and hunting. Sitting on the western side of the Cariboo Mountains, known for being the best of the best for champagne powder, it’s also a world-class location for backcountry skiing. In 2002 Canadian Mountain Holidays purchased the lodge and extensively renovated to operate in the winter months, opening up for the first years of heli-skiing.
First years of heli-skiing at Silvertip Lodge.
Cariboo mountain champagne powder that has long been bringing skiers out to this region for their annual ski holiday.
The property was soon sold to a gentleman who kept the property as a personal lodge for 6 years and sold it again!
Under new ownership the Sivertip Lodge reopened in 2016. With the 50th anniversary of the lodge coming up this 2017 season, we are proud to incorporate the best of both worlds as a winter and summer world class retreat.
Two of the new group of owners today; Michael and Maria Binnion.
Enjoying the pristine Cariboo Experience!
Hello from Silvertip Lodge!
Here on our blog, we will be posting updates on what’s going on at the lodge and for the upcoming operations each season. Join our mailing list to receive email notifications, or like our Facebook page or follow us on Instagram to be updated on new posts with all the latest on heli-skiing and summer activities.
Here is a short promo video.
Interested to find out more? Give us a call anytime.