A Long time Coming

In 1992 I spent six months hanging out and surfing in Mexico and El Salvador. With lots of time to ponder what I might do with the rest of my life, I dreamt up a plan for creating and operating a commercial backcountry skiing cabin. I thought about it often, until eventually acquiring the life experience and resources to consider succeeding in such a venture, I put together a serious plan for building a ski cabin in the Southern Selkirks. I got some initial support from Provincial land managers, but the unfortunate timing of the (Oct 2007) Mountain Caribou moratorium eventually put an end to that. Undeterred, I followed that up with a proposal for a linked network of cabins within Goat Range Provincial Park, but the park managers weren’t the slightest bit receptive, and strong opposition from local conversation groups sunk that one too. Still determined, I got methodical. I researched, mapped and ruled out all the existing commercial tenures, recreation areas, parks, and areas of environmental concern in the mountains of the West Kootenays. I reviewed what remained for skiing potential utilizing Google Earth, and then skied and assessed the most promising opportunities. When I found what seemed to be the best prospect, I scrutinized it for any reason that a tenure application might be denied. When it seemed that it actually could succeed, I thoroughly prepared for and submitted an application for commercial tenure. I’ve spent the past 12 months consulting with and addressing the concerns of the provincial government, the tree farm operator, the mining licensee, the six overlapping native land claimants, downstream water rights holders, biologists, and local skiers.  But somehow I’ve made it through, and 22 years since beginning this odyssey I’ve finally been granted commercial tenure to 1000 acres of steep snowy north facing mountains in the southern Valhallas. Many challenges remain, but my plan is to complete construction next summer, and for Skadi Lodge to begin operations for winter 2015/16.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “A Long time Coming

  1. Simon

    Good on you Stew, wishing you much success.

  2. Nicholas Gray

    Congratulations! Great news and I’m glad things are coming together for you. Can’t wait to get out there and do some skiing!

  3. Although I doubt I’ll never visit due to the distance, I’m extremely jealous for you made your dream come true and happy for you!!

    Morroi

  4. Another sad day for back country skiers and snowmobilers in the West Kootenays. You weren’t smart enough to listen to locals’ comments and decided to build in our back yard. This ain’t no back country lodge folks. This is the stompin’ grounds of hundreds of recreational ski tourers in our area.

  5. 2nd year skier

    Congrats buddy – would love to come to your lodge and learn from you

  6. Ben

    Persistence pays! Congratulations Stu.

    Perhaps I need another 6 to 12 month ski and surf trip to come up with a plan for the rest of my life too. With luck it might begin about the time your operation starts up!

  7. Congratulations and hope to visit one day.

  8. Graham Jones

    Thats great to hear Stu, good luck with the project, have a great season.

  9. Pingback: Hype | kootenayskier

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