Trip Preparation

Preparing for your powder experience

Backcountry skiing is often physically demanding – finding a lost ski or recovering from a fall can be an exhausting experience. But with a few simple preparations you can ensure that you’re ready to make the most of your powder experience:

  • It’s best to start your physical conditioning routine six to eight weeks before your powder holiday. Cardiovascular training should include the equivalent of running at least three miles (five kilometres) per workout. Incorporate some muscular conditioning into your workout, focusing on abdominal / core stability and the hip / groin area. Cross-country skiing, stair-climbers, interval training, swimming and other aerobic activities are also helpful. If you have experienced knee problems in the past, consult a medical professional about how you can best prepare for deep snow manoeuvres.
  • One or two weeks before your backcountry skiing holiday, put in some full days at your nearest ski resort. It’s also a good idea to spend a few days warming up at one of our local ski resorts – such as Whitewater, Red Mountain or Sun Peaks – for a taste of the terrain and snow you’re likely to experience at Retallack.
  • In addition, we strongly recommend that you check out Train for Ski Vacation. This awesome web site tells you everything you need to know about preparing for the ski season – and it’s all absolutely free! Materials include an e-book of ski exercises, downloadable training programmes and even personalized online ski exercise coaching.

Packing checklist

Basically, you should pack as you would for any other skiing holiday. Unlike many other cat-skiing and boarding operations, Retallack is accessible by car on well-maintained highways – so you don’t have to worry about baggage limitations on helicopters, snowmobiles, or other vehicles. Check out  a sample packing checklist.

Getting here

Retallack guests have a range of options. The nearest major Canadian cities are Calgary, Alberta, to the east and Vancouver, British Columbia, to the west. Driving to Retallack on winter highways from these destinations will take you approximately eight and 10 hours respectively. If you are traveling from the US you may want to consider Spokane, Washington, which is about a five-hour drive from Retallack in winter conditions. Alternatively, you may choose to fly into a regional airport such as Castlegar (approximately two hours’ drive during winter), Trail (about a two and a half hour drive) or Kelowna (about a five hour drive).

Air Canada offers daily flights from Vancouver and Calgary to Castlegar and Kelowna. Pacific Coastal offers daily flights from Vancouver to Trail. In winter, Trail has a better record of no flight cancellations due to weather than Castlegar. Spokane and Kelowna are both international airports with good winter flight track records.

Check out how to get here for detailed instructions on how to find us, driving on winter highways, crossing the US/Canadian Border and chartering a private vehicle to take you to and from the airport.

Currency Exchange

Once you arrive at Retallack, there is no need for cash. All your expenses at the lodge will be charged to your credit card. If you’d like to leave a tip, you can either use cash or credit card. If you choose to tip in cash, we accept both Canadian and US dollars.

You can check the Canadian dollar’s current exchange rate at Yahoo! Finance’s Currency Converter.

Other Tips:

  • Be sure to stretch each morning before you join the snowcat, and every evening after you return to the lodge. Sign up with our massage therapist to work any remaining kinks. You’ll ski or board better and reduce the likelihood of injury.
  • Bring an extra sweater / goggles / gloves if you feel like it. It’s better to have it there and not need it than vice versa.
  • A good hot wax job the day before makes skiing or boarding in powder a lot easier and more enjoyable – you don’t get as tired when your skis or board aren’t sticky.