From Chic Scott's Powder Pioneers, Ski Stories from the Canadian Rockies and Columbia Mountains (2005)

The Modern Commercial Lodges

Nothing has marked the boom in backcountry skiing in Canada more than the proliferation of commercial ski lodges. Located at the edge of treeline, where the best powder skiing is to be found, these lodges are, for the most part, serviced by helicopter,

Once a week, 10—20 keen skiers are whisked from the valley to the lodge and the tired, sunburned and satisfied skiers from the week before board the machine for their perhaps reluctant return to civilization. The helicopter then departs, and the ski pilgrims are left with the mountains, the snow and the silence.

For the next week they explore and ski to their hearts content, usually with guides. After each day of powder turns, they return to the lodge for a sauna and a hearty meal. At the end of the week they too are flown back to the valley and a new groups takes their place. This type of activity has proved so popular that over the decades, about 25 of these lodges have been built.

According to Margie Jamieson, it all began in 1969 when, ‘Art and a group of friends helped him to realize his dream of a cabin in the mountains. There was no original plan to run a ski business, so it was all serendipitous that the terrain worked out so well. The first cabin was built without power tools . . . . I joined in 1977. We had no money so it all was built from “sweat equity.” We started when the backcountry business was minimal, so the idea of a large and fancy lodge was not even a possibility. Over the last 28 years we have added more and larger huts and subtracted some we outgrew. We kept the tradition of mountain huts by choice.’

Art Twomey was killed in a helicopter crash in 1997, but the business he and Margie built, called Ptarmigan Tours, is still operating just west of Kimberly, B.C.”