When we began this series, The Escape, we imagined it would be a slippery slope. It turns out the slope is blue-ice slick. Cabin-lust is real.
This past spring, just as Covid-19 began making headlines in the U.S., one of the best treat makers on the planet, Zoë Roy, was chef at Talus Lodge. Roy, along with a friend who is rumored to ride bicycles in all forms, settled at the lodge for approximately two-months as the U.S. and Canada worked out their Covid-19 related border issues. Roy holds a Canadian passport, the bike rider does not. From Roy’s mom, I’d hear occasionally about Zoë’s charmed existence self-isolating in a dreamscape and relationship test tube.
Tucked way back, the lodge is perched in British Columbia’s East Kootenays and situated on Ktunaxa ʔamakʔis, the homeland of the Ktunaxa people.
Envision a snow globe fantasyland ripe with serrated summits, glades, and bowl skiing.
Let’s shoot straight. This is not the place for 40 mm underfoot nordic skis. The geography enveloping Talus Lodge spoons nicely with its 100 mm or greater width partners. This is powder country.
Before the eye roll that this has nothing to do with a cross-country ski site, hear us out. The lodge is owned and operated by Sara Renner and her husband Thomas Grandi – both accomplished skiers at the World Cup level. Renner won Olympic silver in the 2006 team sprint and a bronze at the 2005 Oberstdorf World Championships. The couple, who parent three children, are high-mountain lovers. Grandi is a certified ski guide.
But the cabin features in The Escape are more about Zen than results and resumes. Inhale. Exhale. Transport yourself to Talus Lodge.
This is the full off-the-grid plush experience, beyond skiers self-powering uphill. Mountain-style gourmet meals are catered. The lodge features a full kitchen and normally sleeps 10-12 guests. Six bedrooms populate the lodge, all double occupancy. Solar panels and a backup generator supply power. A wood stove stokes heat in winter. The wood-fired sauna rounds out your post-ski life. And since this is real-deal avalanche country, your cost for staying includes mandatory ski guides.
Stays at Talus are an opportunity to unplug. There’s no WiFi. However, guests have access to a satellite phone when necessary. Originally built in 2001, the lodge was recently renovated.
As for getting there, most take the heli in, some tour in with a guide. Otherwise, it’s simple. This is your job if heading to Talus for a winter adventure: show up with skis, gear, clothes, and plenty of endurance. They provide the rest. If the images of winter wonderland don’t suit you, the lodge is available for summer hiking too. For now, during the pandemic, only Canadians can book Talus.
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Jason lives in Bend, Ore., and can often be seen chasing his two boys around town. He’s a self-proclaimed audio geek. That all started back in the early 1990s when he convinced a naive public radio editor he should report a story from Alaska’s, Ruth Gorge. Now, Jason’s common companion is his field-recording gear.