Take II: Feuerzangen-Brew Ski Trip

On Saturday February 11th at 8am, three carloads of the VOC left the Squamish Tims to head up to the famous Brew Hut for a Family Day long weekend in the backcountry. Arriving at the bottom of Chance Creek forest service road, we were told by employees of the Powder Mountain catskiing operation that there was nowhere to park, and we should just quit and go home. Fat chance! Indeed the lot up by the gate to the cat track was full up with sledders’ pickups, but it only took us a few minutes to dig out some new spots and be on our way.


Teamwork right off the bat digging out some parking spots.

We made good time up the cat track, and after only mild confusion we found the trailhead. With Bryce and JP doing most of the trailbreaking, we were greeted below the lake by a whiteout. Using map and GPS, we arrived at our destination with time to spare before dark. All in all it was about 5-6 hours from car to hut.


“Complete with scenic whiteout arrival.”

Sunday morning we woke to a beautiful clear day and it was time to go find some skiing, keeping in mind that with all the new snow, avalanche conditions weren’t ideal. We set off to the northwest, but most of the steeper terrain we had our eye on was very wind-loaded and unstable. We found a nice tree’d slope down the west side of the ridge, but had no safe way to get over to it. The one well-supported slope we had skinned up to gain the ridge was wind-affected and we retreated back towards Mount Brew.


Sunday morning at Brew


The end of the line on our excursion up the ridge to the northwest of Brew.

Eventually we settled on some nice looking, more mellow and supported slopes around the lake below and across from the hut. We dug some pits, and found two weak layers both failing at around 5 hits from the wrist and 2-3 from the elbow. Most of us spent the rest of the day there skiing really nice powder the around the north and west edges of the lake.


Digging that pit!


JP getting the glory.

That night we were joined by a number of other groups. Brew hut was full to the brim, and three tents were pitched outside. Shane made his mulled wine and everyone had a good time. Unfortunately I can’t recall exactly how many people we stuffed into the hut’s upstairs. I’m sorry Shane, I know that kinda thing is your jam.

Monday morning we got up bright and early for a few more laps around the lake before heading home. Bryce, Adam, Ragna and I left at 10am to head back to the city. It was sunny and very warm, and in our t-shirts the ski out was really fun. It took us two hours to get back to the car.

As a new backcountry skier, this trip was the longest tour I had every done, as well as my first trip with the VOC. In contrast to the Brew stories I was hearing, and aside from the avalanche conditions which were out of our hands, just about everything on the trip went as smooth as could be. I’m very grateful to Shane and everybody for having me along. I met some great people and I really learned a lot, and I’m looking forward to doing more in the future.


-Justin M

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