Whitecap Alpine has just revealed one of the coolest backcountry saunas in the entire province. Check it out.
Hidden in the depths of the South Chilcotin Mountains, just north of Whistler, British Columbia, Whitecap Alpine is a backcountry skiing and hiking lodge that has just unveiled it’s new alpine sauna. And it’s awesome!
It took years of dreaming and logistical planning, according to lodge owner Lars Andrews not least of all because the sauna sits at 1,800 metres (6,000 feet) above sea level and is perched on a boulder platform, overlooking a crystal clear glacial lake. It will now be used as a regular rest stop during Whitecap’s guided hiking trips, which are based out of the nearby McGillivray Pass Lodge. According to Andrews the idea arose from “wanting to add a focal point and purpose to the experience of traveling through the mountains. A place that gives a reason to pause and take in the surroundings and immerse oneself in the environment.”
The design was the collaborative effort of Andrews, Squamish-based carpenter Ryan Standerwick, hiking guide Hayden Robbins and Stefan Shier, the lodge’s operations manager. Inspiration was derived from the alpine lakeside location as well as the stunning vistas of nearby peaks and valleys. Cedar was used on both the exterior and interior, both for durability and as a nod to the cedar trees that are prevalent in the nearby forests. The design also aimed to minimize the structure’s impact on the surrounding environment: it sits on four small footings that attach to the boulder ensuring there was no need for digging or surface disturbance during the build.
Lead hiking guide Hayden Robbins says because it’s located just 2.6 kilometres from the lodge, the alpine sauna is ideally situated for a mid-hike plunge. “It is the perfect way to revive heavy hiking legs,” he says. “After sitting in the sauna, we encourage guests to take a plunge in the lake. The hot/cold therapy does wonders to rejuvenate tired muscles.” Operations Manager Shier agrees saying, “The new sauna allows people to have a truly one of a kind experience in a one of a kind place.”
Whitecap’s summer hiking trips will run until September 29 this year. Trips include round-trip travel up to the lodge from Pemberton, ACMG hiking guides, meals catered for by a private chef, overnight accommodations, and of course, a unique sauna experience.
For another unique sauna business located in BC, read our story about the Sauna on Wheels.