Heli-Skiers and Helicopter

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5 Tips for Planning Your Heli Skiing BC Trip

Heli-Skiers and Helicopter

We’re asked all the time about what a potential heliskier needs to do in order to come to experience heli-skiing for the first time. I could fill your head with all sorts of “must dos” and “don’t miss out ons” but here instead is the short and fun list of Tyax’s Recommended 5 Tips for Planning Your BC Heli Skiing Trip.

Preparing for a BC Heliskiing Holiday

Tip #1: Get in Shape

By this we don’t mean you have to run 20 kilometers 7 days a week, but neither can you be a self-described couch potato.  Set yourself up for running 2-3 times per week, at something more than a sedate walk. Stretch your legs out and stretch your time out while on the road.  Your running regimen should be more than a quick clip to the fridge for another beer (although that is another type of training we recommend). Grab your dog, your wife/husband, your kids, your friends, and set about improving your cardio and commit to reestablishing your fitness level to “moderate” rather than “I need a break after bringing in the groceries” level.  Chances are that getting yourself together after the mountain yard sale will tire you out more than the skiing. Besides, this gives you a way of enjoying your heli skiing holiday to BC more than just the week you are out here at Tyax, by building the anticipation months in advance. Now rest assured, we also planned ahead even though YOU may not have. With only 1 group per helicopter, if your legs are screaming at you, you do have the ability to sit one out in the helicopter, while your friends are out taking advantage of our “Unlimited Vertical  policy.  Don’t be THAT guy. 

BC Heliski Gear to Bring

Tip #2 Carry your ski boots on the plane with you

This may seem like a no-brainer, but trust us, each year we are scrambling when someone’s luggage goes missing and heads to Bangladesh rather than British Columbia.  Let me set the stage for you to envision…..you’ve forked out a not-insignificant amount of money to fulfill your lifelong dream of a week at a destination heli ski lodge.  You’ve convinced the family that this is an excellent use of money, and despite the boss shooting you the stink eye every time he sees you, you’ve committed. You’ve arrived in Vancouver, but your ski boots have not.  Instead of feeling great in your own boots, you’ll get to experience that unique sick feeling when each morning you’ll get to put your feet into a pair of ill-fitting rentals. Don’t be THAT guy.

Tip #3: Travel and/or Medical Insurance

Insurance sucks when you have to pay the premiums.  Insurance sucks when you have to wade through pages and pages of legalese.  Insurance sucks when you have to go to battle with a company to compensate you.  Insurance does NOT suck when you have it in your back pocket. No one anticipates blowing their ACL, and your adhering to Tip #1 has ensured that you’ve given yourself a fighting chance. Whether you end up hanging out in the lounge for the rest of your holiday, or decide to head home to get yourself sorted out, having options takes the heat off.  Some winters we end up chartering helicopters for emergency transport to a hospital, or making last minute arrangements for someone that just wants to get home to their own doctor. We’ll take care of all those arrangements, including taking you to our closest hospital to get a doctor’s note, but Trip Cancellation Insurance ensures that you can concentrate on what happens in the unlikely event that you have an injury.  This also ensures that the friends you came with don’t have to listen to you complain about how much getting home is going to cost you. Don’t be THAT guy. 

Equipment for a BC Heliskiing Trip

Tip #4: Identify your most important ski gear item

Do you have a favourite pair of goggles that act as your good luck charm?  Enables you to see in white-out conditions, and never fog up, no matter how hard you are breathing?  Have an underlayer that keeps you warm and dry regardless of how hard you are working or sweating? If these are “must have” items in your gear bag, you might think about doubling up.  We’ve got an awesome gift shop, and we’ve tried to stock it with things that guests forget or want to add to their clothing arsenal, but for sure we will not have a familiar and well-broken in item that propels you to skier rockstar status. The stuff you have used for the last few seasons and have been an integral part of your gear selection should be packed for the trip.  No one cares if it’s brand spanking new. Just bring your “tried and true” gear. Your friends and fellow heli mates do not want to hear you complain that your hands are cold or wet. Don’t be THAT guy.

Tyax Lodge Heliskiing Employment

Tip #5: Be respectful of your Guide

This tip is not really about planning, but more about once you are here. Our Guides are amazing, and they are hired for a combination of their ability to keep you safe, and their ability to show you an epic time in our mountains.  They are diehard skiers, and hardcore mountain enthusiasts. They love what they do, and want to pass along that love to everyone that comes to visit.  They are experts in every way and without them, Tyax wouldn’t have the history that it does. The Guide is charged with your safety, and the reputation of this company.  Please listen to their words, and truly hear what they are saying. Recognizing them for their skill set will ensure that you have an epic time while at Tyax. Disrespect will guarantee that you and your group will end up with some unpleasant memories, instead of positive ones.  Don’t be THAT guy.  

Of course Tip #6 goes without saying……relax, you’re gonna LOVE IT!!!

If you’re amped up and ready for your next heli skiing bc adventure, inquire as to availability or call us toll free at 1 (877) 918-8929 today.

Bikepacking at Tyax Lodge

Tyax Lodge Mountain Biking Activities

Tyax Lodge and the South Chilcotins has been attracting mountain bikers for as long as we can remember. The sheer vastness of the area and epic trail network means this place is on the bucket list of riders all over the world. For a lot of riders, the trails here are all about speed and fast, flowing trails. However, year on year, we find more riders coming here to go bikepacking.

Bike Packing South Chilcotin Mountains
Photo: Blake Jorgenson/Scott Bikes

What is bikepacking?

Bikepacking, in it’s simplest form, is combining cycling and camping in one. Everything that you need to go camping is loaded on you and your bike and you set out into the wilderness for an overnighter.

Bikepacking differs from regular mountain biking and hiking as it allows you to go on long bike adventures out into the backcountry for days on end. You’ll experience a connection with nature and a much more substantial journey than a regular day of riding. Not many bike rides end with sleeping under the stars and waking up to the sunrise over epic mountain ranges. And most camping trips don’t venture so far into the wilderness so quickly. Bikepacking lets you access remote places to camp that would take much longer to reach otherwise.

Where can I go bikepacking at Tyax Lodge

The bikepacking route around Tyax Lodge is a 130km long loop that crosses Tyaughton Creek and loops around Eldorado Mountain and Cardtable Mountain. The singletrack trails in the South Chilcotins are generally quite flowy, open and fast. The loop can be ridden in either direction – clockwise for those who want the long and tricky climbs and anti-clockwise for those wanting a more balanced ride. The trail is unpaved in all parts and over half of it is singletrack. There’s a good amount of climbing on this route. The ride will have an elevation gain of almost 2,900m with the highest point being 2,225m. The trail usually takes about 3 days to complete.

What do I need to go bikepacking?

Bikes

In truth, the best bike for bikepacking is the bike that you already have. In saying that, there are some bikes that are better suited to bikepacking than others. There are dedicated bikepacking bikes, but most mountain bikes, and even some gravel and cyclocross bikes, are perfect for a bikepacking trip around Tyax Lodge.

Chromag Surface Mountain Bike
The Chromag Surface

Chromag Surface

This Whistler made bike is ideal for bike packing at Tyax Lodge. This hardtail frame is made from steel, which soaks up trail vibrations much better than aluminium, it’s also incredibly durable. The Surface has front suspension so when the trail points downhill, you’re able to ride any line you want. The trails around us at Tyax Lodge are fast and flowy, perfect for the Chromag Surface.

Surly Ogre Mountain Bike
The Surly Ogre

Surly Ogre

Surly makes a wide range of bikes. They have city commuters, cargo bikes and rigid bikes. Their fully rigid Surly Ogre is a great choice for bikepacking. Because it has no suspension at all, the frame is very efficient, which is great for long days pedalling out in the backcountry. Surly also design their bikes with lots of handy mounts for racks, bottle mounts and frame bags.

Marin Four Corner Mountain Bike
The Marin Four Corner

Marin Four Corners

You don’t need a mountain bike or something that looks like one, to go bike packing. Marin has been making off-road bikes for a while now and their Four Corners is their most adventurous off-road bike. Again, it’s made from steel and is designed with a much more relaxed geometry than most road and cyclocross bikes. It is much more efficient and quicker on the climbs than other bikes mentioned here, but will need more care and guidance on the descents.

Racks & Bags

Bikepacking rigs are usually outfitted with racks and bags to help carry all the equipment. Frame bags fit inside the frame of the bike and are attached with straps. These bags are great for storing clothes and camping equipment. Saddlebags attach to the rear of the saddle and extend backwards. Saddlebags come in a range of sizes and are great for carrying a tent, extra clothing, or any other larger structures. Handlebar bags attach to the handlebars in front of the bike. Most riders use these bags for carrying sleeping mats or sleeping bags. Finally, you might want a top tube bag. This bag sits just behind the handlebars and is easily accessible at all times. This is the ideal place to keep some snacks, maps and other things that you will be using often.

Camping Gear

Bikepackers tend to run a light or ultra-light camping setup. Instead of large, spacious tents, most riders opt for a lightweight one-person tent or even a bivvy bag. A bivvy bag is basically a more robust sleeping bag that is suitable for outdoor use without a tent. On a multi-day trip into the backcountry, you’ll need to pack your own food. Freeze dried food has come a long way in the past number of years, these will tide you over until you get back to Tyax Lodge and treat yourself to a fantastic, well-earned, meal. Don’t forget to pack your coffee though, there’s no Starbucks out here!

Backcountry Heliskiing – Gear Check

Heliskiing Helicopters and Skiers

Heliskiing at Tyax Lodge is incredible. With some of the best terrain and snow in the world, it’s easy to see why we’ve been operating here since 1991. Back then the ski technology and equipment was nothing like we have today, with some skiers being limited by their gear.

However, in recent years improvements have been made in every department. We now have ski clothes that stay dry and warm in any condition and skis that float across the deepest, lightest powder. Check out our guide on the latest and greatest ski gear for your next trip to Tyax Lodge!

Ski Jacket – Arc’teryx Rush Jacket

Arc’teryx is a true BC brand. They’re based in North Vancouver and know the demands that this part of the world puts on ski gear. When you’re out in the backcountry, you can be at the mercy of the elements. Your ski jacket is your first line of defence against the icy winds and falling snow. In our minds, there is no better ski jacket than the Arc’teryx Rush.

Arcteryx Ski Jacket

The GORE-Tex 3-layer system does a fantastic job of keeping you and your base layers dry. The pores on this material are so small that water molecules cannot pass from the outside in. The Arc’teryx Rush jacket is also windproof! It has everything you need to keep you comfortable while heliskiing.

Ski Pants – Arc’teryx Shashka Pant

When shopping for a new pair of ski pants you should keep in mind what specific features you need to the intended use. As we do a lot of incredible backcountry skiing in deep powder we love wearing a bib pant.

Heli Ski Pants Arcteryx

The Arc’teryx Shashka pant has a higher rise on the waist and is secured with suspenders. This means there’s a much lower chance of getting any chilly snow down your back! The pants are made of GORE C-KNIT™, which keeps you dry, while also being soft and comfortable. There’s also a pad of Keprotec™ on the instep of the pants. This material helps prevent cuts in the pant from crampons or ski boots.

Baselayers – Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer

A warm and breathable base layer is an often mistakenly, overlooked aspect of our ski gear. Sitting on our skin, the base layer needs to keep us warm while also allowing our sweat to escape. Merino wool is the best material for this. It is made with the wool from the merino sheep, who are native to New Zealand. The unique properties of the wool allow it to keep us warm when we’re cold and also allows us to cool down on warmer days. The material is also very quick drying and anti-microbial, which helps prevent it from smelling after heavy use.

Heliskiing equipment baselayers

Smartwool has been the industry leaders in merino wool department for a number of years now. The Merino 250 Base Layer is the best choice for a heliskiing base layer. It’s slim fitting, the seams are designed to reduce chaffing, and it’s their warmest base layer.

Skis – Rossignol Super 7 HD

Without a proper powder ski, you simply will not get the full heliskiing experience. A powder ski will allow you to float through some of the best powder in the world here at Tyax Lodge. The feeling of floating is unbeatable. A powder ski is wider than a groomer ski and has a rocker. This allows the tips to float across the snow while the wide base keeps you skimming across the top of the snow, rather than sinking down.

Rossignol Super 7 HD Skis

The Rossignol Super 7 HD has been a favorite for the ski industry since it’s release. This most noticeable thing about the Super 7 HD is the Air Tip 2.0. This is the distinguishable honeycomb tip which helps reduce the weight of the ski while increasing the structural integrity. They’ve also reduced the overall weight of the ski by using Carbon Alloy Matrix which also increases the power and stability of the ski.

Goggles – Oakley Airbrake® XL

Nothing ruins a day of skiing quite like fogged up goggles. We really need to have optimal vision when we’re skiing down steep terrain and through thick forests, not stopping to air out our goggles. We also need a good lens that allows us to see different changes in the ski area.

Heliski Gear Oakley Ski Goggles

The Oakley Airbrake® XL is a fantastic choice for skiing at Tyax Lodge. This is a large goggle that allows for a greater field of vision and has Switchlock™ Technology that makes swapping lenses out quick and easy. This goggle comes with a Prizim lens which is Oakley’s premium lens.

Gloves – Arc’teryx Fission

Cold and wet fingers in winter are one of our least favorite things in winter. Once the cold gets in, it can be very hard to shake off. The key to an enjoyable day is keeping your hands warm and dry. A good glove should be waterproof, have sufficient warmth technologies and be durable.

Arcteryx Ski Gloves

The Arc’teryx Fission is the perfect choice. This is one of the best women’s ski glove on the market. Primaloft® insulation will keep you warm all day long, while the GORE-TEX® lining keeps your hands dry. The Fission gloves have a hardwearing Fortius™ 1.0 softshell outer and leather exterior. This allows them to be used without worry of damaging the glove. These gloves will take whatever you throw at them!

There you have our rundown on some of the best ski gear on the market. So make sure you get the most out of it by coming to Tyax Lodge this winter!

Backcountry Hiking – Gear Check

Backcountry Hiking Equipment Gear Checklist

Some of our favourite summer days are the ones spend hiking in the mountains surrounding Tyax Lodge. We have a fantastic trail network on our doorstep that showcases the beautiful scenery here and allows you to really get a sense of the history of the area. When you’re out on the trail, the last thing you want is for your gear to let you down. Having the right equipment, that is up to the task at hand, is imperative. Here we take a look at some essential hiking equipment that will keep you out on the trail for longer.

Boots

Arc’teryx Bora Mid GTX Hiking Boot

A good hiking boot is absolutely essential for hiking in the backcountry. When choosing a new hiking boot it is important to consider the fit, material, and type of boot. We’re big fans of Arc’teryx boots and think that the Arc’teryx Bora Mid GTX is the perfect hiking boot for the trails at Tyax. Arc’teryx is a Vancouver based company that is known for making high-end outdoor equipment and this boot is no different.

The boot features a high cut, ankle support Arc’teryx Adaptive Fit. The Arc’teryx Adaptive Fit is a liner that moulds to the shape of the user’s foot, ensuring a perfect fit. The upper is one-piece, seamless, thermolaminated, and made from GORE-TEX. This all leads to fantastic waterproofness, making this boot suitable in any conditions. A 3D moulded Ortholite™ footbed and a Vibram® outsole means that the Bora is also an incredibly comfortable hiking boot.

Hiking Gear Rossignol Jacket

Jacket

Rossignol Camino MP+ Jacket

Having a jacket in your pack while hiking is very important. Without the proper clothing, a day hiking in the woods can quickly turn into a wet and cold march back to shelter. It’s a good idea to have a jacket made from waterproof material and for it to be easily compressed and packed for easy transport. It also helps if the jacket is stylish! That’s why we think the Rossignol Camino MP+ jacket is a fantastic option, as it fits the bill perfectly.

The Camino MP+ is a two-layer, ultralight waterproof jacket. It is easily packed away and stored for those days when you get caught in a downpour. It also features a modern and stylish cut, with reinforced shoulder areas for use with a backpack. The Camino MP+ is available for both men and women.

Shorts

Arc’teryx Sarbria

Arc’teryx features here on our list again. This is because of their high-quality across their range of products. What makes their hiking shorts so good is their considered fit and style. The Arc’teryx Sabria shorts for women has a streamlined design that works with the body’s movement to ensure comfort at all times. The shorts are made from Fortius DW 1.0 fabric that stretches with the user. These shorts will allow you to hike comfortably throughout summer. Arc’teryx also has a great selection of hiking shorts for men.

Backpack

Arc’teryx Alpha AR 20 Backpack

In order to spend a day or more out in the backcountry, you’re going to need to carry all your gear and equipment with you. Having a backpack that is practical and suitable for the task at hand is very important. The most important thing to consider when looking for a new backpack is the size. 70-litre backpacks are suitable for multi-day excursions into the backcountry, while smaller packs are more suitable for single day trips.

Because of the vast trail network surrounding us here, and our well-equipped lodge, we recommend people to go on single day hikes and return to the lodge to avail of all the fantastic facilities here. The Arc’teryx Alpha AR 20 backpack is the perfect choice. It is a durable, light-weight pack that will stand up to the rigours of alpine life.

Hiking Equipment Hat Patagonia

Hat

Patagonia Hike Hat

Staying sun-safe while out on the trail is very important. Long periods of exposure to direct sun can lead to sunburn, dehydration, and sunstroke. One of the most effective ways to combat this is to wear a hat with a brim and neck cover.

Patagonia’s Hike Hat is a smart choice. It features a brim and neck cover and is also made from upcycled nylon. Patagonia has a reputation for being an ethical company and this can be seen in their material choice for this hat. The hat is also finished with a water-repellent layer that will keep you dry when you get caught in a short downpour. The hat is available in three colours, so we’re sure you’ll find one that you like!

Hiker Gear Socks Darn Tough

Socks

Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock Cushion

Socks are often overlooked when it comes to thinking about essential equipment, however, we think that’s a big mistake! Darn Tough socks are widely considered the best socks made today, what other sock company has a lifetime warranty?

The Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock Cushion is a fantastic sock that will keep you comfortable while out on the trail. They are made from Merino wool, have a performance fit and are seamless. It’s no wonder that Backpacker Magazine gave them their Editor’s Choice Gold Award for 2018.

Now you have all the essential gear needed to come hiking at Tyax Lodge. Get in touch with us today and book your trip!

Backcountry Mountain Biking – Gear Check!

Santa Cruz Mountain Bike

The Scandinavians have a trusted saying “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. This mentality can be transferred to outdoor adventures, with most terrain and trails being conquered with modern equipment and gear. Mountain biking has come a long, long way since it’s early days of rigid frames, v-brakes and lycra-clad riders. Advancements in material technology and geometry have allowed us to ride trails that the pioneers of mountain biking could only have dreamt of.

Backcountry Mountain Biking
Photo: Blake Jorgenson/Scott Bikes

Here we take a look at some of the best and most essential gear needed for some backcountry mountain biking. Having a suitable bike for the terrain, and your riding style is of utmost importance. We’ll also be looking at essential safety equipment and gear.

Bikes

Every year there is a new trend in mountain biking. The once laughable 29-inch wheels have now become a must-have for aggressive trail riders and enduro racers all over the world. Here we take a look at enduro, trail and hardtail bikes and discuss the benefits of each for backcountry mountain biking at Tyax Lodge.

Mountain Biking Equipment Enduro Bike Commencal Meta

Enduro Bike – Commencal Meta

The Commencal Meta is one of the most popular enduro bikes on the market right now. Whistler local Yoann Barelli races this bike in the Enduro World Series, and it’s easy to see why he chose this bike.

With 160mm front and rear Rockshox suspension and 29er wheels, when this bike gets up to speed to plow through whatever obstacles that are unlucky enough to be in its way. Commencal has chosen to make the frame from triple-butted aluminium rather than carbon. This gives the bike an extra bit of hardiness, which is perfect for the trails here at Tyax Lodge. While the Commencal Meta is a monster on the downhills, it’s no slouch when the trail points upwards either. The SRAM Eagle 12 speed drivetrain allows for a massive range of gearing which lets you spin your way to the top of your climbs.

Mountain Biking Equipment Hightower

Trail Bike – Santa Cruz Hightower

Santa Cruz has been making some of the most beautiful and critically acclaimed bikes for a number of years. And with the Hightower, Santa Cruz has created one of the best trail bikes on the market. Trail bikes differ from enduro bikes as they generally have shorter suspension travel and a more well-rounded geometry. Trail bikes are designed with epic all-day rides in mind, which is perfect for getting out into the wilderness at Tyax Lodge

With it’s 135mm of travel and shockingly light carbon frame, the Hightower is a whippet of a bike. It, like the Commencal Meta, also has a 12-speed drive train and adds carbon cranks to the build as well. This thoughtfully specced bike keeps the weight down in almost every department, while still being sturdy enough for an all-dayer out in the backcountry.

Mountain Biking Equipment Aggressive Hardtail

Aggressive Hardtail – Chromag Surface

The Chromag Surface is the do-it-all mountain bike from the iconic biking brand Chromag. Designed and hand-built in Whistler by a team of hardtail aficionados, the Surface is a favourite amongst seasoned riders through BC and Canada.

With its aggressive geometry, steel tubing and masterful welds this bike is ready to handle any of the trails here at Tyax Lodge. Despite the lack of rear suspension, this bike is more suited to backcountry adventures than you’d think, thanks to its slack than usual geometry and build. A massive benefit of no rear shock is that there’s a strong rear platform to use while pedalling uphill.

The Chromag Surface is also finished with the equally well made Chromag kit. The handlebars, pedals, saddle, and grips are all made by Chromag and can be regularly seen on bikes across the globe.

Equipment

Mountain Biking Equipment Helmet

Helmet – Oakley Drt5

A good helmet while mountain biking is an absolute no-brainer. Here at Tyax Lodge, we value our visitor’s safety, so we highly recommend that everybody wears a helmet that is in great condition and that fits them properly.

Oakley has recently entered the helmet market and their Drt5 is a fine example of a well-made, modern mountain bike helmet. It features the MIPS Brain Protection System, which is a floating, rotational layer between your head and the helmet exterior. During impact, this layer helps prevent rotational damage to the brain. The helmet also features a BOA fitting system and a sweat guard.

Mountain Bike Equipment Knee Pads

Knee Pads – Race Face Ambush

As every mountain biker knows, the part of our body that’s first in the firing line during a crash is our knees. It’s no wonder why in most bike shops you’ll see a wide selection of kneepads. Most kneepads offer either high protection and low manoeuvrability, or low protection or high manoeuvrability. However, Raceface offers a knee pad that has high protection and high manoeuvrability.

The Ambush kneepads feature the revolutionary D30 foam. This foam is used by soldiers, NFL players and even in phone cases. During low stress, the foam is soft and malleable, however, during impact, it becomes rigid and protects the user. Perfect for a big day in the saddle!

Mountain Biking Equipment Backpack

Backpack – EVOC Neo 16L

On a long day of riding in the backcountry, we advise that you bring everything that you may need with you. Tubes, brake pads, tools, first-aid-kits, food, and water are all must-haves. In order to bring all these things with you, you’re going to need a backpack.

EVOC has been making backpacks for a number of years now and have established themselves as one of the industry leaders. Their newest backpack for mountain bikers is the Neo 16L. As well as the near-perfect fit that we’ve become accustomed to, EVOC have added a shock absorption back protector and a ventilation system.

Now you’re up-to-date on everything that you need to make your backcountry trip a success. Mountain biking in the South Chilcotins is one of the most sought after trips in the world, so get in touch with us today and book your visit!

What’s Growing Around Us At Tyax Lodge?

South Chilcotins Flora Plants Tyax

It may seem that life in the mountains moves at a glacial pace. The truth, however, is that the wilderness is a bustling metropolis of wild animals, towering trees, bountiful shrubs, and spellbinding mushrooms. On your next visit to Tyax Lodge, make sure you take a look at what’s growing around you!

Tyax Lodge Chilcotins Hiking

Trees

What Is An Old Growth Forest?

An old growth forest is a forest that has been left undisturbed for a significant amount of time so that unique ecological situations arise. They are very important as they are homes for vast amounts of flora and fauna. Some species can struggle in new forests, while old growth forests provide a stable and unique environment for them. Some old growth forests act as large carbon sinks, which help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Spruce Lake Protected Area

Logging is prohibited in the Spruce Lake Protected Area. As early as the 1930s, preservationists were fighting the logging industry to protect the old growth forest. Formerly a provincial park, downgraded in 2007, mining and tourism still allowed in the area. Thanks to these preservation efforts we can relax on our patio at Tyax Lodge surrounded by native Canadian forests.

Tyax Hiking Nature

Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)

The douglas fir is a true Canadian giant, it has been known to grow to a towering 100 meters in height. It is an evergreen tree that is native to western Canada and is distributed from BC down through the US to California. Bears like to scrape away layers of bark and eat the sap of the tree.

Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis)

The whitebark pine tree will be known to many skiers as it is one of the highest growing pine trees and thus often marks the treeline in some areas. As the name suggests, the whitebark pine has white bark, can grow up to 30 meters in height. Squirrels like to make their home in whitebark pine trees, which can tempt bears to come to look for their stash of nuts!

Alpine Flowers

Alpine flowers are hardy and often beautiful plants. They grow in a region known as the ‘alpine’. This is an area of high elevation above the treeline – the elevation of which trees do not grow. These areas are often rocky and barren, but some have beautiful flowering wildflower meadows.

Tyax Flora Fauna

Mountain biking through a high alpine wildflower meadow is one of the reasons why so many people come mountain biking at Tyax Lodge. During summer you’ll ride trails through blossoming tiger lilies, upland larkspur, grass-of-Parnassus, pink monkey-flower, and yellow salsify.

Shrubs

As well as creating stunning views and being home to some of our wild neighbours, plants in the area also provide food for animals in the area.

Juniper (Juniperus communis)

Known to most of us because of their use in the production of gin, the juniper plant is an important part of the diet for bears, birds, and other small animals. This plant can be found both as a shrub and a tree. The wood of the juniper has been used primarily for cladding the exterior of buildings but has also been used in history for making bows. The wood strikes the right balance of strength and flexibility, making it an ideal choice. Juniper berries have also been used in Indigenous medicine and in the use of essential oils.

Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.)

Walking around Tyax Lodge on a summer day, you’ll find blueberry bushes bursting with beautiful berries. The plant itself can range from a minute 10 cm in height to a few meters high, while the ripe fruit is a deep blue and about the size of a marble. Similar to the juniper berry, the blueberry is an important part of the diet of a number of wild animals living around us here at Tyax Lodge.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are interesting items as they do not belong to the animal or plant kingdom. Instead, they belong to a different kingdom – fungi. While at first glance you may assume that they are plants because they grow out of the ground and grow near plants, in fact, scientists had classified mushrooms and fungi as plants for a long time. However their cell walls are made of chitin, this is the same stuff that insects make their shells from. No plant does this.

Mushrooms grow very quickly and you’re sure to see some when out on horseback at Tyax Lodge. However, some mushrooms are poisonous so it is recommended that you do not eat any wild mushrooms.

Black Morel (Morchella elata)

Black Morels have a highly structured exterior and can seem quite alien-like. They have short stalks and a larger, arrow-shaped cap that points up above the ground. The caps are generally dark in colour. Black morels are poisonous. Cooking removes the toxins, so never eat a raw black morel.

Red-capped Scaber Stalk (Leccinum aurantiacum)

The red-capped Scaber Stalk resembles the stereotypical image of a mushroom. It has a white stalk and a larger, domed, red cap. It can grow up to 20 cm in diameter and 15 cm in height. It is found in both coniferous and deciduous forests. It is similar to the black morel in that it can not be eaten raw.

Our Wild Neighbours – Part 2

Tyax Lodge BC Animals Wildlife

Following on from our last article, Our Wild Neighbours – Part 1, where we looked at the bears and birds in the area; this week we’re taking a closer look at the fish and mammals that live in the region.

Fish

Thanks to the pristine lakes and picturesque streams surrounding Tyax Lodge we’re blessed with having some incredible fishing on our doorstep. Book a stay at Tyax Lodge and explore the waterways of the Gold Bridge area. Make sure you have the appropriate licensing and safety gear before you go!

Fishing at Tyax in British Columbia, Canada

Rainbow Trout

The rainbow trout is a very popular and common fish in North America. Their colouring changes depending on regions and subspecies. Some are found with a darker, olive-green to black shades, while there are others with more earthy green and even blue colouring. However, no matter the colour they all have a strip of red lengthwise down their body on both sides.

Rainbow trout are strict carnivores and are often seen gulping at insects that land on the water’s surface. While they also like to eat mussels, small fish and shrimp, these are rarer occurrences. Some rainbow trout migrate from freshwater streams and lakes to saltwater. Here they turn into steelhead trout. The fish then grows bigger and eats larger prey, such as octopus.

One of the reasons why rainbow trout are so popular is because of their excellent suitability as a sport fish. Rainbow trout are the easiest trout to catch and can be caught with a relatively low-weight setup. A thin line is best as rainbow trout have excellent eyesight and are able to spot thick fishing lines. They are attracted to a range of lures – people have success with spinners, plugs, jigs, and spoons. PowerBait and worms work best for bait while fishing for rainbow trout.

Kokanee

Kokanee spend their whole lives in freshwater environments and do not migrate to saltwater, like some rainbow trout. Kokanee have large eyes, an absence of black spots, and have blue backs and silversides. As they are strictly freshwater fish, they tend to be quite small. They range from 30 cm and 1 lb to 50cm and 5lb. While rainbow trout are the most popular fish in BC, kokanee is a close second. They’re just as much fun to catch and taste even better!

Thanks to modern advances with fishing technology, Kokanee can now be caught with a light setup. Kokanee are known to be aggressive fish. So instead of using a natural looking lure, its best to use a lure that is alien to the fish environment so the fish attacks it. Pink maggots and shrimp are the best baits to use.

Mammals

Due to Canada’s sheer size and variation in habitat, we have a wide variety of different mammals in our country. BC is home to some true Canadian icons such as beavers, wolves, and horses.

Beavers

Beavers are truly unique and synonymous with Canada. They are the only mammal, besides humans, that create their own living environment. Beavers are semi-aquatic animals and fell trees by gnawing at them with their extremely strong teeth. Their teeth contain iron, never stop growing, self-sharpen and are orange! The trees are then used to create their dams. The main purpose of the dams is to protect the colony of beavers. They build their dams in slow-flowing streams and create an underwater entrance to their lodge, this helps to deter predators.

Beavers are important in Canadian culture. Without beavers, there would not have been such an interest in the fur trade and exploration in Canada. This would’ve had knock-on effects on companies such as the Hudson Bay Company and the development of Canada as we know it today. Such was their importance at the time, they were included on the coat of arms of the Hudson Bay Company in 1678. At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, the official mascot was a beaver and the beaver is also used as a symbol in many Canadian Forces organizations.

Wolves

Wild wolves are found in remote parts of North America and Eurasia. The wolves found in the BC wilderness are grey wolves and are truly majestic creatures. They can weigh up to 45 kg with the females weighing up to 35 kg. Wolves are reclusive animals, they are most active at night time and try to stay hidden for the most part. While many imagine wolves being aggressive hunters who take down large moose and deer, they are also known to scavenge for animals that have recently died.

Even though they are fierce animals they very rarely attack humans. When they do hunt, wolves like to avoid hunting in the heat, so they usually wait until dusk and hunt in packs. They are predators who predate on the weakest members of a group of animals. They are known to stalk their prey until launching an attack on the weakest member.

Horses

Horses have been central to the growth and development of the Gold Bridge area. Without horses, exploration of the area and discovery of gold in the area would’ve been much less successful. The trails that the pioneers used still exist today. On your visit to Tyax Lodge, you can take a step back in time with a horseback ride on historic trails.

Wild Horses

There are a number of pockets of isolated wild horses in Canada. Most of these groups have descended from the first horses that Europeans brought to the New World. However, the wild horses of the Chilcotin Plateau north of Gold Bridge have Russian ancestry. This makes them truly unique. The home of the wild horses here is protected by Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in Western Canada’s only horse preserve.

Our Wild Neighbours – Part 1

Hiking South Chilcotin Mountains

Tyax Lodge and the surrounding areas of BC are home to some iconic Canadian animals. From small birds through to grizzly bears, this area is home to all size of creatures. A visit to Tyax Lodge is taking a step into the wilderness. The creeks and lakes are streaming with fish. The treetops are bustling with eagles and owls. While in the remote, distant peaks and valleys, bears and wolves roam.

In this first part of a two-part article, we’re going to take a look at some of the birds and bears that live in this region.

Bears

Mention Canadian wildlife to anybody and immediately they’re going to think of bears. Bears are synonymous with the Canadian wilderness and Canadian culture. The mountains and forests around Tyax Lodge, and BC are home to some of the most well-known bear species. So don’t be surprised if you see some bears in the far distance when you’re mountain biking at Tyax Lodge!

Grizzly Bears

Grizzly bears live in the most remote parts of the mountain ranges around Tyax Lodge and the Gold Bridge area. Grizzlies fish for trout in the streams, hunt for marmots and forage for skunk cabbage and berries. They are solitary animals who love to live in regions far away from humans and other disturbances.

Black Bears

Black bears are a much more common sight than grizzly bears, in fact, they are the most common bear in the world. They are smaller than grizzlies and have a more pronounced pointed nose. They also love to fish as well as having a large number of berries, nuts, and fruits in their diet.

Kermode Bears

Now, this is a rare one! Kermode bears have near legendary status, particularly in First Nations folklore. They are sometimes referred to as ‘Spirit Bears’. Kermode bears are an uncommon variation of black bears, with only a small percentage of them having white fur. It has been noted that their white fur could help with fishing. White bears are harder for fish to see that their black fur counter-parts.

Birds

There’s no shortage of birds at Tyax Lodge. From small, plentiful ptarmigans to wise owls and large birds of prey, Tyax Lodge has it all. So next time you’re out for a hike at Tyax Lodge keep an eye on the skies above you!

Ptarmigan

The ptarmigan is a common sight in the mountains around Tyax Lodge. They are a small-medium sized game bird who make their home in the higher reaches of the mountains.

Their feathers molt as the season changes and help to camouflage them with their surroundings. In winter they are mainly white with a black tip on their tails, while in summer their feathers are a mottled brown. This helps to hide them from larger birds of prey in the area.

Birds of Prey

Numerous birds of prey hunt from the skies of British Columbia. Golden eagles and bald eagles nest high in cliffs. They hunt smaller animals and can be seen swooping for marmots and squirrels.

Keen observers will also be able to spot gyrfalcons as well. These are the largest members of the falcon family. Their plumage coloring varies greatly within the species. They can be found with pure white feathers, to a speckled brown, with some females having all black feathers.

Owls

Some of our most common year-round residents are owls. Great grey owls have piercing yellow eyes and incredibly accurate hearing. They hunt at night from low-hanging perches and use their excellent hearing ability to locate their prey. They are one of the very few species of owls that dives into the snow to attack their prey.

The great horned owl is the most widely distributed owl in the Americas. Their coloring depends on where they live. The great horned owls in this part of BC have a patchy dark brown and black plumage. They get their name from their distinctive ear tufts that resemble horns.

Make sure you check out our next article which will cover fish, horses, moose, and beavers!

History of Tyax Lodge and the Gold Bridge Area

Chilcotin Mountains Winter Alpenglow

Natural History

Location

Tyax Lodge is located in British Columbia in Western Canada. The province’s major city is Vancouver, which is approximately 300km south of Tyax Lodge. On route to Tyax Lodge, you’ll drive north on Highway 99, which is one of Canada’s most beautiful drives. You’ll see The Chief in Squamish, the world-famous resort of Whistler and the sleepy farming town of Pemberton.

The Mountains

Tyax Lodge is situated in The Chilcotin Mountains, which are part of the Pacific Ranges which are part of The Coast Mountains. The mountains are over 4 million years old and were created by volcanic activity, due to the tectonic plate movements of the Juan De Fuca Plate. The area is full of interesting geological features, such as calderas, stratovolcanoes and even isolated patches of lava.

Spruce Lake Protected Area

Spruce Lake Protected Area is a protected area directly west of Tyax Lodge. It’s a massive 71,347-hectare in size and has been protected since the 1930s. The area is home to grizzly bears, wolverines, and even bighorn sheep.

Canoe Tyaughton Lake BC Canada

First Nations

The Tsilhqot’in Nation

The Tsilhqot’in Nation are the indigenous people of this area. Tsilhqot’in translates roughly into ‘The people of the red ochre river’. The name Chilcotin is the English derivation of the name Tsilhqot’in. They were known as both shrewd traders and fierce warriors. They traded obsidian which was the material of choice for arrow and axe heads at the time.

The Tsilhqot’in people first encountered Europeans circa 1800. They met with traders who by 1808 had built fur trading posts for the North West Company from Montreal. In 1821 The Hudson Bay Company had established a large fur trading post on the eastern limit of the Tsilhqot’in territory.

With the fur trade, the Europeans also brought devastating disease with them. The isolated location of the Tsilhqot’in people meant that some diseases took longer to arrive than others. Eventually, the diseases arrived and whooping cough, measles, smallpox, and the Spanish flu decimated the Tsilhqot’in people.

Tyax Lodge Gold Bridge Hiking

Hunter Jack

Hunter Jack is the most famous Tsilhqot’in person from this time period. He negotiated the end to a war between the Chilcotin and Lillooet people. He was widely regarded as a fantastic trapper, ran his own guide-outfitter business and became chief of the area.

He had many notable clients including British Rear-Admiral Michael Culme-Seymour, who recognized him as the leader of the local people and bestowed the land upon him. Hunter Jack was involved in the local gold rush and was said to have died without telling anybody of the location of his secret gold mine. The mine remains undiscovered to this day.

Tyax Lodge Chilcotins Hiking

Pioneers

Like many other regions on the west coast, the South Chilcotins had their own gold rush. While many went to the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon, there was enough gold found in nearby Bralorne that a gold mine was opened.

Initially Chinese and Italian prospectors came, but they were driven out by Hunter Jack. He did, however, allow certain crews to investigate on his land. One of these crews discovered Cadwallader Creek. Three men hiked along this creek from Lillooet and discovered three gold deposits which would form the Bralorne Gold Mine. In a seven-year period during the Great Depression of the 1930s, it is estimated that $37,000,000 of gold was extracted from the mine.

Tyax Lodge Horseback Riding

During this time there was also a boom in the logging industry in BC. Areas from Vancouver through to Pemberton were heavily logged. However, due to the difficulty of road building and transportation, the logging industry didn’t extend to Gold Bridge.

Tyax Heliskiing Helicopter

Tyax Lodge

Heli-Skiing

Fast-forward to the late 1900s, the region left behind its pioneering past and became a destination for mountain adventures. Heli-skiing and epic mountain bike rides became very popular activities in the area. We’ve been running world-class heli-skiing tours from Tyax Lodge since 1991. Our extremely experienced guides and pilots will take you to various peaks in the South Chilcotins. With deep, dry powder, you’ll see why people come from all over the world to ski with us.

Tyax Mountain Bikers Single Track

Mountain Biking

In the summer you can come and mountain bike some of the trails the original pioneers built during the gold rush. The trails take you into truly remote regions and feature rugged, natural trails that encompass all of what riding in BC is about.

Tyax Lodge Spa Summer

Tyax Lodge

After your activities, you can relax in Tyax Lodge, which was renovated in 2010. There are rustic, comfortable rooms as well as an exciting dining options and a fully stocked bar. There’s also a full spa on site, with therapeutic massages, outdoor hot tub, and hot stone treatments.

Come experience the area’s history for yourself. And while you’re here, you can do some world-class heliskiing and mountain biking.

Mountain Biking at Tyax Lodge

Tyax Lodge Mountain Biking Activities

Why Mountain Bike at Tyax Lodge?

Simply put, mountain biking in the South Chilcotins is one of the most sought after bike trips in the entire world. Located just a few hours north of Whistler the bike trails surrounding Tyax Lodge are truly unique.

Single Track Mountain Biking South Chilcotins
Photo: Blake Jorgenson/Scott Bikes

The South Chilcotins range are more reminiscent of the surface of Mars than BC. The orange, greens, and reds of the volcanic pumice are like nothing you’ve ever ridden. In the distant background, the deep black rock of the Coastal range punches through the snowy peaks and glacier lakes.

The trails pick their way through the vast, empty, purely silent landscape. The only thing you’ll hear is the noise of your freehub spinning.

What Are The Trails Like?

Trail Types

The 200km trail network at Tyax Lodge takes in a whole host of differing eco-systems – green grasslands, flowering sub-alpine and alpine meadows, glacier lakes and towering mountains. The length and difficulty of the trails are just as numerous and diverse as the regions you’ll be riding.

Overall, the trails are rocky and loose, due to the prominence of the regions’ pumice rock. And they are in absolute mint condition after a light sprinkling of rain. During dry spells, the lower trails can get somewhat dry, with the trails at higher elevation retaining more solid dirt.

Trail Ratings

Our recommended trail loops range between 5-40km and can take up to 7 hours to complete. Mountain biking at Tyax Lodge features rugged singletrack climbs, raw technical descents, and natural flow. The riding area has 12 access trails, 2 green trails, 7 blue trails, 9 black trails, and 1 double black trail.

Who Can Ride The Trails?

Ability

We recommend that riders are of an advanced-novice ability. If you’re confident riding blue and black trails in your local area, then you have what it takes to come mountain biking at Tyax Lodge.

Fitness

It’s a great idea to arrive at Tyax Lodge fit and injury free. The trails at Tyax Lodge are spread out across long, undulating landscapes, requiring a good level of fitness, and a great command of your dropper-post!

What To Bring?

Bike

We recommend that you bring your favourite all-mountain / enduro bike to Tyax Lodge. We find that they are the best choice for a day mountain biking in the South Chilcotins. There is a good mix of pedalling and descending, so it’s great to have a bike that is capable of doing both.

It’s very important that your bike is in great working order and recently serviced. You’ll be riding in some of the most remote terrain that you’re ever likely to be in. Make sure your bike won’t let you down!

Gear

You’ll also need to bring a day pack for your ride. Here are some essential items, but feel free to add whatever you need:

Helmet
Water bottle/pack
Rain jacket (the weather can turn pretty quick out here)
Riding shorts
Baselayer
Knee pads
Food
Riding shirt and spare
Riding glasses
Any medications that you need

When Can I Go Mountain Biking At Tyax Lodge?

The mountain biking trails at Tyax Lodge are ready to be ridden as soon as the snow clears. In late spring and early summer, you will encounter some pockets of snow in the more sheltered areas. As the riding area is very large, and weather is susceptible to change, you may experience all four seasons in one day. Keep an eye on the weather, and plan your equipment choices accordingly.

What Does Tyax Lodge Provide?

Guides

We provide you with incredibly knowledgeable local bike guides who know each and every bit of the 200km of trails surrounding Tyax Lodge. Due to the remoteness and infrequency of riders, not every trailhead is marked, so it’s great to have a guide who can keep you on track all day long. Our guides are also equipped with essential gear in the off-chance that you’ve forgotten something.

Tyaughton Lake and Tyax Lodge

The Lodge

Back at the lodge, we have everything you need after a big day of riding. We have a bike wash station available in the lodge as well as some fantastic dining options. You’ll need to replace all those calories you just burnt off! We also have a fully staffed spa on-site with an outdoor hot tub, if you want to pamper yourself even further.

For many, mountain biking at Tyax Lodge is a once in a lifetime experience. Get in touch with our team today and come experience it for yourself!

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