About The Callaghan’s Journeyman Lodge

The Callaghan is a privately held company based in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, operating on Crown Land since its inception in 1980 under the name Mad River Nordic Centre. The company co-manages approximately 12,000 hectares with the Province of BC for the purposes of commercial outdoor recreation.

Our Facilities Include

  • 47 kms of groomed ski trail surfaces
  • 17 kms of snowshoe trails
  • Two-hectare commercially zoned base facility known as the Alexander Falls Ski Touring Centre, offering parking for 150 vehicles, washroom facilities, food and beverage services, ski/rental shop, ski school, guest services, day lodge, maintenance facility, and staff housing.
  • 14 kms of summer hiking trails
  • One-hectare commercially zoned overnight Lodge known as Journeyman Lodge, situated in the Solitude Valley, and offering full-service (all-inclusive pricing) overnight accommodation. The 5,000-square-foot lodge is well appointed, centrally heated, and offers self-generated electricity, plumbing, and approved wastewater facilities.

History—A Backcountry Dream is Born

In 1980, Nic Slater, one of the company’s founders, was standing on the summit of Mount Callaghan, gazing out over a small, secluded valley. The gently rolling terrain, old growth forests, and enticing alpine slopes surrounding it suggested an ideal location for a backcountry retreat.

With this vision etched in his mind, Nic solicited the assistance of his longtime friend, Brad Sills, to file an application with the BC government for a license to develop a wilderness adventure lodge. Short-term licenses allowed the two ski enthusiasts to build the first small Lodge just up off the shores of Conflict Lake.

Over a decade later, the two were finally granted long-term tenure for the area. After that decision, several higher-level planning initiatives have created new land management entities that Callaghan Country's tenure was incorporated into. These included the creation of the Callaghan Lake Provincial Park, Section 58 Winter Motorized Recreation Closures, Local Resource Management Plan-Sea to Sky, and the Callaghan Conservancy.

The company was originally incorporated in 1982 as Mad River Nordic Ski Enterprises Inc. with the purpose of developing and operating a comprehensive Nordic centre focusing on commercial backcountry recreation.

A successful builder himself, Brad assembled a crew of some of Whistler’s finest tradespeople, all of whom had a passion for backcountry skiing. In exchange for shares in the company, each of these gifted craftsmen worked together and began the construction of a deluxe wilderness lodge in 1996.

In such a remote location, with no road access, materials had to either be flown in by helicopter or transported in the winter by snowcat. Work continued through the winter with the crews living in tents and working long hours to complete the often-challenging project. Despite the challenges, the first phase of Journeyman Lodge (originally called Powder Mountain Lakeside Lodge) officially opened in the fall of 1998.

Since the company’s inception, the principals have remained committed to their original vision – to build the most renowned, respected, and sought-after mountain adventure wilderness resort in the world.

Coincidentally, at the same time as the Lodge was being completed, Brad was called into the very first meeting with Whistler's Mayor Hugh O'Reilly and two Vancouver businessmen, Arthur Griffiths and David Bentall, both of whom were soliciting support for a bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Whistler.

Humble Beginnings to Olympic Experience

Mad River Nordic Ski Enterprises fully supported the bid with host services into the area for technical delegates, planners, and IOC representatives. The company made presentations on weather and terrain that helped in capturing the domestic candidature required for Vancouver to bid internationally in 2003.

In 2001, the company changed its name to Callaghan Country Wilderness Adventures and renamed the impressive structure they had built Journeyman Lodge. The changes were made to reflect the company’s core purpose and pay homage to the many trades and craftsmen who had devoted so much care and attention to its establishment. Today, Journeyman Lodge stands as a testimony to the roots of Whistler's early ski community and their passion for wilderness and backcountry skiing.

In 2002, they added a new dedicated 13 km Nordic access trail, linking Alexander Falls to the lodge in the Upper Callaghan Valley, as well as an engineered sewer disposal and water treatment.

The years between 1998 and 2010 saw much planning between the organizing committee for the Games, the Province, and Callaghan Country. After much discussion, it was resolved that Callaghan Country would surrender all the lands required for the hosting of the Games in exchange for a commitment by all parties to work together in the long term to creating the world's most comprehensive Nordic ski facility.

In 2007, Callaghan Country became next door neighbors to the brand-new world-class Whistler Olympic Park, the official venue for the Nordic events at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To take full advantage of the new trails and cross-country opportunities they provide, we introduced a Day-Use program, new for the 2007-2008 season.

Today we work with Whistler Olympic Park to deliver Ski Callaghan, “North America’s most extensive Nordic experience!”  The convenience of a single Ski Callaghan admission/season pass provides you access to our three-day lodges and an expansive trail network of more than 130km to explore by ski or snowshoe. Ski Callaghan products include season passes and day admissions for recreational use of the trail systems, including cross-country skiing, light touring, backcountry skiing, and snow shoeing.

We have also done some re-branding, enabling us to focus on our own core strengths: exceptional overnight backcountry experiences at Journeyman Lodge, great value and great service at Access Callaghan Ski Shop, and unique wilderness experiences in the Callaghan Valley that engage and truly reconnect people with nature.

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