By Andru McCracken

Mount Kristi Glacier
Jacob O’Sullivan, an Edmonton based photographer caught this amazing view of the area, near where the cabin would go. /JACOB O’SULLIVAN

It’s only in the Robson Valley that you can still develop a cabin surrounded by spectacular views and enviable ski runs on all sides.

McBride’s Ozalenka Alpine Club is putting together a plan to build a cabin on the Kristi Glacier Trail.

The cabin will help promote non-motorized use of the area, in winter it will be just an hour’s ski from the trailhead.

President Jeff Corbett said the club had planned a cabin there 28 years ago.

“The other two cabins are often booked to capacity,” said Corbett. “We’re turning people away.”

That said, most people will likely use it during the summer. The club makes most of its operating dollars from the summer season, but it will also provide ski terrain that has been harder and harder to find as other winter sports compete for terrain. Corbett is hoping they’ll be able to get buy-in from local snowmobilers to respect the area.

The club hopes to build the cabin in the summer of 2020.

James Corbett get after the powder on a winter’s day when Kristi Glacier is at its most skiable. /JEFF CORBETT

“It has the best ski potential in the McBride backcountry,” said Corbett.

The cabin may also open up some three-to-five-day hiking trips along new trails. Cabin income could help pay for the maintenance of these new trails.

The club had hoped to build a cabin at Caribou Lakes, but the project has been stalled because of measures to protect caribou. Corbett said the club strongly supports caribou conservation initiatives.

“We understand human recreation is not always the highest priority. There are times we have to restrain our activity for the benefit of the caribou,” he said.

A major funder is allowing them some grace to build the cabin. Northern Development Initiative Trust had committed $30,000 to the Caribou Lakes cabin, but is allowing with the club to apply it to the Kristi Glacier Cabin.

The Ozalenka Alpine Club had their annual general meeting last Thursday. Corbett said they have a wide range of ages on the board now.

James and Justin Corbett get after the powder on a winter’s day when Kristi Glacier is at its most skiable. /JEFF CORBETT

“We’re turning this club over to the next generation,” he said.

The first bit of work for the new board of directors is to get out hiking. The club breaks into groups each spring and checks the trails to make sure they are in decent condition.

One of the major issues facing the club is changes to the South Dore Forest Service Road. Parts of the road will be deactivated and it will make some existing trails even longer to get to, but plans are in place to establish good footbridges to maintain access.

The Ozalenka Alpine Club is always recruiting. If you love being outdoors and want to support amazing backcountry recreation get in touch with president Jeff Corbett in McBride.