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“The most comfortable wilderness trip ever.”

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Callaghan Country's Journeyman Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 14, 2013

A couple of friends and I signed up for a weekend package of guided backcountry skiing with Coast Mountain Guides. Having been on backcountry trips before where we were sharing a cabin with 20 other skinners and a family of mice, this was a welcome upgrade.
With maps, paintings, photographs and memorabilia, the lodge vibe really adds to the authentic Canadian mountain experience. The group dinners were really well done, and filling after a day on the mountain stair-master. My ski buddy and I shared one of the rooms where we each had our own cozy 'berth', with enough room to hang up and store our stuff. For the price of a room in the mini-city of Whistler, we were experiencing a true wilderness adventure. (Though there was still a few bars of cell signal in the corner by the pool table) Waking up to see the moonset and the sunrise before breakfast was magical.
A few tips: Bring more wine than you think you'll need and don't forget a flashlight. If you're a guitar player, they have one there for you to use, but you may want to bring some extra strings!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Lorne C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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66 - 72 of 93 reviews

Reviewed March 13, 2013

There is absolutely no debating the Callaghan's pristine backcountry beauty, or what a special accommodation the Journeyman Lodge is. And if this rating were based solely on the area's gorgeous natural setting or the lodge's cosy, Canadiana vibe, I would rate it as "excellent." And the staff was, for the most part, quite friendly.

However, if you're charging each person $250 a night—as each of the 8 people in our group paid to stay in the Solitude Suite for one night (this did NOT include the $22 trail pass required in order to ski to/from the lodge), the establishment needs to step it up to secure a rave review.

On their own, the following are mostly not a big deal:

-not being able to "light" the battery powered candles at dinner because the lodge had run out of batteries
-not being able to grab a trail map because the lodge had run out
-being told the wood-fire sauna was stoked until 10pm, only to show up at 9:15pm and the fire was out (HUGE disappointment)
-trying to go to the same sauna the next day at 11pm and the fire is still out
-having to get up to retrieve the salt-and-pepper shakers for the whole table
-finding the dishware rather unclean (in particular glassware)
-the pull-out mattress was lumpy and uncomfortable
-the appetizer platter was heavy on the crackers, quite low on the meats and cheese (one tiny cheese wheel for 22 people?!)

All together, the above add up to disappointment.

Yes, this is a remote, off-the-grid, backcountry lodge. And our group, all of whom are avid campers (the hiking camper kind, not car-campers) who spend a lot of time in the outdoors, was ready for this. We can deal with rustic experiences— we seek them out! But if you're going to charge $250, you need to make sure your guests are getting their money's worth.

Would I go back? If I could go for about $150, I'd think it was worthwhile. I'd never pay $250 again.

Last point: an outhouse or outdoor compost toilet would be a major improvement to the site, so that visitors aren't having to apply the "no-flush" rule with a bunch of strangers between the hours of 10pm and 8am.

Room Tip: I wouldn't bother renting the Solitude Suite. Our group booked it in its entirety, but we found...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank DontSuffokate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2013

We had a delightful overnight visit to the Journeyman Lodge and were very pleased with the experience with a couple of "caveats".
It's located in the pristeen back country of the Callaghan Valley, below Journeyman Peak, surrounded by magnificent mountains, meadows and lakes. We were there in the winter, the entire area blanketed in deep, fabulous, sparkling fresh snow!

The lodge is, as another reviewer said, not a hotel. The power is limited to certain hours of the day, the rooms are small, the dining is at a communal table, the food is "home cooked". That said, it is warm and cozy even when the power is off, with fires in the fireplaces. The "living room" is furnished with deep sofas and chairs which swallow you as you curl up with a book, or a glass of wine, or conversation with other guests. There are board games, books, magazines and a billiard table also in the living room.
The sauna, rustic and wood fire-heated, is a quick jaunt away from the lodge, affording a dip in the adjacent creek or roll in the snow - whichever is your pleasure - to cool off.

The staff this season (all new) are charming, welcoming and eager to look after you. They cook and clean, ensuring special dietary accommodation at meals and keeping rooms spotless when they're not in the kitchen.

Caveats: do not expect "gourmet" meals. The food is good, well presented and healthy. It isn't gourmet so "foodies" take note. Nor is the supper a "big" meal. But the apres ski appies, served in the living room, are generous and welcome after a long ski/snowshoe trek in. And, the bread is homemade - to die for. Also, read the fine print - bring your own wine/beer! We didn't and were just lucky a generous other couple shared their wine with us!

Conclusion: a charming lodge in a magnificent valley. We'll definitely be back - next time for 2 nights so we can enjoy the local back country more.

Room Tip: If you really want your own private bathroom, make sure you book the right room. This is a lodge, n...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank lvb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2013

We booked the entire lodge for our wedding one Saturday night this past January and we had a wonderful time. I highly recommend the Journeyman lodge as a unique wedding experience that your guests will actually remember for a long time instead of the more traditional weddings that tend to blend into each other over time. Also, we came away with some stunning photos of our guests with the mountains as backdrop. I was able to go for a ski the morning of my wedding which was my dream. We wanted something very relaxed and outdoorsy and this venue was perfect.

The lodge sleeps 24 people at full capacity and all of our guests said they were very comfortable. My husband and I are skiers and have been to the lodge before but for many of our guests, who are more "city slicker" types, this was a step into a new world outside their comfort zone. However, the lodge staff understood that and made great efforts to put them at ease.

The lodge organised snowmobile transfers for our guests led by the lodge's calm and patient guide, Victor, who exuded confidence and made our friends feel very safe on the way up. We took advantage of the wonderful sunny weather and had our wedding ceremony outside. We hired a super marriage commissioner who lives in Whistler and was completely fine with snowmobiling for 45 minutes up into the wilderness. His name is Gordon Dyson and he did a great job.

The lodge has 4 full time staff who live on-site and really put a lot of care, effort and attention into making sure that all the guests are happy. Kai is the Australian chef who cooks very interesting and tasty food, then there is Claire who is an English pastry chef who cooks the most delicious deserts (I particularly liked her sticky toffee and date pudding). There is also a Chilean couple who are very helpful and friendly. Victor is the snowmobile guide and Carolina looks after all the linens and prepares the rooms beautifully.

The food for our wedding dinner was delicious and carefully prepared by Kai who took great pains to discuss the menu with us in advance and offered some really creative ideas. The lodge serves 4 course dinners and to start we had butternut squash soup with freshly baked bread, followed by cucumber and beet salad that was light and delicious, then for a main course our guests chose either brined chicken or pork tenderloin on top of a bed of bok choi and gratin potatoes. The piece de resistance was the absolutely fantastic homemade wedding cake that Claire made especially for us. Claire offered to make whatever cake we liked best so my husband chose a cheesecake and it turned out to be light, airy and absolutely fantastic. Many of our guests commented that they were not expecting such a high quality gourmet meal in such a remote location, so that was all good.

One of the best things we did when planning the wedding was to go up there to stay one night a week before the wedding to meet the staff and figure out what we might need to bring up. For instance, we noticed that we would need more stemware for wine and champagne so we brought that up with us in advance and left it there for future guests because we were so happy with the service.

The only con we experienced was that I hadn't realized that even though we had booked the whole lodge for the Saturday night the lodge is also still open to skiers during the day as a place to have lunch and a rest mid-ski. Our guests were due to arrive by 1:30 so I was racing around trying to decorate the dining room tables for dinner and I wasn't expecting strangers to be sitting there having lunch. If we had known this was a possibility then we would have gladly paid extra to reserve the whole lodge during the day as well as overnight.

All in all, this was a fabulous place to get married. I also recommend it as a place to go with friends or as a couple because during the day you can be as active or as sedentary as you like (the wood fireplaces and comfy sofas were awesome) and then they serve great food at dinner, you can have lively conversations with like-minded people, the bedrooms are comfy and then the next morning they give you a nice packed lunch to eat on your way down. Perfect.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank JChaston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2013

First and foremost, the lodge has excellent and hardworking staff. We were very well cared for at every step of our time at the lodge - right from the moment of booking our stay, arrival at the check-in desk and ultimately at the lodge itself. Well done.

The food was superb and plentiful.

Our room was clean, very comfortable and with a beautiful view. This is a backcountry lodge, not a hotel. For a backcountry lodge, The Journeyman Lodge far exceeds my experiences at other remote accommodations. The rooms are small by hotel standards because it's a lodge, not a hotel. Knowing the difference between a true lodge and a hotel will determine if this is the right place for you. I am writing this because I cringed at reading an earlier review of someone who complained about the communal "family style" dining, the normal social aspect of being with other people in a ski lodge, the possibility of pine martins trying to get into the building, and complaints that there isn't electrical power 24/7. A backcountry lodge is off the grid and exposed to all the elements of the wilderness. It's a beautiful escape from the noise and clutter of the city. We had a quiet restful sleep on a comfy bed in a fully private room.

The sauna is wonderful and exactly how it ought to be - period.

If I had to complain about anything, it would be the grooming (or lack thereof) on the ski trail both in and out. The ski in was okay (on the Mainline trail) but the last few kms toward the lodge the grooming was quite spotty. On the ski out there was no grooming done at all on the Wild Spirit trail which made for a bit of an unnecessarily challenging ski out. I would have hoped or expected the trails would have been well maintained after paying for our trail passes.

All in all, we loved our stay and are planning to return as soon as possible to stay for several nights. The backcountry touring potential of the area is unbelievable. The total price is comparable to staying at many other backcountry "fly-in" lodges. The difference here is that there is no need for a helicopter flight in. Many of the other fly-in lodges really do not offer much privacy even in the sleeping quarters and the toilet is often an outhouse. The chance of a shower at these other places? Probably not until you fly out at the end of your trip. At Journeyman Lodge, the cost savings of no helicopter is made up in quality of the lodge, rooms, food and care of the staff.

We felt at home, relaxed and can't wait for our next trip to the lodge. Thanks for an excellent experience.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Dave H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2013

If you want the feeling of having truly escaped to somewhere 'else', yet be only a few hours from Vancouver, this is the place.

We are a family of ex-dowhillers and current cross-country skiiers (future backcountry skiers?). Over the holidays we were looking to extend our experience of being in the mountains, but we still wanted comfort! Journeyman Lodge met all our requirements. The lodge is well-named because ski-in feels a journey – but managably so on a well-groomed trail– a 5 month pregnant, first-time cross country skiier skied in the same day as us).

A warm welcome, lovely food. We really felt that we were their personal guests. The stand-alone, wood-fired sauna a few hundred metres away which the braver followed by a plunge in the fast running creek was added adventure.

The lodge is light and airy. You get the sense that it is a labour of love --from the hiring of the charming, capable and attentive small staff to the understated good quality furnishings – thick wool rugs, comfy chairs, bed and bedding.

The lodge is a working example of how to build sustainably and run a business with a light footprint. Jeff, an onsite owner and former park ranger of the area, is an accommodating host and fount of information on the terrain.

The 'library' has an eclectic range of books . We poured over an album of ski trips taken up the surrounding peaks and glaciers. We didn't see them on this visit, as it was snowing heavily, but we will be back for sure. Highly recommended.

Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
Thank windknows
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2013

We did a one night trip xc ski in and out, had a wonderful stay, lodge hosts were friendly & welcoming. Food was not gormet, but we could see that care was put into the preparation by the cooks. Hand built sauna by the creek was a great experience. Wish we had done a longer trip with some touring in the surrounding mountains, terrain looks awesome and the amount of snowfall was unbelievable. Unfortunately there was too much snowfall on our second day to use the xc trails in the meadows near the lodge, but it must be a beautiful place to ski on a clear day. The time at the lodge was quiet and relaxing. Will definitely return for another visit

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kirk P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Callaghan Country's Journeyman Lodge

Address: 4 Callaghan Valley Rd | Base area is #4 Callaghan Valley Rd, Whistler, British Columbia V0N 1B0, Canada
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Whistler
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Ski-In / Ski-Out Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 55 Specialty Lodging in Whistler
Price Range: $136 - $541 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A reservations based mountain Inn (more commonly known as a backcountry lodge) offering a range of accommodation suited to every adventurer’s budget. Journeyman Lodge retains the charm and warmth of traditional alpine culture. Guests eat together and relax together. They share tales and connect with like-minded people who’ve each just had their own best day ever. Humans have been sitting around a fire telling stories since the beginning of time. Why stop now? ​ Witness awe-inspiring mountain vistas, explore untouched wilderness, and relax in the comfort and safety of our charming full-service backcountry lodge. It's a West Coast Must-Do! ... more   less 

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