FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2016
Whistler, BC – If you build it, they will come. After a lengthy approval process, the much-anticipated Spearhead Huts project was given final approval by BC Parks on February 12, 2016 and granted a Park Use Permit in Garibaldi Provincial Park, allowing committee members to build three year-round backcountry huts on the popular forty kilometer Spearhead ski traverse, uniting the Spearhead and Fitzsimmons ranges behind Whistler and Blackcomb.
“We are extremely thrilled to finally get the green light on this project,” said Spearhead Huts Committee chair Jayson Faulkner. “This moment has been several decades in the making, and to have our permit application approved means now there’s nothing in our way from seeing this vision come to life.”
In December 2014, the Spearhead Huts Committee (SHC) submitted their application to BC Parks for the Park Use Permit. The application included the SHC’s management plan, a description of the project, a risk management plan, and several assessments, including avalanche, geotechnical, and environmental. Negotiations between BC Parks and SHC commenced in April, 2015 with the first proposal by SHC in August of 2010.
The proposal was supported by an overwhelming majority of the public, Lil’wat First Nations, the Resort Municipality of Whistler and BC Parks.
The SHC can now begin building their hut system, with the first hut expected to be the Russet hut will replace the aging Himmelsbach Hut, a popular winter and summer destination for skiers and hikers. With stunning alpine meadows in the summer and breathtaking views in the winter, coupled with its proximity to Whistler, the location is a logical choice for the first hut.
Estimated opening date for the hut at Russet Lake is winter 2018. The subsequent huts at Mt. Pattison and Mt. Macbeth will be built following completion of the Russet hut, when funds, timing and resources allow.
The SHC has been vigorously raising funds and seeking skilled volunteers and with the approval comes the work of raising the approximately $3.5 Million to complete the entire system. There will be numerous events and initiatives in the coming months as the SHC and its supporters begin the next stage of this project. Donations can be made thru the website and by contacting the Andre Charland (Chair of the Fundraising Committee) to get involved in this remarkable legacy project.
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About the Spearhead Huts Committee
The Spearhead Huts Committee is comprised of several different interest groups and clubs all sharing a common goal – to create a world-class backcountry hut system in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The shared objectives of the hut system itself are to increase the comfort and safety of backcountry travelers, minimize environmental impact on the area, leave a lasting legacy for passionate local skiers who have lost their lives in the mountains, and enable other backcountry enthusiasts to experience this outstanding region.
The Spearhead Huts Committee members and member organizations include:
Kees and Claire Memorial Hut Society
Active committee members and avid skiers Jamie Bond, Karen Newby and Tobin Seagel are all directors of the Kees and Claire Memorial Hut Society; a group of friends devoted to building a lasting memorial legacy for Cornelius ‘Kees’ Brenninkmeyer and Claire Dixon.
Brett Carlson Memorial Foundation
Whistler/Squamish based skier/photographer/bon vivant Damian Cromwell acts as representative for the Brett Carlson Memorial Foundation; a group formed in 2000 to raise funds for a memorial hut dedicated to passionate Whistler skier Brett Carlson.
Alpine Club of Canada – Whistler
Long-time Whistler skiers/guides/residents Mitch Sulkers, Jayson Faulkner (founding President of the ACCW) represent the Whistler Section of the Alpine Club of Canada. As current Chair of ACC-Whistler, Mitch Sulkers and his Section along with the Vancouver section, will be ultimately responsible for the operation and maintenance of the hut system. Jayson Faulkner is the founding Chair the Spearhead Hut Committee and serves as liason with the public and BC Parks.
Alpine Club of Canada – Vancouver
A number of important members of the ACC-Vancouver Section are contributing their valuable experience to the Spearhead Huts Committee. Past-chair Rob Brusse brings extensive vision and financial management skills, Manrico Scremin offers his business writing and project management expertise, while Liz Scremin and Colin Boyd apply their design and construction experience from the Jim Haberl Hut Project to this exciting endeavour..
British Columbia Mountaineering Club
Past President David Hughes and current President David Scanlon represent the BCMC on the Committee, and bring the BCMC’s many years of outdoor advocacy, environmental stewardship, hut development and management experience to the table.
Founding Chair – Spearhead Huts Committee
Spearhead Huts Committee
February 2016 – Park Use Permit Received
- Spearhead Huts project issued Park Use Permit – Pique News Magazine
- Spearhead Huts Granted Final Approval – Backcountry Skiing Canada article
- Spearhead Huts Project Gets BC Parks Approval – Vancouver Sun
- Spearhead Huts Committee gets green light for backcountry project – Whistler Question
- New Trio of Year-Round Backcountry Huts Coming to Whistler – Curbed Ski