The turning of the larch trees each September comes like the last act of a play signifying the approaching change of seasons and the beginning of winter. Its the forests last hurrah as the trees prepare for the coming snow falls. Although winter may not be that far away the hiking in the fall can be some of the best of the season; snow covered mountain peaks, beautiful fall colours, cooler hiking temps and a lack of biting insects.

Closing the Lodge

The end of September is also the time of our season where we start preparations for the upcoming winter ski season. We start thinking about putting the lodge to bed for the few months prior to opening for the winter, we stock up on Firewood and tune up the grooming equipment for track setting the access road.

The lodge is like a great big cottage that needs to be shut down at the end of the summer season. Pipes need to be drained, storm windows put on, all food stored in secure places away from curious pine martens and laundry all done and put away until the next season. We have an energetic small crew who help make it all happen. Our kitchen team keeps everyone well fed; dining on the last of the salmon or beef tenderloin, hearty breakfasts and cookies. Yes those delectable O’Hara cookies; Ginger Molasses or my favourite DOUBLE CHOCOLATE.

There is still a week left before we start all the close up. In the meantime we will be out enjoying the hiking trails!

The Load of Firewood Arrives

Fall is also our time to load up on Firewood for the sauna and the Lodges large stone fireplace. It is quite a process;

  • A logging truck arrives from down in the Columbia Valley with a truck full of logs
  • The driver off loads them with the coolest and slickest machine.
  • A group of staff and friends cut, split and stack the wood.

The cutting and splitting usually happens in a one day blitz. Everyone is definitely sore and tired after a long day of that and quickly head for a sauna and a lake jump to ease the weary muscles.

Mike uses the picker to unload the logs.

Mike uses the picker to unload the logs.

Ski Season Preparations

Last year we acquired a used Snowcat, new to us, to help make the winter lodge servicing more efficient. What previously was a series of weekly snowmobile runs to haul food, trackset and groom the road is now accomplished in a single trip up and down the road. And as a result the ski trail into O’Hara is a dream for the cross country skiers. We hope to do the track setting once a month prior to opening and then once a week when we are open. Our most recent grooming will be posted on the web site! This week we have been getting the cat serviced and ready to go. Some people give me a hard time that it is my mid-life crisis toy; I just think it is totally cool to drive!

Lake O’Hara offers the perfect introduction to ski touring or a wonderful snowshoeing experience. If you are intrigued and wish to find out more please give us a call at 250-343-6418. Our main lodge is open in the winter, limiting the experience to only 16 guests. There are still spots available for couples or small groups of friends or family.


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