In 1980, there wasn't a lot of ski touring and ski mountaineering in Western Canada. And there were no catered and guided ski-mountaineering lodges anywhere in North America. That's when Ruedi Beglinger arrived from his native Switzerland to work as a heli-ski guide for a season.
Growing up in the Swiss Alps, Ruedi had been ski touring since the age of six. He had become an Internationally Certified Mountain Guide at the young age of 22. And he had developed both an eye for, and a love of, extraordinary mountain ranges. After one winter skiing in the Selkirks, he knew he'd found a paradise. He decided to remain in Canada to work as a freelance guide.
For the next four years, Ruedi explored and guided across the Selkirks. He discovered the Durrand Glacier and, convinced that it was the most perfect area for ski touring that he had ever seen, he approached the provincial government for a permit to build a backcountry ski lodge. Government doesn't move quickly at the best of times, but this was a new process for them. It took 18 months to get the permit but, by 1985, Ruedi Beglinger had exclusive use of a staggering 76 square kilometers of glaciers, skiable peaks, and eye-opening terrain. It's an area about three times the size of Whistler-Blackcomb, and it's blessed with a remarkably consistent and reliable snowpack.
That summer, a chalet was built and, in the fall, Ruedi Beglinger placed his first ad in Outside magazine. Selkirk Mountain Experience was born.
Now, a quarter of a century later, Selkirk Mountain Experience is the gold standard of ski touring and alpine hiking and climbing in North America. Guests come from all over the world to experience our mountains and our hospitality. Ruedi has married and raised a family here, and he remains as passionate about the joy and responsibility of hosting guests and guiding skiers as he was in his very first winter.
National Geographic calls Selkirk Mountain Experience one of the “Best Travel Adventure Companies on Earth.” We like to think that they knew what they were talking about.
“Owner and head guide Ruedi Beglinger has been taking guests on ski mountaineering and alpine touring trips in a 20,000-acre (8,093-hectare) swath of British Columbia's Selkirk Mountains wilderness since 1985. Beglinger runs clinics and introductory-level trips, but most of his clients aren't new to the sport, and sign up for his steep-skiing and hut-to-hut itineraries. Durrand Glacier Chalet, located at 6,360 feet (1,941 meters), is only accessible by helicopter and serves as a comfortable base of operations with a woodburning stove and 360-degree mountain views.”