Feasting with friends in a winter wonderland

Ski your way to a seat at this table where supper is served with a side of adventure

An evening with friends at the Ole Sandberg cabin. Photo: Robyn Goldsmith

This article first appeared in print in the January 2020 issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.

For our January 2020 issue, Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine welcomes food writer Charlotte Sit and her new column The Stoked Palate.

Charlotte is a backcountry chef with a boundless enthusiasm for sharing the joy of eating well. She has cooked for hundreds of hungry adventurers at over a dozen backcountry lodges throughout B.C. and Alberta and is the owner of Mountain Standard Catering.

The Stoked Palate will explore Revelstoke’s growing food scene to find unique stories about people cooking up food culture in our mountain town.

Charlotte’s stories will go beneath the surface to highlight Revelstoke’s unique culinary characters to share diverse and innovative deliciousness that deserves more attention.

It’s early evening at the Mount Macpherson Nordic Lodge parking lot, and the last light of the sun is giving way to the evening’s chill as I arrive to meet a few friends already there. Under the lights of the lodge we layer up, turn on the headlamps, click into our cross country skis, and begin the journey to tonight’s dinner destination in the woods, the Ole Sandberg cabin.

Leaving behind the well-lit trails of the night skiing loop, the darkness is offset by the light of the full moon reflecting off the snow covered trail, silent except for the sound of gliding skis. The next half an hour slips by as we cruise along, while catching up with each other over the past week’s happenings. Cresting the final bend, an opening in the trail reveals the Ole Sandberg cabin, a true ski in ski out setting for gathering with friends.

The cabin usually remains unheated, so we work quickly and soon have the interior wood stove going, using fire wood that is stocked just outside. Tealight candles provide a cozy atmosphere, and as the fire warms up, we begin to dig into the mobile feast that has emerged from our backpacks; Thermoses of mulled wine, an assortment of snacks, plus grilled cheese sandwiches ready to be toasted on the woodstove. Someone has also brought in a tightly wrapped foil package filled with roasted root vegetables tossed with olive oil and herbs, which we heat up along with the sandwiches.

File photo: Nordic skiers gather at the Ole Sandberg Cabin at a moonlight ski event at the Mount Macpherson trail network. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.

The Ole Sandberg has been the venue of choice amongst my friends for a few birthday potluck dinners, with musical instruments having been known to make appearances as well. Another occasion I’ve celebrated at the cabin was the Spring Equinox, where a friend of mine with German roots hoofed in an impressive Feuerzangenbowle setup involving a full size stock pot. This is a traditional German beverage that features a loaf of pure sugar that soaked with high-proof rum, which is suspended above a pot of warm spiced wine, and set ablaze. The flaming rum and sugar unit eventually melts into a caramelized syrup which drips in the wine below. Wunderbar!

As our dinner winds down and the last of the coals burn out in the stove, we make sure to pack up everything we brought and prepare for the ski back down to the parking lot. The cold of the night air jolts us awake from our warm, post dinner lethargy as we click back into our skis and push off from the cabin. Giddy from the cold and invigorated by the return to activity, we zip down the trails with only the light from our headlamps barely giving enough definition to what lies ahead. Just another dine and dash evening at the Ole Sandberg cabin.

Nordic Night Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
(makes 4 servings)

-8 slices of hearty bread.
-1 cup grated cheese, such as aged cheddar, gruyere, brie, gorgonzola.
-¼ cup butter, softened.
-2 tablespoon grainy mustard.
-Additional fillings: sliced apple, baby arugula, prosciutto, fig chutney, chopped walnuts.

Spread each slice of bread with butter on one side and mustard on the other side. Place slices butter side down, and divide cheese evenly among four of the slices. Add additional filling of choice and top with the remaining four slices, butter side up. Wrap each sandwich securely in foil. Place foil wrapped sandwiches on the surface of a hot wood stove and let brown for a few minutes on either side, or until cheese is melted.