Skoki LodgePosted: April 17, 2009
It was a nice Easter weekend at Lake Louise, and on Sunday I made a quick trip out to Skoki Lodge for the day to get some photographs before the lodge closed for the spring. I arrived in time for breakfast, and wandered around the lodge as the last guests of the season packed and prepared for their trip back to Lake Louise. Skoki is now closed until late June, when the first guests of the summer will make the 11km hike in, hopeful not to encounter too much snow.
The pioneers of skiing in the Lake Louise area first envisioned a European-style system of backcountry lodges that skiers could string together in multi-day trips, and Skoki was the first. World War I and troubled financial times put a stop to these grand plans before any other lodges could be built, though construction materials for another can still be found in the woods above Douglas Lake, to the east of Skoki.
The trip to Skoki is about 11km and starts at a cut-off on Marmot just uphill of Temple Lodge. The trail is well-maintained, and travels along the gentle rise of the Ptarmigan Valley, over Boulder Pass, across Ptarmigan Lake, then over Deception Pass and down into the Skoki Valley to the lodge. This trip can be done in two or three hours, depending on equipment and ability. Most supplies for the lodge, including food and laundry, are taken in by snowmobile on a trail that is mostly separate from the ski trail, and larger items, like the huge propane tanks that fuel the kitchen and generator, are flown in by helicopter at the start of the season. In summer, a helicopter is used until the trail is clear of snow, and then horses are used to pack all supplies in.
Once the ski season is over, I’ll be posting a more detailed history of Skoki Lodge and how it relates to the beginning of the Lake Louise Ski Area.