Outdoor Life – Skoki Lodge in Banff National Park
A day of skiing or snowshoeing to reach a rustic lodge nestled in the mountainside, where you spend the evening by a warm fireplace drinking hot chocolate - doesn't that sound perfect?
If you're planning a trip to Alberta, Skoki Lodge is smack in the middle of Banff National Park near Lake Louise. Even better, skiers and snowshoers can reach it in the winter. It's in an alpine region of the park - you'll find a warm bed, superb hospitality and delicious food.
To reach this little piece of heaven you'll have to work for it though. It takes about 3-5 hours to cross-country ski, or 5-6 hours to snowshoe the very hilly 7 mile (11km) trail. A friend of mine, who did this trip recently, said that while most of the trail is ascending the toughest ascent was Deception Pass, which definitely got her heart pounding. She also recommended using skins on your skis to help with the uphills. They grip the snow and prevent you from back-sliding, and they're easily removed for speed on the downhills.
In addition to enjoyment on the trails, there's always fun at the lodge when you meet up with other folks. My friend, who actually ended up spending St. Patrick's Day there, was lucky enough to run into a group of Irish men, who were also spending the night at the lodge. Apparently they had been doing this trip on St. Patrick's Day for the past 24 years and always flew in Guinness and musical instruments to add to the celebration. Needless to say, she was well entertained for the evening.
Thankfully, the way home is easier. You can take off those skins because you'll be flying down all the hills you climbed to reach the lodge. But ski with caution - those downhills can be challenging to navigate.
The great thing about this kind of trip is that amount of time you get to spend outdoors knowing there's a warm bed waiting for you. The next time I'm in Calgary this is definitely an outing I'm going to include. And I'm always up for company, so let me know if you want to come!
Nomadik Personal Fitness Expert