If you build it, they will come.
This must have been the modus operandi of the Canadian Pacific Railway back in 1931 when Skoki Lodge was hewed out of the Rocky Mountain forest. And so they did. Tourists arrived on elegant passenger trains from eastern North America and trekked on horseback into the backwoods of the Canadian Rockies. A more accurate name would be “adventurers” considering what they wore, how long it took to get to Lake Louise station from their eastern origins and various other inconveniences of those early years. The rest is history, as they say, in 1992 Skoki Lodge was a designated national historic site.
Today, those who make the same effort on foot or skis will agree, every step up the 760 m elevation gain is worth it. Skoki has entertained commoner and royalty, painter and politician, mountaineer and CEO, but mostly people like you and me (presuming, of course, you are not the future king of England). Tucked into the forest of Skoki Valley lie hand hewed rustic buildings reeking with comfort and goodness, from oil lamps to the loungers strategically located around the room for a post hiking “40 winks” to the stuffed leathers circling the wood fireplace and the upright piano in the corner screaming “I have stories to tell!” The log walls show off athletic paraphernalia from a bygone era (wooden skis 2 cm thick with thin leather bindings), snowshoes and monochromatic photographs exuding clarity and historic importance. The action shot of a man flying on skis well above the horizon is eye catching and the caption curiously mentions a movie production. They had movies? Back then? A good guess is the image was taken in the 40’s. Candles and oil lamps throw out an entrancing, comfy glow - how can this precariously, all wooden, time- honoured structure still be here? Décor aside, one of the best reasons to make the climb up Boulder Pass, across Ptarmigan lakeside and then the slug up and over the (oh, so deceptive) Deception Pass is the food that lies waiting down in the valley at Skoki Lodge. Food! Yes, food!