12 km (one way)
Elevation Gain: 500m
Summer, Winter, Fall, Spring
Hands down one of the coolest experience you can do in Canada!!
But don’t think that this is an easy trek in. At least not in the dead of winter with a snow accumulation of 30cm in 48 hours! We almost got snowed in! But that’s part of the whole experience right?!
Being built-in 1931 and located 12km in the backcountry (we tracked 13 likely because we stopped at the half way house for a snack) you can expect no electricity, running water, or of course darling outhouses! Never the less, you will be wine & dinned with the finest, 5 star food Banff has to offer. With an amazing house chief I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so well!! Full course breakfast and dinner with a buffet style of cold lunch provided so you can pack a to-go bag for you days adventure.
Although wine is not included, and it is kind of pricey (which you can expect as someone has to ski-doo everything in!) you are welcome to bring your own drinks as long as you keep them in your rooms and drink them in your rooms. Basically standard hotel policies.
The rooms are warm and cozy, each with their own wood stove providing heat whenever you need it. Heavy duvet over each bed so even though it was -35 outside, we were snuggled as a bug in our cabin – a little hot actually! Everything is super clean, with plenty of games to play, even a guitar and piano! So make sure to pack a musically talented friend!
As for the hike/snowshoe/ski in – it’s fairly mild elevation for the 1/3 of the way in, basically until you hit the haunted half way shack. Yes I did say haunted. Apparently 4 men were killed, 4 different ways over the years and claim to reside in the cabin. But never the less, the half way cabin, located about 1/3 of the way, has minimal elevation. Most of the inclines begins after crossing the lake and heading up deception pass. And yes its a B*!%& ! This never-ending pass will suck the life out of you – at least in all that snow it will!! But it does end. Leaving you to hike the last third on a gradual decent through the valley and into the welcoming doors of Skoki Lodge!
“Must Packs” for the trip:
- Slippers/cabin shoes
- Head lamp
- Damp wipes
- Thermos for tea/coffee
- Musical friend
- The least amount of clothes you can bring! You think you will need a lot, but you don’t. Pack light!! I can not stress this enough. Hike in/out in the same outfit and have an outfit for dinners.
I know the website suggests that this is an moderate hike into the lodge, but please keep in mind this is an average based on all weather conditions (summer and winter) and probably assuming that anyone interested in making the trek has a considerable amount of experience in the mountains. It was a hard trek, I would have not made it in skis. And actually, a couple people had to borrow snowshoes from the lodge hike back out, as there was to much snow and the groomed trail in was completely wiped out. Although its more work, snowshoeing was the better option for our group and we weren’t too far behind the touring group. Snowshoeing is the suggested method on the official webpage, most people just prefer to ski. Click link below for map details!
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