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“A backcountry ski into the real Canadian wilderness”
Review of Skoki Lodge

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Skoki Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
St. Albert
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“A backcountry ski into the real Canadian wilderness”
Reviewed 8 March 2012

If you want to see the real Canadian wilderness, put on your back country skis and go to Skoki Lodge. You will see spectacular scenery and get a great workout skiing over Deception Pass. The downhill to the lodge is quite enjoyable. The lodge offers relatively comfortable lodging, but it does not have electricity or running water. I found it did not offer some of the amenities offered at other backcountry lodges such as guides, soft fluffy comforters, and warm water delivered to your door. The folks at the lodge did offer maps and supplied a lovely afternoon tea. This was quite welcome after the winds and snows were encountered on our journey.

Room Tip: The private cabins are a more quite option than the main lodge.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
8 Thank Anne B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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English first
Edson, Canada
Level Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 February 2012

We spent 2 nights at Skoki and it is very scenic. The Lodge has excellent food and very helpful, friendly staff. We stayed in the Riverside Cabin and it was extremely comfortable. The skiing was great and the trail up is well marked. The staff were great at suggesting areas to ski in and had maps that were helpful. We will definitely go back to hike in the summer.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
16 Thank Alpine2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 January 2012

While I draw the line at sleeping in snow caves, I've had my fair share of experiences in backcountry huts. Skoki Lodge is luxurious in comparison. While it's still outhouse country, catered food, heated cabins, down duvets (heck--beds!), and wine/beer for purchase (no need to pack it in) all make for a lovely backcountry experience.

The hut is an 11km ski/snowshoe in from the Lake Louise ski area, which makes it long enough to be a challenge but short enough to be accessible to most fit individuals. The trail is well-travelled and on safe terrain. We arrived during the holiday season and did not anticipate the traffic going into the Lake Louise ski area so missed our check-in time of 9:30 am. However, the ski in only took us 3.5 hours, without any breaks (we hit howling wind after the first pass) so we got there with plenty of daylight to spare. Would definitely recommend going into the ski area a little early though, if only to get better parking closer to your start location. The start of the trail is also in the middle of the ski area, and it took us close to an hour just to get the trailhead, which we didn't realize.

Katie, Leo, and their staff were incredibly welcoming and accommodating, providing great advice on skiable terrain in the area, and their two dogs (Bill and Lucy) and two children were a hoot. We stayed in the "Honeymoon Suite", which provided us with our own cabin away from the main lodge. We only booked it because that was the last available space, and would have been happy to stay in the lodge as the rooms all seemed great.

Food was included, and you definitely didn't go hungry, even with all the big eaters in the place (you burn a lot of energy skiing). Hot breakfast, a do-it-yourself sandwich-making lunch buffet, soup and appies at the end of your skiing, and multiple course dinner. Wine and beer could be purchased which made for light packs on the way in (no sleeping bags helped that cause as well).

Was it rustic? Yes. Don't expect 5-star luxury here. But delicious catered food and down duvets are pretty luxurious out here. And the rustic nature of the place is half the ambiance.

Interesting factoid: William and Kate stayed here on their short visit to Canada, and Skoki had a temporary bathroom flown in specially for them. No, they did not hike in. But you should.

Room Tip: Cabins can be rented at good rates if you have multiple people and want to keep to your own space.
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
15 Thank earai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Level Contributor
49 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 November 2011

This lodge was cozy and comfortable - especially liked the day beds in the lodge for avid readers and the like. The games on hand could use a refreshing as they come in handy if the weather is averse (nice to play a round of something in the cozy lodge). The food was another highlight - healthful, and thoughtfully prepared - the menu was creative and much appreciated. Attention to dietary issues was careful and considered - this was also much appreciated as allergies and other dietary issues are easily forgotten at many places. The hike up to Skoki was really the best part for us - it was lovely, with so much varying terrain.

Our only quips were slight:

- no wood burning fireplace in the cabins - if there is a safety issue, wood burning in the lodge at least would be great (all there is now is gas so do not expect the stereotypical crackle and smell of a real fireplace)
- lanterns are sub-par at best (LED lamps in dark cabins do little - we could barely unpack/pack) - it would be best by far to bring your own lanterns along, and a flashlight or two as well to ensure you can see adequately
- wonderful down comforters but the lodge skimps on pillows - ours were poly-filled, old and lumpy
- no hot soup provided on arrival as promised in our adverts - just crackers and cheese with some fruit (no big deal but when doing a long hike, especially in cooler weather, when soup is promised, it is a real treat)

Despite all this, we would return and take on another one of the hikes while up at the lodge. The food is too good to be missed and we liked the packed lunch format (especially the granola) for daily outings, and the hike up is pure enjoyment. This is a wonderful, quiet part of the Rocky Mountains, and the staff was helpful on booking, and while on site. We would definitely bring our own lanterns and lights if we do ever go back.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Time-and-Away
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oak Ridge, New Jersey
Level Contributor
942 reviews
106 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 730 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 September 2011

My wife and I had originally booked a stay at the Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park (US) for the end of August. Unfortunately, a 30' snow pack and an avalanche closed most of their season - including our reserved time. Fortunately, a quick web search informed us about Skoki Lodge, in time to get one of their last rooms available for the dates we needed. With a little itinerary adjustment, we were on our way.
The visit to Skoki starts with a 9 AM check-in at the Lake Louise Ski Area lodge - You must check-in. You then get yourself to the Fish Creek parking lot for shuttle pick-up at around 10AM. The shuttle to the trailhead at Temple Day Lodge shaves 1.9 miles off your hike. Even if you REALLY like hiking, the road to Temple is a somewhat boring, dusty road.
Without going into great detail of the hike in, suffice it to say that it is 7.5 miles, over two mountain passes. You begin at an elevation of 6600', climb a total of 1550' (With some minor downhills), and then drop 1050' into the Skoki Valley. I mention this because, even if you are a regular hiker, the combination of distance, elevation gains/losses, and elevation of up to 8150' can be a workout that I would rate as moderately strenuous. However, I made it with bad knees, and my wife made it with fake knees - and the hike is worth it! The scenery is awesome, and the lodge is a great payoff at the end! Just be forewarned - If you need odging with running water, electricity and flush toilets, this might not be your choice.
We are slow hikers, taking lots of pictures along the way, so we arrived at Skoki Lodge a little after 2PM Footwear is removed outside, and we entered during afternoon "tea" - Coffee, tee, lemonade, water, soup, cheese, crackers, nachos, salsa, etc. All was delicious, and there is plenty of seating in the lodge dining and sitting areas, including banquettes and day beds with cushions and pillows for really welcome lounging. In the course of tea, we met one of the staffers, Vanessa, who explained things and showed us our room.
Rooms are small and rustic, but they are for sleeping and dressing. Nobody spends a lot of time in them. Ours was on the lodge's second floor, and was named "Deception", after the last mountain pass we hiked over. There are two twin beds - one sitting fairly high to accommodate storage underneath - stools, two tables, a wash basin/pitcher, and two battery lanterns. Warm wash water is retrieved from the first floor, and there was a drain sink at the end of the hall for grey water. The outhouses are just behind the lodge. Most people have no problem with this, even during the chilly nights (Except, apparently, for the Prince of Wales and his wife, who visited in July and got a bathroom installed for their 24-hour stay (lol)). As an aside, the floor on the second story squeak - a lot! It is oddly entertaining, and you get used to it during the night.
Lighting is subdued, even when the candles and oil lamps are lit. In the night, solar lights provide limited lighting in the upstairs hall. Heat is from downstairs woodstoves and the night heater in the "dry room", where wet articles are placed to dry. For the rest, your bed has a cozy comforter. We never felt cold indoors.
The atmosphere is relaxed and congenial. Most of us went out to see the supplies arrive by pack horse train and its ramrod, a personable but fairly businesslike Jack Russell terrier named Roughneck. We also got a better chance to meet his girlfriend Lucy, who is also friendly, though she wants what she wants and doesn't like distractions. After a game of backgammon (Using the same set used by William and Kate), we joined about ten other guests around the woodstove, talking about a variety of things, but mostly hiking - go figure. At supper around group tables, we met the very pleasant, funny and capable manager, Katie, and another staffer, Megalie. We also met a video/photo crew shooting for therealbanff.com and Banff/Lake Luise Tourism.
The buffet dinner was stuffed chicken breasts, butternut squash, fiesta corn, rice pilaf, "Skoki" salad and date cake for dessert. Wine and beer are available for purchase. Nobody left this or any other meal/tea hungry, and everything was exceptionally good.
Those of us who arose at 6AM - lit by candles and lanterns - enjoyed coffee, whispered conversation, and a light coating of fresh snow (Sep 1st). The poor tourism people were trying to get summer shots!
Breakfast starts at 8AM with the "fiber" course of oatmeal, granola, fruit, yogurt, etc. The second course featured the souffle of the day. Around 8:30, the breakfast buffet is cleared for do-it-yourself lunch fixings for coldcut sandwiches, cookies, trail mix, etc.
After a day of hiking - for which Katie prepares you with trail descriptions and maps - we returned in time for "tea", this time featuring a great chili. After more backgammon and conversation, dinner was served - Pork tenderloin, tomato and mushroom, orzo, "Skoki" salad, and Pots de Creme.
After-dinner conversation was preceded by packing for the next morning's departure.
At 6AM, I met another staffer, Mike, who was helping for the weekend, though he usually works here in the winter. Unfortunately, we didn't directly meet Katie's husband or any other staff. Breakfast of the "fiber" course, scrambled eggs and scones was excellent as before.
With a minimum of fanfare, everyone was packed and ready to take their chosen hiking route out. At this point, beware - You need to be psyched for a 1050' climb in the first 3 miles, and the rest is a sometimes knee-pounding downhill.
Very, very, very worthwhile!!!

Room Tip: Book early to get the best choice of room/cabin. The website gives good descriptions of all accommo...
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
18 Thank HowlnBubba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Skoki Lodge

Property: Skoki Lodge
Address: P.O. Box 5, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta T0L 1E0, Canada
Region: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Banff National Park > Lake Louise
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 10 Speciality Lodging in Lake Louise
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): €€
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Skoki Lodge is situated in a beautiful high alpine region in Banff National Park. The eleven kilometer trail from Lake Louise to the Skoki Valley makes Skoki Lodge an ideal destination for hikers and skiers of all levels. From Skoki Lodge one can access breathtaking mountain ridges and alpine lakes, or explore five different adjoining valleys. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Skoki Hotel Lake Louise

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