Mt. Assiniboine Lodge opened in 1928. It was the first ski-touring lodge in North America. It seems that the people who have worked there have fallen so deeply in love with it that they have spent most of their lives devoted to it.
This blog will give some of the history, talk about current and past owners and use pictures to show you what a few days of living and hiking at the lodge is like. I’ve described the wildflowers food and and some recipes in other posts. I hope you will explore those as well.
Erling Strom spent 50 summers as the lease holder of Mt. Assiniboine Lodge and realized his life’s dream doing so. Sepp and Barb Renner took over the lease from the Strom’s ran it for 30 years. Now their son Andre and his business partner Claude Duchesne have taken the helm. Claude comes from 20 years as a Canadian Mountain Helicopter guide but his wife Annick has been a cook at Assiniboine for many years and their children have spent most of their summers growing up there.
The elder Renners, Barb and Sepp, are also still around and very humbly joke that you just can’t take old fossils out of the park. Sepp Renner told me that he started coming to Assiniboine 45 years ago. I have the feeling, you’ll be able to find him there doing heavy lifting, guiding hikes and climbing the mountains like a young mountain goat for many years to come.
The lodge is only accessible by helicopter or by hiking or skiing to it. This is a true back country experience. We had planned to fly in and hike the 27 kilometers out to Mt. Shark but due to massive damage from the 2013 Alberta floods, the Mt. Shark trail was closed. My dear friend Barb and I flew out and our husbands and sons hiked out over three grueling days.
Before this trip I had only been in a helicopter one other time. Now I’ve been on three helicopter rides and feel they were some of the most thrilling moments of my life. As you’ll see in these photos, the view is as up close and personal as I will ever get to these reclusive peaks in the Canadian Rockies. I’m just not going there on my own.
You can read about slightly easier and equally scenic versions of this hike here.
And that’s it for now. On behalf of my family and friends I would like to thank the staff of Mt. Assiniboine Lodge for making our first visit so memorable. We’ll be back. We’ve got the bug.
I’d also like to dedicate all the posts I’ve done this week to our dear friends Donna, Bill and Julia who were unable to make the trip due to complications of the Alberta flood. We missed you terribly and promise to go back with you anytime you are ready.
Mt. Assiniboine and its eponymous lodge are in our hearts forever and will always be a great way to savour life.