Thursday, February 24, 2022

Frozen Waterfalls, a Cave, and A Fun Ice Hike near Kananaskis Village

Last winter my son and I headed out to find a mysterious set of waterfalls known as either Kananaskis Falls or Wasootch Falls depending on who you asked. We followed vague instructions to find the unnamed waterfall, on an unnamed creek in Kananaskis, hiking a trail that doesn't even have a sign. Heck, there isn't even a parking lot for this one!

Our adventure was filled with route finding mistakes resulting in having to retrace our steps, and a few "sketchy" moments. Add that it was -30C and we were tromping around in the woods on a new-to-us trail trying to find a frozen waterfall I could only hope was really out there somewhere!

Frozen Kananaskis Falls are easy to find - if you know where you're going!

Fortunately for you, I now know how to find the waterfall and the hike has since been added to the popular All Trails app. It's also a short hike (2 km round trip according to All Trails.) Bring your ice cleats or micro spikes for this one, and you should have no problems finding the frozen "Kananaskis Falls."

Note this hike is not suitable for young children and I recommend it for families with school aged children or teens who are confident hikers. While it's only a short hike, the trail is rough and there are many steep sections.

Frozen waterfalls and an ice cave behind

It's pretty rare when you can crawl in behind a frozen waterfall!

Where to park for the hike to Kananaskis Falls

The hike is near Kananaskis Village so head south on Highway 40 from Calgary heading for the Village. 

When you get to the turnoff for the village, you're going to turn off the highway, and then do an immediate U-turn (when it's safe,) and you're going to park on the side of the highway almost immediately after doing your U-turn. You need to be heading north to park on the side of the road beside the trailhead.

This is where the All Trails app comes in handy because it shows where the hike starts (even if you don't follow the app while hiking.) - See the trailhead here on All Trails

You'll be following the hiking trail for Wasootch Peak (different from Wasootch Ridge.)

Be a responsible hiker:

  1. Have a backup plan in place in case there are already too many cars parked on the side of the road! Because there is no parking lot, there is only room for ~ 6 vehicles to park by the trailhead. If you see that there is already a large line of cars parked on the side of the road, please consider choosing a different hike.

    So far it has not become a problem with vehicles parking on the side of the road for this hike, but if there are suddenly 50 cars parked here every Saturday, I guarantee you that it will become a problem and vehicles could start to receive tickets.

  2. Do not do a U-turn if there is a car immediately behind you turning off for Kananaskis Village!! Drive into the Ribbon Creek or the Troll Falls parking lot and safely turn around there.

  3. There are no bathrooms at the trailhead so stop at the Casino where there are bathrooms by the Tim Hortons or visit the bathrooms at one of the other nearby trailheads (Troll Falls or Ribbon Creek for example.) You could even pull into the Barrier Lake Visitor Centre. Please do not just duck behind some trees near the trailhead.

  4. This isn't an official trail but I would still recommend your dog be on leash if you choose to bring him/her. Not only is it the smart thing to do for potential wildlife encounters, but other hikers will appreciate not having a strange dog running at them on the trail.

  5. Hike out everything you take with you! Nobody is following you on the trail to clean up after you! This includes your doggie poo bags.

From the highway you'll be following a snow covered creek bed until you reach the forest trail

Hiking up the Wasootch Peak Trail to find the frozen Kananaskis Falls 

You'll be following the trail that you'd take to climb Wasootch Peak. (See it on All Trails at this link.)

You're going to start by hiking up a snowy dry creek bed until you see a trail through the trees on the left side of the creek. Follow the trail for approximately half a kilometre until you see the sign below.

You'll eventually need to drop down into the creek, but do NOT leave the forest trail until AFTER you see the sign (even if the All Trails app tells you that you are off route.) Trust me. Watch for the sign!

The forest trail climbs fairly steeply, but it's easy enough if you have microspikes or ice cleats and good winter boots.

Last year we dropped down into the creek before reaching the sign above and then had to backtrack and retrace our steps when the route through the creek became impassible. There was open water, a small frozen waterfall we'd have to climb to get above, and there were lots of logs blocking our route.

Once you've passed the sign above, look for an easy way to descend down to the creek. We didn't have too much of a problem because we had our microspikes, but I could see a bit of bum scooting being necessary without them. It is a steep descent, but you're not dropping off a cliff. Just make your way down a slope with trees as you drop into the creek.

Once you're down at creek level, it's about another half a kilometre of hiking beside the creek (which might be open in spots) until you see the waterfall (as in the photo below.)

The hiking beside the creek is a bit tricky in spots and this is NOT a hike for preschoolers or young children. Careful footing is required and it'll take you at least an hour to reach the waterfall (even if it is only a kilometre of hiking one way.)

Hiking along the creek to reach Kananaskis Falls

A beautiful waterfall and an ice cave! 

Finally, after what could feel like forever depending on whether you're breaking trail or not, you'll come to the frozen waterfall - which won't look like much at first.

This waterfall isn't much to look at from the outside. You're here for the cave behind the waterfall that will give you the feeling of being inside an ice cave.

The coolest frozen waterfall I've hiked to

Standing behind Kananaskis Falls in the coolest ice cave!

Kids will LOVE this hike to Kananaskis Falls

You're here for the opportunity to crawl behind a frozen ice curtain of blue ice, an experience that is rare to come by.

Hopefully you'll get some time at the waterfall be yourself, but if there are other groups at the falls expect to wait for your turn to get close to the ice.

And please be respectful of other groups waiting their turn to go behind the waterfall. This isn't the place to have your lunch while others wait or to set up a fancy elaborate Instagram shoot when there's a queue forming behind you.  

Blue ice behind Kananaskis Falls

When we did this hike last winter, nobody knew about it, and it was easy to get the cave all to ourselves. This hike is becoming popular though so I recommend going mid-week if you want a quiet experience, or starting early to avoid the crowds.

Kananaskis Falls is a great half-day adventure!

Other activities to do in the area

Since this is a half-day hike, you'll want a few suggestions for other activities to do in the area unless you're only wanting a short outing.

You'll also want some backup plans in case there are already a dozen ore more cars parked along the highway beside the trailhead.

  • Hike Troll Falls and Visit the Upper Falls (where there's another waterfall you can go behind.)

  • Visit Kananaskis Village where there's a sledding hill and skating pond

  • Spend the morning skiing at Nakiska and then hike to Kananaskis Falls in the afternoon

  • Hike the Ribbon Creek Trail (where there are several fun bridges.)

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Winter Family Glamping Getaway at Mount Engadine Lodge, Kananaskis

Raise your hand if you like winter tent camping in the snow. Add that you've been skiing all day and you're feeling wet and cold. You're also ravenous from your adventures and dying for a hot cup of coffee or tea (in a warm place with heat!)

Glamping at Mount Engadine Lodge in Kananaskis

Now ignore the classic idea of winter camping and picture this instead:
You drive up to a beautiful backcountry lodge perched on a bench overlooking a snowy meadow with awe-inspiring mountains in the background. You then grab your bags and walk up to your tent where you'll be camping - to find out that your tent has electricity! It has heat! And it has a bathroom (with running water, a flush toilet, and a hot shower!) 

After getting cozy in your tent, you walk over to the main lodge where coffee, tea, and drinks are waiting for you in the toasty warm building. You sit down beside a fireplace and a charcuterie board is brought to your table with a decadent assortment of meats, cheese and crackers. And then you're served dessert! (And it's not even dinner yet.)

This is just the beginning of your stay at Mount Engadine Lodge in Kananaskis where you can forget everything you thought you knew about camping. This is glamping, and it's pretty amazing!

Glamping at Mount Engadine Lodge, Kananaskis

Afternoon tea at Mount Engadine Lodge

The Mount Engadine Lodge Experience

Mount Engadine Lodge was named one of the top 5 hotels in Canada and top 101 in the world for 2022 by Fodor's Travel! It is the only backcountry lodge in Alberta with drive-up to the front door access and the only front country resort I know of that offers an all inclusive stay with all meals provided. 

On our recent trip, we stayed in a glamping tent but you'll also find other accommodation options including cabins, lodge rooms, and suites. Well-behaved pets are more than welcome in the cabins, one of the suites, and in all of the glamping tents as well, and are allowed in the main lodge living room areas (so they don't need to hide in your room the whole time.)

There's also a yurt at Mount Engadine Lodge for those who really want to try "camping." The yurt is a bit more rustic and does not have indoor plumbing or heat (beyond a portable heater.) Inquire with the lodge directly if you want to stay in the yurt (which sleeps 4 people.)

The glamping tents have a king sized bed, pull out sofa, and are pet friendly

"Camping" is pretty decadent at Mount Engadine Lodge in these glamping tents

Mount Engadine Lodge Location

This front country lodge is located in Spray Valley Provincial Park on the Spray Lakes Road outside of Canmore. The Spray Lakes Road turns into the Smith Dorrien/Spray Trail (highway 742 south) and the Lodge is located beside the road to the Mount Shark trailhead past the Spray Lakes Reservoir.

Ski out the door at Mount Engadine Lodge in Kananaskis

From the lodge you're a very short drive from Mount Shark, a popular Nordic Skiing destination near Calgary with a gorgeous trail system. Snowshoeing is also popular from the lodge with trails you can access without even driving to a trailhead.

This is just one of the trails you can ski or snowshoe from Mount Engadine Lodge

Family-friendly Mount Engadine Lodge 

Families will also feel very comfortable at Mount Engadine. There is a two bedroom cabin we've stayed at before, and you'll find pull out sofas in all of the glamping tents as well as in the suites attached to the main lodge.

It can be difficult to take children to upscale resorts, but it "works" at Mount Engadine. Our son has often retreated to the living room adjacent to the dining room between dinner courses, has been served dessert earlier in the past (when he finished his main course more quickly than the adults,) and has never had anybody look poorly at him if he needed something to occupy him at the dinner table (be it a book or electronic device.)

Family glamping at Mount Engadine Lodge

We've stayed at the lodge many times with our son and we've always felt very welcome hanging out together and playing board games in the common living areas of the lodge. The staff are very accommodating as well so let them know if you have a child who needs to eat dinner earlier so that they can get tucked into bed before dinner (which starts at 7:00pm.) On our recent trip, the kids were even offered a special meal (lasagna) if they didn't want to eat the same "fancy food" that the adults were eating.

The lodge also has Wi-Fi which helps if you have early bird risers (like my son) who would benefit from using a tablet or I-pad when they wake up at 6am!

Family time in the main lodge at Mount Engadine

Add that pets are welcome, and your whole family will be able to come with you to this amazing lodge. Nobody has to stay behind. - which would include the extended family if you want to bring the grandparents or other relatives for a big family getaway. There are plenty of room options here for other family or friends who may want to join you.

Just one of the cozy nooks where you can have afternoon tea or relax after dinner

There are no shortage of cozy places to curl up with a good book at this lodge

Five-Star Dining at Mount Engadine Lodge

All stays at Mount Engadine include afternoon tea (coffee, tea, charcuterie board, freshly baked apple strudel) a three-course dinner with soup or salad, main course, and dessert, breakfast the next day, and a packed lunch for your adventures.

And lest you worry about the "quality" of your food during your stay, this is 5-star dining at it's finest! Mount Engadine's Chef serves up gourmet meals that could include Eggs Benedict with smoked bacon for breakfast along with slow cooked bison ribs or rack of lamb for dinner. Even the sandwiches for lunch taste better than anything I could prepare myself with freshly baked bread and homemade cookies to take on the trail.

Want to drop in for afternoon tea?

The lodge accepts day visitors for their afternoon tea service. Advance reservations are recommended and the price is $35 per person. Call the lodge to inquire about availability.

Tea goes from 2-5pm with the last sitting at 4:00pm. 

A look at dinner during our recent stay at Mount Engadine Lodge

You'll be treated to 5 star dining at Mount Engadine Lodge

Fresh from the oven apple strudel is served every afternoon

More on the Engadine Glamping Experience 

The Glamping Experience includes:

  • An "elevated" camping experience where you sleep in a canvas walled trappers tent, raised off the ground and accessed by a wooden walkway from the road.

  • Sleeping in comfort! There's no sleeping bags or cold hard ground here. Each glamping tent includes one king sized bed which can be split into two twins if sharing with a friend. There's also a pull out sofa for parents who want to bring the kids along.

  • Heat!!! You won't be shivering in your sleeping bag, waiting for the sun to come up when you camp at Mount Engadine. Each tent includes a propane fireplace to keep you toasty warm.

  • Indoor heated bathrooms (in your tent!!) Each tent has hot running water, a shower, and a flush toilet.

  • No Cooking!! Tell me about the last time you went camping and didn't have to lift a finger to do any cooking or camp chores? At Mount Engadine, the lodge prepares all of your meals from the comfort of the main lodge. All you are expected to do is to rest, to relax, and to enjoy.

The glamping tents at Mount Engadine are a short walk from the main lodge

A decadent breakfast is always a highlight of every stay at Mount Engadine Lodge

Cross-Country Skiing at Mount Engadine Lodge

Nordic Skiing at Mount Shark

We LOVE cross-country skiing at Mount Shark, just up the road from the lodge, but it's a long drive from Calgary for a day trip. However, Mount Shark is a whole lot closer when you stay at Mount Engadine Lodge overnight!

The Mount Shark Trails usually get groomed and freshly trackset every Thursday night, just in time for the weekend and the snow stays great here well through March and into early April. Most of the trails are fairly intermediate/advanced (you need to enjoy hills) but the Watridge Lake Trail is beginner-friendly and takes you to a pretty lake. There's one hill down to the lake that most novice skiers walk. Other than that, most of the trail is relatively flat with one practice hill near the parking lot that you'll have fun with on the return ski.

Cross-country skiing at Mount Shark near Mount Engadine Lodge

Hercules is our favourite loop for scenery

See a map of the Mount Shark Trails here and the grooming report here. To see the difficulty ratings of each trail, you can look at the map on the grooming report.

Stick to the green trails (Watridge Lake Trail and Draco) if you don't like hills. If you want to try a fun rollercoaster loop with big hills up and down, try Ursa Major. It's hard to be bored on Ursa and it has great flow! And if you consider yourself a strong intermediate skier who can handle ~300 metres of climbing, Hercules is my favourite loop. 

Watridge Lake Trail is a beginner-friendly trail at Mount Shark

Strong skiers can ski all of Ursa Major, Virgo, Pegasus, Hercules, and Orion in a 15 km loop. 

All trails (with the exception of Watridge Lake Trail) are one-way only so you'll never have to worry about running into anybody on a hill. The trails are also dog-friendly (on leash) so Fido can come with you to stay and play! 

Just "one" of the endless climbs on Hercules at Mount Shark

And NEW FOR 2024, you can now rent cross-country skis and everything you'll need for a day of Nordic skiing right from Mount Engadine Lodge. 

"The lodge has purchased 25 sets of cross country skis, boots, and carbon poles, catering to a diverse range of sizes. For a daily rate of $30, guests can rent a complete set of equipment on a first come, first serve basis. You can also reserve gear ahead of time via phone, but it must be picked up by 9:30am on the day of rental or it will be released.
In preparation for this launch, the lodge has invested considerable effort in refurbishing the 12 kilometers of surrounding scenic trails – all groomed and suitable for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat tire biking."

Skiing in the meadow below Mount Engadine Lodge

Skiing in the meadow below Mount Engadine Lodge

If you're looking for a short ski after checking into the lodge before afternoon  tea, I recommend checking out the trail that the lodge tracksets in the meadow below the lodge. On a bluebird day it is the BEST scenery you'll get!

Note, the meadow is only groomed and trackset when there is sufficient snow. Fortunately, Mount Shark is just up the road if you can't ski right from the lodge.

Perfection on a bluebird day at Mount Engadine!

Ski out the door at Mount Engadine Lodge

No driving required to reach this ski trail at Mount Engadine Lodge

Easy ski touring along the Commonwealth Creek Trail near the lodge

The Commonwealth Creek Trailhead is just a short 1-minute drive up the road on the way to Mount Shark (you could even walk up the road from the lodge.)

The first 2 km is perfectly flat and very easy for skiing (or snowshoeing.) You'll most likely be following a packed snowshoe trail (unless it's recently snowed) and you'll know when to turn around once you reach a junction. Left starts to go downhill (and would end up at the highway.) Right continues up the Commonwealth Creek Trail, but quickly becomes too narrow and overgrown by tight bushes.

Turn around at the junction, and enjoy a pleasant 4 km return trip (perfect for a short day or an extension to a Mount Shark trip.) - and as long as avalanche hazard isn't extreme below treeline, this is generally a safe place to hike or ski.

I skied the meadow, the first 2 km of the Commonwealth Creek Trail, and most of Mount Shark in a day when I visited the area last month. It was very doable (and a gorgeous day of skiing!)

Gorgeous scenery on the Commonwealth Creek Trail near Mount Engadine

Not a bad location for an easy ski tour!

Other locations for cross-country skiing near Mount Engadine Lodge

Peter Lougheed Provincial Park - You'll find 50+ km of groomed trails trackset for cross-country skiing in this park. And chances are, if you're coming from Calgary, you'll drive past PLPP on your way to Mount Engadine Lodge if you take Highway 40 to reach the Spray Lakes Road. 

You'll find a trail grooming map at the link above.

The Canmore Nordic Centre - If you approach Mount Engadine Lodge from Canmore, you'll pass right by the official Nordic Centre. This is your best option if you need to rent skis. 

Cross-country skiing in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

Mount Engadine Lodge is one of my favourite places to stay for a cross-country ski getaway near Calgary and it's a delightful experience when you can combine skiing + backcountry glamping + a decadent all inclusive resort experience all in the same trip!

Mount Engadine Lodge is also one of the incredible properties in the Charming Inns and Small Hotels of Alberta collection.
"Our collection of Inns and small hotels range from quiet back country lodges to luxury private cabin rentals, from romantic getaways with spas to family getaways, and pet-friendly hotels." - Charming Inns of Alberta

Every Charming Inn property is unique and you'll always get a special experience when you stay at one of these hotels.

You can read about more of their properties on their website at the link above. 

To make a reservation at Mount Engadine Lodge, visit the Mount Engadine Lodge website. All stays are based on double occupancy and children are discounted when you add them to your accommodation choice.

Mount Engadine Lodge is one of the properties with the Charming Inns of Alberta

Read more about our previous adventures staying at Mount Engadine Lodge

Yurt-Camping in Kananaskis at Mount Engadine Lodge

Big thanks to Mount Engadine Lodge for hosting our stay for a night. As always, all words are my own and I wasn't paid to write this story.

Monday, February 07, 2022

Ski into Backcountry Sundance Lodge, Banff

Sundance Lodge feels like a "secret" place, tucked away in the backcountry near the Town of Banff, just waiting for cross-country skiers to discover. The lodge is family-friendly, safe to visit in winter, and easy to reach in a short three hour ski.

Sundance Lodge, a fun ski into backcountry Banff 

Introduction to Staying at Sundance Lodge

There are many backcountry ski lodges in the Canadian Rockies but Sundance Lodge, operated by the Banff Trail Riders in partnership with Discover Banff Toursis a tad more accessible than most of them.

- First, you don't have to book a year in advance or win a lottery to get spots at the lodge! The lodge definitely fills up for winter, but most people shouldn't have too many problems getting a booking if they don't leave it to last minute.

- Second, the lodge is very easy to access on classic cross-country skis. You don't need backcountry touring skis, there's no avalanche danger, and the trail is snowmobile packed and trackset. Most people with an intermediate ski ability should be able to reach the lodge.

Skiing into Sundance Lodge along Healy Creek in Banff

- Third, you can reach the lodge in 3-4 hours from the Town of Banff. This is not a rugged full day adventure and you certainly won't need to hire a a guide. The trail is well signed and easy to follow. There are no high passes to ski over, no wild alpine lakes to ski across, and there is no technical terrain.

- And finally, you only have to book for ONE night. I can't tell you how much it annoys me that most backcountry lodges require two nights for all bookings. Two nights at an expensive lodge or resort just isn't affordable for many people. Meanwhile, I can justify a one-night booking if it's a special thing and I don't do it every weekend. - and you are certainly welcome to stay for two or more nights at Sundance Lodge (you just don't have to.)

** Know in advance that children must be 5 years of age or older to stay at the lodge.

Families will love skiing into Sundance Lodge 

How to get to Sundance Lodge

Sundance Lodge is accessible via a 10.5 km long trail from the Healy Creek Trailhead with an elevation gain of  approximately 340 metres. The Healy Creek Trailhead is located at the bottom of the Sunshine Village road.

You start off with 2 km of flat skiing on the Healy Creek Trail followed by a long gradual ascent up the Brewster Creek Trail to reach the lodge.

Starting off at the Healy Creek Trailhead 

Skiing over Healy Creek in Banff for Sundance Lodge

Alternately you can start at the Cave and Basin Trailhead in the Town of Banff, skiing up the Sundance Trail to reach Healy Creek. This is longer with 15 km of distance but there isn't much additional climbing.

We chose to ski in the short way from the Healy Creek Trailhead and then my son and I skied out the Sundance way, my husband driving around to pick us up in town.

You can start at the Sundance Trail in Banff for a longer ski in

Personally, I'd suggest just going in and out via the Healy Creek Trailhead because the Sundance Trail is a shared trail with hikers (and a very popular one.) It isn't a very nice trail unless there's been a recent dump of snow. The Healy Creek Trail is also lacking in excitement or views beyond the Brewster Creek junction.

Skiing along the Sundance Trail on our way out from Sundance Lodge

Skiing up the Brewster Creek Trail from Healy Creek  

You'll begin by skiing ~ 2 km on the Healy Creek Trail which is a pleasant flat trail with a bridge crossing and a nice section where you're skiing right beside the creek. This trail is usually groomed and trackset by Parks Canada and is shared by a few hikers and fat bikers.

Once you come to the Brewster Creek Trail, you have ~ 8.5 km more to ski and you begin to climb up ~ 169 metres in the first 3 km until the trail flattens out. This trail is shared again by hikers and fat bikers, and is snowmobile packed and trackset by lodge staff.

Skiing up the Brewster Creek Trail

Skiing over Brewster Creek into Sundance Lodge

There are several switchbacks in the first 3 km of the Brewster Creek Trail which makes this section very fast to come down! After that though, the final 5.5 km is rolling with some pretty scenery along the creek where you'll cross Brewster Creek over two bridges.

The Brewster Trail would best be rated as intermediate (or a blue at most Nordic Centres) but it upgrades to difficult if it's icy or if Banff hasn't had a lot of snow. We had our boots and spikes in the car (just in case) but fortunately did not have to bring them on the trail with us.

You'll cross two bridges over Brewster Creek on your way into Sundance Lodge

Everybody loves skiing over bridges!

Arrived at the lodge in 3.5 hours

Ski, Bike, or Hike into Sundance Lodge

I'm not normally a big fan of multi-use winter trails, but I know several families where skiing isn't the preferred winter sport by every member of the family. Fortunately for travel to Sundance Lodge, you have choices, so your group, extended family, or gang of friends can all get to the lodge for the night (even if you don't choose to travel the same way.)

The trail is open to fat bikes, including e-assist bikes which can be rented in Banff, winter hiking or snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. This means technically we could have even brought my mother (who loves hiking but not skiing) with us to the lodge.  And we did meet one group of friends at the lodge where one couple had skied in, and the other had biked in - both meeting up at the lodge to enjoy a night together.

The Brewster Creek Trail is open to skiing, fat biking, or hiking

What to Expect from a Stay at Sundance Lodge 

Sundance Lodge is solar powered for lights and heated by a wood stove. There's also a furnace that ensures the pipes don't freeze. There is indoor plumbing along with two shared bathrooms with showers. 

What you won't find though is Wi-Fi or cell coverage, so prepare for a night off the grid and bring a power bank if you want to charge your cell phone for photos on your ski out. The lodge more than makes up for the lack of connectivity with great meals, a cozy fireside room, comfortable bedrooms, and a good supply of board games. (We brought some of our own card games as well from home.)

Our private bedroom at Sundance Lodge

The main fireside room at Sundance Lodge

From the website:

"The lodge has eight guest rooms (with a maximum capacity of 26), a large country kitchen, and a cozy living room area where you can curl up by the wood burning fireplace and lose yourself in a good book. And after a day spent hiking or skiing in the fresh mountain air, you’ll appreciate an added comfort – hot showers! 

Mealtime is always an event – you’ll delight in hearty, home-cooked meals and fresh-from-the-oven baked goods – no one ever leaves Sundance hungry."

A cozy spot to curl up with a book at Sundance Lodge

We definitely appreciated not having to cook, chop wood, boil snow for water, and basically didn't have to lift a finger the entire time we were at the lodge. It was quite the decadent backcountry trip if you're used to camping and doing everything for yourself.

Even compared to a backcountry hut, the lodge is extremely comfortable with private bedrooms and nobody using sleeping bags. Even a mountain princess will feel at home here. (Including myself.)

When you arrive at the lodge you'll be greeted with snacks, lemonade, and coffee. For dinner we had lemon garlic salmon with risotto along with roasted cauliflower and broccoli. There were homemade buns and we also enjoyed soup and salad to start. Dessert was a yummy chocolate cake.

Snacks and drinks await when you arrive

Other typical meals at the lodge usually include either a chicken or turkey dish, but there is always an entrée, main course, and dessert - and everything is homemade in the backcountry kitchen.

Breakfast the next day was a baked egg dish with potatoes, bacon, freshly baked cinnamon buns and blueberry muffins. Coffee was always hot and in supply, and there was no shortage of juice, tea, and other beverages. Guests also had fruit and yogurt to start if they wanted more food. (Definitely nobody skiing out on an empty stomach.)

The lodge also prepares sandwiches and snacks for your ski out (which you'll likely be eating in the car on the drive home.)

All meals are prepared for guests at Sundance Lodge

 Capacity and Covid Restrictions at Sundance Lodge 

For the 2022 winter season, all guests need to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination (along with ID,) and wear face masks while moving around the indoor common areas. 

We were able to remove our masks while sitting down in common areas with our cohort, family, or group.

For meals, we all ate together at one big table but there is a current capacity of 10 guests at the lodge so we were all spaced out at the table.

Read the lodge's Commitment to Safety for more detail on their current health and safety measures.

Meals are eaten at a shared table at Sundance Lodge

What to Bring with You to the Lodge

All meals are included along with bedding and pillows, towels, shampoo and soap.

Items you'll want to bring are below:

  • Face masks to wear inside

  • Lodge clothing to change into upon arriving (I recommend a t-shirt because it's warm inside)

  • Pajamas

  • Toiletries (tooth brush and toothpaste, your personal medications, etc.)

  • Slippers

  • Head lamps (though we didn't really find we needed them to find the bathrooms at night)

  • Your equipment for skiing, biking, or hiking to the lodge

  • Lunch and snacks for day one

  • Any personal games you want to bring

  • Any book you want to read

  • A credit card or cash for alcohol purchases 

  • ID and proof of vaccination (children do not need ID)

  • A power bank if you want to charge your cell phone

You can travel light when heading to Sundance Lodge for a night

We packed basic essentials and left everything else to Sundance Lodge for our stay

To make a reservation at Sundance Lodge, visit their website for availability. They are open weekends Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights through the winter. They are also open on the occasional Monday.

Disclaimer: Our stay was hosted by Sundance Lodge. As always, all opinions and words are my own.