Summer at Island Lake has always been a favourite of mine. Yes, of course I enjoy the one day of catskiing I work hard to make happen each winter, but there is just something about summer in this seemingly remote location. You literally feel as though you have found an oasis in the middle of nowhere - a glorious, unbelievably beautiful nowhere unlike anywhere I've ever been.
This resort is a little close to my heart, as in grade school a friend of mine's dad and his friends started this successful business (25 years ago this winter). From class trips to my first catskiing experience to my first race at the Old Growth Triathlon to most recently my first wedding, it feels as though Island Lake and I have grown simultaneously.
Photo by Chad Chicilo
In recent years my summer has included at least one Island Lake adventure. A favourite was a hiking trip I did with my boyfriend. The first day we hiked into Thunder Meadows cabin, carrying in our own water and food, lighting a fire and cooking by lamp light. The following day, we made our way along the Three Bears and down Spineback Trail to Island Lake, where we wined and dined and relaxed in comfy white robes while the sun set behind the Lizard Range - a highly suggested excursion.
This summer has been busy, and while I've made it to Island Lake on a couple of occasions (at the finish of day three of the TransRockies and at the above mentioned wedding) I hadn't been there for me. The perfect opportunity arose when my inlaws came for a visit last weekend. We decided to go for a short hike and have dinner. And what a wise choice that was!
A beautiful evening, watching the sun set at "I Dew" Point after walking the Fir Trail, then enjoying the amazing cuisine by Keith Farkas and crew and a fine bottle of wine. I think I earned a few "points" by suggesting this affair, not surprisingly.
After dinner we spoke with L'wren Coultry, Farkus' wife and event planner at the lodge, about the busy summer they had. The Lodge is increasingly becoming known as a wedding destination, with weddings booked all summer long and a few at the end of the winter season.
A few weeks earlier, I ran into Doug Feely, CEO of Island Lake. With the well known mountain bike stage race, the Transrockies finishing its third day at the Lodge, it's evident that there is an opportunity to expand the trail network to meet the demand of this growing industry. An avid biker, Feely is dedicated to developing trails to allow better access to the Lodge (currently bikers must use the road or dreaded powerline) and this August construction has begun on the "Island Lake Connector Trail." The trail will begin in the lower parking, paralleling the road for most of its length and ending at the Lodge. It will be completed in several phases and will provide recreation users a corridor from Mount Fernie Provincial Park to the Lodge.
There are many exciting changes taking place at Island Lake in response to increased demand and opportunities. I for one am excited to watch on and take part in these changes, continuing our growth in this valley together.
For more information on Island Lake, visit their website or call their office at 250-423-3700.