Close your eyes and think about the perfect mountain cabin setting. You might be picturing something like this: sitting on the balcony of a log cabin looking out over a beautiful alpine lake with a vast mountain range within hiking distance, the jagged peaks piercing the cobalt blue sky above. If this is similar to what you just had in your mind, you just pictured Island Lake Lodge. At Island Lake you can enjoy everything that big mountain back country has to offer, stunning views and acres upon acres of terrain to play in, while still enjoying the warmth of a cozy cabin, delicious food and a maybe even a massage at the end of the day.
The “Winter Lunch” was a great way to spend an extended morning in the mountains around Fernie, BC. It included a snow cat ride from the Island Lake car park, right to the front door of the main lodge. We enjoyed a beautiful snowshoe tour around Island Lake and an incredibly delicious lunch served in the dining room with views looking out over the impressive Lizard Range. Here are some of the highlights from our visit:
The first thing you notice when you arrive and literally stops you in your tracks is the views. Four big beautiful log cabins sit within a forested area at the edge of an alpine lake. This lake, aptly named Island Lake for the small treed island that sits just beyond reach of the shores, rests beneath an impressive face of jagged peaks. From the edge of the lake you can look up and catch a glimpse of a snow cat heading up the slopes toward the peaks to drop skiers off, for what I can only imagine will be some of the best skiing of their life.
Food is a focus here at Island Lake, not an afterthought. From the presentation to the taste you can tell that there is an importance on using real food. The food is not over complicated or pretentious. It is simply delicious, obviously cooked with a lot of care and a definite highlight of the visit. The menu is not extensive which allows them to highlight the best of what they make.
Our recommendations are the Salmon Tacos and Bolter Burger washed down with a Papa Bear beer from Fernie Brewing Co. Specially brewed for Island Lake Lodge.
Whatever you do do not forget about dessert!
There is actually four luxury lodges on the property. Tamarack, Cedar and Red Eagle Lodge for accommodation and the Bear Lodge, the oldest cabin on the property. Bear Lodge has a common room you where you can order a drink, play pool or just warm yourself by the fire. Every lodge has been designed to feel welcoming and extremely comfortable. Whether you are on the balcony warming your hands around a cup of hot cocoa, reading a book in front of the large pane windows looking out at the mountains or grabbing your lunch in the restaurant, you will feel right at home.
There is no end of things to keep you busy while at Island Lake. In the winter months they offer cross country skiing and snowshoe rentals for those visiting for the day. With groomed trails circling the lake it’s a great way to build up an appetite for lunch.
Of course the main attraction is the world famous guided cat skiing available. With no end to steeps, couloirs, glades and even a couple of cat groomed runs, it’s a skiers paradise.
Let’s not forget that they are also open during the summer in prime hiking season. During the summer you can book to stay overnight, hike in alpine meadows or even get to the top of a nearby peak. With groomed hiking trails and even a machine made mountain biking trail it’s a perfect summer destination.
What they Offer:
Island Lake Lodge is definitely a place for everyone. Whether you just want to have lunch in a beautiful back country location, cross country ski or snowshoe or spend a few days swishing down as much vertical powder as possible then you need to go here.
We can recommend the “Winter Lunch” as a great introduction to what the lodge offers and a chance to get away from your regularly scheduled routine.
When to go:
The winter season which runs from December to the first week of April. With over 12 metres (40 feet) of snow annually you might want to call them right now to book for next seasons ski holiday. The skiing is that good!
Summer at Island Lake runs from June to October. With miles of hiking to be done, spectacular lake views and of course the fine food you should check out their summer packages.
Getting to Island Lake Lodge: Directions
If you are looking for that perfect powder stash without the stress of queuing up at a resort or just looking to reconnect with the natural world in a comfortable setting, this is the perfect place for you. At Island Lake Lodge they put emphasis on good food, beautiful views and leaving the demands of “real life” behind.