Plan the ultimate escape at the best hidden gem in the mountains
Summer is finally *officially* kicking off, which means weekend escapes need to be at the top of your to-do list. To save you the trouble of searching around for that next hideaway you want to visit, we’ve found one for you. You’re welcome. Let’s take a look at the incredibly gorgeous Island Lake Lodge.
One of the most surprising things about Island Lake Lodge is its proximity to Fernie. Just minutes away from town, you’ll find this hidden retreat wonderfully tucked into a sprawling mountain valley.
Although the location provides some genuine feelings of isolation, it’s only a 3.5-hour drive from Calgary. Remember when we mentioned weekend escapes? Yeah, this one fits pretty, pretty well.
Founded by a group of local investors along with some inspired ski and snowboarding legends, Island Lake Lodge has certainly remained true to its winter retreat heritage. Widely considered as one of the world’s premier cat skiing destinations, it hosts celebrities*, top professionals, and legendary thrill-seekers each and every winter season.
That being said, Island Lake Lodge has recently stepped up as a can’t-miss summer spot. Heck, we’ll call it what it is; a damn fine year-round escape. Fine by us!
Oops, we almost forgot about the asterisk. *Justin Timberlake*. There you go.
You’ve got three different accommodation options when hitting up Island Lake Lodge. Firstly, you can set up shop in the newest building, The Tamarack Lodge. It has 8 luxury suites and also houses the full-service restaurant and top-notch spa (more on those two later).
Next, the Cedar Lodge rests a little further in the forest and includes a yoga studio, sauna, and communal living room with a fireplace.
Last but absolutely not least, you can stay at the Red Eagle Lodge. Although this is described as the “most rustic” lodge of the three, it’s got everything you need and more. Mountain and lake views, an outdoor sauna on the massive deck, and quaint, intimate rooms.
Additionally, none of the rooms have TVs or computer jacks. Suck it up, people, you’re here to escape! Just kidding, WiFi runs through the entire retreat so you don’t suffer tech withdrawals too badly. After all, you’re going to want to flex your mountain digs on Instagram.
Eat & Drink
Recently, we were lucky enough to check out Untamed Kootenays, Island Lake Lodge’s annual summer kickoff event. We were treated to meals filled with locally sourced ingredients and creativity derived from the surrounding mountains.
Led by Chef Keith Farkas, the food services at Island Lake Lodge are a major highlight. For those mid-day cravings, you can check out the lunch service at Bear Lodge Bistro. Our recommendation? The Smoked Beet Reuben, without a doubt. It tastes even better than it looks which is certainly saying something.
For breakfast and dinner, you’re treated to the fine dining inside the Tamarack Lodge. Now, at Untamed Kootenays, we were treated to a special menu, so we’d be lying if we told you our favourite dinner dish. Nevertheless, we’ll say go with whatever the heart desires.
At Untamed, a citrus-cured Arctic char served with fiddleheads, and to-die-for fennel purée blew our minds. So we’re comfortable in vouching for the whole menu. Go nuts, get the lot.
What to do?
This is where things are really up to you. Grab yourself a canoe and glide across the lake. You’ll take your relationship with nature to a new level of bliss, plus you’ll get some dynamite IG content.
As well as this, there are plenty of gorgeous hiking and climbing trails around the property. There are easy walks, moderate jaunts, and challenging climbs, so everyone is covered.
To top it all off, head on down to the full-service Fernie Spa to turn the relaxation dial to eleven. Massages, body scrubs, mani-pedis, and more are all offered. Afterward, sit down in the sauna and let the views put the final cherry on your cake.
Then, you’ll head back to the real world feeling like your very best self. Or maybe you’ll just stick around forever. The cat skiing season is only six relaxing months away, after all.
Where: Cedar Valley Road, Fernie, BC
Summer Season: Now until October 7th