Mad Trappers on the Mountain – Sunshine Village Ski Resort Calgary’s favorite ski resort

20160312_110614

Nestled smack dab in the base of Sunshine Village Ski Resort https://www.skibanff.com/ is The Old Sunshine Lodge…a little cozy log cabin built in 1928!  Perfect location for a hearty lunch, after a hard morning skiing! …which is my favorite day…any day skiing at Sunshine!  The little log cabin sits among giant, gorgeous, modern timber frame lodges with fine dining and spa facilities mountain side. The Old Sunshine Lodge is less formal as it now houses…Mad Trappers Grill & BBQ!  Great Eats! The low log ceilings and historic photographs all over the walls tell the story of Sunshine…how she was born and who made it happen.   All while you are feeling the hugs of ski ghosts all around you…it feels so rustic, warm and just right to be in this mountain lodge.  Such a testament to this place and such a great vibe for a sublime day skiing!  The food and drink menu is awesome, lots of hearty lunches, (salads too), mixed with a great drink and wine list.  Try some Chili with a Baked Potato…Minestrone Soup and Bread…yum!  Wash it all down with a pint…or try a “Reindeer Games” deliciousness…I love it here…I just love it here.  I could not help myself, but to share some of Old Sunshine Lodge’s amazing history…

.20160312_11034020160312_11050720160312_110545

GsimpsonIn 1841 Sir George Simpson, a Governor for the Hudson Bay Company trekked through the Continental Divide, (Mount Assiniboine, BC on one side, Banff National Park on the other), what is now known as Sunshine Village Resort.  George, originally from Scotland was a respected businessman who was also known for his love of the outdoors and wilderness.  Although he looked the part of any English Lord… underneath his polished exterior and exceptional business acumen lied an adventurer. Known for his remarkable strength and endurance he was noted as the first man to ever circumnavigate the earth by land, (and sea in between), an incredible feat for his time.  He was the first non aboriginal to see this incredible region…and to note an oddity during his observation of this area…”hole in the wall mountain”…known today as Goat’s Eye!

The famous Palliser expedition followed in his footsteps in the late 1850’s including geographer’s and botanists to map and examine the region for planning the route of the Canadian Pacific Railway, (which was completed in the late 1880’s.)  CP Rail sponsored a lot of special interests groups along the line to promote the railroad company.  One of them was; “The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies”. The cabin was built-in 1928 to act as a rest stop for these horse enthusiasts.  Then something amazing happened…

ff8bc8b8a52635c945c28e17cc9a6324(1)
Pat, Jim & Dell Brewster with Austin Standish at Sunshine Ski Resort which they purchased in 1936 for $300.00.
ed8896f2538b726eb2dd983f90031421
After the Sunshine Village Ski Resort expansion 1937.
f729e5e2a2b87b43531a739ffb9a380b
The first Ski Instructor at Sunshine was Swiss Mountaineer Bruno Engler.

In 1934 Jim, Dell and Pat Brewster rented the cabin from CP Rail.  Jim and his two brothers as well as Austin Standish had found this perfect location by accident…literally…while exploring in the area, there had been an accident and they had to take refuge in the CP Log Cabin.  During their stay in the cabin they noticed how perfect of a location it was for a ski area.  They were all avid skiers who had recently got into the sport.  They had an idea…to entice Ski Clubs to come to the resort. It worked!  Visitors came from all over and would pay $5.00 a day or $30.00 a week for an all-inclusive ski vacation!

1175129254-Bruno-Engler-Rappell-Columbia-Icefields-(Photograph)Bruno Engler was a handsome, skilled mountaineer.  The last of the Swiss Mountain Guides hired by Canadian Pacific Railroad.  Bruno arrived in Canada in 1939 at the age of 24 at the beginning of Canadian Mountain Culture.  His skills were widely known and soon he was sought after by the Canadian Government to train troops in mountaineering during the time of the Second World War.  Later he was hired by the Brewster’s to start-up the Sunshine Village Ski School, he became a legend in the Banff and surrounding area where he lived his life until 2001.   Bruno was known for his skiing, guiding and mountaineering skills….he was a pioneer in avalanche safety, as well as world-renowned photographer for high altitude photography.  As well as his time acting and story telling… Bruno soon became the Ambassador for Canadian Mountain culture.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *