Description of Historic Place
The Skoki Ski Lodge is a backcountry ski lodge facility built during the 1930s. It is located on the banks of Little Pipestone Creek, in the Skoki Valley north of Lake Louise, in the mountains of Banff National Park. The facility comprises six buildings and their surrounding landscape, linked by a system of trails and footpaths. The built heritage includes: the main lodge (1930-6), the Honeymoon cabin (1932), the Wolverine cabin (1932), the Creek cabin (1936), the bunkhouse (1936), and the former bathhouse (1936). The formal recognition consists of the buildings and property included in the licence of occupation held by Parks Canada.
The Skoki Ski Lodge was designated a national historic site in 1992 because it is constructed in the Rustic Design tradition and it is associated with tourism development and outdoor recreation in the national park.
Skoki Lodge is a rare and well-preserved illustration of the early visual identity of the mountain parks and of the early days of skiing and ski tourism in Banff National Park. Built by a group of local ski pioneers as a destination for backcountry ski tourists, it was the first such facility to operate on a commercial basis in Canada. The six buildings comprising the site are excellent examples of the log building tradition associated with Banff National Park. The use of local materials is consistent with the Rustic Design tradition established for national parks.
The site was built and operated by The Ski Club of the Canadian Rockies under the leadership of ski pioneer Cliff Whyte. It was managed during the early years by local artists and philanthropists Peter and Catharine Whyte and expanded in 1935-6 by manager Jim Boyce.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minute, 1992; Commemorative Integrity Statement.
The key elements that relate to the heritage value of the Skoki Ski Lodge National Historic Site include:
- its location in a remote wilderness setting;
- its relationship with, and viewscapes to and from: the Skoki Valley, the surrounding mountain peaks, and the backcountry of Banff National Park;
- the spatial arrangement of the six buildings and their relationship to each other, consisting of five cabins (Honeymoon, Wolverine and Creek cabins, the bunkhouse and the former bathhouse), arranged in a rough semicircle around a centrally placed main lodge;
- Rustic design features of the six buildings, including their simple configuration, horizontal log construction with locally cut, unscribed, spruce logs, joined with saddle- or dovetail-notched corners;
- design features of the main lodge, including its steeply pitched gable roof with multiple dormers; its two-storey main block with a one-storey rear kitchen wing, massive, rough-stone exterior chimney, rustic interior, and original interior plan, consisting of lounge, kitchen and dining facilities on the main level and sleeping quarters above;
- the rustic, local materials of the main lodge, including: wood roof shingles; fieldstone chimney; and round-log walls;
- common original design features of the four cabins (Honeymoon, Wolverine, Creek and the bunkhouse), including the open rectangular plans; gable roofs supported on log beams, which extend to shelter an open porch; single, centrally placed entrances on the front elevations, and small, multi-light windows;
- original design features of the former bathhouse, including rectangular, single-storey massing, gable roof with two projecting dormers at eave level marking two single entrances, and small, multi-light windows.