PURCELL MOUNTAINS – Stepping into a raw backcountry environment is more accessible than ever at Purcell Mountain Lodge.
For three decades, people seeking an entirely unique experience by mixing comfortable accommodation and wild backcountry adventure have found haven at the luxury backcountry lodge.
The best part though is its accessibility for a wide range of guests, said owner Sunny Sun.
“It’s backcountry for everybody,” said Sun. “This is a place I love and this is its 30th year anniversary. We created a world-class backcountry lodge and we have a world-class team waiting for all the guests from all over the world.”
Located in the backcountry of British Columbia, Purcell Mountain Lodge is about 150 kilometres west of Banff and adjacent to Glacier National Park.
To access the lodge, Alpine Helicopters crews flying out of Golden, B.C. soar over the untamed Rockies. Guests are literally swept off their feet and land at the lodge, ready for exploration and relaxation.
Once landed, guests are greeted by hugs and smiles by the Purcell Lodge staff and welcomed to the lodge’s amenities such as a wood-burning sauna, chalet, library, cozy common areas and a dinning area that is overflowing with baked goods, treats and three-course meals prepared by a professional chef operating the commercial kitchen.
But half of the fun that has had guests gushing for three decades rests in the activity portion outside in the vast, untouched wilderness of the northern Purcell mountain range, led by professional guides for its daily mountain adventures.
“Every time I come to Purcell, I feel the guests have the same feeling,” said Sun, who never dreamed of owning a lodge until he saw the Purcell for the first time a decade ago. “Not only is it a beautiful lodge and the beautiful nature of this place, but the people you meet here, you become so close to them. It’s a great feeling for myself and other guests.”
The lodge offers 10 private guest rooms with grand windows for palatial views, including an overlook of the colossal granite spike of Mount Sir Donald that towers above the skyline of snow-clad mountain ranges in clear view of the three-storey timber framed lodge.
Each room is fitted with a private sink and walkout balcony. Three private hot water showers and three private washrooms are located across the hall from guest rooms.
“When the lodge was built, they put in so much effort into the design,” said Sun. “It’s on a micro hydro system, so it generates its own power next to the lodge.”
Canmore’s Hugh Burton and wife Cheryl, staff members at Purcell Mountain Lodge, spent New Years Eve there in 1989, playing floor hockey and enjoying the secluded lodge during its final stages of construction during the time of its first owners Paul Leeson and Russ Younger.
“They decided to build a place that was a step or two above everyone else back 30 years, they were way ahead of the curve,” said Burton.
The lodge offers year-round bookings for retreats and weddings and seasonal bookings for ski tours and snowshoeing for all levels and summer hiking and biking in floral mountain meadows.
Guide Kevin Blades, who’s been guiding tours for over a decade at Purcell, said the area offers a lot of beauty and rewards for guests and guides, whether its breaking in untouched snow during winter ski tours, or wandering through wild flower meadows in summer, there’s something for everyone.
“The terrain is beautiful and it has unique features, there’s not too many high alpine plateaus the way this one is in the Rockies in western Canada that I can find on maps and that I know of,” said Blades.
A comfortable getaway, one can remove themself from the daily grind, traffic, and technology and noise and light pollution at the Purcell Mountain Lodge.
It’s not uncommon for guests to see the remnants of an avalanche on a nearby mountain or view resident wildlife in their natural habitat.
“I’m thinking for families, for the first being introduced to backcountry, [Purcell Lodge is] backcountry for everyone,” Sun said. “Especially people who have never been to a backcountry lodge, this is for them; to feel comfortable and enjoy and truly experience what the backcountry is like.”