All guided skiing packages are priced in Canadian Dollars and include all meals (set plan), accommodation and powder ski/board rentals. There is an additional 5% GST applicable on the whole package, and 10% Hotel Tax applicable on the accommodation portion of the package. Gratuities are not included.
On a typical tour guests can expect to ski a combination of open bowls and gladed tree runs. The snow conditions can vary, may not always be powder and at times can be difficult to ski/board.
At a minimum, guests must be at a strong intermediate level:
- Capable of skiing / riding in control at a steady pace on any terrain.
- Comfortable in a variety of snow conditions.
- Fit enough to ski / ride consecutive, full days.
If you are still unsure, please have a read through the Ability Levels below for detailed descriptions of the skier/rider abilities that are recommended for Island Lake Lodge. If you are still unsure, or have any concerns you can also contact our Reservations team to help determine if you are ready.
I can ski/board anything, fast, from first chair until last call. If there’s powder on the mountain, I’ll find it and ride it with ease. Deep snow, tree runs, airs and steep terrain are what I’m looking for.
I normally ski/board advanced terrain and I’m always looking for deeper snow. I don’t need to be the fastest, and air time isn’t required for my day to be a success, but I enjoy small drops. I’m fit enough for full days and I try to get as many as I can.
I can ski/board advanced terrain comfortably, in control and at a steady pace. I enjoy riding in powder and have experience. I’m physically fit enough for multiple full days on the mountain.
2020/21 Special Winter Cancellation Policy
As the premier cat skiing lodge in British Columbia, Island Lake Lodge understands the importance of putting our guests’ needs first. This will be our 33rd winter and as one of the originals we understand the strong relationship between the Lodge and our valued guests. It is in these times that we remain far-sighted to the next 33 years.
As travellers ourselves, we appreciate current concerns relating to personal health and possible ongoing travel restrictions. We recognize that the travel insurance industry is no longer covering Covid-19 travel interruption.
In light of these issues, Island Lake is implementing a special Booking and Cancellation Policy for the upcoming ski season with the goal of making your commitment as easy, safe and flexible as we can. We believe it to be the most accommodating booking policy in the industry.
The important changes to our cancellation policy are as follows:
- Deposits are 100% refundable until September 15th 2020.
- After September 15, guests may continue to cancel but will be charged 30% of the total tour cost.
Deposits for 2020/21 Bookings
- To secure your reservation, a 25% deposit is required at the time of booking. However, your deposit is now fully refundable until September 15th, 2020.
Balance of Tour Payment
- The balance of your payment is due September 15th, 2020; regardless of your tour date
- After September 15th payments are non-refundable.
- After September 15th a credit may be issued in conjunction with a deferral or cancellation as outlined below.
New Guest Cancellation Policy
- After September 15, 2020, guests may cancel their 2020-21 trip, for any reason, up until seven (7) days prior to the first day of their tour.
- Should a guest choose to cancel, Island Lake will retain 30% of the package price, and offer a 70% credit for use within the following two seasons based on availability.
- Booking priority on the specific tour dates is not retained.
- Island Lake reserves the right to resell any cancelled seats; without change to the 30% cancellation fee.
- A guest may fill their cancelled seat(s) with friends or family at no charge. In this case, 100% of their payments will be applied to the replacement’s seat.
- If a group requests that we don’t resell a cancelled seat than the cancellation fee is 60% and a 40% credit will be issued. The seat will remain vacant. Booking Priority to the following season will be retained. This clause of the cancellation policy is only valid on behalf of the guest if communicated to Island Lake prior to us reselling your seat.
Cancellation Policy within the final week related to Covid-19
- The safety of our guests and staff is our number one priority. If a booked guest is sick or has been exposed to someone with Covid-19, we will ask that they cancel their tour.
- During the final week prior to their arrival date, a guest can cancel only for a Covid-19 related necessity.
- All the same provisions apply as outlined in the cancellation policy above, including the cancellation fees.
The only conditions for a full 100% credit on a tour cancellation are as follows:
- Island Lake Lodge reserves the right to cancel any ski tour up to 48 hours before the start of the tour typically for weather reasons, this policy has not changed. If Island Lake cancels a ski tour, guests will receive credit for 100% of their payments for use within two years of the original tour date.
- As it relates to Covid-19 guests will receive credit for 100% of their payments for use within two years of the original tour date only under the following situations.
- The provincial Government orders closure of the lodge
- The Canadian/USA border is closed to non-essential travel
- A stay at home order is in place for your registered booking address
Down Days During a Tour
- Although uncommon, weather anomalies beyond the control of Island Lake Lodge can cause down periods. Island Lake Lodge does not provide replacement ski days for down days, or hours, lost due to weather-related problems (e.g. extreme avalanche conditions, unusual rain event, etc).
- We still recommend you purchase Medical Only Travel Insurance, one which specifically covers adventure sports.
- Flight cancellation insurance is available direct from your airline.
- You still have the option to obtain Travel Insurance as well as Trip interruption Insurance.
Island Lake reserves the right to change the policy for the following winter 2021-2022 season.
The lodge is at the elevation of 4600 ft. The skiing starts as high as 7000 ft. The Island Lake experience includes breathtaking bowls, exciting tree runs or gentle rolling slopes with a variety of aspects and pitches. The ski day generally consists of 8-12 runs, approx. 12,000-15,000 vertical feet depending on the ability level of each group. Breakfast starts at 7am in the Tamarack Dining Room. You will be on the mountain from approximately 9:00am to 4:00pm. After skiing, there will be après-ski in the Bear Lodge bar then dinner at 7:00pm. Watch our a day in the life video to get full rundown.
Guiding & Safety
Our three Snow Cats operate with two guides in each cat of 12 guests. All guides are fully qualified as either a guide or a tail guide as defined by the BC Helicopter and Snow Cat Association. On the first morning of the tour, the guiding staff will introduce you to avalanche transceivers and search techniques. Each guest is supplied with an avalanche transceiver to wear on the mountain and a backpack containing an avalanche probe and shovel. Watch a video overview of our Safety Program
Please note that Island Lake does not allow the use of drones on our property.
Drug and Alcohol Policy
To ensure the safety of yourself and the other group members you must refrain from alcohol and drug use before and while skiing or boarding at Island Lake Catskiing. Anyone breaking this rule will be barred from skiing or boarding for the duration of the day.
Island Lake offers complete photo and video services provided by onsite professional photographers. Our photographers are seasoned pros with decades of experience and are some of the best in the industry. They will accompany you on 1 day of your tour, take pictures and then display a slideshow at the end of the day. No more having to stop and wait to snapshots of your pals, now you can focus on the good stuff! Details
Skiing/Riding at Island Lake is good to excellent most of the time, but nothing is perfect! Conditions in the mountains can change dramatically overnight. Do not despair if you hear discouraging reports shortly before your trip, it often changes favorably at the snap of a finger. Our guides are experts at giving you a fun and safe trip in all weather and snow conditions.
Early Season Skiing in December
Though still early season, skiing in December can be fantastic. Days are typically a bit shorter and colder making the snow typically a bit drier.
Late Season Skiing in March and April
We tend to get our biggest storms of the season in March. The days are longer and the weather tends to be a bit milder.
Equipment & Clothing
Important items to ensure you bring along with you: Ski/snowboard boots (we do not provide these), warm clothing, day pack, camera, goggles, slippers for around the lodges, bathing suit, snow boots, sunscreen.
Our ski fleet consists of:
- Men’s DPS Foundation Lotus 124. The Foundation Lotus 124 provides performance in mixed snow. It is easy to ski when the going gets tough, yet still have the DNA to charge. The Foundation 124 greatly benefits from the planted, stable, and amazing feel of the new Foundation bamboo-popular based construction.
- Men’s DPS Foundation Wailer 112. The Wailer 112 offers superior float in powder without sacrificing performance. Plus, its Foundation construction lends it best-in-class construction with extraordinary power and dampness.
- Women’s DPS Foundation Yvette 112. The Yvette 112 is the one-quiver, do-everything ski for the fresh snow seeking skier. The Foundation construction makes it responsive thanks to a carefully layered-up combination of bamboo, poplar and carbon.
- Men’s Salomon QST 118. The QST 118 skis are an ideal weapon for crushing fresh powder. The tapered tips and tails allow for a hook-free ski experience that is super fun and easy to use. Due to the construction, shape, and rocker profile, the QST 118 offers great power and stability in powder and mixed snow and provides strength and great terrain adaption
- Women’s Salomon QST Stella 106. The QST Stella 106 has been known as the go-to powder tool providing a light and maneuverable ski. The twin rocker profile floats through light snow without sacrificing stability and power. It is light in the tip and tail for easy steering.
We also have poles, but we do not supply boots.
We use the Salomon MNC binding. It is compatible with:
- ISO 5355 - Alpine DIN Soles
- ISO 9523 - Touring Soles
- GripWalk Soles
- Walk to Ride Soles
Any guest that does not have boots that fit into one of these categories will not be able to use our skis. You will need to bring your own skis or rent boots.
There are snowshoes and cross country skis at the lodge, available upon request as well as a variety of other things that you may need, (or may have forgotten) at the lodge gift shop.
Salomon Sickstick, Super 8, Pillowtalk and Speedway – Surf the pow or slap the slush, the Sickstick snowboard is the deck in the quiver that can handle it all. Various sizes available from 153 cms – 162 cms. Super8 – The Super 8 Snowboard is designed with Backseat Camber that puts the power and control under your back foot, whether you’re ripping pow or laying down turns on groomers. Featuring Rocket Science—a wider design for loose and wild maneuverability, this board has power, speed, and control. Various sizes available from 154 cms – 163 cms. The Speedway is a big mountain tapered direction board with rocker. We have it in 165 and 170. Pillow Talk – (Women’s) – This powder puppy board is tailored specifically for women and endorsed by Annie Boulanger. The Pillow Talk snowboard can ride it all. Various sizes available from 143 cms – 151 cms
Atlas Spindrift – The Spindrift was designed for speed and performance on technical terrain, with an ultra-durable molded foredeck, slim profile, and aggressive traction, providing the ultimate fast and light backcountry experience.
Guests wishing to return the following winter have an opportunity to book their same tour for the next season within 1 month of departure. After that day, seats will be open to the public for booking. Increased demand suggests guests should call and book immediately after their tour to keep their seat(s). If you’re not sure when to book, you should be aware that Island Lake gets great snow from December through April. Each of these months is different, but not necessarily any one consistently better than the other. We can and do get 12-36 inches of snow overnight in any of these months.
There are several ways to travel to Island Lake Lodge and you can find detailed information here.
Where should I fly?
You have three choices. If coming from the USA and looking for reasonable flights, you might want to consider Kalispell, Montana. From the airport, you will reach Island Lake in approximately two hours by car.
The closest major centre is Calgary, Alberta, three to four hours away. The beautiful drive south through the foothills of the Canadian Rockies is well worth the trip. Perhaps consider flying all the way to Cranbrook, B.C. Only one hour from Island Lake, it is the preferred choice for some. You can get to Cranbrook by connecting through either the Calgary or Vancouver airports.
Arriving in Fernie
You can rent a vehicle from Kalispell, Cranbrook and Calgary or we can suggest coach transportation providers for you from any of the above airports. Transportation to the lodge is not included in the package price. Kalispell airport works best if you are a large group. Island Lake strongly recommends that our guests arrive a day in advance to avoid any possible delays. Please call or email well in advance for any transportation or accommodation information. Our Snow Cat pickup is located 3km north of Highway #3 near Fernie. Turn north off Hwy #3 at the Lodge sign, 2km west of Fernie. The Island Lake sign at the end of the road will denote the parking lot. You need to be at the parking lot no later than 5:00pm on the evening of your arrival. Guests will be transported back to the parking lot leaving the lodge no later than 4:30 pm on the last day of the tour.
Alternative and or Late Arrival Fees
Island Lake Lodge is 8km up the Cedar Valley. Guests travel to and from the lodge via Snow Cat, which takes approximately half an hour. Guest pickup is at the parking lot at 5:00pm, the night prior to the first ski day. There will be a charge per person for late, early or alternative pickups. Please call the office if you will not be arriving at the parking lot by 5:00 pm or if your travel plans have changed.
For more maps & travel information, please visit the Tourism Fernie website:
More Travel Information
The Tamarack and Cedar Lodges feature 8 deluxe guest rooms each, with spacious ensuite bathrooms, a soaker tub and shower and a combination of queen and king beds. The Red Eagle Lodge has 10 cozy rooms with ensuite bathrooms.
Each of the lodges has its own outdoor sauna with stunning views of the Lizard Range. In the Red Eagle, it is located right on the main deck, off the common area, out under the wide-open sky. The Tamarack Lodge is equipped with a beautiful spa facility and the sauna. In the Cedar Lodge the sauna is on a covered deck as well, off the main floor common area. There is also a fitness room on the lower level of the building. This room is outfitted with stretching and yoga mats, stretching charts and apparatus, as well as limited cardio equipment and free weights.
The lower level of the Bear Lodge includes personal lockers for storing jackets, helmets, and other ski apparel over the course of your visit with us. Other popular facilities in the Bear Lodge include a pool table and foosball table in the main après-ski and bar area. Learn more about the lodges here.
Packages include all meals, with dinner on the first night that you arrive. The meal plan provided by our Culinary Team is a set menu and it is important for guests to inform us of any dietary restrictions and especially allergies well in advance of their arrival.
Both The Tamarack and Bear Lodges have fully licensed bars. Due to the specifics of British Columbia Liquor Laws, any alcohol on the premises must be purchased under our liquor license. As a result, any alcohol purchased outside of the lodge may not be brought onto the property. However, we have an extensive and eclectic wine library and serve a full selection of beers and spirits.
There is complimentary wireless internet available in all lodges. Please feel free to bring your laptop or tablet. We also have a limited number of iPads available for guest use. There are no phones in individual rooms; should you require use of one, there is a guest phone located in the common area of each lodge.
After a great day of skiing, massage will soothe tight muscles, improve range of motion and prevent injuries. Let our experienced staff ensure you feel your best for the next day on the mountain.
Island Lake Spa features six treatment rooms, with 50 minute relaxation and deep tissue massage being offered each ski day from 4:20pm-7:30pm. Please call ahead of your arrival to reserve an appointment, as treatment space is limited.
Every morning from 7:30am – 8:30am our yoga instructors will be in the Cedar Lodge basement to lead you through a stretch class and help prep your muscles for the day ahead. Classes are optional and run on a drop-in basis.
Guest Code of Conduct
We are committed to creating a safe, welcoming and memorable experience for all of our guests and staff.
We ask that your conduct respects the rights of others to enjoy their experience and behave appropriately at all times.
For your safety and comfort, unacceptable conduct will result in being asked to leave the property and/or possible barring and includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Use of foul, threatening, or abusive language or gestures;
- Threatening or offensive conduct towards others;
- Violent acts, the attempted or actual exercise of any physical force that causes or could cause injury, including any threatening statement or behavior which gives a person reasonable cause to believe that they are at risk of injury;
- Possession of, or impairment due to, an illegal substance(s);
- Possession of outside alcoholic beverages or weapons;
- Wearing clothing or accessories with obscene graphics or profane language;
- Damaging or destroying company property; or
- For other reasonable causes as deemed appropriate by management.
Guests are liable to Island Lake Lodge for any damages, which result from negligence of our regulations or any other negligent behavior on their behalf.