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Major upgrades underway and staff housing secured at Lake Louise Ski Resort

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Lake Louise Ski Resort isn’t letting the devastating fire that destroyed its employee lodging over the summer dampen excitement over the upcoming and future ski seasons with major upgrades underway.

In July, the resort’s staff accommodation in the Lake Louise town site burnt to the ground, destroying 165 employees’ homes for the season and all their possessions.

“I was on a hike at the time but were pretty high up so we could see the smoke,” remembers rental supervisor Bradley Quinton. “It sucked. Everyone was pretty upset.”

The resort has since secured 125 rooms at the nearby Deer Lodge and have also set up mobile units to house 140 staff in a parking lot at the base of the mountain.

Leigha Stankewich, marketing and communications manager, says there is actually more space between the two locations and they are now hiring to fill the vacancies.

“We’ve had some time to deal with the situation and act quickly on it and get our staff some temporary housing and support they needed. I think our company did well at acting fast getting us ready to move forward and I think the morale seems to be quite positive, especially when we see the first bits of snow falling in the upper mountain.”

The resort is working with Parks Canada to have the debris at the site of the former lodge cleared before winter really sets in, with hopes to rebuild sometime in the spring.

It has been a tough few years between the COVID-19 pandemic and hit to the tourism industry, followed by the fire, but Stankewich says they are ready to put it all behind them with the winter season set to open November 10.

“It was certainly a tragedy but we’re excited to move forward and welcome some new staff in and have a wicked winter,” she says.

Quinton adds that he and other staff are pivoting with the changes and appreciate some of the new accommodations are right on the hill with a great view.

“I feel like I’ve gained a little more friendship because we’ve all been through the same thing,” he says. “It is obviously a bummer but at least for myself, you can’t turn back the clock you just got to keep moving forward.”

Forty-year-old Timothy Alexander Petersen, who is from Lake Louise, is facing charges of arson and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. Last month his defence lawyer asked for a 30-day psychiatric assessment to determine if he’s unfit to stand trial. The case will be back in court in Calgary on October 2.

RESORT UPGRADES

Work and construction are already underway for a number of upgrades and additions to chairlifts and lodges at Lake Louise Ski Resort.

The Upper Juniper Chair will feature heated bubble chairs. It will be located just below the top of the Lower Juniper Chair and expected to be complete by next summer.

The resort is also beginning installations for the Richardson’s Ridge Chair next summer with plans for it to open in the summer of 2025. It says the lift will offer new intermediate an advanced terrain. A new lift is also being installed for novice skiers and snowboarder in the Learning Area in the summer of 2025.

There are also plans for a brand-new mountain top lodge. The resort says it will be located between the tops of the Gondola and the Ptarmigan Chair with construction set to begin as early as next summer.

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