Sometimes we have guests who are unable to ski for various reasons, but who still make their annual trip to CMH. Nobody is surprised to find the skiing incomparable and highly addictive, but why go back if you can’t ski? The answer lies in the trifecta of the CMH Lodge Experience: One part remote alpine hut, one part mountain expedition, and one part luxury retreat.
The cornerstone around which this beguiling recipe is built is the CMH mealtime. Inspired during the mid-1900s by Elisabeth “Lizzie” von Rummel’s Assiniboine Lodge methodology of intimate mealtimes after long days together in the mountains, dinner with CMH is like nothing else. For a glimpse into how the CMH staff makes their mealtime magic happen, I asked Lianne Marquis, the Hospitality Services Manager and veteran of many years in CMH lodges, epic ski trips, and big grins.
TD: Your team provides some of the most remote fine dining on the planet. What do you tell your staff-in-training to get them ready for dinnertime at CMH?
LM: We tell the staff that dinner is just as important as the skiing and hiking programs - if not more! You never know what the mountains will bring, but one thing we know for sure, is that we can create a great dining experience every evening for our guests.
TD: Why do people eat at big tables instead of little restaurant-style tables?
LM: It's all about the family-style service that we offer. There are always two staff who sit at the head of each table and welcome our guests to their table and dine with them for the evening – often after skiing and snowboarding together during the day. Like a good family, all of our staff serves dinner; our guest service staff, guides, managers, maintenance, and our massage practitioners.
Guests can ask for serving requests and can even get up and help themselves to seconds if they would like. It's a very casual setting conducive to storytelling and laughter - with fine dining cuisine.
TD: What kinds of conversations does the setting encourage?
LM: It's very common to see an entire table toasting another table after a great day in the mountains. Glasses of wine are being raised in celebration of the day’s events. It's all about getting to know people from all over the world, what brought them to CMH, and how they found the mountains in the first place. But it’s much more than that. You usually get into some great conversations about everything and anything!!!
There are so many languages being spoken around the tables, you might not understand everyone, but you sure know when someone has had an epic day. It's pretty easy to see by their ear-to-ear grin!
TD: How much has the magical ambiance at alpine huts, what the hüttenzauber, influenced the CMH mealtime?
LM: I believe that Hans Gmoser mirrored the hut dining experience that he was used to on his own mountain adventures when he first opened the Bugaboo Lodge. It was a far cry from the comfort of our lodges today, but it was all about the family atmosphere, enjoying each other’s company at mealtime, sharing stories and getting to know one another in such an incredible and unique setting.
Join us for mealtime at one of the 11 CMH areas and we’ll go helicopter skiing and helicopter snowboarding together during our spare time!
Snowboard and Sushi photo by Topher Donahue