Lake Eden Ski Chalet burns to the ground

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Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Lake Eden Ski Chalet burned to the ground tonight. I live in the area, and was driving by on the highway around 7pm and saw a massive cloud of black smoke rising from the resort area, and I assumed it was the chalet. Probably some kids lit it on fire. I was going to call the FD, but saw a fire truck driving up. Anyways, I returned home at 10:30 and drove by on the range road and it was still burning a bit. I was stopped watching the fire and a Peace Officer stopped and verified that it was the chalet that was burning, and there were still fire trucks keeping an eye on it.

How sad, I always hoped someone would fix the place up. I was in there a year and a half ago on the snowmobile and it was a sorry sight even then.

Ryan, April 28th, 2012

Update: It appears that the fire was a controlled burn:

Just to let everyone know that the burning of the chalet was a controlled burn with the fire department on hand all afternoon…. they had heavy equipment there at the seen to control the burning debris…the building itself was in a state of disrepair and actually was falling off the north side of the hill, sad to see it go but for the last few years it has been a hazard to have standing there the way it was.

- Crystal Hillgardner

Making $5.25 as a ski lift operator at Lake Eden

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Not content with twelve years of misery, I immediately set out about preparing for university. I did this by trying to earn enough money to attend on my own expense. The job by which I planned to accomplish this was ‘Ski-lift Operator’ at a local hill called  It was fun and the work was easy, with a salary of $ 5.25/hr, I was on the fast road to success.

However, that was soon to end. Like a ruthless predator, spring pounced upon the poor unsuspecting winter and shredded the season to a climatic end with its sunshine and balmy breezes. The water ran like the blood of the slaughtered down the slopes of the hill.

W. Steven Schneider

Memories of the Lake Eden chalet

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Who else remembers playing ‘Spirit in the Sky’ on the old music box that they had in the chalet?

- Shawn P

I remember the Pina Colada song was a hit song when i was enrolled in woodwards ski school. It always played in the chalet! I still love that song cuz it reminds me of my childhood and eating fries with gravy and playing the pinball in the chalet sometimes while skipping ski school just to hang out at the chalet. I loved those days!!!

- Rick R

What happened to Lake Eden?

So what happened to Lake Eden ski hill? The generally accepted story goes like this:

  • Lake Eden was built in 1966 by Erwin and Will Zeiter.
  • It functioned as a ski hill throughout the 1970′s, 1980′s through to the early 1990′s.
  • In the early 1990′s investors sought to turn the resort into a golf course.
  • When the development plans for the golf course were denied, the investors closed the resort.
  • On August 18, 2010, the Lake Eden property was sold in a tax sale for $1.5 million to Jack Purdy, of Armac Investments Ltd.

Lake Eden’s early history

Lake Eden was built in 1966 by Erwin and Will Zeiter.  The brothers purchased 170 acres 5 minutes west of Stony Plain with the dream of building a ski resort.  The land included a small lake called Lake Eden, which would eventually become the resort’s namesake.

Source: Montreal Gazette, May 28, 1980

As owners of the Terrace Corporation construction company, the Zeiters used their resources to transform the landscape of Lake Eden into a functioning ski area.  In 1973, Mike Vann wrote in the Edmonton Journal:

Its 87-foot-high hill was insufficient as a ski area so they moved more than one million cubic feet of earth on top of it to bring it to its present height of 203 feet. More than 12,000 trees were planted to landscape the 35 acre ski terrain.

Their original plan was to build a 30 room hotel on the site; something that never materialized.

Up until 1979, Don MacLachlan was the director of ski operations.  That year, Vancouver native Andy Swabb took over the role when MacLachlan went to Fortress Mountain. (Edmonton Journal, 1979)