It took hand tools and 10 men to hew and joggle a simple wooden lodge together in 1948. But it took two Swiss-born brothers—soi‑disant ski bums with mountain genes and a taste for the good life—to turn those pine logs into gold.

When Lake Louise Ski Lodge, as it was first known, opened for business nearly 75 years ago amid the inky green forests of Canada’s Banff National Park, the concept of rustic elegance had yet to be born. Fast forward to 1978 when one Schwarz brother, Andre, was ski school director at Lake Louise and the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance head honcho who literally wrote the manual on modern Canadian ski technique; the other, George, an old hospitality hand at a young age (his first restaurant opening was under his belt by age 23). The moment their hotelier sign was hung, this confection of log, timber, and stone was destined for a podium place. The Post is perhaps the finest ski hotel in North America.

After a day’s skiing at Lake Louise, the five-minute drive to The Post Hotel Lake Louise is a lusty one, fueled by a hankering for the warmth wall space among kudos from the likes of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, Relais & Châteaux and, perhaps most coveted of all, the Wine Spectator awards.

Post Hotel Lake Louise Wine CellarThe Post is perhaps the finest ski hotel in North America.

The Post Hotel Lake Louise is a repeated winner of the prestigious Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine. A 25,000-bottle collection with selections numbering around 2,400—including eye-watering verticals of super-Tuscans, Burgundies and Bordeaux— line the destination cellar. “We started building up the wine cellar in the 1980s, buying heavily in excellent years like 1996 and 2000,” says George Schwarz. “Some 95 percent of the wine we have today was bought at the release.” How did he gain his expertise? “Being interested, reading up on things. Most of all, by enjoying wine.”

It’s not just the wine. Swiss-born Chef Hans Sauter is only the fourth executive chef at The Post in more than 35 years and he’s dedicated to classic preparations and local Canadian ingredients. The cuisine features caribou from the Northwest Territories, Arctic char, Chateaubriand for two, classic Züricher-style veal, and the occasional Asian twist. “Being outside, doing activity, coming home and have really great wine and good dinner,” George says, “that’s what’s interesting for our guests.”

“We hear a lot from people who come from the major centers of the world,” ventures George. On our visit, we meet a gaggle of spirited German heli-skiers, Americans from both coasts, and Brits who leave their skis here permanently and ski nowhere else.

Post Hotel Lake Louise Pool

“They are surprised to find this,”—he waves his hand across the linen-draped dining room that looks uninterrupted onto the vistas of Banff National Park—“in the middle of nowhere.”