Questions & Answers
Life at Lake Agnes Tea House
- Q: Do the staff live at Lake Agnes?
- A: Most of the staff are university students or high school graduates, who live at the tea house for the summer months before school starts again. The tea house provides staff accommodation in the loft above the kitchen and two rustic cabins behind the tea house.
- Q: How do you the staff get to work?
- A: The staff walk up to work from Lake Louise on the hiking trail and usually walk the trail 2-4 times a week.
- Q: How do you get the supplies to the tea house?
- A: The staff hike up the fresh supplies two to four times a week . There is also one helicopter supply run a year, which flies in all of the flour, sugar, propane and other dry goods. This usually takes an entire day as it takes 20-30 trips to fly 10 000 pounds of supplies up. The helicopter uses a long line with a large net attached to drop supplies just of the tea house porch. Sometimes horses are used in the spring and fall prior to helicopter day, this allows for some flour and sugar to be brought in for baking.
- Q: What do you do with the garbage?
- A: We carry out all of our garbage and recycling on our backs. Every time a staff member goes down, they carry at least 2 big bags of garbage. Usually this happens every day in the summer and if you are hiking down early morning or in the evening, you may spot a staff member running down with the garbage.
- Q: How do you get your water?
- A: The water is pumped from the lake and then held in a tank that is gravity fed to the tea house. All of the water must be boiled for service, which includes boiling the water before lemon aide or cold drinks are made.
- Q: What time do staff start working?
- A: The baker begins everyday at 6:30 am in order to bake our oatmeal brown bread, tea biscuits, lemon poppy seed loft, apple crumble and soup for the day. The next staff member arrives at 8:00 am and continues setting up for opening at 9:00 am. The days are long at Lake Agnes as all jobs are done by hand as there is no electricity. This means the staff are constantly washing dishes, making sandwiches, waiting on tables and baking.
- Q: What do staff do after work or on their days off?
- A: Most of the people who come to work at Lake Agnes are there to enjoy the Rocky Mountains and the outdoors. After dinner is made and the tea house is cleaned for the night, staff are usually doing short hikes to the back of the lake or to Little Beehive. Longer adventures happen on days off, where staff summit the surrounding mountains: Devils, Thumb, Niblock, Mt. Saint Piran or hike down to Lake Louise to scramble up Temple, Fairview or go camping. A trip to Banff on rainy days to buy supplies or catch a movie is also an adventure when you live on top of a mountain.
Photos by Sean Frith and Alex Taylor