JASPER, ALTA. - From their agricultural roots on the prairies to the hospitality industry in the Canadian Rockies, the Gulevich family has Alberta adventure deep in their bloodlines. At the Mount Robson Inn in Jasper, which the family has owned and operated since 1973, that heritage is evident in the guest experience.
Many hotels develop a formula and then stick to it – identical rooms, standard across-the-board services. Comforting, perhaps, but it can lack the originality and personalized touch travellers often seek.
At the Mount Robson Inn, it’s the adventure that matters and this ethic is reflected in the hotel’s unique offerings, which includes a dozen different room types featuring everything from in-suite Jacuzzi soaker tubs for the romantic getaway, to three-room family suites with bunk beds and X-boxes.
“Whoever the customer, we have a room for them,” says Chad Gulevich, manager and co-owner.
In the summer, a motorcycle wash station and complementary micro-fibre cloths cater to the summer touring crowd. In winter, the hotel’s ski waxing room, complementary breakfast and daily shuttle service offers skiers and snowboarders a head start to their day on the slopes. It’s all about understanding what the traveller wants most, something the Gulevich family knows from experience.
“We’re travellers ourselves. As a family business, it’s what we know,” says Gulevich, an avid motorcyclist, skier and snowmobiler.
“Sharing the excitement of seeing Jasper for the first time with our guests is always exciting. It never gets old.”
That passion for sharing Jasper with the world spans over half a century and three generations. The family’s story is not exactly common – a patriarch who transplants his family from the farm to the mountains. But that is exactly what Gulevich’s grandfather did, upping stakes from Mundare, east of Edmonton, and moving the family to Jasper to open the Pocahontas Cabins in 1954.
Twenty years later, he and some partners bought the Mount Robson Inn, taking over from the original owners who built the property in 1958. Gulevich senior and his son, Chad’s father, managed the Mount Robson Inn through the 1970s and into the 1980s.
“Jasper is a wonderful place to grow up,” Chad says. Being part of a family-operated tourism business also added a unique twist to his childhood experience, he muses. “It gives you a bit of a worldly perspective to routinely welcome guests from Europe, Asia and the U.S.”
In the 1980s, the family celebrated a milestone when they became sole owners of Mount Robson. Then, in just a few years’ time, both of Chad’s grandparents and his father passed away, leaving Chad, his wife Alana and his mother Vicky to keep the family business going.
It was a difficult time, but by staying true to family tradition, they maintained the Mount Robson’s unique charm – one that endures to this day. Following in that pioneering heritage, in summer 2012 the family bought the Mountaineer Lodge in Lake Louise.
For Chad, it’s the realization of a dream.
“The Icefields Parkway is one of those adventure highlights and now we can bookend that experience,” he says.
With the Mountaineer Lodge, Chad and Alana have embarked on new adventures with their family, now into the fourth generation in Jasper with their two young children.
It’s a long way from Mundare, but the family tradition lives on.
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