Peter Monod celebrating the anniversary of my arrival in Banff on November 1st
I arrived in Banff in a snowstorm on Halloween night 1967 to prepare for my first job in the Canadian Rockies as a ski patrolman at Lake Louise. The next day I headed for Monod’s to look for the skis and boots that would see me through the season.
From previous visits to Banff, I knew the shop in Harmony Lane was a unique collection of the best down parkas, tents, boots and skis, much of it imported directly from France, Austria and Italy. This was gear that simply wasn’t found anywhere else in North America.
Swiss-born mountain guide and ski instructor John Monod started the business in 1949, and it rapidly established itself as the first serious outdoor outfitter in the Canadian Rockies. Everyone in Banff went to Monod’s for their gear in those days—mountain guides, ski instructors and patrolmen, park wardens, hikers, backpackers and recreational skiers.
In the spring of 1970, as Bart Robinson and I began fieldwork for the first hiker’s guide to the mountain parks, it was Monod’s who provided the boots for that 800-km summer. By 1983, when I purchased another pair of boots for fieldwork leading to the third edition of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, John Monod’s sons Phillip, Peter and Nick were in charge of the business.
Last week I found myself in Banff for the annual Mountain Film and Book Festival. And anytime I’m in town, I have I to browse Monod’s. The shop at 129 Banff Avenue seems a bit glitzy today compared to what it was in the old days in Harmony Lane, but it is still the best place for top quality clothing, footwear, mountain and ski gear.
There are a number of excellent independent outfitters in the Rockies these days, but it all started with Monod’s. And the shop is still in a class by itself—a place where mountain dreams are born.
Photo by Brian Patton