You can’t beat the price: $35 for a bed, $80-$95 for the private couple/family room or $25 for a place to pitch your tent, including free internet and parking, access to all the facilities, kitchen, shower, piano, and guitars.
The a piano and guitars are not usually part of the deal at most hostels, but that’s because not all hostels are run by an accomplished musician. Partners Elsabe Kloppers and Martin Laniel are the proud owners and proprietors of the newly opened Wanderer’s Inn Backpackers’ Hostel in Haines Junction.
This business start-up is an example of a pair of first time entrepreneurs doing everything right. They saw an opportunity : “This place could really use a hostel,” downloaded a business plan template from Business Development Bank of Canada and worked their way through it.
They consulted with their neighbours and other community business owners, secured the needed financing and opened their doors in August, exceeding their expectations for occupancy and garnering rave reviews from travelers.
“I am such a nerd” says Kloppers as she explains how she is constantly crunching the numbers and producing graphs and charts. That’s how she knows that 18 per cent of all their visitors extend their stay.
The hostel is open year round and can sleep 14 in the summer and 10 in the winter. The extra four in the summer sleep in a wall tent outside the back door.
If you want to rent the whole facility, it is $300 per night. They’ve got bookings from hockey teams and musicians, and one group of friends from just having a get-out-of-town weekend. That group is already planning another weekend for January. The Hostel makes a great home base for all the adventure that is to be had in the Kluane National Park and Reserve: hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, mountaineering flight-seeing – the list is almost endless.
“Both Elsabe and I have travelled a lot,” says Laniel. “And being hosts in our own home town… it’s like being on vacation without having to go anywhere. (Our guests) are vibrant spirits, passionate about travel and about their lives.”
And they look after their guests well.
“We were trying to make it a place where we would want to stay,” says Laniel.
The kitchen has everything that could be needed, there are barbecues outside and there are even USB ports by the beds for people to charge their phones. They send their guests to the local hotels and restaurants for laundry and meals if they want to eat out and refer them to Parks Canada or local experts if they are planning on entering the back country.
“We feel a sense of responsibility to help people stay safe.”
With the summer tourist season now over the hostel has teamed up with David Brian of Wilderness Technologies to hold Avalanche Safety Training for winter adventurers and are providing a place for a new local mountain biking club to meet.
For more information on events or to book your own stay go to WanderersInn.ca or to their Facebook page.