Sperry Still Standing Despite Heavy Snow

Flyover shows walls of burned-out chalet have survived the winter thus far

By Justin Franz
Sperry Chalet this week. Courtesy Photo

Five months after the Sperry Chalet was nearly destroyed in a wildfire, the remains of the iconic wilderness lodge in Glacier National Park are still standing.

This week, Glacier National Park and the Glacier National Park Conservancy flew over the chalet to see if efforts to prepare the building for winter had been successful. A photo shows the remaining four walls covered in snow but otherwise upright.

Park officials noted that avalanches have not impacted the building. In 2011, the structure was damaged by a slide that busted open a door and blew open windows, filling the chalet with snow and debris.

Glacier Park has received funding from the conservancy to do two more flights later in the winter and spring to check the building’s status. Those flights are tentatively planned for March and April.

“We are very pleased to see that the dormitory walls are standing,” said Glacier Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “This information helps us significantly as we plan next steps for the chalet.”

The 104-year-old Sperry Chalet’s main dormitory burned to the ground on Aug. 31 after the Sprague Fire made a significant run in the mountains east of Lake McDonald. In October, helicopters ferried workers to the site to install massive wooden braces to stabilize the walls in hopes of possibly rebuilding it.

The National Park Service will host a community event on Feb. 28 titled “The Sperry Chalet Experience: Past, Present, and Future.” The program will be held from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Flathead Valley Community College Arts and Technology Building, room 139, in Kalispell.

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