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The Arctic Divide

In the peaceful, forested landscape of northern B.C. sits the Arctic Divide Ranch, Lodge and Motel in Dease Lake, the perfect place to step away from the busy world and enjoy nature.

For guests, it’s dreamlike, but for owners Sofia and Derek Ingram, it’s a dream come true.

Sofia and Derek previously lived in Prince George, working in different careers: Sofia as a member of the RCMP (having previously been stationed in Dease Lake) and Derek a self-employed consultant.

Even after she transferred to Prince George in 2014, Sofia often thought of the Arctic Divide Lodge, which had been for sale for several years. After she and Derek met, they had a conversation over a glass of wine and, suddenly, the thought of buying the lodge started to become a reality.

“We looked around the property, thought about the cost benefit and considered the challenges and deterrents,” Derek says. After much consideration, they made the leap. “We sold everything in Prince George and took a big chance.”

Both had been in business for themselves at some point, so they knew what they were getting into. Derek had worked in natural resource management and hospitality, and Sofia had a hospitality business when she lived in Vernon. Sofia had previously dealt with Community Futures for her business, so when a friend suggested she approach the office in Terrace about Arctic Divide, it made perfect sense.

Derek started a business plan, and Community Futures assisted the couple with feedback and worked with them and the bank to make arrangements for a mortgage.

“It was nice of them and the bank to work hand in hand to make the mortgage personalized,” Sofia says. “They went through all of the details thoroughly and set a good schedule for us.”

The lodge was already established so they’ve been able to build on regular business, as well as return clientele. Derek and Sofia are renovating the main building and expanding the property to make it a ranch. Horses have always been a passion for them, so the three parcels the lodge sits on will feature barns, stables and trails. Derek is also building mountain bike and walking trails in and around Dease Lake.

Sofia and Derek say they’ve learned to better manage time and set priorities, and they both work at all of the jobs in the lodge, which is a challenge, particularly with a child – baby Iona was born in April of 2016, and though she can’t help with renovations, she’s a welcoming little mascot.

“We’re very happy with the progress,” Derek says. “Owning a businesslike this has been on our bucket lists for a long time.”