Oregon’s famous Timberline Lodge is a place of traditions, and one such tradition continues this week with the arrival of a new Heidi, an adorable St. Bernard puppy.
Since 1937, when Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the lodge, St. Bernards have been a part of the alpine landscape. The first Timberline St. Bernards were reportedly Hansel and Gretel, and then Lady and Bruel. For a brief while, the St. Bernard mascots were replaced with Huskies when the Kohnstamm family took over management of the lodge in the 1950s. The first mascot under Kohnstamm’s watch was Mac, who belonged to an employee. Then, due to popular demand, Kohnstamm reintroduced St. Bernards. Since the early 1960s the lodge has had St. Bernards named Heidi and Bruno. They lived at Timberline, had free-roam of the building, and greeted countless visitors, befriending skiers and climbers as well. Soon, the dogs began being featured in the ski area’s brochures, ski pins, and on Timberline Lodge matchbook covers. In the 1980s a children’s book, “Heidi’s Rose,” was written and their popularity continued to grow. In more recent years, the dogs have been featured in many of the outdoor-oriented fashion catalogs that are often photographed at the lodge.
In the mid 1990s, their job as mascots became more stressful. The increasing volume of visitors to Timberline became a bit of a burden on the dogs, leading to concerns for their health and demeanor. After considering the situation, management molded the long-term tradition to a changing world and came up with a wonderful solution involving employees. Since that time, rather than allow the dogs to live independently at the lodge, Heidi and Bruno have belonged to long-term employees who become their primary care-givers and alpha masters. The dogs cheerfully come to work with their appointed alpha master, still spending most of their time at the lodge carrying on the tradition, and bringing happiness to Timberline’s many visitors.
This week, Assistant General Manager Scott Skellenger and his wife and Mt. Hood Brewing Company Manager, Leslie Skellenger, have taken on the master responsibilities of a particularly lovable and docile purebred female St. Bernard mascot. At just 11 weeks old, she is already getting a lot of attention at Timberline. Her name, of course, is Heidi.
Director of Public Affairs