Alumni Spotlight: Claudine-Chen Young

We are lucky to have Mountain Trek alum, Claudine Chen-Young, write this piece about her experience with Mountain Trek, unprompted.

Like many Mountain Trek guests, I’m an overworked, over-stressed, perpetually exhausted professional. Because of the busy work-life, I take extra pleasure in just stopping every now and then to soak in the peace, serenity, and majesty of nature’s beauty. It’s a wonderful counterbalance to my ordinary city life. There’s nothing quite like the crisp mountain air of the Kootenays, and the views from the MountainTrek property and the surrounding areas are absolutely breathtaking! Not to mention the food! If I wasn’t a lover of fine food I wouldn’t be battling a few extra pounds constantly! The food at MountainTrek is “spa cuisine” that is absolutely delicious! Even the presentation is Instagram photo-worthy. There are so many things special about MountainTrek and they keep me a repeat guest “trekking” from Washington DC to British Columbia again and again.

My first visit to MountainTrek was 11 years ago. I had indulged too much in a Thanksgiving meal, was going through relationship struggles and my choices were to vacation in sunny Jamaica (my native country) for the Christmas holidays or do anything else. I searched “luxury boot camp” on the internet (or something along those lines) and came upon a program called the “Turkey Burner”. By the name alone I was sold, and packed up for ten days snowshoeing in British Columbia. I had never even seen a snowshoe in real life. I took my packing list to the REI predecessor and asked “What’s a gaiter? I need those apparently.”

And that experience was life-changing. The staff and the quality of the program surpassed my expectations. The program was tough but not a sergeant style approach. I liked the holistic approach (they were talking about sleep health before the Apple Watch made it en vogue), and I lost a nice bit of weight as well.

I have tried other programs but nothing beats MountainTrek. To me, returning there gives me balance. It reminds me that it is rewarding to push myself physically but also to be kind to myself in other healthful ways, especially the mind through meditation, recharging, and just slowing down. If I go too long without a MountainTrek retreat I literally feel like something is lacking. Over the years I have done almost every MountainTrek offering — three times at the base lodge and international trips in Mexico, Peru, and Italy. This year I was scheduled for New Zealand just as the pandemic hit. Most recently during these COVID times, I have done two of the virtual Basecamp Weekend Retreats.

Every time I go/participate, I sit through all the lectures. Even though I have heard them before there is always something new to learn, and the program staff stays on top of the trends, latest diets, etc. — and educate on why they just don’t work. Although something new sticks with me each time, the core principles have never changed. Each time I leave a MountainTrek retreat, I incorporate positive adjustments in my life when possible. For example, taking baths to detox and trying to manage sleep better.

I have many “favourite” moments, but one that jumps to mind is upon arrival at the lodge on my second-to-last trip there. We put our stuff in our rooms and congregated on the front lawn to be greeted by a double rainbow! (I could only capture half in the photo above). I don’t think I had ever seen one before and it was a sign of the awesome week we were about to have.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Join Claudine and the rest of the Mountain Trek Alumni at our award-winning retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, where you will unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below: