Lake Louise Ski Resort Guide
Lake Louise is the largest ski resort in Canada, and is set amidst some of the most stunning scenery in the world. You won’t find a better view to accompany some truly excellent skiing.
The resort is two hours by road from Calgary International Airport, but you won’t mind. You’ll move from the edge of the expansive prairies, through the foothills, and into the rugged Rocky Mountains amid views that will have you pressed to the window the whole trip.
Tom Wilson, the first European to discover the area in 1882, and who had been around a bit by then, said of the place: ‘As God is my judge, I never in all my exploration have seen such a matchless scene.’ Other than the addition of a beautiful (and massive) hotel, a quaint village, and a snake of railway tracks through the valley, it hasn’t changed much since then.
The village has been hosting skiers since the 1920s, but by the standards of most skiers, the village is still a quiet place, with a few shops and restaurants, but not a great deal more. People come to Lake Louise for two reasons: to see the magnificent scenery… and to ski.
There is a wide variety of accommodation available, but no ski-in, ski-out options. Everyone travels to and from the resort itself via shuttle bus or car.
Taxis are present, but expensive. Busses run regularly to and from the slopes, and a couple of days a week they go to neighbouring resorts and back, but the best way to get around is to hire a car. Driving can be challenging during snowstorms, but roads are of good quality and very well maintained, so the rest of the time it is simple to get around… aside from the occasional bear or moose on the road!
On the slopes
Lake Louise has a humble altitude by Rockies standards, but the sufficient snow and significant distance from the ocean keeps it covered, dry, and beautiful. It can, however, get cold. Quite cold. With no covers on the chairlifts, this can mean some chilly ascents.
There are good runs here for beginners and intermediates, but the real draw is for expert skiers. With some 30% of the runs rating Black or Double-Black, there is a wealth of challenging vertical here (very challenging and very vertical), and plenty of snow to enjoy it.
Lake Louise has a small shopping mall, several shops and restaurants, but the evenings see most things shut down fairly early – there is no thriving club scene here. Not at all.
Lake Louise itself is quiet, but Banff is not far away and offers a much livelier scene. Norquay and Sunshine Village are also less than an hour away by car.
Enjoy a chic cocktail or quality whiskey at the Lakeview Lounge in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, or a bite to eat and a local beer at the Whitehorn Bistro right at the resort.
Traditional, club-oriented après ski activities may be sparse in the area, but what makes up for it is the scenery. The area truly is among the wildest and most rugged places it is easy to get to, and driving around it is easy in fair weather.
Even after the end of the shorter winter days the show doesn’t stop: gaze up at the famed Northern Lights, panoramic starry skies amid the jagged shadows of mountain peaks – and breathe in the fresh air. It’s truly an experience worth investing in.