A Local’s Guide To The Lake Louise Ski Resort

The Lake Louise Ski Resort, located in the breathtaking Banff National Park in Canada, is renowned for its stunning views and top-notch skiing experiences. From heart-pumping runs down groomers and bowls to more leisurely descents through the valley forests, the resort caters to skiers and snowboarders of all abilities.

But the beauty of the resort doesn’t stop at the slopes. Nestled in the heart of Banff National Park, the resort offers fresh air and picturesque views that add to the overall experience. Plus, lift tickets are more affordable than many comparable ski resorts in the United States, making it an excellent value for visitors.

The Lake Louise Ski Resort is a top destination for those with Ikon or Mountain Collective passes, alongside resorts like Jackson Hole, Snowbird, and Revelstoke. If you’re an avid skier or snowboarder, add it to your list of ski resorts to visit before you die.


Lake Louise Ski Resort Details

Lake Louise Ski Resort Brown Shirt
  • Summit Elevation: 8650 ft (2637 m)
  • Vertical: 3,250 ft
  • Acres: 4,200 acres, 160 marked runs, longest run 5 miles
  • Lifts: 10 Lifts: 1 Gondola, 6 Chairs, 3 Carpets

Guide To Lake Lousie Ski Resort

Lake Louise Ski Resort Backside From Larch Mountain

If one thing encapsulates the resort, it’s the gorgeous natural beauty. From the Whitehorn summit, skiers get an expansive view of the staggering Canadian Rockies. It’s a scene that has never soured on us after years of riding the resort.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

With 4,200 skiable acres covering four mountain faces, it is of the largest resorts in North America but often feels like a local’s hill. It’s not like the mega-resort Whistler-Blackcomb. It all starts with the resort’s base, an unassuming timber-frame building.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

However, it doesn’t take long to realize the ski is no slouch with something to offer everyone, granted intermediate, advanced, and experts will have the most significant choice. Lake Louise Ski Resort is one epic resort for expert skiers and riders.

The backside of Lake Louise Ski Resort

The terrain varies between beautiful groomers, challenging steeps, and expert-level chutes. It can be broken up into four zones the Front Side, West Bowl, Back Bowls, and Larch. Front Side and Larch are the most digestible mountain sections with long tree-lined groomed runs. While the West Bowl and Back Bowls offer alpine bowl skiing with steep chutes and cliff bands.

Like many of the resorts in Western Canada, you’ll have an ample vertical supply for long runs. The longest run here stretches for nearly five miles so start working out your leg muscles now. Don’t expect much of a break on weekdays, as you’ll be hard-pressed to stand in line while locals are at work.


How To Ski Lake Louise

The best way to ski Lake Louise is to move around the mountain in a circular motion. Skill level does not matter, as there is enough variety for any skier/rider to make their way around the mountain. We love to alternate between runs on the front and back with an odd run down Larch mountain.

Ski At Lake Louise Frontside

Start by hopping on the Lake Louise Gondola and then with a warm-up lap down a groomed run on the Front Side of the mountain, like Juniper or Wiwaxy. If conditions are good, don’t waste any time and shoot straight for the Summit Chair, granted this is not the spot for beginners or intermediates. If there’s fresh powder, drop right off the Whitehorn summit for a steep line.

Powder Line Off The Whitehorn

Once you’ve dropped down into the back bowls, you can catch a ride up the Paradise Chair to ski the front side or head down to the Larch area. Larch is excellent for some tree skiing or beautiful groomers. Lookout on Larch is our favorite beginner run in the resort, and we’ll rip down the run as it’s often quiet.

As the day progresses and you warm up those legs, it’s the perfect time to attempt some of the resort’s more challenging lines. If you’re looking for white knuckle lines, try Brown Shirt First, ER 6, Swedes, or I Gully.

Hiking Above Brown Shirt First

The West Bowl is the resort’s latest addition and is a freeride zone for experts on the front side. It features a large bowl that drops into several gullies in the tree line. On a good powder day, it’s tough to beat a run down the West Bowl.

West Bowl Powder Bowl

Pros & Cons Of Lake Louise Ski Resort

Pros

  • Breathtaking Views
  • Traditional Ski History
  • Huge Terrain
  • Great Terrain Variety
  • Snow Quality
  • Decent Lift System
  • Huge

Cons

  • Lacks Huge Amounts of Powder
  • It Can Get Cold!!!
  • No On Mountain Lodging
  • The town of Banff Is A Drive
  • Lake Louise Village Is Very Sleepy

Tips For Lake Louise Ski Resort

Natasha Looking out Temple Mountain From Lake Lousie Ski Resort
  • Sign up for a free guided tour with one of the mountain ambassadors. They have these tours twice daily, and they’ll help give you a lay of the land. It’s an excellent option for your first day and gives you a chance to bounce questions about conditions and runs off a local.
  • Give yourself a challenge and try some new terrain; everyone can challenge themselves with new terrain at Lake Louise.
  • Hike the ridge on the backside to reach Upper Boomerang, Brown Shirt, or the Boundary Bowl for epic untouched powder runs. The ordeal takes a while, but it’s worth every minute.
  • Experts might love the back bowls, but intermediates should check out Larch Mountain for excellent groomed runs and steep enough pistes to challenge your skill level.
  • Grizzly Gully or Jerry’s Jungle are classic groomed runs appropriate for most levels. Grizzly Gully is a massive gully you can ride like a half-pipe up and down the steep sides. Jerry’s Jungle is an easy beginner run through well-spaced trees with plenty of side hits for the more advanced.
  • Snowboarders will generally want to avoid the mogul-ridden Paradise Bowl. However, the chutes in either direction are steep enough to be mogul free.

The Best Runs at Lake Louise Ski Resort

We have a separate post on our favorite runs at Lake Louise, so you can head over there to check out the descriptions of all the runs. For the general list, check it out below. Try skiing or riding them all if you feel like a real challenge!

  • Beginner
    • Jerry’s Jungle
    • Lookout
    • Wiwaxy
    • Pika
  • Intermediate
    • Juniper/Juniper Jungle
    • Grizzly Gully
    • Boomerang
  • Advanced
    • Eagle Flight
    • Lipalian Chutes
    • Upper Boomerang
    • Hour Glass
    • Ptarmigan Chutes
    • Brown Shirt
    • West Bowl
  • Expert
    • Brown Shirt First
    • Boundary Bowl
    • Vertical Cornice
    • Swedes
    • I Gully

Terrain Park At Lake Louise Ski Resort

While the resort does not cater to park rats, they open several parks by Christmas. Many features range from S to XL in three park sections, so every skill set has a good variety.

Even an expert will have fun in the park with large jumps and exciting layouts. While I wouldn’t say it’s the most extensive park we’ve ever seen, it’s certainly nothing to scoff at. You may find Sunshine Village has a better setup if you’re a park rider.


Day Lodges at Lake Louise

There are four separate areas to grab a bite to eat or a drink on the mountain. The two main lodges have a few different options for food and beverages.

Lodge of Ten Peaks

The main base lodge is large timber and stone timber building with all the resort’s primary services like a ski shop, rentals, bar, cafeteria, lockers, sushi restaurant, lounge, ticket counter, and guest services. The lodge has several restaurants, including the Powder Keg Lounge, Northface Bistro, and the sushi spot Kuma Yama.

Whitehorn Bistro

This is the best restaurant on the mountain and the only location truly on the mountain, not in a base area. The elevation provides some excellent views from the back deck, and they serve high-quality food. It’s a sit-down restaurant with great options like charcuterie boards, steaks, and pasta. This is the spot to head if you’re looking for a nice on-mountain meal.

Temple Day Lodge

 Lake Louise Ski Resort

This was the original base lodge when the mountain first opened, and the ski-out is the previous road. So the historic log cabin is worth a stop for a photo or a quick pit stop when you’re done skiing the Larch or backside of the mountain.

Kokanee Kabin

The Kokanee Kabin is the apres-ski bar serving up burgers and beer. On a spring day, it’s the place to hang out and enjoy the sunshine with a beer. As locals, we don’t spend much time eating on the mountain, but the Kokanee Kabin is where you’ll most likely find us on the hill.


Where to Stay at Lake Louise?

Its location inside Banff National Park has limited development, and no on-mountain accommodation exists. If you’re a fan of ski-in-ski-out, you’ll need to look elsewhere, but the lack of accommodation adds to the mountain’s natural beauty.

Instead, you’ll need to head to the nearby sleepy village of Lake Louise or choose to base yourself further away in the more lively towns of Banff or Canmore.


Chateau Fairmont Lake Louise

The Chateau Fairmont Lake Louise is another iconic long-standing resort in Banff National Park. If you’re looking for luxury accommodation with luxury amenities in a location surrounded by mountains and remote backcountry, this is the place for you. 

The stately resort overlooks the stunning Lake Louise and has 530 rooms and suites in various sizes.  On-site amenities include an indoor pool, hot tub, steam room, and fitness area with a stretching room. The resort spa offers many services, including massages, body scrubs, and facials.

Various on-site and nearby activities include guided mountain tours, skiing, hiking, canoeing, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, skating, and dog sledding. Lakeview Lounge, Walliser Stube, Poppy Brasserie, and Fairview Bar and Restaurant are some of the eateries available, offering a variety of dining experiences. 


What To Wear Skiing?

Check out our ski trip packing list for your next trip. Packing for a winter trip can be a nightmare. Packing for a ski or snowboarding trip in the winter can bring a poor packer to tears. This is especially true for someone not used to cold winter conditions and harsh temperatures.


Where Else Should You Ski in Banff?

Sunshine Village

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About Cameron

Cameron is a resident of Canmore, Alberta. After traveling the world for six years, he settled down in the beautiful Bow Valley with Natasha. He has been featured as a travel expert with numerous publications worldwide and has spoken on several occasions about the power of travel. He has a passion for all things in the Canadian Rockies and loves to spend his time snowboarding, scrambling, camping, biking, and trail running. Conservation is a deep fundamental in his life, and he aims to inspire others to care about our natural world. You can learn more on the about us page.

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