There is arguably no ski resort in the world with a better view than the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Located in Canada’s oldest and first national park the resort has an ample supply of natural scenery. In between runs screaming down groomers, tackling a bowl, or defying death in a steep chute Banff National Park provides you some fresh air and stunning landscapes. There is something for everyone here with terrain that will thrill even expert skiers.
It happens to be one of our favorite ski resorts in the world and offers a lot of value for visitors. Not only are lift tickets more affordable than comparable ski resorts in the United States the exchange rate only tips it more in visitors’ favor. A member of both the Ikon and Mountain Collective pass means pass holders can take advantage of their pass for an affordable ski getaway in Alberta.
Lake Louise deserves to be on every avid skier and snowboarders list of resorts to cross off in their life.
Lake Louise Ski Resort
- Summit Elevation: 8650 ft
- Vertical: 3,250 ft
- Acres: 4,200 acres, 145 marked trails plus back bowls, longest run 5 miles
- Lifts: 10 Lifts: 1 Gondola, 6 Chairs, 3 Carpets
Lake Louise Ski Resort
Lake Louise may be one of the largest ski resorts in North America with 4,200 acres covering four mountain faces, but it often feels like a small local hill. While it’s small in comparison to its largest competitor Whistler in British Colombia the mountain has a wide variety of terrain and sees a fraction of the visitors. If you’re allergic to lift lines like us you’ll be hard-pressed to stand in line if you’re skiing mid-week while locals are at work.
If there is one thing that encapsulates the resort it’s the gorgeous natural beauty. From the summit, visitors witness a stunning view out over the expansive Canadian Rockies with sights that include Mt Temple, Lake Louise, and a massive glaciated ice-field. It’s a scene that has never soured on us.
Lake Louise has something to offer everyone granted intermediate, advanced, and experts will have the greatest amount of choice. The terrain varies between beautiful groomers, challenging steeps, and expert level chutes. Furthermore, like many of the resorts in Western Canada, you’ll have an ample supply of vertical for long runs. The longest run here stretches for nearly five miles so start working out your leg muscles now.
The front side of the mountain is a number of long groomed runs that are largely blue and green runs with a couple of parks. It’s the backside of the mountain where the resort gets a real name in the ski world. Head up the Summit Chair to score some sweet expert level and advanced terrain. This is not a great area for beginners or intermediate-level skiers and riders. New in 2020 is the West Bowl which is largely a freeride zone for experts on the front side. It features a large bowl that drops down into several gullies in the treeline. On a good powder day, it’s tough to beat a run down the West Bowl.
With one of the longest ski seasons in North America, the resort kicks off the Ski World Cup in November due to its consistently good snow in the early season. That snow will stick around until May when the resort closes for a season that is nearly six months. We love Lake Louise so much that we have bought season passes there for two years in a row. It’s about to be a third season in a row once they go on sale.
Tips For Lake Louise Ski
- Take advantage of the whole mountain. It’s easy to get stuck in one area, but if you only have a few days take advantage of the whole mountain and the ever-changing views. We like to do large loops around the mountain where we’ll ski the various bowls in a large circle that moves around the mountain.
- 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 a great 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 has a chance to 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 an epic untouched powder runs. The whole ordeal takes a while to lap, but it’s worth every minute.
- Experts might love the back bowls, but intermediates should check out the Larch Mountain for some awesome groomed runs and steep enough pistes to challenge your skill level.
- Grizzly Gully is a classic run that’s appropriate for most levels. It’s a massive gully that you can ride like a half-pipe riding up and down the steep sides.
The Best Runs at Lake Louise
We have a separate post on our favorite runs at Lake Louise so you can head over there for checking out the descriptions of all the runs. For the general list check it out below. If you feel like a real challenge try to ski or ride them all!
- Jerry’s Jungle
- Juniper/Juniper Jungle
- Grizzly Gully
- Eagle Flight
- Lipalian Chutes
- Upper Boomerang
- Hour Glass
- Ptarmigan Chutes
- Brown Shirt
- West Bowl
- Brown Shirt First
- Boundary Bowl
- Vertical Cornice
- I Gully
Terrain Park At Lake Louise
While the resort does not cater to park rats they open a number of parks by Christmas time. There are a number of features ranging from S to XL that are on offer in three park sections. Even an expert will have some fun in the park with some large jumps and interesting layouts. While I wouldn’t say it’s the most extensive park we’ve ever seen it’s certainly nothing to scoff at.
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 drink.
Lodge of Ten Peaks
The main base lodge is large timber and stone timber building with all the resort’s main services like a ski shop, rentals, bar, cafeteria, lockers, sushi restaurant, lounge, ticket counter, and guest services. The lodge has a number of restaurants that includes the Powder Keg Lounge, Northface Bistro, and the sushi spot Kuma Yama.
This is the best restaurant on the mountain and the only location that’s truly on the mountain and 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 that has some great options like charcuterie boards, steaks, and pasta. If you’re looking for a nice on-mountain meal this is the spot to head.
Temple Day Lodge
This was actually 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 quick pit stop when you’re done skiing the Larch or backside of the mountain.
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. We don’t spend a lot of time eating on the mountain as locals, but the Kokanee Kabin is where you’ll most likely find us on the mountain.
Where to Stay at Lake Louise?
Its location inside Banff National Park has limited development and there is no on-mountain accommodation. If you’re a fan of ski-in-ski-out you’ll need to look elsewhere, but the lack of accommodation is what adds to the natural beauty of the mountain. Instead, you’ll need to head to the nearby sleepy village of Lake Louise or chose 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.
This stately resort overlooking stunning Lake Louise 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 activities are also available on-site and nearby, including 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 that is not used to cold winter conditions and harsh temperatures.
Where Else Should You Ski in Banff?
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