Lake Louise Ski Resort — A Local’s Guide To Ski Canada’s Best

The Lake Louise Ski Resort, located in the breathtaking Banff National Park in Canada, is renowned for its stunning views and top-notch skiing. 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 resort’s beauty doesn’t stop at the slopes. Nestled in the heart of Banff National Park, it 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. We’re fortunate to hold a season pass here and consider it our “home” mountain.

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. Mount Temple, the Victoria Glacier, and an endless expanse of pine trees make for a stirring landscape. This scene 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 one of the largest resorts in North America but often feels like a local’s hill. This makes it a quintessential Canadian ski resort, as much of Western enjoys tremendous terrain with excellent acreage per skier, so you rarely feel crowded on the slopes—unlike Europe and the States.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

Don’t expect a mega-resort like Whistler-Blackcomb, as it all starts with the resort’s base, an unassuming timber-frame building. 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 divided into four zones: Front Side, West Bowl, Back Bowls, and Larch. The 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, cliff bands, and tight tree skiing.

Natasha Hiking Boomerang Ridge At Lake Louise Ski Resort

Like many of the resorts in Western Canada, you’ll have an ample supply of vertical, which equates to long runs. The longest run here stretches for nearly five miles, so start working out your leg muscles now if you aren’t an avid skier. Don’t expect much of a break on weekdays, as you’ll be hard-pressed to stand in line while locals work. It gets a little busy at the resort during the holidays after Christmas, President’s Day/Family Long Weekend, and American spring break (mid-March).

The Backside Sign At Lake Louise

How To Ski Lake Louise

Cameron And Natasha On Top Of The World Chair At Lake Louise Ski Resort

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 or 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. This is weather and avalanche closure permitting — the Whitehorn summit and back bowls are subject to clouds and flat light on stormy days.

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 it is not the spot for beginners or intermediates. Drop off the Whitehorn summit for a steep line if there’s fresh powder. Most visitors will be better served with a ride up the Top of The World Chair and down Saddleback, a long green run that drops down the back side of the resort.

Powder Line Off The Whitehorn
Powder Run Off Whitehorn Summit

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.

Natasha At East Bowl Trees Lake Louise Ski Area

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 Cow, Big 7, Swedes, or H Gully. The lines are challenging chutes on the back side of the mountain and are subject to flat light.

Natasha Hiking Brown Cow At Lake Louise Ski Resort
Hiking Above Brown Cow First

The West Bowl is the resort’s latest addition and is a freeride zone for advanced/experts on the front side. It features a large bowl that drops into several gullies in the tree line. On a good powder day, beating a run down the West Bowl is tough, especially as the aspect provides better light, and the trees at the bottom hold plenty of powder.

West Bowl Powder Bowl

While we don’t find the light and visibility at Lake Louise to be as bad as Sunshine Village, the resort is subject to challenging conditions. This is particularly true on stormy days, as the Whitehorn summit and back bowls are often socked in by clouds. The good news is that it runs on the front side, and Larch always has decent visibility. If you’re an expert after powder, we suggest heading for the Ptarmigan/Pika Trees or the West Bowl, as the trees will provide contrast.

Our No BS Take On Lake Louise

Lake Louise Ski Resort Boomerang Cameron

We love skiing at Lake Louise and are thankful to hold season passes to the ski resort. It has a bit of everything for everyone, with some nice groomed runs and incredibly fun terrain for experts. The mountain skews a little more toward the advanced expert crowd, but some pretty challenging lines and fun drops are worth exploring.

Lake Louise Gondola

The downside of the mountain is that it can be brutally cold. It’s not unusual for the summit to be -20 degrees with strong winds. Unfortunately, the ski resort knows this and only supplies the mountain’s base temperatures to make the temperature seem milder. That said, the cold weather shields the resort from mild weather and means the resort is snow-sure. We’ve seen days where it will rain on nearby ski resorts and miss Lake Louise. We believe few ski resorts are as reliable in North America.

While it’s unlikely to rain, it’s not likely to snow much either; the resort is not known for its huge dumps or deep snowpack. Locals know the pain of using p-tex on their skis and snowboards, as some of the mountain’s best lines are extremely rocky. Most visitors won’t have to worry about this, though, as it’s largely related to difficult expert lines at the resort.

One last gripe we have with Lake Louise is their overly glossy “snow report,” which the marketing department manages and can sometimes seem downright dishonest. It’s always “another great day at Lake Louise.”

Pros & Cons Of Lake Louise Ski Resort

Natasha On Back Bowls Powder Day Lake Louise Ski Resort


  • Breathtaking Views
  • Traditional Ski History
  • Huge Terrain
  • Great Terrain Variety
  • Snow Quality
  • Decent Lift System
  • Massive Ski Area
  • Solid Park Setup
  • Quiet Midweek


  • Lacks Large 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. These tours are offered twice daily and help give you a sense of the resort. The tours are perfect for your first day, allowing you to ask questions about conditions and run from a local.
  • Give yourself a challenge and try some new terrain. At Lake Louise, everyone can challenge themselves with new terrain. The resort also offers a variety of lessons for various levels to improve your form.
  • Hike the ridge on the backside to reach Upper Boomerang, Brown Cow, 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.
  • Wiwaxy and Pika are classic groomed runs appropriate for most levels.
  • Snowboarders will generally want to avoid the mogul-ridden Paradise Bowl. However, the chutes in either direction are steep enough to be mogul-free.
  • If you’re looking for post- or pre-ski fuel, we love to head to the Trailhead Cafe in Lake Louise village for coffee or baked goods. After skiing on a cold day, it’s tough to beat the bone-warming effects of a hot bowl of ramen from Ramen Arashi in Banff.

The Best Runs at Lake Louise Ski Resort

Lake Louise On Sunny Day Back Bowls

We have a separate post on our favorite runs at Lake Louise, so you can head over there to read about all the runs. Check out the general list below. Try skiing or riding them all if you want a real challenge!

Trail Recommendations
  • Beginner
    • Jerry’s Jungle
    • Lookout
    • Wiwaxy
    • Pika
  • Intermediate
    • Juniper/Juniper Jungle
    • Charlie’s Choice
    • Boomerang
    • Larch
  • Advanced
    • Eagle Flight
    • Lipalian Chutes
    • Upper Boomerang
    • Hour Glass
    • Ptarmigan Glades
    • Brown Cow
    • West Bowl
    • East Bowl
    • Pika Trees
    • Third Gate
  • Expert
    • Brown Cow First
    • Boundary Bowl
    • Big 7
    • Vertical Cornice
    • Swedes
    • H Gully

Terrain Parks At Lake Louise Ski Resort

terrain park at lake louise

Over the last few years, Lake Louise has stepped up its park game. While it’s not quite like some of the more famous park mountains around the world, like Laax, Whistler, or Aspen, it’s still respectable. Thanks to cold weather and snow, the resort opens several solid parks by Christmas. The parks are all on the mountain’s front side and serviced by the Glacier Chair from the base area.

The resort builds four park sections with features ranging from small to extra-large. The variety is great, and it skews more towards the average park rider, with a nice variety of medium to large features across two large parks. Even an expert will have fun in the park with XL jumps and cool boxes/rails. Beginners have a modest park set up just above the village’s base.

Day Lodges at Lake Louise

The Ptarmigan Chair At Lake Louise

There are four separate areas on the mountain where you can grab a bite to eat or drink. The two main lodges have several different food and beverage options.

Lodge of Ten Peaks

The Base Of Lake Louise Ski Resort

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

Whitehorn Bistro

This is the best restaurant on the mountain and the only location 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 want a nice on-mountain meal. However, it’s also the most expensive option. Truthfully, as locals, we’ve only eaten at the restaurant once.

Temple Day Lodge

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 the backside of the mountain. There are three dining options at the Temple Lodge in a super cozy setting.

Banded Peak Base Camp

The Banded Peak Base Camp is an apres-ski bar serving burgers and beer. On a spring day, it’s where you can hang out and enjoy the sunshine with a beer. As locals, we don’t spend much time eating on the mountain, but you’ll most likely find us at the Banded Peak Base Camp.

Transportation To Lake Louise

Natasha Walking Down Bear Street In Banff In February

While there are accommodation options in Lake Louise Village, a magical spot, we recommend most skiers stay in Banff. The town has a lot more going on, with plenty of shops, bars, hotels, and restaurants. Staying in Banff also means you can ski at Banff’s other ski resorts, such as Sunshine Village and Mt. Norquay. Lake Louise forms a collective with the other two ski resorts to create SkiBig3 on the Ikon Pass and sells multiday tickets to visitors good at all the resorts.

Lake Louise Ski Area Shuttle

The downside is Lake Louise is far from Banff, a 40-minute drive on the highway. This can add a lot of stress to a ski holiday if the roads are icy, which is very common. However, the good news is it’s super easy to take a car-free ski trip to Banff, as all ski resorts in SkiBig3 offer free shuttles from Banff to the base areas. You can also hop on the Banff Airporter at the Calgary airport to reach town on your arrival.

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 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 winters and harsh temperatures.

Where Else Should You Ski in Banff?

Sunshine Village

Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies

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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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