Everything You Need to Know About Lake Louise
About Lake Louise
Located in Banff National Park, with its monolithic mountains, shimmering glaciers, deep-frozen lakes and equally deep powder, Lake Louise, one of the so-called ‘Big 3’ is perhaps the most beautiful place in the world. It’s certainly one of the most stunning to ski. Totaling 4,200 skiable acres, 145 trails excluding countless back bowls and 990m of vertical, it is unsurprising Lake Louise was voted as the number 1 Ski Resort in Canada for the 3rd consecutive year in 2017.
A 45-minute drive west from the town of Banff will see you to Lake Louise. To say the drive is scenic is a gross understatement and it’s a drive that could certainly take a little longer depending on how many photo stops are taken.
Lastly, no trip to Lake Louise would be complete without visiting the lake itself, located some 5km from the hamlet-village of Lake Louise. The lake that’s unbelievably turquoise in summer couldn’t look more different in winter. Upon the frozen lake you can ice-skate – or learn to ice skate – or be witness to the Ice Magic Festival in January, where ice carvers from all over the world create incredible sculptures.
Insider Ski and Snowboard Tips
Lake Louise’ vast terrain is spread across three areas: the frontside, the backside powder bowls and the Larch area. As you’d expect the frontside attracts beginners and intermediate skiers with its more sedate runs and wide groomed piste. While the back bowls beckon locals and more advanced riders in search of chutes, bowls and steeps. The back bowls off Whitehorn and Paradise are also touted as offering some of the best ski touring there is.
Banff is located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. The closest international airport is the Calgary International Airport (YYC) 126km away (a 90-minute drive). Lake Louise is a scenic 40 minutes further west from Banff.
Lake Louise does not offer any ski-in ski-out accommodation options or even any on-mountain lodging. The closest available are a few kilometres from the base of the resort in a fairly secluded village or on the shores of the lake itself (around 4km away).
Once again, many skiers and boarders choose to stay in the town of Banff and catch public transport to the hill – although this takes around 40 minutes, it’s one of the most scenic commutes to a ski hill you could possibly have.
Restaurants and Après
Sample traditional Canadian poutine (just about anywhere), sip locally brewed beers at the Banff Ave. Brew Pub or enjoy some on-mountain sushi at Lake Louise’s Kuma Yama, Banff has all bases and budgets covered when it comes to dining with more than 130 bars, restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries.
As for entertainment, the main town of Banff is the place to be should you want to kick the après up a little. The aptly named Dancing Sasquatch should do the trick.
Non Skiing Activities
Although hard to believe, winter is the ‘off-season’ when it comes to tourism in Banff National Park. While there are plenty of reasons to visit Banff in the summertime, there are an equal amount of activities to be done on-snow without necessarily being in skis during wintertime. Purchase a multi-day tri-area lift ticket for 3 or more days and receive a complimentary pass for entry into the Banff Hot Springs. Something of a must-do, these hot springs are what the doctor ordered following a big day on one of the Big 3 and are Canada’s highest thermal mineral springs. It features a 1930s bathhouse and sweeping panoramas of the Rockies. Other activities to look into include the Johnston Canyon Icewalk, which traverses a series of steel catwalks that afford spectacular views of the Johnston Canyon below. Snowshoeing to ‘Paints Pots’ is another fan favourite.
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