Skiing at Lake Louise

Lake Louise strikes you for two reasons: the absolutely stunning scenery that surrounds it, and its huge size. Lake Louise is located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in Canada’s first National Park. It has more than 4200 skiable acres (1700 hectares), which makes it one of the largest ski areas in all of North America. What’s nice about Lake Louise, it offers all sorts of terrain, from bunny hills and easy green runs, to manageable blue runs and more difficult single and double-black diamond runs.

Some of the astounding mountain scenery approaching Lake Louise

The terrain is nicely divided into 25% beginner runs, 45% intermediate and 30% for advanced skiers, so there is truly something for everyone. For us who most enjoy blue and single-black diamond runs, Lake Louise was heaven since it offered such a huge selection.

Naturally, such a large area needs to be serviced by a highly efficient lift system, and Lake Louise offers Summit Platter t-bar (which whisks you up to summit area of Mount Whitehorn which clocks in with an altitude of 8,765 feet (2,675 m). There are 7 chairlifts, most of them high-speed, and the Top of the World Chairlift actually holds 6 passengers, this was the first time we saw a 6-passenger chairlift. Our favourite of course was the Grizzly Express Gondola which is more than 2900 m long (over 9500 feet) and in just about 10 minutes takes you up a vertical of more than 2400 feet (736 m). In our skiing experience (essentially East Coast skiing up until now), this was the highest vertical that we ever transcended in the shortest amount of time.

Approaching the base lodge at Lake Louise

Naturally, Lake Louise Ski Area is a well-known stop on the World Cup Circuit: it hosts the Winterstart Men’s & Ladies World Cup Downhill & Super-G Races. Since 1991 Lake Louise has become the traditional venue for the year’s first Women’s Speed event. We partook of the World Cup spirit by “racing” down the Men’s and Women’s Downhill Slopes. The steepness of this slopes is astounding, and it is hard to imagine that ski racers actually go down these mountains straight, searching for speed, without making a turn. These two runs, the Men’s and Ladies’ downhill actually became my favourite runs and they were quite doable (although I didn’t go straight down), especially since they were perfectly groomed.

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