Lake Louise

Alberta, Canada

Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, Lake Louise would have one of the most spectacular settings in North America – luckily it also has some great terrain!

Scout Loves

  • This is an excellent ski resort with a huge variety of terrain.
  • The scenery is breathtaking.
  • There are a good variety of on-mountain restaurants.
  • All standards of skiers can enjoy skiing together, since there are green runs off every lift. 
  • The thrills and spills of the snow cross course

Scout Tips

  • Lake Louise can sometimes be brutally cold, especially in December and early January.
  • Day tickets to Lake Louise are included in the tri-area ski pass. This pass also includes shuttle bus services to and from Banff.
  • If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten track adventure, book in a night at Skoki Ski Lodge – which is accessed by an intermediate level cross country skiing trail.
  • Lake Louise is part of the Mountain Collective.

Scout Review

Lake Louise is one of Canada’s best known ski resorts – for many good reasons! There’s the skiing of course, which is varied and exciting thanks to the 4,200/1,700 hectares of terrain over four mountain faces. But without a doubt, the true hero here is the awe-inspiring scenery. Spectacular 360-degree views of the Canadian Rockies can be seen from every part of the mountain, which is marvelous so long as you don’t get too distracted by the view that you forget to look where you’re going as you’re zooming down the slopes!

Located in Banff National Park, about 45 minutes west of Banff, Lake Louise has a small village area about five minutes from the base of the mountain. There is no ski-in ski-out accommodation but there are several great restaurants, delis and bars located at the base area as well as spread around the mountain. New in 13/14 was Whitehorn Lodge, which is an on-mountain alpine bistro with excellent service and the best views.

The village area has a small collection of retail and grocery stores, as well as a few inns, lodges and cabins. You will notice that the place has a retro National Park feel to it, which only adds to the charm. It’s a lovely place to stay although it should be said that if you’re looking for a happening après scene, you would be better off in Banff. 

Up the road from the village is the famous, castle-like Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.  Set against the stunning backdrop of the frozen lake and glacier covered mountains, the Fairmont is worth a side trip whether you’re staying in the area or not.

The Skiing

Lake Louise Ski Resort offers great skiing and boarding for all standards. There are 10 lifts including a gondola and a high speed 6 passenger lift, plus there are 3 magic carpets. So whether you’re a first timer or an expert, everyone will have plenty to keep them occupied.

Beginners should start out at Sunny Side and Kids Zone, which is a safe and easy area to the side of the main slopes. There are other beginner slopes throughout the mountain and plenty of long, well groomed cruisers for intermediates.

Advanced and expert skiers will be impressed not only by the stupendous views but by the variety of terrain on offer here. There are plenty of steeps, chutes and gladed runs that will keep seasoned skiers and boarders seriously satisfied – especially in the Back Bowl area. We particularly liked the runs to the left of the Paradise chair.

Larch Mountain has some really fun terrain, including the gladed runs off to the right. Kids and adult kids will love Rock Garden, which has tons of of natural jumps and whoop-ti-doos.

The lifts at Lake Louise are generally fast (the old 3-seater Paradise chair being the exception) and positioned to provide access to all sorts of terrain quickly.

Due to its popularity and proximity to Calgary, Lake Louise can get crowded, particularly on weekends and powder days. The resort gets 179in/4.5m average snowfall per year, which isn’t a huge amount, but cold temperatures ensures it stays light and dry. Lake Louise can get quite icy.

For Families

Lake Louise is fantastic for families, although unfortunately it lacks on-slope accommodation. However the facilities at the base area include day care, lockers, rentals and shopping, while the beginner area is ideally located right near the main Base Area lodge and the bottom of the gondola. This means that if parents need to meet up with their kids throughout the day, it won’t be too much of a hassle. Our Banff/Lake Louise Scout Field Guide has all the details for families.

Lake Louise Accommodation

Lake Louise Ski Resort does not have any ski-in ski-out accommodation options – the closest lodging is located in the village. But there are a variety of places to choose from including log cabins, lodges, and of course the ginormous Fairmont Chateau.

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Resort Activities

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Lake Louise has everything you’d expect from a well developed ski resort, including first tracks skiing, snow tubing, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Also on offer is a delightful torchlight dinner and ski. 

Getting There and Around

Lake Louise Ski Resort is located five minutes from the town of Lake Louise (and the Fairmont Chateau). From Banff it’s about 40-45 minutes, and 2 hours from Calgary airport.

Whether you’re staying in Lake Louise or Banff, there are regular public shuttles that are free when you use your tri-area ski ticket. Having your own car adds a lot of flexibility and there’s a huge parking lot close to the base area. The Banff/Lake Louise Scout Field Guide has more information including price guides and contact details.

When To Go

Lake Louise has a long season. It usually operates in the first week of November and closes the first week of May.

March is a fantastic time to visit Lake Louise. January and February have relatively reliable snow, but it can be very cold. In December and early January it can be very, very cold! Be sure to bring plenty of warm clothes and especially face protection. The main lifts don’t operate when the temperature drops below -30°C/-22°F  which can happen a few times a season. April brings some excellent spring skiing as the temperature starts to warm up.

Facts & Figures

Mountain Information   Lifts   Terrain    
Base Elevation 5400ft / 1646m Gondolas 1 Beginner 25%  
Summit Elevation 8650ft / 2637m Six chairs 1 Intermediates 45%  
Vertical Drop 3250ft / 991m Express Quad Chairs 2 Advanced 30%  
Skiable Area 4200ac / 1700ha Quad Chairs 1 Terrain Park Yes  
Annual Snowfall 177in / 4.5m Triple Chairs 1      
Longest Run 5 miles / 8km Surface Lifts (1 expert) 4      
Operating Hours 9.00am –4.30pm          
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