If you’ve ever seen a postcard of Lake Louise—specifically of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and the view across the lake to Victoria Glacier—and wondered if it really is as pretty there as it seems … well, there’s a reason it won the top score for Scenery. It’s as if each vista in this neck of the Canadian Rockies is just slightly more scenic than the last. That’s also true at Lake Louise Ski Area, 10 minutes from the Chateau.
With over 4,000 acres of terrain, Lake Louise easily satisfies all levels of skiers. The frontside is mostly long, cruisey greens and blues with a stately National Park-style wood-beam lodge at the base, while the expansive backside is where the action’s at: chutes, nicely pitched steeps, and high alpine bowls that funnel down into perfectly spaced glades. Experts, be sure to take the Summit Platter to the chutes, a sweet spot when conditions are good.
And though there’s very little development due to its National Park location—we can rest assured that cookie-cutter condos will never mar the views—the ski town of Banff is 45 minutes down the road.
No. 16 in the West: Lake Louise, Alb.
Lake Louise Ski Resort Mountain Stats
Lake Louise Ski Resort Pass Info
Lake Louise is on the Ikon Pass and the Mountain Collective. Ikon Pass holders get 7 combined days at Lake Louise, Banff Sunshine, and Mt. Norquay. Ikon Base Pass holders get 5 combined days at the same resorts. Mountain Collective pass holders get 2 days at the resort plus 50 percent off additional days.
From lodging and and dining to off-slope activities and local tips, here are the SKI editors’ picks for what to do in Lake Louise, Alb.
The Juniper Express chair opened last February, making this coming season its first full winter in operation. The new chair services five mountaintop blue runs that offer up low-angle skiing with big-mountain scenery.
The resort’s dining outlets reopen this season, including the mid-mountain Whitehorn Bistro as well as Kama Yama Sushi and Temple Cantina at the base.
In the town of Banff, Bluebird and Lupo offer two great new after-dark bar and restaurant options. Bluebird boasts a fun cocktail menu and wood-fired entrees in a historic downtown spot. Lupo opened last spring with a scenic rooftop patio and a long wine list.
The West Bowl expansion, which opened during the 2020-’21 season, is still new to most American thanks to pandemic restrictions. Be sure to check out the 480 acres of steep frontside glades. Also, make your way to the new quad chairlift that replaced the Summit Platter (circa 1977), accessing Mt. Whitehorn’s backside and its alpine cirques and chutes.
Watch for a rope-drop on the seldom-open Gullies: nine chutes off the Summit’s backside that preserve deep, blown-in powder.
As noted above, Whitehorn Bistro finally reopens this winter after a pandemic closure. The mid-mountain eatery serves excellent cuisine with incomparable views that are dominated by 11,375-foot Mt. Victoria and its knifelike sub-peaks.
Sign on for a free guided tour, offered twice daily, on your first ski day. This place is too big to figure out your own.
Take your intermediate-and-up skiers over to the Rock Garden, a boulder field that fills in with snow, for a skiing-on-the-moon experience.
The panoramic vistas from Sunset Terrace are picture-perfect. You can see the Chateau in the distance.