Lake Louise, Alberta: Rank 19 West, 1998

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Lake Louise is staggeringly beautiful, ringed by peaks separated by blue-ice glaciers tumbling into turquoise lakes. No wonder Canadian Pacific Railroad built its signature 500-room "castle," the Chateau Lake Louise, on the tarn named for Queen Victoria's daughter. But apparently skiers do not live by views alone. Ranked No. 1 in North America for Scenery, Lake Louise nevertheless tumbled to No. 19. "Nice resort, but it has its flaws," wrote one reader. Those "flaws" might include distance from U.S. cities, arctic cold snaps, and the lack of slopeside lodging. But they certainly do not include the charm of skiing in Canada's first National Park. Nor can you fault the 4,000 acres of terrain: Lake Louise is the biggest single-mountain resort in Canada¿bigger than Whistler or Blackcomb. "Huge and varied, something for everyone," raves a reader. No grousing allowed when your lift ticket comes to about $30 U.S. You're in a foreign country, after all, one in which the ski patrol doesn't bust people for skiing O.B. and where you can light up a Cuban. Because it is part of a National Park, Louise is affordable, environmentally progressive and connected by public transport to Banff 36 miles away and to Calgary, Alberta's Denver, 115 miles distant. "One of the most beautiful places on Earth," a reader says.

What's New A high-speed quad that serves the popular cruising terrain off Larch Chair.
A Good Deal The Gourmet package at Deer Lodge, a 1921 log tea house in the village of Lake Louise, includes gourmet dinner, lodging, breakfast. From $79 per person, Oct. 1-May 31. Call (800) 661-1595.
Medals Gold Terrain, Challenge, Value, Lodging, Scenery; Silver Service, Dining.
High/Low Rank Scenery (1); Grooming (65).
Don't Miss Clinics with Kerrin Lee-Gartner, 1992 Olympic downhill gold medalist.
Reader Remarks "Great snow, great price, burst-into-tears scenery. A hidden gem." "No lodging at mountain. Temps can be frigid."