Ski Canada: Lake Louise Ski Area & Mountain Resort

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Written by Cassidy Barnes posted on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

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The Lake Louise Ski Area in Banff National Park covers three different mountains and has some of the best terrain and lifts in the Canadian Rockies.

A skier takes on the sublime steeps on Lake Louise's above tree-line terrain. (Henry Georgi/Lake Louise Ski Area)

With over 4,200 skiable acres, it is one of the largest resorts in North America. The resort estimates that it would take a skier more than a week to cover all the terrain offered at Lake Louise.

The resort has 3,250 feet (991 meters) of vertical rise and receives over 140 inches of snow a year across the mountain resort’s four faces. The climate is dictated by its location along the continental divide, which provides consistent cold temperatures and lots of fluffy powder! See the local area conditions live with the Banff Webcam!

The season is six months long, running from early November to early May, with little chance of mid-winter melts and therefore icy conditions. The sunniest south facing slopes get an extra boost with snowmaking, but in general, the snow is plentiful enough.

As it does receive quiet a lot of snow, its good to know that visibility remains good even while the beautiful flakes are falling on the below tree-line terrain. After it’s fallen, head up to the white on blue sky landscape of the pristine above tree-line ski area at Lake Louise.

Skiing at Lake Louise is an experience of discovery because it has been built with the European idea of “going somewhere as you ski.” They also have at least one green, blue and black trail down from every chair, so no matter you skill level, you still get to see the sights. The longest run is a huge 5 miles (8 km) long!

There are 139 marked trails, plus the back bowls. The terrain is broken down as 25% beginner, 45% intermediate and 30% advanced. The slopes are reached by 8 lifts and a magic carpet.

Beginners love Lake Louise’s gentle slopes and rolling cruisers, while advanced skiers and boarders revel in the chance to plunge down the challenging chutes, glades, gullies and bowls. Have a truly exhilarating time on their super steeps or limitless off piste runs!

Novices should start on lift D, the Sunny T-Bar. It accesses an area great for a first mountain experience. When you’re ready, graduate to the Glacier Express Quad and Run #9, Wiwaxy. Some nice backside green runs are #65, #109, #143 and #150. If snow is heavy and visibility is poor, beginners should stay away from runs serviced by the Top of the World Six Pack Express Chair.

Intermediate to advanced skiers and boarders should definitely check out run #59 and the combo of #39 and #8. Larch (#148) is also fun. For a tremendously fun high country experience, try #132 off Lift A (Summit Platter). For real thrills head to the backside bowls. Mineshaft and Jackpot are two areas in these bowls that offer a huge variety of super challenging steeps and chutes. The bowls are at their best when visibility is good. If its not the case while you’re at Lake Louise, advanced skiers and riders will still love the Ptarmigan Chutes, Lynx and the Men’s World Cup Downhill Run #1.

Those who love pulling tricks, head to the terrain park, which is full of easy, intermediate and pro features like rails, jibs jumps and boxes.

To reach Lake Louise Ski Area is within Banff National Park, just 36 miles (60 km) from Banff and 100 miles (154 km) from Calgary.

Reservations: 1-800-258-7669
Snow Phone: 403-244-6665

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