If you care more for scenery than for après-ski action, Lake Louise is worth considering as your Rockies base. We've seen a few spectacular mountain views, and we reckon the view from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel across frozen Lake Louise to the Victoria Glacier is one of the best. Even if you prefer to stay in livelier Banff (read the separate chapter), you'll want to spend time at Louise. It can't compete with Sunshine Village for snow, but it's an interesting mountain, with a distant version of that stunning view. Lake Louise is small, but it's a resort of three distinct parts. First, there's the splendid lake itself overlooked by the huge Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel. Then there's Lake Louise 'village' - a spacious collection of hotels, condos, petrol station and a few shops a couple of miles away in the valley. Finally, a mile or two across the valley, there's the lift base station. Sunshine Village and Norquay ski areas (covered in our Banff chapter) are 45 minutes away by road. Buses (covered by the Tri-area lift pass) run only two days a week to each (on the days the ski school Club Ski Program goes there), so having a car helps. Bus trips also run to the more distant Kicking Horse and Panorama.
Pros

Spectacular high-mountain scenery, in a largely unspoiled wilderness

Large ski area by local standards

Snowy Sunshine Village within reach (read the Banff chapter)

Excellent, very scenic cross-country

Cons

Village' is just a few hotels and shops, quiet in the evening

Slopes a drive or bus ride away

Snowfall record modest

Can be very cold, and the chairlifts have no covers

Getting there

  • Calgary airport: 1.5 hours

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