Skiing in Lake Louise
Lake Louise is the biggest ski resort in the Canadian Rockies and the second largest ski area in Canada after Whistler Blackcomb.
Situated in the heart of Banff National Park, Lake Louise ski resort offers incredible unspoilt views of the Rockies, few crowds, short lift lines and a friendly, chilled-out atmosphere.
The four mountains that make up Lake Louise Ski Area offer:
139 marked runs
› 4,200 skiiable acres
› Green, blue and black runs from most lifts
› A terrain park
Lake Louise has extremely varied ski terrain with lots of long cruiser runs, bowl skiing, mogul fields and challenging chutes. Travel to the far corners of the ski area you and it will feel like you’ve found your own personal ski kingdom.
The picturesque Lodge of the Ten Peaks at the base of Lake Louise has coffee shops, restaurants and cafes. But in terms of après ski, Lake Louise is very quiet after dark as everybody disappears back to Banff
or their hotels scattered in different corners of the village.
For budget conscious travellers, it’s worth noting that ski season is off-season for Lake Louise. That makes hotel accommodation a lot cheaper in the winter than in the summer months.
You can also get a good deal on lift tickets. Not only are they cheaper than Whistler, they are also good for Sunshine Village and Mt Norquay in Banff.
Ice skating, dog-sledding and sleigh rides are available from Chateau Lake Louise. But at Lake Louise Ski Area it’s all about the skiing and boarding with few off-piste distractions.
If you want to ski or board until you drop, Lake Louise is the place for you.
Lake Louise ski resort - Canadian Rockies
For those who want all the trappings of a resort town the best option is to stay in Banff and make the 45-minute trip to Lake Louise to ski or board.
Skiing in Jasper
If you want to ski in Jasper, head to Marmot Basin. It's the most northerly ski resort in the Canadian Rockies and the place to go for spectacular views of the Athabasca Valley, reliable powder snow and wildlife encounters.
Marmot Basin sits 20-minutes west of the town of Jasper
and if you prefer quiet slopes and a laid back atmosphere, this is the perfect ski destination for you.
Marmot Basin includes:
› 86 marked trails
› 1,675 of skiable terrain
› A terrain park
With varied terrain and runs evenly split between easy, intermediate and advanced, Marmot Basin will appeal to mixed ability groups and families who don’t want to spend their days separated on opposite sides of a mega mountain.
There’s no accommodation at Marmot Basin itself so visitors have to make the quick ride by car or take the free shuttle to and from Jasper every day.
The good news for winter sports enthusiasts is that accommodation rates in Jasper are much cheaper during the winter months because hoteliers offer off-season rates.
Wildlife spotting at Marmot Basin is an added bonus to the short lift lines and 360º views of the Canadian Rockies. Through most of the winter months the bears are in hibernation but sightings of elk in Jasper town centre and moose around the slopes are fairly common.
: Park in the upper parking lot furthest away from the base area of Marmot Basin and you’ll be able to ski to and from your car.
Skiing in Banff
Visitors to Banff
are spoilt for choice when it comes to downhill winter sports.
The town is blessed with two ski resorts – Sunshine Village and Mt Norquay – both of which offer impressive snow records and long ski seasons.
Ski-in, ski-out accommodation is extremely limited but both Sunshine Village and Norquay are easily accessible from Banff via a free shuttle services which stop at numerous locations around town.
Sunshine Village ski resort
With an average annual snowfall of 925cm, Sunshine Village has the best snow record of any ski resort in the Canadian Rockies.
Sunshine Village, located 8km west of Banff, is the busier and larger of the two ski resorts near Banff and it has one of the longest ski seasons in Canada with snow on the ground from mid-November to late May.
Sunshine Village has:
› 107 marked runs
› 3,300 acres of skiable terrain
› An 8-acre terrain park
› Ski runs that traverse Alberta & British Columbia
› The only ski-in, ski-out accommodation in the Canadian Rockies
There are runs to suit every level of skier and rider at Sunshine Village but advanced and expert skiers will get a real kick out of the number of black and double-diamond runs and the extreme freeride zones including Delirium Drive and Silver City.
Lift tickets for Sunshine Village cost more than Mt Norquay but you get a lot more runs for your dollar and a wider choice of on-mountain facilities. Plus, it’s not every day you get to ski the Continental Divide.
Sunshine Village ski resort - Banff - Canadian Rockies
Tips: To get your bearings on the mountain, book a free tour with a Sunshine Village Snow Host.
Mt Norquay ski resort
Best known as the family resort of the Canadian Rockies, Mt Norquay offers value-for-money lift tickets, a compact ski area and a good selection of sheltered beginner and intermediate runs.
For mixed-ability groups who want to keep an eye on their budget, it’s the ideal location for a ski or board trip to the Canadian Rockies.
Mount Norquay offers:
› 28 runs
› 190 skiable acres
› A terrain park
› Night-time skiing
› A tubing park
There are a number of scary double diamonds for those who like a challenge. However, most of the terrain at Norquay is geared towards beginners and intermediates.
There are no slopeside accommodations in Norquay but the resort is situated just 6km north of Banff which has plenty of B&Bs, lodges and hotels to choose from.
Mt Norquay doesn’t have the same choice of facilities as Sunshine Village but the Cascade Lodge at the base of the ski area has everything you need and the slopes of Mt Norquay are rarely crowded.
Mt Norquay ski resort - Banff - Canadian Rockies
Tips: If you’re short on time, but desperate to hit the slopes, go to Mt Norquay and buy a lift ticket by the hour.