Lake Louise Ski Resort is quite large, and offers a full array of great runs for all levels of skier. Whether you’re looking for steep and deep, double black diamond chutes, open bowls, tree skiing, bumps, or just pristine groomed runs… you will find it here.
I have adjusted Lake Louise’s stated stats, and the resort skews a bit more towards advanced and expert terrain. There is simply a massive expanse of advanced to expert terrain which is often understated by most accounts.
Experts will find no shortage of steep chutes, open bowls, cliffs, drops, and powder bowls. The newly opened West Bowl, combined with the backside chutes offer expert skiers a variety of mountain aspects to explore and find the good stuff.
You will need a “buddy”, shovel, probe, avalanche beacon and all the training that goes along. Although this is patrolled and snow controlled it’s much more of a backcountry run with specified snow gates to enter.
When I skied the “E Gully” for the first time I was shocked to find such extreme skiing so accessible off the top of the Summit Chair. We are talking STEEP, jump turn type chutes that go on for about 1/4 mile. Definitely a “no fall zone” if you can avoid it. When the snow is slick, you’ll slide to the bottom in with a high speed descent. Below is a video I grabbed off YouTube that shows what you get!
There is also an abundance of advanced ski terrain. If you’re looking for wide open bowls, or steeper groomed runs – you will find a massive variety of terrain. Just about every lift at the resort offers some level of advanced terrain. It’s easy to preview your route from the lifts, and it’s simple to access. The West Bowl on the frontside is mostly single black diamond, but you do need the backcountry gear and skills to explore. Otherwise, there is still an abundance of terrain to explore front and back.
A good first timer’s route is to head up to Top of the World and explore some of the upper bowls, and then down to the Mens Downhill. Super long, challenging and very rewarding ski from top to bottom. Start those leg squats now!
Intermediate skiers can really enjoy the full resort. Every lift offers an intermediate trail, so you can explore the entire mountain. The runs are very well groomed, well marked, and easy to navigate. That said, if it’s a snowy socked in weather day you’ll be best suited to stay on the frontside of the mountain. The backside can get socked in with clouds, especially on the top… making for a more challenging ski adventure.
I have to say… the groomers at Lake Louise are among the best in North America. They must have a great crew and great machines, as the runs tend to be smooth as silk.
I would rate Lake Louise as a “good” place for beginners, but not the best in North America. A couple of things to consider is the very cold temperatures. Newbies to the sport may enjoy places like Lake Tahoe, Mammoth or even Whistler that offer more mild temps. Also, many or all of the “green runs” get shared with intermediate and advanced skiers, so there’s a bit of high speed traffic in the beginner zones.