Lake Louise – A Jewel On The Crown Of Banff National Park

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The Canadian Rockies in any season are some of the most majestic peaks in the world. Words can’t describe their beauty. Photos don’t do them justice. You must go to Lake Louise in winter to really appreciate them in all their splendor and that’s what we did. 

Lake Louise Canadian Rockies View
The Canadian Rockies from Lake Louise Ski Resort

Trailhead Café – Breakfast of Champions

The breakfast spot in Lake Louise.

With the mind relaxed and boards prepped, it was time to hit the famous slopes of Lake Louise. First, we had to fuel up our bodies. We had to grab a quick bite to eat before heading over to the mountain. The locals pointed us to the perfect spot…the Trailhead Café. Located in the small shopping center, before you head up to Lake Louise, it’s in an ideal location. It’s a quick stop-n-go to make sure you maximize the amount of time on the mountain. Interesting items on the menu include naturally flavored Swiss chocolate almond coffee and the Trailhead Wrap. The Trailhead wrap is a local’s favorite and you’ll know why once you take that first bite. Filled with eggs, potatoes, sausage wrapped in your choice of tortilla with sauce, it’s amazing. The tzatziki or hot sauces fit surprisingly well in the breakfast wrap. With the gut in check it was time to head to the mountain.

Lake Louise – A killer stash in the Banff National Park System

The view
The view

The Lake Louise Ski Resort is a special mountain to ride. Places like this don’t really exist and are going extinct in most parts of North America. Typically, ski resorts today have a huge village filled with every amenity possible. Lake Louise is different. It’s still pure, unique and most importantly embraces its environment. As a tribute to this great land, a beautiful wooden day lodge sits at the base. It’s a great place to finish preparing for the day ahead or to meet with your group. For us, it was go time. Hopping on the Grizzly Gondola, realizations of how expansive the terrain is at Lake Louise began to sink in. You’ve heard the saying, “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” well Lake Louise took that statement to heart in terms of ski resort size. So far our trip through the Powder Highway hasn’t provide much in the way of fresh stuff, so it good that the Lake Louise grooming crew laid down the corduroy. Dropping down the front of the mountain the snow was still a little firm. Carving was a little challenging, but the views were spectacular.

The backside looks like something out of a ski movie.
The backside looks like something out of a ski movie.

The real secret is the backside of Lake Louise

The front side of the mountain is massive, but the real secret to Lake Louise is the backside. If the front side is Mr. Hyde then the backside is definitely Dr. Jekyll. It’s wild and gnarly on the backside. Huge cliffs, to massive bowls filled with snow and even a few tight glades just to keep things going…. It’s tough to describe how massive this mountain really is. You could literally spend days or weeks trying to ride it all. Even longer if you’re trying to find all the secret stashes that only locals know. Fortunately, we met a few and they told us that the backside was the place to be. The snow was killer and soft. Paradise Bowl was steep with good sized moguls. The snow was forgiving enough to allow you to make turns where you want. It was a great day of exploring and riding. We barely touched the surface of the 139 runs and back bowls they have to offer. I can’t wait to come back when they get some fresh snow!

The Local’s choice – Explorer’s Lounge

The local watering hole...Explorer's Lounge.
The local watering hole…Explorer’s Lounge.

After a long day on the mountain we’d worked up an appetite. Based on recommendations from the Lake Louise crew, everyone hits up the Explorers Lounge after a long day of riding. It is like a clean version of a dive bar with comfort food. It’s nothing fancy, but it is definitely decent food if you need a bite to eat. The food, shuffle board and a great beer selection give this place the charm it needs to make it worth a visit. Even though the menu wasn’t flashy one item caught my eye. It was the Aussie Burger. This thing was topped with pickled beets, grilled pineapple and Aussie BBQ sauce. I had never had this mix of ingredients on a burger before, but somehow they seemed to work together. Man it was tasty! As a side note, restaurants in Canada are not allowed to cook your burger medium rare by law. If you need a juicy burger be sure to select something else. After dinner there was one last item we wanted to check off our list before we hit the road again.

The Fairmount Chateau – Worth the drive

Locals playing hockey on frozen Lake Louise.
Locals playing hockey on frozen Lake Louise.

When in this area, it’s mandatory to check out the famed Fairmont Chateau. It sits right on the shores of Lake Louise. Walking around this hotel and seeing the lake it was awe-inspiring. In the distance, a glacier could be seen hanging on the side of the mountain. Right in front of us a few of the employees started a pickup game of hockey. It felt as if we were in the natural Canadian version of the Sistine Chapel. It was surreal listening to ice skates slashing the ice and watching the sun set. Not a wisp of wind, just a perfect way to end a great day. Lake Louise was a real treat, but it was time to move on. It was time to officially head to the Powder Highway!

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