I spent the next two days at Lake Louise Ski Resort. Like Sunshine, Lake Louise has three areas: Front side, Larch and Back Bowls. I took the mountain tours both days, the first day I joined the blue group because it was smaller than the other groups. The next day I took two tours, in the morning I skied with the black group, and then in the afternoon the double blue group. Sunshine had one tour per day. LL (Lake Louise) had two tours, 10 and 12:15.
As a solo traveler, these free mountain tours are great. I thought a person would take one and then ski on their own, but I found that people who had been to the resort for days, those that were alone and some in groups all joined in. They were looking for like-minded enthusiasts, for information, for guidance by a local. We got great skiing in: blue groups could only ski blues but if they have enough guides, they will have a slower blue and a faster blue. To ski black terrain you had to be in the black group. But the black group was split between moguls and no moguls. The beauty of LL is that every run has at least a blue to get down. And at 4200 acres of skiable terrain, there’s plenty of greens and blues for everyone.
The front of the mountain has a wonderful variety of terrain, but Larch Express is a nice blue/green and a few black runs. At the top there’s a poma lift (one of those tows that you put a platter between your legs and it pulls you up the mountain) that takes skiers to blacks and blues at the top. Paradise lift on the backside services blacks and one green service road trail. Ptarmigan lift services blues and blacks and takes out you out of the back bowls and Larch areas to the frontside.
Some interesting stories from the guides:
Royals stories. Prince William and Kate spent time at Skoki Lodge which is in the park and north of LL. Our guides had personal stories a few degrees of separation: One guide’s dog was the brother of Bill, Prince William’s favorite puppy while at the lodge. Another guide told the story of how they had to helicopter in a washroom (toilet & bath) to the Skoki resort because the existing facilities were too… primitive. As they were flying the washroom in, the roof flew off! So someplace along the way is the roof of a toilet. They built a roof once they got the privy to the lodge. And finally, one of the guide’s old boyfriend’s family threw a party for Prince Edward back in the 80s in Ottawa.
Some of these stories were told at the top of Larch lift because that’s the best view of the canyon that Skoki is hidden. The guide explained that the Larch tree is a conifer that loses its needles in the fall and greens again in the spring. Made me think of our tamarack trees in Minnesota. I googled it and the trees are related.
One guide’s father-in-law was a Swiss mountain guide who was brought in to train and work in the mountains. He is featured at the Lake Louise resort walking path that I had just seen earlier! Her husband’s family lived in the Lake Louise area, where only people who need to live there can. LL is in the national park; business and home construction is severely limited.
I spent January 21 at Lake Louise. That was my husband’s birthday. I decided to have lunch at the Whitehorn Bistro. I was told it had a fabulous view—and they were right. The day was relatively clear, and the mountains across the Bow Valley were massive. I could see the Lake Louise resort and the lake beyond it. To the left of the lake and hidden behind other huge peaks is Mt. LeFoy. The next major peak to the left is Mt. Temple. It is even more massive. My husband died two years ago. It was his dream to travel the West, stay at Worldmark resorts, explore the world. It makes me sad that Scot isn’t here to relish in the wonders that I have been able to experience. I am living his dream. And as I gazed at Mt. Temple—massive, implacable, majestic– I felt his spirit beside me on this day, his birthday.