Lake Louise Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
Lake Louise Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,646 – 2,637 (991)
  • Average Snow Fall
    4.5 metres
  • Lifts (9)
    1 x 6-pack gondola
    1 x high-speed 6-pack
    2 x high speed quads
  • Ski Hours
    9:00am to 4:00pm
    Early Nov to early May
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 145
    Longest run – 8 km
    Beginner - 30%
    Intermediate - 45%
    Advanced - 25%

Lake Louise Skiing and Snowboarding Terrain

Ski Lake Louise and you’ll be spoilt for choice. With 1,700 hectares of skiable terrain and plenty of vertical, the Lake Louise ski area has a plethora of run selections available.

Lake Louise skiing on the front side of the mountain is mostly suited to beginners and intermediates, whilst the Larch area has a complete mix of terrain. On the back face (the powder bowls), the terrain is typically more suited to experts and has chutes, tree runs and steep bowls.

With Lake Louise skiing if you want the sunshine and to avoid icy slopes (for which the Lake Louise ski area is renowned), go to the back bowls in the morning, ski Larch in the middle of the day, and finish the day on the front face but don’t stay too late into the afternoon.

Lifts

There are 10 lifts servicing the massive terrain, of which three are just magic carpets, but the lift placement has been well planned such that each lift provides access to multiple runs. The frontside and Larch area have fast modern lifts, whilst the Paradise triple chair on the backside is very slow and when it’s chilly it feels painstakingly slow.

Some people like to complain about the Summit platter lift, although I’m sure they’d complain more if there was a chair lift there that was frequently closed during windy conditions!

Lake Louise Snow and Weather Conditions

The Lake Louise ski area has a rep for showing more snow on their ski report than what actually falls, possibly because the modest snowfall would otherwise be too depressing! Along a similar vein, the statistic for the average annual snowfall somehow magically jumped from 3.6 metres in 2010 to 4.8 metres in 2017. Go figure!

So if you’re a powder hound, probably don’t put Lake Louise on the top of your list of places to visit. Snow cover can be a problem, and often there are stumps, sticks and rocks poking out through the snow.

The quality of the Lake Louise snow that does fall is generally fantastic dry powder, and sometimes you can find great powder in the back bowls a few days after a snowfall. Snow is reasonably well retained in the north facing Larch area as well as the north-east facing Powder Bowls. Meanwhile the snow conditions on the front face are generally the worst due to a sunny aspect and lots of skier traffic.

One time that we visited the Lake Louise ski resort, most of the runs were bumpy, slick and icy, and green runs became blue, and the blue runs became black. Even amongst the trees there were icy moguls! And at Lake Louise it’s often brrrrrrr! Anyone who has visited Lake Louise seems to comment on the chilly conditions.

Lake Louise Skiing - Beginners

Complete novices can start out on the very mellow slopes right near the base, in a zone that is largely separated from “scary” fast skiers and is serviced by magic carpets. The next step is to take the Glacier Express quad or the gondola and schuss the green runs down the front face, although some of them are rather pitchy.

One of the advantages of Lake Louise is that confident beginners can really explore a lot of the mountain. There are “Easiest Way” signs to indicate the green runs down from a few of the lifts. Unless super confident, there are some runs worth avoiding on bad visibility days including Saddleback, and basically any runs serviced by the World Six Pack Express Chair.

Intermediate Ski Terrain at Lake Louise

Intermediates have 45% of the trails rated as blue, so there are plenty of runs to choose from and it’s possible to explore most of the mountain.

The front face has lots of long groomers so you can cruise or zoom until your legs can take it no more.

The Summit surface lift is tricky, not so much because the runs off the top are challenging, but rather for the hairy steep ride on the way up. And avoid the Boomerang run out the back when the visibility isn’t great.

The Larch Area has good intermediate skiing, and is accessed by a high-speed quad. Wolverine, Larch and Bobcat are all lovely long cruisers.

Terrain Park

The terrain park has a handful of different zones and lines. The progression line has various hits for those on the “L plates”, a couple of lines are for intermediates, whilst the pro line has big jumps and rails for experienced shredders.

Advanced Snowboarding & Skiing Lake Louise

There are plenty of runs for advanced skiers to lap up at the Lake Louise ski area. The Men’s Downhill run on the frontside is great for a race. When visibility is good, runs off the Summit Platter are worth a go.

If you’re a bumps lover, give the runs under Ptarmigan lift a rip, and for tree skiing there are plenty of options over the back side that also tend to develop moguls very quickly.

The powder bowls are also epic with new snow. All the lines vary a little with regards to pitch, but in these alpine bowls you can pick a line that takes your fancy.

For the Expert

There is some fantastic terrain to challenge hard-core skiers and snowboarders. There are some great steeps that fall into the category of “if you fall, you might die” so helmets are a must. As examples, some of the runs under the Eagle Ridge off the Paradise chair have cornice-capped chutes. The snow base changes the back bowls significantly, as there are lots of rocks that are either fully covered or provide interesting terrain features.

Our favourite zone was the tree skiing off the Larch Express, with modestly spaced trees, and some little cliffs and outcroppings to keep things interesting. This area is particularly ideal when the visibility is too low to enjoy the open back bowls.

Some keen powder hounds search for freshies by hiking the summit to go down Elevator Shaft between two rock outcroppings.