Canada Alberta - Lake Louise

Skiing the Lake


At Lake Louise, JIM DARBY takes some turns tracks with the locals.

I loved this area the first time I skied it, about five years ago, and I didn’t see anything on this trip to make me change my mind.

I like the size of it, the scale of it and the great variety – from gentle groomers to World Cup Men’s Downhill standard groomers and from cornice-crusted bowls to rocky chutes to some enchanting tree skiing.

My snowmobile guide for the day (I’was Lake Louise instructor Chris Grabowski, a very sedate performer when it comes to the internal combustion engine, but you get the feeling he explodes out on his skis.

The competition commission would be pleased – with Sunshine re-asserting itself with new lifts and terrain, Lake Louise has put enormous effort and investment into its own infrastructure over the past few years.

Skiing Louise PICTURE: HENRY GEORGI

That includes the installation of a six-seater chair and replacing numerous older, slower lifts with quad detachables on existing lines.

Even the Larch – a favorite area behind the resort’s front range is now a fast quad and that means a lot of skiing on the challenging area.

“Even when the front slopes are crowded, the most I’ve ever had to wait at the Larch is two minutes,” Chris said.

He also said – and don’t tell anyone he said this – that on the front side, the Power Line Trees was a locals’ favorite when the powder’s about (just look for the power lines).

As well as the on-mountain improvements, there’s been a huge expansion of the base lodge, which is now vastly bigger with more facilities, including plenty of space that even pampers the picnickers.

Back on the road and it’s a lazy 40-minute run back to Banff, where, swinging into town, we noticed a couple of skiers wandering out of the trees at the base of Norquay – it’d only take them a minute or two to walk back to Banff or hitch a lift back to Norquay base and do it all again.

 

jim darby/the snow biz
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arnie wilson/from the alps
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go flip/flip byrnes
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There's a lot to like about ski lifts, and the people who make them.

Life is full of ironies. The Alps got the snow and Russia got the Olympics.

Meet the fashion victims; a whole winter world of them.