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Lake Louise area

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi Folks,

  We are talking about visiting Canada this season and would like to check out the Lake Loise area. From internet hits it would seem that Banff has most of the hotels but could anyone offer thoughts on everything such as places to stay, lift tickets or passes that cover several resorts. Local transportaion options?  There seems to be too many options from an internet search perspective. So many choices  mixed with so little personal knowledge.

 

Thanks

Raymond and Leigh

 

 

post #2 of 22

Brewster transportation runs a bus from the Calgary airport that goes to Lake Louise.

It will drop you at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which is a very nice place to stay.  The bus trip is a good deal; the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is not cheap, but they do have good Cognac.

post #3 of 22

Second Fairmont--the quintessential hotel in (on) Louise. They had a shuttle to the ski resort when I stayed there a few years back.

 

I've heard good things about the Post, too.

post #4 of 22

The difference between Banff (the townsite, not the National Park) and Lake Louise (the hamlet, not the ski area), is that Banff is a resort town (with all the amenities and entertainment/dining options that a resort town offers) while Lake Louise is merely a stop in road with a handful of hotels and a gas station.  You need to decide if the ski resort at Lake Louise is the only mountain you want to ski in the region or if you want to ski at any of the others, as well as decide on how important it is to have lots of things to do during non-ski time.

 

If it's important to have lots of non-ski and entertainment options and/or you want to ski multiple resorts in the Banff region, then stay in the town of Banff and shuttle to the different ski areas.  If Lake Louise is the only mountain you want to ski at when you're in Banff (the Park) and night-time options aren't important, then by all means stay in Lake Louise for convenience... the Chateau Lake Louise and the Post Hotel are the best options (I got married at the Post Hotel).  The Post is in the hamlet (not that that counts for much) off the highway while the Chateau is about 10 minutes away at the actual lake the hamlet and ski area take their names after.  Both hotels are on the opposite side of the highway from the ski area and will require a shuttle (almost 10 mins from the Post and close to 20 mins from the Chateau).

 

One of the nice things about skiing in this region is that, with the exception of the Christmas period, ski season is low-season (summer is high season by about 500%).  Consequently, hotel rates are at their lowest... a perfect scenario for skiers.


Edited by exracer - 12/15/11 at 8:01pm
post #5 of 22

Easier to make a recommendation if we have an idea of what sort of budget you are working with and if you will have a rental vehicle. Cheapest accommodation in the area would probably be at the Castle Mtn. IHF hostel (wilderness grade so it is pretty rustic). There is a more elaborate hostel in Lake Louise proper (a collaboration between the IHF and the Alpine Club of Canada). Other people have given you the high end hotels and lodges at LL, so I'll just mention the Lake Louise Inn as a mid-range motel alternative. A little farther afield are places like the Baker Creek Chalets, but you would definitely need a car and would require about 20 minutes commute to get to the hill. Multiday, multihill tickets are available from SkiBig3 (Louise, Sunshine, Norquay). I'll second Exracer's analysis on nightlife pro and cons--I'd opt for Banff for that reason..

 

If you want to check out hills a little farther afield I'd suggest Kicking Horse (particularly if you are strong skiers). It's about an hour from Lake Louise on the Trans Canada Highway (not to be confused with a US Interstate). I believe there is a daily excursion bus to KH that picks up at Banff hotels.

post #6 of 22

The Post is a great hotel, lovely rooms, great service, good food. Top notch all the way. Very expensive and worth it. I would not stay there.

 

The Chateau Lake Louise if you get a lakeview room, is a spectacular experience. Having traveled lots of places, I think my very favorite view was from any hotel was from my room at the Fairmont Chateau LL - a full moon, the frozen lake with giant mountains rising from the shore, the glaciers in the distance. The rest of the hotel is also great - food, service, etc.

 

On the skiing front, they run shuttle busses from the Chateau LL to LL and Sunshine (and maybe Norquay). It is at the top of my list for a return trip. We also stayed 2 or 3 night at the Banff Springs another fine hotel and interesting as well as at the Jasper Park Lodge and skied Marmot. It was a nice package and the drive from Jasper to Lake Louise was also great. An expensive trip for a week but one I remember most fondly. The town of Banff is fine with the shops etc. but a bit on the tacky side and a lot like lots of other ski area/tourist towns. I'd recommend a focus on what is unique in the area, the natural beauty, the wildlife, the skiing, and the mountains.

post #7 of 22

Hi I have done this route often, from Portland (I assume you will be driving) allow one long days drive8-10 hours (sat) to connect to the I-90 at Ritzville get off at St Regis and head up to Whitefish. Lots of accommodation in town. Next day ski Big Mountain which is a nice hill and will have light crowds on a Sunday, after the days skiing a under 4 hour drive will get you to Invermere where you can stay and ski Panorama the next day. After Panorama all ski areas are less than a 2 hours apart  As long as you do not arrive too late on a Friday or Saturday night in Banff townsite there will be lots of options to suit your budge and taste. Prices in winter are a bargain. We make this trip every year and have yet to pre-book as we always like to determine where the snow is best on the day. I have never had a problem with getting acceptable accommodation. Banff is also definitely the best town to wind up in when you want to take a rest day.  . Go sit in the upper hot springs after a days wandering the town and admire the scenery.   

post #8 of 22

Back when I was working, we traveled from NJ and stayed twice for 8 days or so at the Post.  It was WONDERFUL.  The Chateau has more of an urban feel, the Post is more cozy.  We had a suite each time for three of us, complete with kitchen.  IF I HAD THE MONEY NOW, I would stay there again in a heartbeat.  But, since I no longer work, money is much tighter and I think I would be looking around for bargains.  The Chateau is no bargain, either.  

 

There is little to do in Lake Louise, Banff has more nightlife.  Depends on if you go to bed exhausted and want to get up early the next day and ski again or you want to party.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

The Post is a great hotel, lovely rooms, great service, good food. Top notch all the way. Very expensive and worth it. I would not stay there.

 

The Chateau Lake Louise if you get a lakeview room, is a spectacular experience. Having traveled lots of places, I think my very favorite view was from any hotel was from my room at the Fairmont Chateau LL - a full moon, the frozen lake with giant mountains rising from the shore, the glaciers in the distance. The rest of the hotel is also great - food, service, etc.

 

On the skiing front, they run shuttle busses from the Chateau LL to LL and Sunshine (and maybe Norquay). It is at the top of my list for a return trip. We also stayed 2 or 3 night at the Banff Springs another fine hotel and interesting as well as at the Jasper Park Lodge and skied Marmot. It was a nice package and the drive from Jasper to Lake Louise was also great. An expensive trip for a week but one I remember most fondly. The town of Banff is fine with the shops etc. but a bit on the tacky side and a lot like lots of other ski area/tourist towns. I'd recommend a focus on what is unique in the area, the natural beauty, the wildlife, the skiing, and the mountains.



 

post #9 of 22

Something I forgot to mention in my previous post is that you should check the Ski Big 3 website.  It's a cooperative marketing initiative between all the ski resorts in Banff, and you will be able to find out everything you need to put a hotel and lift ticket (and guide if you want) package together automatically.  Everything is in one place with this website.

 

Also, if you have a car and are going to ski mostly at Lake Louise and nightlife isn't a big priority, another option for accommodation (it's also shown on the SkiBig3 website), is the Emerald Lake Lodge.  It's about a 20 minute drive west of the ski area on the main highway, and it has to be one of the most beautiful places to spend time, anywhere.  It's secluded and spectacular.  Conde Nast magazine's reader's choice awards has named it one of the Top 2 Resorts in Canada for several years now, and I think winter rates are very good too (around $150/night).

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone, lots of good information.

  We are not really into night life so Banff is probably out and we have driven though 90 to Wyoming stopping at many of the ski spots. Time becomes the factor as we are both retired but my wife began teaching Yoga and feels the need not to get subs for too long. As to budget we have stayed in Utah at The Americas for a $100 a week and at resorts for $195 a night so it's more a going rate thing....but yes, I am usually a cheap bastard more interested in the slope then amenities. Maybe LL with a rental car? what is flying commercial with ski's like now that everything is extra?

should we just pack boots and do the rental thing?

thanks for sharing so much.

Ryel

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryel View Post

Thanks everyone, lots of good information.

  We are not really into night life so Banff is probably out and we have driven though 90 to Wyoming stopping at many of the ski spots. Time becomes the factor as we are both retired but my wife began teaching Yoga and feels the need not to get subs for too long. As to budget we have stayed in Utah at The Americas for a $100 a week and at resorts for $195 a night so it's more a going rate thing....but yes, I am usually a cheap bastard more interested in the slope then amenities. Maybe LL with a rental car? what is flying commercial with ski's like now that everything is extra?

should we just pack boots and do the rental thing?

thanks for sharing so much.

Ryel

 

It's not just about night life in Banff, it's all the other amenities you get in a resort town versus being limited to what is in your hotel (if at Lake Louise).  You may find yourself getting very bored at Lake Louise if you're spending any amount of time there, and may ultimately find yourself commuting to Banff in the evenings, anyway, to expand your restaurant options, etc.

 

A good place for ski rentals if you choose not to bring your own is The Ski Stop.  I'm not sure if they have a pick-up location in Lake Louise, but you need to drive through Banff anyway to get to Lake Louise so it's easy enough to stop to pick skis up in town and drop them off at the end of your trip.  You definitely don't want to rent the junk they have at the ski areas.
 

 

post #12 of 22

Hi Ryel

 

We have some great deals available at the moment for both Banff and Lake Louise hotels at www.skibig3.com/packages. Depending on the length of time that you are considering staying for, Banff is still worth looking at for choice of hotels, resorts and restaurants/nightlife. If you are planning on skiing for more than 3 or 4 days, I would personally recommend staying in Banff for easy access to all the ski resorts. Frequent shuttles run from most hotels in Banff to all 3 ski resorts, and your lift ticket will work (direct-to-lift) at Mt Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise, so you can choose a resort each day based on preference/conditions etc. Ski shuttle is included with your Big3 lift ticket.

 

Staying in Lake Louise makes it a bit more difficult to get to Sunshine Village and Mt Norquay if you don't have a rental car. A shuttle runs twice a week from Lake Louise hotels to Sunshine Village.

 

It's worth giving our reservations team a call on 1-877-754-7080; they are based in Banff and have an excellent knowledge of the hotels and ski resorts.

 

Cheers

 

Mark @ Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the good sites and info. Just got back from Gillette WY, had to attend for uncle passing on. Bozeman was sooo tempting but could not afford the time. One day at a time

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks Mark and all,

  got reservations for airline and hotel now I just need to finish up with lift tickets. Might wait till we get there and talk to the locals, but one day at a time.

enjoy

post #15 of 22

Hi Ryel

 

I would suggest looking at a multi-day tri-area lift ticket, details are here. Buying a ticket each day ends up being quite expensive, plus you will need to stand in a ticket line each day. The multi-day tri-area ticket is a cheaper option; once you buy a 3-day or longer ticket, the price starts dropping for each extra day. The tri-area ticket is also direct-to-lift (no voucher exchange on hill). Plus, the tri-area ticket includes free shuttle bus to the resorts (normally $15 return).

 

The multi-day tri-area ticket comes with a usage period - for example a 3-day ticket can be used for skiing on any 3 days over a 4 day period, an 8-day ticket can be used over a period of 11 days, etc. So you can plan for some days off hill if the legs are getting tired, or use these days to explore some other activities.

 

You can purchase your ticket online, which will be delivered to your hotel prior to your arrival, or swing by the Banff Ski Hub to purchase over the counter.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Mark @ Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine

post #16 of 22


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiBig3 View Post

Hi Ryel

 

I would suggest looking at a multi-day tri-area lift ticket, details are here. Buying a ticket each day ends up being quite expensive, plus you will need to stand in a ticket line each day. The multi-day tri-area ticket is a cheaper option; once you buy a 3-day or longer ticket, the price starts dropping for each extra day. The tri-area ticket is also direct-to-lift (no voucher exchange on hill). Plus, the tri-area ticket includes free shuttle bus to the resorts (normally $15 return).

 

The multi-day tri-area ticket comes with a usage period - for example a 3-day ticket can be used for skiing on any 3 days over a 4 day period, an 8-day ticket can be used over a period of 11 days, etc. So you can plan for some days off hill if the legs are getting tired, or use these days to explore some other activities.

 

You can purchase your ticket online, which will be delivered to your hotel prior to your arrival, or swing by the Banff Ski Hub to purchase over the counter.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Mark @ Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine


thanks for all the info, Mark.

Our Club (Santa Barbara) is heading up to Banff for a week in Mid-March - I'm joinin in a bit late, so making all my own arrangements... Will do ski pass online as you suggest.

I do have some Qs for you, or any local, regarding temps... I'm tracking the daily temp range as posted on the Lake Louise Site - but I'm not sure what that temp indicates ?  base Lodge Temp, or somewhere else? Using this as a consideration on how to choose Kit and pack for the trip - i'd rather not have to overpack and bring stuff I won;t use... and it doesn;t give much indication about 'winds'... coming from Mammoth where we commonly can expect some days with 25-30 mph winds, we're always calc-ing in that as a factor ...

winds common at the Big3 - often a consideration?

any thoughts on these Qs?

staying at Ptarmigan Inn, skiing for me will be a short 4 days (wish I could take more time ...)

stoked...

Thanks for any further info!

 

post #17 of 22

The weather can fluctuate dramatically out here in the Rockies; an Arctic cold snap can bring temperatures down to considerably lower than average, just as a SW wind (we call it a Chinook wind) can bring temps up. My suggestion would be to pack a couple of extra layers than you think you will need; they only need to be lighter inner layers. Below-freezing temperatures are still the normal at our ski areas in March, but uncomfortably cold temperatures are rare at this time of year.

 

Wind is not as common a problem as what you might experience elsewhere. You're unlikely to experience 25-30mph winds, and if it happens there are lots of sheltered areas at our resorts. Wind here generally combines with snow storms blowing through, and on these days the sheltered runs offer much better comfort and visibility.

 

I believe the Lake Louise temperature forecast is for the base of the resort. Inversions are quite common at Lake Louise, so on some clear days, the top of the mountain can be considerably warmer than the top.

 

Hopefully that helps, let me know if you have any other questions I can help with!

 

Mark @ Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine

post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

 

The Chateau Lake Louise if you get a lakeview room, is a spectacular experience. Having traveled lots of places, I think my very favorite view was from any hotel was from my room at the Fairmont Chateau LL - a full moon, the frozen lake with giant mountains rising from the shore, the glaciers in the distance. The rest of the hotel is also great - food, service, etc.

 

 

Something like this?  (took it when I was up there for Valentines a few weeks ago)

 

A_DSC00652.JPG
 

 

post #19 of 22

A few pics from earlier this week after the mother of all storms cleared. All photos by Chris Moseley:

 

Waiting for the first lifts!

 

400

 

06-MAR-2012-166s.jpg

 

06-MAR-2012-194s.jpg

 

06-MAR-2012-299s.jpg

 

06-MAR-2012-447s.jpg

 

06-MAR-2012-515s.jpg

post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 

nice pictures, thanks. BTW when looking at the lift tickets the big3 site offers:

Whatever you want to ski or ride, you’ll find it here in the heart of Canada’s Protected Playground, Banff National Park. Our three ski areas; Mt. Norquay, The Lake Louise Ski Area and Sunshine Village offer almost 8,000 acres of skiable terrain on a convenient tri-area lift ticket.

 

I have not been there (yet) but is Banff a general term and not a ski area? Are the offered three the local available? I have not heard of Norquay, is that like the locals place to go play?

 

thanks

Ryel

post #21 of 22

Hi Ryel

 

Banff is the town in Banff National Park. Within Banff National Park, there are 3 ski resorts; Mt Norquay (10 minutes from town), Sunshine Village (20 minutes from town) and The Lake Louise Ski Area (45 mins from town). There are accommodation options in Banff and the town of Lake Louise (only 5 minutes to The Lake Louise Ski Area from here), and there is a ski in/ski out lodge up at Sunshine Village.

 

There are frequent shuttles to all three ski resorts from the town of Banff; these shuttles pick up and drop off from the front doors of many Banff hotels. There is a frequent shuttle from the Lake Louise hotels to the Lake Louise Ski Area.  The shuttle is included with your tri-area lift ticket. More details about the shuttles here.

 

For the best variety of options for getting to resorts, activities and restaurants/bars, I would recommend staying in Banff. Lake Louise is much smaller with limited options, however it is very close to The Lake Louise Ski Area. And Chateau Lake Louise is a beautiful hotel to stay in, there are many restaurants and bars in the hotel itself.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Mark @ Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryel View Post

I have not been there (yet) but is Banff a general term and not a ski area? Are the offered three the local available? I have not heard of Norquay, is that like the locals place to go play?

 

thanks

Ryel

 

I hinted at it my post #4, but it's a bit confusing for those who aren't familiar with Banff. 

 

Banff isn't a ski area; Banff is a national park.  Within the national park are three ski areas (Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, and Mt. Norquay).

 

To make matters more confusing, within the national park there is a town-site that is also called Banff.  As well, there is a beautiful lake/tourist destination called Lake Louise within the park, and ten minutes from there is a small hamlet made up of a handful of hotels bearing the same name, and five minutes from there is the Lake Louise Louise ski area..... confused?
 

 

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