Anybody been here? Im thinking about going to Lake Louise over whistler. Ive never been to either
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Never been to Whistler. Lake Louise is a beautiful place. There is no on-mountain lodging and zero night life unless you drive to Banff, 30 minutes away. It's more cold and less snow than Whistler generally. Has a back bowl area..front side is mostly groomed. Less people than Whistler generally as well. Depends what you're looking for. Whistler has just an unbelievable amount of terrain..it's really two resorts that merged so there is literally thousands of acres of terrain to explore. Lake Louise can feel a bit limited at times depending on what's open. Whistler always has the danger of rain or fog below mid-mountain and soft conditions..you sometimes end up skiing the top only. Lake Louise can be an ice box..I went there in January and it was -32C a the top in the morning. Beautiful sunshine though and about 3" every day to keep it fresh.
Could be very, very, very cold at least that is what it is normally. El Nino might make it warmer but I wouldn't count on it. Optimal time for LL would be mid to late March. Are you looking for the big, full on resort experience with night life, shopping and all? Both Banff and Whistler will give you that. If that isn't what you are after then there are many other places in Western Canada that will do the job.
Nope, nobody's ever been there.
Well, actually I've been to both. LL is gorgeous, but, very, very small compared to WB (>8k acres). The snow is often better as WB is VERY close to the Pacific, but it can get extremely cold, whereas WB is more moderate.
WB is Disneyland for skiers. Massive, tons of lifts, great, all inclusive, car-less village, wacko lifts like the peak-to-peak, incredible nightlife and on and on. It's almost difficult not to see ski-porn regulars walking through the village on a daily basis. WB is many diehards idea of a ski fantasy destination for everything involved in it.
LL has outrageous scenery, but not as much in the other areas. Hard not to recommend both, but if a ski adventure is your deal, then WB's hard to beat.
The backside of Lake Louise is a great place to ski, if there is enough snow to open all the terrain.
Should be by your time frame. The easier front side tends to get icy without fresh snow. If your a strong skier you will like it. Intermediates will probably prefer Sunshine (which also has some very good sections). Once there you'll do both anyway.
Banff has much more options than Louise for rooms, meals and nightlife but 45 min to Louise.
It can be cold in the Rockies. The only place I have been where they closed the lifts when it dipped to -45c, but I've also hit rain during Chinooks. I wouldn't worry about either. Those extremes are not very common, usually you need no more than one extra fleece than Whistler.
I wouldn't say "over" Whistler, either place would do you. I know they are known for having bad snow years sometimes. When I was there it was all filled in.
You also have Sunshine Village not too far (30-40 minutes?) and Kicking Horse - 60-75 minutes? away.
Here is a post I wrote about my day there. re: cold. I was there in Mid-March and I distinctly remember my feet being frozen solid at lunch!
One of Lake Louise's biggest problems is that it does NOT get lots of snow so I prefer to ski there after mid March when they have had all winter to build up their snow pack and extreme cold is not likely. Their base elevation is one of the highest in Canada which also helps make for good spring skiing.
I also prefer Whistler in the spring because there are less people, lower prices, and less chance of fog and snotty weather and somewhat greater chance of sunshine. It can rain right to the top at any time of the year.
Most would agree that Whistler has the best partying at a ski resort in North America however if you show up during Gay/Lesbian week (usually late Jan or early Feb) I would imagine the bar scene would be not quite the same as other weeks.
Both Banff and Whistler should be on every serious skiers bucket list. With the time of year that the OP is considering, I would choose Whistler.
Odds are much better for Whistler in that time frame. Whistler gets over twice as much snow so snow coverage is a non-issue there, while it can be in below average years at Louise and Sunshine. For what it's worth I've been to Louise and Sunshine twice in early February and Delirium Dive was closed both times.
Castle Dave and DanoT have this right, and they are locals whop spend more time at these places than I do. The Dive was open when I was there in Late March one season and early April in another. The cold climate is a plus in spring for preserving the packed powder snow. So that's when you want to be there for max coverage and still good snow surfaces.
- lake louise?
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