Ski, Skate and Sleigh in Stunning Lake Louise
First, spend the day tackling the slopes of Lake Louise Ski Area, which has been called the most scenic ski resort in North America. Then, when your legs are burning and your fingers are numb, strap on some skates and venture onto the lake’s frozen waters. One glide across the smooth surface, and you’ll be hypnotized by the mountains around you and forget all about your exhaustion. Warm up at a bonfire on the edge of the lake, then skate around the crystal walls of an ice castle that’s built every year by the nearby Fairmont hotel. Then, once your legs really can’t take any more, climb aboard a horse-drawn sleigh for a ride around the lake, towards the base of the Victoria glacier, where the adventurous can climb (and slide down) a frozen waterfall.
Located in Banff National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Lake Louise is a glacial lake fed by run-off from the nearby, massive Victoria glacier (covering some 3.5 km, the view of the glacier from the lake only hints at the incredible size of it). In summer, the lake is a shimmery turquoise that reflects the mountains like a mirror; in winter, it is a slick, frozen piece of glass that gleams white with sticky, untouched snow. One look and it's no wonder Lake Louise is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Canadian Rockies.
People visit year-round, but if you arrive in winter, when the air is crisp and cold and the snow is thick and fluffy, you’ll encounter a real-life winter wonderland, not to mention some of the best skiing and skating in the world.
When to Go to Lake Louise
Mid-winter (January and February) are the absolute best times for skating, as it's when the lake is most likely to be thoroughly frozen.
Odds n' Ends
The Fairmont hotel offers skate rentals for those who forgot to pack their own.
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