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Ski, Skate and Sleigh in Stunning Lake Louise

Published by Tammy Burns, Writer

Country: Canada

The Experience

Picture-perfect Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, is one of the country’s most famous images. Nestled between towering, snow-capped mountains, with the gleaming Victoria glacier in the background, Lake Louise is a place too perfect to be real.

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.

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When to Go to Lake Louise

Anytime is the best time of year to visit Lake Louise, but if you're going for skating or skiing, December to March is when you'll want to go. Be warned, though, that snow storms can make the drive from Banff to Lake Louise pretty treacherous. If you plan to rent a car and drive yourself, be sure it's one with good snow tires.

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

Lake Louise is pretty secluded, so you have limited options for eating and sleeping in the area - really, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and the Deer Lodge are the only places to eat, unless you want to trek down to the ski hills. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of money if you plan to stay at either hotel.

The Fairmont hotel offers skate rentals for those who forgot to pack their own.

Carpe Diem! Book to do this experience now!

Learn about the mountaineering history and how a tragic accident at Lake Louise shaped Canadian mountain culture. Finally, visit the source of the Bow River ...
Starting from $45.86 per person.

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