Lake Louise is one of those truly stunning works of nature that you must see to believe. With piercing turquoise lakes and looming mountains as far as the eye can see, it has sights that will catch the breath of nature and city lovers alike. In the winter season, the area is a glistening wonderland with deep white snow coating everything from the lakes to the mountain tops. Nestled about 45 minutes west of the much larger tourist destination of Banff, this peaceful hamlet offers a more secluded getaway for outdoor adventure and relaxation, with less of a focus on the social scene. There are many things to see and explore in Lake Louise, so plan wisely!
Lake Louise is a paradise for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Set in the Rocky Mountains, it is home to some of the largest ski resorts in North America, with 4200 skiable acres of world-class terrain. Runs are well equipped for a wide array of skill sets allowing everyone from children to the beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers a chance to experience the slopes. Take a scenic cross country route, feel the rush of downhill skiing down a steep run, or take a cue from the experts and book a lesson while you’re there.
Lake Louise is also home to many excellent hiking trails. However, in the winter this activity can be frigid, especially as one reaches higher altitudes. A lovely way to still take in the beautiful surrounding landscapes come winter, is on a horse-drawn sleigh. There is nothing quite as idyllic as sipping a warm beverage while gliding along the frozen lake, taking in the falls in icicle form, accompanied by spectacular views of the mountains and the Fairmount Hotel gleaming in the distance. Check out Brewster Winter Sleigh Rides.
Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise
Speaking of the Fairmount hotel… whether you decide to stay in this palatial landmark, or not, it should hold a place on your list of things to see. Built in 1890 as a space for outdoor adventurers and alpinists to find refuge and relaxation, the Chateau holds a special place within the community and the has deep ties to the history of the area. Over the years many famous faces have made appearances at this site, for business and pleasure. Spend the night, stay for a spa day, visit for a fondue dinner, or take in afternoon tea, either way, make sure you see this architectural gem.
Named one of the “10 most beautiful ice skating rinks in the world,” by CNN Travel, the ice rink set on the frozen Lake Louise is not to be missed. Enjoy an afternoon skate amongst sparkling peaks and glaciers, while taking in the fresh, brisk air it doesn’t get much better than that. Visitors present from January 19th-29th will also bear witness to the masterful work of ice carving artists partaking in the annual Ice Magic Festival.
Ice Magic Festival
As mentioned above the Ice Magic Festival takes place at the Lake Louise ice rink from January 19th to the 29th. This annual event started 22 years, ago and in that time it has built up a world-renowned status. Spectators are invited to take hold of the masterful craftsmanship of several talented ice artists, who have travelled from all around the world to attend the festival. You can see that the task is both artful and gruelling as these artists take great lengths to complete their detailed carvings. Tickets are required and are available for purchase online.
Touring the Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rockies is a once in a lifetime experience. One of the best ways to get the full experience here is to book a tour with Glacier Adventure. This experienced tour guide team will lead you around the Rockies on a massive Ice Explorer where you will reach the surface of the Athabasca Glacier. One the tour you are free to venture along the glass floor of the Glacier Skywalk at the end of the cliff. You can also take the opportunity to fill up a water bottle with fresh water straight from the glacier and bask in the incredible views, and the beauty of nature at it’s finest.
Whoever said tubing was only a summer activity where you glide along a lake at the end of a speedboat hasn’t tried tubing at Lake Louise’s “Sunny Tube Park”. You can grab tickets for tubes from guest services at the base of the mountain at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Tubing is also an excellent activity for those who want to get out in the snow, but aren’t too keen on taking the slopes in skis and snowboards. Tubing also makes for a perfect activity that the whole family can enjoy.
It is no surprise why this exceptional location is featured in everything from J Crew’s winter catalogue to GQ within only the past few months. Although Banff is often credited as the site to see, Lake Louise has a certain solitude about it, setting it apart from any hustle bustle and making it the ideal spot for an unplugged winter getaway.