Lake Louise — Cross-country
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (403-522-3511) has about 50 km. of groomed trails and access to hundreds of miles of backcountry trails, with stunning views of the lake and mountains. The ungroomed, well-marked trail to Skoki Lodge, a rustic log cabin (meaning no electricity, no plumbing, wood-burning stove, great food), begins just above Temple Lodge at the ski area and heads up the valley and over Boulder Pass, 7 miles one way. Reservations are required. If you’re not up for skiing so far into the wilderness, follow the gentle Shoreline Trail starting in front of The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, an easy mile and a half one way. Skiing on Lake Louise is not recommended—no matter how cold it’s been nor for how long, the middle of the lake is fed by not-so-cold spring water and the ice there does not, uh, mature. But when the lake is frozen, many skiers stick close to the shoreline and ski down the lake to the foot of Victoria Glacier.
A complex 20-km. network called Pipestone Loops starts 4 miles west of the Lake Louise Over-pass on the Trans-Canada Highway. Although all are marked beginner, some are suitable for the intermediate.
About 25 miles from Lake Louise, just over the border into British Columbia, is Emerald Lake Lodge (403-343-6321 or 800-663-6336). It has a 40-km. network of groomed trails with views of the Presidential Range, lodging in comfortable cabins and activities such as skating, snowshoeing and a games room. The lodge has a shuttle to the Lake Louise ski area.
Before setting out on any of the trails, check trail conditions at a park warden’s office. Be aware that trail classification is done by healthy Canadians in good shape.
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Lake Louise, located in the Banff National Park, is quickly becoming a premiere destination for cross country skiing. Aside from having incredible snow, the area offers skiers a wide variety of trails, incredible mountain scenery, wildlife viewing opportunities, world class accommodations, and dining options.
Here are some of the best reasons to cross-country ski at Lake Louise:
- Very pretty trails in a gorgeous mountain wilderness setting.
- Many natural clearings with mountain vistas alternate with tree-lined trails.
- Traditional, narrower, more intimate XC ski trails 3 meters wide, 4-5 meters on hills.
- Lots of twists and turns, ups-and-downs to entertain the skier.
- Ski-skating on the Moraine Lake and Great Divide trails.
Great variety of XC skiing close by
- Track-set trails (total 70 km).
- Backcountry (light) touring on skier-set tracks (total 150 km).
- Telemark skiing at 2 lift-serviced areas and 3 “climb-it-yourself” areas.
- Located in Alberta’s snow belt .
- Longest ski season in Alberta – Mid November to Mid April.
- Frolic in waist-deep snow by mid-February.
- Usually 1 meter of settled snow-pack beside the XC ski trails by mid-February.
- Wonderful scenery with sunshine and blue skies.
- World class downhill skiing and riding at the Lake Louise Ski Resort.
- Snowshoe trails and routes for all abilities.
- Ice skating on the iconic lake ice in front of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
- Hockey rink on the iconic lake ice.
- Sleigh rides on lakeshore trail.
- Dog sled trips on Great Divide Trail and adjacent forest trails.
Access, Facilities & Services
- Easy access from major scenic highways.
- Hotels, historic lodges, restaurants and cafes close by .
- Three full-service ski-in lodges in the backcountry close to Lake Louise.
- Two full service XC ski shops conveniently close to Lake Louise.
- National Parks Visitor Info. Centre with weather, ski trail and other info.
- Heated washrooms close to trails.
Banff National Park World Heritage Site
- An unspoiled winter wonderland.
- Surrounded by the rugged Canadian Rockies.
- Limited commercial development.
- Eco-tourism opportunities.
- Opportunities to see deer, elk and sheep
- Lake Louise Loppet – Oldest mass-participation race in Western Canada (since 1973).
- Ice Sculpture Festival.
- Lake Louise to Banff XC ski relay race.
Cross Country Ski Rentals
Our rental shop carries a quality line-up of cross country & touring skis and boots. Click here to view our rental equipment and rates.