Dec 04, 2008
This small, but challenging, ski area is just a 10-minute drive from Banff and boasts some of the best grooming in Western Canada.
Sunshine Village, with the longest ski season in the region, has long been known for its winding gondola ride that carries you almost 1,650 vertical feet from the parking lot-along the walls of a valley and box canyon-to the village base area and the rest of the lifts.
One visit is usually all it takes for Lake Louise to make virtually everyone's top 10 list of mountain resorts. It doesn't have a glitzy Vail persona. Instead, Lake Louise is down home, warm and friendly. It's a wonderful destination for families and groups with different ability levels. Its vast terrain provides plenty of fun and challenge for everyone. Lake Louise has some truly steep terrain, but that's balanced nicely with groomed intermediate runs that are enough fun for experts to want to join their friends and family members who prefer this kind of terrain. That says a lot. Top that off with delightful beginner and first-timer terrain, and everyone's bound to be happy.The 24,000-square-foot Lodge of the Ten Peaks, and the corresponding remodeling of the original base lodge, are the first things you see when you pull up to the resort. The massive, split-beam log buildings are one of the most handsome in the Rockies: Think of a log cabin built by Paul Bunyan. The lodge is constructed of some 2,500 fir, pine and spruce logs, most of them thinned from the Ptarmigan slope to open glade skiing and riding. Lake Louise is comprised of four mountain faces that create three distinct areas: the Front Face, the Back Bowls and the Larch Area. The trail map has an excellent synopsis of where different ability levels should head.If you want sun all day and want to ski the whole area, go to the Back Bowls in the morning, Larch midday and end up on the Front Face. Take a free guided tour by the Ski Friends, a volunteer group, two times daily starting at Whiskyjack Lodge.