Dec 04, 2008
Lake Louise offers a vast terrain for all levels of skiers and is down home, warm, and friendly.
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.
This small, but challenging, ski area is just a 10-minute drive from Banff and boasts some of the best grooming in Western Canada. It also has some of the gnarliest bump runs we've ever skied. There are virtually no lift lines here, so you can really rack up the vertical. The winding mountain road that takes you up to the base lodge can be fairly intimidating, but the views are incredible as you climb above the townsite of Banff. Be sure to look out for elk; we saw dozens of them.The Cascade Lodge at the base was built in 1996 after the previous lodge burned down. The beautiful log lodge includes an excellent restaurant, a bar, three large stone fireplaces and the other usual services.Mountain layout The view of Banff and the Bow Valley from the North American chair is fabulous. This is the lift that takes you to those ribbons of bumps tumbling down the mountainside. It's an old slow chair that rarely has a line. Be positively sure you want to be here. This is very tough stuff, with no blue or green ways down. That said, we must tell you that these are quite possibly the most fun bump runs in all of skidom. And they are long! The bumps can get so big, folks of short stature can barely see over them. By the way, look closely at the tea house at the top of the lift-it's built to have avalanches roll right over the top of it.