Lake Louise welcomes the world during World Cup and throughout the season.
LAKE LOUISE, AB ? When Charlie Locke, owner of the famed Lake Louise Ski Area, first took to its slopes back in 1954, I doubt he had any intentions of not only buying it, but also putting it on the world stage.
In 1980, the first ever men's World Cup downhill in Canada was organized in Lake Louise, and the hill has continued to welcome the world through the FIS World Cup Men?s and Ladies ski races ever since.
?It puts a lot of pressure on us at the top of the season to get this race in, but the amount of exposure that it brings to us is huge,? said Locke. ?An event like this puts Lake Louise on the map around the world and early, in November, when we are just at the top of the season.?
Word quick to spread
?That word gets out everywhere, the publicity and awareness is phenomenal. This is a true testament to the quality of the mountain,? said John Ross, Louise?s marketing director. ?Guaranteed snow, the vertical is here, and we have the capacity to put on something of this magnitude.?
In 1980, Locke was involved as a volunteer at the very first World Cup at Lake Louise. A year later he bought the place. Locke, with his background in finance, both within the oil and cattle industries, likes what a ski resort offers.
?Winter is a renewable resource here in Canada and owning a ski business is a whole lot of fun. There are lots of facets to the operation: you have lift sales, food and beverage, merchandise, and many other forms of ways to produce revenues.?
Locke is just as much into the history of Lake Louise as the stories that keep it special. As a consummate explorer Locke has been to a lot of places the world over, but first set foot on the slopes at Lake Louise when he was only eight years old. Growing up on the west side of Calgary, access out to the hill was easy, but getting there wasn?t as straightforward as today.
?You had to take a bus up from the Post Hotel. What they were working on was building a network of lodges in the Lake Louise area that skiers could enjoy. At its start, Lake Louise operated as two separate ski hills, Whitehorn and Temple, each with their own lodges.
?The original Temple is not far from the current one today, located on Lake Louise?s incredible back side. The Skoki lodge, built in the early 30?s, is something that still stands today, as the fourth ?backcountry lodge? in the area.?
Locke recommends snowshoeing (or cross-country skiing) in and out of Skoki. It's about a four-hour journey in and the same return. The historic lodge offers accommodations, incredible food and an atmosphere sure to please any snow seeker.
For more information on Lake Louise Ski Area or to book your ski, snowboard, or winter getaway to Banff, Sunshine Village, or Lake Louise, check out Ski Big 3's website at www.skibig3.com.