New to Winter in Alberta? Lake Louise Ski Resort makes it easy
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Lake Louise, AB
The Bhagchandani family had driven to Banff before, but as they were about to have their first day on the slopes at Lake Louise, they took advantage of the free shuttle service from Calgary, thinking wouldn't it be nice just to sit back and enjoy the views and let someone else do the driving.
"I have driven to Banff once before in the summer and it was beautiful but by taking the bus in winter, it was a whole new experience and I appreciate not driving,” said Amit Bhagchandani. Along with his family, he enjoyed being a spectator as they headed to Lake Louise. They took picture after picture of the sun rising on snow-clad peaks, the frozen waterfalls and the never-ending heaps of snow. When the bus arrived at Lake Louise Ski Resort, nine-year-old son Aaray, was the first out the door. He had never skied before and today was the day.
“This is why we brought our children to Canada,” said his father Amit. “There is so much more opportunity here to experience things. This is our first full winter in Canada, so we want to try everything.”
Once you are hooked on skiing and snowboarding, another perk offered for Lake Louise is the free shuttle bus that stops at three places in Calgary to take guests straight to the resort. That way, you don’t drive the mountain roads or buy a day pass for the national park. Lift tickets are purchased on the bus so you go straight to the lift. If you are not buying a lift ticket, there is a fee for the bus service.
Once at the ski resort, the first stop for the Bhagchandani family was at the rental shop to get all the gear they needed.
As Amit filled out the forms, the two boys and their mother started the process of acquiring the proper winter wear, boot fitting and skis.
“We don’t own any of the proper clothing yet,” said, mom, Meetu Bhagchandani. “We need to find out if this is something we want to do as a family before we can make the investment.”
The rental team was quick to size them up for jackets, pants and helmets then snap on the boots and line up the skis. Within a few minutes, the family was doing the classic ski boot waddle out to meet their coach for the morning lessons.
As they lined up with the coach, the apprehension in the parents was visible. The boys, however, took to the sport instantly. Slipping around the flat snow on one ski then two for a few minutes got them ready to ride up the magic carpet to try it all on a slope.
Aaray and his 15-year-old brother Amey fell but bounced quickly back up to try it again and again. Their parents were more cautious but once they took a fall and found out it didn’t hurt, the inhibition softened, and they started to enjoy the lessons.
Meanwhile, Zeng and her son were off to the tube park. It looked intimidating at first but by the time the second lap was over, they were finding ways to race each other to the bottom. Time flew quickly and they needed to meet their guide for the afternoon snowshoe tour at the top of the mountain.
Lake Louise offers a full range of snowshoe tours at the resort and off-site to Emerald Lake, Lake O’Hara Fire Road and more. But for the family from China, riding the gondola for 13 minutes to explore the snowshoe trails at the top of the mountain, was the goal for the afternoon.
The weather was perfect for their adventure. The skies were blue as they hiked through the meadows. Maggie, the paleontologist turned mountain guide, told them about the mountains, the trees and then would suddenly stop and point in the snow. “See that?” Everyone would stop and look. “Those are snowshoe hare prints!” Her enthusiasm had everyone eager to learn more.
“Snowshoeing was like an adventure,” said Qingmei as the gondola took us back to the base. “I want to bring the rest of the family out to see all the animal tracks in the snow.”
As Amit ushered his tired family onto the bus for the ride home he was happy the way the day went. “Booking the day made a lot of sense for us. It gives us incentive to try something new. Without making the commitment it is easy to let your days disappear. We don’t want the boys to miss out on opportunities that are available in Canada.”
Final comments from little Aaray about the day were summed up in three words before he fell asleep. “Best. Day. Ever!”
Ways to make the journey and mountain experience simpler:
Ride the Lake Louise Ski Bus. Make a reservation, then be at one of the departure points in Calgary at the predetermined time. Buy your lift ticket on the bus and ride to the resort for free. Relax, enjoy the ride to and from the resort. If you already have a lift ticket, there is a nominal fee for the return trip.
Rent ski and snowboarding equipment at the resort. It’s not easy to know what gear you need but the rental team knows exactly what to do. They will match your ability to the gear.
Rent winter clothing. Proper winter clothing is necessary to handle the weather in the mountains. The rental shop at Lake Louise offers helmets, ski jackets and ski pants to make your day far more pleasant on the slopes. Bring your own base layers, toque, mitts and scarf.
Other Deals. A great way to save money through the season is by investing in a Lake Louise Plus Card which provides discounts and incentives through the season.
Bring a lunch. There are plenty of options at the resort for refueling at lunch but to cut costs, pack sandwiches and snacks for the road trip home.
Trying a new sport like skiing or snowboarding can be daunting and expensive but Lake Louise offers Never Ever Days. Your first day out costs only $25 and includes rental equipment, beginner area lift tickets and a lesson. Lessons are in January and run Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Learn more here.
Make sure to check out our #NewSkiAB Expedition page to learn great tips to build your confidence on the slopes.
Are you thinking about learning to ski this year? Share this page with your snow-loving, fun-loving friends and start planning.