Photo credit: Nick Fitzhardinge

In summer the turquoise water of Lake Louise with its backdrop of mountains and glaciers is a breathtaking sight for tourists. But winter is when Lake Louise truly shines. There are few experiences more memorable than a sleigh ride along the shore of the lake into the mountains beyond. World class downhill skiing can be found in the community of Lake Louise and nearby at Sunshine, Mount Norquay, Kicking Horse and a number of other ski resorts. A skate on frozen Lake Louise is unforgettable. Afterwards the warmth of the crackling fire is more intense surrounded by the stark, silent cold outside.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is the perfect base for winter sports and adventure. The century old grand hotel on the shore of Lake Louise offers a host of luxurious amenities including fine dining in a selection of restaurants and lounges, a spa, health club and fitness centre, a heated swimming pool and a host of guest services.

Animal adventures
A sleigh ride to the far end of Lake Louise, hosted by the oldest travel adventure company in Alberta, is the perfect way to experience the beauty of the mountains with the least amount of effort. You can even sip champagne while tucked under a warm blanket. To get a little closer to nature, book a multi-day dogsled journey into the heart of the Rockies.

Downhill skiing
Ski aficionados know that Lake Louise can compete with the best downhill ski areas in the world, with perfect snow, plenty of powder and runs to challenge any level of skier. And once you’ve tried all the runs at Lake Louise Ski Resort, other world class hills—Sunshine, Norquay, Kicking Horse and others are just a short drive away.

Cross country skiing and snowshoeing
The cross country ski season in Banff National Park is one of the longest in North America, with groomed and track set ski trails open from November to April. Cross country trails can be found in Lake Louise, in nearby Banff and Castle Junction and at the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park. And with over 1,600 kilometres of hiking trails in Banff National Park, the area is also filled with snowshoeing opportunities.

Skating
Lake Louise has been called the “world’s best skating rink” by CNN, Fodors and others, and with its sparkling ice and spectacular mountain backdrop it’s easy to see why. Hotel staff clear the ice regularly and even build an intricate ice castle on the frozen lake surface every winter. There’s also a dedicated hockey rink on the lake.

Wellness
The right wellness retreat can change your life and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise has many to choose from, including yoga and mindfulness training, mindful eating, writing and spirit medicine. All retreats take place in one of the most secluded and serenely beautiful places on Earth.

Tom Mason is the former editor of Progress magazine. In the past three decades he has written extensively about business, technology, travel, lifestyles and Atlantic Canadian issues for a number of regional, national and international publications.

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