History of Lake Louise, Alberta

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Home > Alberta > Lake Louise > History    [ bookmark this page ]

Page Title: History of Lake Louise, Alberta
Page Synopsis: An overview of the history of Lake Louise, Alberta.



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History of Lake Louise

Lake Louise, the jewel in the crown of Alberta’s magnificent Rockies, has been recognized as an outstanding center for mountain sports for over one hundred years. As far back as 1890, Swiss guides, imported by the Canadian Pacific Railway, were introducing upper-class European guests to the splendors of the glacierhung peaks surrounding the lake.

Climbing and hiking  were the earliest passions, but as the 1930’s approached, ski mountaineering and glacier skiing became the rage. A group of local enthusiasts known as the Banff Ski Runners, decided that the time was ripe to build a backcountry ski lodge. After consulting with the Swiss guides, the Banff Ski Runners determined an ideal location. A company called The Ski Club of the Canadian Rockies was formed to finance the venture, and a spot was found 19 km (12miles) north of Lake Louise, in Skoki valley, where there was easy access to several glaciers, the snow plentiful and the scenery was spectacular. Here, in 1930, the first overnight ski chalet in western North America was built.

In the summer of 1931 a wealthy English bachelor named Sir Norman Watson happened to visit the Rockies and was so entranced with it’s beauty, he bought a lifetime membership to Skoki Lodge and invested heavily into the Ski Club of the Canadian Rockies. Sir Norman, a devout skier, was quick to see the enormous potential of the Lake Louise area and envisioned great things for the future of skiing.

Construction of the Lake Louise Ski Area  began in 1936 with the building of Temple Lodge. It was not however until 1954 that the first mechanized lift – a “platter”- was installed on the slopes of Larch, above the Temple Lodge. It was at this time that skiing really took off.

Over the next 40 years, an assortment of day lodges, a gondola, and chair lifts of all sizes were installed on the three faces of Lake Louise’s mountains, providing access to some of the most challenging powder bowls in the Rockies. Continuous improvements and expansions continued throughout the decades, and the next big change for Lake Louise in 1981 when local shareholder Charlie Locke bought out his partners to become the sole proprietor. As a Calgary-born mountaineer and professional mountain guide, this opportunity gave Charlie an ideal basis for constructive communication and cooperation with Parks Canada to secure approval for a realistic
long-range development plan.

Throughout the 20th Century, Lake Louise has become one of North America’s largest and finest ski areas. Improvements throughout the new millennium and beyond continue to make Lake Louise a world renowned, premier ski resort.

One thing, however, remains exactly as it was in 1930. The incredible beauty that so inspired the area’s pioneers remains unchanged, unspoiled and unforgettable. Again and again, skiers from all over the world single out the sheer delight of just being in such a glorious place as the one thing that makes a ski holiday in Lake Louise unquestionably the most memorable they have ever had.

Lake Louise Awards

• # 1 for Scenery: Selected as most scenic resort in North America– Ski Magazine annual reader survey (2003)
• Lake Louise topped the list in the “Best of City” poll in the Calgary Sports Category, under Ski Area. More then 100,000 on-line Calgarians voted over the course of 3 months for their city’s best –
CalgaryPlus.ca (January 2003)
• Ranked #2 for Value in Ski Magazine survey (2003)
• Lake Louise Ski Area was awarded the top spot in the categories of “Best View from the slopes”, “Best Steeps”, “Best Scenery”, “Best Blast from the Past” and “Most Romantic Accommodation” – Special Winter edition of Ski Canada Magazine (2002)
• # 1 choice for Calgary families. Lake Louise has been awarded the “2001 Parents Choice Award” from Calgary’s Child Family Magazine
• # 1 for scenery – Ski Magazine survey (2000)
• # 8 for value – Ski Magazine survey (2000)
• # 12 for terrain – Ski Magazine survey (2000)
• Lake Louise achieved a 24th place overall ranking among North American Ski Resorts – Ski Magazine survey (2000)
• Banff/Lake Louise ranked as #1 ski destination in the world – Britain’s Daily Telegraph (1999)
• The Lodge of the Ten Peaks, a 24,000 sq./ft. majestic log structure was ranked by Britain’s Daily Mail as the “best new day lodge in the world” (1999)





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