Lake Louise, AB, Feb. 25, 2015

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Lake Louise, AB, Feb. 25, 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:25 am

As in 2005 we continued to move east to minimize the effects of Pineapple storms in western Canada. We stayed 2 nights at, where I have been going since referred there on my first trip to Chatter Creek in 2007. Departing today we drove an hour to Lake Louise and got on the hill a bit after 10AM. When we arrived it was in the mid-20’s at the base and 13F on top. However it was sunny and calm to start the day and quite comfortable skiing. Later when it clouded over I needed glove liners and goggles.

We stopped up top for the always impressive view across the valley to Temple Mt., Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier.

We skied off the north facing backside, as we correctly assumed the front would still be firm. We started down the groomed Saddleback Bowl but were soon lured skier’s right into chalky Read’s Way.

After a bumpy exit trail in the Kiddie’s Corner area I thought we should do a couple of cruisers on Larch. View from Larch of the Ptarmigan area.

Those steep trees look nicely spaced, but the whole Ptarmigan area faces southeast. Thus both coverage and surfaces are not reliable, and we didn’t even think about skiing there in this difficult season. I compared notes to my day here in 2005, and the backside surfaces were slightly better this time, with nearly all of it remaining winter snow. The south facing front had all been through a melt/freeze from previous warm weather, and since today was cooler than 2005 those surfaces remained firm all day. There were plenty of rocks around with the average snowfall to date, but in general the steeper terrain at Louise had smoother surfaces and less confinement and exposure than at Kicking Horse the day before.

After the warmups, we took Ptarmigan and Top of the World chairs to the Summit poma. By the time we got up there the sun was gone and we skied the first Whitehorn Chute in the infamous flat light. Fortunately the snow was good and the surface smooth, so it was easier to ski than the flat light steeps at Kicking Horse the day before. Tseeb at the bottom of the chute:

Overview of the Whitehorn Chutes.

One of those at right looked very good, but light was worse the other times we were on the summit, so we never skied it.

At the bottom of the backside is a view west to some interesting rock formations.

We next rode Paradise chair and skied the bumps under the lift that were much larger in close proximity than they looked in the flat light from the lift. Next time up we returned to the poma and skied Pipestone and Boomerang rather than a chute due to the light.

We had lunch at Temple Lodge, another Larch run, then up Ptarmigan where we caught a short sunny break.

But of course it was overcast again when we got to the top. We skied through the second Whitehorn gate into the NE facing bowl, which had somewhat better light than the chutes but not quite as good snow.

It was now past 3PM but tseeb was still up for another Paradise run. I wanted to avoid the flat light moguls so we traversed and skated skier’s right and managed to get a very smooth run down ER3 and the Heart.

Returning to the front side we tested Mirkwood for ungroomed and found it all refrozen, as was Grizzly Gulch. Frontside groomed runs were hardpacked but mostly well tilled to minimize frozen granular. However the base of Lake Louise is 5,400 feet. Below that is where the Kicking Horse snow became most unpleasant the previous day.

We skied 24,200 vertical, lots of it in challenging terrain with good snow but less than ideal visibility. So I’m a bit worked and may spend more time than usual on groomers the next couple of days.
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Tony Crocker
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Re: Lake Louise, AB, Feb. 25, 2015

Postby tseeb » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:59 am

Another day and another great tour by Tony Crocker of a new-to-me Canadian ski area with a great variety of steep terrain. I would like to return some day with my wife so she could enjoy the views, but don't think she would have liked the temps in the teens we experienced. We kept hoping for more sun, but it seemed like the sunny breaks in the PM were always somewhere else and did not get to us.
I don't think I ever skied double-diamond lift-line when going up before. Summit platter rises 1350 feet and gets really tough near top of steep section as pull becomes mostly horizontal. They have ropes on both sides of steep section for you to grab onto if you become detached. There were some snowboarders that made it to top and there is a blue run off back that requires a little hike.
Signs entering one of the Whitehorn runs. We went a little farther skier's right both times we skied that area.
View from lower on Lake Louise at 3:45 PM
Last edited by tseeb on Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Lake Louise, AB, Feb. 25, 2015

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:09 am

Heh, I remember the last part of the Summit surface lift. IIRC, there's some fun terrain to the far skier's right off the top of it that locals claim stays in better condition than the rest of the front side.
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Re: Lake Louise, AB, Feb. 25, 2015

Postby EMSC » Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:43 pm

I was lucky enough to ski leftovers of ~6-8" of powder in the Ptarmigan glades on my only trip to LL. It's an excellent glade when it has good snow.
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