Lake Louise, even though you started off at around -32 degC (with wind-chill) this morning, I still like you. A lot. As usual, I was one of the first people to arrive so that I could score as good a parking spot that did not require any special fees or permit.
There was not much in the way of new snow; just a few cm, which made for hard pack, even in the back bowls. I still find it amusing how signs stating “Marginal Conditions” or “Closed” out West are, like, the best conditions ever on the East Coast. And, sadly, I’m finding that I ski well in such shitty conditions.
I really like how the mountain and vertical drop are big (991 m (3250 ft) vertical drop, longest run of 5 miles, Lake Louise is the largest ski resort in the Canadian Rockies), yet the main base area has an old-school cafeteria/ non-swanky resort feel to it. Indeed, lift-ticket prices here are considerably cheaper than lift tickets in the U.S., and even more so if you take into account the current favourable exchange rate. I wonder why that is. Are operations more efficient here? Are the owners just less into price-gouging than other ski-group goliaths?
I thought the ski area was well laid-out too. I did not encounter any cat-tracks, shitty ski-outs, choke points for accidents to happen at the end of the day when every one is returning to the main base area on a narrow trail, weak on their legs, racing to get to the bottom (I’m looking at you, Sunshine Village).
I’m feeling pretty worked but I guess this is good preparation for Revelstoke, which boasts North America’s largest vertical drop of 1,713 metres (5,620 ft). I’m bloody intimidated by this, and by how deep it is going to be and get over the next few days, as I still struggle in deep powder with my ski and outriggers. It seems like I am very good at blocking out the sun wherever I go.
It seemed like the temperature rose a good 10 degC the moment I crossed into British Columbia. It was 22 degF when I rolled into Revelstoke, and I was positively sweating.
The drive from Lake Louise to Revelstoke is exactly how I imagined driving into the interior of British Columbia would be: misty and starting to snow. For some reason I thought that the Mountain and Pacific time zones followed the BC and AB province boundary, but they do not, and I liked how there was a sign along the Trans Canada highway indicating the point where the time-zone changed.