Lake Louise is expanding its in-bounds terrain for the first time since the 1990s.
The world-famous ski area in Alberta, Canada, is building a new chairlift to access terrain previously only available to backcountry skiers, that was previously outside the patrolled area boundary.
The former Summit Platter drag lift which used to access the resort’s Whitehorn Peak has been upgraded to the new Summit Chair, accessed via the top station of Top of the World chairlift, which then drops skiers and snowboarders off at the same summit location as the old platter.
It’s a four-minute ride on the new quad up the ridge of Whitehorn Mountain to access a combination of the newly accessible terrain and runs previously accessed by the Summit Platter, the back bowls.
The newly in-bounds terrain is West Bowl which the resort says will emulate the back-country ski experience, with no grooming of the slopes, but with a more maintained manner, including areas where trees have been ‘gladed’ (thinned) for easier access as well as powder bowels over a two kilometres (one-and-a-quarter mile) stretch of descent.
The new terrain includes lines suitable for intermediate-level, as well as advanced and expert skiers and boarders and is divided into zones rather than individual trails. Whichever route taken all terrain naturally funnels into a newly built exit run which connects back to the existing slope network at the junction of Men’s Downhill and Juniper Jungle on the front side.
It’s worth noting, the resort says, that although West Bowl will now be in-bounds terrain with teams maintaining avalanche safety and patrolling the area, they recommend that skiers and boarders continue to carry avalanche safety gear (rentals available if required) in this area and know how to use it correctly. The resort partners with Avalanche Canada to offer a two-day Avalanche Safety Training Level 1 (AST 1) entry-level avalanche skills course for beginners.
Lake Louise also say that skiers and boarders should note there’s no easy way out once you start at the top of West Bowl so they recommend anyone who doubts their abilities are up to the minimum level required should test their skills on one of their similar runs that does have an easy run option to bail-out on consider taking a lesson with ski school for this type of terrain first.
West Bowl will open each winter as soon as snowfall cover is considered adequate and conditions allow.