Insider, local knowledge is key if you’re looking to tick off all the must-do activities, see all the highlights and have an authentic experience on your next ski trip. Locals are chock full of ideas and inspiration to make your ski trip unforgettable, so who better to tap for insider guidance, than the local lodging concierges or staff? That’s why we’ve created a new Ski.com Blog series: Concierge Conversations, where you can glean great destination-based tips and recommendations and learn a bit more about some of the area’s top lodging options.
We tapped Sales Manager, Ryan Eckert, who’s been at the Lake Louise Inn for four years and living in the Banff Lake Louise area for 12 years, to answer a couple questions about his favorite aspects of his homebase and place of work.
Some of Ryan’s favorite things
Ski.com: What drew you to the destination originally and what has kept you there?
RE: I had just finished studying tourism at university and looking for work and Banff seemed like the logical place to start. I’m also a very outdoorsy person and the lifestyle that Banff provided isn’t available just anywhere. It just seemed like the perfect fit.
Ski.com: What are your three favorite things to do at the destination in the winter?
RE: Cross-country skiing is my current favorite, followed by snowshoeing and snowboarding. The reason cross-country skiing and snowshoeing top my list is there are so few people taking part in those activities so you really get a chance to enjoy solitude…it’s really relaxing! My favorite trail these days is the Great Divide Trail, which is also shared with the dog sledders, adding some more fun to the trip.
Ski.com: In your opinion, what are some secrets or lesser known facts/attributes about Banff Lake Louise that visitors should know?
RE: That we aren’t crowded in the winter. A lot of people assume that because we’re in Canada that winter is our peak season, but the reality is that summer is our busiest season. For those looking to beat the crowds, Lake Louise is a great choice. Pair that with amazing skiing/riding and you’ve got a great experience! We are also blessed with a number of glaciers visible right from town and abundant wildlife year round. Interesting fact, the Hamlet of Lake Louise is the highest settlement in Canada—1600 m (5,400 feet).
Ski.com: What are some secrets or lesser known facts/attributes about the Lake Louise Inn?
RE: Our Western Gazebo function space is great for groups looking to add some Western culture into their stay. Also, our condos feature full kitchens, making them the perfect accommodation for families or groups looking to have a self-catered ski trip.
Ski.com: If you could only ski or ride one run at Lake Louise for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
RE: Upper Boomerang! You start from the top of mountain and the views are amazing. I always stop for a few minutes just to take it all in. The run itself is a steep, ungroomed back bowl that doesn’t get a lot of interest, so there’s always some untracked snow. Too much fun not to check out!
Ski.com: When guests ask you for the local’s scoop on après-ski/dining/nightlife what do you recommend and why?
RE: Selfishly, I really like Explorers Lounge at the Lake Louise Inn, the fireplace surrounded by big lounge chairs is just a great spot to relax and swap stories. The pub grub is great as well after a big day on the hill.
Ski.com: When guests ask you for recommendations for family experiences what’s your go-to itinerary and don’t-miss spots/restaurants and why?
RE: Skating on Lake Louise. The setting is amazing and skating on an open lake is just magical. Dog sledding is also a great option that is often overlooked and provides a great cultural experience along with a bit of adrenaline!
Ski.com: When guests ask you for recommendations for upscale experiences what’s your go-to itinerary and don’t-miss spots/restaurants and why?
RE: There aren’t a lot of those options in Lake Louise, but the Post Hotel does have a great fine-dining restaurant with an extensive wine cellar.
Ski.com: What winter event or time of ski season do you look forward to most and why?
RE: Ice Magic Festival is my favorite with the ice carving competition stealing the show. It’s amazing to see what these guys can do with ice. I recommend going at night, on the final evening when the competition is complete. The sculptures are lit giving them a whole new depth.
Ski.com: What do you think makes the Lake Louise Inn popular?
RE: We’re a great choice for budget-conscious travelers that are looking for a quality experience without breaking the bank. Our range of room options also gives people a lot of flexibility. Plus, our free ski shuttle makes getting to the hill super easy!
Ski.com: Why should someone choose to split their time between Lake Louise and Banff?
RE: People often overlook Lake Louise and only checkout the ski hill, never getting a chance to experience the village and the serenity it offers. Not only is it way more convenient to access the ski hill (you save yourself a 45-minute commute from Banff), but you also get the chance to really connect with nature. Without all the over-development found in many ski towns, Lake Louise offers a unique opportunity to truly connect with the natural surroundings and nurture the soul. It’s definitely worth splitting your time between the two towns.
Ready to book your stay at the Lake Louise Inn? Our 70+ Mountain Travel Experts are standing by for your call at 800-610-8911.