Lake Louise Gondola In The Winter
The Lake Louise Gondola differs from the Banff Sulphur Mountain Gondola and the Jasper Tramway. It was designed to take skiers up to the top of the mountain. The other two are specifically in place to whisk people up their respective mountains as a scenic tourist attraction. (Note: the Jasper Tramway is closed in the winter.) In the ski season the Lake Louise resort sells a ticket to “ride only” that allows for one return trip on the Grizzly gondola. The tickets are available once the lake Louise Ski Resort opens for the winter, usually mid-November.
On a clear day the scenery from the top of the Lake Louise ski hill is beautiful. You can see the mountains through the west end of the Bow Valley. Across the valley you can make out Lake Louise. If you do decide to take the gondola in the winter it will be just to take in the views. There are no facilities open at the top of the mountain in the winter, no washrooms, shelters or restaurants. For more information and tickets see: Ski Louise Lift Tickets and click on the “Sightseeing Rates” tab.
If there’s a recent snowfall it can be difficult to walk around in the deep snow base. The day we went it was a freezing temperature of -25C. or -13F. You need to be dresses appropriately with a warm winter jacket, mittens, insulated winter boots and warm hat and scarf.
Even though we were bundled up in warm clothing we couldn’t handle staying on top of the mountain for very long. We watched the snowboarders and skiers for a few minutes and quickly snapped some photos of the views. We couldn’t wait to get back down and warm up with some hot chocolate in the ski lodge. I think it’s safe to say that we wouldn’t be that enthusiastic about recommending the gondola when the temperatures are that far below freezing.
Lake Louise Gondola In The Summer Months
From Approximately May 15th to the beginning of October Lake Louise ski hill operates the Grizzly Gondola strictly for sight seeing purposes. There are two options available, a closed cable car or an open chair lift in the warmer summer months. The total time to ascend to the top of the mountain at an elevation of 6850 feet or 2088 meters is 14 minutes.
- A pre-ride welcome orientation is given to each person.
- On the Lake Louise Hill there is an award winning Natural Heritage Interpretation Program.
- You can sign up for various indoor presentations that talk about the wildlife and give information on the area.
- The interpretation visitor center is also open to view at your leisure.
- Once on the mountain there is access to many hiking trails that range from casual strolls to more strenuous and adventurous hikes. Due to bear activity there are some trails where hiking in a group of four is strongly recommended.
- You can register for guided walks for a cost for a minimal cost.
- There are complimentary shuttles that operate in winter and summer between the Lake Louise Ski Resort and Lake Louise hotels.
- Package options available that include the gondola and dining. A ride and breakfast buffet at the Whiskey Jack Lodge at the base of the mountain. Or a ride and food credit that can be used at the Whitehorn Bistor, Bear’s Den Smokehouse and Patio or Ten Peaks Food Court or Slopeside Coffee Bar.
- For more information and tickets see: Ski Louise Summer Sightseeing Gondola
Viewing The Colourful Larch Trees From The Lake Louise Gondola
Lake Louise is one of the lucky places within the Bow Valley and Rocky Mountain area that has beautiful Larch trees. Their needles change to a brilliant yellow colour in the fall.
One of the easiest ways to view the larches is from the Lake Louise gondola. You can avoid all the traffic and parking issues and might even see a grizzly. The timing of the colour change can vary by year somewhat, generally mid-September to the end of the month is when the needles of the larches turn to golden yellow before they drop from the trees.
From September 1st to the beginning October there are lift, lunch and larch packages. (breakfast deals are available as well)
If you’re trying to decide between all three see our post: Which Rocky Mountain Gondola To Take, Banff Lake Louise or Jasper. The Jasper Tramway is not open during the winter months.