A luxury family ski vacation to Chateau Lake Louise is among the most authentic winter trips available on this planet. In Canada, certainly, there are very few rival experiences that hold the combination of luxury, activity, history and mind blowing scenery. The infinite beauty at Lake Louise make the area one of the most romantic spots you could spend a week with partner. But what happens when you can’t find a babysitter?
What follows is an account of a three day trip with small kids to Chateau Lake Louise and Lake Louise Ski Resort. There are some pointers you’ll want to take note of if you’re attempting to do such a trip. Traveling with kids is always a lot of work, but the memories are worth it. Indeed, memories and Chateau Lake Louise go hand in hand.
To be honest, when we planned our trip, we tried not to bring the kids. But when our plans to pawn the kids off to their grandparents fell through, bringing them became our only option. There were some pre-trip moments when we considered cancelling the trip but we soon came to realization that if we’re stuck with our kids, we might as well find a way to have fun with them!
A ski vacation at Chateau Lake Louise is about as turn-key as it can get. Skiing with young children is a ton of work no matter how you roll it but there are certain things can make it easier. Valet parking is how you start. From the time you put your car in park at the Chateau check in t you have people to take care of you. Unloading the mountain of gear you have in your vehicle is a daunting task but luckily the bell desk staff are there for you. This is the first experience you have with the incredible culture amongst the staff, who all seem genuinely happy to help you. There’s a special magic at Chateau, and the staff seem to have all bought in to it. From our experience, we never saw a crack in the system with the friendliness of the staff. It’s a credit to the organization of the place and it enhances the natural magic of the experience.
Our ski days started with delicious buffets at the POPPY BRASSERIE ROTUNDA restaurant. We would wake in the morning, dress for skiing, and then walk down to eat. The selection of food was, of course, impeccable. In fact the entire culinary offerings at the Chateau are top notch. Once we finished with breakfast, we grabbed a shuttle that runs every twenty minutes from the Chateau to Lake Louise Ski Area.
Once at the ski resort, the options for the whole family were great. We put our seven year old in ski school and our two year old in day care. The ski school are masters at dealing with children and after just one morning with her instructor, our daughter didn’t want to stop skiing.
The base area at Lake Louise Ski Resort is as European as it gets in Canada. The lodge is an incredible wood structure that fits in nicely in it’s surroundings. The forest around the area is also an under-appreciated aspect of the view: it may not be the first thing you notice but you learn to appreciate the fact that there has been no logging or very little development to the forest because Lake Louise is in the National Park. It’s the kind of view that is rare in our world these days.
As a couple, we skied around and enjoyed a huge variety of runs and options. During our trip, the snow off the Summit lift was soft and the views were incredible. We stopped in for lunch at the newly renovated Whitehorn Bistro. The meat and cheese platter and the sliders were more than enough to satisfy.
After spending time on our own, we stopped into day care to take our two year old out for some turns. The best part about the beginner area at Lake Louise is the afternoon sun. There’s 3 magic carpets to choose from and there’s a large amount of area to absorb all the people, young and old who are learning to slide. The day care is conveniently located near the beginners area and it’s easy to pick up your child and take them out for a rip.
After skiing it was time to soak in the hot tub back at the Chateau. If your kids are at all like ours then you’ll end up doing several trips to this area of the hotel. The good news is there’s a great steam room with eucalyptus aroma. There’s also robes and slippers and other amenities to make your life pampered.
For small children, just being a hotel is thrill. There are all sorts of attractions that keep a young mind occupied. The shopping is good for young and old. There are a lot of souvenirs to buy and even a candy shop. The Chateau has a touch of elegance that extends to all aspects of the hotel. Even the elevators in the Temple wing where we stayed felt welcoming and roomy.
If you’re a mountain history buff like myself then the Chateau is a paradise of information. Walking the halls and looking at the hundreds of pictures and paintings that grace the walls is a history lesson in itself. This makes roaming the halls with rambunctious kids a lot easier.
If you don’t go skiing, there is a lot of activities to do around the hotel from snowshoeing to sleigh rides to skating. We recommend watching for the sun light and going outside when it’s out. Lake Louise is a cold area but the warmth of the sun can easily add 10 degrees.
All in all, a ski vacation at Chateau Lake Louise is full of hundreds of little adventures for a small family. Lake Louise Ski Resort was named the ‘Best Ski Area in Canada’ in 2013 and 2014 for good reason by the World Ski Awards. And owner of the resort, Charlie Locke was awarded a lifetime achievement award. Charlie’s mountaineering exploits are as impressive as the ski hill he owns. The fact that the experience at Ski Louise is like a well-oiled machine must have something to do with Charlie’s lifelong commitment to the area.
If you can get to the Chateau Lake Louise for a ski vacation then you should. It’s a lifelong memory for sure, even if you have to bring the kids! No doubt there are cheaper ways to make travel to the area but none of them will hold the same over all experience that the Chateau can.