You hear them coming before you see them, the crunch of their skis carving turns at unimaginable speeds. Then, suddenly, they appear. A few more turns, then they tuck in for a straight line to the finish. Zooming through at 120 km/hr, they set off a tidal wave of snow as their skis screech to a halt.
Each year, the world’s fastest skiers clip in to test their skills on the famous slopes of the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Call it the ultimate winter kick-off, the Lake Louise World Cup is an exhilarating event to watch. And while 173 million viewers take it in on TV screens around the world, in Lake Louise you have a chance to watch it first-hand. It’s free, too – no lift ticket required!
If that sounds like a good time, make a whole weekend of your World Cup experience! Take in the awe-inspiring scenery, meet the world’s top athletes, explore the area and hit the slopes yourself. You’ve got two weekends of ski racing to choose from: Men’s on November 30-December 1 and Women’s on December 6-8.
Here’s how to make the most of it:
Make it a long weekend by planning an early arrival. Find your way to your chosen accommodation in Banff or Lake Louise, settle in and relax before heading out to explore. Come hungry! This mountain destination has many dining options available. Looking for some unique ideas? Cozy up with a classic fondue experience at Banff’s Grizzly House or the Walliser Stube at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise; share some tapas-style dishes at Nourish Bistro or Block Kitchen + Bar, or go for a meal with a view at The Juniper Hotel Bistro, Chuck’s Steakhouse or the legendary Lakeview Lounge at Lake Louise.
Start your day by hitting the slopes for some early-season turns at one of the three local ski resorts, Banff Sunshine, Mount Norquay, or the site of the World Cup action, Lake Louise Ski Resort. When your quads have had enough, wind down with one of the region’s many spa and wellness experiences and enjoy the festive spirit of Banff as the holiday season approaches. If you’re visiting the area during the Men’s Weekend of the World Cup (November 30-December 1), don’t miss the Banff Craft Beer Festival or the chance for some early holiday shopping at the Banff Christmas Market!
Base yourself out of the Lake Louise Ski Resort for the day! Grab your cowbell, join the crowd and cheer on racers as they compete in the Lake Louise World Cup. And don’t forget your own ski boots (or plan to rent some equipment)! On race days you can buy an adult lift ticket and get two free tickets for kids age 12 and under. If they’re still learning, free lessons are available on race days (with limited spaces), so take advantage of the chance to get them out on skis with a certified instructor.
As the sun dips down, take advantage of the après-ski scene slope-side at Kuma Yuma Sushi Bar or The Powder Keg, head up to the Alpine Social at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, or find more great options in the area on this list!
Visiting on the Ladies Weekend (December 6-8)? Check out local product samples at the Whiskey Jack Mini Market and sink into an Adirondack chair in the Outdoor Ski Lounge, complete with a DJ, vintage ski movies and crackling fire pits.
If you’re looking for another boost of adrenaline, the World Cup action continues at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Plus, the rest of Banff National Park awaits you! Enjoy more early-season snow at the resorts, walk the Lakeshore Trail under the jaw-dropping scenery of Lake Louise, head off into the peaceful wilderness on a snowshoeing tour or get an elevated view from the Banff Gondola.
If some cozy indoor time is on your mind, wander through some of the area’s historic sites and museums, including The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies and Cave and Basin National Historic Site! For the ultimate warm-up, head up to the Banff Upper Hot Springs for a soak in the thermal waters.
Sit back, relax and reflect on a great weekend watching the Lake Louise World Cup!
Find more information for your World Cup Weekend at Lake Louise Audi FIS Ski World Cup.