Frozen lakes for ice skating on Lake Louise, Banff

Skating on Lake Louise

We woke up in a haze the next morning, and noticed that the weather was feeling the same too. It felt like Christmas had come a few months late, with a flurry of snow flying past the window and causing a white blur in front of us, masking the icy blue of the skating rinks that were such a prominent part of our view yesterday.

Beautiful views across a wintery Lake Louise from our window
The snowy view from our room across Lake Louise

I don’t know about you, but getting out of bed in the morning is always made better by a few things:

  1. not having to go to work – check
  2. having an awesome view not far from your bed – check
  3. knowing you have a breakfast buffet just a few steps from your room – check

If you read my previous post on arriving at the Fairmont Chateau in Lake Louise, you’ll know we were treated to night as members of the Gold lounge, so we left the room in search of what was waiting for us. From fresh fruit to an omelette station to roast potatoes and crispy bacon, we were well and truly spoilt.

Breakfast buffet at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Just one section of the breakfast buffet at the Gold Lounge, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Breakfast with a snowy view outside Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Breakfast with a view
A snowy view from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
The view outside from our breakfast spot

Feeling pretty fuelled for the day ahead after a number of visits to the lounge kitchen, it was time to do something I’d always wanted to do since as long as I can remember: ice skate on a frozen lake.

Kids playing ice hockey and skating on Lake Louise
Ready for a hockey match on the ice

Having rented skates from the hotel, I had a little assistance from Jordan who showcased his expert Canadian skills and managed to hold me up whilst I took a wobbly descent onto the ice.

Having my ice skates tied
Getting my skates on (quite literally)
Standing on the ice rink outside Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Taking to the ice

With some help and proof that I definitely don’t have the Canadian skills of most people around me, I soon got into the swing of things and it was so much fun. Trying to ignore the nearby warning signs of ‘thin ice’, we glided around on the rink much to the amusement of some passing tourists.

Us ice skating on Lake Louise
The next Torville and Dean?

Some of us were better than others…

Ice skating across Lake Louise
Showing off?
Ice skating tricks across Lake Louise
Can’t see the ice for the snow
The ice rinks on Lake Louise
Checking out the ice on another rink

After successfully dodging pucks from the neighbouring hockey rink, we left our skates behind and headed back into the hotel for a coffee and to defrost.

Ice hockey warning on the ice at Lake Louise
Who gives a puck?

Checking out of the hotel and feeling a little warmer, we headed out again to do one final hike before our long drive back to Vancouver. Aiming for a lookout point across the lake, I loved being outside in the snowy wonderland, even if I was wearing inappropriate shoes (yep, my British roots never seem to learn to contend with the snow).

Beautiful snowy mountain views at Lake Louise
How clear is that water?!

Hopping onto a short trail, we started a fairly steep decline up towards the mountains in search a view, secretly praying inside not to come across an avalanche.

Snowy trees on a hiking trail near Lake Louise
Are we in Alberta or Narnia?

After about forty minutes of mostly uphill walking, a few slips, and some snow showers later, we reached the beautiful viewpoint that showed yards of snow across ice Lake Louise.

Incredible views across Lake Louise and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
When the view is well worth the hike

It honestly felt like we were in Narnia! It was so hard to imagine the lake as the turquoise waters it’s so well known for. It was also bizarre to think we were stood a good metre higher on snow than we would be in the same place during the summer months.

Feet of snow at the Lake Louise lookout view
Snowy views across Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
IMG_9658
Who’s that?
The beautiful Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
The gorgeous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the winter

Walking back and saying a sad farewell to this beautiful hotel and lake was probably the most disappointed I felt to leave a hotel after 24 hours of pure pampering. We were wished a safe journey by the hotel staff, took a coffee for the journey, were handed our car keys, and got comfy in the car for a long drive back through the Rocky Mountains to Vancouver. Such a perfect break away!

Our only hiccup on the way back was the sight of mountain goats running across the road, and an extended break to allow a controlled avalanche to take place near Revelstoke – only in Canada, eh? Banff, we’ll be back!

Car line up for a controlled avalanche near Revelstoke
Waiting for the avalanche to pass

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