Lake Louise owner Charlie Locke shared a hopeful year end message today, detailing among other things construction of the mountain’s eighth lift. Known as Lower Juniper in the Lake Louise Long Range Plan, the quad chair will eventually be joined by a second lift to form a new route from the Whiskyjack base area to the Top of the World. Lower Juniper is expected to transport 2,200 guests per hour and service 75 acres of beginner and low intermediate terrain.
Contract signing for a new lift in 2021 is the latest in a string of good news from Lake Louise, which just debuted West Bowl terrain along with a new Doppelmayr fixed grip quad. The manufacturer for Lower Juniper was not specified.
“As this challenging year draws to a close, we would like to give our heartfelt thanks to all our guests, staff, community members, and healthcare workers of all kinds who have supported us during this difficult time,” said Locke. “We have shown how resilient, creative and collaborative we are when faced with adversity and uncertainty. We are all looking forward to a New Year that will be safe, happy, healthy, and secure for all of us as the light at the end of this dark tunnel becomes ever brighter.”
Work is underway to add 480 acres of new high alpine, advanced terrain at Lake Louise for next winter. West Bowl will be accessed by a Doppelmayr fixed grip quad replacing the old Summit Platter. This expansion will feature natural, side country-style terrain with gladed trees. The only groomed portion will be a new ski-out trail to the front side of the mountain.
The new Summit quad will be Lake Louise’s first Doppelmayr chairlift. It will run in a new alignment from Top of the World to Mt. Whitehorn. That means a lap will in West Bowl will require three lift rides: Glacier Express or Grizzly Express, Top of the World and Summit. Eventually, a new Upper Juniper lift will eliminate the need for West Bowl skiers to transit the base area and ride three lifts.
Lake Louise plans to replace and make more lift additions in future years as part of its new Long Range Plan in partnership with Parks Canada.
The only regular venue for World Cup alpine racing in Canada is Lake Louise, which also happens to be among the most naturally scenic places one can ski anywhere. Louise is one of three ski resorts located in Banff National Park along with Sunshine Village and Norquay, which are also considering making major lift investments in the coming years. Lake Louise hopes a proposed reduction in overall acreage will allow it to add up to nine new chairlifts along with other improved amenities over the next 15 years. Even though the resort’s permitted boundary would decrease from 5,400 acres to approximately 4,100, comfortable carrying capacity would increase from 6,000 to 9,000 skiers per day. “The new plan focuses on enhancing terrain, facilities and services for all visitors, during all seasons, and will lead to a better visitor experience,” the project website notes. “It will allow us to continue to protect local sensitive areas and species, while advancing environmental awareness and conservation goals for future generations.”
Like at other large mountains with only one portal, out-of-base capacity is a problem. At Lake Louise, it was compounded by the retirement of Olympic without a direct replacement in 2004. The four person, Leitner-built Glacier Express would be rebuilt as a six place lift. A new Juniper high speed quad is proposed load near Olympic and service three new beginner trails. Another new lift called Meadowlark would board near the Grizzly Express Gondola with detachable quad chairs. These improvements would bring out-of-base capacity to 9,000 skiers per hour, almost double the current level.
Another high speed quad called Upper Juniper would relieve pressure from the Top of the World Express. Summit Platter would be removed and replaced with a fixed grip chairlift in completely a new alignment with wind exposure in mind. The new lift would load at the Top of the World and unload higher near the true top of Whitehorn Mountain. Also on the upper mountain, a new Eagle chairlift would replace the retired Mueller double with a detachable quad and ease pressure on the gondola. Sometimes ski resorts go in circles!
Sun Peaks considers four possible lift projects for summer 2018, most likely being a CAD$8 million replacement of Crystal with an extended detachable. The world’s longest fixed-grip chairlift, Burfield, could be shortened with a corresponding capacity increase or new lifts added to Orient Ridge or West Morrisey.
Ski Magazine updates us on Big Sky 2025 and plans for a new tram or south side lift on Lone Peak.
Enjoy these sneak peak photos of two new quad chairs at Giants Ridge courtesy of Benjamin B.
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