Post Summary: Ice Skating On Lake Louise – Skate Rentals, Best Times, and More!
Breathing that crisp mountain air, seeing those clear gorgeous Canadian Rockies, sipping cocoa at the Fairmont – can Banff in winter get any better than this?
One of the most iconic Banff winter activities is ice skating on Lake Louise with that LAKE VIEW! *cue heart eyes*
From the convenient skate rentals to the post-trip hot cocoa at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, it’s an incredibly easy activity to plan for your Banff trip. Everything you need to skate is nearby, and it’s a fun way to spend a day in Banff National Park.
In this post, we’re sharing how to easily plan your own epic trip for ice skating on Lake Louise in Banff National Park.
Are you getting your skates on yet?
Lake Louise Ice Skating: How To Plan The Perfect Winter Afternoon In Banff, Alberta
Where is Lake Louise?
Lake Louise is located in Banff National Park, Alberta, nestled in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. It’s in the northern section of the park, located just off the Trans Canada Highway. The exact coordinates: 51.4097638, -116.2293345
In the winter, it’s one of many mountain lakes ready for ice skating in Banff – we think it’s the most beautiful one!
Here are the distances to Lake Louise from nearby Canadian towns:
- Banff to Lake Louise: 48 kilometers. 41-minute drive.
- Calgary to Lake Louise: 182 kilometers. 1-hour 57-minute drive.
- Edmonton to Lake Louise: 471 kilometers. 4-hour 37-minute drive.
Why Is Ice Skating On Lake Louise So Special?
Lake Louise ice skating is special for SO many reasons!
First, it’s located on one of the most beautiful lakes in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Sitting at the base on the Icefields Parkway, you’re almost guaranteed gorgeous mountain views the entire time.
From the surrounding mountains of Fairview Mountain, Popes Peak, Collier Peak, Mt Victoria North Peak, Mt Huber, Mt Aberdeen, and The Mitre, Lake Louise sits gracefully at the bottom of these gorgeous peaks for fantastic views in the winter.
Read More: What To Pack For Canada In The Winter Season
Secondly, ice skating is a nostalgic past time! From spontaneous ice hockey games to gliding hand in hand with your friends, Lake Louise is a place to make memories that will last a lifetime.
You’ll find the Lake Louise area bustling with people doing various mountain sports like snowshoeing, skiing, and hiking – it’s a great place to bond with the people you love!
Finally, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise lovingly cares for the rink and makes the ice pristine for ice skating all winter long. This is one of the many perks of staying at the Fairmont during winter – the ice skating rink is literally just out the front door!
Every winter, there is an Ice Magic Festival, in which the Fairmont turns into an ice sculpture park in the peak winter season in January.
During this time, the grounds of the Fairmont invite skilled ice-sculpture artists from around the world to create architectural, 3D masterpieces that will last all winter long.
You can plan your trip to see the ice carvers in action on Lake Louise – one of the most interesting and unique things to do in Banff in winter!
The Lake Louise Skating Rink
So what can you expect on the Lake Louise Ice Skating Rink?
Well for starters, it’s completely natural! No man-made ice here – this 200-feet deep lake has its top layer frozen anywhere from November to March. You can rest assured its safe for skating – the Fairmont Staff keeps an eye on the conditions all winter long.
The skating rink is constantly maintained by a Zamboni, which is a machine that resurfaces the ice. It does this by shaving a thin layer off the top, washing the ice and replacing a fresh layer of water on the top. This is why it looks so smooth!
A little farther out in the lake is probably one of the most beautiful hockey rinks in the world. Don’t forget to bring your hockey stick and join a pickup game!
Where to Rent Ice Skating Equipment For Lake Louise
Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to pick up your gear! Luckily, Banff National Park anticipates that Lake Louise is a popular ice skating area, which means skate rentals are in abundance and easy to find.
Expect to pay anywhere from $10 – $20 for skate rentals, and just a little more for a hockey stick. It also doesn’t hurt to ask if your hotel offers this as a complimentary gear rental!
Banff Winter Tip: You can always bring your own skates and hockey sticks, too!
- Closest To Lake Louise: Chateau Ski & Snow Shop – Two Hour Rental $15 / Hockey Stick $5
- In Lake Louise Town: Wilson Mountain Sports – Skates $12 per pay / Hockey Sticks $6
- In Banff Downtown: Snowtips – Bactrax – Skates $14 per day
So, when is the best time to visit Lake Louise? Well, all the seasons offer a unique experience at Lake Louise but we definitely think the most magical time to visit Lake Louise is in the winter!
When Is Lake Louise Ice Skating Open?
Lake Louise Ice Skating is available to the public once the ice reaches a certain thickness. This is generally anywhere from mid-December to early April.
If you are planning your trip around the edges of the peak season, call ahead to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and get on-site ice updates!
Looking For Another Classic Banff Winter Activity? Try Taking The Banff Gondola During Sunset!
What are the Lake Louise Ice Skating Opening Hours?
Lake Louise Ice Skating is open 24 hours! There is no set closing or opening time, which means if you want to skate under the moonlight, you absolutely can. (Just be careful, and bring a buddy!)
What Should I Wear Skating On Lake Louise?
Because Canada in the winter can be an unpredictable queen, you should always pack layers when planning your ice skating trip to Lake Louise. You can always leave extra clothes in the car! Below is what we suggest wearing as a baseline for a trip out on the ice:
Unless you own your own pair of ice skates, chances are you’ll be using a loaner pair. This means you won’t exactly know where the shoes will hit on your feet, and it’s better to be safe and wear long socks like these from Burtonto avoid blisters.
Not only will this protect your feet and ankles from rubbing in your shoes, but you’ll also have an extra shield from the cold winter elements.
Hat (or a Toque as the Canadians call them!)
As you zip down the ice skating rink with the wind in your face, you’ll definitely feel that chilly winter air! Keep yourself out on the rink as long as possible by bundling up in a cozy hat.
Similar to hats, wearing gloves when ice skating on Lake Louise can help extend your trip out on the rink! Nothing is worse than cold fingers!
Because skating can require tying shoes and handling hockey sticks, we suggest getting a thin pair of gloves for extra dexterity. Try these ones from Outdoor Research (or these ultra-thin ones from REI!), or these Patagonia gloves with an option to go fingerless!
A Warm Coat
Is it worth all the hassle?
Of all the winter activities to do in Banff, we actually and truly think this one is the easiest and most rewarding. No need for bulky ski gear, a season pass, or a long drive. Ice Skating on Lake Louise is inexpensive and fun for the whole family!
We think it’s worthy on any Banff winter bucket list, and we hope you have a chance to experience it soon!