The Lowdown on the Lowdown

Welcome to the Lake Louise Lowdown

I’ve been an employee of the Lake Louise Ski Area since 1997. I started as a Ski Patroller, and spent twelve years in the department, including four as the Patrol Supervisor. After leaving that position, I became the Mountain Operations Supervisor, maintaining my involvement with the Ski Patrol but also adding the other Mountain Operations departments to my responsibilities – Trail Crew, Terrain Park, Grooming, and Snowmaking.

This blog draws on fifteen years in Mountain Operations, and was inspired in part by Craig’s Unofficial Fernie Alpine Resort Guide, which ended in the summer of 2008 after 13 years of reporting on Fernie Alpine Resort in BC. It was a great site made by a passionate Fernie local, with interactive trail maps, detailed run descriptions, and constant reports on ski conditions and goings on in Fernie. I thought it would be great for Lake Louise to have its own blog, since as far as I knew nothing like it existed.

Thanks for visiting!



16 Comments on “The Lowdown on the Lowdown”

  1. Lee Roy says:

    I added a group on Facebook “I am a fan of the Lake Louise Lowdown” today. For your Records.

  2. JJ says:


    I’m really excited to discover this blog. I’m definitely a lover of the Lake and am looking forward to finding out a lot more about it. I loved Craig’s Fernie blog too but I understand the differences there will be. Still I will be really interested to hear about things from a ski patrol point of view. Explaining closures and what you do to open terrain will be very informative and I hope that will help stop people from poaching when they are only endangering themselves and others.

    Here’s to an epic season!

  3. marla says:

    Great site, Chris!
    Your passion for the place shines through!

  4. Mike says:

    I first visited LL from the UK in 1997 and have been coming back just about every year since; it is a fantastic place. I regularly look at the LL website both before and after my annual visit and this new initiative of “Chris’ Blogg” is an excellent addition offering all sorts of good advice and background to what is happening. I leave tonight for another 14 day visit and am really looking forward to lots of new snow!!

  5. Mooch says:

    That ‘s really cool that your blog was partly inspired by Craig’s. When I was going to Fernie a couple years ago I was looking for an inside look at the mountain and found Craig’s. This year we’re coming back to the Lake and again I’m looking for an inside look and found this little jem. Can’t wait to get there. Great work!!

  6. Klement says:

    Awesome website, great photos and inside info, really good job man!

    Lake Louise rules!!!

  7. Brian Markkanen says:

    Chris, thanks for doing this. Brad and I met yu Thursday and chatted at Gondola base and top. Good turns today on Ptarmigan. The snow staated getting pretty heavy and wet lower down and my old legs were baked by 12:30.
    We plan on getting a lot of days at the Lake this year with today being day 8 for Brad and I, so I will see you around.
    Regards, Brian
    PS my old friends still call me Bonzo!

  8. Dougal Mathew says:

    hi Chris. just wanted to say that this is a great site. i work on the ski desk at the chateau an check it every morning. always cool to see new posts. been loving the snow this past week. some of the best snow i’ve ever seen.



    p.s do you know if there has been any work done to try and open elivator shaft so far this season?

  9. s says:

    The best snow i’ve ever seen…

  10. GWRMorrison says:

    this site is wicked, first season out here and this totally helped for solid lines to be found, especially in the back. heres my question do I need avi gear to head up that bootpack I see going up elevator shaft? and is it still in bounds?
    thanks and keep up the wicked posts

    • lakelouiselowdown says:


      Sorry for the delayed response. We’re closed now, so I hope you’ll be around next season to use this information!

      Elevator Shaft is inside our boundary, which means it is a numbered run, and receives avalanche control. You do not need to have avalanche gear to head into that terrain. Some people continue hiking above Elevator Shaft and head over to Purple Bowl, which is a huge bowl that lies outside our boundary. Because it is uncontrolled backcountry, it is recommended that those skiing there have the proper gear and the knowledge to use it. Purple Bowl itself never opens or closes, but the access via the Elevator Shaft bootpack does, so those wishing to ski Purple Bowl when Elevator Shaft is closed must access it via the Wolverine Valley, which lies completely outside our boundary. This is a bigger trip, and requires ski touring gear and knowledge of the terrain.

      When hiking up to Elevator Shaft, the boundary fence ends before you get to the top. Basically, the boundary continues along the right side of the bootpack, and a sign at the highest point in Elevator Shaft indicates that those proceeding beyond it are leaving the ski area.

      Hope that helps.

  11. Kenn Reay says:

    Great site. Thanks for bringing it to life. We’re from the UK and visiting you again in January (for the 8th time) as we just cant get enough. The background information throughout this blog just adds an extra dimension to our holiday planning. See you in January 2013

  12. Sarah says:

    Hey Chris, awesome blog! I enjoyed your most recent post– I was also at Louise for the Men’s World Cup Races in November and the conditions were great.

    Random question for you, as you have spent so much time in the area. I’m planning a winter wedding at Emerald Lake Lodge in the spring, and am wondering when the snow generally melts out there. End of March? End of April? Not sure if you ever venture out there or not.

    Thanks for any help you can provide! 🙂

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