What a weekend for the books! Louise and I just got back from an incredible weekend at Lake Louise chock full of amazing activities that we can’t wait to talk about. this post is all about the amazing Torchlight Dinner and Ski hosted by Lake Louise Ski Resort, and our stay at the Chateau Lake Louise.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Louise and I hadn’t stayed at the Fairmont at Lake Louise before, but as we were night skiing at Lake Louise Ski Resort, the thought of driving back to Banff afterwards convinced us that we should splurge. We’ve already stayed at Deer Lodge before (with the best hot tub views of all time), so figured it was time we tried out the spectacular Fairmont.
When we arrived, it seemed that the hotel gods were smiling on us, and somehow we’d been upgraded to a Fairmont Gold ‘hotel within a hotel’ room on the 8th floor with possibly one of the best views of Mount Fairview possible.
If you haven’t stayed in ‘Fairmont Gold’ before, it’s definitely something to put on your bucketlist; they have a separate check in on the 7th floor, complimentary buffet breakfast (incredible pastries) and drinks, canapes between 5 and 7pm each day, free internet and some of the best views in the house! I’ll be honest with you, this was something we’ve never experienced before (actually I honestly didn’t know it existed until recently) and going back to normal hotel experiences again is going to be a real challenge.
Easily the best part about actually staying at the Fairmont during the Ice Magic Festival is that you get free access to the ice sculptures (normally entry costs $13 for adults, $6 for kids), and better still, you get free parking in the hotel parkade. I can’t tell you how much of a nightmare it is to find parking on a busy day at Lake Louise, and it’s especially bad when the Ice Magic Festival is on. (More on the Ice Magic Festival soon)
Torchlight Dinner & Ski
So we checked in to our room and immediately had to leave again to get to Lake Louise in time for the last chair lift. Why would we want to go to Lake Louise for the last lift, you ask? Because we were night skiing!
Every year, Lake Louise hosts a night skiing and dinner event called the Torchlight Dinner & Ski. This year it was Jan 25th, and it all began at 4pm as we boarded the last gondola up the mountain.
Prices are the following:
Full Package – Includes single use lift ticket, apres drinks, appetizers & live music at the mid-mountain lodge, first tracks down a freshly groomed green run and finishes with our buffet dinner & entertainment.
- Adult (13+): $87.86 +GST.
- Children (6-12): $57.83 +GST.
- Children (0-5): FREE.
Dinner & Dance Package – Includes buffet dinner & entertainment.
- Adult (13+): $76.73 +GST.
- Children (6-12): $52.27 +GST.
- Children (0-5): FREE.
Info ripped straight from the Lake Louise website 😀
We were doing the full package, which as you’ll find out makes a LOT more sense than only doing the dinner & dance.
Catching the last gondola
Just as the sun set, we all clicked into our skis and snowboards and had one quick rip down the hill to the Whitehorn Bistro, accompanied by one of the Lake Louise staff.
The slopes were empty and it was a shame to put away the skis so quickly, but we were all hungry and looking forward to a few drinks so it wasn’t too disappointing.
Once inside the Whitehorn Bistro, there was live music and someone handing out drink tokens. Each guest was given two drink tickets and had a chance to enjoy a variety of free flowing canapes. There was also a fondue set out but all of the bread had already been vacuumed up well before we arrived.
I have to say, for what was essentially $10 more than the non-skiing package the extra value you get is insane. 10 extra bucks gets you the following:
- A ride up the gondola and a quick 5 minute run down to the pub
- 2 free drinks (including alcohol) – beers were approx $8 if you didn’t use your ticket
- All you could eat canapes – which were really tasty and filling
- live music
- night skiing with headlamps and guides provided
All of that for 10 dollars extra?!?! You only turn that offer down if you can’t ski or you’re crazy.
The Torchlight ski
So this was the part we were all looking forward to (there were 6 of us), and we practically sprinted outdoors when we got the signal that it was time to head down.
Staff handed out headlamps and then lit up a couple of giant road flares to lead us down the hill.
I’ve done night skiing before, but it was always under floodlights. This was a totally different experience altogether. As soon as the guide with the flare was more than a dozen yards away from you, everything got very dark, very quickly. Skiing with a couple of pints in you along invisible terrain is quite an adventure, but thankfully the aforementioned dutch courage encouraged us to power through at full speed.
The skiing was easily the highlight of the weekend, but as with many things, it was all over too quickly. We all agreed that we could have spent the rest of the night lapping the mountain, light or no light!
The Buffet Dinner
After the ski, it was time to eat (again). I was already starting to feel the effects of all the chicken skewers and spanakopita I’d eaten up top, and regret washed over me as soon as I saw the incredible buffet laid out for us in the main lodge.
Again, we all found ourselves confused and excited by how good everything was. We came out expecting to receive the absolute bare minimum for our $89, but it honestly turned out to be the complete opposite.
The food was absolutely spectacular and included curry, steak, salmon and more. I only wish I’d known before I gorged myself earlier.
Our meal was accompanied by a band called One Nite Band, which hurled out 70’s bangers like “I will Survive” as we tried in vain to talk to one another during our meal. It all seemed a little much as we were trying to eat, especially as they had the smoke machine running at full blast during their performance. I thought someone had blocked the chimney or there was a fire downstairs before I finally realised it was the band.
Overall though, this was definitely a night to remember and we will absolutely be trying to turn this into an annual tradition. It’s easily one of my top experiences at Lake Louise and it’s a shame that this was the only night they were running the event this year.