Canada’s third-largest ski hill is set to get a makeover. Parks Canada approved a long-range plan for Lake Louise Ski Resort and the major renovation project will include some big environmental gains.
The plan includes two new lodges, up to six new lifts and access to the newly acquired west bowl.
In exchange, summer hiking will be moved to a higher elevation to protect prime grizzly bear habitat.
The leasehold is also being reduced by 669 hectares — which is about the size of both Norquay and Jasper’s Marmot Basin combined, according to Parks Canada.
“It’s not an expansion of any sorts, we are just going to be improving what we had in our leasehold,” Dan Markham with Lake Louise Ski Resort said.
“We should be able to expand our capacity another 3,000 people — so up to 9,000 on a busy day.”
Parks Canada said ecological integrity was paramount when approving the plan but environmentalists still have their concerns.
“This is the most heavily developed national park in North America by far and every incremental pressure we put on it is a problem,” said Banff conservationist Harvey Locke.
Locke agreed there are some good steps being taken but said he worries about the long term future of the newly acquired west bowl.
“There’s no way you’re ever going to be developing that so we need to watch that closely,” Locke said.
There are no plans to do so, according to Markham.
Designs are being finalized for the renovations and work is expected to start next spring.