Calgary Herald

Lake Louise ski area shut due to grizzly

‘Olivia’ prompts partial closure

- COLETTE DERWORIZ cderworiz@postmedia.com twitter.com/cderworiz

A female grizzly bear led to another closure Monday on the front side of Lake Louise Ski Resort.

For the past week, No. 138 has been spending time on the ski hill in Banff National Park. It required the resort to close some of the runs last Tuesday and again on Monday.

“She was on the hill (Sunday) morning,” Jon Stuart-Smith, human-wildlife conflict specialist with Parks Canada for Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay national parks, said early Monday. “This morning, she is on the hill again.

“We’re working closely with the ski hill staff.”

Dan Markham, spokesman for Lake Louise Ski Resort, said the bear they call Olivia has been roaming around the ski hill on runs such as Men’s Downhill, Cameron Way and Wiwaxy.

“Olivia is back today,” he said Monday afternoon, noting they voluntaril­y shut down the front side of the hill to give her space to forage.

Markham said they would download skiers and snowboarde­rs on the gondola until the end of the day.

“Tomorrow will be the same thing,” he said. “We’ll play it by ear.”

No. 138 is a well-known female grizzly at the ski hill, particular­ly after she emerged with cubs in 2014. Those cubs were later killed by a larger grizzly bear.

She has no cubs with her this year, according to Stuart-Smith.

Her arrival on the ski hill isn’t out of the ordinary for this time of year.

“This is a fairly normal time for her,” said Stuart-Smith, noting they will work with the ski hill to manage the situation until it closes for the season on May 1.

If she continues to spend time on the hill, he said they would consider issuing a public warning or even putting in an official closure.

Several grizzly bears — including No. 122, affectiona­tely known as the Boss, and No. 142, a young female bear — were also spotted around Lake Louise on the weekend.

Meanwhile, there’s a closure in the Sibbald Flats area of Kananaskis Country due to grizzly bear activity. It’s believed that bear may have moved on to public lands, but an Alberta Parks spokeswoma­n said the closure is still in effect for public safety.

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