Advice for Bill, beginner skier

Before we get into Bill’s email, I am aware there’s been a problem with the “Contact Bob” form, and your emails are not getting through. I’ll get that fixed. Thanks to Tony, Henry, and Bill for the heads-up.

Bill sends an email which is probably a concern of many new skiers reading this blog. If you can offer some helpful advice please leave a comment:

“…came across your blog doing some research on local x-country skiing.

My girlfriend and I just moved to Calgary and are interested in trying x-country skiing for the first time.

Haven’t come across any beginner specific resources. Any tips? Links? Would it be advisable to make our way to Moirane Lake Road tomorrow and track down rentals somewhere?

Any guidance is much appreciated… thanks!”

My word of advice (for this week at least) would be to make sure you rent waxless skis. Waxing is challenging enough for a new skier, but with the warmer temperatures, it could turn into a disappointing experience.

I have a category on the sidebar entitled Beginner skiers. Check out the posts. Also, read the  Waxless or waxable topic.


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  1. Bob: regarding COP, may I say that I agree it’s not a good place for a beginner on *classic* CC (too hilly/curvy, way too crowded, designed for skaters not classic skiers)… but someone who would like to try *skate* CC, however, should definitely consider COP for a beginner’s course at quiet hours. Good instructors, and short but perfectly groomed track all winter.

    Good point, thanks for bringing it to our attention. Not being much of a skate-skier, I overlooked that aspect of COP. Agreed, it’s much more suited to skaters. -Bob

  2. Thanks for the lesson link, I’m sending that to my wife, If I have to ski the Lake Louise lake trail 6 more times I’m gonna slit my wrists.

  3. I just started skiing last winter, so had the exact same question. I bought a pair of classic skis at MEC (you can also rent them) and before I did anything else went to Moraine Lake Road just to see if I could even stand on the skis. Then I took a two day-long beginner courses taught by Julie Walker through Norseman ( – one was the course on flat terrain, the other on hilly. She’s a great instructor, after the first day (taught at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park) the green trails were no problem, and after the second lesson even the blue and black trails out there were fine. I got so much out of her courses that my first ski outing after the lessons was 30km on Cascade Fire Road, followed by an overnight trip to Lake O’Hara. By then I was hooked that I also got a pair of light touring skis and skied in to Skoki for a 3-day trip just a couple of months after the first lesson. I’d highly recommend her. (deleted)

    Thanks for the comment, Barbara, but sorry I had to edit it slightly. Some things are a little too sensitive for this blog. -Bob

  4. Great, thanks!

    Waxless skis from Wilson’s Sports @ Lake Louise tomorrow @ Moirane Lake Road. Done and done.

  5. If you are a total beginner, my advice would be to consider taking a few lessens. You can do that right here in town at COP:

    Thorsten, I’m glad you brought this up. I was going to do a post on this topic at a future date, but let’s address it now. Taking some lessons is a good suggestion, however I want to mention that skiing at COP is not a very good representation of what cross-country skiing is really like in the mountains. Anyone who has skied at COP will know what I’m talking about. I understand that it may be all that’s available to many skiers. Disclaimer/disclosure: I took lessons at COP.

    I’d like to get all the clubs and organizations to advertise their lesson program on this blog for free. I have set up a page especially for such a topic. If you are in charge of lessons for an organization, please leave a comment Ski lessons. The page can also be accessed from the main menu under “Resources.”-Bob

  6. Rentals available at Wilson’s Sports in Lake Louise village, worth calling them before you go.

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