The winter trail to Lake O’Hara is actually the road which takes visitors in by bus in the summertime. It’s been a while since I skied this trail, and I only remember it as being snowmobile packed. I was in for a pleasant surprise.
You’ll gain a good chunk of elevation on the first 2K. I was undecided whether the trail was trackset or if these were skier-set tracks. There was a lot of fresh snow on the first 2K, and some places the tracks had been walked on and snowplowed to oblivion, but in other places it was almost too good to be a skier-set track.
After 2K, when there was little or no fresh snow, all doubt was removed when I could clearly see the trail had been trackset. I certainly didn’t remember skiing on conditions this excellent ever before. When I spoke later with Bruce Millar, the innkeeper at Lake O’Hara Lodge, which just opened this week, he verified that it had indeed been trackset on Wednesday. My understanding is that it will be a regular occurrence(tracksetting once a week) through the remainder of the winter.
After 2K, the trail undulates but continues to gain elevation gradually. You can catch frequent views of distant mountains, but at the mid-way point, about 5.5K, it opens up and offers spectacular views of the nearby mountains.
As you get nearer the end, the trail gets a lot steeper and you’ll gain 200 metres in the final 3K. On the excellent conditions which we had, it was a lot of fun descending these hills on the return.
As you’ll see in the photos, most of the skiers were on much wider skis. If you plan on exploring further afield from the lodge, the wide skis will come in handy.
Lake O’Hara Lodge
If you are planning on skiing up for lunch, here are a few details: “Lake O’Hara Lodge will once again be offering a light lunch to folks skiing up for the day. Every Saturday and Sunday until March 24th we offer a light lunch of soup, salad, dessert and coffee or tea for $22 (cash only) from noon till 2 PM.” Read more Lake O’Hara Lodge