We’ve talked about many different trails on this blog so far this winter, but haven’t given the beginner skiers any advice on which trails would be suitable to try out this wonderful activity.
By far the best trail for beginners would be the Great Divide at Lake Louise. It’s wide and almost flat. You will get into some gradual hills but still quite easy and safe. If you make it to the 7K mark, just don’t go down the steep hill to the actual divide. 7K out and 7K back would be a long ski for a beginner anyway.
Moraine Lake road, also at Lake Louise, is suitable for the first 2.6K where you will reach Paradise creek. It’s a big climb thereafter. Be aware that sometimes you may be adept at climbing, but not descending, so don’t go too far until you know for sure that you will be able to return on a downhill. You should be able to snowplow before doing steep hills.
The trails at Lake Louise have lots of nice soft snow to make it a little gentler when you fall. If you don’t yet own a pair of skis, Wilson Mountain Sports in Lake Louise will rent you a pair.
Closer to Calgary, we’ve lost Ribbon creek to the floods but Terrace trail starting at Kananaskis village is pretty good. Again, it is wide but has some very small hills. Drive a few kilometres further and the Wedge connector is an excellent beginner trail but it’s not yet trackset. It starts at Wedge pond.
In PLPP, Pocaterra is beginner-friendly for the first 600 metres except for one small hill, and you can go a further 600 metres on Come-Along for a total of 1.2K. There’s also a five-lane practice grid in front of the Pocaterra hut. Wheeler is also a good one for beginners. Spruce road is the easiest, flattest trail I’ve ever seen. Wheeler and Spruce road can be accessed from the Elkwood Amphitheatre parking lot in PLPP.
The Canmore Nordic Centre has a 10-lane practice grid in front of the Daylodge that lets you find your ski legs before you tackle anything more difficult. Banff trail has nice, wide easy terrain but you’ll have to negotiate a few hills on the Banff trail loop to get there.
If anyone has other suggestions, or advice for beginners, please leave a comment.