What trails would you recommend?

by Bob Truman on October 18, 2015

in Beginner skiers, Ski sale

On Banff trail loop, Karen and her niece Chloe, along with twin girls Emily and Leanne.

Are there any trails especially accommodating to novice skiers who are towing a pulk?

Robin, who just found a ski pulk through the Gear Swap page on this blog, asks, “Do you have trails you’d recommend for a reasonably new skier who will now be towing a babe? I cruise your site often and it has lots of information so I’m sure I can figure it out, but thought I’d ask in case you have some suggestions off the top of your head.”

I have some recommendations, but let’s see what our readers would advise.

Ribbon creek

This is a photo from Family Day in 2013, one of the best days ever for skiing on Ribbon Creek(before the floods destroyed it)

Before I’d recommend a specific trail, my first advice is to go on a trail with adequate snow and grooming, especially if you’re towing a pulk. If necessary, I’d rather drive further to access good snow, than to have a short drive to marginal snow.

I’ve written many updates on trails which are suitable for novice skiers, but it doesn’t hurt to have a refresher on this topic, with the addition of towing a pulk. There may be extenuating circumstances with a pulk which I’m not aware of.

A new feature, thanks to Ray Perrott and his meticulous GPS stats, which will help determine the suitability of trails is the page “How steep is that trail, anyway.” 

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Ski Sales

Keep an eye on my sidebar for ads about rental gear ski sales. There are some upcoming “Ski Swaps” as well, and here are a few links:

Canmore Nordic Ski Swap Oct 25. If you can’t find what you need, walk a few metres to Trail Sports who are featuring some of last year’s gear for sale, as well as rental stock.

Calgary New and Used ski sale Oct 23-25 This is mostly downhill gear, but if you go early on Friday night, there’s usually some good xc gear.

I added a gear swap page on this blog, and the amount of traffic it gets has surprised me, so that’s also on option SkiHere gear Swap

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Robin Moodie November 15, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Thanks for posting the question Bob and for all of the advice from other readers. Baby and I are heading out tomorrow for our first day!

Good luck! -Bob

Reply

2 Caroline November 8, 2015 at 8:13 pm

We also ski the campground loop in lake Louise when its track set. It’s a relatively flat, short loop so you’re never far from the car if your little person decides they are done with skiing. You can also add on along the bow river trails if you want but there can be lots of walkers here so the tracks can be inconsistent. Also I find the up hills are definitely harder but the chariot pushes you faster on the downs too.

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3 Pete October 19, 2015 at 11:15 am

Pipestone trails near lake Louise are nice with a chariot. Can’t go wrong with great divide at lake Louise also. It’s nice as there are no scary hills and its wide. A slightly more challenging loop (but very pretty scenery!) is fairview loop done clockwise starting on moraine lake road and descending along tram line back to your start on mlr. Emerald lake trails in yoho are excellent for kids in a chariot and the scenery is spectacular! (Easy with no big hills). We brought our kids via chariot into lake O’hara to stay at Elizabeth Parker hut. This trip is an advanced chariot trip as there are many hills and you have to be a good skier to manage them. Unbeatable scenery is your prize if you are willing to do the 12 km trip in! Skiing Highway 40 beyond the winter closure gate near Peter lougheed provincial park is also possible. One of our all time favorites is cascade fire road near lake minnewanka. It’s good for chariots but because of some hills you need to be a good skier. If you don’t mind a longer drive Nipika is an excellent family destination with lots of trails for chariots. It’s also a lot of fun and an excellent place to stay with kids and explore!

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4 Tanya October 18, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Agree with the suggestions from David. Just be aware that chariots and pulks flip easily in soft uneven snow and in sharp corners. We flipped the chariot on the Boom Lake trail on the bottom switchbacks coming down. You need to be a very strong skier to handle that trail pulling a kid.

Other suggestions:
1. Moraine Lake Road
2. Trails near Castle Mt. (Flat and track set)
3. Kananaskis Village loop (Terrace, Kovach, Aspen)
4. Confederation Park and Shaganappi Golf courses
5. Spray River Loop in Banff

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5 David Pugh October 18, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Absolutely agree about the flipping comment. Pulk vs chariot makes a difference – having skied with both, the pulk is way less tippy and easier to pull on anything but perfect grooming. However it sucks for the kid when the pulk does tip. Chariot is more tippy, especially on narrow trails but our kids always laughed when it happened because they’ve got a five-point harness and a roll cage!

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6 David Pugh October 18, 2015 at 3:11 pm

We’re finally putting the pulk behind us (ha!) after two kids. My observations would be:
– Nordic Centre – heading out along Banff Trail is always a good place to test things out and the track is so well set that you won’t wreck it for other skiers, with either a pulk or a chariot.
– Parking at Pocaterra and skiing Meadow/Sinclair Loop is another great short ski, if you can manage the one big hill at the start and end. If the track is not really solid in Peter Lougheed you have to be careful not to trash it for other skiers.
– Depending on fitness and skiing ability, Boom Lake was always a favourite of ours – a steady but manageable climb up, often lots of fresh snow, and the lake is a great spot to have a picnic while little kids play in the snow.
– We did pretty much everything we did before kids, just remembering it will take more time, the hills will feel a lot steeper (in BOTH directions!), and you need to be well-prepared for emergencies (gear and SPOT beacon).

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