Beautiful Pipestone

by Bob Truman on January 26, 2017

in Dog-friendly, Lake Louise

Post image for Beautiful Pipestone

Skiers have been submitting glowing trip reports about the Pipestone trails over the past two days. I’ll add one more.



The tracks are still in great shape despite being three days old. The only blemishes are occasional tree debris which was of no consequence. My skis were clean at the end of the day. There wasn’t even any wind-blown snow in the tracks in the open areas around the pond.



I skied the perimeter, counter-clockwise, on Pipestone and Hector. It felt like one of those effortless days where the skis move along with their own power. The trail climbs until 8K with a net elevation gain of 170 metres, but with the wax(grip and glide) working well, the skiing to the high point was easy. With all the ups and downs, accumulated elevation to the high point is 250 metres.

Melissa, Georgia, and thier dog Douglas

Melissa, Georgia, and their dog Douglas

The air temperature at 1 pm was -10°C, with no wind, and a sunny sky. As you ski along the Pipestone river, the trail undulates, but is always gaining elevation.  At the north end, many skiers have chosen to backcountry ski on the river to who knows where. I hear a love seat has been constructed in a sunny spot not too far from the groomed trail.

Pipestone river. Someone is having lunch on the love seat.

Pipestone river. Someone is having lunch on the love seat.

At 6.5K, the trail turns away from the river, the forest thins out, and you enter a different world of meadows, mountains and numerous animal tracks. For the next 1.4K, the ambience and scenery is stunning.

It's truly a magical place

It’s truly a magical place

At 7.9K you arrrive at the junction of Pipestone and Merlin. Whichever trail you take, it’s downhill from here. On Pipestone(#20), watch out for those sharp turns at the end of the many downhill sections. I came upon a skier laying in the deep snow at the side of the trail after failing to make a turn.

To make my day even better, I met Melissa, Georgia, and their happy, lively dog Douglas. And it gets better yet; I also had the pleasure of meeting one of our Trip Reporters, Jan, as we both stopped at the same place to add a layer for the downhills.

Total distance for the perimeter loop is 13.1K with an accumulated elevation of 270 metres.

These are not easy trails. They’re narrow, there’s lots of elevation, many ups and downs, blazing fast downhills with sharp turns; all the features which make for a fun day when snow conditions are good, as they were today.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer January 26, 2017 at 10:13 pm

Skied the Great Divide Today – beautiful conditions.


2 Jan January 26, 2017 at 9:14 pm

It was great to run into Bob on Pipestone today. Prior to my ski I stopped in at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre where I learned that they will be closing the washrooms (this week?) to renovate them. In the meantime a temporary washroom facility with 3 cubicles was being set up in the parking lot across from the Ctr. It will be heated, and appears to have 1 female cubicle, 1 male cubicle with the 3rd as yet unlabeled. So if you rely on the Ctr for bio breaks, it may be a crowded affair until renovations are completed in the Spring.


3 Liz January 28, 2017 at 11:07 am

There are also public washrooms further along the walkway towards the other end but before you get to Laggans.


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