With all the early snow, some beginner skiers are itching to get out, so I’m posting this earlier than usual. Let’s go over some helpful information which will get you going on the right foot.
Fortunately, the ultimate beginner’s trail, the Great Divide(aka “Old 1A”) at Lake Louise, has snow already and has been groomed(but not trackset). It’s wide, mostly flat with a few gentle hills, and usually has excellent snow. Follow this blog’s updates and the trip reports to be notified when tracksetting occurs. It’s a lot easier to start skiing when you have good machine-set tracks.
Just as important as an easy trail are snow conditions. Cross-country snow and trail conditions are at the whim of the weather, so it’s always good to check before you go out. As I mentioned, the Trip Reports page will give you first-hand information from skiers who have been on the trails. The link is always on the main menu. In fact there is a report from JR who skied the Great Divide today.
You can ski on easy terrain for 6K on the Great Divide. It then goes downhill for about 600 metres to the big arch. The hill might be more than you want to bite off for your first time out. In fact, a 12K round trip might be more than you want to do as a beginner. I’ve posted some archived photos of the Great Divide at the bottom of this update.
The first 2.6K on Moraine Lake road at Lake Louise is also suitable for beginners. The easy part ends at Paradise Creek.
The following information I have previously posted. It is too early in the season for a beginner to ski on any of these trails right now, but file it away for the future.
I wrote an article back in 2014 which is still applicable today. Beginner Ski Trails in Canmore and Kananaskis. A couple places which this article omitted were West Bragg Creek and Mt Shark. Mountain road at WBC is great for beginners, as is Watridge Lake road for 4k(don’t go down the steep hill).
The groomed golf courses in Calgary have easy terrain and are suitable for beginners when they have good snow conditions.
There’s a link on the sidebar under Categories titled Beginner Skiers where you can read posts I’ve made about trails that are suitable for beginner skiers. Ignore anything before June 2013. The floods destroyed two of the best beginner trails, (old)Pocaterra and (old)Ribbon Creek.
The Resources tab on the main menu is a wealth of information. It has info on trail steepness, skate ski trails, and skiing videos of the local trails.
There a page which lists ski clubs and others who give Ski Lessons.
Want to go skiing with your dog? Dog-friendly ski trails.
It would be helpful to read the 27 comments on this post Cold Weather Gear.
I want to caution anyone who is using new gear to not overdo it on your first time out. New boots? Go a short distance your first time out(remember, you also have to return), and gradually increase your distance each time out to make sure you can ski without getting blisters.