Backcountry suggestions for xc touring skis
Thanks to Alf Skrastins for the suggestions:
Here are a few suggestions for ungroomed trails that can be OK for XC touring skis:
-The Telephone Loop at West Bragg Creek.
-Highway #66, past the gates at Elbow Falls and up to the Rainy Pass area
-The Eagle Hill trail at Sibbald Lake along Hwy #68
The three trails listed above are in the foothills and are best between late December and mid-March, when enough snow has fallen along the eastern side of the Rockies. Use the West Bragg Creek trail reports as a guideline.
The following trails are in the Kananaskis Lakes and Smith-Dorrien valley areas. They typically get a lot of snow. These trails are free from avalanche risk. -Hwy #40, south of the Kananaskis Lakes turn-off. This used to be trackset at one time.
-The Smith-Dorrien trails between Sawmill Day Use area and Chester Day Use area. These trails used to be groomed, but have not been maintained for several years. The ones that are in better shape (less little trees and deadfall) will hopefully be signed as snowshoe trails this winter.
-The Burstall Pass Trail to Burstall Flats.
-The Chester Lake Loop
-The Rummel Lake trail
-The old logging road that runs between the Mt. Shark road near Engadine Lodge and Commonwealth Creek.
In Banff Natiional Park, there are several trails that can be good.
-Boom Lake trail is signed as an ungroomed XC trail, but it also gets a lot of snowshoe traffic.
-Healy Pass is a favorite of mine, but you’ll need a good snowplow on some of the hills. I prefer wider skis for this one.
-Taylor Lake and Tower Lake trails are also used as touring trails by folks on XC ski gear, but they both gain a lot of elevation and require nearly constant snowplowing on the way down. I prefer to use wider backcountry skis for these two trails.