Beginner Skiers – Ask Before You Go

Wondering about the difficulty of a specific trail?

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You may find this article helpful:

Beginner trails 101: where are the easy trails for raw beginners

11 Comments:

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  1. Hi, Everyone,

    I am an intermediate skier new to kananaskis area thinking of do a loop starting from Ribbon creek parking lot along ribbon creek, link, and kovach back to parking lot. Just wondering whether there is any really big hill/tight area along the route. Thx

    • Hi Michelle, if you ski Ribbon Creek counter-clockwise, there’s a substantial climb to the high point. It’s about 90 metres net elevation gain over 1.5K. The descent is incredibly steep with tight turns. This video shows the descent but it’s even more difficult than it looks.

      There’s another big climb to the Kovach Lookout, but with a less difficult descent.

      You can avoid the Kovach Lookout by taking Aspen.

      Clockwise on Ribbon Creek, you have a little bit easier descent, but it is still very fast with one very tight turn. Of course, you’ll be climbing up the extremely steep side.

  2. Hi everyone, can anyone describe for me the beginner-friendliness of the trails that are marked as Green from the Pipestone area (Hector, Drummond, Merlin?) This is my first season but I’ve been out a lot and had some instruction, I can manage long gradual hills or steeper short ones but I would prefer to avoid longer, steeper hills or hills with turns.

    • Hi Jenn, From what you’ve described of your ability, I think you would be able to manage the green trails. The blue trails have some scary downhills with tight turns and tend to get dished and scraped to hardpack. The trails are very narrow, so there’s not much room for error. If you skied to the end of Merlin, you could turn right and test out the blue Pipestone #20 for 1.4K as far as the river(the extreme north end) without encountering anything too formidable and you would experience some of the nicest views in the whole system. Of course, the best time to go would be after a recent grooming and/or a snowfall. Good snow conditions makes everything easier. The trailhead for Hector #21 is at the north end of the parking lot.

  3. Hi West Bragg Creek Skiers,

    Had a number of close calls when yesterday when coming down steep hills and almost running into dogs. I know they are allowed to be off leash. But if they are really playful and friendly this can be super scary for those who are not confident skiers. I know it is great to let them run and they look so happy. Please just be mindful to call them back, especially before slopes.

    • I put the leash back on our retriever when ascending the faster or narrower hills at WBC, just in case I need to reel her back in. For shorter uphills yes, calling the dog back is good- but do it before someone approaches and the dog potentially runs across right in front.

  4. Hi, brand new skier here. I’m wondering what the proper etiquette is when the trail is only a single set track? Who is “supposed” to get off the track to allow a faster skier to pass, or another example would be when one is coming down a hill in the tracks while someone is coming up.
    Any feedback regarder proper ski etiquette in general is also welcome 🙂

    Thanks!

    • Rick, on a single track, the downhill skier has right-of-way. If a faster skier is approaching from behind, the onus is on him to go around you if there is room. If you are on a very narrow trail such as Fox Creek, both of you will need to make accommodation for the other. If I was by myself on a narrow single track, and two or more were approaching from the opposite direction, I would move over to let them go by.

      • Bob – can you please clarify which side of the tracks you think you should move to? and which side you are assuming the tracks are located?

        Reason I mention this is because if there is only 1 track on the right, and the left side is smooth, and I am going UP the track then I believe I have right of way to anyone coming down to my left (their right). If we are talking sharing of a common narrow’ish route then typically the downhill skier would have right of way. That said there’s no excuse for reckless or obstinate behavior on the part of either when common sense and courtesy is the simplest and safest action.

        It’s almost as if a simple diagram… or blog entry on the subject… would help the discussion.

        • Can you clarify the situation you describe? As I understand it, you’re going uphill on a trail with trackset on your right and smooth snow on your left. You’re skiing up the trackset on your right, while a skier in the opposite direction is skiing down the smooth snow on your left. In that case neither of you needs to give way because you aren’t in each other’s way! Are you saying the trail is too narrow for you to pass each other without one of you stepping off the trail? Or that the downhill skier is in the trackset that you’re skiing up?

  5. Hello skiers
    One thing I would like added to the recommendations is where to park (for example north side of lot) and where to start the trail (example -once you park on the north side, the trail starts on the far east side of the parking lot). I was a beginner fairly recently and would stand looking stupid in the parking lot until someone helped me out.
    Thanks for this website as it is very helpful to all skiers.

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