Win 2 free nights at Emerald Lake Lodge (2015)

Emerald Lake. Photo by Gary Marshall

Emerald Lake. Photo by Gary Marshall

(Entries to this contest are closed) 

“Skiing energetically across the lake, pulling our sleigh through trails banked high with snow, savouring an exquisite dinner, lounging in the hot tub with our heads back to catch fluffy snowflakes on our tongue and staring dreamily into the cozy fire are memories of Emerald Lake forever etched in our minds.”2012 entry by Jenny Cuthbertson

The winner will enjoy 2 nights at Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho National Park(any 2 nights subject to availability). You’ll practically be able to ski from your door on a number of delightful trails including Emerald lake, the Alluvial fan, and the Emerald connector. A few minutes down the road is the Kicking Horse river trail located at the Natural Bridge. This map shows the Yoho winter trails.

After a few hours on the trails, complete your day with a warming hot chocolate with whipped cream in the lounge at Emerald Lake Lodge, or soak in the outdoor hot tub under the stars!

Sunset Magazine named Emerald Lake Lodge one of their top 9 cozy winter lodges!

Emerald photos 2014This prize is eligible for weekends too, not just weeknights.

Read more about Emerald Lake Lodge

Two ways to enter

You can enter this contest by leaving a comment or sending a photo.

1. Photo entries

Attach a photo to your email and send it to bobtruman@shaw.caPlease limit the caption for your photo to 50 words or less. I will attach your name to the photo. Don’t panic if your photo doesn’t show up right away. I should have it on within a couple days.

 2. Comment entries

Scroll down and click on add one now to leave a comment. Sometimes comments don’t show up right away because they need to be approved. I usually get to them within hours, and they will then appear.

Here are some suggestions for the subject of your comment:

  • What is your criteria for an enjoyable ski trail? Easy terrain? Fast downhills? Scenic? Or…
  • Describe something interesting that’s happened to you on the ski trail.
  • What do you carry in your skiing backpack?
  • Your favourite ski trail and why you enjoy it.
  • How did you discover this blog?
  • Any other topic of your choice

SAM_36862015-2016Entry deadline is Wed Dec 30, 2015 at 11:59 pm.

We’ll draw a winner within one week after the entry deadline.

The fine print:

  • one entry per person. If you leave a comment AND a photo, your name will be entered as per the photo rule.
  • First names are okay if you don’t want to leave your full name, but make sure you leave your email address with your comment. I’m the only one who sees it, and that’s how I will contact you if you win.
  • Entrant must be 18 or over
  • You must be a cross-country skier.
  •  The winner must respond to my contact email within three days of the draw. If no response, a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck and I look forward to reading some interesting comments and seeing some neat photos.

Photo entries(hover your mouse over the photo for entrant’s name; click on photo for caption):


  1. My favourite resort to ski at is silver star for xc. Stay on the hill and wake up for skiing until you drop. Long drive though in winter via roger,s pass. But so awesome once you are there. Thank you bob for tending this lovely blog. It is just great to read the adventures of everyone, especially when you cannot always ski yourself. Happy new year to all!

  2. What’s not to like about XC skiing? Great with friends, or alone. Great when the snow- wax- and weather
    Results in the perfect good grip and fast almost effortless flying!
    Even neater to see the tracks of residents along the trail.
    Like the wolverine prints on Pipestone last week.

  3. I love Cross-Country Skiing!
    I remember skiing at Emerald Lake some years ago, there had been a recent snowfall of several inches. The trees were covered in pillowy puffs of snow.
    It was mid-January and not too cold. The snow was perfect and not a cloud in the sky. The skiing felt like were were floating on air. Sheer bliss…
    Louise L.

  4. I’m having so much fun introducing my 2 children to the sport of Cross-Country Skiing. We’ve had a couple of encounters with ‘Skier Bob’ while out on the trails (even made the web-site a couple of times!). This web-site is always such a great resource. Keep up the great work Bob!

  5. I grew up in southern Alberta but did not learn to ski until I had lived in Manitoba for fifteen years. For Christmas 2014, my husband and I were visiting my parents and managed to sneak away to Canmore for a day to go skiing at the Nordic Centre. The snow last year was not nearly as plentiful as it is this year. We skied on some natural but mostly manufactured snow. It was a glorious day nonetheless. Fast forward to this year. My husband has Banff as a location on his iPhone Weather Network app, so he gets notified whenever there is a snowfall warning for Banff – which seems like every other day! Why couldn’t we have been there this year?!! We have booked a ski trip for the end of January. It sure would be wonderful to spend some of that time at Emerald Lake Lodge!

  6. Thanks Bob, for updating your site everyday. I skied Goat creek yesterday to Banff. What a nice trail. I loved this trail and the view. This is a really good year for cross-country skiing as you already know.

  7. When I first moved to Banff when I was 19, I thought cross country skiing was only something old people did. Now that I am in my forties (and have multiple injuries downhill skiing and biking) I love cross country skiing and rarely go downhill anymore. Sign of the times? More than likely. Hopefully I have a could of days to reflect on this at Emerald Lake this winter.

  8. I’ve been XC skiing for years but “Never really liked it”. I did it because it was something to do in the winter. Last year I took a few lessons and low and behold, I had to “tweak my bad habits”, “got loads of new tips”, and “I was positively criticized over and over” , and since then I now “Really enjoy XC skiing”.

    You can now often find me checking Skier Bob’s “reports” to see where the best conditions are, where it’s newly track-set, when the next snowfall is coming. I’ld love to discover a new place that I haven’t skied at yet… Emerald Lodge ….

  9. Visiting family over the holidays in the east with no snow 🙁 sadly missing the great conditions in the west. Happy I had so many good days before I left best was probably up to Blueberry Hill In PLPP. Can’t wait to get back in the New Year a couple nights out a Emerald Lake would be perfect!

  10. X-country skiing for me is a cleansing of the soul. Seeing that beautiful blue Alberta sky, loads of sunshine, and all the pristine snow, makes my teeth hurt from the cold because I am smiling so much skiing on the infamous Elk Pass downhill run!

  11. Several years ago we were staying at Emerald Lk Lodge when a Yoho Blow hit closing the road. Staff kept everyone entertained and kept the hot chocolat flowing. Late in the afternoon Parks Canada staff opened the road for a limited one hour period to anyone wanting to leave.
    Emerald Lake Lodge managers generously offered a substantial discount to anyone who wished to stay.
    Who could refuse?

  12. This would be a dream come true if I could win this. I have never had a chance to experience a weekend of cross country skiing and I am wishing it could happen. Thanks for the contest.

  13. I grew up skiing in Kananaskis country. What a gift my parents gave me! I still remember one sleepy Saturday morning my parents left their grumpy teenage daughter in bed – with some frustration I’m sure. Well of course, once I got up, I regretted a missed opportunity for a fun day in the snow and complained less from then on. Cross country skiing in mountains just fills me with joy. I can’t explain it. One the most fun I had was a night ski up to Elk Pass. No clumps of people at intersections and hard tracks meant a thrilling, let-it-all-out fast run down by moonlight. Thanks for the website – love it!

  14. I’ve always hated snow and after being escorted off a ski hill in an ambulance at the ripe ole age of nine, there were few things to change my mind about winter. Although I was uninjured during my first foray into skiing it did leave me afraid of trying again. Enter cross country skiing… Although my snow plow and my courage on hills still needs work, I am learning to love the beauty of our landscapes laced with snow and appreciate the glory of the fresh powder. I suspect that next year I will be excited about the first snow fall!

  15. I just took up XC skiing, I can’t think of a better way to really enjoy the winter, see the beautiful Alberta scenery, and get a good work out!!

  16. My ski backpack is a Chariot. Inside is my daughter, her snacks, her drinks, and maybe a snack and some spare gloves and jacket for me.

    Thanks, Bob. Because of the trip and grooming reports from the community here, and skintec skis, we haven’t had a bad day in two years.

  17. Wheeler in PLPP remains my favourite trail. Perhaps it’s because it was one of the first trails we discovered after taking up XC skiing a few years ago (one of the best decisions ever!). Perhaps it’s because my wife and I have had so many great lunches at the picnic table, soaking in the magnificent views. Perhaps it’s because we’ve “shared” the trail with some of our friends and have also had great lunches with them at the same picnic table. Perhaps it’s not the food. Perhaps it’s the atmosphere, the peace, the sense of accomplishment, the zen feeling that only XC skiing can bring about. Perhaps I’ll take that trail in today!

  18. We love skiing and taking in the old fir trees next to the lake and then getting out in the open for one of the most panoramic 360 views of mountains in the rockies.

  19. Was out in West Bragg Creek this afternoon with my boys and our retriever. Was a great way to burn off a little pre-Christmas excitement with a counter-clockwise Iron Springs, Sundog and Elbow loop. Being locals, we went on at the groomers trailhead, missed the parking lot mayhem, and avoided the area with the dog-on-leash rules. The dog is happily near-comatose as I write this.

    Our wax choice of V20 was not warm enough and in places was a little slippery in the two inches of new fallen fine snow. Should have tried V30 or VR30. On Iron Springs, we met up with hard working nearby resident Bill who was on the one remaining functional groomer – we are all thankful for the operators’ efforts.

    Merry Christmas to all.

  20. A new friend re-introduced me to CC skiing. Moraine Lake road trail, a beautiful day, great snow, and wonderful company. It doesn’t get any better!

  21. Got new x skis. Can’t wait to use them. Starting my snowy vacation on Boxing Day. I hear there is tons of snow in PLPP!
    Happy Holidays to all!

  22. I have never had the chance to ski or stay at Emerald Lake however, it is on my to do list. What a treat it would be to start 2016 building such special memories. Bob, thank you for this great site. It keeps me engaged and excited about this wonderful sport. Merry Christmas to everyone.

  23. Love the blog so much, have two young kids (1 and 3) so it’s great to be able to get quick info on locations and conditions when we are heading out. And have always heard amazing things about Emerald Lake Lodge so would love the chance to finally go there. Keep up the great work!

  24. Weve just discovered WBC this year and it has been a timely discovery with two tiny skiers that join us each time. My 3 year old can ski the two short loops and prides himself on staying upright on the small hills. He counts them and last time did 9 hills. And stayed on his feet for 7. 🙂 Thanks for the updates and for encouraging us to go skiing.

  25. My favorite cross country ski trail is the next one! I never get tired of the magnificent trails we have access to and we are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

  26. Once again Bob you have put forward another amazing contest, Thanks to you and the wonderful people at CRMR for offering up this prize.

    I think what makes for an enjoyable ski trail is being out on fresh tracks with crisp fresh temperatures where your blue wax is working great. My favourite trail remains Tyrwhitt, it is always work to get there be it up Whiskey Jack or Pocaterra but once you are in those meadows the city seems a long ways away. It is a trail that really gives you scenery, easy terrain and some fast downhills in all of its 4.5 km.

  27. What’s in my ski backpack? A camera, my North Face down hoodie, a Clif bar, extra gloves, a headlamp (!).

  28. Would love have this opportunity to introduce my better half to this beautiful Emerald Lake Lodge!

  29. Had a very enjoyable ski this afternoon at WBC under ideal conditions. I consider myself very fortunate to have such a recreational area so easily accessible to my home in Calgary. Due to my advancing years I find the drive West on the Trans Canada Highway becoming more difficult and stressful. Bob’s 240 km. of driving to access 5 ski areas just breaks me up!! Anyways wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas.

  30. Skied West Bragg Creek today–early Christmas present, indeed! Beautiful snow, open blue sky. Haven’t been that happy in a long time!

  31. I discovered croos-country skiing as an adult and this wonderful activity has provided me with hundreds of hours of memories shared with my children and with friends in the most beautiful and inspiring of locations.

  32. I would love to spend a couple nights at Emerald Lake Lodge skiing the area.

  33. Skied Cascade fire road today. It was amazing! Always carrying lip balm in my ski bag which is handy for dry skin, lips, cheeks, and quick blister remedy.

  34. Jeff, that’s great. With luck I’ll try it out next week.

  35. There is nothing like xc skiing – the feeling is so freeing…like floating on foot! My favorite trails are the Fox-Boulton trails at the south part of Peter Lougheed Park (so happy things are back in order post-flood repair!)…it feels the like the pull of the flowing creek and all of nature just carries me along the trail – free and effortless in that winter-wonderland.

  36. When working at the Chateau Lake Louise in the mid-70s, come early Feb there was enough light after finishing work at 5 to grab skis and head out to the end of the Lake (few winter hotel guests back then, no winter hikers or sleigh rides!). One evening a friend and I arrived silently via the lakeside trail at the end of the lake and quickly skied up the hill to the rock face. On catching our breath at the top, we looked up and standing there in the twilight right at the base of the rock was a young mountain goat. I’m not sure who was more surprised, but all three of us were motionless for several minutes. Finally the young goat scampered off into the night leaving us with a wonderful memory.

  37. Skied Mt. Shark trail system on Dec 12 and it was in pristine condition. Everything from the actual trails, to the stunning scenery made for a fabulous ski outing. Just to add to the adventure, I was trapped in the outhouse by a mama moose and her baby. They were right outside the door, licking salt off the pavement. I got to watch them from a crack in the door 🙂

  38. What is in my backpack? Not much as my husband gets to be my pack mule. Honestly he loves it.

  39. Nipika has to be some of my fovorite trails when I’m ready to get away from the local selection. Skiing above the Kootenay river is a treat!

  40. Come ski West Bragg Creek. The conditions are very good and our neighbourhood groomers are doing a fantastic job of grooming and track-setting. Don’t forget to make a donation at the trailhead or online. Thanks to skierbob for all the reports and news from everywhere. Dreaming of Emerald Lake now…

  41. One of the most interesting things that has happened to me while skiing was on the Red Earth trail years ago. It was dusk and my brother and I were on our way back a couple of kilometres from the parking lot where the trail steepens considerably. The conditions were icy so I was moving downhill fast, very fast! I came around a corner and was surprised to see a Bull Moose standing sideways across the trail. We saw each other at the same time and I could see him shudder with shock but then he started galloping (or what ever a moose does?) down the trail ahead of me. I didn’t stop (because I couldn’t on the icy snow) but gradually slowed down while the moose sped up heading straight down the trail. At the closest point I was probably only 5-10 m behind him. I remember my field of view consisting of the moose’s rear end and two large testicles swinging back and forth. Luckily he pulled away and ran off the trail into the forest.

    • LOL, oh man, now whenever I see a moose I’ll be thinking of the swinging testicles. Thanks for the laugh :-).

  42. Early in my life as a skiier we were living in Edmonton, and would make trips out to Jasper to ski. I wasn’t very good, and wasn’t very confident, but I’d cheerfully follow my (then new) husband where he led, trusting him to look after me. We were on a trail in the Maligne Lake area and could see the trail went down hill then hooked left. He went ahead, promising to yell back instructions. Off he went, disappeared around a corner and yelled some startled curse. Now really concerned I very cautiously snowplowed my way down the hill and around the corner. There in front of me, perhaps 5 metres into the middle of a big snowy meadow was my husband buried deep in the fresh snow. He handn’t quite made the corner and went out onto a marsh then crashed in the soft deep snow. Needless to say he was on his own getting out – I was laughing much too hard to be of any use!

  43. Loving the conditions so far this year. We were up on Moraine Lake road and it was outstanding.

  44. Love your trail descriptions, anecdotes and up to date details — many thanks for sharing your passion!

  45. Many thanks skierbob for your site, for all to share our enthusiastic musings and reports…
    For a full day adventure highway 40 in Kananaskis has a superb variety of xc trails to choose from. I also love the opportunity West Bragg Creek offers for a half day outing from Calgary.

  46. Skiing is like Christmas for 4 months.

    Stride and Glide, Skate ski, Down-hill and Back-Country skiing!
    Our Canadian Rockies are a Skiing Smorgasbord of Skiing Delights. Sometimes there are just too many things to do and so little time. We need to lobby Edmonton for a longer Winter.

  47. I ran into my friend on the trails this weekend. Too bad I broke a ski

  48. Cross country skiing I will go,
    I love to glide over the snow,
    A Chinook blows in,
    Oh no, not again!
    Have faith, fresh snow will show.


  49. Elizabeth Oberhofer

    My favourite ski trail has got to be the Great Divide in Lake Louise. I love this trail because you can ski both classic and skate, you can ski side by side so lots of visiting can occur, you always see someone you know there, the grooming is usually top notch, you can ski here early in the season and late in the season, you ski beside the dog sledders but most of the beautiful scenery and fresh air is unbeatable.
    We have had many enjoyable days skiing here.

    • Elizabeth if this is your favourite trail then you have to ski it at night . Under a full moon Mt Fairview and St Paran light right up.

  50. I’ve only been skiing for 2 years but my favorite trip so far was skiing into Elk Lakes cabin. The trip in and out is easy and there’s more than enough skiing around the cabin and lakes to fill a day.

  51. I’m loving the groomer’s reports! Very useful information and timely since we get the information soon after grooming. It’s especially important to have the Lake Louise groomers’ reports since the Lake Louise visitor centre is only open 4 days a week. Bob, whatever you can do to encourage more groomers reports would be most appreciated.

  52. In my skiing backpack: First Aid Kit, repair kit, extra pole basket, large garbage bag, survival blanket, extra socks, extra mittens, toque, extra fleece jacket, candle, matches, knife, fire starter, thermos of tea, lunch, extra protein bars.

  53. My absolute favourite skiing is in fresh, soft, abundant snow, surrounded by trees, mountains, sunshine and in the company of very special friends. This is my image of Emerald Lake in the winter. Being able to “overnight” there would make for a perfect memory!

  54. Fresh track setting today on Bill Milne trail was great. However the warm temperatures and wind was changing the tracks on our return. It will be icy tomorrow.! It was a perfect day for fish scales and felt like spring skiing!

  55. One of my favorite skis is around Emerald Lake to the alluvial fan, especially on a calm day with brilliant blue skies. This can be a very quiet time of the year as the water is frozen and covered with ice and snow. Mount Marpole, The President, Vice-Presidnet and Wapta Mountain form a natural amphitheatre and my echo reverberates as crisp as can be. I have yet to find another amphitheatre in the mountains as clear as the one at Emerald Lake.

  56. If I was fortunate enough to win this contest I might want to climb high on the slide path to see if I could find my iphone. Last season I was lucky to be with guided group that arrived at Emerald Lake to find about 20cm fresh in the parking lot. With great anticipation we skinned up the big slide path just to left as you look down the lake from the lodge. Somewhere up high I stopped for a photo then failed to zip the pocket. By the time we were ready to ski (or snowboard in my case) down the temp had jumped to about +5c which lead to heavy snow and a number of funny mishaps coming down including an end over end by moi. Hence the missing phone.

    • Tack up a “lost phone” notice with contact info at Emerald Rental shop. My son once lost a watch under similar circumstances to yours. He was contacted 3 months later when it was found!

  57. This is my third year skiing and i would love to win this contest. The picture of the french toast breakfast at the lodge in the advertisement on this page looks so good i can taste it!

  58. Would like another go at the fireplace in the rooms. I’m sure it would be quite lovely when the smoke detector isn’t going off and your child isn’t crying! 🙂

  59. I was out to skate ski Bill Miline late this afternoon .Air temperature was +3c when I left Ribbon Creek parking lot with the sun shining bright .Trail conditions were good and The skiing was easy so I continued on to the end of the trail across the highway 40 ?name.With the sun setting l headed back ,skiing in the fading light teaches one to be balanced and relaxed.Your eyes follow the dim contrast of the set classic tracks .It was beautiful and peaceful and the deer stood by the trail and watched me ski past. Then I was caught in the the beams of light from The groomers of track setter Jeff .He stopped to talk briefly and told me to enjoy his fresh grooming.I thanked him from all of us who enjoy his love! Then I skied back singing out loud knowing l was in heaven and this had to be my early Christmas present! The best skate ski of my life under the stars THANK YOU track setter Jeff!!!

  60. Can’t wait to get out on the ye ‘ole misery stix again this winter… perhaps in another couple weeks! All these reports are killing me (ok, I mean I am LOVING all the great news….) here at home. Can’t wait to heal up from my leg surgery (same as Anne M above) and get into ski shape. Hope there’s still great snow close to Calgary for the first few outings. Better yet, win the contest and head for them thar hills!!

  61. Funny, we were just there today! I will probably submit a photo though 🙂

  62. My favourite trail was probably Moose Loop at WBC until the west leg got transformed into a logging road. Nuts…but the rest is still very pretty.

    • fyi… The off camber ice fest that used to be west leg of Moose Loop was abandoned after it swallowed our equipment twice in one season. The alternative that is now in use has far better snow accumulation and doesn’t pose a threat to our groomers or equipment. Feel free to skier set the old trail as it is a very pretty route. We will continue to use our new route and save our precious funds from being drained by unnecessary exposure of our equipment to risk factors.

  63. When I was a young cross country ski racer, every year my dad my brother and I would go on search for early snow. We would drive up logging roads until the truck got stuck in the snow, and ski up the mountains for the day. One of those specific spots ended up being turned into the venue for the 2010 Olympic cross country ski trails where I watched the men’s 50km race over a decade later.

  64. remember to open the fire damper before you light a fire in your room in the lodge!

    • The instructions were worded….wrong!

    • and burn some crumpled paper on a stick held up near the damper to reverse cold descending chimney airflow. Start it up rip roaring and now your chances of getting lucky double. Which reminds me…. Parks staff: PLEASE put the Pocaterra fireplace back in order sooner than later. The birthrate of the xc community may depend on it.

  65. As I can’t ski right now(post foot surgery but now into rehab)) I am living vicariously through the posts on your blog.
    Thanks for all of the good news of the great snow!!

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