Pipestone trails

Pipestone trails in Lake Louise. Mar 13, 2011

Needing to find some dog-friendly trails yesterday, Tessa and I headed up to Lake Louise to check out the Pipestone trails. It’s been at least six years since I’ve skied these trails, so along with with all the upgraded trail signage, it seemed like a whole new ski area. If you skied here before the improvements, it was a challenge to figure out where you were.

The Banff trail report had not been updated recently, and showed the last grooming was on Mar 6. As luck would have it, the trails had just been groomed Sunday morning, so we had beautiful fresh tracksetting to ski on.

Pipestone trails. Mar 13, 2011

It was +2 in Lake Louise and the snow was just cold enough for the wax to work. I was using red Toko(rated for -1/-2) and was getting reasonable grip without any icing. In these warmer conditions, it’s always a compromise between getting grip and preventing clumping.

We skied the perimeter of the trail system counter-clockwise, which is about 13K. It’s a gradual climb for the first 7K with a net elevation gain of 170 metres, with lots of up and down, so the accumulated elevation would be much more. You reach the high point near the north end, resulting in a pleasurable and easy ski back.

The Pipestone trails now have detailed maps at all intersections. Mar 13, 2011

Most of the time we were in thick forest, but as you can see in the photos, it does open up periodically with beautiful views.

The snow was in great shape; only one short section, maybe 50 metres, on the way back was icy. There’s snow in the forecast for Lake Louise today with a high of +2.

As with all the Lake Louise trails, the signage has been greatly improved. The trails now have names rather than numbers as before. After skiing most of the Pipestone loop, we took Hector back to the trailhead.


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  1. Any tips on skiing with a dog? I’m dog sitting next weekend but of course I also want to ski!

  2. I was reading today’s Mt Shark trail report and was astounded by the amount of new snow…

    “Mt. Shark area trails have received about one metre of snow in the past two weeks. About 52 cm covers grooming and tracksetting of March 9th…”

  3. My wife and I skied Pipestone on March 11th, 2011 and it was great even though it was only skier track-set.

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