A romantic skiing getaway

The Canadian rockies are home to some magnificent historic lodges which retain a lot of their original charm, and we were able to experience the ambience and atmosphere of two of them on this little holiday. We treated ourselves to a romantic getaway over the past three days and did some skiing along the way. Computers had to take a back seat to other things. Thanks to everyone who sent in trip reports over the past few days. The blog would have been awfully quiet without you.

The ski trails at Emerald Lake and Yoho should be in great shape over the coming week with the extra snow which fell while we were there. Some slight changes have occurred to the trails due to the avalanches which happened last year. The trail which used to start out behind the Emerald Sports kiosk now begins on the lake and skirts the avalanche path. Safely past, it then goes up into the forest and joins the old horse trail which parallels the lake.

It was snowing heavily as we started out on the Emerald Lake Alluvial fan trail

We skied out in a picture-postcard scene of falling snow along the lake, around the alluvial fan, and returned in bright sunshine. Hans had already packed the trail on the lake by the time we were skiing back.

Upon returning to the trailhead, we crossed the road and headed out on the Emerald Connector. It’s one of those fun, narrow trails which gives you some thrilling ups and downs as it winds through the trees from Emerald Lake to the Natural bridge. It reminds me a lot of Fox Creek in PLPP. It has been packed and is in good shape for the first 2K. I skied a further 500 metres without any difficulties although there are a few twigs poking out of the snow, and some uneven spots on the trail.

Skiing on Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park

There was also an avalanche last year on the Connector, and the trail will not be trackset where it crosses the avalanche path. You go through at your own risk.

The Kicking Horse Ski Club runs the ski rental shop at Emerald lake, and often their trail reports give more current information than the government site. They are reporting that a new trail just opened up. Marilyn posted the following today: “Hey skiers—-this has not happened in at least 15 years—-we now have a x-c groomed trail on the South-East (the other side) of Emerald Lake !!!!!!  It is tracked to the far bay and then joins the lake loop trail(on the ice).  Seems like the rest of the trail up and over the 3 hills to the  Peaceful Pond is packed but not track set(thank you Hans). It is fantastic to ski there again–as well as all the other regular trails at Emerald Lake.”

There are a number of other trails in Yoho which we didn’t get a chance to ski this trip, but the Kicking Horse River is certainly worth doing. It’s trackset and in good shape. The Yoho Valley road is another good one, and is usually trackset up to the switchbacks. If there’s been a lot of wind, expect the tracks to be filled with snow, however. Dogs are allowed on this trail.

The Lake O’Hara fire road is not trackset but is well-used by skiers, and is frequently packed by snowmobiles which carry supplies to Lake O’Hara Lodge.

Lake Louise

The trails at Lake Louise are in fantastic condition. We skied Fairview, Peyto, Upper and Lower Telemark for the first time this winter. Also skied Upper Tramline and the short stretch on Moraine lake road which takes you to the Fairview junction.

Storm Mountain Lodge

As we were preparing to ski on Peyto, tracksetter John came by with a pair of skis over his shoulder. He had just skied out on Moraine Lake Road to help Leland, who was tracksetting MLR, but was having some mechanical difficulties. The trail maintenance under John’s guidance has been superb at Lake Louise this year. It’s obvious the crew takes pride in their work.

Historic Lodges

Getting back to the accommodation, Emerald Lake Lodge, located on the shore of Emerald Lake, is a true gem. As we were having breakfast, from the dining room which overlooks the lake, the snow started falling, and while it diminished the spectacular views, it created an ambience that people the world over come here to experience.

We stayed last night at Storm Mountain Lodge. Authentic is the word that comes to mind when seeing this incredible place which was built in 1922. It would be worth the drive just to partake of the delicious food and excellent wine, offered to you in a very unique setting. Storm Mountain Lodge is located 5K south of Castle junction on Hwy #93.

I took 260 pictures on this trip; I’ve whittled it down to 30. There’s two pages of photos:


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  1. This is a great update! Looking at Banff’s temperature this weekend, it may be a great opportunity, since we are staying at Juniper, to venture out a little further than usual to try Yoho! Thank You!

  2. Banff National Park’s twitter says: “XC skiers: Goat Creek Trail bridge is ALMOST done! With good weather, we could be skiing by the weekend. Stay tuned.”

    You can see some photos of the bridge repair http://ow.ly/i/nYBx

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