Safe places to ski? What wax to use?

How about some advice from SkiHere readers…

Lizi asks:

Just learning to ski and wondered if you could suggest trails in Banff, Kananaskis or Canmore that are beginner trails and importantly, have enough skiers on them that safety (thinking wild animals) is less of a concern if I’m skiing alone. Don’t know the areas so any advice would help. Thx.

Larissa asks:

I recently moved from BC. What types of waxes do people here like to use here for grip and glide waxes?

Now that I moved to Calgary, I intend to primarily ski in Bragg Creek, occasionally at Peter Lougheed, occasionally near Louise and once a week at Canmore Nordic Centre – both classic & skate.

Because where I used to live was usually around 0C and humid, I used (I hate to say it) waxless skis for classic…or skate when it got cooler). So, I bought new classic waxable skis (I am hoping the Rossignol Xium C2 classic are ok – your thoughts?? I was a bit nervous, as I had only ever used Fischers – used Fischer classic waxable many years ago when I lived in a cooler drier area of BC and currently own Fischer skate & waxless classics).


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  1. Lizi;
    I have a couple trails to add to Peter’s list. At Kananaskis Village you can ski on Terrace trail. It’s quite an easy trail, and there’s always hordes of people around. That can be a problem if they’ve walked in the tracks. Don’t despair, just go to Ribbon Creek which you would have passed on your way to the Village. It’s a fabulous trail for beginners when conditions are good. It’s a very gradual incline(90 metres elevation over 2.5K), so it gives you a chance to practice your snowplowing on the way back without ever going too fast.

  2. Due to the relatively dry snow we get on the east side of mountains (i.e. Calgary to Banff) – glide and kick waxing are fairly simple. Everyone has their favorites – pick a brand and stick with it until you figure out how it works. Could be Swix, Vauhti, Rex, Start, Guru, etc.

    There are multiple iterations possible – the true wax techs will hammer me for my recommendations below:

    Glide wax (for general training/touring/etc.) – blue hydrocarbon (e.g. Swix CH6) or green will cover you in 90% of good skate conditions. In the warmer temps (-4C to 2C+), your base grind pattern will determine performance more than your wax;

    Kick wax – Swix VR30/VR40/VR45 (fluorinated kick wax) covers you for 95% of ‘good’ classic skiing conditions. For a few extra $$, fluorinated performs better over a wider range of conditions – can keep it simple with 3 tubes of kick wax and a good cork. Things get tricky in the 0C range … add in VR50 for another option in the warmer temps.

    TrailSports (at the CNC) sells ‘Guru’ kick wax – I’ve been told this is another good option for COP and Canmore.

    As you get a bit further into the mountains (e.g. Fernie, Invermere, etc.) – snow moisture starts creeping in as an issue – then consider the LF range of glide waxes for these regions. If you’re at Whistler – pretty much full fluorocarbon is the way to go with the wet snow there.

    I’ve been skiing a pair of Rossi C2s for a few years – good living.

  3. Hi Lizi! One of the best (and busiest) trails to learn on is Pocaterra in Peter Lougheed Provincial park (Kananaskis). It also benefits from having a nice hut to warm up in after you’re done. The trails in the area are well maintained and well signed and safe for solo excursions. You can link to many other trails in the vicinity so can go further out if you like. Cascade fire road near Banff is also good and is very popular. In Canmore there is the Nordic centre with many kms of trails of all difficulties but it costs$ to use their facilities. If you don’t mind driving a bit then Moraine lake road and the Great divide trail near Lake Louise are excellent for beginners and quite popular to!

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