What trails would you recommend for Clare?

The Snowshoe Trip Reports page had its first entry today, thanks to Gary Millard. I don’t have a ski trip to post today, but I thought it would be enlightening to get comments from my readers regarding this email from Clare Copeland:

The Pocaterra/Whiskey Jack junction in PLPP

“HI there Bob, I wondered if I could ask for a quick recommendation? We are travelling to Canada from England (staying in Canmore) over Christmas and New year. Whilst my husband knows Canmore area pretty well being from Calgary originally we don’t know the ski trails at all. We are both pretty new to XC skiing having skiied the last few seasons in Finland and wondered if you had any recommendations for groomed trails suitable for beginners/intermediates that are must do’s during our trip? Happy to travel anywhere around the area. Thanks so much!”

Assuming there will be good snow conditions, what trail(s) would you recommend for a visitor?

My choice would be Pocaterra to the Whiskey Jack junction in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. It’s an easy trail with a thrilling, but safe, downhill when you return. It also gives you the option to explore numerous side trails( which will take you onto yet more trails, such as Lynx and the Woolley, Meadow, Wheeler, Amos, loop), Packers, or depending on your energy, further out towards Tyrwhitt. You also have the cozy hut to start from. From Canmore, it’s about an hour drive to the trailhead at Pocaterra Hut.


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  1. Alluvial Fan at end of Emerald Lake is absolutely stunning and relatively short and easy. It is likely to appear under the Yoho Trail list and I believe is currently track-set on a voluntary basis by Kicking Horse Ski Club. A longer drive, but magical on a blue sky day, with a gift shop at edge of lake wafting out cinnamon cider smells. Please let us know (after your trip) which trails you enjoyed the most.

  2. There are some good beginner/intermediate trails up at the Mt. Shark ski area behind Canmore and you can’t beat the scenery on a sunny day up there! Also all the trails in the Pipestone trail area at Lake Louise are rated easy or intermediate. In both areas trails are groomed and trackset fairly regularly.

    • Pipestone trails are NOT set yet – need more snow. They’re not all ‘easy’, althou rating might differ. great divide – the old 1A – IS easy. and moraine lake, except for 1 noticable hill.
      Moraine and 1A are in great shape.

      • Since the folks from England will not be in our area until Christmas, let’s hope the Pipestone trails will have enough snow to be groomed and track-set. My trail map of that system rates those trails easy or intermediate, depending on the trail. These are lovely, rolling trails through the trees and are a nice alternative to ‘road’ trails. Trail maps and information on trail conditions are available at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre.

  3. Great Divide (1A) is an easy trail to get your XC ski legs on. It is close to the bakery at Lake Louise townsite for cookies afterwards. Or it’s nice to go have a hot chocolate and snoop around the shops at Chateau Lake Louise after doing the Great Divide trail. An added photo op are the dogsleds on the Great Divide trail that go by you from time to time.

  4. Both of those sound good to me. I have no experience at all with Banff trails, so hopefully someone will add those.

  5. Your suggestion is a good one. What about Meadow / Lodgepole?

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