Early season skiing, where to find the snow?

Nigel Pass Dec 2009, Nigel Pass Dec 2009

This is the fidgety time of the year, you can only wax your skis, sharpen your edges and check for loose screws so many times before you have to get out and find some snow. So what are your best bets for early season skiing?

I have seen a few online reports of skiers getting out on Rae and Robertson Glaciers but you may have to hike a bit to get to decent snow and be prepared for the hazards of glacier travel.

Looking over some of the Mountain Condition Reports from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides [ACMG] it sounds like there is significant snow accumulating in the Columbia Icefields area but the recent warm weather may have melted that away.

– For current Mountain Condition Reports from the ACMG check out: www.acmg.ca/mcr/

Moraine lake road in Banff National Park closes in early fall and does not require a lot of snow coverage to make it skiable. The road offers several kilometers of track-set skiing and an easy downhill on the way back.

– Check out the Ski Here! online blog for lots of local cross-country ski information: www.skihere.ca

The Canmore Nordic Centre has man-made snow in some areas which can help get a jump on the season and this year they built a small ski loop from snow stored over the summer. Contact them to check on current trail conditions: (403) 678-2400.

You might also find some early season skiing up at Chester Lake in Kananaskis Park.

Be aware that even early in the season avalanches can still be a factor!