A Ski on Moraine Lake Road

caitlin.pattersonOctober 30, 2012

Although Canmore has been feeling wintery and the 2k loop has been excellent skiing, yesterday we drove away from Canmore towards Lake Louise where there is more natural snow.  About an hour away from Canmore, within Banff National Park, we turned into a makeshift parking lot at the start of Moraine Lake Road, curious to see what snow cover and terrain we would find.  Sun Valley gave us a favorable report from skiing the road the day before, but you never quite know what “good skiing” means this early in the season.  The snow was clean and plentiful, if a little grabby, and it was relatively easy skating since most of the road had been groomed by snowmachine within the past few days.   The terrain was road-like rather than trail-like – up, up, up to a high point and then gradually down the other side to Moraine Lake.  It reminded quite a few of us of skiing on the access roads at Foret Montmorency in Quebec.  From the high point down towards the lake wasn’t groomed, so not everyone was willing to venture along the unpacked powder-over-pavement on the skis they brought.  However, those of us who did make it were rewarded with a nice view of the frozen lake and the surrounding rocky cliffs.  We didn’t quite luck out with a perfect sunny day, but we were able to see parts of the impressive mountains when the clouds cleared.


Hannah was excited to start her first ski of the season!

Hannah pauses for water

Ida was happy with all the snow!

All 7 guys in a train

Alex and Nils at the lake

Cliffs above frozen Moraine Lake


Look at all the snow! I was happy to have used training skis so that I could ski to the lake and see the cliffs up close.

From Moraine Lake Road, we could see the Lake Louise alpine mountain where World Cup races are held.

Driving up to Lake Louise, there was a definite lack of clarity, both of the sky and of the van windows.  But we still were able to admire the mountains lining the sides of the valley, and to comment on an interesting feature of the highway through Banff National Park.  Every few minutes on the highway, we would pass under a short tunnel/wide bridge, but there were no exits or other roads in the area that would need to cross the main road.  Instead, these wide bridge structures were covered with earth, with little trees and grass planted on them, obviously for the purpose of enabling animals to cross the highway – the sides of the highway were fenced off, likewise to prevent the animals from crossing in front of cars.  An interesting use of resources to minimize animal-human conflict in the park.

Taking a stroll to Lake Louise. During the few minutes of walking and admiring the scenery, the local birds gave us some entertainment by contemplating but refusing offerings of sausage and various other post-workout snacks, and then proceeding to dive-bomb and steal the last bite of Nils’ sandwich instead.

Although it was drizzling rain and quite warm earlier today, it was snowing this evening!   We did intervals and a strength session today, and we’re looking forward to a distance classic ski tomorrow.  It’s great to be immersed in the winter season and skiing in October!

Here are more photos from the Moraine Lake ski and from the classic sprint that was held last Friday.  Check back for more updates soon.






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