XC Skiing at Boom Lake

Boom Lake is easily one of my top 3 cross country ski trails in the Canadian Rockies. Although it’s never machine groomed/track set, it has enough elevation gain that you’re quite often using a herringbone or snowplow instead of the skier set track. The lack of grooming also makes this feel like a back country adventure without being too far deep in the back country. The lake at the end never fails to disappoint either.

Distance :  10.4km

Max Elevation :  1918m

Elevation Gain :  187m

Total Time :  3:57

After XC skiing in Lake Louise the day before, I decided to XC ski Boom Lake for a short day in the mountains. As mentioned above, it’s one of my favorite trails which I probably skied almost 10 times. Not only is it a pleasure to ski but it’s also relatively short and relatively close to Canmore. It’s also known for its abundance of snow as you can see below.

My partners for today were Takaya, and Yoko who drove over from Calgary. As usual, we took my Jeep which was a good thing because the parking lot wasn’t plowed. In the past, even my Subaru Legacy with its AWD had problems with this lot because of clearance issues. The BF Goodrich KO2 tires may not be the best on icy roads but they kick ass in the snow!

Despite the great conditions, we only saw 2 other vehicles in the parking lot. I was hoping for more since we’d have a better skier set track but the snow wasn’t too bad. The fresh snow required more effort for sure and made it a little harder to stem but it’s hard to complain when its so early in the season.

The only views on the trail are a few glimpses of Storm Mountain to the west. Otherwise, there’s pretty much nothing to the end. This isn’t too bad while skiing but it makes this trail super boring during the summers. I’ve hiked it twice and although I have to admit that Boom Lake is quite beautiful and underrated, I’m not sure if it’s worth more than one visit. (I hiked it a second time just to scramble up Mount Bell which requires this approach. A very tough and long scramble but my motivation for reaching the summit was knowing that I’d never have to hike to Boom lake again!)

After skiing through the powder for almost 3hrs, we finally arrived at the lake where my partners yelled out a big Wow of approval. My last visit was just 8 months prior so it wasn’t exactly a Wow moment but it was still amazing as usual. As we took a short rest, it reminded us that we were skiing in -8C temperatures as we started to feel colder by the minute.

The return ski was always the highlight for me as the mostly downhill terrain made for a quick ski to the trailhead. This time however, was the slowest return I could remember as the fresh snow slowed us at every opportunity. Even the fresh tracks made by the half a dozen or so skiers heading into the lake couldn’t help with the glide until the end.

With that being said, it was an awesome day out which was made even more special when we realized that it was the first day of winter. I’ll be back again in the spring when the trail is much faster!

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