The Lake Louise area is perhaps the most popular early season cross country ski destination in the Rockies. The higher elevation leads to early snowfall and the Moraine Lake road in particular is usually one of the first trails to be trackset by Parks Canada. Combined with the lack of tourists and views of the actual lake, it’s easy to see why the trailhead parking lots have more cars than at the Chateau.

Total Distance   10km

Max Elevation   2200m

Elevation Gain   200m

Total Time   3hrs

On this day, I decided to combine the lower and upper tramline for an easy 10km day. My partner Ryoko from Calgary decided to join me as we made it to the trailhead at a leisurely 1pm. Although there was plenty of snow, the lack of any fresh snow and relatively warm temperatures made for a very fast track. Before long, we were at the shore of Lake Louise.

After laughing at the tourists walking within meters of the warning signs for thin ice, we decided to head into the Chateau to warm up. To our pleasant surprise, we found a five dollar bill on the ground and with nobody within sight, we grabbed it for our hot chocolate fund. Well, at least it was for her fund since a hot chocolate cost nearly $5 in the chateau.

After a lengthy rest, it was time to ski back down to the trailhead. The skies were noticeably darker and although we knew we had limited daylight, I knew that the return trip was mostly downhill.

As expected, the ski back was very fast. I rarely moved a muscle as I stood there like a traveler riding the moving sidewalk in an airport. 

Unfortunately, things weren’t as easy for Ryoko as she barely had any glide. Her skis were fine last season and since she was complaining about her recent weight gain, I figured that her skis were probably too short to support her weight. But being the gentleman I am, I blamed it on her ski wax and offered to hot wax her skis for the next outing.

It was nearly dark by the time we arrived at the trailhead and was pitch dark by the time we arrived in Banff for our ramen at Arashi. A nice way to end a short day of skiing.

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