Alberta Glades and Steeps

 

Alberta Glades and Steeps

Two words are music to my ears. Powder. Day. Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff Sunshine Village, Castle Mountain, Marmot Basin and Norquay are all blessed with runs where the snow settles in big drifts between perfectly placed trees. Even a few days after a good dump, many of these runs have untouched powder or, are lightly used. I have no idea why I am sharing my secret stashes but next time you head out after a snowstorm, check out these trails.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

My mind was blown a few years ago when a friend took me down Tower 12 and Lookout Chutes. Both runs are off the Larch Express. How I'd never done those lines before escapes me. They are not long but they are secluded, steep and a blast. Fall. It’s okay. You'll roll three or four times before you find your feet again, but its such a great ride on a thick blanket. Off the front face while everyone else is taking Home Run, drop off into Mirkwood and Home Run Chutes.

Banff Sunshine Village

Delirium Dive is in a school of its own and those with more mete then me with avalanche safety gear can jump into that chasm. There are plenty of runs over off Goat's Eye Express that can keep me in powder-filled glade bliss. Barney's trees and the glades now called FIGJAM are great but best before the wind whips up a crust on the snow. FIGJAM? Yeah - look it up.

Marmot Basin

The last time I was at Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park, it snowed so much that Highway 93 south to Banff was closed. I was trapped to ski another day. Talk about living the dream! Every ride up the Eagle Ridge Quad, we'd look down to see our tracks, but they were already lost in the fresh pow. Run after run through Diamond Glades and Grizzly Glades was in virgin snow.

Castle Mountain

Powder at Castle Mountain
Photographer
Al Heidel

If it’s snowing in the south end of the province, head for highway 3 and take the turn for Castle Mountain Resort. This little gem gets overlooked but offers some of the best glades in the province. You can check the south side of Haig Mountain by jumping on the Powder Stagecoach for a full day of chutes and glades zoned just for the cat access. Trust me - it’s awesome! But if you just want to rip through the trees, head for Ghost Rider Glades off the Huckleberry Chair or Northern and Double exposure off The Tamarack Chair. If you are new to Castle, just ask any local. They won't just tell you where the best runs are, they'll take you.

Norquay

Norquay, the closest ski resort to the town of Banff has some great steeps off the two-person North American chairlift. Just riding that old workhorse is half the fun. From the top though, midway through the season after a blanket of snow, anything off that chair is a blast. Staying over to skiers right on runs like Corvid’s and Waterfall is gnarly. Watch for Toonie Tuesday events, and if it lands on a Snow Day, we'll be right there with ya.

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