Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Family X-Country Skiing at Lake Louise

There are a lot of great family x-country ski trails in the Rockies but we have a favourite trail we love most, and that we think is ideal for introducing kids to skiing. It's called the Tramline Trail and it is a 4.8 km trail that takes you from Lake Louise to the Bow River, and Village of Lake Louise, 195 metres below.

Skiing down the Tramline Trail at Lake Louise

Parks Canada describes the Tramline trail below: 

"This trail runs from valley bottom to Lake Louise at a steady 3% rise, following the old grade of the tramline that once connected the train station and the Chateau Lake Louise."

Reading that description, one would think this is not exactly the ideal beginner trail to do with kids.  However, do it in reverse from Lake Louise DOWN to the Village, arrange a car shuttle ahead of time with friends, and enjoy one of the easiest x-country ski trips to be found in the Rockies.

Why we love the Tramline Trail

One.  It's all downhill if done in the correct direction, but not so steep that you have to snow plow.  There's only one big hill that beginner skiers will need assistance on (or can walk) and then a minor hill near the end as you reach the Bow River.

Two.  It's great for teaching the kids to double pole - so bring the poles that you might not normally use

Three.  Kids will find the trail super easy for practicing their kick and glide.  It's amazing how much easier it is when there's a slight decline for 4.8km!

The Tramline Trail is great for improving ski skills

Four.  It is interesting, pretty, and you get to cross a lovely bridge on the lower section that is a favourite spot of mine for family ski photos (as long as your kids don't fall going down the short hill to the bridge.)

The Scenic bridge on the Lower Tramline section

Five.  You can shorten the trip by starting at the Moraine Lake Road trailhead.  This would shorten the trip by about 1.5 km.

Six.  Finally, to extend the trip, ski along the Bow River at the bottom of the Tramline Trail.  This is a 6.6 km loop around the Village and the Campgrounds.  It can also be shortened with mini-loops created.

Skiing along the Bow River near the Village of Lake Louise

Other Ski Trails in the Lake Louise Area

The Moraine Lake Road (ski as far as you want and go back the same way.  Not very exciting but good for practicing basic skills.  Slightly uphill the whole way until you turn around so not very good for kids practicing their kick and glide.)

The Fairview Loop (intermediate trail with some challenging sections and hills.  Best done as a loop with the Upper Tramline trail and a bit of the Moraine Lake Road for a 7.5 km loop.)

The Lake Louise Loop (you get to ski right on Lake Louise to the back of the lake and can return on a trail through the trees if you want.  Great with kids.  100% flat.  Return the same way for the easiest route on the lake.  The full loop is 4.1km)

The Great Divide (ski as far as you want and return the same way.  Not very exciting for kids as you'll be skiing on an old road, but it is ok for practicing basic skills.)

The Bow River Loop (Great with kids!  Ski a loop around the Village and Campgrounds along the Bow River.  Best done later in the season when there is enough snow though.  Full loop is 6.6km with shorter versions available)

Skiing the Bow River Loop (early snow conditions)

For more information on all trails mentioned visit the Parks Canada website.

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