From Your Door to the Trails: Cross Country Skiing in Canmore + Kananaskis
Dust off your cross-country skis and head out to the trails to access new terrain, beautiful views, and rolling hills! Canmore and Kananaskis are home to some of the best cross-country skiing in not only the province, but in Canada. A popular venue for biathletes and cross-country racers, Canmore has a number of groomed tracks perfect for all skill levels.
One of the coolest things about Canmore is the ability to leave your house and be on the track, in just a few minutes. So, grab your skis and get out to some of our favourite trails!
Canmore – The Nordic Centre
Built for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, the Nordic Centre was, and still is home to the Canadian National Biathlon and Cross Country ski teams. Located five minutes from downtown Canmore, the Nordic Centre has over 65 kilometres of groomed and maintained winter trails. For panoramic views of the Bow Valley and Canmore, head out to the meadow in the middle of the trail system, easily accessible by skiers of all abilities. Get toasty in the Warming Hut located in the meadow, or head back to the lodge for some snacks and hot chocolate!
Our tip: The Nordic Centre is great for skiers of all abilities, but our favourite is the beginner friendly Banff Loop.
Canmore – Goat Creek Trail
One of the area’s most popular cross-country skiing trails, Goat Creek is the main connector between Canmore and Banff. The trail is heavily used in the winter for cross-country due to its close proximity to the town, and its moderate difficulty. It is typically double tracked, making it easier to accommodate for groups and families. Along the trail you will find several bridges and natural creek crossings, as well as spectacular views of the Rundle Mountain range!
Our tip: Get out early in the morning to catch a sunrise. Better yet – catch the alpenglow on the snowy mountaintops! Also note, there is no cellular coverage in this area.
Kananaskis – Pocaterra Area
A hidden gem in the Canadian Rockies, the Kananaskis Lakes area offers over 75km of groomed and maintained cross country trails. Conveniently located close to the main parking lot, Pocaterra Trail starts from the parking lot and connects to 9 other trails, creating loops for skiers of all abilities. Typically rated beginner to intermediate, the trails offer rolling hills, as well as very few challenging (but rewarding!) climbs. Have lunch at any of the viewpoints and enjoy the ski down!
Our tip: Connect from Pocaterra Trail to Lynx for easy roller-coaster terrain, and warm up after in the warming hut!
Also note, there is no cellular coverage in this area.
Just because you’re cross-country skiing, doesn’t mean there aren’t hazards. Avalanche zones are dangerous, and unpredictable. To avoid putting yourself in any additional danger, do your research and locate potential danger zones. Check out daily avalanche bulletins here. Bring an avalanche beacon (limited cellular coverage), as well as share your location with friends and family.
Cross-country skiing is one of the Bow Valley’s most accessible sports. Stop at any of the viewpoints or pack a lunch for a field picnic. Towering trees and looming peaks make any of the trails truly unforgettable!