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Northern Rockies/Alberta Tree skiing in Banff

hozman

In the parking lot (formerly "At the base lodge")
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Toronto
Hey y'all. Heading out to Sunshine and Lake Louise later this season and looking for some nice tree runs. In looking at the trail maps it seems rather limiting. its mostly bowls and open type runs. Goat's eye looks promising on SS and Ptarmigan on LL. Anything I am missing?? Cheers
 

DanoT

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I can't help you with tree skiing in Banff, but if trees are your priority, then you should know that Ski Canada Magazine once called Red Mountain the best tree skiing in Canada and that was before Whitewater installed the Glory Ridge Chair and before Revelstoke opened....both also great tree skiing.

I can tell you that it can get brutal cold in Banff in mid winter, so the best time to ski Banff is mid March and April.
 

JoeSchmoe

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May 4, 2017
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At Lake Louise, if you take the Top of the World chairlift and make your way to the skiers left of the chair, there's some good open bowls with stashes of trees. We were finding great snow in there days after it last snowed.
 

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Jim Kenney

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I skied those parts of Canada in March 2018. Of the Big 3 around Banff I thought Louise offered the most satisfying variety of terrain. The frontside skiing is characterized by many picturesque groomed runs. The backside features some of their steepest terrain and includes open bowls, big mogul runs, fine tree skiing, and even a boulder-strewn trail called Rock Garden.
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DanoT

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I skied those parts of Canada in March 2018. Of the Big 3 around Banff I thought Louise offered the most satisfying variety of terrain. The frontside skiing is characterized by many picturesque groomed runs. The backside features some of their steepest terrain and includes open bowls, big mogul runs, fine tree skiing, and even a boulder-strewn trail called Rock Garden.
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Lake Louise has arguably some of the best terrain in Canada, but absolutely the best scenery. And just down the road a ways is the Columbia Icefields Parkway (the road to Jasper) that many consider the most scenic mountain highway in the world.
 

dovski

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So for tree skiing there are some great runs off of Goats Eye and Teepee Town Chairs in Sunshine. I circled some of the areas to give you a sense of where to ski. Treed runs off Goats Ere are our favorites and there are a lot to choose from. Teepee town is also fun but the treed runs are shorter and there are fewer to choose from. Upper parts of the mountain are above the tree line as you can see.

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There are also some nice tree runs off of the Wawa Quad and a few shorter ones off of Strawberry. Strawberry is nice if you are a mixed group as it has some beginner and intermediate terrain.

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We really enjoy skiing here in April as the snow is still great and the weather is not too cold.
 

twa2w

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Calgary Alberta Canada
Lots of tree skiing at Lake Louise, but a lot of it is tight, and some areas have thin snow coverage.

On Larch, there is tree skiing on skiers left under the lift called Tower 12 and Lookout Chutes. Snow tends to be thin. There is also some tree skiing around the rock garden, but there is some work to get to. (above and skiers right of rock garden - a bit tricky and looks like not much on a map)

On the front side, there is lots of tree skiing at the bottom of the area known as the West Bowl, which comprises several bowls. Some places are tight, and there are cliffs.
There is also good front-side tree skiing on Tickety Chutes and Kernoghans, Upchutes to Eagle Flight area, and Upper Grouse.

On the backside, both skiers right and skiers left of the Ptarmigan chair are good tree skiing areas - Ptarmigan Glades and Ptarmigan Chutes.
There are also Pika trees and some shorter sections of trees at the bottom of East Bowl, Crow Bowl - called East Bowl Trees and Powder pockets.

Plus lots of other little bits and pieces of trees.
 

Crank

Making fresh tracks
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We saw a lynx and her cub under Ptarmigan chair last March!

Yes plenty of trees to ski at Lake Louise. Really nice terrain all over. You will find plenty of everything.
 

Mike Rogers

Out on the slopes
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Apr 25, 2017
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Calgary
Banff isn't the world's best tree skiing destination. The trees that grow here tend to be skinny and grow close together.

There is much better tree skiing in British Columbia, particularly Fernie, Red, Whitewater, and Revelstoke. Ski touring in the Selkriks and Monashees is another great option.

That said, there are some fun options at both resorts, particularly Lake Louise. Most tree runs have been thinned, are on slide paths, or are at tree line. The Ptarmigan glades were thinned in the 90s (the beams were used in the day lodge). his is a great area for fall line skiing.Ptarmigan Chutes can be good when conditiosns are right (not that often). Pika trees are a blast, but it's a short run bookended by the Pika trail...which is kind of dull.

Tower 12 and 10 on larch are a lot of fun...but shot and often rocky.

I used to really enjoy the trees at treeline in the West Bowl when it was out of bounds. I don't think the terrain stood up really well to higher ski traffic....it seemed to develop odd shaped mogus and troughs, but they thinned the trees a couple summers back so it might be better with more space. Unfortunately, West Bowl didn't open for long last year, so I haven't tried it.

On the front side, the trees near treeline on Top of the world are fun..nicely spaced. Ski towards the day lodge, not into the gully on grizzly bowl for some decent trees on that side. The top of the gondola has some options too.

The best trees in sunshine are off goat's eye. I particularly like the treeline are on the south side. Thinned areas on the front side of goat's eye are good too. The tree runs on the main part of sunshine are pretty short. The burn by teepee is fun, but only a few turns. If you're skiing the dive, you can play in the trees skiers left of fat boy.
 

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