Goat Creek Trail, Alberta

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This year is dedicated to trying new things.

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H and I have never been cross country skiing before and decided to give it a go. If you can downhill ski, it doesn’t mean you can cross country ski. I learned this quickly as I fell 2 seconds into skiing. Very humbling. A nice couple saw us struggling at the trail head and gave us a few encouraging pointers.

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It is relatively downhill heading towards Banff, making it easy to learn how to stride along the trail. It was beautiful weather and we definitely over dressed. I was sweating the entire time, but happy I wore snow pants as I fell quite a bit.

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We stumbled upon a tiny bridge, where we decided to take a break before heading back.  The snow was incredibly deep, up to our thighs, but we found a great spot under the bridge to enjoy creamy hot chocolate in Styrofoam cups, courtesy of H.

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There were gradual inclines with a few bigger hills on the way back, a good workout no doubt.

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After finishing, we were exhausted, sore and starving. We treated ourselves to a feast at McDonald’s before heading back to Calgary.

An excellent way to spend a Sunday in the mountains.

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H and I  rented equipment from the University of Calgary (just $17 dollars if you have a UCID for skis, boots and poles) cheaper than at the Nordic Centre in Canmore.

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the pastel coloured sky on our way back to Calgary, thank you daylight savings for brighter evenings.

4/52: Cross Country Skiing Goat Creek

  • Rating:8/10
  • Level: Dependant on direction – Easy (Canmore to Banff)-Moderate (Banff to Canmore)
  • Distance: 18 km one way
    • We skied about 5km (from Canmore towards Banff) and turned back to the Goat Creek parking lot
  • Elevation: ~300 m
  • Time: 4 hours (~10 km)
  • Pros:
    • Great beginner trail, a few up/down hills to practice
    • Most of the trail is groomed
  • Cons:
    • Can be busy (shared trailed)
  • Overall: A great trail to learn how to cross country ski with a few downhill and uphill areas to improve your technique. You can also fat bike/snowshoe in the winter. It’s beautiful with views of the mountain near the beginning of the trail and scattered between trees throughout.

Directions: From Calgary, take highway 1. Exit on highway 40 and continue until you reach the 742 (towards Canmore). Follow the 742 until you reach the sign Goat Creek parking lot on your right hand side.

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