Canmore Nordic Centre
We love to cross-country ski at Canmore Nordic Centre. The trails are usually in great condition and there are so many variants to explore, from beginner to expert. This is our favourite loop, which goes out on Meadowview and back on Banff Trail.
From Main Street in Canmore, head to the western edge of the road and take 8th Ave across the bridge and then over to Rundle Drive. Go left at a 3-way intersection and then take your next right onto Highway 742, past Quarry Lake to the Canmore Nordic Centre turn-off.
|When to do|
Mid-November to April
|Type of XC Route|
Canmore Nordic Centre has ski trails for all levels, from beginners to experts. It also has great trail conditions, with regular track-setting and even snow harvesting so they can open early.
Our favourite route is to ski out along Meadowview and then back on Banff Trail (Green) or Bow Trail (Blue).
Before setting out you’ll need to buy a day pass in the main building.
The most confusing part of this route is the sheer number of trail names, and it seems we always end up taking a different route to get to Meadowview.
While our map shows something different, our favourite way to get onto Meadowview is to head out from the Day Lodge, ski across the XC Ski stadium and then up on Centennial, which rises and curves to the left before coming back and connecting onto Olympic and then Meadowlark.
Our map shows us heading out along the stadium and taking the rise that goes up Olympic, coming back down to Banff Avenue and then rising again, coming back and then going through the trees and many junctions to get on Meadowview after roughly 2.0km.
Once on Meadowview the path is much clearer, as there are fewer other trails. After 2.0km on Meadowview you reach Mine Meadows, which has a steep descent and wonderful views
The next 2.0km are hilly as you continue on Meadowview, before you have a long downhill that takes you to the turn-around point. We like to go left here on the trail to the junction with Banff National Park. Farther than the end of this trail means you venture into Avalanche terrain. It’s roughly 7.5km to the end of the trail.
The return ski has a few variants. If it’s cold or we are tired, we take the basic green route back along Banff Ave. This is a quick 5.8km ski back, which goes up and then down all the way to the lodge. Along the way you pass a very pretty warming hut in Mine Meadow, which is a great break for a snack. After the Warming hut you can choose to take Banff Loop or Banff Avenue back
The other option is to take Bow Trail, a blue trail that is more challenging to ski back. The Bow trail connects with Banff Loop and Banff Avenue for the ski back.
There is a great XC Ski shop at the Nordic Centre, called Trail Sports. They rent XC Skis, provide lessons and sell skis. We have had great service from here over the years.
If you want to learn to ski, then booking a lesson at the Nordic Centre is the place to go. We really like the Family Private Lessons, which for $135 the whole family gets an hour of training to learn to ski
The start of the ski route to get onto Meadowview is very confusing, and this is a place where having a phone with GPS and Google maps helps you figure out where you are at the start.
The cafeteria in the main lodge has good food, and the lodge is pleasant to hang out in if you don’t want to ski.
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