So, I've taken my AST1 (see here for info, it's a Canadian course), and I'm starting to get into backcountry skiing.

Just wondering what people would recommend for beginner terrain? Specific examples in the Canadian Rockies would be great, but even more generally - is it safe to get into terrain that is ATES challenging rated if I'm being extremely cautious?

  • Are you looking for general terrain suggestions like ski in the trees and not on convex slopes, etc, or more specific locations of entry level touring in and around Banff?
    – furtive
    Dec 20, 2012 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


In Banff you'll find Bow Summit is the go to beginner place. Parks has a great avalanche terrain map that shows you where to avoid, it's best to stay in the trees. Don't forget to check out the Parks Canada Avalanche Bulletin. Other good beginner spots include Boom Lake, which has a nice 3km tree switchback (real fun to come back down on) that opens up onto a lake where you can pick your lines, Parker's Ridge along the Bow Valley Parkway or Chester Lake in K Country (one of my favourites). As a beginner stick to where there are trees. Other options are the backside of Lake Louise, slack country at Sunshine (the Waawaa ridge, back of Burgeau, etc).

Chic Scott's Summits & Icefields: Alpine Ski Tours in the Canadian Rockies is the go to reference book for ski touring, he's lived in Banff forever, has ski toured the continental divide end-to-end from the towns of Jasper to Banff on several occasions (16 days!), he really knows his stuff.

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