Lake Louise Area Backcountry Trip Report

Words By: Simon Coward

"I can't believe it is December 1st - Lake Louise area Trip Report

Images by Dennis Newsome and Simon Coward

For those of us who are die hard rockies backcountry skiers and boarders, seeing an avy report of low-low-low in any month other than May usually means there isn’t enough snow for avalanches to occur….  What a different story this early season, although we are in need of some more snow, the early season walloping we got is still ‘keeping it together’, the holy smokes I just got November face shot fest has passed, and although it will certainly be fleeting, this stability thing we have going is nice.

Photo: Some rather large surface hoar forming in valley bottom.  So pretty...

With the stability looking good and a beauty day we decided to head to the Lake Louise area to a spot that we have ridden in amazing conditions before, it stays shady, is largely protected from the wind and is in a beautiful alpine valley.  Kind of a 3 way win right now, and boy were we not disappointed.

I preface this by saying we didn’t lock into 2000 ft blower pow runs all day, in fact the snow was super variable (unbreakable wind crust, boot top surface facets and everything in between), and at times we for sure came in a little hot into some Nakiska like surface snow, which, made for some sporty moments.  However, the terrain we got to ride for this time of the year had us uttering ‘I can’t believe it is December 1st’ more than once.

Photo: Some views from the day and some of the open terrain riding from earlier in the session

In a nutshell (and I will let the pictures tell the story), we managed to ride 1 x NE face at treeline and 2 x NE facing chutes in the alpine along with a below treeline drainage/pillow run that had just enough snow to cover the real nasties and to dish up a buttery smooth, fun, pillowy descent.

Photo: Heading to the riding and some bootpack shots

Photo: Riding shots from the 3 lines we rode (click to view gallery and see all images)

So far this season each week out has gotten better, if that theme continues we are all in for an awesome season.

I hope everyone is getting out there and enjoying the mountains, we have been hearing great things from people coming by the shop.

Check avalanche.ca for up to date hazard report and current Banff, Kootenay and Yoho details on Facebook here.

Happy Shredding.