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Dropping into the Couloir

The Biggest of the Best : Canmore's Toughest Ski Tours

There aren't many places on Earth with better ski touring than Canmore and there aren't many tougher ski tours than these!

Ski Touring Moderate, Difficult, Severe

Dropping into the Couloir
Dropping into the Couloir


Canmore/Kananaskis has some impressive, intimidating and interesting advanced ski tours. The tours in this guidebook range from glaciated, traverse-style tours through to very steep couloir descents. They will all be sure to get the heart pumping and the routes in this guidebook are on many ski mountaineers' ticklists.

For those steep ski enthusiasts the Commonwealth Couloir and Chester Lake Couloir are two of the steeper, more complex lines on this list. We can't overemphasise the seriousness of these two, especially the Commonwealth Couloir. You will want all the right conditions to undertake these - good stability, ample snow and clear weather as well as excellent ski ability and razor sharp nerves. These lines don’t get skied often and for good reason. Having said that, if you have all the criteria to make these lines go then you will be dreaming about them for years to come!

Tryst Chutes, Purple Knob and Miner's Gully are all awesome routes in Kananaskis. These three will make the downhill enthusiasts grin from ear to ear with good, sustained steeper pitches and just enough spice to keep you on your toes. All three are distinctly unique and you will want to tick them all off. Tryst Chutes is a series of 150 meter chutes that you can lap, often providing fresh tracks each run as you work your way through the different chutes. Each one has unique features, from mini cliff drops to half pipe-style gullies. Purple Knob has a dramatic view and is a fun sustained slope and, when combined with Hero’s Knob, you have one of the most fun day tours in Kananaskis. Miner’s Gully is a Canmore classic, ascending one of the most hiked trails in town and descending a route that can be seen from almost everywhere in town. You can ski to the dog park and admire your lines while you sip coffee by 10 am at your favourite local coffee shop. All these routes are worth doing and a lot of fun!

The last route in the advanced Ski Tours category is a complex traverse that in our opinion is an absolute premiere route in this area. With dramatic views, bootpacking, a fun descent and glacier travel this ski tour really has it all! This route is a must do in the spring for many ski mountaineers and a lot of people do it annually.

The advanced routes in Kananaskis are complex, fun and diverse and should only be undertaken by skilled skiers and mountaineers. Be patient with these and add them to a multi-year to-do list.

Routes included

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