Guidebook

Big Mountains, Big Challenges : Tough Banff Ski Tours

This what touring in the Rockies is all about - high, wild mountains and epic ski lines!

Kylee Toth Ohler

Description

The Rocky Mountains are full of couloirs and steep, interesting lines so these 4 routes are just some of the many options in this zone between Banff and Lake Louise. The four routes were chosen because they are all spectacular and diverse in style.

The most complex route in this quad is Chockstone Couloir, which could almost be lumped into the "extreme" category. Its hallmark feature is the dramatic rock you ascend and descend under which is wedged between the couloir walls. Many people just go to this couloir to go under the rock and descend from there - it's a cool experience and makes for a good photo. If you continue towards the top you are taken into steeper terrain with almost an entirely "no fall" ski descent. If you hit conditions right for this line, with good snow and stability, it will be extremely rewarding and memorable.

The Bell and Trident Couloirs are in the same Taylor Lake zone and have an identical approach to Taylor Lake. The Bell Couloir is wide, massive and intimidating but because of its huge nature if you get good snow conditions it's a fun line to make big fast turns on. Linking up the Bell Couloir with the Trident Couloir is a huge day but a logical ski tour.

The Trident couloir is a nice long line but not nearly as steep as Bell.

The last route in this guidebook - the Wawa tree chutes - is ideal for those who like freeride-type terrain. Lots of rocks, small cliffs and steep straight-line options will keep your interest throughout the line.

The skiing in this area - although not spread out much geographically - is as diverse as the views you will see. It is worth checking out all four of these routes at some point.

The safest time to couloir ski in the Rockies is in the spring time - late March to June. In the spring we have good melt/freeze cycles that make this terrain more predictable. The Rockies in the winter time have a complex snowpack due to cold temperatures, strong winds and lower snow fall amounts than some other regions in Canada.

Remember to always check avalanche conditions and weather before you head out. Play safe and have fun!

Trident Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Trident Couloir

Banff National Park
7 - 8 hrs
18.3 km
1,290 m
1,290 m
42 °
This aesthetic couloir can be seen from Panorama ridge and is a great ski if snow stability is good.
Difficult
Private
Bell Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Bell Couloir

Banff National Park
5 - 6 hrs
9.2 km
1,369 m
85 m
58 °
A classic Rockies ski line - this is a huge couloir!
Severe
Private
Chockstone Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Chockstone Couloir

Banff National Park
7 - 8 hrs
18.7 km
1,036 m
1,036 m
18 °
A very unique line with a huge arch to ski through
Severe
Private
Wawa ridge tree chutes
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Wawa ridge tree chutes

Sunshine Village
5 - 6 hrs
12.3 km
873 m
873 m
40 °
This area has beginner to advanced terrain and is a great option for a variety of skill levels
Moderate
Private