- Study the trail description and map; choose a trail suitable for the least experienced member in your party.
- Check the weather forecast, current trail conditions and daily avalanche report.
- Ski with a friend or group.
- Tell someone where you are going and your expected return time.
- Be prepared for changes in weather and for emergencies.
Check your gear
- Extra wax, cork and scraper.
- Map, compass and guidebook.
- Full water bottle or thermos and high energy food (carry extra).
- Carry extra clothes, including hat and gloves. Use the layering system! Peel off or add layers of synthetic material, silk or wool as needed to stay dry and warm.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses.
- First aid kit
- Repair kit: cord, tape, wire, pliers, knife, screwdriver and pole basket.
- Lightweight emergency blanket, candle, and lighter or waterproof matches.
- Head lamp or flashlight
Ski with a friend or group
Etiquette and Safety
Be a mountain park steward. Show courtesy to fellow outdoor enthusiasts!
- Do not walk or snowshoe on the track set portion of cross country ski trails. The packed smooth middle is for skate skiing and the groomed tracks are for classic skiing.
- Do not skate-ski on the track set portion of a classic ski trail.
- When climbing, yield the right of way to descending skiers.
- If you fall, move off track as quickly as possible.
- When taking a break, step to the side, out of tracks.
- Leave no trace. Pack out everything you pack in.
If you are planning to take your dog out on a trail, please respect the following:
- Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
- Dog are not allowed on the following groomed cross country ski trails: Cascade Valley, Spray River Trail, Goat Creek and Spray River, and Redearth Creek.
- Dogs can add stress to wildlife; the sight of a dog reminds some animals of predators like wolves and coyotes. Keep your dog on a leash at all times to prevent it from chasing wildlife.
Winter offers a unique glimpse of wildlife as tracks in the snow reveal the story of their movements. It is a challenge for wildlife to survive through a Rocky Mountain winter, but you can help make it easier.
- If tracks are observed, do not follow them toward the animal.
- If you see wildlife, do not approach; give them lots of space and observe from a distance with binoculars or a telephoto lens.
- Safety is your responsibility. There are always hazards involved with outdoor recreational activities, especially during the winter. Be prepared. Even short trips from the Town of Banff can have serious consequences. Minimize your risk by planning ahead.
- Ask for advice at a Parks Canada Information Centre regarding current trail conditions, weather, and trail classifications.
- Be sure you have the most current information on trail conditions by checking trail reports online or by visiting a Parks Canada Information Centre. The report is updated as conditions change and trails are rated for their overall condition; grooming reports are included for cross country ski trails.
Travel beyond these trails may take you through avalanche terrain. In such cases, make sure you have the appropriate knowledge, skills and rescue equipment. For avalanche conditions visit a Parks Canada Information Centre or the avalanche bulletin.
Environment Canada, Weather Forecast, 403-762-2088
Alberta Motor Association, Road Conditions, 403-762-1450
Avalanche Bulletin, 1-800-667-1105
Note: Cell phones are not always reliable throughout the park.