Ski Alberta


239 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-919433-24-3




Reviewed by Lore Hoar

Lore Hoar is an information consultant living in Calgary.


Ski Alberta is probably the most comprehensive available guide to Alberta’s ski facilities. The bulk of the pages concentrate on cross-country skiing, the fastest growing sport in the province, but there is also a large section on downhill skiing, including a chapter on heli-skiing.

The ski season in Alberta is one of the longest in Canada, partly due to the large variety of skiing conditions available. Along with a number of excellent alpine resorts, there are myriad hills, runs, and trails throughout the province, all of which are mentioned somewhere in this book.

The southern region of the province is dealt with first, starting with the Banff National Park cross-country ski trails. The entries then move south to cover provincial park trails and Waterton National Park. The section is completed by a listing of Calgary municipal trails, both the maintained and the ungroomed ones. The central region is handled in much the same manner, starting with Jasper National Park and ending with Edmonton municipal trails. There also are groomed trails in the northern provincial parks, community trails in the Slave Lake area, in Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray, and in Wood Buffalo National Park.

Within each section, the trails are grouped according to shared terrain or common trail heads. Trail head locations are described by a paragraph, and this is followed by a level of difficulty statement and approximate trail length. Then comes the trail information, which can include trail description, directions, avalanche area warnings, maps, and sometimes historical notes. Where applicable, local contacts are given also. One should be aware of a disclaimer at the front of the book which notes that maps and trail information are constantly being revised and that the descriptions are meant as a general guide only.

The cross-country ski section is rounded off with a chapter on private lodges and guest ranches that offer a wide range of services of interest to the cross-country ski enthusiast.

Alberta downhill skiers also have a tremendous choice of locations. Along with the five major sites in the Rockies, there are numerous regional hills throughout the province. Each listing has a description of its location, ski school program, elevation statistics, number of runs and their level of difficulty, number of lifts and their vertical rise and length, operating hours, ticket prices (already dated), and addresses for further information. The book concludes with the ultimate in the skiing experience, the option of taking part in chartered helicopter trips to remote areas.

Ski Alberta contains over 70 maps and describes over 200 trails ranging from family-oriented city trails to stamina-testing mountain tours. It is an informative and truly comprehensive guide that needs to be tempered only with the knowledge of one’s own limitations.


Barry, Margaret, and Brian Savage, “Ski Alberta,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 22, 2024,