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Westerly Views From Skogan Pass

Ribbon Creek to Skogan Pass on Skis

With another sunny weekend in the forecast it was time to do some skiing in Kananaskis Country. Our goal was to ski to Skogan Pass from the trailhead for Troll Falls. We’d almost made it to Skogan Pass a few weeks before from the Dead Man’s Flats trailhead and relished another chance to actually reach the pass. It’s a lot more challenging skiing to the pass from Dead Man’s Flats – as snow cover is generally thinner at the bottom and the trail isn’t nearly as wide.

Read: Skiing to Skogan Pass from Dead Man’s Flats

The start of the trail to Skogan Pass
The start of the trail to Skogan Pass

We were slow to get going and didn’t actually start skiing until 10:45 AM. But as this was a spring trip we knew we had lots of daylight and our friend Carol who was joining us had actually done it the day before. She figured we could be on top in three hours. And she was right.

Ribbon Creek to Skogan Pass – the route from the parking lot near Nakiska

The trail starts off flat, for all of about 100 m. Then you climb 625 m (2,050 feet) over the next 10.4 km (6.4 miles) though the signage now suggests 13 km to reach Skogan Pass.

The grade is gentle – especially when I compare it to the steep climbing we did from Dead Man’s Flats. On that trail I needed skins. On this one I just had to wax up a few more times.

The trail is easy to follow, especially considering the maze of trails at lower elevations. At every junction there is a sign with mileage markers so you know exactly how far you have to go.

Skiing in Kananaskis: Ribbon Creek to Skogan Pass
Skiing on ice is always interesting!
It's a steady climb to the top
It’s a steady climb to the top

The trail is often track-set

The trails in early season can be dodgy but when conditions permit it gets track-set. Early on the trail was covered by sheer ice in a couple of places, probably because of a nearby spring.

Often snow cover is thin near the bottom, but overall the trail is in great shape. As it warms up in spring you may have to walk the first kilometre or two. But the higher you climb the better the snow and there’s usually lots of it up high.

Skiing in Kananaskis: Ribbon Creek to Skogan Pass
Stopping to admire the ski trails at Nakiska from the trail to Skogan Pass
You get some good views of the Nakiska Ski Resort
You get some good views of the Nakiska Ski Resort

We ran into a total of nine people over 4.5 hours. So basically you have the trails to yourself which I find amazing when you have a glorious blue sky kind of day. Perhaps everyone was off skiing in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park – but the trailhead for Skogan is just one hour from Calgary!

Climbing but at least the views are outstanding
Climbing but at least the views are outstanding
Skiing in Kananaskis: Ribbon Creek to Skogan Pass
Westerly views from Skogan Pass
Looking down towards Canmore - and the route we'd done two weeks earlier
Looking down towards Canmore – and the route we’d done two weeks earlier
Skiing in Kananaskis: Ribbon Creek to Skogan Pass
Me taking in the view

We stopped for water, food and waxing sessions on the way up but still made it to the pass in just over three hours.

The return is fast and FUN! We were down in just over an hour. 

This ski isn’t one that novice cross-country skiers are going to enjoy.

It's a fun, beautiful ski back to the trailhead from Skogan Pass
It’s a fun, beautiful ski back to the trailhead from Skogan Pass
Some big mountain views towards the end of the day
Some big mountain views towards the end of the day
A map of the maze of trails - Skogan Pass starts at the bottom right and goes off the map at the top
A map of the maze of trails – Skogan Pass starts at the bottom right and goes off the map at the top

Affiliate links ahead, which means I receive a small percentage if you purchase anything through them at no extra cost to you. This helps me provide free content on this site. 

We started skiing from the parking lot that is signed for Troll Falls. After you’ve turn off for Nakiska Mountain Resort look out for a road heading down to your right, about a kilometre in from the highway. There’s a big parking lot and a trail map there. 

It is a much easier ski to Skogan Pass from Ribbon Creek than it is from Dead Man’s Flat. But I liked the challenge of skiing from Dead Man’s Flat and would recommend it after it’s got some fresh snow. The next time I do this trip I think I’ll string the two routes together with a car shuttle.

An option to ski to the Hummingbird Plume Cabin

The Hummingbird Plume Cabin is barely standing
The Hummingbird Plume Cabin is barely standing
On a clear day you'd get a superb view up and down Highway 40
On a clear day you’d get a superb view up and down Highway 40
It's rickety inside the cabin
It’s rickety inside the cabin

Further reading on cross-country skiing in Alberta

And if you’re looking for more ideas on where to cross-country ski in Alberta I highly recommend the book – Ski Trails in the Canadian Rockies.

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest board.

Skiing in Kananaskis: Ribbon Creek to Skogan Pass

 

 

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

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