The Crowsnest Pass, a sled-friendly town

The Crowsnest Pass knows how to cater to snowmobiles

by Trish Drinkle

A photo of the sun going behind a snow filled mountian bowl in the Crowsnest Pass.
The sky is the limit, literally, in the Crowsnest Pass. Awesome bowls, and dry powder-is there anything better? Photo by Meghan Oswald

The Crowsnest Pass is one of the most welcoming, sled-friendly towns in Western Canada.  Often a destination, this area knows how to cater to snowmobilers.  Excellent lodging, and well-maintained trails that are beyond spectacular provide ample opportunity to enjoy winter in all its glory. 

The area's 1,200 kilometres of trails make it a key destination for many riders.  About 200 kilometres are actively groomed to provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience for riders of all skill levels.  The Crow Snow Riders snowmobile club is an active group, that is working hard to grow the sport of snowmobiling.  Be sure to support the club by purchasing a membership or buying trail passes when you visit this spectacular area.  The club is the voice that helps to preserve snowmobiling access in the Crowsnest Pass. 

With amazing views, abundant snowfall and unique wildlife, the Crowsnest Pass has much to offer.  Riders never tire of this area.  As skill levels grow, so does the opportunity for adventure. 

Lost Lake Trail

The Lost Lake Trail is a favourite amongst visitors and locals,  beginners and advanced riders alike.  The 60 kilometre trail to the lake is accesed either at York creek on the west side of Coleman, up Satoris Road along the back side of the Blairmore Ski Hill or up Castle Falls towards Castle Ski Hill, 30 minutes south of the pass.   Many prefer staging at York Creek as there is plenty of room to stage, great parking, and a loading ramp.  The trail is groomed from York Creek to the Lost Lake Shelter.  

This is a very user -riendly trail with plenty of signage to guide travellers along.  While there is a shortcut involving a tiny chute and a drop into the lake, newer riders can still access the lake via a meandering trail through the woods called the Diamond Mine Trail.  Once at the lake it’s game on for everyone who enjoys fresh snow.  Newer riders can play and practise their carves on the lake, while more adventureous riders may choose to bushwhack through the trees.  There are exciting trails for intermediate to advanced riders past Lost Lake, hooking up with Corbin via a trail up a water fall called the North Kootenay Pass Trail.  As with all mountain riding be sure to check avalanche conditions and know before you go.  

Crowsnest Mountain/Window Mountain Lake Trail

Considered super family friendly, this trail system stages at the Atalas staging area, located on the north side of the Valley near Coleman.  Access is easily found right off the highway with ample signage to direct you. 

As of December 4 2013, the Atlas road is being maintained one third of the way up to the North Shelter, as Spray Lakes Sawmill is logging in the area.  The staging area has a loading ramp and outhouses. (much appreciated by lady riders, I may I add).  The trail system offers so much for family adventure.  Cut blocks, a pipeline, and numerous spur roads off the main trail keep riders busy the entire day.  This area also features a warm-up cabin 21 kilometres up the trail for picnic lunches and drying out during the ride.  From this point riders have access to many areas including Crowsnest Mountain, Seven Sisters Mountain, and Window Mountain, the lattter is aptly named as there is a unique limestome arch through the mountain itself. 

This trail can also turn into something bigger for more advanced riders if they so choose.  Topping out over Racehorse Pass and Deadmans Pass, the bowls are big and awesome.  So many secret spots can be found in between that shall not be named. Needless to say, epic and awesome can be yours if you choose the Crowsnest Pass for your next adventure.

Always be prepared and never ride alone in this area.

 Avalanche forecasts can be found http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest/south-rockies
 

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