The Window Mountain area in the Crowsnest Pass has exceptional sledding trails. The Crowsnest Mountain/Window Mountain Lake Trail vicinity has cutblocks, a pipeline and numerous spur roads off the main trail to 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. Riders have access to many areas including Crowsnest Mountain, Seven Sisters Mountain and Window Mountain. This trail can also turn into something bigger for more advanced riders if they so choose, topping out over Racehorse Pass and Deadmans Pass.
Photo courtesy Shawn Schwengler
The terrain throughout southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass is a vast playground for snowmobiling enthusiasts. The 1,200 kilometres of established trails—about 200 of them groomed—allow groups with mixed skill levels to start and finish their rides together in areas that accommodate both beginner and expert sledders.
“If you have riders of different levels in your group, we have the groomed trails that take you out to the bowls,” said Doug Cox, president of the Crow Snow Riders. “The beginners can play around in the bottom of the bowl, where the sledding is not so technical, and the advanced sledders can go out on the sides of the mountains—so everybody can get the most enjoyment out of their sledding.”
This corner of Alberta has an extensive network of sledding trails, attracting riders near and far. To the south, the most popular rides are Lost Lake, York Creek and, farther south, the McDonald range. To the north, some of the fun rides are Atlas, Window Mountain, Tornado Mountain and Spoon Valley.
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The Lost Lake Trail—considered an intermediate challenge—is a 60- to 70-kilometre ride. There are groomed trails all the way from the staging areas at York Creek and Satoris to the bowl, then you go up through ravines and drop down to a lake that’s right up against the Continental Divide. This is a user-friendly 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. Newer riders can play and practise their carves on the lake, while more adventurous 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 waterfall called the North Kootenay Pass Trail.
Photo courtesy Raven Eye Photography
Carmen Hudson basks in perfect conditions in the Crowsnest Pass. The south trail system on York Creek is a local favourite. Within, you’ll find a famous Second World War plane crash site, which offers some great off-trail powder riding. “The York Creek area, anywhere up there is good,” said Brett Linderman, a Crowsnest Pass native with many secret powder stashes. “There’s a nice, big trail right to the basin and then you can go over to the plane crash from there or you can go over to Lost Lake to the south cabin. Around here, we can do anything. There’s hillclimbing, lots of technical tree riding and trail riding.”
Photo courtesy Dean Hudson
This is the view from Lost Creek looking down into Corbin, B.C. The Lost Creek area boasts various types of riding all in one place, from technical terrain to tight trees, steep gullies and frozen creek beds. There are two new cabins on the north and south sides and the local club does an amazing job at grooming the trails. “Because of a fire in 2003, there is a burn which features great riding in lots of snow,” said Brent Linderman. “I love riding from Alberta to British Columbia back and forth. You're just out there with no speed limits and you can go where you want. You're free when you're out there riding it, and the country around here is just beautiful.”
Photo courtesy Brent Linderman
Jennifer Dewar-Jones is hooked on the fun and the beauty of the Crowsnest Pass. Because of the length—140 kilometres—the North Fork Pass is for more experienced riders as it will take a full day. The north cabin can be accessed on this loop although it's a little out of the way. There is a cabin along the way that is maintained by the Elkford Snowmobile Club. Adventurers will find lots of trees and opportunities for powder riding.
Photo courtesy Andrew Bokkel