Sara Montgomery - Winter in the Canadian Rockies

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Winter in Canada's Rockies

By Sara Montgomery

Derrick running Lake Minnewanka

Within hours of stepping foot in Banff National Park last fall, Derrick and I stopped to pick up a few maps of our planned areas to run in, and noticed a book that made us do a double-take as we both grabbed for it. Mountain Running in the Canadian Rockies: Bow Valley Edition (2009) is a guide book written specifically for trail runners by Bob Walker. It seemed too good to be true, as the norm is to rely on information for hikers. This is fine, but has some disadvantages in that the estimated times are not applicable, and the footing and grade may not always be what we are looking for when running. This book seemed written just for us, and we had high hopes that it would help us enjoy our few precious days of running here.

The guide is broken into categories by area (Kananaskis, Banff, Canmore, Kootenay), and each run is given a difficulty rating, overall quality rating, distance, elevation change, estimated time to run, description, directions, any helpful tips or variations, maps, and photos. There are 80 different runs in total, and range from easy jaunts of less than 5 km to extreme journeys up to 85 km which can be split into two or more days.

While in the area we tackled four of the routes listed in the guidebook: Ink Pots, Lake Minnewanka, and Sulphur Mountain in Banff; and Highline Trail in Canmore. We found the guide to be full of inspiration and useful information, while also being concise – each run typically fits on a single page. It is a great little book to tuck in your pack as you head out to explore the Rockies. We are hoping for more editions covering areas further north in the Canadian Rockies to help us uncover more running gems in future visits.


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