Waterton Lakes National Park
Family Day, February 20/2012
About 3pm my husband and I picked up the alpine touring skis and poles from Waterton Lakes Resort front desk and drove up the Cameron Road as far as the Crandell Lake trailhead. We put on our regular ski boots and clipped into the touring skis and started up the trail. The trail is well traveled and easy to follow. The afternoon was just beautiful; about minus 3Celcius, a light breeze and overcast. We met two families with young children coming back from the lake on snowshoes and on foot.
Because the bindings allowed the heel to lift as we walked up the trail, and with the “skins” (a thin layer of cloth) attached to the bottom of the skis, uphill climbing was no problem – just a gentle work-out. We did stop and rest more as we neared the lake where the trail takes a steeper pitch. At the top, we removed the skins for the ski down (a fairly simple procedure). The downhill was a bit uncomfortable for me on the steeper sections as the trail was also pretty narrow compared to a normal ski run, but I managed alright by doing a lot of snow-ploughing. Lockey skied ahead and would yell back when it was necessary to keep up the speed for the next uphill section. We did have to walk uphill a couple of times. Without the added grip of the skins, this was a good arm workout using the poles and manoeuvring the skis somewhat sideways uphill, but it was not extensive.
Lockey kept his heels locked into the bindings on the way down, but I found it was easier to unlock my heels. I would recommend a pair of very comfortable ski boots, as the walking did create some rubbing on the ankles. I hope to try a pair of alpine touring boots for the next trip, which are lighter and probably more comfortable than traditional downhill ski boots.
I did not find this a very significant aerobic workout (about 2km round trip), but once I get used to the trail and feel of the skis and am more proficient at moving, I can push myself more. I do have soreness in the calves today, indicating that I was getting exercise! Another beautiful and fun day in Waterton!