Last Chance to Make First Tracks

Our view while making First Tracks

Skiers and boarders like to talk big about making first tracks, but getting them is actually pretty hard. You’ve got to time it just right. Not only do you need to arrive at the hill before all others (good luck getting up super early in the dead of winter), but first tracks are best savoured after a heavy dump of snow. For the first time in my life, I experienced first tracks this past weekend. It was truly worth the hype. Here’s a look at our experience.

Lake Louise Ski Resort is one Canada’s best ski resorts and our destination for first tracks. It’s about a two-hour drive from our home in Calgary, so we spent the night at the historic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

family lake louise

I heart my family!

We drove out after lunch on Friday so we could make the most of this magical spot in the Rockies. As we cruised along the TransCanada Highway rain turned to snow. Lots of it. It was dumping down for hours on Friday afternoon and evening.

Lake louise ice castle

Always tour through the ice castle on Lake Louise.

That meant we had to make a beeline for the outdoors as soon as we arrived. Lake Louise sports one of the world’s best outdoor ice rinks. With an ice castle to glide through, a separate ice rink for impromptu hockey games and a snowball fort, you’ll stay out way longer than you expected.

ice magic festival

So many ice sculptures at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise during its Ice Magic Festival.

Lake Louise also hosts the Ice Magic Festival. Saunter around the grounds of the Chateau and take in the whimsical works of icy art or see it displayed through town.

tiny snowman

I fell in love with the mini snowman at the ice bar.

Of course, when you come across an ice bar, you must stop for a tipple. Hot chocolate for my girl and mulled wine for me!

alberta mountains winter

It’s hard to beat these Rocky Mountain views at first light.

Embarrassingly, I feel asleep before 9 p.m. on Friday night, but that just meant I was raring to go the next morning. At 8:30 all the First Trackers were ready to roll out with their guides. I didn’t expect guides to be part of the package, but each pair of skiers and boarders had an instructor with them for that first hour to show them the mountain and give performance tips.

Lake Louise ski resort

Where to next?

Not everyone can get First Tracks like this. Today is actually the last day to get your chance. Anyone who purchases $300 or more on alpine ski or board equipment (including helmet, poles, goggles) at Sport Chek gets a free lift ticket and early access for two at one of the participating ski hills across Canada. For lucky Calgarians, who are spoiled for choice, their First Tracks hill is Lake Louise.

As you can see from the pics I hastily took with my iPhone, it was a bluebird day. We cruised all over the mountain, from the front side to the back bowls. And because I switched from my board to demo skis, I was able to tackle different terrain. Moguls are so much easier on two planks!

father and daughter hockey

My family ripped it up on the ice and the snow

This was probably the happiest 24-hours I’ve had all winter. All that fresh air, the thrill of getting the mountain to yourself, enjoying après-ski after burning out my legs. It was one perfect moment after the next. Trouble is, it’s been 15-years since I spent the day on skis and at the end of it, I was as tired as a mom forced to play Lego. Again, I hit the sack early, and I fell asleep thinking I was still swooshing across the slopes. Bliss.

Have you ever made first tracks at a ski resort? What was your experience like?