If you are using this information for your own trip, please read this disclaimer and description of my abilities.
Earlier this week, I was lucky to go ski touring and it ended up being one of my most memorable days in the backcountry. The sun came up shortly after we arrived, sending long shadows of trees on the untouched snow. We were the only ones there after a generous heap of snow the night before. We crossed over to an open area and did a few runs from there, enjoying smooth turns and great views.
Bow Summit can be accessed via the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93) in Banff National Park. Park at the lower Peyto Lake parking lot (there are washrooms here), where you can also have room to test beacons and run a mock avalanche rescue. Make your way up the Peyto Lake Road, a turn your way into the woods from there. If you aren’t the first ones for awhile, you will see a number of track sets heading up the slope and to the left.
Aim for the fireroad (a more open trail that cuts sideways across the mountain) and take that to the left until you reach the slopes of the bowl just beneath Bow Summit. To the far right, looking down the slope, there are some nice open areas. These are avalanche prone, so do a good test of the snow and make the necessary preparations. To get down, make your way back to the fireroad and take it down and left towards the Peyto Lake Road. Once you reach the upper parking lot it is worth checking out Peyto Lake before bootpacking back up and heading down towards the lower parking lot.
This is one of the most accessible touring areas in Banff National Park. Try to head out on a weekday as weekends can get a bit busy with other people touring. Avalanche courses usually do their field days out here as well.
Looking for an avi course? I did mine with Yamnuska Adventures, which offers both AST 1 and 2.
© Meghan J. Ward, 2009.