Hilda Ridge
On 23 December 2018, Mike Lisenko, Zosia Zgolak and I skied up Hilda Ridge at the north end of Alberta's Banff National Park.  After spending the previous night at Beauty Creek Hostel in adjoining Jasper National Park, we packed up and moved our gear over to Hilda Creek Hostel which is located along the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) just south of the boundary between the two parks.  Another group from the town of Jasper was still occupying the hostel when we arrived, but they were on their way out and did not mind us leaving our gear in the main cabin which is about a 200-metre walk/ski from the highway.  Andrea Battistel and Peter Alvarado Henostroza also joined us at Hilda Creek Hostel that morning although they would not be spending the night there (they were already staying at Mosquito Creek Hostel further to the south).

From the back of the hostel, we briefly followed some skier tracks, but we soon left them and broke our own trail to the north.  We then dropped down slightly to cross a creek before climbing up the forested lower half of Hilda Ridge on the other side.  Upon gaining the crest of the ridge, we were delighted to find some old tracks heading uphill.  In retrospect, it might have been easier for us to backtrack from the hostel and gain the east end of Hilda Ridge from the highway, but our short cut was not terribly arduous.

We eventually climbed past the last trees and ventured a little further up the increasingly steep ridge.  Concerns about the "Considerable" avalanche hazard for the weekend kept us off some enticing slopes to climber's left, but we still managed a few turns on the crest of the ridge.  For the most part, we spent the rest of the day yo-yoing the open sections of the ridge below tree line which were much safer but still held plenty of fresh powder to play in.

I retired earlier than the others and made my own way down the east end of Hilda Ridge without too much difficulty.  Upon reaching the highway, I simply followed it back to our entry point to Hilda Creek Hostel.  The hostel was deserted when I arrived, and after changing into dry clothes and organizing my gear, I curled up with a good book to await the return of the others.  Andrea, Peter, Mike and Zosia arrived a little later in good spirits, and we all sat down for some food and refreshments in the main cabin to round out another fun day of skiing.
Onward! The group climbs up a broken trail just behind Hilda Creek Hostel.
Zosia found an easy crossing at upper right in the photo. Crossing Hilda Creek is a bit of a challenge.
Yeah, we're not climbing up there today! The group gets their first glimpse of Hilda Peak from Hilda Ridge.
Still going strong! The trees begin to thin out higher up on Hilda Ridge.
Those slopes on the left looked very enticing, but we avoided them because of the "Considerable" avalanche hazard. Mike climbs past the last trees on the ridge.
Good enough for today! Zosia would get as far as here before removing her climbing skins to ski back down.
That was a fun scramble. Nigel Peak dominates the view to the north from Hilda Ridge.
Time to rip a few turns! This the view to the east from the highest point reached by Sonny on Hilda Ridge.
Peter is a wild skier with no fear! After going back up for another run, Peter has crashed in the snow below Mike.
Peter is unflappable! Peter dusts himself off and carries on skiing.
That was a fun day of skiing! Here is a last look at Hilda Peak and Hilda Ridge from the highway.
Home, sweet home! Hilda Creek Hostel is a cozy place to spend a winter night along the Icefields Parkway.