Hidden Bowl
When I last skied to Hidden Bowl behind Lake Louise Ski Resort in Alberta's Banff National Park, I had blister issues with my boots, and consequently, I only made it as far as the entrance to the bowl.  I returned on 26 January 2019 with Zosia Zgolak in hopes of exploring more of the upper reaches of the bowl.  As usual, we started from the Fish Creek trailhead and skinned up the resort's ski-out.  I have climbed up this ski-out so many times that it now almost seems inconsequential if not downright boring.  Passing Temple Lodge, we continued along the well-traveled trail to Skoki Lodge.  Shortly before reaching Halfway Hut, we veered to the left onto a second set of tracks which crossed a bridge over Corral Creek.  The tracks led us nicely almost all the way into Hidden Bowl without too much difficulty.  Somewhat surprisingly, we did not see any fresh ski tracks, and the bowl was completely deserted except for two other skiers who showed up a little later but did not venture very far into the bowl.  We did not have a particular objective in mind and simply worked our way up moderately steep slopes until we reached a high plateau of sorts.  We were actually not that far from the high point of Richardson Ridge, and had I known how close we were, I may have considered pushing a little further up.  Having said that, we were already quite happy with how high we climbed, and tagging the high point of Richardson Ridge would be a good excuse to return to this wonderful area anyway.  A chilly wind made it uncomfortable to linger on the little plateau we reached, and as soon as we removed our skins, we started our descent back into the bowl. Flat light, some wind crust and some sticky snow made for some so-so skiing, and I fear that, after our recent fabulous ski outings in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, I am starting to become a bit of a snow snob!  The best skiing turned out to be in the trees below the entrance to the bowl, but unfortunately, that was too short-lived to warrant any additional laps if we had been so inclined.  Instead, we glided back to Skoki Lodge trail and subsequently returned to the ski resort where we stopped for a break at Temple Lodge.  From there, we rode the Ptarmigan Chairlift and got some extra skiing down the front side of the ski resort.  Unfortunately, this meant that we had a slight uphill climb without skins to get back to my car at Fish Creek trailhead--not nearly the ideal finish to our trip.
What a cutie! A pine marten stares back from a tree along the ski-out.
Got lucky with the moon! One of the first views from the ski-out includes some of the peaks in the Lake Louise area and the moon.
The snowshoer had no poles...just a cel phone in her hands!

A snowshoer follows Zosia across a ski run above Temple Lodge (lower left).  The Skoki Lodge trail begins on the far side of the ski run.

Look, there's some blue sky! After leaving the trail to Skoki Lodge, Zosia crosses a bridge over Corral Creek.
The best skiing of the day would be on this slope. Zosia approaches the steepest slope before entering Hidden Bowl.
That sunshine felt wonderful! Zosia arrives at Hidden Bowl.  The high point of Richardson Ridge is right of centre on the horizon.

Simply breathtaking!

There are many options for ski touring in Hidden Bowl.


We started to feel a chilly wind here.

Zosia heads for a high plateau just left of centre and below the ridge.  Note the windblown snow in the foreground.


With a bit more determination, we probably could have tagged Richardson Ridge, but it will be nicer to come back on a clearer day. Zosia climbs the last few metres onto the high plateau.  The crest of Richardson Ridge is not much higher than the plateau.
Damn flat light! After removing her skins, Zosia is ready to ski back down Hidden Bowl from the plateau.
It's a shame, really. Sonny finds the ski conditions to be somewhat marginal because of the flat light and inconsistent snow.

It would be worth coming back here to see all this on a bluebird day!

The top of Redoubt Mountain is partly covered by clouds as Zosia descends Hidden Bowl.


We should have just yo-yoed this part! The skiing is significantly better upon exiting Hidden Bowl.
I would like to ski Ptarmigan Peak one of these days... Pika Peak and Ptarmigan Peak are finally clear of clouds as Zosia glides back to Skoki Lodge trail.

Lipalian Mountain at far left is high on our to-do list...

Zosia pauses to enjoy the distant view of some of the Ten Peaks near Moraine Lake and massive Mount Temple.


I feel like a lifeguard! Sonny sits on the ultimate high chair at Temple Lodge.
We've done this before! After riding the Ptarmigan Chair, Zosia prepares to ski down the front side of Lake Louise Ski Resort.

Never get tired of this view!

The view across the valley includes such peaks as Mount Temple, Wastach Mountain, Saddle Mountain, Haddo Peak, Mount Aberdeen, Fairview Mountain, Mount Victoria, Mount Whyte, Mount St. Piran, and Mount Niblock.


Some unfinished business in the area means we'll be back! Total Distance:  21.6 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  7 hours 47 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  849 metres

GPX Data