Molar Meadows
Zosia Zgolak and I skied to Molar Meadows in Alberta's Banff National Park on 5 March 2022.  This fairly straightforward ski tour is described in Chic Scott's Ski Trails in the Canadian Rockies.  Although there are opportunities for making ski turns in the vicinity of the meadows, most of the approach along Mosquito Creek is relatively flat.  As such, we opted to use light touring ski gear for this trip.

Starting from Mosquito Creek trailhead (along Highway 93, 24.0 kilometres north of the junction with Trans-Canada Highway), Zosia and I started with a quick visit to an impressive icefall not far upstream of the trailhead kiosk.  Unfortunately, it is not feasible to continue skiing upstream past the icefall, and we had to backtrack to the trailhead kiosk to take the official trail which climbs steeply for the first few hundred metres before levelling off.  Despite having an already broken trail to follow, our ski to the Mosquito Creek backcountry campground seemed slow and labourious mostly because of me.  Recovering from a leg injury, Zosia still easily outpaced me throughout the day as I struggled with both a nagging sore ankle and my grip wax.

Beyond the campground, Zosia and I had to break trail through about fifteen centimetres of fresh snow covering an old track which followed a tributary of Mosquito Creek to the southeast.  Ironically, we made better progress here after electing to strap on our climbing skins.  After passing a signed junction about two kilometres from the campground, we began to climb more steeply while zigzagging up a forested slope.  We eventually broke out of the trees and reached a high point of sorts at the edge of Molar Meadows.  On this sunny day, the scenery at Molar Meadows did not disappoint, but just when Zosia and I were beginning to wonder why there was nobody else here, a horde of skiers began appearing behind us.  The first two skiers to follow us up turned out to be a Polish acquaintance of Zosia's and her partner while close behind them was a large ski group which numbered more than a dozen people.

Although it would have been nice to explore Molar Meadows more, the lateness of the day prompted Zosia and me to turn around once we had our fill of socializing with the other skiers.  The descent from the meadows to the valley was challenging, at least for me, with light touring gear.  Zosia danced down the forested slope seemingly effortlessly while I had a couple of inevitable wipeouts.  The ski out the valley felt long and tedious because there are a lot of annoying little uphill sections along the way.  In contrast, the final steep and narrow descent to the trailhead kiosk was fast and terrifying.  Zosia managed to make it all the way down on her skis, but I was not too proud to pick up my skis and walk down the final steep section.
Ice, ice baby!

Zosia checks out an impressive icefall not far from the trailhead.

Hopefully, future ski ascents for me...

Quartzite Peak, Ramp Peak and Mosquito Mountain stretch across the horizon as Zosia skis up Mosquito Creek valley.


I would like to climb this someday...

The Fang stands out in the distance through a break in the trees.

Solid. Zosia cautiously crosses a snow bridge.
Stay left? Zosia reaches a signed junction.
Feels like spring here! The trees begin to thin out as Zosia skis further up the valley.
What a nice day to be here! Zosia arrives at Molar Meadows.
Definitely avalanche terrain! Behind Sonny is the precipitous northeast aspect of Noseeum Mountain.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

We'll be back when time and energy are more plentiful.

Although Molar Meadows invites further exploration, Sonny and Zosia make this their turnaround point (2297 metres) for the day.


Seems a shame to leave so quickly... Zosia heads back down into the valley.

Skiers' paradise?

Mosquito Mountain dominates the north side of Molar Meadows..


Lotsa annoying little uphill sections on the way out! Zosia gets a good view of Bow Peak (right) as she skis out Mosquito Creek valley.
The meadows are spectacular, but it's a labourious ski both to get there and back. Total Distance:  17.9 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  8 hours 2 minutes
Cumulative Elevation Gain:  579 metres

GPX Data