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A Ski Tour into the Cascade Amphitheatre
Timestamp Free: 2020.10.22 - 06:53:42
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Front Ranges
  (1 days)
Participants: Justin Brown and Neil Baker.
Difficulty: 3: An easy hike on good trail in summer months to the large amphitheatre on Cascade's west side. Approximately 7.5km one way. A moderate ski tour in winter months to the amphitheatre. Steep snow and/or ice and narrow, corniced ridges if you want to summit from here.
A ski tour into the Cascade Amphitheatre located on the west side of Cascade Mountain with the intention of summiting the peak.
Aaahhh... wonderful winter memories. This trip was originally planned to be a week long excursion traversing the Columbia Icefields on skis, summiting Mounts Castleguard and Columbia with my good friend Neil who had recently moved to the Banff area.

The week prior to my arrival in Banff, the Icefields Parkway had been battered on and off with high winds, lots of snowfall and below seasonal normal temperatures. Needless to say the avalanche conditions were high, visibility low and our Icefields adventure would have to wait for some more stable weather conditions.

The weather in Banff was considerably better than the Icefields in the north so we had decided on a few "Plan B" trips around town. Neil had heard from some locals that the Cascade Amphitheatre was a pleasant ski tour with the potential of some good safe tree skiing even under higher avalanche conditions. Looking at the map, there appeared to be a low angled ridge extending west down from the summit of Cascade into the amphitheatre. We decided to pack for a light overnighter just in case conditions permitted a go at the summit.

After a liesurely morning of catching up over an awesome breakfast at Coyotes Grill and Deli in Banff,(french toast highly recommended...yum yum), we arrived at the parking area at the nearby Mount Norquay Ski Area at about 10am. We set off below the bottom of the Sundance chairlift on a trail that skirts through the lowest part of the ski area. The sounds of Kid Rock blared from the speakers at the bottom of the lift as we quickly and quietly slipped through the ski area. The trail continues northward past the ski area and after 1km or so begins to descend slightly toward the Forty Mile Creek valley. Be aware that there is a trail that forks to the right off the main trail...

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