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Banff area: where to buy ice cleats and rent snowshoes for a week?

Banff area: where to buy ice cleats and rent snowshoes for a week?

Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 05:14 AM
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Banff area: where to buy ice cleats and rent snowshoes for a week?

Hi! We are in Banff/Jasper (first time) next week for 10 days. Plan to do lots of exploring, hiking and ice walks. We are active in our 50's with a teen son. Instead of daily rentals, looking to have the gear for a week. Any tips for buying inexpensive ice cleats? Thank you!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 07:24 AM
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Welcome!

I would keep a careful eye on trail/weather conditions - given the warm weather, a lot of trails are in very mucky/icy/soft snow condition rather than winter snow. In addition, it is still very much avalanche season and the snowpack is twitchy - a snow-shoer was killed this past weekend by an avalanche near Canmore.

Hiking is probably going to be very limited - the snow is quite packed down in places, but the warms temps are making for mud, ice and very isothermic (soft) snow. You will want to have solid ice cleats, good waterproof footwear, hiking poles and start early so you can take advantage of cool temps & supportive snow in the mornings.

For snowshoeing, there may be limited options right around Jasper because of the warm temps. Venturing further afoot requires knowledge of the terrain so you stay in safe areas. It's strongly suggested to stop in at the parks centres in Jasper/Banff/Lake Louise for advice/trail conditions before heading out. Probably little in the immediate Banff townsite area because there's just no snow, but still plenty of possibilities on the non-groomed trails at Lake Louise.

I would check about Ice Walks. You can walk around Johnston Canyon any time (ice cleats strongly suggested - those trails get VERY slippery when packed down), but I'd stay on the trail now, as the creek/river could well have thin ice & lots of open spots. Same at Maligne Canyon - with warm temps, the ice may be getting very soft & thin in spots. If you are thinking of an actual Ice Walk tour, I would contact the company ahead of time to confirm that conditions are still good.

Would you be buying/renting in Banff or Jasper?

For buying ice cleats, Monods in Banff, Wilsons in Jasper, Valhalla Pure or Switching Gear in Canmore, Gravity Gear or Everest Outdoor in Jasper. For rentals, not sure about Banff but there are several rental places around, but Wilsons in Lake Louise and Gravity Gear in Jasper.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 07:39 AM
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Banff rentals - Banff Adventures or Ultimate Sports. Gear Up in Canmore has a wide range in rentals.
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