This season has been all about checking out new zones. Dolomite Shoulder is a classic spot near the south end of the Parkway, right across the highway from Mosquito Hostel and Bow Peak.
Dolomite Shoulder is a stunning viewpoint on a bluebird day, with incredible views in all directions and some really inspiring peaks to the south. The cool thing about Dolomite Shoulder is that there is a ton of explorable terrain in the area, with lots of interesting lines on Dolomite proper, and a ton of interesting terrain toward the dolomite circuit, puzzle peak, and Noseeum peak areas.
The tour itself is around a ~9km round trip (one way loop) with around 800m of elevation gain, and an option for an additional 100m+ or more if you decide to ascend the final steep, often wind blasted pitch of the shoulder. This is optional however, as it doesn’t necessarily add much good skiing, only more views! The area is popular, so you are likely to find a good skin track with lots of options for accessing the area.
From the high point on the ridge, there are two excellent pitches of skiing in good conditions, and one steep final pitch to the valley between Puzzle and Dolomite that requires excellent snow conditions. Alternately you can scoot right before the final steep pitch to find mellower slopes to descend if things are looking too sketchy.
For more information on this area, be sure to pick up Marcus Baranow’s Guidebook: “The Icefields Parkway: Lake Louise to Bow Summit” which is easily the best overview of the Parkway and surrounding areas currently available. Big thanks to Marcus for putting so much work into compiling and sharing all this information with us.
Important note/disclaimer: There is a significant amount of avalanche hazard on the eastern slopes of Dolomite shoulder, with multiple slopes prone to sliding. This can be a highly reactive and dangerous zone when conditions are unstable, and accidents have occurred here.
Always use your own experience & judgment when making decisions, and check https://avalanche.ca for the most up to date avalanche forecasting.