Cross-Country Ski Trails

Cross country skiier gliding over the snow

Red Deer has a network of Cross Country ski trails for all to enjoy.

Trail Etiquette
  • Respect groomed ski trails. Foot, paw, snowshoe and bicycle prints damage ski tracks.
  • Snowshoers are asked to avoid classic ski trails and use skate ski lanes or ungroomed areas instead. Trail types are indicated on the maps below.
  • If you fall, move off the track and fill in any holes left behind so it is safe for the next skiers.
  • Faster skiers should step around slower skiers when it is safe to do so.
  • Trails are 2-way unless otherwise noted. Observe directional signage and always follow the proper direction on one-way trails.
  • Where there is only one track, all skiers should keep to the right regardless of the side the track is on.
  • Use caution on hills and always keep to the right.
  • Please pack out all litter.
  • Be courteous and helpful to fellow skiers. A friendly “hello” and “thank you” are always welcome.
  • Know your route before heading out. Trail maps are available below.
  • Use only trails that are suited to your ability and fitness level.
  • Never ski on rivers or creeks; the flowing water below can cause thin ice.
  • When stopping, step off the tracks or trail with your equipment so others may pass safely.
  • To prevent hypothermia and fatigue, bring along water and high-energy snacks.
  • Keep clear of grooming equipment as operators may not see or hear skiers.
  • Carrying extra wax and clothing can help if conditions change while you’re on the trail.
Helpful Tips

Skiing Styles

There are two main styles of cross country skiing, which apply to different surfaces. Specialized equipment is available for each technique. Poles are used in both techniques to increase momentum.

  • Classic skiing refers to traditional methods commonly associated with the sport, and is ideal for groomed trails as well as undisturbed snow. With this technique, one ski is pushed forward from the other stationary ski in a striding and gliding motion, alternating between each foot. Classic skiing relies on wax or texture on the base of the ski for traction.
  • Skate skiing resembles ice-skating and is ideal for firm, smooth snow surfaces. It involves a coordinated use of poles and the upper body to aid in forward momentum.

Travel Time

Snow conditions, trail difficulty, weather and a skier's ability impact the time it takes to get around on a pair of skis. To ski for approximately ONE HOUR on groomed trails, you should plan to travel:

Family with young children 2 – 4 km
Beginner 4 – 6 km
Intermediate 6 – 8 km
Advanced 8 – 14 km

Waxing is an important component of cross country skiing, and using the right wax can make a day of skiing much more enjoyable. The two main types of wax used on skis are glide wax and kick wax.

  • Classical/traditional skis – Kick wax, or grip wax, is applied to the base of waxable classic skis to assist with traction in the snow. Glide wax may be applied to the tip and tail of the skis.
  • Skate skis can be waxed with glide wax, applied along the entire length of the ski.

For more information on waxes and overall ski maintenance, contact your local ski shop or Red Deer Nordic Ski Community.

Before heading out
  • Check the weather forecast and be sure to pack proper clothing and equipment for the conditions.
  • Check current trail conditions through the Red Deer Nordic ski club.
  • Sunlight can burn even on cold and cloudy days. Take care to protect your skin and eyes from the sun and wind
  • Bring sufficient water to ensure you stay hydrated
  • Watch for signs of frost-bite, hypothermia and fatigue
  • Washroom access is available at River Bend Golf & Recreation Area and Heritage Ranch. Please check hours of operation before heading out:
Etiquette for dog owners
  • Always keep your dog leashed, in accordance with City bylaws
  • Always clean up after your dog by using a pick-up bag
  • Only let your dog visit with other skiers or dogs when welcomed
  • Paw prints damage ski trails so please ensure your dog walks beside the trail rather than on it, and be sure to repair any damages to the trail caused by your dog


Great Chief Park / Kiwanis Ski Trails Great Chief Park Ski Trails Map (pdf)
Heritage Ranch Heritage Ranch Ski Trails Map (pdf)
River Bend Golf and Recreation Area  River Bend Ski Trails (pdf)
Barrett Park Barrett Park Ski Trails Map (pdf)

For additional information on cross country ski trails and programming in Red Deer, please visit Red Deer Nordic Ski Community. The City is grateful for the effort and dedication of volunteers from the Parkland Cross Country Ski Club for trail grooming and track-setting from Great Chief Park to Heritage Ranch. Trail grooming and track-setting at River Bend are provided by the River Bend Golf and Recreation Society.