Syncline ski area is a pleasant system of cross country trails located near the base of Castle Mountain in Southern Alberta. The trails are not groomed and are maintained by a group of volunteers.
Snow conditions here are not as reliable for x-country skiing as nearby Waterton National Park. Before heading out to Syncline, I would recommend that you call Castle Mountain ski resort
and ask how much snow there is at the base for cross country skiing at Syncline. Other options for x-country skiing in the area include the Allison-Chinook Cross country ski area, also desribed here on trailpeak.
Snow was pretty good for us this past February 5th, 2006, although there were areas where the ground was bare from the fierce winds coming off of the nearby hills. The southern 'lake loop' is more sheltered by the topography and trees and as a result had much better snow conditions. We basically skied the entire area including the Racer's and lake loops in about 5 hours. Snow conditions were much better towards the south. To the North there is more exposure and the ground was more barren from the ferocious winds that are common to southern Alberta.
Note 1: at marker '11' we got a bit disoriented and turned left instead of right and ended up back near the road. Generally signage is quite good and it is pretty easy to stay on course but entirely possible to stray OFF course!
Note 2: At this point there is a green circle marker indicating the sharp turn back to the main network of trails. There are couple of offshooting trails here not shown on the map. One leads to Castle river, the other continues on indefinitely.
Following the access road to Castle Mountain ski resort look for a small parking area on the left hand side of the road denoted by a sign that says 'Syncline ski area'. There are two parking areas, the second parking lot is further south and is the best bet as the ski area here is more sheltered and has a better chance of having good snow cover.
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