Kananaskis Snowshoeing and Snow Shelters Trip

Feb. 18 to 21, 2020

Catalyst at the Schulich School of Engineering is pleased to be offering Outdoor Leadership Experiences. Outdoor experiences provide an opportunity to develop key leadership skills such as teamwork, overcoming adversity and problem solving. Through participating in these adventures, our students will be equipped with the skills and resources they need to be strong engineering leaders.

The Smith-Dorrien region of Kananaskis receives steady and significant snow, and provides a fantastic site for an introduction to winter camping and other snow activities. The Rummel Lake route is a moderate trail to a beautiful sub-alpine destination with varied terrain and plenty of snow that is perfect for building.

Key information




Winter 2020

Program type

Group study

Application information

Application status


Apply now!

Application deadline

Midnight, Jan. 25, 2020

Additional requirements

This program is open to graduate and undergraduate students in the Schulich School of Engineering. See the eligibility section below for more details.

Info session

Outdoor Engineering Experiences
Jan. 14, 2020 
5 to 6 p.m.
ENA 101

Snow shoeing
Snow shoeing

Have questions?

For program information, please contact Emily Wyatt at globalengineering@ucalgary.ca.  

Program details

No courses are associated with this co-curricular experiential learning opportunity. As well, no formal prerequisites are required.

Feb. 18 to 22, 2020

Day 1 (classroom): We will meet at the Outdoor Centre (exact timing and location TBD). After introductions, we will discuss trip objectives, check equipment and plan our trip. The planning will be designed to provide you with the basic skills you need to travel safely in a winter environment. We’ll discuss winter camping and survival as well as the snow shelters we'll be building on the trip. Leadership skills are an important ingredient of our success/safety and will be embedded throughout this trip.

Day 2: We will drive two hours to the Kananaskis trailhead, then strap on snowshoes, get to know the terrain and spend the day hiking up to Rummel Lake. We'll set up tents for the night and cook dinner.

Day 3: We will spend the day building snow shelters then sleep in them the second night. 

Day 4: Pack up and enjoy a leisurely snowshoe trek back down to the van where we will then drive back to Calgary.

Cost: $250 per participant

During the trip we will be camping in four-season tents and cooking on camp stoves; basic dishes and cutlery will be required. Each tent group will provide their own food and this will be discussed during the planning day.

This program is open to undergraduate and graduate students in good academic standing with the Schulich School of Engineering. Engineering students of all disciplines are welcome to apply.

Fill out the application form here.

Weather and conditions

Winter conditions are always challenging, and weather at this time of year can be highly variable in temperature and precipitation. While avalanche risk is minimal on this trip, particularly low temperatures or high snowfall levels could necessitate a change to the itinerary. Regardless, expect the trip to be a great adventure in a beautiful area.

Is this for me?

This is suitable for a first-time winter camping trip for those with some experience in outdoor activities. Fitness requirements are moderate, appropriate for generally active participants. We will be carrying full packs six kilometers with a 400-metre elevation gain. Once there, we'll spend time making snow shelters. The effort required to carry a full winter pack uphill and spend multiple days in the deep snow and cold should not be disregarded. No snowshoeing experience is necessary, but previous hiking and camping experience will be valuable, as would experience on winter day-trips to the mountains to ski, hike or snowshoe.  


Understanding the nature of this trip should help with your training throughout the winter. Winter day tripping with a 40- to 50-pound pack is recommended as the best training, however all hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and ski touring is good training.

Equipment and clothing

The Outdoor Centre will supply snowshoes, backpacks, sleeping bags and sleeping pads along with other group items. Clothing and other personal items you must provide yourself (winter boots and outer shell clothing are available to rent at the Outdoor Centre). The quality of the clothing and equipment you bring will have a big impact on the quality of your experience. If you're unsure about anything please don’t hesitate to call and ask us!

Equipment list

We provide:

  • Backpack (at least 65 litres - large enough for a sleeping bag, spare clothes, and your share of the group's food and equipment)
  • Sleeping bag, sleeping pad and four-season bivy sacks (individual tents)
  • Camping stoves, fuel and pot sets
  • Snowshoes and poles
  • Shovels

You need to bring:

  • Warm, waterproof winter boots
  • Sunglasses (ski goggles are also a good idea)
  • Sunscreen, and UV-protective lip balm
  • Bowl, large mug and cutlery (unbreakable plastic or light metal set works best - no glass or ceramics)
  • Cooking utensils as required
  • Water bottle (at least one-litre capacity) and/or thermos
  • Headlamp with fresh batteries
  • Small blister and personal first-aid kit
  • Personal toiletries including hand sanatizer

Clothing list

We suggest layers of light, easily-carried clothing that allow for quick and easy adjustment to best suit fast-changing temperature conditions. Cotton clothing is not appropriate as it causes rapid heat loss when wet.

  • Long underwear top and bottoms (lightweight synthetic or Merino wool)
  • Extra-warm shirt (synthetic or wool)
  • Medium-weight fleece sweater
  • Soft shell or fleece jacket
  • Soft shell or fleece pants
  • Insulated jacket (down preferred)
  • Waterproof jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or equivalent)
  • Waterproof pants (Gore-Tex or equivalent)
  • Socks (wool or synthetic, several pairs)
  • Waterproof gloves or mitts (several pairs)
  • Warm, insulating tuque (and a spare tuque or ear band)