Mount Shark

by Bob Truman on December 20, 2014

in Dog-friendly, Kananaskis, Mount Shark

Tara and Melissa were having a god time on Watridge Lake road

Tara and Melissa were having a good time on Watridge Lake road

(Click on any photo for a larger image)

Great trip reports coming in from PLPP. It sounds like the fresh snow helped to cover some pine needles.

Michael, Kathy and their dog Peyto

Michael, Kathy and their dog Peyto on Watridge Lake road

Trails at Mt Shark were groomed last night. The remarks on the Live Grooming Report make it sound a bit hazardous, and are probably aimed more at the colour-coded trails…

“Dec 19th: Caution advised: Many early season hazards exist throughout the Mt Shark trail network including very icy sections, bumps and hollows, dirt and rocks, brush, and open water crossings. “

Watridge Lake road

Watridge Lake road

I was cautioned by four different skiers about the colour-coded trails because of icy conditions.

Overall, the conditions were good on Watridge Lake road. In a few places the tracks are a bit thin, and there are a few twigs poking through, but these were of no consequence. I had no annoyances, and there are no pine needles!

Watridge Lake road at Mt Shark

Watridge Lake road at Mt Shark

I used VR45(-2/-8) on one ski with good results. The other ski, with VR50(0/-4) was grabbing a bit. The air temperature was -3°C.

One of the reasons I like going to Mt Shark is to see happy dogs and I wasn’t disappointed. Soon after starting out, I came across Peyto and her people, Michael and Kathy. Peyto is the type of dog who’s right at home in the snow.

I met Gerard at the Watridge Lake junction. It's a further 100 metres down a steep hill to the lake

I met Gerard at the Watridge Lake junction. It’s a further 100 metres down a steep hill to the lake

Watridge Lake road is  trackset all the way to the Spray river at 5.8K. Most people only go as far as Watridge Lake at 3.6K. That could be because at 4.8K there’s a steep, winding downhill which descends to the Spray river and it can be difficult in icy conditions, but today it was fun and the conditions were nearly perfect. The hill loses 80 metres of elevation over a distance of 740 metres. It’s a workout when returning.

Gliding on Watridge Lake road

Gliding on Watridge Lake road

The only problem with the hill was created by a hiker who walked in the middle and post-holed occasionally. Thankfully, any large chunks of snow were already snowplowed over and made it safe for me.

I met Gerard at the Watridge Lake junction as I was returning. He is working at Mt Engadine Lodge for the winter and gave me an update on their ski trail. It’s packed but not yet skiable.

Gerard asked me what lay ahead and I told him 2.2K to the Spray river including a steep hill, and that’s why I was out of breath. He seemed quite delighted when I mentioned the hill, and sped away enthusiastically. As you can see in the photo, he’s young and fit.

The Spray Lakes road was in good winter driving condition.

Just a reminder, 10 days left to enter the Emerald Lake Lodge contest. Even if  you don’t want to enter, you should look at all the fabulous photos.

Lost and Found

Lost Head Lamp on Lake O’Hara Road.
Yes, very embarrassing – I dropped my Black Diamond headlamp on the Ross Lake trail near the O’Hara road or on the lower portion of the road on Friday Dec 19, and was unable to get back to search. Am hoping someone might find it.
Thanks, Ladd Snowsell (403-762-5728)

More photos from today’s skiing at Mt Shark…


Late afternoon report

December 19, 2014
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-Jane and Brian on Whiskey Jack.- It was snowing at the bottom of Whiskey Jack at 5 pm. Hopefully it will continue, and cover all those pine needles with fresh, cold snow.

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Remember when?

December 18, 2014

Update Fri Dec 19 @ 9:15 a.m.: More grooming occurred in PLPP last night, in the “middle” of the park. Check the Live Grooming Report for details. Snow is in the forecast. Thanks for all the trip reports yesterday. Before we go down memory lane, we’re seeing some signs of hope for skiing

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Any suggestions for Alison?

December 17, 2014

Hi Bob, New to your great site. Are you on FB or other ways to get regular updates? I’m looking for a good place to ski this weekend. Easy/mod for my family. Son is 10 yrs. But we are not regular skiers so nothing too long. Suggestions? Thanks Bob! Alison I expect there will be […]

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14K of fantastic skiing(and 3.8K of survival)

December 16, 2014
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-Approaching the Tyrwhitt meadows which are around the corner in the sun.- My goal today was to ski on Tyrwhitt for the first time this year.

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Elk pass and Blueberry hill

December 15, 2014
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Conditions were even better today than on Saturday. With all the skiers yesterday, the tracks are fast but still offering great grip with blue wax.

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Monday musings

December 15, 2014
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Thanks to everybody who left trip reports over the weekend. They’re very helpful to this blog’s thousands of readers in determining where to ski.

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“Test event” for the 2016 World Cup race

December 14, 2014

The World Cup cross-country ski races are coming to Canmore and Lake Louise in 2016. In Lake Louise, they’ll be using Tramline, Moraine Lake road, Fairview and Telemark. It would be

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Sweet sixteen

December 13, 2014
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-Mark and Giselle on Elk pass.- Fifteen wild Decembers have melted into spring since my first foray up that big hill, yet I never grow tired of seeing the fluffy, white pillows

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PLPP Update

December 13, 2014

Update Sat Dec 13 @ 9:15 a.m. We’ve received 3 cm of snow in Canmore and it’s still coming down Elk pass, Tyrwhitt, Hydroline, Patterson, Blueberry Hill, and Lower Lake were groomed last night. Tracksetter Jody gave this report early

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Lake Louise update

December 12, 2014

Lake Louise will be one of the only skiable places on Saturday. It appears that everything else has turned to ice. There’s 2-4 cm of snow in the forecast for Kananaskis, Canmore, and Banff. That might help rejuvenate some trails. We’ve had

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Good news from Lake Louise

December 11, 2014
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-Fairview trail in Lake Louise was trackset yesterday.- I can confirm Frank Howard’s trip report and I’ll add a bit to it since I was there late in the day.

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Does anybody have cold snow?

December 10, 2014
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It seems like we have to endure one of these difficult periods every winter. Lake Louise may be the last hope for cold snow, and from the sounds of “Chateau” Jeff’s report,

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Just in time

December 9, 2014
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-The snow on Moraine Lake road was cold this morning but was borderline wet by 2 pm.- Chris Thomas’ trip report was exactly what I was going to say about Moraine

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Dog days of winter

December 8, 2014
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We’ve had a couple cute dog pictures submitted as entries in the Emerald Lake Lodge contest. I believe Jimmy is a Springer Spaniel and Sara’s dog

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Baker Creek to Castle Lookout

December 7, 2014
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-Spectacular conditions on the Baker Creek to Castle Lookout trail in Banff. Photo by Jo Lunn.- Have you skied this little-known trail?

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New contest: Win 2 free nights at Emerald Lake Lodge

December 7, 2014

“Hi Bob — “Congrats on continuing to have the best XC-ski site anywhere –hope to meet you on the trails this winter.   –here is my entry for the contest — my wife and I had a great stay at the lodge ( Jan. 28, 2013 ) and thoroughly enjoyed the area on skis — […]

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One of those perfect days for xc skiing

December 6, 2014
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What more could I add to Chuck’s report from yesterday? How about wonderful, terrific, fantastic, and wolves! Banff National Park has some beautiful ski trails

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“Better than I have ever seen on Redearth creek”

December 5, 2014
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-Warden’s cabin at the end of Redearth creek. Photo by Chuck O’Callaghan.- I’m happy to say the number of trails which are trackset and in good condition is too long to list

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Heavenly bliss

December 4, 2014
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First one on Whiskey jack! No, I’m not talking about myself. I’m referring to the creature in the photo. She has already logged about 3K on the ski trail this winter!

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