Margarita Pipestone

by Bob Truman on January 28, 2015

in Lake Louise

Fresh tracks at the Pipestone trailhead

Fresh tracks at the Pipestone trailhead

“We went for lunch in town and came back around 12:00 hoping for some tracks. No such luck.” – Hugh Burton

The "mulch" which I was skiing on

The “mulch” which I was skiing on

Hugh would have had to stay until  4 pm to see tracks. Tracksetter Dave spent most of the day prepping the trail so it could be trackset. He said it was necessary to make four rounds with two different implements to soften up the snow. The fifth round was with the tracksetter down, but he only had time to do the outer loop. Dave doesn’t work tomorrow, but it’s possible that someone else on the trail crew will finish the job.

Tracksetter Dave Allen after a full day on the Pipestone trails

Tracksetter Dave Allen after a full day on the Pipestone trails

I arrived about 3:15 pm while Dave was still out on the trails with the compaction drag. I used waxless skis and after consulting the Words to describe snow conditions page, the closest description would be Margarita. It prompted me to add a new word to the list, “mulch.”

Pipestone map

Pipestone map

The tracks did make an appearance late in the day, but I didn’t ski on them. I skied on all the trails which I didn’t do when I was here two weeks ago, namely Drummond, Merlin, and Hector.

Pipestone

Pipestone

The temperature was hovering around zero, but the ice/snow mixture on the trail was colder.

It snowed 19 cm in Lake Louise on Friday, then it rained. The fresh snow has consolidated and the top layer is about 5 cm of crunchy snow. There’s some nice snow underneath, but it all gets mixed together.

Young kids discovering the love of xc skiing. This photo  was taken last week by John McI on Fairview(see trip reports for more details)

Young kids discovering the love of xc skiing. This photo was taken last week by John McI on Fairview(see trip reports for more details)

The mulch which I was skiing on was the result of the final pass with the compaction drag. In the trees it was soft, but in the open it was a lot more crunchy with more ice mixed in. Indeed, as Hugh reported, there were some fast downhills, even on the mulch.

It remains to be seen how today’s tracksetting sets up overnight, but I expect Hugh wasn’t too far off the mark when he suggested it would be quite firm. I hope someone goes and checks it out.

I originally had my sights set on Lake O’Hara today, but when I arrived at the trailhead, I talked to a skier who had just finished, and that dissuaded me. She said the tracks were in good shape, but frighteningly fast(icy). I sure hope we get that snow which is in the forecast.

Reminders:

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