More tracksetting news, mostly good

Skogan Pass between the Screamer and Sunburst junctions. Photo from Feb 2019

In addition to tracksetting news, Helen Read saw a Lynx at the Lake O’Hara parking lot. 

Skogan Pass and Skogan Loop have been trackset…

“Dec 12 Good to excellent skiing conditions on the Skogan system trails above Marmot Junction with track setting in most places and 50 plus cms settled snow higher up. Fair conditions below Marmot with hazards and thin spots existing on Skogan Screamer”

Skogan loop. Photo from Nov 2015

Experience tells me the hazards and thin spots on the Screamer will be no problem going up, but you won’t be able to go full speed on the way back down. The Screamer is 1K in distance with 100 metres of net elevation. It’s the section above the Ruthie’s-Hidden junction. 

When conditions are good, descending the Screamer is the most fun you can have on skis, but we’ll have to wait for more snow. It may be prudent to walk occasionally when descending the Screamer on thin snow. 

Access to Skogan Pass is from Ribbon Creek via Hidden, Nakiska via Hidden, or Hay Meadow and Ruthie’s. 

The Canmore Nordic Centre trail report shows the man-made snow on Banff Loop is now completely trackset and continues further to the meadow. The natural snow on the main trails Bow, Banff, and Meadowview has been groomed but not trackset. 

Lynx on Redearth Creek in Banff National Park. Photo by Chuck from Jan 29, 2017

Redearth Creek

I inquired with Parks Canada about the grooming only going 7K on Redearth Creek, rather than 11.5K which would take it near the warden’s cabin…

“The campground is as far as Don could groom in one day. He will return to Redearth Creek when his schedule allows, and do the section beyond the campground.”

Lake Louise

First tracksetting has occurred on Peyto and Upper Telemark. The Heritage Guides remarked about the tracksetting: “Good condition, with lots of twigs!”

The Lower Telemark was trackset two days ago. Jeannie skied it yesterday and gave it a good review. 

Nipika Mountain Resort’s first trail report of the season…

“All of the south trails have been packed and groomed for both skate and classic. The north trails have been packed and groomed to the bridge. Conditions are early season, so please watch for rocks and grass.”

Pipestone trails at Lake Louise

I also inquired with Parks Canada regarding when the Pipestone trails will be open again…

“Mid-January. Construction activity for the new LL Water Reservoir. Area will remain closed till then.”

Beautiful Bow River Loop

Bow River loop

Dec 11, 2019 (Click on the photos for a larger image)

Helen and Kazzy didn’t exaggerate or overstate anything yesterday in their glowing reports of the Bow River loop in Lake Louise. I can’t imagine how conditions could be any better. The snow, the tracksetting, the weather were all wonderful. 

It was a day made for a pleasurable ski along the banks of the river and soaking in the magnificent scenery. 

The temperature was -8°C at 12 noon with bright sun, a beautiful blue sky, and not a breath of wind. Once again I used old Swix green(-7/-13) and it performed flawlessly. 

The photos I took were all on the south loop, counter-clockwise, starting at the small parking area just a bit south of the campground office. We skied across the big bridge which is double trackset, went for a short distance on the Campground Loop, then accessed the Bow River Loop as it headed south. 

I remember skiing this stretch of trail one year during the Lake Louise to Banff loppet as the sun was coming up and thought I’d like to come back when I wasn’t in such a big hurry!

There was one minor inconvenience where an excavator was working immediately next to the trail and threw some rocks and dirt on the snow for a stretch of about five metres. This gave me a chance to use my brand new double-duty combo shovel and rock remover implement. Worked like a charm and it fits in my backpack and weighs almost nothing. I’ll do a separate blog post about it in the near future. 

I also skied down Upper Tramline on nice tracks, stopping at Moraine Lake road to take a picture. It looked good.

On Lower Tramline, south of the MLR junction, a hiker walked in the tracks creating an incredible mess of post holes and divots. I thought, oh no, I have to ski on this mess for the next 3K. Hold on! After about 200 metres, the hiker decided it wasn’t any fun, so turned around and walked back to MLR, in the tracks! 

The gallery includes a few photos from Tramline and one from MLR. 

Off to an amazing start

I was thrilled to see Ezzy McBroom, the chocolate lab, on the trail

We’re off to a much better start to the ski season compared to last year. I was looking at some of my blog updates from 2018…

Dec 14, 2018: “We’ve had some nice early-season skiing at WBC, but that has come crashing down, literally.” 

The early season at WBC has been epic this year and shows no sign of deteriorating. 

We didn’t have many choices last year at this time…

Dec 15, 2018: “With a lack of other venues available for skiing, the Canmore Nordic Centre was incredibly busy today.”

We’re skiing in excellent conditions on many trails this year. Let’s hope it lasts. 

Kicking Horse in Yoho

Kicking Horse trail at 1.5K

Good early-season conditions exist on the Kicking Horse trail in Yoho. Excellent tracksetting with a few twigs here and there. There were a couple places where I stepped out of the tracks for ten metres to avoid twigs where they were thick. For the most part, I skied over them. Continue reading

Upper Bankhead and Cascade Valley

Upper Bankhead

The conditions at Upper Bankhead and Cascade Valley are wonderful. At the end of the day, Pat and I were able to go down the big hill with no fear and no snowplowing, so you know it’s good. 

The temperature at 1:20 pm at the Lake Minnewanka parking lot was -7°C and I would guess the snow was about the same. It was a blue wax Continue reading

Sunday night update

The Strathmore golf course has been roller-packed. See video at the bottom of this update. 

The list of places where I can ski is growing faster than I can keep up with. What an excellent early season this is shaping up to be.  Continue reading

Snowfall update

Dec 8 @ 2:30 pm: Update from Groomer Jeff at West Bragg Creek:

“Remarkably we got more snow in West Bragg Saturday night! 5-7 cm has been groomed and track set on a number of trails. Heavy skier volume has interrupted grooming which will commence again tonight. Expect soft, slow conditions as the snow has not had a chance to consolidate. That being said it is a gorgeous weekend for a ski with dozens of kilometres of trail groomed.” Continue reading

Cascade Valley

Cascade Valley. Photo by Helen Read

Dec 7, 2019

Helen Read was the first one to ski on Cascade Valley after it was snowmobile packed. Helen remarked…

“Packing continues past campground…..yeah!!!

Did not feel a single rock.”

The Banff trail report indicates that Redearth Creek has also been packed. 

Update Dec 8: Cascade Valley has been trackset. 

Friday morning update

Elk Pass on Dec 2, 2019

The south end trails in PLPP were trackset yesterday including Elk Pass, Blueberry Hill, Hydroline, and Patterson. According to Mallory’s  early morning report, there will be 5 cm of fresh snow on top of the grooming and it’s still snowing.

Telephone Loop at West Bragg Creek has been trackset. Continue reading