Everyone can smile and be happy on Goat Creek with the new configuration. Lots of room for snowshoers, and good tracks for skiers.

Everyone can smile and be happy on Goat Creek with the new configuration. Lots of room for snowshoers, and good tracks for skiers.

This was one of my best ski trips of the winter. Good tracks, snow which is still cold, beautiful scenery, minimal rocks, debris-free, and the lunch special at Silver Dragon.

Goat Creek at 2K

Goat Creek at 2K

When I say conditions are remarkably good on Goat Creek and Spray River West, bear in mind it’s relative. For a low-snow pack, heavy use among skiers, bikers, snowshoers, and hikers, with snowmobile grooming(no Pisten-Bully here), I couldn’t have asked for better conditions.

Arriving at the Spray River bridge at 9K. This bridge demarcates Goat Creek from Spray River West.

Arriving at the Spray River bridge at 9K. This bridge demarcates Goat Creek from Spray River West.

Yesterday at the party, Nikolai, one of our stalwart trip reporters, said he was able to make it one-way in 75 minutes recently. My time was a little slower, but well under two hours, which can only mean good conditions.

2 skiers heading up Goat Creek from the Spray River bridge

2 skiers heading up Goat Creek from the Spray River bridge

On the way up to the trailhead, there was an SUV overturned on the last right turn coming down the Spray Lakes road(photo to come). I’ve lost count of how many vehicles I’ve seen go over the side there. Later, driving home, we saw the flatbed tow truck hauling a very damaged SUV.

The temperature at 12:15 pm at the Goat Creek trailhead above Canmore was -3°C. I was happy to get out of the car and find no wind and a partly sunny sky.  It’s been a long time since I used VR45(-2/-8) wax.

11.5K and now on Spray River West.

11.5K and now on Spray River West.

At 5k on Goat Creek, I stopped and talked to a group of three Europeans(2 Swiss and 1 Czech). One had very wide skis and the other 2 were snowshoeing. They said they were on the way to the cabin, and were going to return. I am not aware of any cabins in the vicinity that you could do as a day trip, especially at the speed they were moving.

13.2K, Spray River West

13.2K, Spray River West

There are still a few(very few, and I don’t recall any in the tracks) wayward rocks on the first 7K but they are easy to see and avoid, except on the downhill to the Goat Creek bridge. At least a dozen were poking through the snow on the final 100-metre descent. You know the drill – remove your skis and walk down.

It's "sign central" at the East West junction at 13.3K

It’s “sign central” at the East West junction at 13.3K

The first hill down from the parking lot still has a few rocks, but if you don’t snowplow you can miss them.

In the old days, with double tracksetting and a ridge in the middle, the tracks for the first 4K of Goat Creek would have been completely obliterated after a weekend of heavy use. Now, with only one track, the multi-users have enough room to ply their trade and not wreck the tracks. It was pure genius on the part of whoever thought of this new configuration!

15K, Spray River West

15K, Spray River West

From 9k at the Spray River bridge, to 13.3K at the East-West junction, the trail is as close to perfect as it can get. On the long downhill of 1.5K to finish this section, I was actually able to stay in the tracks the whole way. They’re usually too wobbly and washed-out, but not today.

3 skiers from Australia on Spray River West

3 skiers from Australia on Spray River West

The final 5.6K into Banff is double trackset and the usual tree canopies create a few thin spots on one side of the trail. Easy to move into the middle or into the other set of tracks. I was amazed at how nice the trail and tracks were after a weekend of heavy use. Keeping the multi-users on Spray East has really produced good results.

Coming to the end

Coming to the end at Spray River West trailhead.

Conditions aren’t bad near the trailhead where everyone gets to use the trail for the first 700 metres. My ride was waiting, and we high-tailed it to the restaurant where we arrived with 10 minutes to spare.

If the weather forecast is accurate, I fear for the fate of these wonderful trails. Depending on who you believe, the highs for tomorrow could be anywhere from zero to +6. The snow showed no sign of deterioration today, and the temperature is supposed to drop to at least -4 overnight.

{ 0 comments }

Sandy McNabb Recreation Area

January 16, 2017
Thumbnail image for Sandy McNabb Recreation Area

Thanks to Manfred Kintop, we have some nice photos of the Sandy McNabb ski trails. I recognize most of the locations

0 comments […Read more]

Rare sighting

January 15, 2017

Update Mon Jan 16: It is a lynx. The two times I’ve seen lynx in the wild, I was always amazed at the size of their feet. Facts about Canada Lynx (Thanks, Barb, for the link.)

4 comments […Read more]

One more day of great skiing

January 15, 2017

It was a pleasure to read yesterday’s trip reports. Great conditions and weather just about everywhere. My thermometer in Canmore is showing -10°C this morning.

1 comment […Read more]

Skogan Pass and Summit

January 14, 2017
Thumbnail image for Skogan Pass and Summit

How about a fourth report on Skogan Pass?! I knew Chuck was somewhere on the trails above me because Alaric and Maya told me, but he must have been

0 comments […Read more]

Best ski day of the year coming up

January 13, 2017
Thumbnail image for Best ski day of the year coming up

-Members of the Norseman Ski Club on Aspen trail in Kananaskis- Tomorrow(Saturday) may offer the most choices for skiing ever. Trails in the

0 comments […Read more]

Skate skiing question

January 13, 2017

Joe posed this question on the blog yesterday but didn’t get any answers: Hi everybody I am new to skate skiing and had a question about trail use. Based on trail descirptions, some trails are said to have skate lane, and others are designated as classic. But when I look at photos I see groomed […]

14 comments […Read more]

Castle Lookout to Baker Creek

January 12, 2017
Thumbnail image for Castle Lookout to Baker Creek

This trail is known by a couple other names: “Leg 2 of the Loppet” and  “Double Hump Trail”(courtesy of Helen Read). It was groomed and trackset

0 comments […Read more]

Confederation/Canmore Park update

January 12, 2017

This was sent in by one of the groomers, Dave Gammie. “This is a six lane grid that parallels 19st in Canmore Park  ( across the street from Confed)”

6 comments […Read more]

Beautiful!

January 11, 2017
Thumbnail image for Beautiful!

-Bill Milne trail at Ribbon Creek parking lot- The wind was howling and the snow was blowing on the drive out to Kananaskis.

9 comments […Read more]

First tracksetting on Lower Pocaterra

January 11, 2017

It was late in coming this year, but Pocaterra from the hut to Lynx junction was trackset last night for the first time, along with a number of other trails in the vicinity of the hut including Lynx, Meadow,

0 comments […Read more]

Where is this?

January 10, 2017

This photo was sent in by Ribbon Creek tracksetter Jeff at 2:55 pm. You can look at the Live Grooming Report and make an educated guess. I would say it’s a specific section of the the Evan-Thomas fire road, perhaps the part that was

1 comment […Read more]

10 cm in Canmore!

January 10, 2017

Tues Jan 10 @ 8:00 a.m: I believe this is the biggest single snow event of the winter here. Many trails will be significantly improved and our options for skiing have increased immeasurably. Up to now, Canmore, Banff, and Ribbon Creek

3 comments […Read more]

Snow! …and more to come

January 9, 2017

Grooming Update(first tracksetting this season): Baker Creek Mountain Resort reports: “Baker to Castle Lookout has been track-set. A few rocks sticking out; there’s not a lot of snow in some sections.”

3 comments […Read more]

Ski Patrol to the rescue

January 8, 2017
Thumbnail image for Ski Patrol to the rescue

-Ski Patrollers Dave and Jessica on Whiskey Jack- Every time I climb Whiskey Jack I feel like I need rescuing. Fortunately today, the encounter with the Ski Patrollers

3 comments […Read more]

Frosty day on Goat Creek

January 7, 2017
Thumbnail image for Frosty day on Goat Creek

Just like Pete and his family, I only went as far as the bridge. I felt fine, but I knew my toes would only take another hour or so. If I had really wanted to

2 comments […Read more]

Friday night potpourri

January 6, 2017

  We have lots to talk about and I barely even need to mention my ski trip because WillSki did the job for me with great photos, too. I will post a few more photos in the gallery at the end of this update. I used to call it the Tyrwhitt Loop,

3 comments […Read more]

Great day on Cascade Valley

January 5, 2017
Thumbnail image for Great day on Cascade Valley

I have no complaints about conditions on Cascade Valley. Being able to race at full speed down the big hill at the end tells you conditions are A-OK.

0 comments […Read more]

Confederation Update

January 5, 2017

This is an update from Kevin at Foothills Nordic Ski Club: Confederation Park Golf Course and Canmore Park are groomed and trackset. Great conditions.

15 comments […Read more]

PLPP middle and north

January 4, 2017
Thumbnail image for PLPP middle and north

When I read that MaSid was going to Elk Pass to work on his couch, I was thinking it would be a good day to do some exploring and tracking.

1 comment […Read more]