Climber’s delight

by Bob Truman on January 23, 2015

in Kananaskis, PLPP(P Lougheed Park)

We were skiing in the clouds at the top of Blueberry Hill

We were skiing in the clouds at the top of Blueberry Hill

Update Fri Jan 23 @ 9:20 pm: All bets are off. It’s been raining for the past two hours in Canmore.

Conquering both Whiskey Jack and Blueberry Hill in one day, combined with all the other trails you’ll need to ski on, your total ascent will be 759 metres of elevation.

Excellent conditions on Tyrwhitt

Excellent conditions on Tyrwhitt

Of course, I could have named this “Downhiller’s Delight” because with all that climbing, you also have the same amount of downhill fun. It’s a real treat to descend Blueberry on good conditions. The downhill section of Tyrwhitt from the start of the meadows to the picnic table was superb.

Leaning into the turns on Tyrwhitt

Leaning into the turns on Tyrwhitt

It looks like the cold snow in PLPP might survive until tomorrow(Saturday). At Boulton creek parking lot at 11 a.m. the snow and air temperature were both -4°C, and it never got above zero. The snow in the south end of the park shows no deterioration whatsoever.

Climbing Blueberry Hill

Climbing Blueberry Hill

I stopped at Pocaterra on my way home and the snow appeared to be in good shape there as well. The thermometer read -1. My advice is to go early and beat the warm temperatures.

The Weather Network forecast for PLPP indicates a few snow flurries overnight and a high of +2 for Saturday. What scares me is the predicted low temp for tonight is 0. The Snow Forecast is a little more optimistic with a low of -3 and a high tomorrow of +1.

The Tyrwhitt picnic table was a busy place

The Tyrwhitt picnic table was a busy place

While passing Kananaskis Village at 4 pm, the temperature was +6.

Ray, Mary, Keith and I started out from Boulton creek soon after 11 a.m. Whiskey Jack was in much better shape than I expected, considering it’s last grooming was almost two weeks ago. There were a few pine needles on the lower section but not enough to be annoying.

Ray, Keith, and Mary on Hydroline

Ray, Keith, and Mary on Hydroline

With new tracksetting, Tyrwhitt, Hydroline, Patterson, Elk Pass, and Blueberry Hill were fantastic. We were skiing in the clouds at the top of Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill. You will often see the fluffy white cloud sculpted around the mountains above Elk Pass when driving out to PLPP. Anyone skiing up to the Kananaskis Fire Lookout today would have been looking down on the clouds.

Patterson at the Elk Pass junction

Patterson at the Elk Pass junction

As we were nearing the end of our ski, Mary wanted to enjoy the downhill on the big Elk Pass hill, so she ventured off on her own, while Ray, Keith and I took Fox creek. Fox creek was better than I expected and was quite enjoyable. We were travelling in the downhill direction today. Good, fast tracks with only a few pine needles. Keith said that skiing on Fox Creek reminds him of a slalom course with all the twists and turns, while in very close proximity to the trees.

Fox Creek

Fox Creek

Moraine was the weak spot on today’s trip. The washed-out tracks are experiencing needlemania, but it’s still skiable. I only had two pine needles stuck in my wax at the end of the day.

Speaking of wax, VR50(0/-4) worked well but I had to re-wax twice as the snow was abrasive.

The Banff trail report indicates that Goat Creek and Spray River East were trackset today. The Mt Shark trails were trackset last night. I’m only guessing, but I expect Pocaterra will be trackset tonight.

More photos from today’s ski trip…

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The Meltdown is coming. Where is the colder snow?

January 23, 2015

Get out your waxless skis(or the dreaded klister). For Banff, the weather network is predicting a high of +5 for Saturday and +8 on Sunday. Environment Canada’s forecasts are for +3

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Breaking trail on Brewster Creek

January 21, 2015
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-Superb scenery along Brewster creek- From the Cave and Basin in Banff, it’s 13.9K to the end of the groomed trail at Sundance Lodge. It was an enjoyable day with stunning

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Tessa’s favourite trail

January 20, 2015
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-Tessa, Bob, and Christine at Wedge Connector in Kananaskis- After all the excellent ski trips I’ve enjoyed over the past three weeks,

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Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

January 18, 2015
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-A happy Chuck O’Callaghan at the finish line after skiing 50K in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet- It was another fun-filled ski race

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Where are the easy trails for beginners?

January 16, 2015

Question from a reader: “Can you recommend some beginner trails, that is, ones that don’t have really steep runs and perhaps maybe would only appeal to other beginners?”

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Welcome back!

January 16, 2015
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Kananaskis Tracksetter Jeff has returned, and is doing a marathon grooming session today/tonight. He’s already groomed Bill Milne, Wedge Connector,

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Ready for the weekend? Updated

January 16, 2015

Update Jan 16 @ 5:40 pm: I just received this report on Shaganappi Golf Course Canmore Nordic Centre The NorAm Western Canadian Championships are on at the Canmore Nordic Centre this weekend. Please note the following

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Magical Pipestone

January 15, 2015
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-The Pipestone loop at Lake Louise- The scenery and ambience at the north end of the Pipestone trail system at Lake Louise is stunning.

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A magnificent setting for a race

January 14, 2015
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The first race of the 2015 NorAm Westerns will occur tomorrow, Thursday January 15th on the proposed course for the Ski Tour Canada 2016 in Lake Louise in Banff National Park.

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Sensational skiing on Redearth creek

January 13, 2015
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When conditions are as superb as they were today, Redearth creek in Banff National Park offers up an outstanding day

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Monday morning update

January 12, 2015
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I became aware yesterday that you can no longer obtain a dedicated ski trails map for Peter Lougheed Provincial Park(PLPP). The new map, entitled Explore,

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Skiing at its best!

January 11, 2015
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-You can tell by the body language that it was a fantastic day in PLPP- It truly was a superb weekend for xc skiers, and thanks for all the trip reports.

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Goat creek and Spray river east

January 10, 2015
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-Happy skiers at the Goat creek bridge- I don’t know about you, but I had a difficult time deciding where to ski today because of so many excellent choices.

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Many great choices for the weekend

January 9, 2015
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-Hahn and Aly were enjoying the beautiful day and good snow conditions on Cascade valley- For cross-country skiers, this is

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Lake O’Hara is trackset

January 8, 2015

Bruce Millar, innkeeper at Lake O’Hara Lodge reports: “Just to let you know we groomed and trackset the road today. Conditions are great with e the addition of the new snow from the last few days, a lack of wind and sunny skies.” If you

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Party animals on Goat creek

January 7, 2015
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-This peak on Rundle mountain is visible from many angles as you ski along Goat creek and Spray river. I took this photo from the Goat creek bridge-

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Unusual to see this Jeff at Lake Louise

January 7, 2015

Most of you will recognize Kananaskis tracksetter Jeff. He’s at Lake Louise, grooming trails for the race on the 15th. Now there are three Jeffs doing tracksetting at Lake Louise! Thanks to Druh Farrell for the tweet. You can see her original

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Stormy day update; New contest

January 6, 2015

I’m pretty sure I know where I’ll be tomorrow. The Banff trail report indicates that Goat creek was trackset today. If memory serves me, we had about a one-week window where conditions were good in early December, then the meltdown / needlemania / ice storm came.

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Remarkable conditions on Pocaterra

January 5, 2015
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-Pocaterra trail near the hut- They’re gone! The pine needles and tree debris were nowhere in sight today, just untainted fresh snow and excellent tracks.

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