Where would you rather ski?

by Bob Truman on April 16, 2015

in Chester/Sawmill, Mount Shark

Upper yellow of the Smith-Dorrien trails

Upper yellow of the Smith-Dorrien trails

Chester-Sawmill vs Mt Shark

Chester-Sawmill trails

Chester-Sawmill trails

I don’t know how many of you have had the pleasure of skiing on the Chester-Sawmill trails when they were groomed and trackset. The last time any tracksetting was completed there was back in early 2008.

Skiing on the Chester-Sawmill trails in 2003

Skiing on the Chester-Sawmill trails in 2003

The 15K perimeter loop(consisting of the Yellow and Blue trails on the map) would easily be in my top 5 favourite places to ski. You can access them from Sawmill or Chester Lake parking lots. The drive from Calgary to Sawmill is about the same distance as Calgary to Elk Pass.

A couple years ago I posted my lament about the end of grooming on these trails, and received this comment from Steve Riggs:

“It was a favourite due to the long season, great views, and interesting fun skiing. Far more enjoyable for the recreational tourer than the fairly boring Shark system, which nobody that I know ever goes to.”

You can read the entire post and see more photos Smith-Dorrien trails. They were known as the Smith-Dorrien trails, but I think my present-day readers will have a better idea of their location by referring to them as Chester-Sawmill. 

The meadow on the upper yellow of the Smith-orrien trails

The meadow on the upper yellow of the Smith-Dorrien trails

In this era of budget cutbacks I can only fantasize that we may one day be able to ski on the Smith-Dorrien system. On the other hand, if climate change creates fewer skiing opportunities in places like Ribbon Creek and Pocaterra, wouldn’t it be nice to have this area, with its mega snowfall rejuvenated for track skiing?

Michael, Kathy and their dog Peyto

Mt Shark is dog-friendly

Ideally, it would be the best of both worlds to have both venues available to us, but I’d gladly trade the Mt Shark system for this one if I had to make the choice.

I realize that Mt Shark is one of the few places where the trails are groomed for skating, and where we can take our dogs. I’d miss the dog aspect.


That’s it for me

April 16, 2015
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-Moraine Lake Road at Lake Louise- At some point in every ski season I have to do the inevitable: go for my last ski trip, which I did yesterday(Wednesday).

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Apr 10 – New grooming on MLR

April 10, 2015
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 Hi Bob, The trails on Moraine Lake Road are freshly groomed mid day today April 10th. Attached is a picture.

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An Easter feast in PLPP

April 5, 2015
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It was the final grooming of the season in PLPP, making for wonderful tracks and snow conditions in the south end of the park. 

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10 – 25 cm in PLPP

April 5, 2015

The PLPP Live Grooming Report indicates that most of the south trails were trackset last night including Elk Pass, Blueberry Hill, Tyrwhitt, Hydroline, Whiskey Jack, and Lookout. It further

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More trails for next winter

April 2, 2015

By my count, there were at least 122 bridges in Banff National Park and K-Country which were damaged by the 2013 floods. The Healy Creek Bridge, referred to in this Crag and Canyon article will be a very welcome sight next winter

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What trail did you miss the most?

April 1, 2015

There’s no sugar-coating the poor skiing conditions of the past winter. It feels like we never got into high gear, and now it’s pretty well finished. The lack of snow, and the numerous rains and meltdowns took their toll on our trails.

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15/17 in PLPP

March 27, 2015
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I’m enjoying the spring skiing in PLPP. Perhaps I’ve lowered my expectations after such a difficult winter. Perhaps it’s my skis; as Jody mentioned, the right skis at the right time of day.

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Warming hut approved for Canmore Nordic Centre

March 26, 2015

This is a story which was in today’s Rocky Mountain Outlook Cross-country skiing to the Canmore Nordic Centre meadow is about to get cozier.

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Moraine Lake Road

March 25, 2015
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-Moraine Lake Road- If you can survive the first 4.5K, you will be rewarded with an enjoyable ski for the final 4.5K.

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Spring skiing at its best

March 20, 2015
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-Pocaterra, between Whiskey Jack and Packers- Before I get started, thank you for the birthday well-wishes. You make me feel loved and appreciated!

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Bring sunscreen and hat

March 18, 2015
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-Sarah on Elk Pass- Here are some photos to go along with Frank Howard’s trip report from Elk Pass.

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Bonus kilometres

March 16, 2015
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-Tara, Siobhan, and Ashley were trying out skate skiing for the first time at the Canmore Nordic Centre- Yesterday’s snowfall allowed me to have a pleasant ski

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8-10 cm in Canmore

March 16, 2015
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Monday March 16 @ 9 a.m: We received about 6 cm of high-density snow yesterday afternoon/evening in Canmore. Woke up to a further 2 cm

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The life-blood of this blog

March 14, 2015

I don’t think I could successfully survive a ski season anymore without this wonderful community of trip reporters, commenters, readers and tracksetters.

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Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt

March 13, 2015
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-Last night’s tracksetting on Tyrwhitt was in excellent condition if you didn’t mind that it was soft and slow in the sunny areas-

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It’s been worse, and much better

March 12, 2015

Before I get started, I’d like to remind everyone who has left a trip report this winter to send me a photo of yourself(if you haven’t already). I have photos of many of you(see previous post

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Trip Reporters

March 11, 2015

It’s common knowledge that March is the snowiest month of the year, but like all things this winter, it’s not holding true. There doesn’t seem to be much available right now for track skiing,

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Spring skiing in PLPP

March 7, 2015
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-Monika and Kathy on Amos- I was skiing early enough today to use wax, but that might be the last time

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Kananaskis Village and Ribbon Creek grooming

March 6, 2015

Update Mar 13, 2015: I received this further explanation from K-Contry… “The cat was off for repairs

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