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.



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.



Most popular photos

January 27, 2015

Have you ever wondered which photos are the most popular with readers? No? Well, I’m searching for topics, so indulge me with this one. Always at the top of the list are the PLPP maps, so I’m not including them

3 comments […Read more]

January 1950 – a month when it was too cold to ski

January 26, 2015
Thumbnail image for January 1950 – a month when it was too cold to ski

They started collecting weather data for Banff in 1892. Today was the warmest ever on this date at 8.5°C.

0 comments […Read more]

Shirtsleeve skiing in January

January 25, 2015
Thumbnail image for Shirtsleeve skiing in January

-It’s odd to see skiers in shirtsleeves in January- Thanks for all the trip reports today. Good to see there is still some skiing to be enjoyed in this freaky weather.

0 comments […Read more]

Climber’s delight

January 23, 2015
Thumbnail image for Climber’s delight

-We were skiing in the clouds at the top of Blueberry Hill- Conquering both Whiskey Jack and Blueberry Hill in one day, combined with all the other trails

1 comment […Read more]

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

3 comments […Read more]

Breaking trail on Brewster Creek

January 21, 2015
Thumbnail image for Breaking trail on Brewster Creek

-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

4 comments […Read more]

Tessa’s favourite trail

January 20, 2015
Thumbnail image for Tessa’s favourite trail

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

1 comment […Read more]

Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

January 18, 2015
Thumbnail image for Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

-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

5 comments […Read more]

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?”

5 comments […Read more]

Welcome back!

January 16, 2015
Thumbnail image for Welcome back!

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

0 comments […Read more]

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

0 comments […Read more]

Magical Pipestone

January 15, 2015
Thumbnail image for Magical Pipestone

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

2 comments […Read more]

A magnificent setting for a race

January 14, 2015
Thumbnail image for A magnificent setting for a race

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.

0 comments […Read more]

Sensational skiing on Redearth creek

January 13, 2015
Thumbnail image for Sensational skiing on Redearth creek

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

0 comments […Read more]

Monday morning update

January 12, 2015
Thumbnail image for Monday morning update

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,

3 comments […Read more]

Skiing at its best!

January 11, 2015
Thumbnail image for Skiing at its best!

-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.

0 comments […Read more]

Goat creek and Spray river east

January 10, 2015
Thumbnail image for Goat creek and Spray river east

-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.

1 comment […Read more]

Many great choices for the weekend

January 9, 2015
Thumbnail image for Many great choices for the weekend

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

2 comments […Read more]

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

7 comments […Read more]