What great initiative by these students. Groomer Jeff from West Bragg Creek provided the following:

Many thanks to a couple of  Banded Peak students who set up a fundraising booth for the GBCTA in front of the Trails Centre on Sunday afternoon.

They were participating in a Changemaker program at their school that entails:

1) kids volunteering their time to give back
2) It’s an initiative to try and get kids to look beyond themselves, and what they can do to make a difference 

The kids asked if they could set up a table, with signage, asking for donations for the West Bragg Creek trails on the weekends. They recognized that there is considerable expense to providing the trails that they enjoy and wanted to help support their continued success and enjoyment.

Their initiative included a tent, signage, hot chocolate, and a propane powered fire bowl! Not only were they collecting donations but they were selling GBCTA buffs as well!

Over a four hour period, they were able to collect almost $1200 in donations for GBCTA operations.

Congratulations and thanks to students Liam Peach-Dawson and Tate Ryder! Also thanks to parents Kate Peach, Imke and Geoff Ryder. Marilyn Ledingham and Rick Boden provided additional assistance with planning and technical support!

Look for repeat appearances from this fantastic team periodically throughout the year, and be sure to drop by, say hello and show your support!

“These are the ski days we live for!”

Carole and Jamie on Moraine

Thanks to Mel for supplying the title to this update. Here’s a few more…

“Exceptional conditions at West Bragg today.” -GMJ

“Great conditions and weather on the Goat Creek trail” -Caren

Upper Pocaterra

“Glorious midday ski” -Martin and Jip (WBC)

“Excellent conditions and good coverage everywhere” -Audrey (Nipika)

“Conditions are superb out there!” -Carole (PLPP)

The Ramblers congregate at the base of Whiskey Jack

“Snow – grooming – weather – PERFECT 22.5 km.  Life is good” -Sam

“Tracks were in good condition, even near the end of the day” -Shulamit (WBC)

“Redearth creek groomed today….excellent conditions, lotsa snow” -Chris and Karl


Sandie leads the way on Packers

Last night’s tracksetting in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park was superb. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to ski Whiskey Jack and I picked the best day.

I was the first skier on the trail soon after 10 a.m. There was a dusting of icing sugar in the tracks as mentioned on the Live Grooming Report. If anything, it probably helped with grip. The air and snow temperatures were both -7°C. I used VR45(-2/-8), knowing the day would only get warmer. 

Climbing Whiskey Jack with the sun in my eyes

The Pocaterra and Packers downhills were pure enjoyment.  There was nothing too frightening on the Packer’s steep hill, just a couple bumps which were easily managed. Everything seems easy when conditions are so good.

No ice floe on Packers.

Tyrwhitt has 10 cm of fresh snow with skier-set tracks which are very wobbly. That’s why I turned around and followed the new grooming. 

I also skied as far as the bench on Moraine. Some fresh snow on the trail, but the tracks were still well-defined and fast. 

Tracksetting updates

Banff: Redearth Creek was trackset as far as the 7K campground today.

Banff: Cascade Valley and Upper Bankhead were trackset yesterday. 

Yoho: Kicking Horse and Tally-Ho were trackset on Jan 17

Footprints we enjoy seeing on the trail

You’ve read the trip reports extolling the perfect conditions on the new tracksetting on Whiskey Jack, Upper Pocaterra, and Packers. I can vouch for the incredibly wonderful conditions. 

Today’s skiing will go into the log book as a “best day.” They don’t get any better. I’ll post more photos and descriptions later. 

After climbing Whiskey Jack I noticed the tracks of two animals along Pocaterra. After following them down Pocaterra for about 2K, I could see they came from the ungroomed “back door” trail. That’s the trail we use to access Upper Pocaterra before the barricade goes down. There are skier-set tracks on the back door trail and the animals walked in them. 

They also marked their territory right at the spot where the back door meets Upper Pocaterra. 

I could notice some fur drag on the footprints. I didn’t see toenails. 

The tracks continued up Pocaterra and are also on Tyrwhitt. Tyrwhitt has 10 cm of fresh snow with wobbly tracks. 

Click on any photo for a larger image. 

The animals came from the ungroomed “back door” trail

Perfect conditions in Kananaskis

Jessie and Colleen starting out on Terrace trail

It’s possible that conditions may have been this good at some point in the past, but I can’t remember when. 

Kinga on Wedge Connector

It was -11°C with sunny skies and no wind at Kananaskis Village at 1:30 pm. I skied the Terrace north – Kovach Lookout – Kovach return to Village loop and have never enjoyed it more. All of it on beautiful, cold, clean snow with perfect tracksetting. 

Terrace trail was in perfect condition

The snow temperature was also -11. The grip was great with VR30(-10/-30). Barely had to herringbone at all while climbing the steep trail to the lookout. The real bellwether for conditions is when you get to the S-turns while descending Kovach. Lots of snow cover and no dirt showing. When conditions are this great, descending Kovach from the Lookout is fun and easy. 

Jessie and Colleen climbing the steep trail to Kovach Lookout – and still smiling!

I enjoyed the company of Colleen and Jessie who were skiing these trails for the first time. 

Ran into Abraham who was wearing the exact same jacket as I was. We got them in 2004 for being trip co-ordinators for the Calgary Ski Club. It’s been the perfect cold-weather jacket for me. 

Arriving at the Kovach Lookout

Upon completing the loop, I drove to the Evan-Thomas trailhead and did the Evan-Thomas – Wedge Connector – Bill Milne loop, again on near-perfect conditions.

The only blemish was a few bits of tree debris on Evan-Thomas where fallen trees had been removed. Other than that, the snow was pristine and the tracks were excellent. Oh, of course there were boot prints from a hiker but they created no issues. It’s a given that you’ll see boot prints on this trail. 

Arrivng at the Kovach Aspen junction after a fast downhill

The cold weather has created a pool of water under the McDougall Creek bridge and it’s got a nice aquamarine tinge. 

The ungroomed trail which joins Evan-Thomas to Wedge was skiable for a good portion of the 200-metre distance. I removed my skis for the final steep downhill to the Evan-Thomas bridge which then becomes the Wedge Connector. 

While skiing Wedge it was getting late in the day so I was surprised to see a skier coming my way. Kinga  had skied all the way from Ribbon Creek and was also doing the loop in the opposite direction. It will have been a 20K day for her. 


I forgot to ask Kinga if there was any semblance of an ice flow forming on the Bill Milne trail. She didn’t mention anything so I’m assuming not. 

Wedge Connector

You may notice in the photos that a hiker walked on the corduroy of the Evan-Thomas trail. He also went for about 700 metres on Wedge. I saw the exact spot where he decided to turn around. I met him just as I was starting out. Luckily the snow has firmed up since yesterday’s grooming so he didn’t leave huge divots on the trail. 

I was thrilled to read all the trip reports today. Thanks to both Emma and Chuck for checking out Brewster Creek and reporting that it is now trackset. 

We rarely see photos of the Coal Mine trail, so thanks to Alf for those. You can also see in Alf’s photos just how wonderful the conditions are around Ribbon Creek and Kananaskis Village. 

With all the recent tracksetting and nice weather tomorrow, it should be one of the best skiing days of the winter.

It only comes once every winter

Good luck to all the participants in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet tomorrow. It looks like the warmer weather came just in time. For anyone who’s interested in following the loppet course, you can ski on trackset trails for 50K from the lake at Lake Louise to the Sawback picnic area on the Bow Valley parkway. You can read about some of the challenges on the course

Warming up for the weekend

Fresh tracksetting at West Bragg Creek. Photo by Groomer Jeff

Jan 17, 2020

Along with warmer weather, we have a lot of trails freshly groomed for everyone who is anxious to get out skiing after a week of hunkering down. 

The big news is that Goat Creek and Spray River(both sides) were trackset today. Read Barb Banff’s and Normand’s trip reports for more details. Continue reading

Friday morning temperature round-up

Mt Shark trails were trackset last night. Photo from Jan 2018.

First, a tracksetting update. Chris gave us all a heads-up on Mt Shark when she saw the snowcat yesterday. This morning, the Live Grooming Report shows the entire system has been trackset. 

At Canmore Nordic Centre, the natural snow on Banff trail was trackset this morning. 

Bill Milne, Wedge, and Evan-Thomas are being trackset as I write this. Continue reading

Sun and moon are aligning…

The start of the race on Lake Louise

Jan 16, 2020

Lake Louise to Banff Loppet Update

Update from the Loppet website: “The sun and moon are aligning with warmer temps for the end of the week! Current forecasts suggest a Lake Louise low Saturday night of -17C and a Sunday morning high of -12C. The downhill start will be nippy – dress accordingly. Sunday’s high in Banff is -5C.” Continue reading

Who made these tracks?

I made the ski tracks, but who made the ones beside me? This is in PLPP today where the temperature was rather pleasant this afternoon. I’ll post an update later tonight. In the mean time, you can agonize over these photos. Continue reading

Redearth Creek/Shadow Lake Lodge update

Archive photo of Redearth Creek

As you know, Alpine Club of Canada has taken over Shadow Lake Lodge. Lawrence White, executive director of ACC, just informed me they will not be opening the lodge this winter. The significance of that development is that Redearth Creek will not be groomed by ACC/Shadow Lake Lodge for the remainder of the season, so I am hoping the Banff tracksetter will continue to do it. 

I trust everyone is staying warm. 

From what I can ascertain of the weather forecasts, it appears that higher elevations will be warming up less frigid today. The Mud Lake thermometer has warmed up by eight degrees between 1 a.m. and 9 a.m. so it’s going in the right direction. At 9 a.m. it was -23°C. The Aster Lake thermometer, which is at a much higher elevation, is at -20.