Upper Bankhead and Cascade Valley

by Bob Truman on February 7, 2016

in Banff

The Upper Bankhead trail

The Upper Bankhead trail

With the warm temperatures coming this week, I decided to forego the new tracksetting in PLPP and take advantage of the new tracksetting on Cascade Valley, thinking it might be the last chance this season.

Cascade valley to the 6k bridge is double trackset

Cascade valley to the 6k bridge is double trackset

The Banff tracksetter was doing the 8.5K stretch of Cascade Valley between the 6K bridge and Stoney creek this morning. I wasn’t aware of that when I started out, as yesterday’s trail report only indicated that Upper Bankhead and Cascade Valley to the 6K bridge had been trackset.

Cascade valley beyond the 6K bridge is single trackset

Cascade valley beyond the 6K bridge is single trackset

I was thinking that I’d only be going to the 6K bridge, so I started out by skiing the scenic Upper Bankhead trail which adds 3.2K.

After completing Upper Bankhead and logging about 4K on Cascade valley, I saw the snowmobile returning. I knew then I was in for a treat and would be enjoying an epic 32K today.

Cascade valley at 11k

Cascade valley at 11k. The tracks got better and better the further I went.

The air temperature at 11 a.m. was -6°C with no wind and a beautiful blue sky. I didn’t take a snow temperature but it was a lot colder than I thought. I already had VR45(-2/-8) on my skis but I eventually scraped it off and replaced it with VR40(-4/-12). The VR45 was grabbing and slowing me down. The VR40 worked fine for the remainder of the day despite the air temperature warming up to zero by 3 pm.

I was returning when I met Susan and Jack who were about 4K from the end

I was returning when I met Susan and Jack who were about 4K from the end

The tracks on the pavement were obviously created with some Margarita snow. A bit of crushed ice mixed in with 3 cm of new snow, the tracks were shallow but fine nonetheless. It was obvious there was more fresh snow the further I went out and at 11k the tracks were well-defined and deep.

This section of trail was constructed after the floods of 2013

Getting near the end

The fresh tracks were a little on the slow side, but you couldn’t ask for anything better than the skiing today. I went all the way to the end of the tracksetting at 14.5K and didn’t make the detour to the warden’s cabin. Met a lot of blog readers on the trail today who said they came out after reading last night’s update.

4 hours after I started, the trail was looking well-used

4 hours after I started, the trail was looking well-used

The snow did not deteriorate today, so you could probably squeeze in one more day of good skiing here.

The Banff tracksetter. We're all looking forward to more regular grooming next winter.

The Banff tracksetter. We’re all looking forward to more regular grooming next winter.

It’s been an unusual situation with tracksetting in Banff this winter. The only time grooming would occur is on weekends which really is the worst time to be out on the trails with machinery. We also end up skiing in soft tracks. I have the utmost confidence that Banff National Park will rectify this situation for next winter and we’ll see the trails being groomed regularly as soon as the snow falls.

Thank you for all the detailed Trip Reports today. Glad to get an update on Emerald Lake where the day started out at a lovely -15! I see Yoho finally updated their trail report and mentioned that Emerald Lake Horse Trail and Emerald Alluvial Fan Loop were trackset yesterday. Maybe these trails will survive the ravages of El Nino.

I always wondered about the downhill ski area on Pigeon Mountain. Now I know a little more about it. Ghost Slopes: what happened to the departed but loved ski hills of Alberta

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One last day of cool weather

February 6, 2016

The Banff trail report indicates that Cascade valley to the 6K bridge was trackset today along with Upper Bankhead. Should be in nice shape for tomorrow(Sunday). I’m sure someone will check the trail beyond the 6K bridge

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Desperately hoping for 3 cm

February 5, 2016

Things are getting dicey when I’m praying that we get the 3 cm which are in the Snow Forecast, but I don’t think we’ve reached the point yet where I’m ready to post, as I did last year,  You know conditions are bad when…. 

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Redearth creek to Shadow Lake Lodge

February 4, 2016
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Thanks for all the Trip Reports. It sounds like the wind has caused debris problems on some trails, but I had a wonderful day on Redearth creek.

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Mount Shark

February 3, 2016
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I finished skiing in PLPP very early yesterday, so I stopped at Mt Shark on my way back to Canmore and skied Watridge Lake road to the end of the tracksetting

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World Cup Biathlon starts tomorrow in Canmore

February 3, 2016

The most important thing to know is that all races are FREE to attend – just bring your best cheering voices. Let’s show the world how Canada supports our best biathletes! The first

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Be-e-e-e-u-u-u-tiful conditions in PLPP

February 2, 2016
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Chip, Ray and Peter cajoled me into getting an early start, and we were on Whiskey jack by 10:15 a.m.

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West Bragg Creek: Being loved to death?

February 2, 2016

Read more from CBC: West Bragg Creek ski trails: No longer a hidden gem, but a mecca for winter sports. 

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Snowshoers would use the snowshoe trail if we started skiing on it

February 1, 2016

Snowshoers have their own dedicated trail to the top of Elk pass, yet they choose to use the ski trail, which lessens the enjoyment and can even create

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Farm truck or sleek race car?

January 31, 2016
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-Redearth creek at 6K- My being raised on a farm means you will be subjected to analogies that only a farmer would invoke, sorry.

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And the best option was…

January 30, 2016
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I’ll vote for the south/middle trails in PLPP, but it sounds like Lake Louise and Pipestone would be in the running. I had a 27K day with excellent conditions

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The best options for weekend skiing

January 29, 2016

Thanks for the Trip Reports today. They’re more important than ever right now. The recent warm weather, combined with rain and wind

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Snowing at Pipestone

January 28, 2016
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I headed west hoping to find cooler temperatures. It rained almost all the way to Lake Louise, and is still raining in Canmore and Banff at 6 pm. It was 0°C

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Thursday morning update

January 28, 2016

In keeping with the “Quick and Easy” theme of the Wild Texan BBQ contest, I’ve already picked the name of the winner and it is …Alf Skrastins! We received 50 entries before the 50 hours

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West Bragg Creek Jan 27 a.m. grooming report

January 27, 2016

Update from tracksetter Jeff H: All skate lanes were renovated this morning and the odd classic lane was redone.

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Blueberry Hill and Elk Pass

January 26, 2016
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As we were skiing along Elk pass, Georgina pointed out a feature which I had never noticed before: the hugging tree. I’ve posted the photo.

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Tuesday morning update and contest

January 26, 2016

Thank you to Ken Sidney for sending the above picture. A contest for everyone who skis at West Bragg Creek   I’ve just posted a quick and easy contest for West Bragg  Creek skiers.

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A rare opportunity

January 24, 2016
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-Wonderful conditions between Castle Junction and Johnston Canyon- This is your chance to ski the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet trails while they’re in top-notch condition,

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Nothing can stop our fearless tracksetters

January 23, 2016

Saturday 8:00 a.m: Check the Trip Reports for the latest news from skiers who were out on the (wet) snow yesterday.

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Waxless ski weather

January 22, 2016

I didn’t ski today, but I’m anxious to hear the the trip reports. So far, Bev, Barry and Doug are reporting just what I’d expect. The temperature reached as high as +7°C in Canmore today, and our first trip report, from Bev, was extolling

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