West Bragg; Hawkridge; Skogan Pass

Richard sent in the following photos and updates:  

Elbow Trail at West Bragg Creek. Dec 10, 2009. Photo courtesy of Richard V.

 Hi Bob,

A lot of West Bragg is snowmobile packed, but no grooming or trackset. Someone took a 4×4 on Sundog Loop and East Crystal line so there are tire ruts on those trails. Elbow Trail has good coverage and is snowmobile  packed (see picture). Iron Springs Trail also has good coverage but is only skier trackset. For skiers that don’t mind non-groomed trails and the occasional thin spot West Bragg is a good place to go right now.

Hawkridge Dec 10, 2009. Photo courtesy of Richard V.

I also stopped by Hawkridge and about half of the trails are open, some with track set, on a thin base (see picture). They were working hard at “farming” the snow so things are looking up.

Happy Trails
One of our regular contributors from last year is back. Steve Riggs sent in this photo and report:

Skogan Pass Dec 10, 2009. Photo courtesy of Steve Riggs.

Hi Bob,
I was skiing on Thursday afternoon on the Skogan Pass side of 
Ribbon Creek.
Good coverage, ranging from 15-20 cm near Nakiska, to 30-40 cm or 
more higher up.
There was a deep skier set track continuing beyond the High Level 
junction, where I turned off, but rather than slog all the way around 
the loop to the old lookout, I ended up climbing and then descending  
the powerline from up high,  enjoying some good turns in soft snow, 
to way below the Sunburst junction.
Good thing I was on light telemark gear,  to take advantage of the 
good conditions!
No one had skied the lookout loop yet (High Level-Sunburst), so 
expect some trailbreaking.
I would recommend that anyone heading up into the Skogan area, unless they are skilled at skiing ungroomed snow using XC track equipment,  be on heavier gear, at least one of the BC boot-binding systems, and  wider skis designed to take some off trail travel. It should really be rated as an easy backcountry tour now.
Steve Riggs
Thanks guys.  By the way, I think I know where Richard took that photo. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s about 200 metres south of the Sundog junction. When there’s good snow, the Elbow trail is a lot of fun with it’s hills and turns. If you’re not familiar with Hawkridge, here’s a link http://www.hawkridgecentre.ca/. They do an amazing job with the snow farming there. We’re not kidding! Go there during the day, and you might catch them in action.
Everything at Mt Shark was groomed and trackset yesterday. PLPP trails are being worked on; check the Kananaskis trail report.
Cascade Fire road in Banff has been snowmobile packed but is rated in poor condition. Snow gets better beyond the Cascade River bridge(about 7K). I haven’t been there, I’m just going by the Banff trail report. If anyone checks it out, let us know what your opinion is.
I’m hoping to have something of my own to report tomorrow. If I can get mobile early enough, I hope to do some skiing around here before heading off to Lake Louise with the Calgary Ski Club for their Winterstart weekend. I’ll be co-ordinating a daytrip on Saturday(from Lake Louise) and we’re aiming at skiing Emerald Lake. Depending on which weather forecast you go by, it looks like we’ll have reasonably nice weather out there on Saturday with temps around -12/-15.
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  1. Sorry Bob, that photo is taken facing south, close to the link between Iron Springs and Elbow Trail.

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