Mt Shark – near perfect conditions and dog-friendly

by Bob Truman on January 12, 2012

in Kananaskis, Mount Shark

Tessa waiting to go skiing

I’ve had a few emails asking for advice on ski trails which are dog-friendly. Mt Shark is a destination where you can ski with your dog and it’s in prime condition after being groomed and trackset yesterday.

We took Tessa there today and had a wonderful time. Watridge Lake road is trackset to the lake turn-off, which is 3.7K, thereafter it is groomed for a further 2.5K to the Spray River bridge. The last section is steep and fast, a 100 metre drop over a distance of 900 metres. You can stop before the hill and still go over 5K one-way.

From Watridge Lake road, it’s a short downhill to the lake, maybe 100 metres in distance.

Mount Shark was trackset yesterday and in near-perfect condition.

A couple other trails are trackset as well. The 2K blue loop is a fairly easy trail with a few rolling hills but nothing too difficult. The Red/Purple has some real screamers if you want a thrill.

Speaking of thrills, the hill down to the Spray River bridge on the last section of the Watridge Lake road is unsurpassed in thrills. As you start down, it’s quite gentle and slow enough that even I can step-turn the corners. It’s only a ruse, however, to suck you into the drop of doom which awaits you.

Bob and Tessa at Watridge Lake

The final 300 metres of the hill is steep with sharp turns. If you’re not a seasoned intermediate skier, walk down, or avoid this part. It’s F – A – S – T. If you approach it with a full head of steam, there’s not much hope that even snowplowing will save you. I barely made it. If you have a dog, don’t do it. Cheryl and Tessa wisely turned back before the hill. It wasn’t busy there today, but I could see an accident waiting to happen if a skier was rocketing down this hill and a dog got in the way.

As luck would have it, this is also the section of trail where the snow is still uneven in a few spots. As I said, it was thrilling. Not only that, but you’ll get a lot of herringbone practice on the way back up.

The air temperature was -4 and the snow was -7. No wind except down at the lake. It looks like the weather will finally co-operate and stay cold for a while. Too cold by Monday, unfortunately. The Smith-Dorrien(aka Spray Lakes road) is in good winter driving condition. Much more pleasant than driving it in the summer. The only washboard effect is on the section from the Goat Creek trailhead down to Canmore, and it’s not even that bad.

The Kananaskis trail report shows that Skogan Pass and Ribbon Creek were groomed and/or trackset yesterday.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 RichieRich January 13, 2012 at 10:18 am

Bob – do you have any idea of if all the Shark trails were trackset yesterday? Their report is for the 10th but it sounds, from your comments, as if they were busy after the last report. Also approx how far (distance and time) drive is it up from CNC?

They weren’t all trackset. Just the ones I mentioned. It takes about 35 – 40 minutes from the CNC. -Bob

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