Skiers encounter hibernating bear

Bear sleeping under tree. Photograph from the Calgary Herald by Dan Rafla

A story in yesterday’s Herald caught my attention. This happened in Banff National Park, just north of Lake Louise Close encounter for skiers who stumble across bear hibernating under tree.

One of the skiers was Karsten Heuer, who said “It was one of those moments where the mind was having trouble making sense of  what I was seeing. Half a metre away from my boots was a bear curled up like a  dog underneath a spruce tree.”

Last winter, I was aware of a well-used ski trail which came to within 50 metres of a bear’s den. The bear went undisturbed as far as I know, but it was in an actual den.

There’s a more detailed story in the Canmore newspaper, Rocky Mountain Outlook – Bear awoken from hibernation.

I’d like to say Hi to the reader from Enköping, Uppsala Lan, in Sweden. How’s the skiing there? My great grandparents were living in Uppsala before emigrating to North America(way back in 1878). My great grandfather’s last name was Karlsson, but he changed it after settling in Illinois.

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  1. What is the big deal about skiers encountering a bear? I see bear tracks often out cross country skiing along with the odd breather hole in the snow. The area around the south end of Spray Lakes in Watridge Lake/ Banff Park area often has Grizzlies roaming in the winter. They seem to often zig zag across trails going to spruce trees to snack on sap or something. During my last trip up towards Assinibone just before Christmas it appeared a small Griz was nipping off the tops of small spruce trees as needles were found at the base of the trees. There is not one month of the year I have not seen Griz tracks out there in the bush. Anybody travelling in the bush should always be aware of bears no matter what time of year it is. If you see fresh tracks just turn around and let the bears be. Have respect. Let live as you want to live. Be Green not mean.

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