First day of spring – cold and snowy in PLPP!

Cold and snowy, the best way to usher in springtime in the Rockies, at least if you’re a xc skier. It was a busy day in PLPP, and I enjoyed meeting lots of happy SkiHere readers on the trail. Ray did a good job of describing the ski conditions on the Tyrwhitt loop on the trip reports, but he and Mary were going the opposite direction and started out earlier, so I’ll give my version.

Keith and Mary at the top of Whiskey Jack

When Caroline and I arrived at the Boulton Creek trailhead, the snow was falling and both the air and snow temp were at -6. I still had the wax from the perfect day on Sunday on my skis(VR45), but I thought it might be too sticky. I decided to do a test. I put a layer of VR40  on one ski and left the other as is. Caroline used VR45.

As we started up Whiskey Jack, it was snowing lightly and we already had about 2 cm of new snow in the tracks. The grip on both my skis was excellent for climbing Whiskey Jack, without any icing problems.

The beautiful Tyrwhitt trail with lots of fresh snow

We met Keith and Mary having lunch at the picnic table at the top. They are both avid readers of the blog. Keith said to watch out for Ray Perrott who should be coming down the trail. You may recognize the name, as Ray has left numerous trip reports this year.

We were about five minutes along Tyrwhitt when Ray and Mary showed up. That’s the photo at the top of this post. Ray was estimating about 5 cm of new snow on his trip report, but by the time we reached Elk Pass, I’d guess it was closer to 7-8 cm. Unlike Sunday, when my skis seemed to be self-propelled rockets, I had to work a little harder to get through the soft, fresh snow even though other skiers had already been through it.

It looks like I just skied through a snow storm. This is the Elk Pass/Hydroline junction.

It was nice to hear from Ray’s report that he saw the Tyrwhitt moose as he got back to Boulton creek. Caroline was remarking to me as we were skiing down Tyrwhitt that she hadn’t seen any sign of the moose which always seemed to be around earlier in the season, and we were speculating on what may have happened to her.

To illustrate the difference from Sunday’s conditions, coming down the Elk Pass hills I only could reach 44 kph, a long ways from the record-setting 55 kph only two days ago.

Boulton Creek was our favourite trail today, and we skied it twice.

The best was yet to come. Fox, Boulton, and Moraine were all trackset yesterday and were in prime condition since only about 2 cm of fresh snow was over top, but well skied-in. I haven’t skied on Boulton Creek in such good conditions since, well, forever. I always remember it either having a foot of fresh snow or icy. There are some tight turns, where, on icy tracks, one wrong move could put you in the creek. Today was a breeze.  Going from south to north gives you lots of gentle downhill, so as I was gliding along, I was hitting the overhead spruce boughs with my poles, and Caroline would get to ski through a nice mist of cold snow.

A bunch of happy kids on a field trip. It was a pleasure to watch them skiing and having fun.

We enjoyed it so much that when we got back to Boulton Trading Post, we decided to keep going and skied Moraine, returning on Boulton. Who knows how many wonderful days like this we’ll be able to ski this spring?

If you want to see a larger image, click on the photo.(except for the very top photo)


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  1. I almost ran into that moose on Monday as I was skiing along Wheeler, not far from Packer’s Trail. It was munching on something right beside the ski trail, no more than a foot away from the track. We definitely startled each other!

  2. I’m curious as to how often the Skrastins bus makes outings to the mountains?

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