As Tessa and I arrived at the Ribbon Creek trailhead today, the sun was shining, the wind was howling(blowing in this warm air), and the car thermometer said it was +8. Krystal and Sara and their two dogs had just finished their ski and were suggesting I might want to use my waxless skis.
Ribbon Creek had beautiful tracks and excellent snow coverage, but most of the trail is exposed to the sun and the snow was wet. It would have been complete and utter frustration on waxable skis. As soon as we crossed over the bridge at 2.5K onto Kovach link, the snow was much colder and just got better as we climbed up to the lookout, where the picnic table has all but disappeared(see photos).
After skiing on waxable skis all winter, today was a reminder of why I use waxless skis as a last resort. In soft, wet snow they are painfully slow, and much more difficult to control on the fast downhills.
On the south side of Ribbon Creek, where the elevation is higher, the Kananaskis Village trails were probably cold enough to get by with purple wax. With a high of +11 in the forecast for tomorrow, these trails will probably succumb as well.
If you want to go a lot higher in your search for cold snow, the trail report indicates the Skogan Pass trails were groomed and trackset yesterday. We skied up Hidden trail which had excellent snow, but it has been well-used by walkers, snowshoers, and ungulates(see photos). It was groomed only, no tracksetting.
Mt Shark was completely groomed and trackset last night, and you can get there from Canmore now, as the Smith Dorrien(Spray Lakes) road has been reopened.