Dreaming of this day

Ribbon Creek was groomed and in nice condition

Ribbon Creek and Kananaskis Village

Six weeks ago, I was biking up to the Kovach Lookout, dreaming about the day when I would be skiing it. That day is here! Ribbon Creek/Kananaskis Village holds a special place in my heart, as it was the first place I ever skied. It was wonderful to be back on those trails again, and they were better than I expected.

I skied Ribbon creek, crossed the bridge and took the steep hill up to the Lookout, down the delightful S-turns and on to the village, and back to Ribbon creek parking lot on Terrace. I was there early enough to catch the snow while it was cold and I had good grip with VR45(-2/-8).

Terrace trail near Kananaskis village

One skier had been out ahead of me, and one moose walked on the trail for quite a distance. The moose is being smart, and taking the path of least resistance.  The people who were walking all over the ski trails were not so smart. I saw very few hazards; a couple exposed rocks on Link right by the retaining wall, and a couple large depressions in the trail which are easy enough to see and get over with some caution. What will be more of a problem on Saturday will be all the snow bombs which have fallen from the trees. They’ll be frozen hard in the morning.

The temperatures got a little warm by 1:30 pm, however, so I’m not sure if the snow will be a bit icy in the morning. I saw fresh grooming going up Skogan Pass, so my educated guess says that Jeff was doing Lower Skogan, Middle Skogan, Sunburst and High Level. Not sure if he would have made it all the way to the Skogan Pass loop.

Sue, Catherine, and Ursula about 100 metres from the Elk Pass trailhead


I left Ribbon creek and hightailed it down to PLPP where all the trails I was surmising about yesterday were done, almost exactly as I predicted.

Elk Pass, Blueberry Hill, Patterson, Hydroline, Tyrwhitt, Lookout were all trackset. Pocaterra from Lookout junction to Packers junction is also done. Whiskey Jack was groomed at the trailhead(not trackset). You might find tracks higher up, I’m not sure. There seems to be a little more snow at Pocaterra hut, but there’s no grooming for the first 6.6k.

When I hit the Elk Pass trail at 3:00 pm, I could still see corduroy but it had just started snowing, and got heavier at elevation. Up top on Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt, the early skiers tomorrow will need to break trail. The air temp was -3°C, and the snow was -5°C.

It was already 4 pm, so I was surprised to see Alan, Darren, and Sean as they were just finishing Tyrwhitt. This photo was taken at the Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt, Hydroline junction. The tracks are Elk Pass.

There’s oodles of snow on Fox creek and Boulton creek but neither has been groomed. It was easy enough to ski in, but your poles won’t bottom out until they’re 25 cm deep. There was some deadfall over the trail on Fox creek which I moved to the side. Anyway, you can do a complete loop if you’re willing to ski in some deep snow through the trees.

Parking at Elk Pass: It will be crowded. Consider driving to the Upper Lake parking lot. The connector trail to Elk Pass is gromed, and you’ll get an extra K of skiing in.

Fantastic choices for the weekend

The Trip Reports indicate that Cascade Valley was groomed and trackset again today. Don’t forget about Lake Louise where conditions should be excellent. You can now do the Fairview loop, and the Pipestone trails have been packed for a second time.

I can’t believe my eyes – the Banff trail report says Goat Creek is trackset!

Another interesting trip report from Chuck who was skiing the Lake O’Hara fire road. Fabulous picture of a ptarmigan, although you can walk within feet of those birds and they won’t fly. Most of the time you can’t see them because they are so well camouflaged, winter or summer. Chuck’s photos

Canmore Nordic Centre

If you’re planning on skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre, make sure you check this page: CNC update


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  1. Ribbon was good today, especially Kovach. It was slightly overcast so there was no melting. Waxed for -1C and had no problems. Plenty of boot tracks by the parking lots. I think it will still be good tomorrow.

    Glad to hear that it’s still okay, thanks for the report. -Bob

  2. Hi Bob Beginners story. In the late sixties I used to stay at the castle mountain youth hostel to ski Louise. Ruth Oltmann, the houseparent there, and avid x-c er, heard I was going to Inuvik for a month, and told me how good the xc trails were there, and that I had to get some gear, and try the sport. So I did.After going around the track a couple times ,a big fellow lounging around the warming hut asked what I was doing and then explained that I had the pole sequence reversed. Also took about a quarter inch of excess wax off my skis. Then I could really fly. I thought. The next day I got passed out by a young girl wearing a huge parka. I hung with her back to the hut, but was spent for the day.She however , took off the big parka, had a drink ,and went skiing for another 20 k’s. “she”was Shirley Firth of the national team, and the big” know it all” guy was the national team coach, Bjorger Petersen, and really did”know it all” Quite humbling.

  3. Hi Bob, nice running into you this afternoon. Just to confirm, there was track setting heading down Whiskey Jack from the top. We didn’t go down so not sure where stops.

    Thanks, Alan. You probably told me that, but it was all I could do to remember your names! -Bob

    • Hi Bob. Must have been skier set tracks on Whiskey Jack. Only one grooming pass was made down and no tracksetting has been done with the Pisten Bully on Whiskey Jack as of yet.

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