Goat creek and Spray river (west and east)

Skiing on Goat creek was surprisingly good, considering how beat up the trail is. This photo shows conditions about 2k from the trailhead.

The tracksetting is now nine days old, but the skiing is still fun, fast, and best of all, quite safe.  As you can see in the photo, the first 7K of trail down to Goat creek bridge is beat up, but I didn’t find it to be any problem to stay in the tracks. On the downhills, the trail has been flattened out by lots of snowplowing, but you can still get an edge and slow yourself down. The snow temperature was -6°C, and the air was -4°C. The snow in the infamous ridge in the middle of the trail is still soft, so you won’t kill yourself if you ski through it.

Goat creek at 8K had much better tracks.

There were no exposed rocks on the fast, winding downhill to Goat creek bridge at 7K. Once past the Goat Creek bridge, the tracks are better-defined and deeper.

At 9K, now on Spray river west, I noticed the skating lane had been rolled recently and was in excellent condition. The long downhill(approx 1.4K) to the junction where east meets west was in great shape and I had an enjoyable cruise without any issues; no thin spots, good tracks without much wobble.

Spray river east was in good shape except for the last 300 metres down to the golf course which had exposed rocks

I was curious about the conditions on Spray river east, so when I came to the junction at 13.5K, I took the bridge and skied to the golf course. Good conditions were prevalent until the last 300 metres where the downhill to the golf course starts. There are a number of exposed rocks which I was able to dodge, but if you were in a snowplow, you’d certainly hit them.

The Spray river east trail will end at the golf course where you’ll see the Banff Springs hotel in the distance

If you want to do a complete loop, there is a connector which joins the two trails. If you start at Spray river west trailhead, 700 metres down the trail you’ll see on your left a trail marker, indicating a trail going down to the river. It crosses a bridge, then follow the signs. The total length of the connector is about 500 metres but you will have to remove your skis at least once. Eventually you’ll arrive at Spray river east.

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