The most fun ever, Part II
This is the first time I’ve skied all the way to the summit. The final 2.4K was, to the best of my recollection, not always trackset in previous years, but I could be wrong about that, as I had not been up here for about six years. At the very top, I could almost see my house in Canmore!
The views are spectacular, but even better, the final 2.4K of the trail is fun and not that difficult. It only gains about 90 metres of elevation. You will, of course, have to climb the initial 8K on Skogan pass which has an elevation gain of 540 metres if you take the direct route. If you choose to take the Skogan loop, it will add 1K and another 90 metres of elevation before you drop back down to the junction.
At the summit, I could hear voices. It was blog readers Elaine and Scott, who had reached the summit ahead of me, and were enjoying tea at the picnic table which is hidden from the viewpoint. Check the photos to see their skis.
We took photos and headed back down. With 3 cm of fresh snow on the trail, it was slower than usual, but that’s not such a bad thing on these trails. Lower down, there was only about 1 cm of new snow, but it sure helped freshen up the Lower Skogan pass trail.
I started from Ribbon creek parking lot and headed up the Hidden trail through Nakiska. If you attempt this route, you’ll have to ski through the base of the Nakiska downhill area. Stay on the lookout for the cross-country ski trail signs. You can avoid Nakiska by taking Skogan pass trail from Ribbon creek parking lot. There is a small ice flow to contend with, but only about 10 metres in length.
The air temperature at Ribbon creek was -7°C, but I swear it was warmer at the summit. Snow was -5, and I used VR45(-2/-8) over the remaining VR40(-4/-12) from my Redearth creek trip. I forgot to take my special “Skogan pass” skis and had to do the trip on my stiff racing skis. With the new snow on the trail, it was no problem, although I noticed the climbing was not as easy as on Saturday when I had the softer skis.
My GPS indicated a total distance of 10.7K to the summit with a net elevation gain of 620 metres. Coming back on Lower Skogan trail, rather than Hidden, it knocks off about 300 metres.