For two days in a row I’ve been pleasantly surprised by conditions at trails where I thought it would be too icy. Today it was Ribbon creek and the Kananaskis Village trails.
I initially stopped at Ribbon creek only to take a picture of the trail, but I decided to ski there after seeing how nice the snow and tracks were. I wasn’t disappointed. Air temperature was +1°C, and I still haven’t found my snow thermometer. If I had to guess, I’d say the snow temp was around -4°C.
As a bonus, Ribbon creek was trackset all the way to the bike rack. I used VR50(0/-4) and had excellent grip without any icing. The trails in a few places were borderline slick, but it was of little concern.
I met Reiner and Mike on the trail and they were also impressed with the conditions, after having low expectations.
I skied most of the trails and was really amazed at how Aspen has been rejuvenated after seeing it carpeted with debris ten days ago. If you climb to the Kovach lookout, the trail from the north side had excellent snow, and there was just enough powder from snowplowers to help get good grip. Coming down on the S-turns was easy and safe. I skied over a few patches of debris without consequence.
There’s no getting around it, you will occasionally encounter a few stretches of trail with pine needles. The worst was for a 500 metre length of Ribbon creek, starting at the picnic table. At the end of Ribbon creek I removed five pine needles from my wax.
On the downhill to the bridge from Ribbon creek to Link, there were two exposed rocks. Luckily I had removed my skis and walked down.
Don’t ski south of the village on Terrace unless you’re prepared to walk the first 500 metres. The lack of fresh snow has decimated that trail to a hard-packed, debris-covered mess. It’s used a lot by walkers and snowshoers up to the junction with Kovach.