It was a great start to the day, with nice, cool temperatures at Pocaterra hut as I met my friend Peter who was celebrating his birthday. Is there any better way to enjoy your birthday than to go xc skiing in the most beautiful place on earth? The snow temperature was a cool -9°C at 11:30 a.m. Air temperature was -5. Swix VR45(-2/-8) worked well as we headed up Pocaterra.
Peter reached a milestone birthday yesterday, but he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. He can still leave me behind while climbing those steep hills, but then again, he’s seven days younger than me, so he has quite an advantage!
Wanna hear a coincidence? Many years ago, I met Peter Neumann and Ray Potvin in the Calgary Ski Club, and it so happened that we were all born the same month of the same year.
We competed against each other in a number of Cookie races, and each of us had our moment of glory(a gold medal) along the way. Ray and I both skied the 2nd leg of the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet this year, and were within 16 seconds of each other after 10K.
At the Packers junction I added a layer of Swix violet, and that gave me good grip until Whiskey Jack where we stopped to have lunch. Upon resuming our ski, it was really warming up, so I added another layer of wax, and continued to have reasonably good grip until the Tyrwhitt picnic bench where we stopped to enjoy the sun and nice weather in that lovely location. It’s 14k from the hut to the Tyrwhitt picnic bench.
Around 2:00 pm we started the trip back down. We only had to climb for about 2.5K to the high point on Tyrwhitt, but it was a struggle and a strenuous upper body workout as we had no grip. Thereafter, we had all downhill to the hut, but it was still a precarious adventure because of the alternating conditions. If you were heading downhill with a full head of steam, and hit a sun-exposed wet patch of snow, it was easy to lose your balance because of the sudden slow-down that would occur. Each of us did a faceplant on the way down.
The final 3.6K on Pocaterra(from the Lynx junction) was very slushy and slow going. Temperature at the hut at 3:00 pm was +7. With the continued warm temperatures, I expect the snow will be very icy in the mornings, slushy in the afternons. Waxless skis(or the dreaded klister) would probably perform best this weekend, but be careful on those fast downhills.
I reached 1704K for the season yesterday, the most I’ve ever skied in one winter. With spring here, my updates will be fewer, but I still encourage everyone to continue leaving trip reports.