What an amazing and demanding ski trail. What a spectacular day. I had to do it to prove to myself after a summer of lethargy that I still had it in me. Thanks to David Bynoe for yesterday’s trip report. It encouraged me to go.
If it doesn’t wear you out going up, it might give you leg and foot cramps coming down because of the steady all-out snowplowing on the long, unending downhills. This trail gives me a real sense of accomplishment every time I arrive back at the parking lot with all limbs intact and still able to move.
As promised, we made the draw for the Fischer skis today while on the trail. I met Christine and Elizabeth from the Ramblers about 1K from the top and Christine picked the lucky winner. I’m waiting for a confirmation email before announcing the name.
This is the earliest ever to ski on good tracks to the Skogan pass summit. It may not be the easiest trail to tackle early in the winter with a net elevation gain of 620 metres and a round-trip distance of 21K. I didn’t do the loop today, but for future reference, that’s probably where you get the best views.
This was the busiest I’ve ever seen Skogan pass. I would estimate I encountered at least 50 other skiers today.
Although you see the photo of little Julianne on the trail, I have to warn that Skogan pass is not a suitable trail for beginner skiers. Lower Skogan pass, the first 2K from Ribbon creek parking lot is not too difficult, but it gets very steep after that. At 2K you reach the “Screamer” portion of the trail. You may have already guessed the screamer is very steep. It continues on to 3.1K where it meets Marmot junction.
As you near the top of the screamer, there’s a 20-metre section of trail (it paralells the Nakiska service road) where I removed my skis on the descent because of rocks and dirt(see photos). I was surprised to see the skiers ahead of me had snowplowed right over the rocks. It’s unsafe, and it will put a big gouge in your skis. That’s about the only place where I would say conditions were sketchy, and I was expecting it, because it’s always like that in early season. There was a bit of ice and the occasional thin spot on Lower Skogan, but nothing to cause a problem if you were careful.
Air temperature was -1°C at the Ribbon creek parking lot, but the snow was still cold enough at -4°C to give good grip with VR45. About 6K up on a sun-exposed section of north-south trail, the snow was actually wet for a 200-metre stretch, but that was the only place. With the steep trail, the sun was hitting it at an angle that warmed it up considerably.
The snow temperature at the summit was -8°C.