Jody’s update on PLPP(including wolf sighting!)

by Bob Truman on December 24, 2013

in Animal tracks & sightings, Beginner skiers, Kananaskis, PLPP(P Lougheed Park)

Lodgepole with fresh tracksetting

Lodgepole with fresh tracksetting

Tracksetter Jody sent this Tuesday Dec 24 at 8:21 a.m:

Meadow

Meadow

It was minus six at 7AM at Boulton Parking Lot, with a skiff of light snow overnight.  All of the PLPP trails north of and including Whiskey Jack have now been groomed and track-set since the last major snowfall, most of them in the last 40 hours.  

The early season natural hazards are slowly being covered, but there are still some remaining, mostly on Pocaterra N of Lynx, Packers, LL Group, and possibly on parts of Lodgepole and Braille.  

A pack of wolves was following the fresh grooming around last night and their tracks can be seen on at least Wheeler, and on the edges of Packers and Pocaterra.  Happy Trails and Happy Christmas.

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Braille

Braille

I was in PLPP yesterday afternoon(Dec 23) very late(that’s where these photos are from). I didn’t get on the trail until 3:30 pm but I had time to ski all the new tracksetting from Dec 22. Starting from Elkwood Amphitheatre, the trails included Meadow, Lodgepole, Sinclair, Braille, and Spruce road. Other than a few residual pine needles which were of no consequence, and a couple clumps of grass on Braille, the conditions were excellent.

The snow has not deteriorated from warm weather at all. The air and snow temperatures were both -2°C, and it’s good to hear from Jody that it was -6 this morning.

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Spruce road, an easy trail in PLPP

Spruce road, an easy trail in PLPP

PLPP trails for beginner skiers

Although it sounds like things are holding up well so far, this warm weather may take its toll on the trails in West Bragg and Ribbon creek/Kananaskis village areas.

If you are a beginner skier with waxable skis, to get yourself off to a good start, I highly recommend going to a venue where the snow is cold and you can have reasonably good success with blue or purple wax. Although a longer drive, it usually stays a bit cooler in PLPP.

Spruce road passes by this playground

Spruce road passes by this playground

In PLPP, with Pocaterra now reconfigured and not so beginner-friendly, the easiest trails start at Elkwood Amphitheatre trailhead. That’s about 3K down the road from Pocaterra.

From there, you have Wheeler, Amos, and the easiest of all, Spruce road and WWL access trail.

Trails which start at Elkwood Amphitheatre trailhead

Trails which start at Elkwood Amphitheatre trailhead

From Elkwood, the WWL access trail is .6K, and Spruce road itself is .8K. You’ll ski past the cabins at WWL and smell the smoke from the fireplaces. You’ll pass by the kids’ playground, and a surprise to me, there’s a walking trail which is groomed with corduroy.

Unfortunately there is no daylodge at Elkwood but you have the PLPP Visitor Centre about 2K away. William Watson Lodge is a place where I hear they welcome skiers if you need to warm up and you’ll pass right by it.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris & Peter Thomas December 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Thanks Jody for the great grooming at PLPP last night (and all other times), and for the timely update this am, and Bob, too for posting! And thanks too to the pack of wolves that walked between and beside the track setting on Wheeler, not in the tracks!!

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2 GordN December 24, 2013 at 11:49 am

That Pocaterra area is a hot bed of Wolf tracks. I can confirm William Watson is a nice place to warm up or take a bathroom break.

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3 Steve Riggs December 24, 2013 at 10:01 am

That’s great news about new grooming at PLPP!
Thanks Jody for the timely updates.
I’m wondering when the more southerly trails might get done?

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4 Jody December 24, 2013 at 9:59 pm

There will be no fresh grooming for Christmas Day, but as long as there are no surprises, the south end of the Park will be refreshed over the two days following.

And nice to hear the wolves stayed off the tracks- some animals are more considerate than others (unlike moose, or skaters). I noticed the tracks at the junction of Wheeler, which had been groomed earlier in the evening (not by me), and then the tracks followed my fresh grooming up Packers. That is when I started following them on my second pass, catching a glimpse of a large grey at one point (it is a very large black one I usually have seen). As soon as they realized the snowcat was now behind them they skedaddled up Pocaterra and exited at the highway access. There were tracks last night from many other animals as well, it’s nice to share the trails with so many critters.

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