The snow was a lot faster today than on Saturday, and I made it to the Goat creek bridge in 28 minutes, a distance of 7K but mostly downhill. Net elevation loss is 180 metres.
Along the way I stopped to talk with Christine and Francoise who had skied beyond the Goat creek bridge, all the way to the Spray river bridge(which is flood-damaged). It’s an additional 2K, and they said the snow was excellent with good skier-set tracks to follow.
The temperature at the trailhead was -12°C at 2:30 pm. Snow temp was -15, but down at the bridge it was -11. I didn’t even wax for the descent as I still had residue from Saturday’s polar wax which did the trick in the few places I needed some grip. I added wax for the return, however, since most of it involves climbing. Swix VR30(-10 and colder) gave excellent grip.
In the above photo, the drop of doom, you might never see the scenery while skiing down to the bridge. If you’re like me, you’ll be concentrating intensely on the fast downhill ahead of you, trying to control your descent in order to make the turn onto the bridge. The trail gets steeper and narrower just as you’re coming to the bridge which requires a quick turn to avoid impaling yourself on the bridge railing, or even worse, a frigid bath.
I’m happy to report the snow on the drop of doom is in nice shape. No exposed rocks, and still enough loose snow to get a good edge in for snowplowing. If you’re not terrified, you might even have a second or two to glance around and enjoy the terrific surroundings.
If you are observant, you’ll see a caution sign on the left-hand side of the trail 300 metres before the bridge, but for some skiers it’s already too late at this point. There’s a nice, long downhill preceding the sign and you’ll be flying along the trail, unaware of the upcoming challenge. You’ll have two crash zones where you can bail before you reach the bridge. Right now, the snow is soft.
It was obvious the trail saw quite a few skiers yesterday and today. The last chance to bail run-out zone at the side of the trail on the descent to the bridge had been used by a lot of panic-stricken skiers.
There is now one lonely exposed rock on the entire trail. You’ll see it about 50 metres from the trailhead as you start to go down the initial hill. Nice to get that out of the way so quickly.
Even with good conditions, Goat creek is a trail for seasoned intermediate skiers who are confident on fast downhills with turns, and adding to the excitement is the Banff ridge which is in the middle of the trail occasionally, making it difficult to snowplow at times. Also be aware that it will take you double the time to return as it took going down.
Congratulations to Brian McKeever, winner of the first race at the Para-Nordic World Cup in Canmore. Read more from Cross country Canada
I’ve added a new photo entry and there’s also a new comment on the Emerald Lake Lodge contest.
…and we’ve got a new, if somewhat impromptu, contest going where you could win a much-sought-after SkiHere.ca toque. What’s the best canadian winter song?
Photos from today at Goat creek