You can have it all

by Bob Truman on December 20, 2013

in Beginner skiers, Kananaskis, Skogan pass, Wedge Connector

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– The Wedge connector is single trackset and groomed with a skating lane –

Do you like it relaxed and easy, or hard and fast? Are you a beginner, maybe even a first-timer, or a seasoned veteran with sophisticated technique? Anything you like is available to you right now in Kananaskis.

That's the "Wedge" in the distance

That’s the “Wedge” in the distance

My skiing today went from one extreme, the easy, almost flat terrain of the Wedge connector to the fast, crazy steep hills of Sunburst and Skogan. In between, I had a pleasant intermediate 1K ski up Terrace from the Ribbon creek parking lot with the corresponding thrill ride back down.

Deer tracks crossing the wedge connector

Deer tracks crossing the wedge connector

Let’s start at the beginning, or should I say, with the beginners. Ribbon creek is gone, and it’s a shame because it was the perfect trail to learn to ski on. Don’t despair, because a few Km down the road, the Wedge connector is even easier and safer.

Everything was in sync today. The air temperature of -9°C combined with -9 snow temp made for easy waxing. Swix VR40(-4/-12). It was one of those days where you wax and forget about it.

Nice tracks on the Wedge connector

Nice tracks on the Wedge connector

Officially, from Wedge pond the sign indicates that it’s the Bill Milne trail, and indeed it is for 400 metres. At the junction, the Wedge connector begins, while Bill Milne turns left onto some fairly steep hills and continues on to the Mt Kidd RV Park.

The Wedge Connector no longer connects to anything. The flooding damage wiped out the last 400 metres of the trail, and it is now only 2K, but for all practical purposes, it is 2.4 when you include the first 400 metres of the Bill Milne.

Skating is allowed on the Wedge connector

Skating is allowed on the Wedge connector

Today, the Wedge Connector was the trail someone had in mind when they wrote, ” there is something about being in a forest in the middle of winter gliding across the snow that refreshes the body and mind.” It was simply beautiful with the snow-laden trees, perfect grooming, occasional animal tracks, snow as dry as talcum powder, all under the watchful gaze of the Wedge and Mt Kidd.

There’s really only one small hill with an elevation gain of maybe 10 metres, just enough to test out your snow-plow if you’re a beginner. If you’re confident, you can tuck and have a bit of a thrill downhill to see what it’s like to go a little faster.

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The new Ribbon creek bridge at the end of Terrace trail

The new Ribbon creek bridge at the end of Terrace trail

My next objective was to ski up Skogan pass on yesterday’s new tracksetting. First, I wanted to take a picture of the new bridge over Ribbon creek, which I did, but the fresh grooming on Terrace trail seduced me and I had to ski 1K up to the Kovach intersection. From there, I could see that Jeff was tracksetting the village trails with Terrace(towards the village) already double trackset. Kovach still had the new snow on top.

Skogan pass

Skogan pass

Skogan pass for the first 3K still has some residual pine needles kicking around, but they weren’t an issue. With cold grip wax, they don’t get stuck in your wax, and by the time I reached the Marmot junction at 3.3K, the snow was pristine.

When I reached the end of the Screamer at 3.1K, the rocks which are usually there were all covered.

The view from High Level trail

The view from High Level trail

Since I’ve been to the summit on a previous trip this winter, I decided to take Sunburst to Hummingbird plume and return on High Level. Sunburst is incredibly, unrelentingly, steep and it’s a lot more fun coming down on High Level where you can look around and enjoy the descent. Coming down Sunburst is a white-knuckle descent.

Ribbon creek parking lot

Ribbon creek parking lot

The most fun today was the Screamer. On good snow conditions, I can’t think of any trail that’s more enjoyable. It’s a fast downhill with lots of turns. As you’re descending, it starts about 200 metres past Marmot and begins right where the rocks usually are, parallel to the Nakiska access road, and ends at Ruthie’s. It’s 1.1K of thrills and delight with lots of grins.

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Trackset today: Goat creek was trackset to the 7K bridge.  Pipestone trails at Lake Louise. Kananaskis village trails. Mt Shark trails.

It sounds like West Bragg will have its best conditions of the winter tomorrow.

Steve Riggs guessed that it was Skogan Pass on tonight’s “teaser.”

More photos from Skogan pass…

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