There’s only one little problem…
Overall, the conditions were pretty good. Good tracks on all the trackset portions, and a reasonably good skier-set track on the 2K ungroomed portion. Some challenges involved in crossing the washed-out bridge.
At the Goat creek trailhead in mid-afternoon air temperature was -8°C with a snow temp of -12. VR30 performed great all the way. I’m glad I hot-waxed my skis with Swix CH4 before setting out. I made the trip in a moving time of 1 hr 53 min which included a lot of slow-going on the ungroomed portion and negotiating my way onto the bridge.
On Goat creek the tracks were clean after 3K. Spray river west was in excellent condition until you got near Banff. The last 2K had sections with plenty of debris. I was surprised it wasn’t worse after the carpet of debris we experienced two weeks ago. Downhills on the 7K of Goat creek which is trackset were breakneck fast. On the ungroomed parts the downhills had to be taken slowly and cautiously.
There is some difficulty involved in crossing the Spray bridge at 9K as you can see in the photos. You are required to clamber down a steep bank, then walk on the glare ice of the Spray river. I heard it cracking with every step.
Goat creek is not a trail for beginner/novice skiers, especially in its present condition.
If you are going to cross ice that is marginal, be sure to keep your skis on if at all possible. It’s the same principle as snowshoes: your weight spread over more surface area. If the ice can just about hold you in shoes/boots, it will hold you on skis.
I learned this through experience, skied across a lake, then had to climb up a bank at the end of it. Unthinking, I took off my skis and was immediately knee deep in water.