Mt Shark was excellent

by Bob Truman on January 31, 2014

in Beginner skiers, Kananaskis, Mount Shark, Skate trail

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Mt Shark had cold snow, perfect tracksetting, and beautiful scenery.

The two busloads of skiers from Regina will be going home with glowing reports of the fabulous conditions at Mt Shark. They were driving out as I was driving in.

The Yellow trail intersects Watridge lake road at Mt Shark

The Yellow trail intersects Watridge lake road at Mt Shark

The air temperature had warmed up to -12°C but seemed a lot nicer with the bright sun and blue sky. Snow temperature was -12 as well. A couple thin layers of VR30 is all I needed for perfect grip. After all the skiers had polished the track earlier today, I was gliding very well. It helped to have Swix CH4 glide wax which is for very cold snow.

A 10-lane practice grid at Mt Shark

A 10-lane practice grid at Mt Shark

Mt Shark is usually a destination where I take my dog Tessa, but it was too cold for her today 🙁  I stopped at Mt Engadine Lodge beforehand and skied their charming little trail which runs through forest and meadows for 4.1K. I skied 1.2K further in the lower meadow on a well-packed track which is shared with snowshoers. This is the large open meadow on your left as you start up the Mt Shark road.

The trail near Mt Engadine Lodge

The trail near Mt Engadine Lodge

All the coloured trails are single trackset and groomed for skating. If you’re a novice/beginner skier, there’s a 10-lane practice grid at the trailhead. Watridge lake road is easy for the first 4.8K but gets very “advanced” thereafter. The final 1.3K  includes a steep hill down to the Spray River and it’s a screamer. It would require some experience and finesse, not to mention lots of full-bore snowplowing. On the return, there’s a lung-busting climb of 100 metres elevation over 900 metres of distance.

Watridge lake road at Mt Shark

Watridge lake road at Mt Shark

I skied Watridge lake road to the 4.8K point. I didn’t take the screamer to the Spray river as I wanted to save some daylight to ski red/black and enjoy those amazing roller-coaster hills. I forgot how tight that hair-pin turn was and just managed to negotiate it upright.

The Spray Lakes road is in excellent winter driving condition(which is much better than it is in the summer!).

According to Alf, most of the trails in West Bragg were trackset today. In Banff National Park, recent tracksetting includes Spray river west and east and Cascade valley/Bankhead. The Kananaskis village/Ribbon creek trails were trackset today. Charlie reports the Pipestone trails were being groomed today. Conditions are wonderful on most trails right now. Dress appropriately for the cold weather and get out there(before it gets really cold)!

The Alberta Cadet Biathlon Championships are happening Saturday and Sunday at Canmore Nordic Centre. Check the CNC page for trail closures.

Good luck to all the skiers going to Nipika for the loppet tomorrow.

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