– The view from the Kananaskis fire lookout. –
You might have noticed the unusual mix of trails which were groomed last night in PLPP. It’s because the Cooke race is this Saturday, and the trail-grooming crews were doing mostly the non-race trails.
All the race trails will be groomed before Saturday.
Today, I followed the recent grooming up Whiskey jack where I ran into Norm, Dianne and Kate. I managed to catch them on a level part of the trail, so we stopped and had a nice chat until we started getting cold. They were finishing up a good day of skiing while I was just starting.
I decided to follow Mary’s tracks up to the Kananaskis Fire Lookout. I had excellent grip on the steep trail with yesterday’s VR50. No matter how good your grip is, however, there are parts of the trail where it’s so steep you’ll need to herringbone. I didn’t see any evidence of anyone crashing on the way down, so I guess we can believe Mary’s speedy descent of under four minutes.
The temperature at the lookout was -10°C. It was -4 at Boulton creek when I started out. Snow temp at Boulton was -4. After descending the incredibly steep south side, I had to rewax. I used VR40(-4/-12) and it performed well for the remainder of my trip. The snow temp at the creek on Lookout was -8. After a steep descent of 260 metres elevation loss on south Lookout, you have to climb out of the valley bottom up to Hydroline.
This experience reminded me of why I don’t usually ski down the south side of the lookout.
Hydroline was trackset last night but there was already a dusting of fresh snow in the tracks, so I skied on the corduroy which was a lot faster.
At Elk pass, I followed coyote tracks along the newly groomed trail. They turned down into Fox creek and I kept on following. Fox creek has a lot of fresh snow, but the tracks were still in good shape. Ditto Moraine.
It looks like there will be good conditions with plenty of cold snow for the cookie racers this Saturday. Waxing should be simple and easy with a forecast low of -18 on Friday night. You’ll need plenty of grip this year with all those hills on the new Pocaterra.
The Kananaskis village trails were trackset yesterday. If you missed the note attached to the grooming report, “Please note the snow cat for this area will be down in Peter Lougheed working on the Cookie Race for the remainder of this week so no more new grooming will occur.”
Today I was asked about conditions on Redearth creek. The Banff trail report shows that Redearth creek hasn’t been trackset since Feb 1. I doubt if that’s accurate. When Shadow Lake Lodge opens at the end of January, they take over the grooming of the trail, so I expect it’s being groomed on a regular basis.