Skogan loop via Nakiska – in nice weather!

by Bob Truman on February 9, 2014

in Kananaskis, skating on classic trails, Skogan pass

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I hope you didn’t stay home on account of the weather. It was -10°C with bright sunshine at Ribbon creek parking lot at 1:30 pm. Best of all, no wind. Snow temperature was -17. Reading the Trip Reports I see that DM had a pleasant ski in -12 temperatures at Mt shark. West Bragg sounds like it’s in great shape and had a temp of -14.

Skater on Skogan pass

Skater on Skogan pass

It turned into an eventful day, so let’s start at the beginning. For the first time this winter I headed up Hidden trail, even though I knew it meant I’d be rubbing shoulders with downhill skiers 🙂

Hidden was in excellent shape and I was getting good grip with VR30(-10 and colder).

Skogan pass at 4K was in excellent condition

Skogan pass at 4K was in excellent condition

As I approached Nakiska downhill ski area, ahead of me were two xc skiers looking bewildered. Kate and Dal were wondering how to continue on. I was happy to lead them through the maze of fences, buildings, and ski runs ’til we were able to pick up the xc trail again.

Two K from Ribbon creek, Hidden eventually meets up with Ruthie’s and Skogan pass. With 600 metres of elevation gain ahead of me, I started up the Screamer. A youngster soon sped by me, only to see him stopped soon after, removing a few layers.

The view from Skogan loop

The view from Skogan loop

I was getting very warm myself, and my grip started to fail. At 5K, I decided to strip down to one layer, and dig out my light gloves and a bandana for my head. While stopped I added a layer of warmer wax.

As I was waxing, along comes a skate-skier. When I started going again, I skied over his lumps that were in the tracks, all the way to the second intersection with the Skogan loop.

Following the herringbones to the high point on Skogan loop

Following the herringbones to the high point on Skogan loop

Rather than going a further 2.4K to the summit, I decided to ski the Skogan loop. I’ve skied it clockwise a couple times, but never counter-clockwise, so this was going to be a new experience. In retrospect, it was not a wise choice. On my skinny skis, I couldn’t control my speed coming down. On the fastest downhill, I snow-plowed with all my might, yet I kept gaining speed, and had a corner to turn. I’m still wondering how I remained upright. Thrilling but scary. Somewhere today, I reached an Olympic-calibre speed of 58 KmH according to my GPS.

The Skogan loop offers some incredible views. Fortunately the trail levels out in a couple spots where you can stop and have a look at all the grandeur(and give your feet and legs a rest).

I took Lower Skogan back to the parking lot and it’s also in the best shape I’ve seen it this winter. Good tracks, and no debris, however there’s a small ice flow in the usual place where you need to be careful.

Waxing issues

Clara Hughes: “If I could trade my two sports, summer and winter, for one sport in an another life as an athlete, it would be cross-country skiing. I love the effort, I love the intensity, the endurance but I wouldn’t trade the technical side and that’s the waxing…”

When it comes to waxing, even Olympic athletes get it wrong, as happened in today’s xc race in Sochi. Watch the video ” The technical aspects of cross-country skiing

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