Hut to picnic table

by Bob Truman on March 15, 2014

in Kananaskis, PLPP(P Lougheed Park)

Post image for Hut to picnic table

- Sue and Rourke were enjoying the magnificent conditions and scenery on Tyrwhitt. -

Soon after starting out from Pocaterra hut, I was beginning to regret being on waxless skis. The conditions were very good and I had no doubt that I could have been moving a lot faster with my waxable skis. 

Pocaterra, about 1K from the hut, was in beautiful condition early on.

Pocaterra, about 1K from the hut, was in beautiful condition early on.

I would have had little trouble going all the way to the Tyrwhitt picnic table with waxable skis today, but I stuck with the Skintecs and was happy to have them on the return. I couldn’t believe how much the hilly “new” Pocaterra had deteriorated in three hours.

This group of skiers on "new" Pocaterra were doing okay on purple wax

This group of skiers on “new” Pocaterra were doing okay on purple wax

About half the skiers I talked with were using waxless skis. The group of five who were just ahead of me on Pocaterra were using purple wax and doing okay.  They were herringboning up the hills while I was able to stride right up with my awesome grip. The price I pay for that grip is that my glide sucks. I’ve realized that I’m about 10 pounds too heavy for my Skintecs even though I have the longest and stiffest ones available. That should work as an incentive for me to lose 10 pounds, but chocolate cake seems to overwhelm any chance of that.

David and Gracie were on the ungroomed section of Pocaterra between Packers and Whiskey jack

David and Gracie were on the ungroomed section of Pocaterra between Packers and Whiskey jack

Another skier I talked to was using VR60 with reasonably good success. I envied how fast he was going as he sped by me.

Pocaterra was groomed last night from the hut to Packers junction. Thereafter, the trail had about 6 cm of consolidated snow on it but the tracks were still pretty decent.

Tyrwhitt

Tyrwhitt

The two-day-old grooming on Tyrwhitt was still excellent with a cm or two of new snow. The first 1.2K(the north end) had quite a bit of debris but it was worth soldiering through it to reach the meadows where everything was perfect. If I had started earlier I would have run into Ray who had started up the Elk pass side(see Trip Reports). It was gorgeous through the meadows and there was no more debris as I headed downhill to the picnic table. This was the best part of the day.

The Tyrwhitt picnic table

Relaxing at the Tyrwhitt picnic table

On the way back, the Pocaterra tracks below Packers had transformed into collembola-covered ice. Collembola(also known as springtails) are those tiny black dots in the tracks. Wiki says, “In sheer numbers, they are reputed to be one of the most abundant of all macroscopic animals, with estimates of 100,000 individuals per cubic meter of topsoil.” No doubt about that. 

Traci and Kerri on Pocaterra

Traci and Kerri on Pocaterra

A ferocious gust of wind occurred as I was descending Pocaterra and I could actually hear trees breaking and falling near me. It looked like a storm was starting to brew. It’ll be interesting to see how much snow they get tonight. Banff is expecting 10-15 cm, so I imagine PLPP will get some of that. 

"New" Pocaterra was icy and debris-covered on the return

“New” Pocaterra was icy and debris-covered on the return

I racked up some kilometres today. The round trip from Pocaterra hut to the Tyrwhitt picnic table was 29K with a net elevation gain of 490 metres. To the high point on Tyrwhitt, the net elevation gain is 550 metres. There are three more picnic tables along the way, too.

If the grooming schedule continues its usual pattern, I expect Pocaterra from Packers to Lookout will be groomed tonight along with Whiskey jack and Packers. No guarantees, though, so check the Live Grooming Report in the morning.

Nice to see all the comments and Trip Reports today, thanks everyone!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Keith March 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm

We skied Elk Pass yesterday (Sunday) afternoon with our jackrabbits club for our last day of the year :( It was right around freezing and there were periods of heavy snowfall. Perfect snowman snow, but a little tougher to ski in. There was about 4-6 inches of fresh snow over Saturday’s tracks. So it was tough going for the little skiers, but with the stickiness of the snow, all but the youngest were able to ski up to the powerline and enjoy the cruise down the hill.

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