Elk pass

by Bob Truman on April 4, 2014

in Kananaskis, PLPP(P Lougheed Park)

Post image for Elk pass

It was difficult deciding whether to use waxable or waxless today. The snow temperature at Elk pass parking lot was -1°C, and the air temp was +2 when I started out at 1 pm. Twenty vehicles were there.

Marjorie and Gord at the Elk pass/Fox creek junction. (Officially, at this junction the trail is Boulton creek but it's mostly referred to as Fox creek).

Marjorie and Gord at the Elk pass/Fox creek junction. (Officially, at this junction the trail is Boulton creek but it’s mostly referred to as Fox creek).

I decided to go waxless. Now which one? Zero skis? Skintecs? or the traditional fishscale? I chose the Skintecs and after I was halfway up the big hill I was glad I didn’t use the Zero skis today. There was 2-3 cm of fresh snow over last night’s grooming. Zero skis will ice and clump something fierce in new or loose snow. If you check the photo of Scott’s zero skis, you’ll see what I mean.

Coming down the big hill on Elk pass

Coming down the big hill on Elk pass

There was corduroy showing at the trailhead but after 40 metres of elevation the new snow was evident and got heavier as I climbed higher. With the fresh snow in the tracks I had good grip but it was slow going.

Scott's skis with clumps of snow

Scott’s skis with clumps of snow. That’s Barry in the background.

There were mixed reactions from the skiers who were using wax today. Norma was doing fine on wax, but her husband Bob was clumping with the same wax. A skier coming down Elk pass said he was also having good luck with wax. Marjorie was on waxless, and husband Gord was on wax. They had just started out and were turning down Fox creek so I am not sure who had better results. Maybe they’ll give us a report. Everyone I met today was a blog reader.

Tyrwhitt

Tyrwhitt

If I had used waxable skis, I would probably have tried VR50(0/-4). The weather was all over the map. Sunny and cloudy periods with occasional snow flurries. At the top of Elk pass, when I was returning from a foray on Tyrwhitt, there was a raging blizzard. Five minutes later it was sunny again.

Read about Martin's skiing adventures on Mt Fox in the Backcountry Trip Reports

Read about Martin’s skiing adventures on Mt Fox in the Backcountry Trip Reports

I skied as far as the Tyrwhitt meadows and turned around, which was about 9K one-way. The snow seemed colder at higher elevations. I took Fox creek rather than the hill on the return and experienced a mixed bag of conditions including icy, slushy, some debris, moose tracks, and tree bombs.

I didn’t even know there was a backcountry destination a short distance off the Blueberry Hill trail until I ran into Martin at the Blueberry/Elk pass picnic table today.  He was on his way back to the Elk pass trailhead after doing some turns on Mount Fox. You can read more about Martin’s day on the Backcountry Trip Reports.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kellen April 5, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Thanks for the trip report, this was exactly the information I was looking for. I’m planning a trip into Elk Lakes for Easter long weekend. What was the snowpack like? Could it survive 14 more days of spring weather?

Thanks!

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2 Bob Truman April 5, 2014 at 10:15 pm

There will still be snow coverage but it’s impossible to know what the conditions will be like. It could be wet and slushy, or you could have 10 cm of new powdery snow.

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