Top Ten 2013 – 2014

by Bob Truman on April 10, 2014

in Top 10 lists, XC, Year in review

It's difficult to pick the ten best when we have so much to choose from, like this day on Elk pass

It’s difficult to pick the ten best when there is so much to choose from, like this day on Elk pass

This list includes trips which were remarkable, whether it was exceptionally good conditions or some other reason, and are in chronological order.

Happy to be skiing again!

Happy to be skiing again! First tracks on Moraine Lake road

First tracksetting of the season on Moraine Lake Road. This wonderful day is anticipated all summer long. It’s nice to get re-acquainted with everyone on this early-season trail.

It’s rare to have such superb conditions so early in the season on the Kananaskis Village trails. Skiing here without Ribbon creek, which was destroyed in the flood, was very different this winter, especially for me, as it was where I learned to ski. A day of mixed emotions.

Has Terrace trail ever been in this great a condition on  Nov 21?

Nov 21 My friend Chip on Terrace trail.  Perhaps the best conditions ever for this early in the season.

A number of bridges throughout Kananaskis and Banff were damaged or destroyed, hence “end of the trail.” The Kananaskis Village, Ribbon creek, Skogan pass trails were in nice shape throughout the winter, probably the best snow conditions in recent memory. It’s possible we may have a new Ribbon creek trail for next winter but it will be at a higher elevation than the old one.

  • Skiers climbing Skogan pass at the 4K mark with Mt Collembola in the distance

    Skiers climbing Skogan pass at the 4K mark with Mt Collembola in the distance

    Nov 24 Skogan summit

“What an amazing and demanding ski trail. What a spectacular day.” This has become one of my favourite destinations after I finally discovered it last winter. Getting up here so early in the season was a bonus.

“Today was about as good as it gets. It felt wonderful to be climbing the big hill on good snow conditions.” Not only a fabulous day of early-season skiing on Elk pass, but I saw a beautiful black wolf as I was driving out.

  • This couple wasted the day getting married when they could have been skiing on the best conditions of the winter

    This couple wasted the day getting married when they could have been skiing on the best conditions of the winter

     Jan 7 Emerald lake and connector

Cheryl and I look forward to this annual trip to Emerald lake Lodge. We hit it lucky again this year with excellent snow and tracksetting. The wonderful Emerald connector has been re-connected, skirting around the avalanche path. You can ski all the way from the lake to the Natural Bridge again.

The sun broke through as we skied through the meadows on Tyrwhitt

Jan 23: The sun broke through as we skied through the meadows on Tyrwhitt

I survived. Better than that, I had fun most of the way. It’s a major accomplishment for me to ski 50K in one day.

“The most spectacular scene awaited us on Tyrwhitt where the low cloud produced a surreal atmosphere. As we skied on the perfect tracks, the frost-covered trees were a sight to behold.” This was truly a memorable day with incredible scenery.

  • Picnic table and viewpoint along the new Pocaterra

    Picnic table and viewpoint along the new Pocaterra

    Jan 25 PLPP North loop

“Today’s skiing was fantastic.” This trip was remarkable for a number of reasons:

  • My first time on new Pocaterra with good conditions
  • The best-ever snow while rocketing down Pocaterra “The only wind was created by my 40 KmH descent of Pocaterra on the best conditions I’ve ever seen. The stretch between Packers and Lynx was freshly groomed and was greased-lightning fast.”
  • The cloud over the south end of the park. “What a phenomenal sight in the bright sun as it moulded itself over the fire lookout.” Photo

“It was the perfect day of skiing that you dream of. It was one of those days where you only burn half the normal amount of calories because it all seems effortless.  At the end of the 18K loop I felt as if I had barely worked.  The snow was cold, the sun was bright, the tracks were excellent, glide was superfast, no debris, no wind, and easy waxing. What a fantastic day of skiing!”

The damaged Spray river bridge created some problems with one of my favourite trails, Goat creek/Spray river from Canmore to Banff. Despite that, I had a wonderful day on Spray river west: “My favourite section of the Spray west trail is between 7K and 9.5K. It twists and turns with gentle uphills and downhills. It’s very wide, and is a lot of fun in both directions. It feels very secluded and peaceful.”

“This is a ski trip with magnificent views, and I had the perfect bluebird day to marvel at all the fantastic scenery.”

This trail is more accessible to track skiers now that it’s being groomed with a snowcat.

  • Skiing into the mist on Wedge connector

    Skiing into the mist on Wedge connector

    March 27 Magical

“On such a beautiful day we took our time skiing to the end of the Wedge connector while observing some spectacular tree bombs and feeling the misty fallout on our faces.”

Although 300 metres shorter due to flooding damage, and no longer connecting to the Evan-Thomas trail, the Wedge connector is still an enjoyable trail. Tessa says it’s the best.

I compiled a Top 10 list three years ago. Read it and compare to this year’s http://skierbob.ca/2011/04/my-top-10-list/

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