With everyone’s attention on the weather today, I thought this might be a good time to take a look at the predictions for this winter from the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
This forecast is for the Prairies: “Winter temperatures will be colder than normal, with the coldest periods in late December, early to mid-January, and early to mid- and late February. Precipitation will be below normal, but snowfall will be much greater than normal, with the snowiest periods in mid-December, mid- to late February, mid- to late March, and early April.”
As Henry mentioned, Alf should have an easy time finding good snow for his September ski. I hope he was able to keep his streak intact over the summer. If he did, it will be an amazing 156 consecutive months of skiing. I’m getting excited…we’re only six weeks away from the opening of Frozen Thunder at the Canmore Nordic Centre, and about two months from our first ski trip to Moraine Lake road at Lake Louise.
Barrier/Baldy ski outing
Yesterday I went to West Bragg Creek, and had a brief ski on mostly beautiful fluffy snow, but as Alf mentioned conditions were deteriorating quickly. Also the parking lot was treacherous!
Today I went further west, in rather gloomy weather. I parked at the Kananaskis Field Station, and skied up the road behind the residential area, then turned right onto the Baldy Pass trail. Snow conditions were surprisingly good, but there were many hazards: fallen trees and branches, bare patches and occasionally rocks hiding beneath the snow. Stretches of delightful snow alternated with patches of jungle. I did not get anywhere near Baldy Pass!
On the return, I foolishly decided to try the forestry loop east leg. Silly me. I don’t recommend this route. I did manage it without removing my skis, though 😉
Three very short ski trips, but three days in a row in early September – woohoo! It felt so good 🙂
If I had my skis with me while Tessa and I were visiting in Calgary, we would have welcomed a quick trip to West Bragg! Hey Bob, it time to get our wax table set up for the season and start working on our skis!!
WEST BRAGG CREEK SKI REPORT
There is no better way to check out a new ski trail, than to ski it… so that’s what I did today. The Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association has spent the entire summer season working to improve the XC ski trail system in time for this winter. Much of the work has been completed and the snowfall of the past few days provided a great opportunity to test out how well these changes and additions actually work for skiers.
I arrived at the West Bragg Creek parking lot by pushing snow with the bumper of my van. 42cm in the parking lot! That would be a great snowfall in December. It’s completely amazing in September!
I started up the Moose Connector/Lower West Crystal Line trail. In about 1 km, there is a new junction. This is an easy connector that allows novices to avoid a steep uphill/downhill combination onto Middle Crystal Line. The short connection is lovely and smoothly transitions onto Middle Crystal Line. Another easy connection back to Lower Crystal Line is being cleared, but is not yet ready.
I followed Middle Crystal Line to Upper West Crystal Line and followed that all the way down the hill to a new re-route. The west end of West Crystal Line had a chronic icy/wet area in a black spruce bog. This has been replaced by a lovely gentle descent that crosses a (soon to be built) bridge right at the Moose Connector Junction. This is where the new trail work currently stops, so I returned back up West Crystal line to Loggers Loop.
There is a new NW junction for Loggers Loop, which eliminates an awkward off-camber turn on a steep hill. The trail now merges nicely into the high point of West Crystal Line.
Loggers Loop is one of my favourite WBC trails because it holds snow so well and has several fun rolling hills. The snow depth was 46cm at the upper end of Loggers Loop.
From Loggers Loop, returned via the west half of Sundog Loop. There is one nasty spot on this trail that will (hopefully) be fixed before the ski season.
This tour only represents about 1/3 of the improvements that are being made to the WBC XC trails, and it looks like skiers will really enjoy the new and improved ski trail system.
…and yes, this does mean that I have skied at least once a month for 13 years!
Trip Report: September 2014
I skied around the Silver Springs Birthplace Forest today. It wasn’t much, but it was a start! The snow was beautiful, but the trees were very sad. In fact, I spent far more time knocking snow off trees, as per Mayor Nenshi’s request, than I did skiing. That was probably a waste of time!
Snow? Pfftt! I want my mountainbike season back 🙁
Bob, don’t you just bring the skis out of the basement/garage/ wherever?? I would!
Hey Ski Here Friends… just to let you know, we love getting these updates while we are enjoying the sun on the Mediterranean. By the way, Catalonian food is delicious!
So that’s your secret to getting in shape (Chuck’s the guy who can backcountry ski 40K in one day while breaking trail in deep snow!)
You’re right. Finding skiing in September should be easy this year.
Here are photos of skiing in August at Mount Rae, near the Rae Glacier.
Beautiful, Alf! You make me feel like I have wasted my life 🙁
We have the same picture of the fog!! Didn’t go skiing though, we had a lovely hike to Healy Pass 🙂