-Maggie and Shauna were at the 4K point on Banff trail at Canmore Nordic Centre.-
It was an exploratory and interesting day at the Canmore Nordic Centre. The initial 1K of the Banff trail was in beautiful condition, quadruple trackset with a nice wide skating lane.
At the end of 1K, you have two choices. You can turn right at Jct #2 and avoid all the snow guns and eventually rejoin Banff trail. I chose to follow all the other skiers and go straight ahead and meander along a well worn trail around a dozen snow guns and the large snow mounds. The scenery was quite surreal and spectacular with the frosty trees and the billowing clouds of snow. The nordic centre discourages skiing on trails where snow is being made, so “do as I say, not as I do.” I did take the other trail on the way back.
The CNC trail report gives explicit instructions: “Meadow View, Bow, Banff Loop and the Banff Trail past meadow have been machine packed, but have no trackset. The Banff Trail is trackset to Junction 3. To access natural snow trails from the Banff Trail, please follow the Banff Loop from Junction 2.
This inconvenience lasted about 500 metres at which time I found myself on the Banff trail loop on a nicely groomed trail, not trackset, but the skiing was pleasant. This section of trail would normally have man-made snow but the recent snowmageddon event has made it skiable with natural snow.
There’s a small section of trail from 2.6K to 2.8K which was windblown and the snow is thin with some exposed grass and dirt but it was no problem to avoid these hazards. As my brother was fond of saying, “a minor detail in a big operation.”
Upon reaching the end of Banff trail, I had planned on returning via Meadowview but after skiing 200 metres on very soft snow I decided to return the way I came. The soft snow would have slowed me down considerably and my toes were starting to get cold. It was -18°C and I’m sure the snow was at least as cold because my polar grip wax performed flawlessly. I was using the skis which I had glide-waxed with Swix CH4 (for very cold snow; -10/-32). If I had skied on this snow with my storage wax, it would have been like skiing on sandpaper.
Most of the secondary trails have not been packed yet but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. I can imagine the trail crew has been overwhelmed with all the new snow coming so quickly. I can also see the dilemma they’re facing with snow-making. The depth of the natural snow on the Banff trail loop is probably not what they would want to start out with, so it’s necessary to keep the snow guns going.
I’m posting some additional photos below, but if you want to see some bright, sunny photos from today, check Steve Riggs trip report from West Bragg Creek.