Update Dec 26 @ 9:45 a.m.: Kananaskis Public Safety advised me this morning the carcass was moved and Terrace trail remains open to skiers.
I learned from my experiences many years ago with the Central Rockies Wolf Project that when you see ravens circling, you know something’s up. Ravens are the first ones to know when dinner is about to be served.
The next sign was a few bits of coarse hair on the ski trail. Looking to the side, I could see a lot of disturbance in the snow. Sure enough, about 10 metres away, over a small embankment, a partially-eaten deer lay in the snow, partly buried, eyes staring straight up to the sky. Ravens were scavenging.
It looked to me like a cougar kill, but I can’t be sure. The fact that the deer was partly buried made me think it was a cougar. Most of the blood-stained snow was about 10 metres from the carcass, so I’m surmising the predator dragged it away from the dinner table and tried to bury the remains, expecting to return later. In the mean time, the ravens took over.
The location of the kill site is about 1K north of Kananaskis village on Terrace trail. We tried to contact Barrier Lake Visitor Centre to report this incident, but no answer. I’ve emailed them. Will the predator return? I hope the trail is either closed, or the carcass removed, or there could be some human-wildlife conflict here.
The snow conditions on Terrace trail were terrific. Air temperature was -4°C, snow temp -6. VR45(-2/-8) supplied excellent grip. There’s been some new snow since the tracksetting occurred.
Dogs are allowed on the Kananaskis village trails, so we took Tessa for an easy and pleasant Christmas day ski. The trails skied today were Terrace, Kovach, Aspen, and returning to the village on Kovach. No attempt was made to climb to the Kovach lookout. I expect the snow would be in good condition on the higher sections of Kovach.
As tracksetter Jeff mentioned on his grooming report, the snow is a bit thin in places on Kovach. “Kovach from Terrace Link up to Aspen is very thin with edge creep going on from the trees.” There were two exposed rocks on this section of trail which were easy to avoid while climbing. Aspen initially had a few pine needles, but it gets better and better the further you go.
I encountered no problems on the S-turns on Kovach as I was returning to the village. The new snow has probably helped a lot. I didn’t ski the S-turns higher up on Kovach, so I can’t speak with any authority on their condition.
It was obvious that Boundary Ranch was taking hotel guests for sleigh rides along Terrace trail today. That’s why Terrace trail is so wide, to allow for the horses and sleigh to pass by skiers without interfering. It doesn’t seem like it would take much effort for the sleigh driver to clean up the horse manure along the trail, and it would sure improve the aesthetics of the place. It always amazes me that we are required to pick up after our dogs(which I agree with), yet horses create a much bigger and unsightly mess, and they leave it right there on the trail(and I’m not blaming the horses!).