Does anybody have cold snow?

It seems like we have to endure one of these difficult periods every winter. Lake Louise may be the last hope for cold snow, and from the sounds of “Chateau” Jeff’s report, the conditions on the recently trackset trails are pretty good. Yesterday, there was light drizzle as Chip and I were leaving Lake Louise, so I’m hoping it might have turned to snow in the evening. If anyone was on MLR or Great Divide, we’d be interested in hearing about conditions. Here’s Jeff’s report:

Fairview trail at Lake Louise (file photo)

Fairview trail at Lake Louise (file photo)

“Hi All!

Here is an update of the trail conditions around the Chateau

Fairview Loop (#2) Double trackset, Dec. 10. Good condition.

Upper Tramline (#3): Double trackset, Dec. 10. Good condition.

Shoreline (#4): Double Trackset, Nov. 29. Fair condition. Hope to trackset tomorrow

Lake Trail (#4): This warm weather has made the slush on the lake even worse, we need some cold temps for it to begin to freeze. Travel not recommended.

Upper Telemark and Peyto Trails (#5&7): Poor condition. We have been snowshoeing and shoveling for the past week and hope to sled pack and level tomorrow.

Teaching Grid: 8 Lanes, Dec. 10. Good condition.

Notes: There is great skiing to be had on the trackset trails, but still use caution. It sounds silly with all the snow, but there isn’t much of a packed base and there are some hazards underneath that could cause some problems. Ski with care!”

PLPP XC-Skiing -Don’t Do It !

Pocaterra covered with debris. Photo by Maurice Gaucher

Start of Pocaterra Trail — gusting winds were covering the glazed trails with debris. Photo by Maurice Gaucher

I received an email from Maurice Gaucher which confirmed that conditions in PLPP are poor.

In Maurice’s words:

“Hi Bob — Our Seniors Club had a full bus out to PLP on Tues Dec 9th — the snowshoers were okay, the skiers less so — you have comments from two of us ( Frank Howard and Keith Bagnall ).
My friend Henry who had just skied through a small lake of water at the bottom of Suicide Hill on the way to Pocaterra Hut -- plastic bags are better than wet sox !

My friend Henry who had just skied through a small lake of water at the bottom of Suicide Hill on the way to Pocaterra Hut — plastic bags are better than wet sox ! Photo by Maurice Gaucher

You know it will be tough to wax when you see pinwheels rolling down small slopes, glazed tracks filled with pine needles, cones and bottle brushes as well as water pouring off the roofs of William Watson Lodge and Pocaterra Hut — even worse is when your friends ski into boot-top deep water across the trail and have to replace their sox with plastic bags !!

Darn that Pineapple Express –it was like late May out there. You needed either “waxless” skis or klister. On the previous Tues at Lake Louise it was polar wax at -20°C.  What is going on? Pray for some cold weather and snow.

Cheers, and have a great Christmas — Maurice”
Now I finally know what those broken-off twigs with long needles are called: bottle brushes! Do you know the steep hill on the west side of the road that he’s referring to as “suicide hill?” An apt name.
I know it’s discouraging to post reports about bad conditions, but those reports are just as important, maybe more so, than the reports of great conditions. It saves many skiers a lot of grief. Again, many thanks to everyone for your trip reports.


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  1. I skied the Great Divide to Lake O’Hara today. It was absolutely perfect. Conditions excellent. One hour to ski the distance. Also skied part of the Moraine Lake trail to Paradise Creek. It had just been track set and was excellent. The Lower Tramline had some icy patches where snow had fallen from the trees and frozen.

  2. Hi:

    We are skiing at Silver Star/Sovereign Lakes this week. The dreaded Pineapple express hit here as well. Temps were +1 to +4 Tuesday and Wednesday. Cooler today – just below freezing and icy. We had to sand the walkway to get to the car this morning! There have been winds so lots of debris and a few trees down across the trails. Any of the trails facing south or west got the worst of the wind and melting. The Putnum Creek Trails on the backside of Silverstar Mnt are in good shape still. Sovereign trails not in great shape.

    Skied for two days on rented waxless skis and they worked well enough to make it very enjoyable. Today I did a 35 km tour over ice, debris, fresh snow and freshly groomed tracks and they worked well although a bit slow at times. The best thing about skiing through debris on waxless trees is once you are through it, you don’t need to scrape or rewax! Needless to say I am now convinced I need to get a pair.

    Heading back to Alberta on Friday for some sunshine as we have been in the clouds all week.


  3. A December haiku

    So much winter – but
    a place for winter playing?
    There’s nowhere to go!

  4. Hi Bob,
    I skied mlr yesterday using mfw -2-+2 (or something like that’s). I had a bit of icing (probably should have used vr55) due to a skiff of new snow on the track, but other than that it was great. It was -2 in the parking lot at 11am and we didn’t see much sun, which helped the tracks. It wasn’t the fastest day, but much better than I had thought it would be,

  5. I asked Jeff Douglas what the temperatures were at Lake Louise yesterday, and what kind of skis people were using: “The temps were hovering around +1C/+2C yesterday and today looks the same, and it might get a little warmer. Waxless skis are the way to go!”

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