-Many skiers were enjoying the great conditions on Elk Pass-
When people ask me to name my favourite ski trail, I usually say it’s the last one I skied on. If I am pressed, coaxed and cajoled to name one, it’s the Tyrwhitt loop in PLPP.
I swear I could do this ski trip every day of my life and never get tired of it, and this winter, I’m getting my opportunity due to the lack of other skiable trails.
When starting out on Whiskey Jack at 11:10 a.m., I wasn’t sure if the entire loop was skiable. Just a few days ago, I reported suicidal icy conditions on Fox creek, and marginal conditions on Moraine. Those two trails make up the home stretch of the Tyrwhitt loop which also includes Whiskey Jack, a short hop on Pocaterra, Tyrwhitt, and Elk pass.
Enough snow has fallen in the past two days to bury the pine needles which were prevalent on lower Whiskey Jack on Friday. Despite the air temperature of 0°C, the snow was cold and I had excellent grip with VR50(0/-4). Higher up, I had a bit too much grip but I “stuck” with the VR50 and it was needed when back down at lower elevation.
At the top of Whiskey Jack, I conferred with Andrew and Sarah who had parked at Elkwood and came up Pocaterra via Wheeler, Amos, Lynx and they reported good conditions.
I followed John and Evan along the top where we enjoyed 5.3K of magnificent skiing. (The trail map indicates .5K on Pocaterra and 4.5K on Tyrwhitt, but Tyrwhitt is actually 4.8K). I was surprised to have only seen 10 skiers by the time I reached the Tyrwhitt/Elk Pass/Hydroline junction, but that was about to change.
The Elk Pass/ Tyrwhitt/ Hydroline junction was crowded with skiers, most of whom descended on Hydroline. I followed them for a few metres to get a photo.
There was considerably more fresh snow on the trail as I descended Elk Pass. Going down the steep hills was quite slow today. For example, my GPS recorded a top speed of 42 Kmh, whereas on Tuesday, on faster tracks, I hit 50 Kmh. No complaints, we need the snow.
At the Blueberry/ Elk pass picnic table, I ran into Kathryn and Sue who had just come down Blueberry Hill and reported that the trip down was too slow! Obviously there’s lots of fresh snow on the trail.
While near the top of Elk Pass, I encountered a skier who started the same time as me, but we took opposite routes. He started on Moraine and Fox Creek, and shared his intelligence with me. Fresh snow on the trails has covered the ice and made them skiable. At this point I knew I’d be able to complete the loop.
After departing the Elk Pass/Tyrwhitt/Hydroline junction, I must have seen about 50 skiers on Elk Pass.
Upon arriving at the Fox Creek junction, I was pleasantly surprised at just how much better the conditions were compared to Tuesday. They still weren’t great, but the “ice” grooming had at least prepared a base which was reasonably smooth, and now with the fresh snow, I could somewhat enjoy skiing on here again. Ditto on Moraine, but there are still a few places where it’s bumpy and uneven.