Heavenly bliss

First one on Whiskey jack!

No, I’m not talking about myself. I’m referring to the creature in the photo. She has already logged about 3K on the ski trail this winter!

I was thrilled to be skiing up Whiskey jack

I was thrilled to be skiing up Whiskey jack on such excellent conditions

I had the honour of being the first person on Whiskey jack. I was surprised to see no other skier tracks on the new tracksetting. Not a single herringbone on the hills. When I reached the top, however, I could see skier tracks which had come up from Pocaterra. I later met a couple from Saskatoon who had skied up from the Pocaterra hut. They said another group of skiers had been ahead of them. We all saw the moose tracks which went for a considerable distance on Pocaterra.

I managed to see a little bit of sun in the late afternoon

I managed to see a little bit of sun in the late afternoon

I look forward with great anticipation to the first day I ski up Whiskey jack on good conditions, and today was the day. Cheryl and Tessa dropped me off just before 3 pm at Boulton creek parking lot. The parking lot is still covered in deep snow and we couldn’t drive in. I sure hope Volker-Stevin reads this before the weekend.

The steep section of Whiskey jack

The steep section of Whiskey jack

The air temperature was -12°C but the snow was only -6. I added some VR40 to my skis but I probably should have gone a step warmer. The snow is quite granular and I needed a bit more bite. On the other hand, the tracks were fast and I had excellent glide.

The stunning scenery added to my joy at being on this wonderful trail. I had only skied for about ten minutes when I suddenly spotted the moose on the side of the trail, casually browsing on some tender twigs. She made no attempt to run away, but did not appear aggressive either, so I took a picture and moved on. I bet she is the offspring of the Pocaterra moose?

Pocaterra between Whiskey jack and Packers was sensational

Pocaterra between Whiskey jack and Packers was sensational

About half way up Whiskey jack there is a very steep section where downhillers have to turn a sharp corner. It was unusual to see no tracks in the runout where out-of-control skiers can come to a stop in deep snow.

Eventually I reached the top. It seems to be taking longer than it did ten years ago. Maybe the big flood of 2013 made the trail steeper? It’s all worth it because now I have 6K of delightful downhill.

This exact spot used to be the Pocaterra/Lynx junction. The old sign post is still there if you look closely.

This exact spot used to be the Pocaterra/Lynx junction. The old sign post is still there if you look closely.

This was one of those days where the 6K to Lynx junction was sensational. It only took 18 minutes and I wasn’t even trying. I stole a quick glance as I was flying past the Packers junction and saw that a snowmobile had made a couple passes in the deep snow. It did not look safe to ski because of  the big ridges left by the snowmobile.

Tracksetter Jody prepares for the first grooming pass up Elk pass

Tracksetter Jody prepares for the first grooming on Elk pass

The home stretch of 4K on new Pocaterra was fun as well. We were well into January last winter before we had conditions like this on new Pocaterra.

Cheryl had just arrived back at the hut as I pulled in. She spent some time talking with tracksetter Jody who was just starting out his shift at Elk pass. The Pisten-Bully snowcat is brand new. There’s still plastic on the head restraints. Jody says it still has a few quirks which need fine-tuning, so you may see the odd glitch in the grooming.

Pocaterra hut has a four-lane practice grid out front

Pocaterra hut has a four-lane practice grid out front

My ski trip today was exactly 14K with a total ascent of 377 metres and a net elevation drop of 70 metres.

Anything here for Novices?

If you’re a novice skier, you can still ski on a fairly easy trail for 1.1K from Pocaterra hut. When you see the trail split, take the Come-along trail on the left. The Wheeler trail, starting at Elkwood Amphitheatre, is a suitable trail for beginners/novices. Presently, it is groomed only for .5K to North Amos junction. Amos is groomed and is also an easy trail(the first 1K).

The hut is open daily ’til 8 pm.

Check the trail reports often these days. Many new trails have come on stream today including Bill Milne, Wedge connector, Redearth creek, and Baker creek to Castle lookout. Lots of grooming occurred at the Canmore Nordic Centre today. Two events are scheduled for the Canmore Nordic Centre this weekend. Check the CNC page for Upcoming Events.

I imagine a lot of skiers were planning on skiing Goat creek this weekend after seeing all the fabulous photos on here so I’m terribly disappointed to read about it being messed up. When the Fat Bikers realized they were destroying the trail, instead of “ceasing and desisiting” they continued on with their mayhem and expected that an apology would excuse their behavior?

More photos from today’s ski trip…

6 Comments:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I wish I read this before my mom and I went down Packers on Saturday! We made it back in one piece, but it was definitely an “adventure” ski.
    We ended up side stepping down the steep hill as the snowmobile tracks and heavy snow made it impossible to snow plough. Thankfully the snowmobile turned around shortly after that so it was just the tracks of a couple other skiers. The snow was pretty heavy so it made it difficult to turn while going downhill, but there was lots of it to help slow you down!
    Definitely recommend waiting for it to be track set before skiing it!

  2. Skied PLPP yesterday and conditions were great. Moose tracks all over the trail system so be careful because even though a moose looks like it is made up from a bunch of left over parts they can be very unpredictable. You don’t want 1000lbs of flesh doing the Undulate Dance on your head.

  3. Ski-Moosing I’m in…

  4. Awesome,

    Thanks Bob for all your efforts… I cannot wait to ski Pocaterra

  5. Re Fat bikes on trails. I really have a problem with the presence of bikes on groomed trails. CNC allowed them last year on the man made (harder snowpack) trails. Running into them on other groomed trails (figuratively and literally) is going to be more of a problem as they grow more popular. You can bet the bikes shops who sell them aren’t preaching any usage etiquette.
    Bikers have different usage patterns on trails than skiers. If they don’t ski they have no sense of where skiers would likely to be on a hill. We’re libel to find them and their 30#+ bikes just about anywhere across a trail. (It reminds be of the snowboarder VS DH skier issues on Alpine hills). Like snowshoers they don’t have any idea of what damage they do to tracks on a groomed or skier set ski trail. What to do?……..

  6. Need to train the moose to pull skiers up the hill!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *