-It’s odd to see skiers in shirtsleeves in January-
Thanks for all the trip reports today. Good to see there is still some skiing to be enjoyed in this freaky weather.
I was skeptical about skiing today with the temperature in Canmore at +14°C. At the Goat Creek trailhead above Canmore it was +11.
It would have to be waxless skis or klister. I chose my zero(waxless) skis and had fantastic grip on the wet snow. Gliding on waxless skis is never as fast as on a good pair of waxable skis, but I had already resigned myself to this being a very relaxed and slow pace.
As expected, the snow was wet and there were no tracks to speak of at the beginning of Goat Creek. As usual, though, the tracks appeared around the 4K point and were good until 13.5K when I reached Spray River East.
The fast downhill to the Goat Creek bridge still had good snow coverage and no rocks have appeared yet. It was hard packed, and not wanting to impale myself on the bridge railing, I removed my skis and walked for the last 50 metres down to the bridge.
I had encountered 15 skiers coming in the opposite direction by the time I reached the bridge, but I didn’t meet any other skiers for the remainder of the way. I did meet two snowshoers at 11K who were on their way to the Goat Creek trailhead.
The next stretch of trail to the Spray River bridge was even better and I was moving along at a pretty good pace. Not fast by any means, but still enjoyable and it didn’t seem like hard work. The fast downhill to the Spray River bridge with the sharp turn was no problem.
The least enjoyable part of this trip was the final 5.7K on Spray River East. It had rained on this part of the trail and it was extremely soft and consequently slow. Walkers had destroyed the tracks and the pine needles were making their presence felt. With the pine needles, I was very happy to be on waxless skis and not klister. I encountered wind-blown deadfall across the trail as well as an ice flow.
I walked the final 100 metres down to the golf course and was glad I did, as the trail became very icy, thin, and ended in a large puddle of water.
Goat Creek and Spray River will be treacherous in the mornings if the temperature drops below zero. I would not want to be on these trails in icy conditions.