It was a good day to be at the Pipestone trails in Lake Louise for a number of reasons:
Perfect weather at -4°C with no wind and occasional sun.
- Fresh snow on the trails makes the fast downhills easier to navigate
- Fresh snow has covered all tree debris
- The tracks were still in reasonably good shape
- Easy waxing with VR45(-2/-8)
- Best of all, lots of happy dogs and their people
I originally had intended to ski on Lake O’Hara fire road but when I arrived at the trailhead, there was little evidence of the recent tracksetting due to a large dump of fresh snow on the trail. The wind was blowing and it was blustery. It was beautiful when I passed through Lake Louise 10 minutes earlier, so I decided to backtrack 10K to the Pipestone trails.
It’s amazing how the weather can change so dramatically in such a short distance. Skiers will regularly experience this phenomenon when skiing the Great Divide trail. Nice weather to the divide, then the last 3K into BC can get really nasty. As you may have read on the Groomer’s Reports, Bruce trackset Lake O’Hara fire road this evening so it will be in great shape tomorrow morning.
It’s unusual to see several vehicles in the Pipestone parking lot midweek. When I arrived, some skiers were just finishing, and others were starting out.
I skied the entire Pipestone Loop(blue trail #20) which is 13K and I added a couple more kilometres on the Hector trail. At the start, about 6 cm of fresh snow had fallen since the recent grooming, but at the north end it was closer to 8-10 cm.
For all the fresh snow, the tracks were holding up well and were amazingly fast. The Pipestone loop involves a lot of climbing as you ski toward the north end, but it was easy to scale the hills today. I barely had to herringbone at all.
Fresh snow is always welcome for the fast descents on the downhill run back to the trailhead.
I encountered lots of dogs in the parking lot when starting out and eventually found some of them out on the trails as well. Sadie, who was pulling Tara(and a chariot), was zoned-in and I had to ski fast to stay ahead of them when I was snapping photos.
I’ve included a photo of the Great Divide trail which was trackset today. It looks wonderful.