Without fail, we’ve always had cold snow and favourable conditions for our annual trip to Emerald Lake Lodge and the surrounding ski trails, so this is hopefully the one and only time I’ll be writing about wet snow in this fascinating place during February.
In addition, the skies were mostly overcast with extremely low clouds, so my photos aren’t showcasing the sensational scenery. It was still lovely, but the photos don’t do it justice.
After reading the recent comments, it’s clear this substandard ski season is getting on some people’s nerves. I’ve been reading the comments about tracksetting at Lake Louise, so speaking of which, on the way back from Yoho, I checked the Pipestone trailhead and the tracksetter had just started working there.
I wasn’t aware of the situation at MT Shark until I read about it on here. I hope Alberta Parks will respond to the letters from Peter Thomas and Robin, and thanks to Peter and Robin for taking the initiative. I’m confident the sled dog operators will hear about skier’s concerns from Alberta Parks.
You’ve already read my trip reports from the past two days regarding Emerald Lake and Yoho. The skiing may not have been as good as in previous years, but the food and accommodations at Emerald lake Lodge were as wonderful as ever.
The best skiing was undoubtedly on the Alluvial Fan, and thanks to my Skintecs, I had excellent grip and glide. The small baskets on my poles were the only problem as they would easily break through, and the snow was really deep. I took my Skintecs on this trip because they are the best all-around ski for any condition, and I wasn’t sure what I’d encounter.
To access the Alluvial Fan, it’s necessary to ski the Horse Trail or the Lake trail to the end of Emerald Lake. The Park won’t allow the first 600 metres of the Horse Trail to be groomed on account of it passing through an avalanche path. Snowshoers have created a very narrow path through the avalanche zone which you can walk(proceed at your own risk). It’s difficult to ski because your poles will sink out of sight. Once on the Horse Trail, conditions were wonderful.
The alternative to crossing the avalanche path, the Lake Trail, was very slushy for the first 400 metres. Upon reaching the west shore, it was in good shape with no slush.
When I was skiing the Emerald Connector on Tuesday, I’m almost surprised I didn’t break a pole soon after starting out. The Connector has a lot of small hills, and I exert a lot of force on my poles when climbing. On the first significant hill, my pole broke through two feet of snow as I was reefing on it, and I fell, with my pole bending precariously.
I had to adjust my hill climbing technique to accommodate the conditions. Otherwise, it was a nice ski on a wonderful trail. I didn’t see the Dipper in the Emerald River this year, however.
What I did see was a pine marten casually strolling along the snowbank in front of the Emerald Lake Lodge’s restaurant while eating breakfast today, and he appeared to have a full stomach. We took Tessa along this year for the first time, and the pine marten visited our balcony on Tuesday night and stole some of her food. The pine marten loved the raw bison but left the duck’s feet. He also knows how to open the zipper on a cooler!
If you enjoy skiing at Emerald lake and Yoho, I hope you will consider buying a $40 membership in the Kicking Horse Ski Club, or making a donation, or attending their annual dinner which is on Fri Feb 20. The photo at the side of this post(Step into a winter wonderland) is a sign which will be auctioned off at the dinner.