-The Upper Lake Connector. If Elk Pass parking lot is full, park at the Upper Lake and take this trail-
I usually reach 1000K during the first week in February. This winter, it took until today. It occurred as I was skiing on Elk Pass late this afternoon, about three weeks later than usual.
Alf was partially correct with his grooming prognostication yesterday. Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill were trackset last night, but not Tyrwhitt. Hydroline, Lookout and Tyrwhitt will be done tonight. I met tracksetter James on the trail as he was making his first pass in the Pisten-Bully.
I actually started out by skiing the connector trail to the Upper Lake. There’s a nice big parking lot at the Upper Lake trailhead, something to remember for this weekend when Elk Pass parking will be very crowded. The Upper Lake connector is .9K on rolling terrain, and very enjoyable.
The air temperature at Elk Pass parking lot was +1°C at 3 pm. I waxed with VR50(0/-4) and had adequate grip for the first 3K, good grip thereafter. Tracks were semi-glazed for the first 3k. If I needed better grip, I simply stepped into the middle of the trail. The snow was in pretty decent shape on the big hill. I had no issues in either direction, except for the big snowcat on the trail which I met on my way down.
Blueberry Hill trail, being above the critical 1800-metre elevation, had excellent conditions.
There were a couple skiers just ahead of me when I reached the start of the descent on the big hill on my return. I waited a couple minutes for them to get well ahead of me. I wish I had waited another five minutes, because I would have had fresh corduroy for the entire length of the hill. I was going 47 KmH when I heard the beeping and started to slow down. A couple seconds later I saw the Pisten-Bully coming around the corner. Tyrwhitt, Hydroline, and Lookout should be in exceptional condition tomorrow.
As you’ll see in the photos, James was not setting a track on Elk Pass – yet. Most of the trails in PLPP require three passes with the snowcat. If it’s a one-way trail, such as the first 2K of Elk Pass, I imagine they must do four passes.
Thanks to Prince Chuck and Diana for the spectacular photos of their ski trips today to places I never go. Chuck’s is on the Trip Reports page, and Diana’s is on the Backcountry page.
Update on Lake O’Hara fire road from Bruce: “We will probably be setting track on Thursday this week. The road is still in pretty good shape from last weeks track setting.”