The little house in Cascade Valley

by Bob Truman on March 1, 2015

in Banff

Post image for The little house in Cascade Valley

At one time, people lived in a little house on the banks of the Cascade river. It’s a stunningly beautiful location and I skied 13.4K one-way in pretty good conditions to get to it today.

Home to Ed and Dorothy Carleton for four years on the banks of the Cascade River. Click on photo for a larger image.

Home to Ed and Dorothy Carleton for four years on the banks of the Cascade River. Click on photo for a larger image.

It was very tempting to head for PLPP today, with all those reports extolling the great conditions. I decided to take this rare opportunity, however, to ski the Cascade Valley trail now that it had some snow and tracksetting.

It's difficult to tell from this photo, but the snow coverage on the paved trail was very thin.

It’s difficult to tell from this photo, but the snow coverage on the paved trail was very thin.

It’s still a bit of a challenge at the beginning of this ski trip. The paved road which you have to take for 750 metres had paper-thin snow coverage with lots of pavement showing along with small pebbles mixed into the thin snow. By going slow and skiing wherever the snow was best, I managed to get down to the meadow without taking my skis off. The 5-10 cm of snow we’re supposed to be getting tonight should help this trail a lot.

Magnificent scenery at 6.5K on Cascade Valley

Magnificent scenery at 6.5K on Cascade Valley

After another 200 metres through the meadow you reach the actual Cascade Valley trail. Your problems aren’t over yet, though. The big hill is south facing, and the tracks were semi-icy. I was using VR45(-2/-8) wax, and my grip wasn’t great but I’ll call it adequate. I knew that once I was over the hill, the snow would be a lot colder and I didn’t want to slow my glide for the remaining 11K by putting goop on my skis. As I was climbing the hill, I frequently stepped into the middle of the trail to get better grip.

At 13.2K, the groomed trail continues on for another 1.3K. I turned left and descended to the wardens' cabin

At 13.2K, the groomed trail continues on for another 1.2K. I turned left and descended to the wardens’ cabin

Sure enough, the snow conditions got a lot better as I crested the hill at 2.6K. I had all the grip I needed for the remainder of the day. I was somewhat surprised that I still had some bite as I climbed back up to the trailhead on the paved road at the end of the day. A lot of people have walked on the ski trail with their hiking boots and you can see the pavement where their heels were breaking through the snow.

Warden's cabin at 13.4K

Warden’s cabin at 13.4K

After the big hill, conditions were good all the way to the bridge at 6.1K. I took my skis off near the end of the bridge where the slats were showing through, and walked over a patch of dirt which was at the end of the bridge. I had to remove my skis again at 6.7K on a south-facing hill which was covered with ice and dirt. It was only a 30-metre stretch, and I met Jim and Tim who were returning from what they reported to be an excellent ski trip.

Here comes Mark on his fat bike

Here comes Mark on his fat bike

I had the trail to myself except for the fat biker and Diana, both of whom I met on my way back. It was interesting to see how little impact the fat bike made on the trail. The tire tracks were barely perceptible on the middle section of the trail. This was in stark contrast to the skate-skier who chewed up the tracks before the snow had set-up after tracksetting.

This is the view which the Carletons would have enjoyed from their little house in the Cascade Valley

This is the view which Ed and Dorothy Carleton would have enjoyed from their little house in the Cascade Valley

The skate-skier from West Bragg Creek who Richie Rich ranted about yesterday must have been on this trail as it was being trackset. I could probably quote his comment word-for-word. For a distance of about 4K, there were deep gouges in the trail and tracks. The first person to ski over his mess in the tracks would have had some pretty big chunks of snow to flatten out. I could still feel a bump as I passed over the divots. The trail is plenty wide enough for skate-skiers to avoid destroying the tracks, so I’m not sure what this person was thinking.

Click for larger image

Click for larger image


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 GordN March 7, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Dorothy Singing:

Fireside chat with Chic Scott: (Just over an hour)

There’s many more on the utube under the userid Whytemuseum, including Fran Drummond, whom I sat beside once at the Danish Cdn club for some other presentation, quite interesting. And one done by Chic Scott too.


2 Diana Piggott March 5, 2015 at 9:11 am

The area is turning into a construction zone again 🙁


3 James Kohut March 4, 2015 at 8:48 pm

If you ever have the time and energy, go well beyond Stoney Creek up the Cascade River. The scenery just keeps getting better and better as you go up the valley.

The push to Flints Warden Cabin further up is a real long day and best suited for a late March long sunny day. Only the most experienced good shaped skiers should attempt this.


4 Bob Truman March 4, 2015 at 9:03 pm

Would this person qualify as a “good-shaped” skier?


5 Pete March 4, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Wow! You lucky man!


6 Henry March 5, 2015 at 9:43 am

Hold it, that’s not Chuck ! -)


7 GordN March 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Hahaha! I knew you were gonna throw that one up before I even clicked it! Made my day Bob, made my day.,…


8 Helen Read March 2, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Minus 8 at Cascade @ 10 am and less than a cm of new snow. We both skied over one rock on the road part but managed to stay vertical. Really appreciated this description of the trail, Bob giving me the incentive to revisit Stony Bridge, the Warden’s Cabin and Carleton’s house for the first time since Jan 2013. From the first bridge to the cabin it was sheer bliss and funnily enough we did not see anyone in our 5 hour ski. Michael Carleton, thanks for sharing with us how your family taught you how to ski going down that big hill. I will always remember that now as I climb back up that hill after a most enjoyable lunch at the picnic table. Now to google your mother and read some good stories about your family’s unique back country living.


9 Mike Carleton March 2, 2015 at 8:17 am

Bob thanks for the article on Cascade and Stoney Creek. Mum Dorothy is still going strong at 95. She talks very fondly about the years living at the cabin, and tells many great stories about life in the back country. The hill leading down to the cabin from the fire road is where my Dad Ed started Mum and I on skis. Skiing became my life sport.


10 Bob Truman March 2, 2015 at 9:45 am

I followed Pete’s suggestion and read a number of articles about your mum. What a fascinating life. I was wondering if Ed and Dorothy were the start of the Carleton skiing dynasty, so that’s good to know how you got started. Thanks!


11 Henry March 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Thanks for the wonderful history lesson.


12 Henry March 5, 2015 at 9:48 am

Mike, you are piece of living history !

I’m curious though. There seem be separate buildings, a wardens cabin and the cabin where you lived. Were there always two, or is the present day wardens cabin a replacement for the original?


13 Scott March 7, 2016 at 1:34 pm

present day warden cabin replaced the original in the 1980’s. It was built in Banff at the warden barn and hauled up the Cascade fire road just prior to the closing of the road and reverting it to trail status. The new cabin was mostly built by John Nylund, Frank Burstrom and Keith Everts from the warden service. I lived in the Carlton cabin my first summer as a warden in 1970.


14 Henry L March 8, 2016 at 6:50 am

Thanks Scott!


15 Barb March 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm

You know, Dorothy is living in Banff and still a ‘going concern.’ And a wonderful person, with all her memories, if you ever chance to meet her.


16 Pete March 1, 2015 at 10:25 pm

If you Google “Dorothy Carleton banff” there are some interesting links to articles about her. One done by Darrel Janz from ctv is worth a look.


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