Spring skiing in PLPP

-Monika and Kathy on Amos-

I was skiing early enough today to use wax, but that might be the last time for the forseeable future. With warm temperatures in the forecast, we’re definitely into the spring skiing mode. Did we have winter?

New Pocaterra near the Lynx junction

New Pocaterra near the Lynx junction

I parked at Pocaterra hut where the thermometer registered +3°C at 11:30 a.m. Last night’s grooming included New Pocaterra, Come-Along, Rolly Road and Lynx, so I started up Rolly Road, seeing as I hadn’t done it for almost two years(it was closed last year due to the 2013 floods).

It was nice to ski on Rolly Road again

It was nice to ski on Rolly Road again, especially on this excellent tracksetting

I applied Swix violet(rated at zero) and had decent grip on perfect tracks. From Rolly Road I took Come-Along and New Pocaterra to the Lynx junction, all on wonderful new tracksetting. That’s where the grip problems started. I proceeded up Old Pocaterra on skier-set tracks. There’s about 6 cm of fresh consolidated snow on the trail and I couldn’t get much grip yet at times my wax would clump. I struggled for 1.5K and threw in the towel, turning around and heading back to the hut.

Arriving at the Pocaterra - Lynx junction

Arriving at the Pocaterra – Lynx junction

As you get closer to the hut, there are a couple thin spots with icy tracks, but I would consider it a minor detail. Even the “Hazardous Downhill” had plenty of snow and was easily navigated.

No longer wanting to contend with wax, I drove to Elkwood Amphitheatre and pulled out the Skintecs. I skied a loop on Wheeler, Amos, side trip on Lynx, Woolley and Meadow.

Kim and Mo at Pocaterra - Lynx junction. Notice the trail map - it's difficult to read this one.

Kim and Mo at Pocaterra – Lynx junction. Notice the trail map – it’s difficult to read this one.

Most of Wheeler had either icy or slushy tracks, especially in the exposed areas where you get the nice views. The Skintecs give awesome grip on either of those conditions. By 2 pm, the sun-exposed areas on all trails were soft and wet.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to contend with the snow fleas which Mary reported in the south end of the park, and there was very little tree debris on the trails. The temperature at 3 pm was +5.

Skiers on Woolley

Skiers on Woolley

You might be asking why I didn’t start my day with the Skintecs in the first place. Well, they give great grip in all conditions, but they’re slower than my waxable skis. That’s mostly because I’m about 10 pounds too heavy for them, so they drag slightly and slow me down.

If you go tomorrow, I would recommend waxless skis. Be prepared for the shady/sunny/lose-your-balance scenario on downhills. That is, you can be flying along on a steep downhill on cold, shaded snow and come to a sunny spot where the snow is soft and wet. Faceplant.

I think this time change every six months is ridiculous, but don’t forget to spring ahead one hour tonight.

Has anyone been to Lake Louise? I wonder how their trails are holding out.


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  1. Stephen Vermeulen

    Hi Bob! I thought I saw you as I came back down Come Along, looks like you got a picture of me 🙂 (the third image in the set) I was just on the way back to the hut after doing the 24K Cookie Race circuit. I started about 10:00 that morning and was one of the first few people along most of the trails, the snow was fine, though a bit slow most of the way. The odd sticking started on the way up Packers, but I was done early enough to avoid the worst of it.

  2. I skied Lake Louise – Great Divide on waxless skis today. It is incredibly icy, but a light dusting of snow filled in some of the bad spots. There is a lot of debris on the tracks, and sun exposed areas were getting slushy by about 1pm. I got to the top of the hill at the bend that takes you down to the BC border, but I wouldn’t go down because the track-set was almost non-existent, and the snow so hard it was more like skating.

    I talked to a few skiers using wax that changed wax, but were still having a tough time getting grip.

    I noticed the Parks truck by Moraine Lake Road trail head, so I wonder if they were grooming today? However, if the tracks are anything like the Great Divide, grooming won’t do much for the conditions.

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