That’s it for me

-Moraine Lake Road at Lake Louise-

At some point in every ski season I have to do the inevitable: go for my last ski trip, which I did yesterday(Wednesday).

Moraine Lake Road had excellent tracks but the snow was wet

Moraine Lake Road had excellent tracks but the snow was wet

Knowing that it had snowed profusely on Sunday and Monday at Lake Louise, I took a chance, thinking Moraine Lake Road may have been groomed, and I hit it lucky.

The tracksetting appears to have occurred on Monday because there was already some fresh snow on the trail. The temperature was +6°C at 2:30 pm and the snow was wet but still reasonably firm.

We could be skiing here in six-and-a-half months!

We could be skiing here in six-and-a-half months!

I could see the tracks were well skied-in, so I used my zero skis. It ultimately proved to be the wrong choice. As I was climbing the big hill at 3.7K, I came to a sudden stop. The fresh snow got deeper and was not skied-in very well. With my zero skis, that’s a recipe for disaster, resulting in serious clumping and no forward progress.

I had no choice but to turn around. I had a pleasant return trip with no mishaps despite there being lots of sunny/shady areas on the descent.

I drove over to the Great Divide where I could see that no grooming had occurred and there was lots of deep snow on the trail. A skier who was just finishing said it was a slog.

Less snow but lots of readers

Blog statistics

Blog statistics

I guess this will go down in the history books as the winter of low snowfall, warm weather, meltdowns, pine needles, icy trails, and rain. The perfect storm of poor conditions. I still managed to log 1301 kilometres of skiing, which surprisingly, was only 66 fewer than last year.

We had a nice stretch of good/excellent conditions between Dec 1(right after that 50 cm snowfall) until Jan 23. My log book shows that I skied 40 times during that period, with only a few blips in early December from the first minor meltdown. I skied the Tyrwhitt loop with Ray, Mary and Keith on Jan 23, and that was, for all practical purposes, the end of the good skiing. Any good conditions thereafter were the exception rather than the rule.

Thank you for reading my blog this past winter. Readership was up a whopping 35% over last year but I’m not taking a lot of pleasure in those increases because I realize it was because so many skiers were searching for any trace of skiable snow, and my blog was the place to find it. Gone are the days when you could simply drive out to a trailhead and expect to find snow.  Believe me, I’d rather have fewer readers and lots of snow.

I’m so looking forward to early November snowfalls!

8 Comments:

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  1. Thanks for all the kind words. I enjoy moderating this blog just as much as you enjoy reading it. For those of you addicted and still logging in, well, there could be worse things to be addicted to. As every year goes by, I look forward to the coming winter with more anticipation than the year before, and that’s partly because of the all the nice people I know I’ll be meeting on the ski trails. Echoing Keith’s words, have a safe summer everyone.

  2. Hey Bob – thanks for your super blog.
    I am still addicted to logging on – hoping to find some hiking tips – not Hawaii though.
    My optimistic thoughts for the country “Next year will be better!”
    Safe hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing and climbing everyone.

    • Growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan, I’m very familiar with the term, “next-year country.” Even in a low-snow year, this is paradise!

  3. Thanks Bob for another fine season of Ski Here!
    I’m not sure if “That’s it for me”- likely there’s another backcountry day or two in store for me before closing down the ski season.
    It is getting harder to get motivated though- what with summer-like mountainbiking last week in the Elbow valley foothills on dry trails through fragrant pine forest, and spotting 6 species of wildflowers (7 if you count the ubiquitous dandelion) on a recent ride in Calgary’s 12 Mile Coulee.
    So…not looking forward to November just yet!

  4. Just like Chuck above, over the last couple of weeks I couldn’t stop checking the blog, even though the skis had been put to rest and I was in Maui. Lol. Some addictions are hard to crack. Thank you for this site…looking forward to the next season.

  5. AND THE CAPTAIN WAS THE LAST ABOARD!
    Thank You Bob.
    We are on Vancouver Island, but can’t quite quit checking in.
    Yes… looking forward to November!

  6. Thanks for another season of great information.

    • Hear, hear!!

      I also had couple of episodes on the Elk Pass trail where the snow suddenly turned to superglue around my skis, when I got out of tracks in a sunny spot, most disconcerting!

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