There’s no sugar-coating the poor skiing conditions of the past winter. It feels like we never got into high gear, and now it’s pretty well finished. The lack of snow, and the numerous rains and meltdowns took their toll on our trails. Chuck sent the photo of the earliest crocus ever from his hike yesterday at Yamnuska.
I received some weather statistics from Ray Perrott that will illustrate how warm March has been:
“I’ve been looking at Environment Canada’s weather statistics for Banff. It seems like March 2015 is the warmest March since 1992 (which was actually nearly a degree warmer – must have been terrible skiing that year).
Just a few stats:
March days with max temp above 10C: 2015 – 14; 1992 – 19; 2014 – zero
March nights with min temp below -10C: 2015 – 5; 1992 – 0; 2014 – 17
So, you can see that 2015, like 1992, was bad for skiing, and 2014
was really good. I hope that 2016 is like 2014!”
I can empathize with all those who are restricted to skiing on the weekends and having to accept whatever conditions exist at the time. I consider myself pretty lucky, being able to get out on the trails immediately after a snowfall and grooming. Nevertheless, I still missed skiing on some of my favourite trails.
One of the disappointing aspects of this past winter was the lack of variety. I’m referring to the many trails which were skiable for such a short time. For example, I would normally ski on the Ribbon Creek/Kananaskis Village/Skogan Pass trails around a dozen times. This year was a meager 2 trips and I didn’t ski on Skogan Pass even once. I never had an opportunity to ski with Tessa on Hay Meadow or to Troll Falls.
The trails in Banff were skiable for a very limited time. I’m referring to Goat Creek, Spray River, Cascade Valley, Healy/Brewster Creek, and Redearth Creek. I skied those trails 17 times last winter; this winter, only 11 times.
I’m looking forward to many trips to Skogan Pass and Goat Creek next winter, and I’m hoping we’ll have lots of snow on the Ribbon Creek trail system, and maybe even the return of Ribbon Creek itself!
I’m thrilled to have my own reserved parking spot for next winter at Pocaterra Hut. Update April 2: April Fool’s!
Beyond the border but there is still excellent skiing at Silver Star!!
One trail we ski almost every year is the Goat Creek/Spray River trail either up or down or both. We kept waiting for better conditions but they never seemed to arrive. Maybe we missed it when it was good but it now a its next year trip unless we do it on mountain bikes.
Has anyone heard anything about Lake Louise or Peter Lougheed PP trails as we really want to get at least one more weekend of skiing!
Grooming has finished for the season at Lake Louise. We skate skied 1A on Tuesday – still plenty of snow but a little rough (got better towards the O’Hara end), and ideally it needs to be warm enough to soften. Tracks were almost non-existent/filled with collembola.
Hey Bob. For the amount of effort that you put into X-C skiing in our area they should give you a permanent bed in Pocaterra Hut, along with a parking stall that reads “Reserved for Robert Truman Esquire”.
Ha ha ha ha ha! You had me going for a minute, but then I remembered the date. 😀
Having a VIP as a spouse it is now so nice for Tessa and I to be dropped off right at the trail head with Skier Bobs personal new parking space reserved with his name on it!! ????????
Ha ha ha. Good one , Bob! You had me going for a minute. Happy April fool’s day to you, too.
Are you planning to use that parking spot one last time this weekend?
For sure, it’s been a challenging winter at times for xc and backcountry conditions. Being a glass half full kind of guy though- there have been many great days but as Bob says- less variety. I haven’t felt much motivation lately to get out skiing, since returning recently from another excellent week at Campbell Icefield, back to springlike weather in Calgary with the crocus in bloom for over a week now in Bowmont and Nose Hill parks, and biking in warm sun.
It does appear though that we may get a bit of a reset for the backcountry in the coming week 🙂
Looking ahead- I talked recently to someone at CNC who informed me that year round skiing on real skis (not roller!) will commence at CNC in summer 2017. Swiss researchers have developed a snow substitute from recycled poly milk jugs, bound together with organic hemp seeds, that provides remarkably snow like skiing, that can also be groomed and trackset. Initially the summer ski program will consist of a 1km loop over a base of shredded xmas trees, to be expanded if successful. Waxless skis will be required initially as grip waxes have yet to be developed for this new “Eco-Snow”. I can hardly wait 😉
If the poor snow conditions persist, we might be using the “milk jug snow” for winter skiing, too. Sounds like a great idea, I wonder why I haven’t heard anything about it before now?! 🙂
I think Steve got you Bob. Its April 1 today .
I didn’t catch the posting date of Apr. 1 either. Ha.
Interesting idea, but how ‘Eco’ can small bits of poly plastic be? Can winds send this stuff all over the place? It would then be like a ‘macro’ version of the microbead problem.
I was thinking that a summer vacation destination of Oberhof or Torsby might be something to think about this year.