The new ski trail
For cross-country skiers, a new trail has been constructed to join Ribbon creek trailhead to Link junction, utilizing some other trails in the vicinity. Starting out from the Ribbon creek parking lot, you’ll follow Hidden for 400 metres to the junction with Coal Mine. Turn left onto Coal Mine and follow it for 560 metres.
You’ve come almost 1K, and climbed a net elevation of 70 metres. Now the newly constructed trail begins on your left. It climbs a further 30 metres elevation to the high point, then drops 60 net metres, down to the creek where you can see a huge log jam and a damaged bridge from the floods. It’s a further 900 metres to Link junction, of which 600 metres is on the original trail.
The distance of the new trail is 1.2K, and the total distance from Ribbon creek parking lot to Link junction 3.1K which is 100 metres further than Gillean Daffern clocked.
Gillean rates it as “hard intermediate,” as it has some very steep sections with tight turns. It is not a beginner’s trail, but it looks like fun for the seasoned, fit, intermediate skier. I’ll be skiing it mostly in the west-to-east direction. I prefer to climb the steep hills and enjoy a more gradual downhill to the trailhead.
Of course, it is wide enough for the snowcat to travel over.
I can envisage the hiking and snowshoe trail being used by skiers who don’t want the challenges of the new trail.
Name the trail
Does anyone have any suggestions for a name for the new ski trail? I don’t know what K-Country’s official name for this trail is going to be, but let’s give them some suggestions. Trail names in K-Country can be related to a geographical feature(such as Ribbon creek), a historical figure(Kovach), a builder/designer(Bill Milne), an animal(Whiskey Jack), a historical use or event(Hay meadow or Coal Mine).
What would be a relevant name for this new trail? K-Country probably already has a name picked out, but what the heck.
The hiking and snowshoe trail
The “old” Ribbon creek trail has been rebuilt as a hiking and snowshoe trail along the creek. It’s the same distance as before, 2.5K to Link junction, with a very gradual elevation gain of 80 metres.
Again, I’ll refer you to the Kananaskis Trails blog for a more complete report on this trail from Gillean Daffern.
The floods of 2013 destroyed most of the original trail, but the final 600 metres follows the old trail to Link junction. You might remember the picnic tables? They’re still there, in the exact same location where I saw them during my first year of skiing here, 18 years ago.
The newly constructed part(the initial 1.6K) is quite narrow in places, crosses 6 bridges, and will not be groomed for xc skiing. That’s not to say that people won’t be skiing on it anyway.