-Moose at Boulton creek trailhead-
Somebody better pinch me. If you were skiing in Kananaskis today, you probably thought you’d died and gone to xc heaven. Thanks for all the trip reports. My update will only confirm what you’ve already been reading about.
More blog readers from afar have succumbed to the temptation, this time from Edmonton, coming here for a weekend of skiing. It was Brent and Lianne who saw the photos and drove for four-and-a-half hours to partake in our early season windfall…and I’m glad they did.
Brent saved me from dying of malnutrition by sharing his monster chocolate bar at the top of Elk pass. I had already completed 18K and didn’t bring enough nourishment to sustain me for the home stretch. Just like chocolate, this snow is addictive, once you start, it’s hard to quit.
I was out early today (by my standards anyway, not by Timmy and Sam’s who think 10:30 is late). I was climbing Whiskey jack at 11:10 a.m. with sun in my eyes.
When I arrived at Boulton creek parking lot, the air temperature was -14°C, and the snow was -15. There to greet me was the moose, munching away on an appetizer of some tasty twigs right at the trailhead. You could not start skiing without coming within 5 metres of her. She soon moved on to the main course when the vehicles arrived, cleaning everyone’s bumper with the iconic Rocky Mountain carwash.
Foremost on people’s minds this weekend was the weather. The forecast was calling for a high of 0°C today, but the only place that may have reached it was up on the highest elevations, as Mary pointed out in her trip report. The PLPP Discovery Centre said their thermometer never rose above -6. The snow condition did not deteriorate at all.
I used VR30(-10/-30) for most of the day, but added some VR40(-4/-12) later in the day. The snow temperature at the top of Elk pass was -9 at 2:30 pm.
This morning, Environment Canada was predicting a high of +8 for Kananaskis on Sunday. Now it’s +2. With the low angle of the sun, it shouldn’t have much effect, especially with a low of -12 tonight.
One skier who met me twice today, asked me if I was doing laps. Actually I did two loops, starting with Whiskey jack, Pocaterra, and Packers. I wanted to see what the downhill was like on Packers, and it was 99% fine, just don’t take the first big hill at full speed as it’s a bit bumpy. I completely missed the reported icy part, so MaSid’s instructions worked for me. No need to report on Whiskey jack or Upper Pocaterra as they are in fantastic shape.
The strange thing that happened when I arrived at the top of Whiskey jack is there was no one there. The picnic bench was sitting unused, and the Whiskey jack(the bird) was flitting around, waiting for the skiers to arrrive. Too early?
Arriving back at the Whiskey jack – Moraine junction, I stopped in a sunny spot and ate some of my meager rations. It’s an interesting and busy location with lots of skiers coming and going over the fifteen minutes I was there.
I then proceeded to do the Tyrwhitt loop but in the opposite direction from usual. Moraine, Fox creek, Elk pass, Tyrwhitt, Whiskey jack. All excellent. Not that I do it much, but I don’t ever remember descending Whiskey jack on such superb conditions.