The conditions on Moraine Lake road are superb. Probably better than most of last winter. Trackset and groomed yesterday, there was a little fresh snow on top but the tracks were excellent and fast.
I wasn’t feeling well yesterday and had to cancel a trip to Lake Louise. This morning I was still hurtin’ but by noon I was feeling a lot better. I knew this might be the last chance to ski on some good tracks considering we are going to be overwhelmed with an imminent snow storm that’s going to cover everything.
Getting late now, I had foregone a ride with Chip to the Great Divide, but you can read his report and see his photos in the Trip Reports. Sounded like it was just as wonderful up the road. He rated it an A-Plus.
Upon arriving at the MLR trailhead at 2 pm, the air temperature was -3°C, and the snow was -5. I waxed with VR45 and had excellent grip. The first skiers I encountered were Helen Read and her two friends who had just finished MLR. Helen is one of the regulars on the Trip Reports page.
MLR is an easy trail for the first 2.6K to Paradise creek where I ran into Carmen and Anita. Squeals of delight ensued when they realized it was SkierBob taking their photo. 🙂
The trail is triple trackset. Two outbound lanes for classic skiing and one inbound lane, separated by a wide skating lane. Starting at Paradise creek bridge, there is one long steady climb of 1.6K and about 110 metres net elevation, but what a treat coming down. Net elevation gain to the end is 240 metres, with a total ascent of 300 metres.
I used my good skis for the first time this season, and they felt like rockets. I was able to keep up to young awesome skier Noah on the downhills. He kept looking back to see if I was still there. It certainly wasn’t my technique or fitness so I’m thinking the off-season stone grinding was at least partially responsible.
Noah did eventually lose me when I stopped to take a photo. Good excuse, I was actually exhausted. When I encountered Noah at the end, he said he was impressed with the way I kept up. I expect he was being kind. When he noticed how old, overweight, and out-of-shape I was, he could have said he was surprised. Fast skis and inertia will overcome some disadvantages.
The first flakes from the impending snowmageddon event were starting to fall just as I reached the end of the tracksetting at 9K. I high-tailed it out of there and was back at the trailhead in 33 minutes.
The snowfall for Lake Louise at the elevation of MLR trailhead is now predicted to amount to 36 cm by Sunday night, and a further 25 cm by Wednesday. If it materializes, it will be all the groomers can do to keep it packed. The other trails at Lake Louise will benefit from more snow.
The Banff trail report indicates that the Pipestone trails have been packed but I would expect a lot of hazards still exist. This is early for any maintenance on those trails, so we are indeed off to a good start.
The Kananaskis trail report indicates there has been some snowmobile packing on a few trails in the north end of PLPP.