A rare opportunity

by Bob Truman on January 24, 2016

in Animal tracks & sightings, Banff, Lake Louise, Ski Race

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-Wonderful conditions between Castle Junction and Johnston Canyon-

This is your chance to ski the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet trails while they’re in top-notch condition, especially from the lake(Lake Louise) to the end of the backswamp.

Start of the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet at 8 a.m. on Lake Louise

Start of the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet at 8 a.m. on Lake Louise

If you just want to hit the hi-lites, ski from Lake Louise to the end of Leg 3 at Johnston canyon(44K).

Most trails received 2-3 cm of snow last night which hid most pine needles, and mitigated the icy conditions around Castle Lookout which had received some rain on Friday.

Morant's curve at 9 a.m. in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

Morant’s curve at 9 a.m. in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

I was thrilled to ski the 21K first leg to Baker creek on such pristine conditions. It almost seemed sacriligious to be going as fast as I could through the Campground and Bow River loop in Lake Louise, it was so incredibly beautiful this morning with the snow-laden trees, the icy river, and the sun not even up yet.

Leg 3 in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

Leg 3 in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

As I moved further along, past Coral creek, Morant’s curve, and on to Baker creek, the sunrise was spectacular over the distant mountains.

It looks like we’ll have enough cool weather to preserve the excellent snow conditions for a couple more days, so don’t delay.

Handoff at Sawback(50K) in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

Handoff at Sawback(50K) in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

The only inconvenience is 800 metres with no track from Morant’s curve, up the hill, to where the tracksetting resumes. It would be best to walk this section, although most of us were skiing it today in the fresh snow on the road.

This Lynx was spotted by a few lucky skiers today in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

This Lynx was spotted by a few lucky skiers today in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet. Photo by Lu

Keep an eye out for the Lynx which Risto spotted on the ski trail today on Leg 3 around Castle Junction. He said he stood and observed it for 30 seconds while it stayed put on the trail. After the Lynx finally moved along, Lu managed to get a photo as she was driving along the Parkway.

A skier crosses the finish line in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

A skier crosses the finish line in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

You may recognize Risto’s name as one of the regular Trip Reporters on this blog. I was at the finish line when Risto completed the entire 72K as a solo skier. Congratulations on an amazing accomplishment, and congrats to all the skiers and a big thank you to the volunteers.

Risto crosses the finish line after 72K of skiing in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

Risto crosses the finish line after 72K of skiing in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

The overall winner of the loppet was solo skier Dan Roycroft with a time of 4 hours and 59 minutes. Unbelievable as it may sound, in second place was a team who were only one second behind. After 72 kilometres, and almost five hours of skiing, he won it by one second! I was told it was an all-out sprint to the finish between Roycroft and a member of the women’s team “Haggis, Herring, and Kapusta.”

Team "Crayola Crayon 4-Pack" in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

Team “Crayola Crayon 4-Pack” in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

While they were sprinting to the finish line, I was skiing Leg 5 through the Backswamp. I’ve been through some pretty nasty conditions in the Backswamp in previous years, but today it was as pleasant as it gets in the ‘Swamp.

Emerging from the Backswamp in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

Emerging from the Backswamp in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet

My team consisting of Barbara M, Barbara B, Peter and myself finished in a time of five hours and fifty-one minutes.

The full results have been posted online.

We couldn’t have asked for better conditions or weather, at least for the first five legs. Air and snow temperature were -5°C at the start, and I used VR45(-2/-8) for the first leg, and it worked well. The fresh snow slowed the pace down a bit, but I think it was better to have the clean, cold snow with no icy patches or pine needles. Leg 6 was reported to be less than ideal with some icy patches.

Here’s a story in the Rocky Mountain Outlook Roycroft Victorious

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Silvia Stettler January 26, 2016 at 5:49 pm

Great report and photos – thank you Bob. It is always good to follow you on skierbob!
The Lake Louise to Banff Loppet was just wonderful and in great shape. Thanks to all the volunteers who did an amazing job.

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2 Karen Ung (@playoutsidegal) January 26, 2016 at 4:16 pm

Looks like the Loppet went well! Nice work! I hope to ski this area soon!!

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3 Jo January 25, 2016 at 10:53 pm

Great to have you and your team with us again, Bob and Cheryl. Thank you for your report. Seeing your picture of the scenery, track and enthusiasm on the faces of the skiers makes me want to enter the loppet and ski it again! See you on the trail!
Jo and the loppet committee

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4 Adrian Z January 25, 2016 at 10:24 pm

it was a wonderful experience to be able to ski along this route in the Loppet. Thanks to all of the organizers for making this really special experience

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