-Happy new year from Christina, Ben, and Nick at the Whiskey jack – Pocaterra junction-
I decided for the first day of this new year that I would enjoy my signature ski trip, the loop in PLPP which includes Whiskey jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk pass, Fox creek and Boulton creek. It was terrific!
Alf’s comment enlightened me about the chinook which doesn’t seem to be materializing. I don’t think it ever got warmer than -11°C in the south end of PLPP today.
The temperature fluctuated wildly on the drive out to PLPP. Upon leaving Canmore at noon it was -13. The Stoney-Nakoda casino was -3, and as I passed by Kananaskis village it was -5. Wedge Pond was -12, and Pocaterra hut was -6. When I started skiing up Whiskey jack at 1:30 pm it was -12, and the snow temperature was -18. At the top of Whiskey jack the snow temp was -13.
It always warms up fast as you climb Whiskey jack, and it was quite pleasant at the top. Ditto along Tyrwhitt, but Elk pass seemed about five degrees colder.
All the trails are in good shape with well-defined, fast tracks. There’s been a few cm of new snow over the grooming, but the tracks are well skied-in. Fox creek was wonderful except for the tree which has fallen across the trail, but you can still maneuver around it okay.
I thought it would be safe to take New Boulton creek back to the parking lot since there weren’t many people around. From south to north, this trail has some tricky sections and you have to stay in control in case another skier is coming towards you. Snow coverage is good, and there were no icy spots, just a little tree debris.
When I passed Pocaterra hut, the parking lot appeared to be about three-quarters full. I think most people skied from this location today, considering it was so much warmer.
The Banff trail report indicates that Cascade valley and Upper Bankhead in Banff were groomed today. That might mean only the skating lane, I’m not sure if it was trackset as well.
There was an inversion in effect today. I just read on Twitter from Paul Karchut who does the CBC Ski report: “-27 at the base, +3 at the top and some pretty good skiing (and quiet) in between at skilouise today.”