I’m pretty sure that Lake O’Hara fire road received some snow today. Yesterday, as I mentioned on my trip report, the tracks had become quite icy for the first 7K, and a little top-up of fresh snow would have helped.
As you’ve already heard from Richie Rich, Val, and Ben, it was snowing in Lake Louise and Yoho this morning.
Anyway, I’m going to re-post my trip report from yesterday with a few more details and the photos you’ve been patiently waiting for.
Thursday Feb 11: It was +3 at 2:30 pm. I’m not sure about the snow temp, but I started out on Tuesday’s skis which had VR50(0/-4) and it worked well for the first 3k.
The tracks turned a bit icy from 3k to 7k. I rewaxed with VR55 at the 5k picnic table and had reasonable grip. At 7k, where the big hills start, the texture of the snow changed and was much easier to get grip on those extreme climbs.
I stopped at Le Relais Day Shelter at 10.9K and enjoyed the warmth of the fire which someone had prepared before I got there. Also from Le Relais I skied a well-used trail onto the lake and took some photos.
On the return, the tracks were icier for the final 7k with a good covering of the ubiquitous snow fleas.
At all times the snow in the middle of the trail was soft enough for effective snow plowing.
The trip back was super fast. I averaged 17.1 KmH which I think is faster than the old school bus they use in the summer to bring in the daily alotment of hikers. The winter trail to Lake O’Hara is actually the road which takes visitors in by bus in the summertime.
Some trail specifications
This is not an easy trail. The final climb rates near the top on Risto’s Hill Pain Score of Most Exhausting Ski Hills.
You’ll gain a big chunk of elevation in the first 2.5K from the trailhead.
After 2.5K, the trail undulates but continues to gain elevation gradually. You can catch frequent views of distant mountains, but at 5K it opens up and offers spectacular views of the nearby mountains.
As you get nearer the end, the trail gets a lot steeper and you’ll gain 200 metres in the final 3K. On the good conditions it was a lot of fun descending these hills on the return. The trail has numerous long, gradual downhill runs where you don’t even have to snowplow.
The net elevation gain is 410 metres.
Planning on skiing to Lake O’Hara Lodge for lunch? Here are the details taken from their website:
On weekends during our operational season, the Lodge offers a light lunch of soup, salad, dessert and coffee or tea. We serve this between noon and 2 PM Saturdays and Sundays only. No reservations are required and it is cash only for payment.
It doesn’t give the price, but last year it was $22