Poor conditions at Mt Shark

by Bob Truman on February 10, 2016

in Mount Shark

Post image for Poor conditions at Mt Shark

Update Thurs Feb 11 @ 7:20 a.m: Grooming occurred overnight at Mt Shark. Check the Live Grooming Report for details. 🙂 🙂

I took Tessa to Mt Shark and was very disappointed with the snow and trail conditions. Not only the skiing was bad, but so is the Smith Dorrien(Spray Lakes) road.

Watridge Lake road at Mt Shark

Watridge Lake road at Mt Shark

My assessment of what’s transpired is this: It snowed about 10 cm over the recent grooming. The snow has undergone the thaw-freeze cycle. On the color-coded trails it was dangerous to go downhill because skiers have left ridges in the deep snow which consequently froze. It was impossible to snowplow. Skaters would have experienced much difficulty.

The ridges in the colour-coded trails were frozen hard

The ridges in the colour-coded trails were frozen hard

On Watridge Lake road, the snowshoers and hikers have completely flattened the new snow but it has turned to hardpack. I won’t call it icy, and in fact the snow(or a poor facsimile of snow) was surprisingly dry considering the air temperature was +7°C. I used waxless skis, but in retrospect, I probably could have used wax.

Mt Shark

The hardpack was full of holes at Mt Shark

There’s very little remaining of any tracks and the entire trail is full of potholes.

I only skied for about 45 minutes and that was under duress. Not enjoyable whatsoever, but Tessa doesn’t care about the ski conditions so she at least had fun.

Mt Shark

Mt Shark. This snow was not soft!

I can’t recommend skiing at Mt Shark until there’s new grooming, which could happen yet this week. I suppose some wide skis with metal edges might make it tolerable, but tolerable is not much fun.

I feel sorry for anyone who drove from Calgary to ski here today.

Watridge Lake road at Mt Shark

Watridge Lake road at Mt Shark

Eight days ago, the Smith-Dorrien road was in perfect winter driving condition. Smooth, hardpack snow with very little exposed gravel. Three days of warm weather has melted much of the snow, and there’s lots of muddy gravel and the beginings of deep slush.

If you have any aspirations of skiing at Shark, check the Live Grooming Report in the morning. It was last Thursday when the most recent grooming occurred.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Rick Young February 11, 2016 at 9:57 am

A bunch of skiers and snowshoers from the Second Sixties Outdoor Club were at Mt Shark Wednesday, and conditions were much as Bob reported. However, a few of us tackled the old 15-km biathlon track, and found the conditions challenging, but probably better than those on the Watridge Lake trail, which is mostly out in the open. We managed to snowplow down the moderate hills, and chose to walk down the steep ones. Uphill was a mix of herringbone and direct steps with waxless skis. Lots of soft snow still in the old, seldom-used south part of the 15-km track.


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