With the warm temperatures coming this week, I decided to forego the new tracksetting in PLPP and take advantage of the new tracksetting on Cascade Valley, thinking it might be the last chance this season.
The Banff tracksetter was doing the 8.5K stretch of Cascade Valley between the 6K bridge and Stoney creek this morning. I wasn’t aware of that when I started out, as yesterday’s trail report only indicated that Upper Bankhead and Cascade Valley to the 6K bridge had been trackset.
I was thinking that I’d only be going to the 6K bridge, so I started out by skiing the scenic Upper Bankhead trail which adds 3.2K.
After completing Upper Bankhead and logging about 4K on Cascade valley, I saw the snowmobile returning. I knew then I was in for a treat and would be enjoying an epic 32K today.
The air temperature at 11 a.m. was -6°C with no wind and a beautiful blue sky. I didn’t take a snow temperature but it was a lot colder than I thought. I already had VR45(-2/-8) on my skis but I eventually scraped it off and replaced it with VR40(-4/-12). The VR45 was grabbing and slowing me down. The VR40 worked fine for the remainder of the day despite the air temperature warming up to zero by 3 pm.
The tracks on the pavement were obviously created with some Margarita snow. A bit of crushed ice mixed in with 3 cm of new snow, the tracks were shallow but fine nonetheless. It was obvious there was more fresh snow the further I went out and at 11k the tracks were well-defined and deep.
The fresh tracks were a little on the slow side, but you couldn’t ask for anything better than the skiing today. I went all the way to the end of the tracksetting at 14.5K and didn’t make the detour to the warden’s cabin. Met a lot of blog readers on the trail today who said they came out after reading last night’s update.
The snow did not deteriorate today, so you could probably squeeze in one more day of good skiing here.
It’s been an unusual situation with tracksetting in Banff this winter. The only time grooming would occur is on weekends which really is the worst time to be out on the trails with machinery. We also end up skiing in soft tracks. I have the utmost confidence that Banff National Park will rectify this situation for next winter and we’ll see the trails being groomed regularly as soon as the snow falls.
Thank you for all the detailed Trip Reports today. Glad to get an update on Emerald Lake where the day started out at a lovely -15! I see Yoho finally updated their trail report and mentioned that Emerald Lake Horse Trail and Emerald Alluvial Fan Loop were trackset yesterday. Maybe these trails will survive the ravages of El Nino.
I always wondered about the downhill ski area on Pigeon Mountain. Now I know a little more about it. Ghost Slopes: what happened to the departed but loved ski hills of Alberta