What a pleasure to be skiing on cold snow again. I see from the Trip Reports that I wasn’t the only one who got to enjoy blue wax today.
After reading Ray’s Trip Report yesterday, my destination of choice was Lake Louise. I only went to the Pipestone trails to do a little scouting, but I ended up skiing 20K there! More on that later.
After Pipestone, I drove over to Moraine Lake road and did the Fairview loop on the best snow I’ve seen in ages. Cold, clean and good tracks. The snow temperature was -5°C at the top of the Fairview hill. VR40(-4/-120) gave good grip and didn’t slow me down on those lovely downhills.
The snow wasn’t quite as cold on the Pipestone trails which are at a much lower elevation(until you get to the north end). At 1 pm, the air temperature was +2, and the snow was -2. My old Peltonens already had some VR50(0/-4) on them, so I used them for what I thought would be a five minute reconnaissance mission.
The tracks had a skiff of new snow in them which was just enough to give me good grip as I headed out on the Pipestone #20 trail in counter-clockwise direction. Conditions were better than I expected, and the trail just kept pulling me along.
The hills were a bit icy and I had to herringbone a few times, and before I knew it, I was at the Drummond intersection(2.3K). I turned right and took the 400-metre side trip to Mud Lake since I hadn’t checked it out yet this season.
Back on Pipestone, I climbed a couple more steep hills and at 3.2K, and 115 metres of elevation, the conditions improved considerably with very nice snow. This is the point where you reach a plateau and the skiing is very delightful as you meander among the spruce and pine, with very little elevation gain to the north end at 6.8K.
Upon reaching the north end it started snowing, and snowed off-and-on for the remainder of the time I was at Pipestone. Occasionally it would clear up with bright blue skies, then a squall would blow in for 15 minutes.
Reaching the high point at 8K, I skied on Merlin to the old cabin, and returned to the high point. I was enjoying the cold, clean snow at the north end, so I decided to go back the way I came on the Pipestone trail.
It was even nicer going back, at least on the “plateau” section of the trail. Upon reaching the steeper, icier downhills I was able to maintain control with a snowplow.
At the intersection, I turned right and took Drummond which was in very nice shape. For the home stretch, I knew it would be sketchy no matter which trail I took, and I chose Hector. It had a few icy sections where I had to be careful, but no problems.
Moraine Lake road has 1-2 cm of fresh snow, but the tracks are skied-in and were fast, but not icy. It had cooled down considerably, and I knew as soon as I stepped on the trail that my VR50 was going to be way too sticky, and it was. I went back and got my other skis which had no wax on them, and I applied VR40. Surprisingly, I met a skier, just finishing, who was using klister. I guess it had been a lot warmer earlier on.
Fairview has been recently trackset and was in excellent condition. It felt so wonderful to be flying down those hills on cold snow. It seems that with warmer conditions which have been prevalent for the past two months, I could never get my speed up to where I knew it should be.
Tramline was still in good shape despite all the foot traffic. There are signs, to no avail, telling people not to walk on Tramline. I encountered two people on foot with a dog. I can’t blame the dog. For skiers who want to enjoy some skiing with their faithful companion, the Pipestone trails are dog-friendly and I saw a few paw prints. Also dog-friendly at Lake Louise are the Campground loop, Bow River loop, the Lake and Lakeshore.
It was trying to snow as I left Lake Louise and the temperature had dropped to -3. The forecast is calling for -11 tonight at LL, with a high of -2 tomorrow.