-Yvette, Pollie, and Phil on the Great Divide-
The Banff trail report this morning indicated the Great Divide would be trackset today. I bypassed the 60 or so vehicles parked along the road at Moraine Lake trailhead(10:45 a.m.) and went a kilometre further up the road where I had a good choice of parking spots at the Great Divide.
It was indeed trackset and while still a little soft, the skiing was excellent. My car registered -3°C and the snow was -1. There was some light snow falling intermittently for my first hour on skis, so I didn’t want to wax too warm and create a high-heel problem. I went with VR 45(-2/-8) and had adequate grip and no sticking for the first 6.5K.
As I neared the divide, the snow characteristics changed and my wax was getting a bit sticky. The further I went, the stickier it got. After crossing the Great Divide, I skied a further 1K and turned around. It was right at the Ross Lake sign, so I had gone about 8.1K. The trail is trackset all the way to the Lake O’Hara parking lot.
The snow pack on the GD is a little thinner than on Moraine Lake road, and you will encounter the occasional twig sticking up through the snow. There are a few spots where the uneven pavement made me step out into the middle to avoid scraping my skis on bare pavement, but it’s a very minor problem.
The air temperature at 2 pm was +1.
As I was starting out, an early skier who was returning to the trailhead mentioned they saw bear tracks but I imagine the tracks were obliterated by the groomer. Too many people around for the bear to show his face today.
The Great Divide trail is also referred to as the Old 1A Hwy.
For beginner or novice skiers, this is the ultimate easy trail on which to learn to ski. You can go 6.5K before you encounter any significant hills, and the one hill down to the divide is not all that difficult. The trail is wide with no sharp corners. There are a few gradual uphills/downhills but I don’t even know if you could practice your snowplowing on them, they are so easy.
I was pleased to see the Banff trail report updated with useful information. It won’t be updated again until Thursday.