Lots of snow but no grooming

-Barb from New York was thrilled with all the snow and skied to Moraine lake-

Nov 3 @ 10 a.m: Thank you to Jeff Hearnden, Backcountry Maintenance Coordinator at Parks Canada for this update:

“The Tracksetting staff started work on Nov. 2nd. Administrative details ( payroll, scheduling, Health & Safety check -in procedures etc ) need to be completed before any grooming will take place. I’m sorry if I mislead you to believe “grooming” would start on Nov. 2nd. ( as posted on your website ) Hopefully we can get these details sorted out quickly.

Please understand that we must follow the proper procedures to ensure that staff are taken care of and equipment is prepared to operate. We will make every effort to get the grooming activities started as soon as possible.”

Barb from Cooperstown, NY, had her heart set on seeing iconic Moraine lake by driving out on the Moraine Lake road. She was disappointed to discover the road was closed to vehicle traffic, but heard that it was skiable.

Moraine Lake road at 3.5K

Moraine Lake road at 3.5K

She’s staying in Banff so she rented waxless skis at Snowtips, and had a great time skiing out to the lake today. When I ran into her at 7.2K, she was effusive and ecstatic about the snow and the conditions, and remarked on how peaceful and beautiful it was.

Who is this crazy person coming down the hill?

Who is this crazy person coming down the hill?

Meeting Barb lifted my spirits because I was disappointed that no grooming had occurred on MLR. It was scheduled to begin today. I’ll try to find out from Parks Canada what their plans are.

I’m not a big fan of skiing on ungroomed snow with my track skis, especially when there are fast downhills. Lots of skiers were staying in the deeper snow on the hill to control their speed. It can be difficult to snowplow in deep snow with skinny skis.

It's my friend Chip!

It’s my friend Chip!

The only place where the snow was a bit thin was at Paradise Creek for about 100 metres, but I didn’t have to take my skis off.

I started out at exactly 2 pm and my car thermometer registered +4°C. I thought the best skis to use in these conditions would be my fish-scale waxless and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m glad that I remembered to polish the grip zone with some of this stuff because it prevented the snow from sticking to my skis.

Charlie was on fish-scale waxless. His group tried wax, but ended up scraping it off.

Charlie was on fish-scale waxless. The others in his group tried wax, but ended up scraping it off.

Furthermore, I had my skis stone-ground by Grinders for these wet conditions. They put grooves in the skis to help dissipate the moisture so there’s less suction and my skis were gliding just fine. The name of the grind they used was “Tofu 1.” In the photos, you can see the grooves in the base of my skis.

win-fischer-skis-2016-17At 4.2k, almost at the top of the big hill, I saw a crazy person coming downhill towards me, waving his arms in the air and shouting. I wasn’t sure if he was celebrating the beginning of ski season, or out of control on the downhill. As he got closer, I could see it was my friend Chip(in full control). You’ve probably read his informative trip report by now.

I’d have to agree with Chip that it doesn’t look too good for the preservation of the snow with temperatures forecast to be around +10 for Lake Louise.

Would you like a new pair of skis for free? I’m officially launching the start of our Fischer skis giveaway contest. Please leave your entry on the contest page.


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  1. Great to see everybody out. I hope that Bob has a pair of wider skis hidden away in the attic somewhere. Sometimes it is wise to pack different pairs of skis in the ski bag. My wider skis need different boots and so I throw them in there too. Nice to see Barb from New York making lemonade from lemons by getting out and renting skis to take advantage of the snow on Moraine Lake Road. The weather at this time is typically in flux. Hopefully the predicted bout of warm weather will set the base rather than melt it completely.

  2. Did you see the two wolves we happened to see yesterday?
    One black and one grey, actually chasing a deer within 500 metres of the start.
    Sorry to hear the snow has warmed up.
    We did not see anybody up there yesterday!

    • Amazing! I did see the tracks crossing the trail and wondered what had happened. I’m envious of your lucky encounter.

      • It was a pleasure to meet so many friendly people on my ski into Moraine Lake on November 2, 2016. Thanks Bob for sharing my adventure on your webpage. Your timing was perfect; my energy was flagging as you came along and you buoyed my spirits and energy all the way back to the start. It really was a beautiful ski. My joy upon reaching the lake was only matched by the quiet solitude and beauty of the frozen water and environs. Sorry I missed the wolves, but my day couldn’t have been any nicer………….. I am thrilled to have reached Moraine Lake!! I hope to return in the summer some day, but my finest memory of Moraine Lake will always be my solo ski in when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to see it at all. It was beautiful. Is it possible for me to post pictures here. I have a nice one of you Bob.

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