About 5-6 cm of new snow already covered yesterday’s tracksetting on Cascade Valley. The tracks were well skied-in by the time I got there, but skaters would have had a good workout.
It had warmed up to -15°C when I arrived around 1:45 pm. The temperature in Banff this morning, according to Environment Canada was -24.
I started out with extra clothing for that gradual downhill on Lake Minnewanka road, but after crossing the meadow and reaching the actual Cascade Valley trail at 950 metres, I it seemed quite pleasant and I changed into my warm weather gear.
For having all the fresh cold snow in the tracks, I felt like I was moving along pretty well. I was using my skis which I had stone-ground for cold temperatures, and I had the right glide wax(CH5 for -8/-14) on them as well. These are my best skis, so I was not planning on seeing any rocks, and indeed I didn’t.
As I approached the 5K mark, I noticed it getting colder. and colder. and even colder until I was at the Cascade river at 6k, where I had to put my cold weather gear back on because I’m sure it was still -24 down there. Sometimes the air doesn’t move in the bottom of the valley and stays frigid all day. The cold even killed my camera battery. I carry a spare which I keep in a warm place, but I have to change it with my bare hands. Brrrr!
Past the campground, I ran into Barb and Reg who had been all the way to the warden’s cabin at 13.3K. They reported that the trail was only skier-set beyond that point. It’s usually 14.5K to the end of the tracksetting.
I only went one kilometre past the campground because my face and toes were telling me to get out of there ASAP. After climbing the hill out of the valley, I could feel the temperature warming up again.
It’s not unusual to see elk in the meadow as you’re driving out or back, and there was a minor “elk jam” to get thorough as I was returning.