The Banff tracksetter has given skiers a great Christmas present. Tracksetter Don obviously spent his Christmas working in -24 weather on an open snowmobile to groom and trackset Goat Creek and Spray River West.
The Banff trail report indicates that Goat Creek is Fair/Good and Spray West is Fair/Poor. I imagine both trails are ripe for rock picking, so I’ll be using my rock skis and taking along an extra pair of gloves and a hammer.
Goat Creek and Spray West from Canmore to Banff is 18.9K. The first 900 metres from the Goat Creek trailhead is in Kananaskis Country, so it is not groomed by the Banff tracksetter. In any case, don’t make any judgements about the conditions until you’re about 4K down the trail, as the multi-users are quite prevalent on the first bit.
This year, Banff National Park is trying something new on Goat Creek and Spray River and I’m anxious to see how it works out. In a nutshell, there will be only one ski track on Goat Creek, reserved for skiers, and the corduroy on the remainder of the trail is for the multi-users, namely snowshoers, fat-bikers, and hikers. Indeed, the trail report says it is single trackset, so that’s the first step.
When starting at Banff, Spray River West for 5.7K is for skiers only. It will be double trackset with a skating lane. Spray River East will be the recommended trail for the multi-users. Past the East-West junction, Spray West for 4.3K becomes a multi-use trail and according to the pamphlet, will be single trackset.
The tracks should set up fairly well overnight in this cold weather. Hopefully they didn’t get trashed today.