-Bill Milne trail at Ribbon Creek parking lot-
The wind was howling and the snow was blowing on the drive out to Kananaskis. The temperature was -21°C upon leaving Canmore, -12 while driving past Barrier Lake, and -18 at Evan-Thomas parking lot which is where I started. The sun was shining and there was no wind.
The trails I did today are all very easy, and offer the best scenery on this continent. I did a 7K loop including Evan-Thomas fire road, Wedge Connector, and Bill Milne. According to my GPS, the grooming on Evan-Thomas goes for 1.8K. From there, you can ski on a snowshoe-packed trail for 100 metres but you need to remove your skis at the MacDougall bridge for the final 50 metres which is steep and narrow with tight turns.
At the bottom, you will arrive at the next bridge which is over Evan-Thomas Creek and the beginning of the Wedge Connector trail. The Evan-Thomas trail was excellent but has 500 metres of newly constructed trail due to the floods, and this section had some tree roots and debris poking through. I was surprised to discover I had gained 50 metres of elevation while skiing on Evan-Thomas, it was so gradual.
The Wedge Connector was in good shape with just a couple thin spots which were easy to avoid. After 2.2K on Wedge, I arrived at the Bill Milne trail which is on pavement and in excellent condition. There are a couple fun hills on the way to the road crossing.
From the road crossing, the trail takes you through Mt Kidd RV Park, over another bridge, and back to the Evan-Thomas parking lot. You have to watch for the snowcat tracks which is your cue to cross the road and back to your vehicle. I walked about 150 metres from the trail to my car.
I skied a further 3K from Evan-Thomas parking on the Bill Milne trail north through the golf course and into the wide open spaces where I had to stop frequently to take photos.
The Bill Milne trail had a few thin spots but were easy to avoid. One of the maintenance or construction workers decided it would be fun to burn a power turn on the ski trail with his truck. The first 200 metres north of the golf course has some dirt mixed into the tracksetting. Nothing that will hurt your skis, just doesn’t look nice.
While on the Bill Milne trail, I saw an animal quickly cross the ski trail about 50 metres in front of me. I didn’t get a good look, but it was probably a coyote. When I arrived at the spot, there were lots of tracks all over the trail for a span of about 75 metres. It looked like they were having a party.
Speaking of parties…
The photo at the right is at Stoney-Nakoda Resort where I stopped in tonight. They hope to see all Trip Reporters at the Appreciation Party on Sunday(and so do I). If you have submitted a trip report in the past 365 days, you are invited. Sunday 3-6 pm at Stoney-Nakoda Resort, Bearspaw room. It looks like Sunday will be the best ski day of the year with nice temperatures and excellent trail conditions.
At Canmore Nordic Centre, Juniors and Children ski for FREE this Sunday January 15th (17 yrs & under). It’s FIS World Snow Day!
I called it in to the City Keith. Lets see if it actually makes a difference.
Following in Bob’s footsteps, and then some – after skiing the Evan Thomas, Wedge Connector and Bill Milne trails back to Evan Thomas, we continued all the way north on Bill Milne to Ribbon Creek – surprisingly good coverage all the way with just a few easily avoidable thin spots. A heads-up to anyone going tomorrow, the wind was howling all pm so expect the tracks out in the open to be filled with wind blow snow – looked stunning heading back to Evan Thomas PL into the wind and sun with snow blowing everywhere, especially off the ridge tops.
Thank you for the detailed description of the area. I’ve never skied there before but it looks inviting and easy.
Nice and pristine track setting on Bob’s photos; might need to ski it before Chinook destroys it all.
For the Evan-Thomas trail, it will be a contest to see what destroys it first: the weather, or hikers. So far, the hikers have stayed out of the tracks, but I expect that will change on the weekend. If you look closely in the photos, you can see the post-holes right down the middle of the skating lane. Someone walked in it while it was still soft.
Great Photos Bob! Maybe a good pick for Sunday. I did a loop around the Maple Ridge Golf Course in Calgary last night and found a portion of the recent track-setting to be chewed up by truck tires. No burnouts, but deliberate destruction none the less. As I was heading towards the parking lot, two trucks came tearing up the course at very high speeds (for a snow covered golf course). Since I’m not a golfer, I pondered as to what kind of maintenance activities were required at 6 pm in the dead of winter?
I saw the tire tracks on Monday while at Maple Ridge. Joy riding with the 4-BYs – vandals I call them. Someone should report this activity to the City as I am certain they don’t approve of joyriding on the golf courses.
I have noticed this before at Maple ridge when it has been groomed and trackset in previous years. It baffles me as it seems very deliberate.
Sometimes, picking up a phone works! I just spoke to a City of Calgary administrator who is following up on my 311 call. Apparently, an engineering group is conducting some groundwater testing on the North East end of Maple Ridge. The administrator suspects that these are the individuals who have been driving over the track-setting and will be in contact with the firm’s management to ensure their employees are both staying off the ski trails and not doing Mach 1 when travelling across the course.