-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!