-The Silver City hand-off is where the road intersects the ski trail.-
I didn’t want to pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use the historic location of Silver City in the title of an update.
This is the fifth leg of the shortened Lake Louise to Banff loppet which is being held tomorrow (Sunday). Thanks to Mary, Hugh, Helen and gh for their updates on other sections of the trail.
For the first time in 15 years I didn’t enter the loppet as a racer, but I will be out there as a volunteer.
The organizers were faced with a lot of challenges for this year’s event. There’s been much disruption to the course because of AltaLink’s ongoing construction and for some reason this winter, there are more ice flows than we’ve ever seen. A deeper snow pack could have fixed a lot of the problems, but it’s probably the thinnest snow pack I’ve ever seen.
A thin snow pack also means a lot of twigs, grass, and needles that would have normally been covered with snow are exposed. I purposely skied through all the debris I could find, and was pleasantly surprised that my wax had not picked up anything at the end of my ski. That’s the advantage of cold snow.
The temperature of the snow at Castle junction was -11 and the air temp was -10 around 1 pm. I used VR40(-4/-12) and it worked well.
In the 1880’s there were six hotels at Silver City. For such a flamboyant name, there’s nothing much to see at the Silver City hand-off except for a communications tower about 100 metres to the south. There is a pullout near the access road with an interpretive sign.
“…Silver City, where in a period of two years it would see more than 3,000 silver-hungry prospectors lay their tents in high hopes of prosperity.”
Read more about historic Silver City
Things have changed at Johnston Canyon campground. Parks is plowing the parking lot, so it will be difficult to see them putting a trail through it this year. You’ll have a choice of walking about 300 metres or skiing on the road. The latest update from the loppet organizers states…
“The road in the campground has been plowed, but sufficient snow remains for you to ski on the road for the last 300m to the checkpoint.”
The reason Parks is plowing the parking lot is to allow tourists who are going to Johnston Canyon to park there. Today, a group of people were returning to their vehicles, and walking right in the ski tracks. When they saw me taking photos, they all stepped to the side of the trail, so they knew darn well they weren’t supposed to be walking in the tracks.