The skiing today, surrounded by some of the Rockies most impressive peaks, with spectacular blue skies, was beyond expectations. The 2 cm of new snow which was predicted was only a skiff in the new tracks. The air temperature at 10:20 a.m. was -14 but felt a lot warmer with the sun shining and no wind. I regretted wearing my warmer jacket.
Tracksetting was completed last night on the Alluvial Fan, Horse trail, Tree Hugger, and the trail across the lake and it was all in wonderful shape today.
We used VR30(-10/-30) and it worked flawlessly.
The trailhead is right on the frozen lake next to the Emerald Sports kiosk where you can rent skis. To get to the Alluvial Fan, you have to start out on the Lake trail for the first 400 metres. From there, you can take one of three trails which all lead to the Fan, and are all approximately 1K in length:
- The Horse trail which consists of small, pleasant rolling hills through the forest.
- The Tree Hugger which runs along the west shore of Emerald Lake and offers outstanding views of the lake and the mountains
- The trail across the lake. This can often be slushy and/or icy but was in perfect condition today.
We took Tree Hugger and I soon realized this was going to be a leisurely ski trip because of the beautiful day and spectacular scenery. Lots of single-poling(because my other hand was holding the camera most of the time).
If you ski the Alluvial Fan in a clockwise direction, which is my favourite way, it starts out with an almost-imperceptible elevation gain of 40 metres over the first K(it can be a lot of fun coming down if you go the other direction).
We were “breaking trail” in that skiff of new snow until we met Linnea and her friends from Portland, OR, about half-way along the Fan. We exchanged pleasantries and were grateful for the polished tracks which we created for each other.
The Alluvial Fan Loop is 4.3K of majestic scenery with a new mountain around every turn.
Cheryl returned on the Horse trail but I took the Lake trail simply to check out the condition and was pleased to encounter no ice or slush.
From trailhead to trailhead, the Alluvial Fan and access trails are 7.1K.
After lunch we warmed up in the outdoor hot tub at Emerald Lake Lodge. Unable to resist the great conditions, I returned to the Alluvial Fan and skied it in the counter-clockwise direction. This time, I was going for speed now that the tracks were skied-in and the skies were overcast so I wasn’t slowed down so much by the scenery.
That only took 42 minutes, so I did the Connector which runs between Emerald Lake and the Natural Bridge. It has a lot of fresh snow over the recent tracksetting but a couple people skied it today, so I had reasonably good tracks. It’s a fun trail of 6K which meanders through the trees with mostly-easy terrain but there are a couple very fast hills where you need to be careful. It’s not an issue when you have fresh snow on the trail.
A perfect day on the trails was followed by a memorable dining experience in the Mt Burgess Dining Room, followed by two hours of looking at today’s spectacular photos and deciding which ones to display on the blog.
Emerald Lake and Yoho’s beautiful winter trails are generously groomed and maintained by the Kicking Horse Ski Club. If you enjoy skiing these trails, consider buying a membership or making a donation. It’s a small club and every contribution is appreciated. It was nice seeing Marilyn and Bruce tonight from KHSC at the Lodge. For many years they have been dedicated to insuring that we have tracksetting in Yoho.
Emerald Lake Lodge has been an enthusiastic supporter of my blog from day one, and is also fully dedicated to KHSC’s efforts to maintain the ski trails in Yoho.