This was a ten!

by Bob Truman on March 6, 2017

in Banff, Goat Creek

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My tenth trip down Goat Creek was definitely the most beautiful, if slow. It was like skiing in a picture postcard. Trees laden with snow, occasionally producing clouds of mist which refreshed my face as I skied through them. As Peter N said on his Lake Louise trip report, “Slow but smooth and peaceful.”

Goat Creek trailhead had 4 cm overnight.

Goat Creek trailhead had 4 cm overnight.

The fluffy, powdery snow was sparkling in the bright sun. Steam was rising from the hot water(oh wait, that was later at the hot springs!).

The fesh snow on the initial 900 metres to the Banff boundary had been well-packed by multi-users on the weekend.

The fresh snow on the initial 900 metres to the Banff boundary had been well-packed by multi-users on the weekend. The 4 cm of new snow was from overnight.

I made it up to the Goat Creek trailhead before the Spray Lakes road was closed for avalanche control. At 12:15 pm, the air temperature was -8°C and the snow was -7. With all the fresh snow, I only applied two thin layers of VR40(-4/-12) and that was all I needed to have good grip for the entire 18.9K and most of it is still on my skis without a speck of debris!

I had a decent if somewhat wobbly track on Goat Creek

I had a decent if somewhat wobbly track on Goat Creek

There was about 4 cm of new snow overnight at the trailhead. I wasn’t sure what I would find further along, or how fast it would be, but I asked Cheryl to meet me at 2:30 pm at the Spray River West trailhead. This is one trail where your cellphone will work most of the time, so I told her to watch for any texting updates on my progress.

The hill down to Goat Creek bridge was pretty easy to descend on the fresh snow

The hill down to Goat Creek bridge was pretty easy to descend in the fresh snow

I could see that at least two skiers had been down the trail already today and I was hoping their skied-in tracks would go all the way to the Spray bridge at 9K, which they ultimately did. I knew there would be more traffic at that point coming from Banff and indeed, quite a few skiers had been on the trail from Banff but turned around at the Spray bridge.

Goat Creek bridge

Goat Creek bridge

I met one fat biker, Rich, who was returning to the Goat Creek trailhead. The snow was too soft and deep in the multi-use lane for fat biking today, so he turned around after 2.6K. He was the only person I encountered for the first 13.3K. I imagine the road closure kept most people away.

Spray River bridge at 9K

Spray River bridge at 9K

It appears that Goat Creek has received at least 20 cm of new snow since Friday. I did not see any evidence of the tracksetting which was supposed to have been done on Saturday until I reached Spray River West at 9K. Spray West already had about 10 cm of new snow over Saturday’s tracksetting.

Spray River West at 11.5K

Spray River West at 11.5K

I hope the trails will be trackset again while we still have snow and cold weather. My goal of skiing Goat Creek a dozen times is getting close to being realized!

Spray River West at 13.2K

Spray River West at 13.2K

I took my phone out with 4K to go to say that I would be ten minutes late arriving at Spray River West trailhead. It worked out well because Cheryl was delayed by a very slow-moving train.

Irvine and James were on Spray River West, about 5K from Banff

Irvine and James were on Spray River West, about 5K from Banff

After enjoying a delicious lunch of Rocky Mountain Flatbread’s sundried pizza, we spent some time relaxing in the hot water of Banff’s Upper Hot Springs. It’s so pleasant to be able to go there on a non-weekend day when you don’t have to fight the crowds. It even snowed briefly while we were in the pool.

New tracksetting

Nice to hear on the trip reports from John Blum that Redearth Creek was trackset today.

The Ribbon Creek Live Grooming Report indicates that Bill Milne, Evan-Thomas, and Wedge Connector were done today. “Bill Milne had 22cm of new snow as of today’s grooming. The section from Ribbon to the Golf Course has enough snow now for a single track and skating lane. South of the golf course good coverage all the way to Wedge.”

As predicted, Sundance Canyon and Healy Creek were trackset today.

We’re getting glowing reports of the great conditions on the new tracksetting at the Canmore Nordic Centre.

Has anyone skied in Yoho or Emerald Lake recently? The last time the Yoho trail report was updated was on Feb 11. Update Mar 7: Yoho trail report updated today, trails were groomed on March 4 and most in good shape.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Terra March 8, 2017 at 8:01 pm

We plan to ski goat creek trail tomorrrow and we’re wondering about a shuttle service back to Canmore from Banff??

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2 Vivian March 7, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Umm, did you do all this today – March 07, before noon? My friend sent me this link at noon and you’d already eaten lunch and hung out in the hot springs in Banff! Immmmmpressive!

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3 Henry March 7, 2017 at 7:11 am

Bob, your photos are mouthwatering! What winter scenery!

re. “Slow, but smooth and peaceful”.

I prefer “Slow, AND smooth and peaceful”.

I’m sorry that a dump of snow makes it difficult for the fat tire biker, but to compensate, I’m sure it has made it that much quieter for the skiers who love fresh snow, and postcard perfect scenery.

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