Ending the month with a “best day” on the Great Divide

by Bob Truman on November 30, 2017

in Beginner skiers, Lake Louise

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Great Divide was, well, great!

When I met the the Esso ski club people about 3K along the Great Divide, they knew it was me. One of them, obviously following the fat bike saga, said “we won’t be making any more donations if you fritter it away on legal fees.” I already had a smile on my face with the great conditions, but that made me laugh!

Ross and Sheila on the Great Divide

The wonderful conditions made for one of those perfect days where the weather is pleasant but still cold enough for wax; clean, fresh snow and recent tracksetting with great grip and smooth, fast glide. Add in the spectacular scenery, the snow-laden trees, and you have xc ski Utopia! The air and snow were both -4 in mid-afternoon and I had excellent kick on my brand new skis with VR45(-2/-8). 

Members of the Esso ski club were out in full force today

My new skis have the Fischer Turnamic bindings and I was skeptical about them but today made me a believer. You can adjust them on the trail without a tool for maximum kick or maximum glide. I’ll do a separate post about them for the gearheads. 

Arriving at the continental divide. BC is on the other side.

The Great Divide is a wide, double trackset trail with a skating lane and a dogsled track. The dogs weren’t out today. It’s a perfect beginner’s trail for the first 6.6K to the hill. The trail has no significant hills until you reach the downhill to the divide at 6.6K. The hill drops 40 metres over a distance of .6K, so it’s quite easy to navigate on good snow like today’s. 

Great Divide

The trail is also open to fat bikes and there were two who set out about 10 minutes ahead of me. This is speculation on my part, but being responsible fat bikers, I think they realized the snow was too soft and they turned back after about 2.5K. The tires were sinking in pretty deep in some places.

Enjoying the downhill to the divide

It was quite busy on the trail, and I enjoyed chatting with a number of skiers today. I ran into Ross and the infamous Sheila as they were returning to the trailhead. Babette in her summer clothes was enjoying the day. The last time I ran into Babette, we were both trying to survive the downhill on Brewster Creek. 

At the entrance to Peyto trail

On the return, I took the detour onto Peyto and Upper Telemark. They were trackset and in reasonably good “early-season” condition. Still lots of bumps and ridges so you need to be careful. These would not be recommended for novice skiers. I’ll post some photos in the gallery.

When starting up the Peyto trail, there is signage saying no bikes allowed. Peyto trail, and Upper Telemark, are narrow, steep and winding, sort of like Blueberry Hill. 

Light snow was falling at 4:30 pm. 

Thrilled to see all the new grooming and tracksetting in Peter Lougheed Provincial park. It appears that Blueberry Hill is now trackset all the way to the end. Tyrwhitt is groomed(not trackset). Check the Live Grooming Report for more details.

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