In the grip of warm weather

My friends on Moraine Lake road. From L to R, Peter, Chip and Pat

The title of this update is a little misleading because half-way through our ski trip, we had no grip due to the warm weather.

This was a reunion of Calgary Ski Club alumni. I met Chip in 1998 at the first ever event I attended with the club, and met Peter and Pat in years to come. 

We were thrilled to see Tracksetter Frank at the trailhead

We arrived at Moraine Lake road at 10:30 a.m. to 10 cm of fresh overnight snow but to our relief and delight, Tracksetter Frank had just completed an up-and-back, laying down a new track on each side. 

Nothing was done to the skating lane today, but as you’ll see in the photos, there were still a few people skating in the deep snow. 

Peter leads the group on Moraine Lake road

The air temperature was +1°C and I waxed with VR55 which gave me adequate grip until Paradise Creek. As we climbed the big hill, the grip got even better. Everything was going along fine for 8K, but about 1K from the end all of us lost our grip and we had a strenuous upper body workout until we reached the end. 

It was a busy day on Moraine Lake road

While enjoying our snacks, overlooking the Valley of Ten Peaks, we were entertained by the antics of a debauched Whiskey Jack. It has been well-trained by previous skiers and we even used the word aggressive to describe his relentless quest for our food.

We felt a fine mist on our faces while stopped at the end(otherwise known as light rain) and even saw a faint rainbow in the distance. 

Coming to Paradise Creek. The pavement was showing through a week ago, but is well covered now.

We topped up our waxes as there is still some climbing near the curve, and for about 1K beyond on the return, but it didn’t help much except for Chip who seemed to find the secret formula for the wet snow and he left us in his dust. Peter and I stopped at the curve to add some real sticky goop, hoping to get a little bit of bite on the wet snow.

This looks beautiful but the sun was not our friend today

After rounding the curve, my wax started gripping slightly, but we were all happy to reach the high point and begin the long, enjoyable race down the hill, which Peter easily won. With the softer conditions, we were able to stay in the tracks the entire length of the big hill. My GPS indicated a top speed of 44 KmH which is on the slow side for that ride down. Peter probably did a little better.

Moraine Lake road. 1.8K from the end.

We all noticed a large “crash site” on the way down the hill but I was not about to stop and take a picture while I was trying to keep Peter in eyeshot. At least the skier had plentiful soft snow to land in. 

At the lower elevation, the snow was cooler and we had much better grip for the final 2.6K to the trailhead. Despite the trials and tribulations and rewaxing and compromised grip, we still made it back down in 40 minutes. 

We relived the day’s events over elk stew at the Trailhead Cafe. The weather forecast looks dreadful for tomorrow with rain and warm temperatures but thankfully it cools down on Friday.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Bob, you had a day we all somehow hope for. Old friends sharing a a great outing. Then a nice meal to re-hash the day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *