Moraine Lake road is trackset; 10 days earlier than last year

by Bob Truman on November 4, 2017

in Lake Louise

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Thanks to everyone who submitted a trip report today. Your first-hand experience on the trail is very helpful for readers when trying to determine where to ski.

Moraine Lake road was groomed on the right side but not yet trackset when I took this photo.

You may have already read my MLR trip report. I was sitting in Trailhead Cafe enjoying some delicious elk stew when I submitted it. 

Stefanie and Keith from Canmore were two of the first skiers on the tracksetting. This is near the beginning, and you can see the tracks are a little thin here.

I always seem to catch Ian Murray in a unique photo. This time, in the photo above, it’s Ian’s training group and as you can see, one of them is a multi-tasker. He was managing to keep up with the group while talking on the phone. I took a beautiful picture of Ian and his brothers on Pocaterra a few years ago and it’s one of my all-time favourite photos. 

I have a well-earned reputation for skiing late in the day, so I guess it serves me right for breaking with tradition and starting early today. I was on the trail at 10 a.m. but if I had waited ’til the pm, I would have had machine-made tracks to ski on. 

This is what it looked like before any of today’s grooming

The air temperature was -18°C and the snow was -10. Still using the VR40 from yesterday and successfully so. MLR had been snowmobile packed a few days ago and there was about 4 cm of new snow over top. The skier-set track was wobbly and washed out and difficult to follow. Upon reaching the top of the big hill at 4.5K, I stopped to talk to Charles and while we were chatting the two snowmobiles made their welcome appearance. 

The snowmobiles make their appearance

They groomed one side of the trail up and back(4 widths) and proceeded to set tracks on their second pass. I was already on my way back down, but I got to enjoy the new tracksetting for about 4k. 

When the sun peeked through the clouds, it looked spectacular with all the snow-laden trees

As Barb Banff mentioned on her report, the tracks are not perfect. The truck which drove on MLR during the first few snowfalls left big ruts, resulting in a very uneven surface. The first 2.6K up to Paradise Creek also has a few thin spots where the pavement is showing. 

We’re fortunate to have such an early start to the ski season, and the conditions are about what you can expect for November 4. 

Two tracks on Moraine Lake road

I don’t know what transpired as far as additional grooming. Perhaps someone who was there late can let us know if the entire width of the trail was done. 

The Great Divide at Lake Louise has been snowmobile packed. The GD requires more snow than MLR to groom because of all the heaves in the old pavement. 

Parks Canada groomer Tanya

Tramline has also been snowmobile packed. Charles skied it today and said it seems to have enough snow for grooming. 

I stopped and had a look at the Spray River West trailhead in Banff. It appeared to have good coverage and people are skiing on it but no grooming yet. I will include a photo in the gallery below. 

The Great Divide has been snowmobile packed

Sad to hear about the accident in West Bragg Creek where a volunteer was killed while felling trees. As a result, there will be no grooming of trails for the forseeable future. For more details, read the trip report from Groomer Jeff.

I never dreamed the Fischer skis contest would reach 150 entries in less than three days. I guess it was unnecessary when I said the contest would be over on Nov 30 or when we reached 150 entries. Don’t you people have anything better to do than read my blog all day and enter contests? 🙂

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 viktor November 4, 2017 at 11:24 pm

which sections of Moraine lake road are avalanche prone? i dont believe the first part of the road up to paradise creek is, but maybe only the last two kilometers before lake moraine itself are the most prone, is that correct?

You have it correct. The avalanche danger is on the ungroomed portion of the trail. -Bob

Reply

2 Randy Jaggard November 4, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Skied Skogan Pass today. Yes there are a few natural hazards but they are easily avoided. Few snow bombs falling from the trees but there was no wind and it was -7 at 1pm. Great afternoon.

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