For skiers willing to brave the first 1.3K of nasty, cold wind on Elk Pass, you were rewarded with new tracksetting and fantastic conditions on Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill.
As I was heading up the big hill, one skier was already returning, saying it was too windy and cold. I suggested to him that once you were over the big hill, the wind would disappear, and indeed it did.
At 10:40 a.m, air and snow temperature were -10°C at the Elk Pass trailhead, but the wind was brutal. I think the temperature was even colder in places further along the trail but there was no more wind, and the sun was shining. When I took a snow temperature at the Elk Pass/Blueberry Hill junction, it was -13. With VR40(-4/-12), I had excellent grip all day but had to add wax a couple times because the snow was abrasive.
I started out the same time as Joanna, and enjoyed her company for most of the 19K we covered today. It was wonderful to meet so many familiar faces including Hugh, Cheryl, and Burke who caught up to me at the Fox Creek junction(1.5K) as I had stopped to remove my warm jacket. Hugh submits numerous trip reports for this blog.
I could see corduroy on Fox Creek, and the trail report now indicates that it has been groomed. I later talked with skiers at the Discovery Centre who went over it and they said it was pretty rough.
There was some minor debris from the wind on Elk Pass, but nothing too concerning.
As I started up Blueberry Hill, about 150 metres in, I spotted the first of three couch trails. The other two were on Elk Pass.
Blueberry Hill snow was pristine, the tracks were excellent, and the climbing was rather easy with the good grip on the cold snow. Henry and Cori passed me on the way up, and everyone else it appears.
The air was a lot warmer at the top of Blueberry Hill, so an inversion was occurring. You needed to be above 2000 metres to experience it, however, because it was still very cold at the top of Elk Pass which is 1940 metres.
The return trip on Blueberry was easy cruising and fun on the great conditions. At the bottom, I had the pleasure of meeting Steve Riggs and wife Jo who were sunning themselves at the picnic table.
From the picnic table, it’s only 1.5K to the top of Elk Pass, albeit with some more steep hills, but with these conditions, it was a no brainer. I met a number of skiers flying down the hills as I was climbing. I think one of them was Patty but she went by so fast I’m not sure.
The return trip to the trailhead on Elk pass was as good as it gets. No washed out tracks to deal with, but I was going so fast, I had to lift a couple times and slow myself down for a few of the corners.
The big hill was a fast but very safe descent. The wind was still blowing at the parking lot and the temperature was -7 around 1:30 pm.
I hadn’t read Rainer’s trip report before writing this update, but I see we agree on everything, including the temperatures.