I had reached my turnaround point. The return trip is mostly downhill and fast, so I was changing jackets, adding a toque, buff, and mitts, when Santa came skiing up the trail. She(yes, Santa is female), had been all the way to the warden’s cabin and said conditions were fabulous.
My objective on this extremely cold day was to ski to the first high point at 5.3K where the net elevation gain is 250 metres. That’s also the halfway point to the warden’s cabin.
The -23°C temperature at the trailhead did not deter me. It’s rare to see the Banff trail report indicate conditions on Redearth Creek as excellent, so I had to go see for myself.
I’m happy to say the trail report was accurate. The tracksetting starts as soon as you reach the top of the first hill, about 250 metres along. It’s very unusual to not have any rocks on the first kilometre in the early season. Maybe all the rock picking last season paid off.
I was curious to see the scene of last season’s big avalanche at kilometre 4.6. A path has been cleared through all the avalanche debris and we have a spectacular new view of Pilot mountain which previously never existed now that all the trees have been mowed down. Two trees survived somehow. Last season, we had a little fun with the avalanche Caption this photo of the avalanche
The return trip was sensational. The fast downhills were nice and smooth and with the good conditions, very safe.
A hiker created big divots while the grooming was still soft for 1K before he realized it wasn’t any fun walking in deep, soft snow in street shoes. I snowplowed over the divots on my way back and hopefully smoothed them out. It’s amazing how those chunks of snow can become so solid after a night of cold temperatures.