The SkierBob Special

by Bob Truman on December 21, 2017

in Kananaskis, PLPP(P Lougheed Park)

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Mark and Andy were having a great time on the new tracksetting on Tyrwhitt

I always referred to this, my all-time favourite, as the Tyrwhitt Loop but Helen renamed it the “SkierBob Special” a few years ago. I see from Helen’s report that I was following in her tracks.

Whiskey Jack

I was driving back from Calgary today and debating whether to ski at West Bragg Creek or Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. I figured we’d have lots of trip reports from WBC, and I am always eager to experience Tyrwhitt for the first time each winter on its first tracksetting of the season, and before the new tracks became obliterated with new snow which was in the forecast.

The high point on Tyrwhitt

I see I guessed right about WBC and thank you for all the reports. Chuck unearthed a new trail today, Baker Creek to Morant’s Curve. Baker Creek has been given permission this winter to trackset this 6K stretch. We normally ski this trail during the Lake Louise to Banff loppet which isn’t being held this year. Sooner or later we’ll also have the Baker Creek to Castle Lookout trail, and when we add in Castle Lookout to Castle Junction, it will be a 21K stretch of trail. 

Beautiful conditions on Tyrwhitt

There’s 10 cm of new snow at the lower elevations in PLPP. I saw lots of people skiing as I passed by the various trailheads. I expect we’ll see a lot of new grooming by the weekend. There’s even more snow at higher elevations. 

I started from Boulton Creek where you’ll see some changes in the landscape. The excavator is sitting smack dab on the old trailhead.

Judy and Peter on Tyrwhitt

It was overcast and already snowing lightly at 1 pm and the temperature was -12°C. VR40(-4/-12) worked well all day. There was a miserably cold wind howling in the parking lot so I couldn’t get away from there fast enough. About 500 metres up Whiskey Jack the wind died down and I didn’t feel it again, not even at the top of Tyrwhitt/Elk Pass/Hydroline. It was perfectly calm there today. 

Lovely conditions on Fox Creek

I had a very good skier-set track all the way up Whiskey Jack. It looks like there’s plenty of snow for the groomers to work with so let’s hope we’ll see this trail trackset soon.

3.8K on Whiskey Jack, half-a-kilometre on Pocaterra, and there it was: Tyrwhitt with brand new tracksetting. With the fresh snow, the tracks were slow and I skied a lot of the time on the corduroy which was much faster. 

PLPP map

I met two extremely happy gentlemen while cruising through the Tyrwhitt meadows, Mark and Andy.  We all stopped and had a nice chat. Andy brought something to my attention which I have overlooked this year, and that’s instructions on how to leave a trip report. I’ll be sure to do an update on that soon. 

The snowshoers were staying in the middle of the trail on Elk Pass

I also stopped and talked with Judy and Peter on Tyrwhitt. They were doing the same loop in the opposite direction, so we ran into each other again on Moraine. 

Elk Pass from the top to the north Hydroline junction was not trackset so I chose to ski Hydroline in its entirety. It was somewhat slow because of the new snow. I only was able to reach a plodding speed of 43 KmH on the fast part when normally I could go at a break-neck speed of 55 KmH. 

Tyrwhitt

I passed a large group of snowshoers on the newly-trackset part of Elk Pass who were returning from the Elk Lakes cabin(and they weren’t walking in the tracks). I imagine after plodding all the way from the cabin on snowshoes, the smooth corduroy of Elk Pass looked a lot more inviting than the deep snow on the snowshoe trail. 

Fox Creek and Moraine were wonderful. No ice, no debris, just a nice smooth skier-set track in beautiful fresh snow. 

As you’ve already heard from Adam’s and Helen’s trip reports, it was snowing heavily around Kananaskis Village and all the way to the casino. The trails there need more snow, so hopefully this will allow some grooming. I’ve got about 5 cm of accumulation at my place in Canmore at 9 pm. 

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