Healy and Brewster Creeks

by Bob Truman on January 12, 2018

in Banff, Dog-friendly

Post image for Healy and Brewster Creeks

Healy Creek is freshly trackset from the Sunshine road to the Brewster Creek junction

This should be one of the best weekends of skiing this winter with the new snow, new tracksetting, nice weather, and lots of choices. If you ski a trail which has poor conditions, we want to hear about it on the Trip Reports. I’m thinking about MaSid’s and Keith’s reports today. I was considering a trip to West Bragg to do Telephone Loop but Keith’s report(and Elisabeth confirmed it) disabused me of any notions about that. These reports really help skiers determine where to go based on conditions and their ability. 

The snowmobiles and sleds leave ridges and ruts in the trail which can make it difficult when descending

You won’t read it on any trail reports, but Brewster Creek is trackset to Sundance Lodge. The 2.6K Healy Creek access trail from the Sunshine road is also trackset. Thanks to Mitch from Sundance Lodge for putting in a good track on both Brewster and Healy. 

Brewster Creek trailhead. You need to ski 2.6K on Healy Creek to reach this point.

Brewster Creek

Don’t use your best skis because there are still a few rocks which are easy to avoid when climbing, but difficult to avoid when snowplowing down. 

 This trail is fun, has lots of variety, creeks, bridges, animal tracks, scenery, and an invigorating climb. It can, however, get quite “interesting” when returning.  

Typical Healy Creek

Brewster Creek is the Rodney Dangerfield of ski trails. (Gets no respect!) It’s not really groomed for skiers going downhill. The main problem when descending the steep hills with numerous sharp turns is the snowplow lane has lots of sled tracks, ridges, and deep ruts. 

I once wrote about Brewster Creek when I used my skinny skis:

“I turned around at the end of the tracksetting and had a harrowing trip back down. The snowmobile leaves a lot of ridges and ruts, and coming down those steep hills with turns can be scary. It’s imperative to stay in control, which means going slow. At the bottom of Brewster creek, I had to pry my legs out of the snowplow stance. With the trail in this condition, it would be a good idea to use wider skis and metal edges wouldn’t hurt, either.”

Brewster Creek

Tomorrow may be an exceptional day to ski Brewster Creek. You’ll have a trail which should have a good track going up, and maybe, just maybe, the many snowshoers who will be on the trail tomorrow will pack down the ridges and ruts in the snowplow lane. Snowshoers are very respectful of the tracksetting for skiers, so the tracks should remain in good shape. 

healy Creek between Brewster Creek and Sundance Canyon

Today I took Tessa for an easy, short ski on Healy Creek and a very short distance up Brewster Creek. As usual, when starting at the Sunshine road parking lot which is the Healy Creek trailhead, it’s best to remove your skis and walk the 80 metres of the trail which parallels the Sunshine road because of all the crud on the trail deposited there by the snowplows. 

Wolverine tracks on the Brewster Creek trail. Photo from Jan 21, 2015

There’s a good track starting about 200 metres in. Not too far from the start you will encounter some remaining debris over a ten metres stretch from a deadfall which Mitch had to clear from the trail. If you go, take a small shovel and put some fresh snow over top.  🙂 …and if you take a picture, I’ll post it here!

Superb scenery along Brewster creek. Photo from Jan 21, 2015

At 2.6K I was thrilled to see brand new tracksetting on Brewster Creek. I only went up a short distance but talked to Mitch who was coming down on the snowmobile pulling a sled. He assured me the trail was trackset all the way to the lodge at 11.3K(that includes the Healy portion as well) but said there were still occasional rocks. I also learned about the hordes of snowshoers heading up to the lodge tomorrow. 

Mitch from Sundance Lodge

You can also access Brewster Creek from the Sundance Canyon trail which starts at the Cave and Basin in Banff but it’s 5.1K and you have to walk 500 metres at the Cave and basin to access the Sundance trailhead. Sundance Canyon also gets loved to death by hikers and is prone to drifting. It has incredible scenery which could make up for some of the other challenges. 

Healy Creek between Sundance Canyon and Brewster has not been freshly trackset but has a good set of skied-in tracks. I have no idea what shape Sundance Canyon is in. 

I expect we’ll see more tracksetting in PLPP tonight. Check the Live Grooming Report in the morning. Check the Ribbon Creek report to see what was trackset today, and read the remarks because there were some trails groomed by snowmobile which don’t show on the map.

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