Too bad my friend Chip, who coined the above phrase, went to Mexico for the month of January. He is not only having to endure hot weather, but he’s missing out on some fabulous skiing. Chip is a birder, so I’ve included a picture of a bird in the gallery just for him.
It was easy to get into the “zone” today at Cascade Valley. I did my longest ski of the winter in wonderful conditions at Cascade Valley and Upper Bankhead. The Banff trails may not get the “Pisten-Bully deep track” treatment, but the snow, as Doug Connery mentioned about Redearth Creek, is silky smooth, offering great glide and good grip.
It sounds like the conditions are at their best just about everywhere and the weather is so agreeable. The temperature at the Lake Minnewanka parking lot was zero at 12:30 pm. I used the VR50(0/-4) from yesterday and didn’t have to give it another thought. When I took a snow temperature at the high point on Cascade Valley, it was -5°C. The high point is about 12.3K with a net elevation gain of 200 metres.
The parking lot, while miniature in size compared to the West Bragg Creek colossus, was almost full nonetheless when I arrived. Many skiers were already coming back down the big hill as I started the climb up. Sometimes the big hill can be scary while descending, but on these great conditions, everyone looked pretty happy and relaxed.
After cresting the hill it’s pretty easy to get into the “soul-mending rhythm” mode on this trail with its pleasant undulating terrain. I had only planned on going as far as the Cascade River bridge at 6K, but I couldn’t make my skis stop. I went a further 6.3K, turned around and enjoyed all that fabulous, gentle downhill back to the bridge.
Descending the big hill was as easy as it looked two hours earlier when I saw all those happy downhillers.
I made a side trip to Upper Bankhead before I started the Cascade Valley trail. I saw lots of kids on this trail which would be a great place for novice skiers to practice.
With regards to the shallow/deep track issue, I’ve learned to adjust my expectations.