The winning streak continues

You’ve heard all about the great conditions on Redearth Creek from DonC and NancyR with words like “fabulous” and “stellar” which might even be understating the superb conditions. All previous trips on Redearth Creek pale in comparison. 

Barb Banff coming down the trail

The best part of today was the return where I could go as fast as I wanted on the downhills with complete control and no fear of getting caught in a rut or ridge, or hitting a rock. It was a mixture of fun and thrills on such good snow. Even the steepest hills were easy. 

The downhills were very edge-able(thanks, Steve!), but with the fresh snow on the trail, I hardly had to snowplow at all. As Ernie says, “point ’em and push.”

Brenda and Nona were skiing with the Shell Oiltimers ski club

When I started out at 1 pm, the air temperature was -4°C and the snow was -5. I used VR45(-2/-8) and it worked well all day. There were eight other vehicles in the parking lot, so I knew I’d be seeing some skiers on the trail. 

This was one of the rare times when I saw the sun. 

The snow and trail conditions were excellent from the start. The trail was trackset on Sunday but already had 5 cm of new snow. The tracks were well skied-in and surprisingly fast. The new snow made the downhills safe and easy. 

The only maintenance I did today was pushing some snow onto the “landing side” of the ramp. It’s the little bridge about 300 metres from the start which can send you flying as you’re returning. 

I’m now at the first high point at 5.3K and 240 metres net elevation

At 1.8K, who should be coming down the trail but Barb Banff, the resident animal tracking expert with her friend Reg. They had already been to the warden’s cabin and were almost back. 

Lost Horse Creek. The bridge is very cumbersome to cross with skis. It’s much easier to ski across the creek. 

At first I thought I was seeing double, but indeed, to my utter amazement, the trail was double trackset. I haven’t seen this occurrence for years. Beyond the campground at 7k, the trail is much narrower and is single trackset to the Shadow Lake turn-off at 10.3K. The trail is extremely narrow in a few places and there is no trackset at all, which makes it much safer when descending. There’s a skier-set track for the final 200 metres from the Shadow Lake turn-off to the warden’s cabin. 

The trail is single trackset beyond the campground

It only took me 45 minutes to return to the trailhead. Although you lose 300 metres of net elevation on the way back, it’s not all downhill. My GPS indicated that I had a total ascent of 76 metres, so there is some climbing. I looked up last year’s GPS, and it took me 60 minutes for a return trip. 

Jacinthe and Ian were just leaving the warden’s cabin

Someone went up the Shadow Lake trail today but I don’t know how far. The Pharoah Creek trail also had recent ski tracks in the fresh snow. 

I was happy to see that we can now ski across Lost Horse Creek and not have to go across the bridge which is difficult to access on skis. The old log bridge was somehow destroyed over the summer. 

Arriving at the warden’s cabin

I knew it would happen some day, and today was the day when I dropped my camera while standing on a bridge(Redearth Creek bridge at the end of the trail). I thought it was in the creek, but I didn’t hear any splash and luckily it was in the snow under the handrail – and still working!

This camera is on its third winter which is record longevity for a camera of mine.

The weather forecast is predicting 2-4 cm of snow overnight in Banff, so the early skiers will probably be breaking trail, but those downhills will be very safe. The first few flakes started falling when I was having a snack at the warden’s cabin.

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