If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll be aware of the sketchy downhill to the Goat Creek bridge. I’ve emphasized the need for extreme caution when descending to the bridge. For anyone unaware of the danger, it’s an accident waiting to happen.
As you approach the drop of doom, you’ll first see a “Narrow Bridge” sign for one of the single lane bridges about 400 metres before the Goat Creek bridge. The narrow bridge is at the bottom of a fairly fast downhill and you want your skis to be pointed straight ahead or you will catch it on one of the handrail supports and …game over.
200 metres further up the trail, you’ll see another “Narrow Bridge” sign which is understating the danger as you arrive at the steep downhill to the Goat Creek bridge.
There used to be a “Caution” sign at the side of the trail, but it’s no longer there. In good snow conditions, you can snowplow your way down, but you still have to make a sharp last-second turn to access the bridge.
The trail builds speed the further down you go, so when you finally see the bridge, you might be going too fast to make the turn, and your only choice then is to bail, or as Steve just commented, “sliding to a stop by wrapping his arms around the rail, after running into it.” It might also involve a pretty severe blow to your mid-section.
I have probably walked down the final 100 metres as many times as I’ve skied down. After lots of skiers have snowplowed down to the bridge, it becomes hard-packed and difficult to control your speed. It’s also quite common in the early season to have rocks poking through the snow.
On Feb 19, 2013, I encountered two friendly skiers on Goat Creek who hadn’t previously skied the trail. This is what I later wrote:
“I skied with them for about 5K and scared them enough about the downhill to the Goat creek bridge that they removed their skis and walked down. Katelyn bailed at the top of the hill when she saw what lay before her. It was scraped pretty clean.”
Does anyone know what year Banff National Park started grooming the Spray River/Goat Creek trails?