When I submitted the trip report from the top of Skogan Pass, I later realized my phone auto-corrected “Skogan” to “Slogan.” It was only fitting, because today there were many slogans to describe this wonderful trail with fantastic snow conditions.
How would this be for starters: “Best xc skiing on planet earth?”
I knew the big snow storm was coming and there would be no grooming until next week so this was an opportunity not to be missed.
I started from Nakiska downhill ski area. It saves 1.1K and about 40 metres of net elevation. Air temperature was -6°C and the snow was -5 with no wind and a nice blue sky. With the great conditions, the climbing was pretty easy with VR45(-2/-8).
About 2.5K into my ski, I caught up with Mike and Greg who had big packs and some odd looking gear. It turns out they do this ski every month during the winter. They are from the University of Saskatchewan’s hydrology department and they were heading to the Skogan Loop to take snow depths and snow density measurements.
While talking with Mike and Greg, another skier caught up to us. RickB was on his way to the summit, so I tagged along and tried to keep up with him. With 570 metres of elevation over 9.4K, a little “social facilitation” always helps. This is the trail with the biggest number on Risto’s Hill Pain Score. By a long way. It’s rated at 360. By comparison, PLPP Fire Lookout South is is a measly 263.
When we reached the top, it was obvious from looking in the distant west that some “weather” was moving in, but it was very pleasant for the time being which is not always the case at this exposed location. I was even able to text without getting cold hands.
I skied the short trail to the picnic table but it is covered in deep snow. Such a change from when I bike up here in the summer.
The good trail conditions along with a skiff of fresh snow created the best situation for a fast but controlled descent. I think I’ve descended faster, but not so easy and with so little snow-plowing. I normally have to pry my legs out of the snow-plow position at the bottom but not today.
The Screamer was at its best. When the snow and grooming is excellent, it’s like you’re floating along on a cloud, it flows so nicely.
At 8 pm, only a dusting of snow has fallen in Canmore.