Spray River Loop and beyond

Spray River West at 8K

I remember too many ski seasons where we didn’t have very good conditions on Spray River East and West so I’m getting my fill this winter.

Jim on Spray River east

I can’t recall how long it’s been since I started a ski trip at the Spray River East trailhead at Bow Falls. Probably about a dozen years ago when Chip and I did the doubleheader to Canmore and back. Conditions were similar to today, too.

Beata and Helena on Spray River West. They were doing the doubleheader today.

Yesterday’s tracksetting had 5 cm of fresh snow on top. Only one skier had been down the East side and the tracks were well-defined but very soft. The recent snowfall was still hanging from the trees and occasionally a gentle breeze would send a beautiful mist of diamond dust into the cold air as I observed it against the bright sun.

Look at that snow! When I started on Spray River East, only one skier had been in the tracks. You can see the tracks of two snowshoers in the multi-use lane

The temperature was -15°C when I started out at 1:15 pm. The two Czech girls started early this morning on Spray West when it was -29. When I met Beata and Helena on Spray River West, they had already been to the Canmore end and were on their way back. Helena insisted that I try a super energy candy  called Hroznovy Cukr(Grape Sugar) that you can only get in Czech and whether it gave me any super powers, I don’t know, but I must admit it was delicious.

A viewpoint on Spray River East

From the East-West junction, I continued up Spray River West for 2.5K hoping I’d see the territorial spruce grouse but it must have been too cold for him today. As I gained elevation the snow on the trail got deeper, probably closer to 8-10 cm. 

Spray River East

Beata and Helen said the snow was really deep on Goat Creek but it now had some skier-set tracks thanks to their efforts. 

On the return, I took Spray River West and had firmer tracks because of more skiers on that side despite Banff National Park’s warning about avalanche danger. 

Spray River West

I have never had such clean and plentiful snow on the connector trail which took me back to the east side. 

From the sounds of Alf’s trip report, West Bragg Creek is at its very best. 

All trails at Sandy McNabb have been groomed except Balsam.

Chuckley’s report from PLPP contained this ominous detail: “Apparently track setting is limited due to the trailer to move the equipment being out of the area on other business.” I can only surmise the trailer was used to haul the Ribbon Creek snowcat to Edmonton for the Birkie trails. In PLPP, when grooming the north end trails, the snowcat is not trailered and that’s probably why we had all the north and middle trails groomed last night. 

The only update on the Banff/Lake Louise trail report is Tunnel Mountain trailer court.

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