Elk Pass is trackset

Elk Pass at 5.5K

Update: All today’s grooming/tracksetting activity is detailed on the Live Grooming Report

Elk Pass was groomed for the first 2K and trackset thereafter. Blueberry Hill had fresh tracksetting as well. Tracksetter Jody was still out working the trails in the snowcat, so I’m not sure what all will be accomplished. (Update: trail report indicates only the first K is not trackset.)

Elk Pass at 3.8K

The snowpack is as thin as I’ve ever seen it, so I’m amazed at how good the conditions were. Driving out, I could see there was some fresh snow but I don’t think they got more than 3-4 cm in PLPP. Janice’s trip report from yesterday gave me an inkling that we might see some grooming today. Tracksetting was a real bonus. It’s always a thrill to arrive at the trailhead and see Big Tex. 

Nearing the top of the big hill at 1K

For having been worked on today, the snow was fast and well set-up. Starting out on the big hill, there are a few dips and ridges but the cat will be making another pass over it, so it might smooth out. I didn’t have any trouble going down either side of the big hill, but there is a bit of debris mixed into the snow on the far side of the hill. 

Brian and Kim on Elk Pass at 5.1K

I hadn’t gone 200 metres up the hill when I met Helen Read and her group of Meanderthals. They gave me the welcome news that tracksetting had occurred further on. 

It always feels like a big accomplishment to climb the big hill for the first time every season, albeit a couple minutes slower than last year. 

The tri-junction of Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt, and Hydroline

It was nice seeing all the familiar sights and faces. Brian and Kim were blasting down the hill from the top of Elk Pass when they applied the brakes and stopped to have a nice chat. 

The hugging tree is still there. If anyone wants to see it, I took note of its location. It’s 3.7K from the trailhead. 

Untouched fresh tracksetting on Blueberry Hill, waiting for tomorrow’s first skier

Tyrwhitt had no fresh grooming and only had about 3-4 cm of new snow over the previous grooming of two weeks ago. (Update: Trail report indicates Tyrwhitt was groomed but is still very rough)

Big Tex is a welcome sight at the trailhead

The air and snow temperature were both at -5 upon arrival at the trailhead at 1:30, and I used VR45(-2/-8). It worked well initially, but I could tell the snow got a lot colder as I gained elevation. At the top of Elk Pass, the snow temp was -10. The air temperature had dropped to -8 when I left around 4:30 pm.

I met Helen Read about 200 metres up the hill.

We have a winner

In the Elk Pass Contest, four readers successfully picked the date of the first tracksetting. Casey Smith was the first to pick the correct date, so he is our first winner. The other three, Shari, Rene, and Chris S will have their names put in a hat and one will be picked as the second winner. Thanks to Stoney-Nakoda Resort and Casino for providing the prizes. 

Elk Pass near the Blueberry Junction. Occasionally you’ll see a few twigs along the trail.

It’s only fitting that I am writing this from the Stoney-Nakoda Resort where I stopped to eat and work on the blog(and avoid rush hour traffic in Calgary). 

I’ve enjoyed reading all the trip reports today. Nice to hear about the tracksetting at West Bragg Creek and Confederation golf course. 

The Pocaterra hut is scheduled to open tomorrow but it’s not a certainty. I hope someone will stop there on the way to Elk Pass and check to see if it is actually open. 


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  1. I picked the 4th, too bad I missed it by one day. Bob you’re living in Calgary this winter, I thought you always lived in Canmore in the winter. Hope your shoulder is recovering nicely.
    Kimberley Nordic Center opened officially on Sat. and the skiing is pretty good, just a bit of twigs showing through, but so enjoyable to finally be out on the trails. Last year first day was Nov. 5th.

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