Peter Lougheed Provincial Park(PLPP)

Ian Murray and his training group head up Blueberry Hill

Nick and Ray have most of it covered with their reports on Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill. Nick also included a fantastic photo of the excellent tracks we were skiing on today. 

Elk Pass in the morning sun

I chose to go to the top of Elk Pass rather than Blueberry Hill. You’ll see a photo of Tyrwhitt with all its fresh snow. 

Tyrwhitt had lots of fresh snow

When I arrived at the Elk Pass trailhead around 10 a.m, the air temperature was -17 and the snow was -13. VR30(-10/-30) would have been the wax of choice, but I went with the VR40 which was already on my skis. It was a little grabby but nothing serious. Having colder glide wax on my skis would have made for a big improvement. 

My favourite part of today was Fox Creek. It’s rare to see this trail in such spectacular shape. 

It was nice running into Gord and John

Skiing earlier in the day allows me to see some people who I don’t normally run into. Today I encountered Ian Murray and his training group of 12 skiers. Had a nice chat with Gord and John at the Elk Pass/Blueberry junction. Also at that junction, Ray and Mary Perrott, Bill and Deirdre Richardson showed up. 

Ray and Mary Perrott arrive at the Elk Pass/Blueberry junction

Ward Fanning was coming up Elk Pass as I was zooming down. When he realized it was me, he turned around and skied until he caught up to me. It makes me feel good that people are willing to do that just to talk with me. Of course, you have to be a fast skier to do that! 

Fox Creek was wonderful

When I finished around 12 noon, the parking lot was full and cars were parked along the road. The temperature had warmed up to -10. 

I drove to Pocaterra and did a small loop on Pocaterra, Come-Along, and Rolly Road. I was surprised at how much new snow had fallen since we were there on Thursday. It would be nice if it got rolled.

Elk Pass

Over the last couple years, we’ve heard many positive comments about snowshoers observing the rules. What’s happening this year? I saw numerous snowshoers on the Elk Pass ski trail today, and absolutely none on the snowshoe trail. Not one snowshoer had taken the initiative to break trail on the snowshoe trail which leads out from the Elk Pass parking lot. Maybe someone finally did later in the day?

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  1. Sounds reasonable to make sure there are well laid out maps for the snowshoeing.
    I’m a little torn about the grooming though. When I snowshoe I am looking for untracked trails as I then can use the shoes as they are intended. When the track is packed I may as well just have boots or crampons on…No need for floatation.
    Just me?

    • KV, my husband and I (we do not snowshoe) have said this very same thing to each other on a number of occasions. If you are on a packed service, what is the need for snowshoes? Thought there might be some reason that we were unaware of. So, not just you for sure. I honestly feel my stilettos would do a better job on a packed trail! :}

    • Perhaps snowshoers going into Elk Lakes Cabin are deciding to start on the ski trail in order to save energy for the trail-breaking they may encounter from Elk Pass to the cabin.

  2. On the topic of snowshoeing, myself and 2 others were at Shark on Wednesday (met the infamous Chuck in the parking lot), and we snowshoed the 5km red/black loop. I told my friends we were ok to snowshoe there only because the trail had not been groomed or trackset yet this season and it would likely be done soon because finally there was enough snow. It was done the next day. I’m wondering if our snowshoe tracks would have interfered with grooming efforts the next day? I assume not, but I’m a XC skier as well and want to ensure I don’t make more work for our beloved groomers.

  3. Seeing as I had my trail breaking skis with me yesterday, I was tempted to ski up the snowshoe track. Not sure a ski track would help or confuse, especially when there might already be confusion on where to go. The specific locations of the snowshoe trails aren’t marked on the trailside ski map so nobody really knows where those trails go other than what appears to be into the bush away from the main direction of travel everyone else is going. And the web site says the snow shoe trail leaves the elk pass parking lot at the north end, when it’s actually at the south end. I’m sure we couldn’t help them out better.

    • That should be “could” help them out.

    • A sign at the Elk Pass trailhead says “Snowshoeing and hiking on designated ski trails is dangerous for all users, and ruins the groomed trails. To reduce conflict on these trails, we strongly urge snowshoers to explore the dedicated snowshoe trails located in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, originating at Canyon, Elkwood, Elk Pass, Sawmill, Chester Lake and Burstall Pass Day Use Areas.”

      Because of the phrase “we strongly urge”, it sounds like snowshoers and hikers are not actually prohibited from using the ski trails. I dropped by the Visitor Centre on Wednesday for a clarification, but the person on duty did not know whether snowshoers were prohibited from using the ski trails or merely discouraged. He said he’d check with his boss. I suggested that if it was a prohibition, the sign needed to be updated to say so. Does anyone know whether it’s a prohibition?

      Probably the best way to encourage showshoers to use the snowshoe trails would be to machine pack them periodically. The skiers get machine grooming, so why shouldn’t the snowshoers?

      • Unfortunately the sport of “snowshoeing” has been lost on the vast majority of those who now go out with modern snowshoes. The modern designs with built in crampons seem to be being mistaken for essential gear for going for a walk on packed trails assisted with the latest of walking poles! While it is encouraging to see groups of seniors out enjoying themselves in this manner and getting exercise without the perceived risks of cross country skiing, it seems like the norm has become that this activity can only be undertaken on previously tracked trails. I guess it would be great if someone would take the initiative to “break” trail for the snowshoers. I find it amazing that out of all the groups that go out snowshoeing that they couldn’t organize themselves to take turns breaking trail and in doing so really enjoy the old sport as intended! As a senior myself (skier and fat-biker) I am conflicted by this new style of snowshoeing as it seems to be a good way of spoiling a walk in the outdoors by tramping groomed ski trails with extra gear and does nothing to break trail for traditional snow shoeing and to facilitate fat biking!

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