Pleasure in Paradise

Excellent conditions on the Great Divide

Nov 16, 2019    (Note: Click on any photo for a larger version)

Today was one of those exceptional days where the skiing was magical. This will be entered in the log book as a “Best Day.” In addition to the wonderful snow and trail conditions, near the BC border I was able to experience skiing through a cloud.

After Cheryl and I spent the night in Lake Louise(taking advantage of the Mountaineer Lodge special rate for skiers), I got an early start on the Great Divide. Driving past Moraine Lake road at 9:10 a.m, the vehicles were just starting to spill out onto the road. There was still room for a few vehicles at the Great Divide parking lot. 

Winter wonderland on the BC side

I didn’t take a snow temperature, but the air temp was -4°C so I waxed with Swix VR45(-2/-8) and it performed well all day. 

The Great Divide had about 5 cm of fresh snow over the recent grooming, but the tracks were still well-defined and quite fast. As MaSid mentioned in his report, there was a dusting of snow in the tracks from last night. 

It was nice seeing Susan and Bob

It was a beautiful morning to be on the trail. A pleasant temperature, no wind, a partly clear sky, and the sun would soon be making an appearance over the mountains. 

I encountered two snowmobiles at 3.5K. One was grooming the skating lane, the second one was tracksetting on the outbound track. Of course the new track was soft, so I switched over and skied in the inbound track which was firmer and faster. 

Mary, Ray, and Keith. Three of this blog’s regular trip reporters. Still in the cloud on the BC side. 

I met lots of blog readers and took numerous photos while I enjoyed a relaxed pace in this incredibly scenic place. 

Suddenly, at 6.6K, where the trail takes a steep downhill to the continental divide, I was in a cloud. It was surreal for the next 3K as I headed downhill and finished at the Lake O’Hara parking lot. 

6.6K is where I was suddenly in a cloud

Cheryl skied out from the parking lot to meet me on the trail. We did a glide test on the final hill to see how well her skin skis compared to my waxable skis. Although I pulled ahead slightly, I was surprised at how well the skin skis moved. 

It’s unusual for me to be finished skiing before noon, so I’d be interested in hearing from any skiers who were on the trail this afternoon. Did conditions change? Did it start snowing?

It was a beautiful start to the day

I am getting conflicting forecasts for weather at Lake Louise tomorrow. The Weather Network’s forecast has me concerned with their +4 temperature and mixed precipitation., however, is calling for a high of -1 and 6 cm of snow. 

There is substantial snow in most forecasts for West Bragg Creek on Tuesday, so we might enjoy a day or two of good skiing before it warms up again. 

I’m also wondering if any readers were at West Bragg Creek or Canmore today?

In the photos below, how much snow would you estimate to be on the picnic table?


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  1. Looks like just over a foot of snow to me, maybe 14″. I measured just over a foot off trail further east at the MLR/Fairview junction (not enough for paradise). And p.s. The lower tramline parking tip is a good one. Not even a quarter full on return mid-day.

  2. I did ski in Canmore (Frozen Thunder) today. I was impressed – I thought the track was in better condition than last weekend. Overall a good firm surface for skating that wasn’t too icy, and just minimal loose snow breaking down on some of the steep climbs. There was just a single classic track that was heavily glazed. I’ll be back tomorrow ready to play with klister!

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