This will be the first of two updates for this special day. In my second update, I’ll post Bill Milne trail photos which will take your breath away.
PLPP Tracksetter James sent the above photo and these remarks regarding Patterson trail:
“Fresh snowfall approaching 1 meter made grooming difficult but produced good results. The south end of the PLPP trails are free of falling trees and debris once you get above the rain/snow elevation threshold. Access is best on Hydroline as a section of Elk Pass trail was not groomed due to avalanche control. Avalanche debris will be cleared later this week.”
The PLPP trail report indicates that “Tyrwhitt will be closed on Dec.24th until further notice due to avalanche testing.”
I hope all skiers are taking the initiative and clearing twigs and branches from the trails. My friend Chip sent me an email with the picture of him wrestling with a large tree. He said he was clearing branches from the trail, but I reminded him that he’s not allowed to take Christmas trees from the ski trails.
I ran into Shulamit just as I was starting up the Hidden trail on my way to ski Ribbon Creek. She warned me of a tree which had fallen across the trail on a steep section of Coal Mine but that it shouldn’t be a problem for me as I was climbing. When I arrived at the scene, I was amazed to see that she had skied under the tree through a maze of branches. I pictured her screaming downhill on Coal Mine and ducking under the tree with branches flying in all directions. You can read our exchange on the trip reports.
After skiing Bill Milne I enjoyed a nice loop including Hidden, Coal Mine, Ribbon Creek, Link, Kovach and Terrace back to the Ribbon Creek parking lot.
I was reminded of how steep new Ribbon Creek is. On the good snow conditions it was no problem descending, but the most fun was the 2.5K of wonderful downhill from the Link/Kovach junction back to Ribbon Creek. It was also free of branches and tree debris. Link was also nice and clean.
I cleared a lot of twigs and tree debris from Hidden and Coal Mine but there is still a bit on the trail. The only dangerous spot is the aforementioned fallen tree on Coal Mine. If you’re going downhill, you have plenty of time to see it and come to a stop. There’s lots of snow on each side where you can get around it. It’s possible that more trees have fallen in the mean time.
I saw lots of sawdust piles on the side of Hidden and Coal Mine where Tracksetter Jeff had to stop and clear trees.
One of my favourite trails is Old Ribbon Creek but the floods of 2013 washed most of it away. There is still 600 metres of it remaining and I am flooded with memories whenever I ski it. The hikers are taking their toll on it already.
The air temperature at noon was -8 and the snow was -9. I started with the wax I used on Bill Milne, VR30(-10/-30) when it was very cold out in the morning. I wore most of it off descending Ribbon Creek and rewaxed with VR40(-4/-12).