Dec 26, 2019: If you’re new here, be sure to check the Trip Reports page for numerous reports from skiers who were on the trails today.
Telephone loop at West Bragg Creek is challenging for the first 6k. I guess I’m willing to suffer the steep hills with hairpin turns in order to experience the north end with its peacefulness and beautiful scenery.
Over the years, in three previous trips around Telephone loop, I never saw a single skier. Today I saw a few skiers but only ten, along with a friendly dog named Gus. I definitely avoided the Boxing Day madness but this was busy for Telephone loop.
The trail is narrow and unforgiving with trees ready to collect you if you falter. It’s not particularly long(15.5k) or high elevation, but there are numerous short, steep hills with tight turns at the bottom. In the first 5k, while doing the roller coaster hills, you gain 100 metres of elevation, then promptly lose it. It then starts all over again at the north end where you gain 150 metres and lose it gradually on the way back to the trailhead. My GPS said the total ascent was 460 metres.
It was trackset earlier today and conditions are good except for all those aforementioned downhills which have become dished. It is somewhat difficult to snowplow in a tunnel with long, skinny skis. I know, I know, I should be using wider, shorter skis for this trail.
The more moderate and sustained downhills on the west side were in excellent condition and very enjoyable. After completing Telephone, there are still three kilometres to go. Moose Connector was showing some wear from lots of traffic but still fine, and the tracks on Mountain road were firm and fast.
The air temperature at 1:30 pm was -8°C and the snow was -9. I used VR40(-4/-12) which performed well for most of the circuit. It started to grab a bit at the north end where the temperature was much colder.
Upon arrival, a lot of people had already left so I found a choice parking spot. I would guess the parking lot was 95% full. Upon leaving at 4:30 pm, the temperature had dropped to -11.
Even with good snow, Telephone is not an easy trail and should not be considered if you are a novice skier
Fairview at Lake Louise was trackset today.
At the Canmore Nordic Centre, the natural snow on Banff trail is scheduled for tracksetting overnight.
Learnt my telephone trail lesson the hard way on several occasions, slow learner or stubborn? Light touring is now my go to gear for that great trail