It’s possible that conditions may have been this good at some point in the past, but I can’t remember when.
It was -11°C with sunny skies and no wind at Kananaskis Village at 1:30 pm. I skied the Terrace north – Kovach Lookout – Kovach return to Village loop and have never enjoyed it more. All of it on beautiful, cold, clean snow with perfect tracksetting.
The snow temperature was also -11. The grip was great with VR30(-10/-30). Barely had to herringbone at all while climbing the steep trail to the lookout. The real bellwether for conditions is when you get to the S-turns while descending Kovach. Lots of snow cover and no dirt showing. When conditions are this great, descending Kovach from the Lookout is fun and easy.
I enjoyed the company of Colleen and Jessie who were skiing these trails for the first time.
Ran into Abraham who was wearing the exact same jacket as I was. We got them in 2004 for being trip co-ordinators for the Calgary Ski Club. It’s been the perfect cold-weather jacket for me.
Upon completing the loop, I drove to the Evan-Thomas trailhead and did the Evan-Thomas – Wedge Connector – Bill Milne loop, again on near-perfect conditions.
The only blemish was a few bits of tree debris on Evan-Thomas where fallen trees had been removed. Other than that, the snow was pristine and the tracks were excellent. Oh, of course there were boot prints from a hiker but they created no issues. It’s a given that you’ll see boot prints on this trail.
The cold weather has created a pool of water under the McDougall Creek bridge and it’s got a nice aquamarine tinge.
The ungroomed trail which joins Evan-Thomas to Wedge was skiable for a good portion of the 200-metre distance. I removed my skis for the final steep downhill to the Evan-Thomas bridge which then becomes the Wedge Connector.
While skiing Wedge it was getting late in the day so I was surprised to see a skier coming my way. Kinga had skied all the way from Ribbon Creek and was also doing the loop in the opposite direction. It will have been a 20K day for her.
I forgot to ask Kinga if there was any semblance of an ice flow forming on the Bill Milne trail. She didn’t mention anything so I’m assuming not.
You may notice in the photos that a hiker walked on the corduroy of the Evan-Thomas trail. He also went for about 700 metres on Wedge. I saw the exact spot where he decided to turn around. I met him just as I was starting out. Luckily the snow has firmed up since yesterday’s grooming so he didn’t leave huge divots on the trail.
I was thrilled to read all the trip reports today. Thanks to both Emma and Chuck for checking out Brewster Creek and reporting that it is now trackset.
We rarely see photos of the Coal Mine trail, so thanks to Alf for those. You can also see in Alf’s photos just how wonderful the conditions are around Ribbon Creek and Kananaskis Village.
With all the recent tracksetting and nice weather tomorrow, it should be one of the best skiing days of the winter.
It only comes once every winter
Good luck to all the participants in the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet tomorrow. It looks like the warmer weather came just in time. For anyone who’s interested in following the loppet course, you can ski on trackset trails for 50K from the lake at Lake Louise to the Sawback picnic area on the Bow Valley parkway. You can read about some of the challenges on the course.