What an incredibly enjoyable afternoon of skiing in Kananaskis today. The “circle is complete” and you can ski the 7K loop consisting of Evan-Thomas, Wedge Connector, and Bill Milne trails.
It was one of those days where the skiing seemed effortless.By going later in the afternoon, this morning’s tracksetting had set up nicely and the tracks were firm and fast. To add to the fun, I met a lot of happy skiers on the trail including PLPP Tracksetter Jody’s mom!
The air temperature at Wedge Pond at 2:15 pm was -4°C, and the snow was -5. I waxed with VR45(-2/-8) and had excellent grip. There was no wind at the trailhead and the sky was mostly cloudy. It looked like it was getting ready to snow.
Soon after starting from Wedge Pond, I had the pleasure of meeting Judy, the mom of Jody, renowned tracksetter from PLPP.
I was very pleased to see the lack of tree debris in the tracks. The 5-10 cm of new snow on the trail previous to grooming did wonders to bury the needles. There were a few instances of tree debris on Evan-Thomas where fallen trees were cleared from the trail, leaving behind bits and pieces of tree branches and needles.
A little further along I ran into Gord and Debbie from Red Deer who I met on this trail last year.
Arriving at the bridge at 2.7K, which is the end of Wedge Connector, I removed my skis for the 200-metre walk on the snowshoe trail to access the Evan-Thomas trail where the grooming would re-commence.
I was hoping to see the pretty aquamarine pool of water/ice under the McDougall creek bridge but it hasn’t been cold enough this winter to build up the ice, allowing the water to pool under the bridge. We have extreme cold weather on the way, so maybe it will still form this winter. I’m going to include a photo of it in the gallery from a couple years ago.
Going from south to north, the Evan-Thomas trail is 1.7K of delightful cruising. Not fast enough to require snowplowing, but very pleasant.
As you can see in the photos, hikers post-holed the Evan-Thomas but I’ll give them credit for one thing. Despite sinking 10-12 cm in the snow with every step, they stayed out of the ski tracks!
Doing the loop requires another 200-metre walk through the Evan-Thomas parking lot, across Hwy 40, and onto the Bill Milne trail.
I went north on Bill Milne and encountered Steve Riggs who surprised me by saying he had never skied on this trail before. I thought Steve had been everywhere.
If you start the loop at Evan-Thomas, the distance is 7K. Starting at Wedge Pond makes it 7.8K.
The “Winter Wonderland” effect has disappeared from the landscape due to high winds and warm temperatures, but the skiing remains excellent.
Lost and Found
Update Jan 7: “Thanks so much to Michel and Suzanne for finding my husbands glasses at the picnic table up Cascade fire road. I drove out and retrieved them from the gate where you tied them. You saved us a lot of money and anguish!! Thanks again – and again skier bobs website saves the day?” – JenniferJourneau
Skiing down the Cascade Fire Road this afternoon, which was fabulous, we found a pair of prescription eyeglasses (Hugo) at the base of the “picnic table” at the backcountry campsite by the 6-km bridge. We brought them down the trail, only encountering/asking 2 skiers, and tied them to a length of yellow rope at the vehicular gate at the start of the trail. See attached.
Michel & Suzanne
I just love seeing the happy faces of all the skiers you get pictures of on the trails.
Thanks for sharing the joy!
Always good to meet you on the trails, Bob. Twice in one day at that! After climbing up Bill Milne at the end of my trip to Wedge and back, and then meandering around the village onto Terrace for the homestretch north to Ribbon Creek, I was envious of your descent of all that perfect corduroy on the Bill Milne switchbacks. By comparison, Terrace was ungroomed but with an OK wobbly skier set track, and the Terrace downhill was rough and hardpacked from all the foot traffic. Easy enough, but not a lot of fun- like skiing on cobblestones! Should have done that side loop first instead of last, in the opposite direction. I would guess that the village trails are next on the grooming list…