Ski season – only six weeks away!

Early-season skiing on Moraine Lake road at Lake Louise in 2017.

Last winter’s skiing came to an unceremonious and abrupt finish near the end of March with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Access to the ski areas was shut down on March 28. I skied in PLPP for the final time on the evening of March 27 on beautiful conditions

Last season was one of the best ever for snow and good conditions. We had early snow, and very little bad weather such as rain, excessive wind, or extended cold periods. I don’t recall any “defensive” skiing, luge tracks, or snow fleas. Probably the biggest inconvenience was occasional tree debris. In December, the ice storm brought down a lot of trees, but the trail crews were quick to clean it up. 

Nov 11, 2019 at West Bragg Creek

Lake Louise is usually the first location where we have groomed trails for skiing in early November. The Great Divide at Lake Louise was trackset on Nov 8 last year. Moraine Lake road soon followed. 

We are still awaiting word from the provincial government regarding grooming in Kananaskis Country(PLPP, Ribbon Creek, Mt Shark). A very attractive proposal has been put forward by Nordiq Alberta to continue with things as they are, with the addition of user fees. 

Frozen Thunder at the Canmore Nordic Centre opens for skiing on Oct 19. 

After the pandemic shutdown, I still got out skiing a few times at the “Hayfield” trails. I will now disclose their location. They’re better known as the Little Red Trails located near Olds, AB on the banks of the Little Red River. 


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  1. Thank you for your advocacy! On an interesting note, after camping in Kananaskis last weekend I received an Alberta Parks survey which was different than in the past. One of the questions related to ‘ranking’ activities that I enjoy in the area, which would influence my decision to re-visit. Nordic Skiing was one of the options…pleasant surprise.

  2. Olds?

    Shoot! I was waaaay off!

    Was guessing Millarville/Priddis.

    Isn’t Olds like all Redneckistan territory and what not?

    Good to know there are skinny ski underground operatives in these areas.

  3. Thanks for filling us in on the hayfield bob.
    I can report that it was snowy and below zero on the trails today in the Kananaskis lakes area down to about 6500 ft. 3-4″ at 8000 ft. The uppermost
    golden larches exposed to wind got blasted with the wind events of the last week. Still some needles on the trees in protected areas below that, but not quite as prime.

  4. I sent an email to my MLA Jeremy Nixon and to the Environment/Parks Minister back in March, in reply (four months later) I got a boilerplate message from my MLA about improving the efficiency of the Parks system, with no specific comments about tracksetting.

    After the announcement from Nordiq Alberta I followed up and asked if they were considering the proposal from them or Fortess.

    Here’s the reply:

    Minister Nixon has received your email and requested that I respond on his behalf. Thank you for your patience in awaiting a response.

    I recognize the significant value of cross country ski trails in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and Kananaskis Country to many recreationalists such as yourself. I acknowledge that they offer a unique skiing experience. Alberta Parks has received many proposals and submissions about our parks system and alternative options are being considered for the services that were reduced.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns and thoughtful remarks.

    Kieran Maxwell | Issues Advisor, Assistant Deputy Minister’s Office
    Parks Operations Division | Alberta Environment and Parks

  5. Bob, I have been wondering about the Hayfields which looked pretty sweet in your photos, Happy New Year

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