Grooming Update: Blueberry Hill, Elk Pass, and Patterson were trackset on the evening of Nov 27. The Upper Lake Connector was groomed. If Elk Pass parking lot is full, park at the Upper Lake. Got your parking pass?
Nov 27, 2020: I’m amazed at how delightful the skiing was today considering the wind, warm weather, and tree debris in the tracks. Last night’s grooming on Tyrwhitt has really smoothed out the bumps. The tracksetting starts 400 metres from the Pocaterra junction.
Tyrwhitt is 4.8K(not the 4.5 on the map), and it was beautiful through the meadows and towards the picnic table. The rest of the trail where it is forested had lots of tree debris. The “needlemania” photos in the gallery may just scare you off from going there.
There was a ferocious wind blowing on the drive out. It seemed to subside when I entered Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, and by the time I reached the Back Door, it was just a gentle breeze. The temperature was +1°C at 10:30 a.m. and VR50(0/-4) worked well for me all day. With the sun at a low angle, it doesn’t affect the snow much, even on a warm day like today.
Vehicles were squeezed into the Back door parking lot like sardines. I was the 13th car, and thought I had the final spot, but another one arrived soon after and found a slot.
Most of the vehicles belonged to a large group of friendly snowshoers who started just ahead of me. When I encountered them on Upper Pocaterra, they were not damaging the trail or tracks, and we had a short but pleasant conversation.
Upper Pocaterra, as Jane said in her detailed Trip Report, had the cleanest tracks of all. Take note, it’s only Upper Pocaterra which is trackset. From Packers to the hut it is only groomed.
If you want to ski where there’s no tree debris, Hydroline would be a good choice, but the wind does other things on that trail like drift snow into the tracks.
When I reached the Tyrwhitt / Elk Pass / Hydroline junction, skiers were arriving from Elk Pass with tree debris in their wax. Susan had a nice layer of pine needles stuck to the bottom of her ski, which prompted me to look at mine, and to my surprise, they were clean. Not sure how I managed that.
I expect Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill will be trackset tonight.
In the parking lot, three of 14 vehicles were displaying Kananaskis parking passes, but it’s not a parking lot on the official list. If the lot is full when you arrive, don’t park on the road or you’ll get a ticket. The road to the Back Door closes Dec 1.
The big news from LL is that Fairview is now trackset. That means you’ll have an alternative to Tramline for accessing Moraine Lake road. Tracksetter Jeff remarked, “Fair condition, with the normal early season hazards like twigs, rocks, stumps and roots in random, unforgiving places. Use caution and maybe not your race skis!”
As an addendum to Bob’s Tyrwhitt report, both Elk Pass and Pocaterra parking lots had about 30 cars each – and approx 50% had parking passes – which is about what you’d expect for this early in the new “parking season”. Only 3 or 4 cars in Boulton. Staff at Visitor Centre (aka Discovery Centre) were busy prepping to open tomorrow.
SkierBob! We must have just missed you this morning! We met 2 friendly skiers along Tyrwhitt who said they had parked at the back door and were one of the last cars to get a spot. Have always wanted to meet you on the trails! Perhaps we did see you in passing somewhere along the way…..we had a great ski, glad to hear you did too!