Update Nov 7: Lost and Found. I forgot to mention that Chip found a multi-tool(Swiss army knife?) in the Great Divide parking lot. He turned it in to the Visitor Centre.
Nov 6, 2020: Chip and I set out at 12 noon on the Great Divide, not quite sure what we would encounter. To our surprise, conditions were very good and we enjoyed the entire 10K to the O’Hara end of the trail.
The 3 cm of fresh snow was just enough to refresh the trail after the recent rains which left the trail icy. There was still a good track and the skater we encountered who started at the other end, Gary, said the conditions were fine for skating.
We waxed with VR45(-2/-8) and had good grip. The tracks were reasonably fast with the underlying ice. My main concern was the hill down to the divide. It turned out to be excellent. No snowplowing necessary with the fresh snow in the middle of the trail and no hazards.
We encountered about 25 skiers, one fat biker, two snowshoers, and large bear tracks in the snow near the Ross Lake turn-off. I’ve posted a photo of the bear tracks below.
On our return trip, the tracks were still in nice shape and although the fresh snow was compressed to about 3 mm, it was still enough to give us grip. The temperature when we started was -3°C and was still -3 when we returned.
Starting at the Lake Louise end, the trail loses 85 metres of elevation to the O’Hara end. If you stop at the Great Divide arch, you will have skied 7.2K one-way with about 60 metres of net elevation loss.
PLPP through the Back Door
Great news from Gord F on the Trip Reports. 13 cm of new snow on Elk Pass. Be sure to read his trip report. Grooming should start soon, so buy your season parking pass.
Bow Valley Parkway
I heard a rumour that we could have tracksetting on the closed portion of the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff. I checked with Banff National Park and received this reply:
“There was some discussion about the possibility of maintaining the BVP for skiing, but it is not feasible because of the need for access to the railway and utilities via the BVP. The BVP opens on Nov 15, 2020.”
Where is the Great Divide parking lot? Are you referring to the one on north side of the highway? If so, do you then cross both the highway and the railroad tracks to get to the ski trail?
The Great Divide parking lot is a kilometre up the road(Lake Louise Drive) from the Moraine Lake road parking lot.
Thanks, Bob. So my options are to start from either there or the other end (Lake O’Hara). I’m in Golden, so after the snow tonight/tomorrow, I’ll give it a try on Wednesday from the west end.
Cheers and thanks for this amazing resource,