Feedback: single or double on Bill Milne?

Tracksetter Jeff would like some feedback from readers regarding the Bill Milne trail…

Bill Milne trail (when it wasn’t busy)

“Hi Folks,
As most of you have noticed by now every trail within this universe is beyond busy. Bill Milne is no exception.
This is a poll to gauge the use of this easy trail this winter.

How many people would prefer a double track the entire length?

How many people would prefer to keep the single track and skating lane?

Our observations are that it may just be too busy for only a single track.”


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  1. Double track is my vote. I was out there today, Jan 8, a Friday, and it was busy! I don’t mind a few cuts into the tracks by skaters.

  2. Hi Jeff. Sure appreciate your fine work.
    Whichever option proceeds, hope you can avoid setting classic tracks so far out onto the shoulder that the outboard pole penetrates deeply into soft snow, something which is not uncommon at WBC, particularly where they try to cram in a skating lane on a too-narrow trail.
    In my opinion, better to classic ski in a track sliced up by skaters than to suffer the absolute misery of deep pole plants.

  3. Thanks for asking! I dont really have an opinion but Its nice for the general public to be asked their thoughts on track setting, dont stop there, ask our opinion on Track setting in PLPP. why not have skating option once in a while? Maybe create a skate loop for a month and see how it goes.

  4. Please leave it as is. There are few skate options and I feel the skate skiers will have to ski across the tracksetting if doubled, therefore being worse for both.

  5. I like it with the one track and a skating lane. It is quieter than most trails and the skaters don’t have many good options. I have only done classic on Bill Milne so far, including an awesome ski last week with Sam, and the set-up seems really good as is.

  6. My vote is for a single classic track.
    I don’t think the extra time and effort for two classic tracks is worth it. That route is commonly short lived (see the long range forecast for the next 14 days). Better to utilize the saved time and gas in tracksetting other routes.

  7. Double track for us please 🙂

  8. Personally, being a 50/50 skate/classic skier, I wish it to include a skate lane. A beautiful ski trail for both disciplines.

  9. There are so few skate trails available in the mountains near Calgary. I’ve never had an issue with traffic jams on this trail. Please keep the skate lane! I dream of skating Bill Milne all summer.

  10. It’s one of the few good skate tracks in K/PLPP so nice to leave the width. We classic skied the full length on the 28th and it was really busy, but it isn’t a bit deal to step out of the track. My observation is that a lot of the new skiers and occasional skiers (guys on touring gear or wide skis) don’t stay in the track anyways. Leave it single.

  11. I’m new to skiing and have chose to skate, the rest of the family are classic, although we have yet to go Bill is one of the only places we can go together so we hope it stays single.

  12. HI: I have tracked skied all my life and skate skied for 10 years in the past. I think there is enough room to double track and leave the middle open for skaters. It’s great to see both groups out enjoying the Kananaskis, which will help in paying for user fees.

  13. Hello Jeff 🙂
    I was out Dec 30th on Bill Milne starting from Kovach Pond. I’m predominantly a skate skier and my vote is to keep the skate track! I passed many classic and skate skiers and everyone was sharing the classic track responsibly. It was a lovely day.
    Thank you for your good work!

  14. I was there yesterday and would have appreciated two tracks… but if that doesn’t happen I’ll still go plus it’s nice to stop, say hello and look around

  15. Hi:
    Whatever’s cheapest, by me. I’ve skied it maybe 5 times, and I have yet to have primo track. It’s always been windblown and kinda nasty out there.
    My two bits,
    P.S. I worked at The Lodge years back, and it is a special place right there in the valley.

  16. Thanks Jeff for the excellent tracksetting.
    There’s a few ‘blind’ corners (north of Mt Kidd/ e.g. where the tree was down the other day) where two reasonably fast skiers approaching each other have very little time to react and one of them get out of the track. If the trail stays single track, maybe it’s worth lifting the tracksetter on a few of those corners to reduce the chance of collision.

  17. Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for asking. I ski both skate and classic and love Bill milne for both. Please maintain a skate lane.
    Rhonda W

  18. Depends on which section. I did the entire length from kanaskis village to the pond (1st time in the 7 years I’ve been here that I skied it). I think single track is fine for the portion from the village to the bridge at route 40 – you’re going down hill most of the way and I think large portions don’t have any track…I think. But there were some parts where there was track where I was leaning out to the side to try to see around the next curve. But I could have easily just skied out of track. So, single track. For the rest of the trail, I think double track is probably a good idea.

    Bigger issue is lack of signage. Took me forever to find the @$&* trail from the village and when I did find it I wasn’t 100% sure because there was no “bill Milne sign” at the trail head. Map I pulled up on my phone had bill Milne ruining all over the parking lot, which I quickly discovered was the paved bike path. A sign at the en trance to the village saying bill is behind you, across the road, and other trails are straight ahead, would help.

  19. Thanks for asking. I am a classic skier, however I believe it should be a single track for classic and a skating lane. There are far too few places for skating, thus this gives skate skiers a place to ski in the Kananaskis valley as skating is not allowed in PLPP.

  20. Thanks for the Feedback. I agree a lot with both sides. The gentle grade of the entire trail makes it perfect for perfecting both your skate stride and classic. The openness of the trail skies for great site lines to see oncoming skiers.
    We have already changed some of the trail by double tracking from Ribbon Parking to the Kovach Gate. From Kovach to the first bridge is still too narrow in my opinion for a skate lane.
    I have also been toying with the idea of twin tracks to the first bridge after the K river. This is the beginning of the Meadow. The other issue is after the last road crossing heading towards Wedge Pond. The hills in that section aren’t safe enough to share a track. Currently we lay two tracks in there to encourage people to stick to skiers right.
    For the next groom we will extend the double track to the Meadow.
    For those that suggested widening we can only accomplish this with snow as it would require the removal of far too many trees. As the snow gets deeper we can try and push the trail out for a second track that still allows for skating.
    Once again we appreciate the thoughtful comments from both sides.
    Happy Skiing

  21. I was out there this week. It’s getting pretty busy. I think it needs a double track now.

  22. I enjoy both skate and classic skiing. I classic skied Bill Milne on Monday, from Evan Thomas to the Nakiska access road and back. While there were many people on the trail, I did not feel that the single track was a problem as it didnt feel like we were in/out of the track constantly. It does not seem like there are many places to skate ski outside of the Nordic Centre (apologies to Parks groomers as I find MLR and Great Divide a bit hit and miss for skating, and historically Mt Shark does not get as much grooming). So, I really like Mike H’s idea below of setting double track from Ribbon to the end of the Meadow (or maybe to the golf course), then leaving the southern part single track to allow skating, Kudos to Jeff for asking!

    • We skied from Wedge then headed straight on the connector. Definitely grateful for the double track along that part of the trail system. Lots of beginners classic style …not a lot of skaters. You might not be talking about the connector but it seemed pretty narrow in a few spots for skating. Completely agree with the comment that if there are double tracks people do tend to stay to the right.

  23. I prefer to have double track since the trail is beginner friendly and busy trail. So both way have the track is really help those beginners.

    I agree the Jenn’s comment that if it’s possible to widening, wold be good for double track and for skate skier.

  24. Please leave a skate lane. Like others have mentioned already, there are already so few trails that offer skate skiing. All of Peter Lougheed is classic only, and just down the highway. There are also alot of beginner options compared to skate ski options in general – plus what about the beginner skate skiers? Unfortunately, I think it will lead to people just skating over the tracks and ruining them anyway, thus negating the benefit of a double track. My final point is that there are no real hills or big blind corners on this trail that would necessitate a double track for safety reasons.

    Thanks for providing us with this opportunity to provide feedback!

  25. Thanks for asking!
    Double track without hesitation.
    We were there the other day and much of the time was spent getting in and out of the tracks. I am a skate skier too and it’s too busy and almost too narrow to skate ski without putting your ski tips in the tracks anyway…

  26. Being a classic skier I would vote for two tracks but I think the idea of twin track for the first portion and classic/skate options beyond may be the best of both worlds.

  27. Hi! My husband and I ski both Skate and Classic. We love the Bill Milne trail and actually prefer to Skate on the trail as it is flat, fast and wide-perfect for skating. It is probably our favourite place to skate ski. Would there be any possibility of slightly widening the trail to accommodate a second classic track and maintaining the beautiful skate track?
    Thanks for grooming and tracking this wonderful trail.

  28. There are so few skate skiing opportunities compared to classic in the area, please leave this one as skate option for those of us who skate

  29. I mostly skate ski so would love to leave it as is. This is THE BEST mountain skating lane close to the city. WBC is just way too busy so Bill Milne is always my preferred choice to skate. If this is gone then the only other places I’ll be able to go is Banff (Spray, Cascade) or Lake Louise (Divide, Moraine) which is further away.

  30. I ski classic and am a beginner. I was nervous seeing only one set of tracks but honestly it was fine. I could manage and see the benefits of allowing skate on the other side. But don’t have a strong opinion either way.

  31. We skied Bill Milne classic style today and met few skate skiers. Many people looking for an easy trail do ski classic and double-tracking would make things ideal for us!

  32. I ski both classic and skate. I skied classic on Bill Milne on Monday – it’s not busy on the entire length, it’s busier at the RC end where groups/families go for shorter trips. Here’s a compromise solution – since most of the traffic goes from RC to the south end of the meadows and back (short trips) perhaps run double track from RC to the south end of the meadows. South of that, where it’s much less busy, set single track to the junction before Wedge Pond. The skate track would be compromised for part of the distance but available for the remainder and for the Wedge Connector.

  33. I ski classic and skate. I was out on Bill Milne today with two friends all skiing classic. The parking lot was full when we arrived/started our day. We encountered a couple dozen classic skiers coming back on our way out, and maybe 10 or less on the way back. In all situations, it was a minor inconvenience to shift in and out of the trails.
    There were only a couple skate skiers all day, but I think this trail is a great opportunity to allow skate skiers another alternative trail.
    So, I don’t have a strong opinion either way, I can see both perspectives having value.

  34. Double track on Bill Milne is preferred by us.

  35. I mostly ski classic, so may be biased… but WBC sections with single tracking are SCARY at times. I’d vote double all the way.

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