I decided to brave the crowds and head for West Bragg Creek this morning. I was in need of a dog fix and boy, this place delivered.
I picked the perfect day because Elbow South and Iron Springs South, the trails groomed by Alberta Parks, had both been trackset last night or this morning. I don’t know where you get grooming reports for these trails. I guess this blog is it.
I arrived just before 10:00 and had no trouble finding parking. The temperature was -6°C with calm air and overcast skies. When I left around 1 pm, a few vehicles were circling the parking lot, but nobody was parked on the road.
I don’t know how warm it eventually got, but I had good success with blue, then purple wax as I skied my 17K loop. The sun came out and it was a beautiful day, but perhaps a little too nice. I wonder if the snow got wet later in the day.
The grooming report indicates the tracksetting on Sundog West is 6 days old but it looked practically brand new to me as I headed up the trail. Everywhere I skied had excellent tracks to follow regardless of how old it was. That snow rabbit machine makes a nice firm track.
From Sundog, I headed south on Elbow where there are lots of hills. For the direction I was going, all the hills and turns were in excellent shape. The final steep climb on Elbow was getting a bit dished for the downhillers coming towards me, but it still looked edge-able.
As I made my way, I met dog after friendly dog. Rob with his dog Stella was the first one, then a couple right behind with a dog named Ella. Easy names to remember, Stella and Ella.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Cam Westhead, the former MLA for the area. Cam was a strong advocate for the Bragg Creek trails and was instrumental in getting funding for many of the improvements.
At the next intersection, I was astonished to see the new tracksetting on South Elbow. I have only skied South Elbow twice in the past, never on good conditions, so this was an opportunity not to be missed. As I set out, a dog named KC was in hot pursuit.
The South Elbow/South Iron Springs loop is 2.1K and is a lot of fun if you like fast downhills. On the good conditions it was a lot of fun today. South Iron Springs is extremely pretty when the sun is shining.
Next on the itinerary was a side trip, out and back, on Iron Creek. What a fantastic little trail. It is only 1.6K but is all roller-coaster hills with wide, sweeping turns where you can stay in the tracks. The multi-use portion of the trail gets lots of foot traffic, but the tracks were still in fine shape.
I had beautiful, sunny scenery for the retun on Iron Springs. Still good snow cover in the sunny section except for about 5 metres under a tree canopy where there was no snow on one side. Getting a little tired after the climb on Iron Springs, the effortless, pleasant downhill on East Crystal Line was a welcome respite.
I see the Alberta Parks website for Sandy McNabb has finally been updated and shows the trails which have been groomed.
I missed this update for the Yoho Valley Road: It was trackset on Dec 28.
Has anybody been to Emerald Lake?
Pete’s trip report leads me to believe the Moraine Lake road parking lot has re-opened.