(I’m posting this as a separate update to encourage Bill Milne skiers to try this part of the trail. I also skied the village trails and the Evan-Thomas loop which I’ll post later)
You’d think that after skiing for 23 years and logging 24,880 km, I would have done every trail in the empire in both directions numerous times.
I’ve descended Bill Milne trail from the village a few times when I had a ride waiting for me at the other end, but I’ve never climbed it from Ribbon Creek to the village, so today was the first time.
I waited for the optimal conditions to try this one. Perfect temperature at -5°C, excellent grip with VR45(-2/-8), and the howling wind which was present while driving out, was reduced to the occasional gust which blew cooling mist from the trees into my wizened face.
First, a bit about parking lots. I parked at Ribbon Creek knowing that I would be ending my ski there. It was not plowed. I was curious about the Kovach Pond parking lot so I made a short detour of 300 metres and checked it out. It was partly plowed, enough for 25 vehicles although only eight were there.
I didn’t mind making the detour because that section of the Bill Milne trail is a great spot for taking pictures.
From Ribbon Creek to Kananaskis Village on the Bill Milne trail it’s 2.5K with a net elevation gain of 75 metres. It really seemed like an easy ascent. Most of the 75 metres is gained on the first 1.5K and the trail is groomed only(corduroy surface) on the hilliest part. As you approach the village, the trail levels out and one side is trackset. The corduroy without tracks makes for great fun when descending because the trail meanders with numerous turns.
The trail ends(or begins) at the parking lot near the village centre. From there you have to walk about 300 metres to connect to Terrace trail(north and south). In the old days, there was a groomed ski trail connecting them.
Nobody likes to end their long ski with an uphill at the end. If I had aspirations of doing the entire Bill Milne Trail as an out-and-back(21K), I’d start at Ribbon Creek or Kovach Pond and begin by going up to the village. An uphill at the start to get you warmed up and get it out of the way. Turn around upon reaching the village and enjoy the delightful meandering downhill run.
Whether you start at Ribbon Creek or Kovach Pond, you will need to cross the bridge which spans Ribbon Creek on foot.
Grooming is in progress as I write this at 7:40 pm on Hidden, Ribbon Creek, Link…and let’s see where else.