Backcountry 2019-2020

Alf Skrastins has provided a list of trails that are suitable for xc touring skis.

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  1. Four pensioners skied Arethusa Cirque today, taking advantage of the almost 30 cm of fresh snow that had fallen since Saturday. The SW facing slopes were much improved, with variable amounts of new snow over a supportive base. At treeline, there were some wind-affected areas but after the first few turns, we were in pretty forgiving snow. The trail out is still thin and there are certainly natural hazards but it was much improved over last Saturday, when the rain and winds had demanded true Front Ranges survival skiing.

    Todays temperature was -5 at 10 a.m. and didn’t change much over the day. There was light snow falling until at least 1 p.m.

  2. We skied the Sheep trail to Dyson Falls and a little past that. Variable snow cover-excellent in some places, awful in others. Had to walk down a few hills but not all. Got a few gouges in my good light tourng skis (should have used rock skis) but still a nice day out and such nice weather.

  3. Little Elbow: too little snow, too much gravel!

    There was no sign of the 10 cm which fell at Bragg Creek, here it was maybe 2 cm, over a very sketchy base.
    We followed hikers, bikers and other skiers. Most hikers turned off at or before Nihahi Ridge. I think the fat bikers had the best equipment for today! We had to walk down most hills, which ruins the fun.
    The skiers ahead of us must have magic rock skis or something, as they apparently skied down all the hills right over the rocks! My skis don’t do that.
    We turned around at Nihahi Creek, as the crossing looked like deep slush.
    The chinook winds came down, blew all the snow off the trees, and really warmed things up.

  4. We skied Arethusa Cirque November 9th in…well, less than ideal conditions. The rain on Nov. 8 did not help and tempestuous winds had hammered the area, but particularly the exposed, west-facing aspects. There is only a 30 cm base and it is very sugary to ground.

    After two runs, afraid for life and limb, we decided to call it a day. Still, it was great to get out.

  5. We skied Arethusa Cirque today (November 7) and found a remarkably good base and were able to make some decent turns with minimal contact with rocks. Great bluesky cloudless day.

    • We were up there the previous day, Nov 6. We skied the northernmost bowl below Arethusa from the ridge. I figure 20cm fresh storm snow from the last cycle. I dug a pit high up and measured 116cm but still managed to nail a few rocks.

  6. Skied Little Elbow to Mount Romulus. I started just beyond Forgetmenot pond. There was already a ski trail through the campground and I followed it. Past the Nihahi Ridge turnoff I broke trail. It was pretty easy going. Past the bridge at the outcrop the trail starts to ascend steadily, and I hit rocks on some of the hills here – definitely rock-ski conditions. Lower down the skiing was okay. -7C in the parking lot in the morning, and +2 to +5C on return. By the afternoon the trees were dripping and some sections were sun-affected. Other bits stayed cold. A very scenic tour.

  7. We found some reasonable ski conditions at Ptarmigan Cirque on Thursday Oct 31. At treeline the snow was 46cm with a supportive base of 22cm. Lots of rock and wind-hammered snow but skiing was OK in protected areas.


    • The next storm cycle should improve things quite a bit in the Highwood Pass area. I’m anxious to go. Thanks for the report.

  8. Highwood Pass – Oct 1

    With a CBC radio report of amazing skiing up here on 40 cms of fresh snow, this was the place to enjoy the larches with a few turns!
    As Alf says, I’ll let the pictures say it all (no captions necessary):!Avuc6aIvjGUAiCkIuXoD57opJgOs?e=8pUshg

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