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Hi Skier Bob!
Thank you for all that you do, We all appreciate the time and effort you put into this fantastic website! It was nice to chat with you the other day, you’re right that Mountain View had great snow! I found some of your pictures with Tessa on the website too… What a pretty girl she was, she looks like she loved to ski and be with you and your family!
Odd question (and I understand you may not have time) but could you forward me that photo of Luna and I? I don’t have many action shots of her and I together.
Thanks again for all that you do!
Hi Bob and everyone. Carless vancouverites returning to Banff. We are going to be there for 7 days and last year we did Moraine Lake, Great Divide, Tramline, Fairview, Bow River Loop and other trails around Lake Louise and Yoho Park.
This time we will stay in Banff and were wondering what are the most relevant trails from a perspective of fun, beauty, physical challenge and uniqueness in your oppinion and the one of your readers for visitors.
I am a instructor of cross country skiing and we love day trips and all kind of difficult levels and thought about doing, in this order of priority, based on fun, beauty, physical challenge and uniqueness:
1- Spray River West Trail
2- Brewster Creek
3- Castle Junction
4- Cascade Valley
5- Goat Creek to Banff Springs
6- Redearth Creek
7- Healy Creek
Would you agree these are the top 7 trails? What would you add, subtract, change the order?
And, if I may, just 2 last questions:
a) What is the difference between the Goat Creek and Spray River trail, the Spray River West Trail and the Goat Creek to Banff Springs trail? Is one more interesting than the other based on beauty, challenge and uniqueness?
b) Is the Pipestone Loop worth a check out? We were also in doubt about Boom Lake, which we heard is beautiful but could not find any info on trail conditions. We are going to to Tunnel Mountain and to the Canmore Nordic Centre on two nights.
Thank you so kindly,
Rodrigo, on Goat Creek to Banff Springs, the final 9.9K is Spray River West. I’d move Goat Creek to Banff to the #1 position.
Fun, beauty, and uniqueness are all subjective criteria and everyone will have a different opinion.
Brewster Creek is not fun descending when conditions are sketchy(but others may like the challenge!).
As for physical challenge, some of these trails are listed on Risto’s Hill Pain Score.
Since you’re “carless”, you may have difficulty getting transport to some of the trailheads such as Redearth Creek, Boom Lake, and Pipestone. But because I have a car, I’m not familiar with the public transport options. The Pipestone trails are a favourite of mine in the Lake Louise area in terms of fun and beauty. Somewhat similar to Fairview in terms of your 4 criteria, but longer. Review the recent SkierBob trip reports for details.
Boom Lake is certainly scenic once you reach the lake, but be aware you are travelling in “Challenging – Class 2” avalanche terrain (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/mtn/securiteenmontagne-mountainsafety/avalanche/echelle-ratings). I would rate the route as being at the low end of the Class 2 rating compared to the other Class 2 routes listed. I suspect many people ski it without having taken any avalanche safety training or carrying any avalanche safety gear, but I wouldn’t consider that evidence that the route is “safe”. I wouldn’t ski the route without the proper training and equipment, but that’s easy for me to say because I have both! At the very least you should discuss it further with someone at a Parks Info Centre. The trail is only skier trackset, and the first 2 km are steep. Although under good conditions you can negotiate the steep part with XC skis, the most appropriate skis would be light touring skis with metal edges, and skins for going uphill. If you do it with XC skis, it will certainly be high on your “physical challenge” scale!
Thank you very much Mike!
Thank you Bob!
On top of you list if you enjoy a challenging day, I would suggest Skoki lodge, you can shorten the day by just going to Deception pass or even shorter to Boulder pass / Ptarmigan lake. As the ski starts close to the Lake Louise ski resort you could take a shuttle from Banff. Once you skied the ski out to Temple lodge you will be greated by a wonderful scenery mostly in the alpine zone, hence no trees to block the views.
A note to say I like the new banner header, especially including Tessa this year. A suitable tribute.
Thanks, Bryce. I miss her tremendously. Life isn’t the same without her big smile and wagging tail to greet me every morning. -Bob
Hi everyone! I have a friend coming to visit and we’d like to get out skiing. One challenge is she’s got troubles with her knees and can’t do much for hills.
Can anyone give me suggestions for some trails that are flat or minimally hilly near Canmore, Banff or Lake Louise for this weekend?
Thanks for the help!
The Great Divide at Lake Louise would be perfect for your friend. -Bob
Here is one guys suggestion (others will know doubt also have good advise).
Canmore: other than the nordic centre, Kananaskis Village Trails (terrace) or Hay Meadow Trail on other side -stop in at Barrier Lake visitors centre enroute for parking & trail conditions.
Banff: Castle Mtn – Baker Creek section(s)
Lake Louise: Bow Valley / Campground trail -stop in a visitors centre at Samson Mall in LL first for parking & route advice to start near Post Hotel.
Hello Mr. Bob,
I’ve just recently taken up skate skiing and really enjoy it. We were at Boulton Creek trail today near the Upper Kananaskis lake. We found the trail quite narrow and a sign directing skate skiers to go to Shark mountain, which we did.
My questions are:
Are there any skate skiing trails in PLPP? If so, which ones would you recommend?
What other areas in Southern Alberta support Skate skiing?
Thanks and Merry Christmas,
Check out Resources / Skate Ski Trails
Thanks very much Mike!
Does anyone know if you can use skate skis on the trails at Pocaterra? I have gone to the Nordic Centre and Mount Shark but just wondering where else I can try with my skate skis.
Thanks so much!
None of the trails at Pocaterra or in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park are suitable or designated for skate skiing. On the main menu, under “Resources,” there is a tab which you can click on to see the list of Skate Ski Trails. http://skierbob.ca/skate-ski-trails/
A number of the West Bragg Creek trails are groomed for skate skiing. East and West Crystal Line, Sundog Loop, Mountain Road, Mountain View West and Hostel Meadow are suitable for skate skiing. The skate lanes get renovated and groomed more frequently than the classic XC track setting.
Here’s a link to the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association Trail Conditions Report: http://www.braggcreektrails.org/report/
As we were driving out from Ribbon Creek parking lot today, I remarked how amazing the Bill Milne trail would be for skate skiing. Here is Jeff’s update: Feb 05 Bill Milne and Wedge connecter track set with a skate skiing lane. Ice flows on Bill Milne not a concern anymore. Upwards of 20 cm new snow towards Wedge Mountain with less heading north
I was there later in the day while it was being groomed and indeed it would be great for skate skiing. I’ve just posted my update.
There is a good section of the Bill Milne trail that can be used for skating, it implicate removing the skies about 5 times to cross the roads that intersect with it but it is well worth it, considering that part of it is the wedge connector and the Evan Thomas trail, it is about 15 km. return and I usually do it 3 times, it’s easy and now is in fabulous conditions.
P.S. last year, I happened to hear and see a pack of wolves while skiing on the Bill Milne, they are very shy but quite vocals, one more reason to head out there
Just have to tell you how amazing this website is – you have done a fantastic job with all the links and of course getting so many trip reports is crucial but I just wanted to add that I also really appreciate your incredibly detailed daily blogs. Doing all of this must be very time consuming but you have truly enhanced our XC ski world in southern Alberta by giving us so much information. Thank you Bob!!!
Bob: Has the PLPP webcam been decommissioned? I have tried the link several times over the last several weeks and no success. I also did a search on the parks website and with no results.
Update from Duane at Kananaskis: “It appears unlikely that the PLPP Webcam will be installed this winter season. I met with a contractor this week and made the decision that conditions are unsafe for the work that is required. Please know that ensuring the proper (and improved) function of the webcam and temperature sensor remain a priority for me and I will do everything I can to ensure this system is up and running later in 2017.”
Hi, I am going to Elizabeth Parker Hut in late February with a my kids age 6 and 9. I am wondering how far the groomed trail goes and if you need touring skis. Thanks!
Hey – we went into Elizabeth Parker the week before Christmas with our kids age 6 and 9! They were on regular skinny skis, even though there is no grooming at that time of year. I took a fatter ski (80mm) because it was available, I was pulling a pulk, and some of the adults in our group went up to McArthur Pass on the middle day. The majority of the group members were on track width skis, most with metal edges. A wider ski, boot, and binding combination (NNN-BC) is certainly more comfortable and stable with a pack but not critical in my opinion. The 6 yr old didn’t make it all the way – she sat on the pulk for the big hill (last 2-3km) but she probably would have made it if we hadn’t been using the pulk as a carrot to that point! The road goes almost all the way to the hut – just the last few hundred meters is single track trail – a very short steepish section and not groomed. Many in our group walked this part as they did not have skins but it really isn’t far at all. Let me know if you have any further questions.
Thank you David, that is wonderful information! We will be travelling with 2 other families so there will probably be a mix of gear here too!
To anyone who has interest to use the Bill Milne trail, there is an error about the grooming and track-setting description for the upcoming ski season; If you select MAP and RIBBON CREEK TRAIL DISTANCES it will appear a document that illustrates how the trails will be managed, well there is an error concerning the Bill Milne trail stating that it will be groomed but not track-set, I called the info centre in Kananaskis and was reassured that such trail will be groomed and track-set as usual most likely starting mid December .
To all of you have a great ski season.
It seems like winter is a long ways away, but here is some information regarding the Nordic trails at COP. Skiers in Calgary may find this interesting.
Trip report made. Thought I was supposed to make it under “trail reports.” I now remember that’s where you have links to the webpages for the various trails.
If you want to add the Fernie trails the link is:
Found. West Bragg Creek on the road leaving the parking lot. One pair of sunglasses. Sebago’s. will reserve the colour for the owner to reveal. I hate losing things, so I hope the owner sees this. My guess is they were on the roof of a car and they made it about 100m down the road before falling off.
587-438 0029 text me
Thanks for the video of the new ribbon creek downhill run. Love how you share your ski and hike adventures.
Rumor has it….the Spray is set to Goat Creek. Parks Canada website is not updated.
Greetings Skier Bob! Hubby and I think you should start up a hiking blog and then we would have a place to let people know we found a brand new pair of hiking poles on Saturday May 23 on the Moose Meadows trail. If the owner can discribe them we would love to return them!
Hi there, I was told to put an inquiry out to you as you have many connections in the cross country ski world. I was at the Lake Louise Ice Festival on January 25 with my family. I did a quick ski loop on the lake early in the day. At the end of the day, we packed up all our gear and did one last stop at the public washroom in the main parking lot by the Chateau Lake Louise. I stuck my skis and poles in the snow bank out front. When I came out, I grabbed a pile of our gear (kids and dog require lots of gear!) and was completely oblivious to the fact that my poor skis were left behind in the snow bank! I have called Lost and Found and the chateau and Parks Canada who has also passed the info on to local RCMP. Still no sign of them. However, a colleague said to contact you in case someone out there sees this and has an idea where my skis may have ended up. They weren’t fancy, but they were functional and comfortable. They were cross country skate skis, royal blue color and the poles were white with neon colored pattern near the handles. Just passing it on to as many people as I can in case they turn up! Thanks for passing this along!
Hi Bob, wondering if you can help with a CNC question. I’m trying to make sure I go to ski on quieter weekends as I’m now skiing mostly with a chariot/small passenger. Is there a definitive list anywhere of what events are on at CNC? Many thanks, Liz
Their upcoming events are always listed on this page a week or two in advance: http://www.albertaparks.ca/canmore-nordic-centre/advisories-public-safety/trail-report.aspx
You could try contacting the CNC directly and ask if they have a more comprehensive list of upcoming events.
Elk Lake parking lot at 11 am on May 3 to top of Hydroline and back was pure heaven made of dry powder and temperatures just above freezing. Snow continually falling gently making a fantasy ski through pristine white virgin snow of 4-6″ depth. Beautiful.
Had a good ski up Skogan Pass Sunday April 20 but lost my Volvo key about 30 meters from the pass. Would appreciate hearing from anyone who finds it. Cell: +1 403 604 8537.
Hey Bob, did you catch that amazing 1k sprint final by Brian McKeever and Graham Nishikawa?
Snow conditions looked tough to wax for, but the Canadian techs got it spot on.
Yes, I PVR’d it and watched it last night. Brian is sure giving us xc fans something to cheer about.
Being the cynic, do you think the Russian stepped on his pole on purpose to help his teamate? -Bob
Hi Bob, do you have any insights you can share with your readers about how best to catch up with the cross country action from the Olympics? We have been watching lots of events using CBC On demand, but bizarrely there is no cross country or biathlon listed – every other sport but! Have we missed a trick here?
Here are a couple links which might help:
You can get a full replay of all the events here: http://olympics.cbc.ca/cross-country/index.html (Scroll down; under each event there’s a link “Full replay”)
This is a replay of the men’s relay: http://olympics.cbc.ca/videos/live/video/cross-country-skiing-men-4×10-classic-relay-finals-webcast.html -Bob
There’s no info about West Brag Creek on this site. There’s just stuff that I can get anytime. If I new if West Brag Creek got some snow to day I would make the drive from out here near Strathmore and ski it all night. I won’t know anything unless the groomers report to Barier lake.
Is there anyone that I could call out there for info?
There’s information on the Trip Reports about West Bragg Creek that you can’t get anywhere else. Perhaps you should politely ask if any readers have been out there. While you’re at it, lose the attitude.
If you make a donation to the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association Ski Committee they will E-mail you up-to-date ski grooming reports within 12 hours of any grooming that they do. For further info go to http://www.braggcreekski.org .
Just wondering if anyone saw a young wolf on November 11th on the 1A coming out of Banff? A few people were stopped and we werent entirely sure if it was a dog or a wolf.
Bob, I’ve finished my compilation of screen snapshots from the PLPP Visitors Centre webcam. This shows how the water drained out of the meadow over the course of four months. I can’t believe that it took that long !
Perhaps your blog readers may find it interesting or entertaining.
I wish you and your followers a great ski season.
That is super cool. Thanks for your efforts with such a intriguing project. Not sure if you have shared it with the PLPP Visitor Center staff, but I am sure they would find it amazing! Great work!
Thanks Georgina. I’m glad that you liked it.
Anyone know anything about Bearberry XC ski trails NW of Sundre?
Canmore’s Rolling Thunder… not so far away:
And I need to further commend you further Bob for your most recent photos of the CNC. I had a chance to see it from the parking lot in September, and your photos really bring it to life. I love how it is all set along the side of Mt. Rundle.
Calgary area xc skiers are lucky indeed !
I see someone already beat me to it! I really like the top banner photo. Good job!
And I missed the part where Bob used the Swedish blue and yellow for his name. Well done.
That’s a superb photo you’ve got up as the banner today – Hydroline trail I assume. It makes me want to be there !
Please “sticky” your favorite PLPP route. I can never find it when I want to!
I am planning to come to Calgary 2 weeks from now and I’d like to do some X-contry skiing. It seems I can’t find a link with
a) map of trail locations (except for Canmore)
b) places where I can rent X-country skies for couple days (except the same Canmore)
I would very appreciate if you can point where I can find this information.
Thank you in advance,
I don’t know of any listing of rental shops, but here are are a few:
Kananaskis Village: Kananaskis Outfitters
Lake Louise: Wilson’s
For maps and trail locations, look on the Main menu under “Resources-Maps” which gives links to various maps and trail locations. -Bob
In the city of Calgary, I know XC gear can be rented at Norseman and at the university’s Outdoor Centre, probably at Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) as well.
Great outing on the Brewster trail yesterday (28th) – conditions were excellent, well groomed track, and we see from Bob’s blog that we just missed some excitement with a Cougar in the area. Thinking back, we did notice Cougar tracks on the Healy Creek trail when we first set out but they quickly trailed off into the woods. It was a pleasure meeting Bob on the trail – some good advice on other trails to explore.
The Cascade Fire Road was track set this morning and it is fantastic. Thank you to Don Gorrie from Parks Canada for a great start to the season!
Nov. 21, 2012 – 4pm – The Moraine Lake Road has received at least 25 cm. One uphill track is set. Sticky snow coming downhill. As temperatures cool it should be fabulous. Parks was working on alternative tracks, keeping them packed and ready for more snow! Unless it gets really warm, we are set for the season.
Hi Bob, regarding charging for xc in Peter Loughheed pp, I often ski on Saturday and last season PLPP was not groomed on Saturdays I broke trail on many days through significant new snow. I would not be happy paying to ski on such days.
Are trip reports from last winter available anywhere on your site?
Thanks for your continued great x-c ski resource!
They’re here: http://skierbob.ca/trip-reports-archive/ -Bob
The link above or from the Trips Reports takes us to a ‘Page not found’ webpage with the heading ‘You 404’d it. Gnarly, dude’.
Hey Bob,We met you last year in bragg creek. We were thinking of going to chester lake this weekend, We will be pulling a double chariot, could you recommend anywhere besides lake louise that would be good to go this weekend with little ones. Really want to get out in the snow.
The Chester Lake trail has a very steep hill which would be a challenge if you’re pulling a chariot. It sounds like the snow coverage is pretty good there. I haven’t seen Elk Pass since the recent grooming but it probably still has a few hazards. Lake Louise is probably still the best bet unless we get a big snowfall in the next two days. -Bob
I went to Chester Lake yesterday. It was my first bc ski trip. The trip was fine but the descent was narrow and icy. Do you know of a better – wider trailed gentle trail for someone that wants > exercise but < scare?
Check the suggestions on the backcountry page http://skierbob.ca/backcountry-2012-2013/ -Bob
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