Beautiful day of skiing from Baker Creek towards Castle Lookout. Lovely single track with a fresh dusting of powder made for a glorious day with some sun and light winds in temps around -5 to -2. Light traffic picked up as the morning went on but it was smiles all around including on the faces of the many dogs on trail, all well mannered. All of us were on classic waxless and the grip and glide were excellent.
Skied from Elkwood today…beautiful track & conditions! Did Amos/Wheeler/ Meadow.
By the time I got back 1ish…big Jackrabbit group heading out & folks parked on side of road which only allows 1 lane to exit. As I was leaving there were some open parking spots.
So grateful for tracksetting…I have my park pass to support this,
Thanks to the groomers at Shaganappi for tracksetting what’s left of the snow in Calgary. Tracks were fast and hard this morning and lots of people out. Overall decent coverage except there are areas that are exposed or have twigs or rocks. But great ski on an above 0 degree day in Calgary.
1. 192 cm Rossignol Delta skate skis with Rottefella NNN bindings;
2. 175 cm Diamond 630 ski poles;
3. 172 cm Atomic pro skate skis with Salomon Pilot SNS bindings.
Has anyone skied Healy Creek lately? The Banff trail report hasn’t been changed since their “poor” comment in mid December.
Cascade Valley to Stoney Creek-Saturday. Beautiful day of skiing. Blue skies, excellent grooming conditions, perfect snow temp for V30 wax. Started from the parking lot at 9am, about -7. Only a handful of skiers all the way to Stoney creek. On the way back a huge bull elk blocked the trail and caused a small traffic jam. He was HUGE! Everyone gave him lots of space and after about 15 minutes he slowly wandered into the woods and down the hill. Quite a sight! Back at about 2 PM to very full parking lots but the trail never felt busy.
Its -6 at the peter lougheed discovery centre and partially cloudy.
The Lookout Trail at PLPP was very choppy yesterday on the downhill, heading towards the Hydroline because of the new snowfall. However the view from the top was beautiful!
Shaganappi Point golf course update: Corduroy and fresh track setting!!!
Yes, it is true. Two volunteers were out Saturday night making the snow surfaces nice for the Sunday skiers, most especially the sit skiers who will be out in the afternoon, have fun!!!
Almost all skate lanes were groomed, and most track setting was redone with the exception of the Bow Trail loop because there wasn’t enough time, and the shallow track setter was already put to bed for the night. *the Quarry Road Trail loop was again missed, we just ran out of time…expect it to be hideously icy with the Chinook Glaze.
Expect the snow to be fast, and the track setting likely will ice up due to the volume of skiers on Sunday.
There are a few asphalt sections where the cart paths are bare, predominantly a couple spots between junctions 1 and 2, and of course as usual, Westgate corner (SW corner of the golf course) is bare for about 10 meters but a little bird mentioned they saw a workaround is possible where one can keep their skis on… hopefully the snow along the workaround won’t be too soft for the sit skiers, hope they give it a try!!!
**If you see pedestrians walking in the middle of the trails please stop and say hello, remark on what a beautiful day it is to be outside, then let them know sunken footprints in the middle of the groomed trails are a fall hazard to skiers and they also make the snow melt faster and, boy, if they wouldn’t mind, it would be so very very verrry nice if they would walk on the snow that is not groomed or track set….the outside edges of the trails, or anywhere else on the golf course that isn’t ski trails or roped off fragile grasses.*** (two nights in a row, there have been 2 sets of sunken footprints in the middle of the skate lanes along the 9th fairway between junctions 1 and 8, running down the hill to junction 9 . The lower expert loop also got a LOT of foot traffic these past two days, all on the ski trail when there’s not much snow, so why walk there!!!????? Aaaargh say the volunteer groomers!!!! 😉
Volunteer time grooming and track setting Saturday night:
Skate lane grooming: 3.5 hours
Track setting: 4.5 hours
CASCADE RIVER- ELK TRAP +
Elk photographers take note below.
Excellent ski conditions on the Cascade River trail right to the end of the trackset. Lots of people skiing. The most I have ever seen.
From Stoney Creek I rebroke and broke trail to roughly 2 kilometers beyond Elk Trap. I would imagine I fell maybe 3 km short of Cuthead Warden Cabin. There is on average boot top ski penetration while breaking trail on 205cm BC59 XC skis with about 170 lb gross weigh on the skis. A few spots I sank to the knees. Moderate trail breaking difficulty on average with just a few spots that were moderately difficult. Snow speed was moderate at best while trail breaking.
Photographers who are looking for a unique photo of an elk will find one about 750 meters before the Elk Trap. This elk is not moving anywhere. From about 200 meters before the elk, I noticed antlers sticking sideways out of the snow along with some rib bones. It was a scene reminiscent of an eerie Western Movie the way the bones and antler stuck out. The elk was a recent kill and it was well consumed. Not a hair left just a whole lot of bones.
This elk had a big battle before it finally fell judging by the snow marks. Every scavenger in the valley had been feeding on it. It was partly buried from the last 2 snow falls. I wish I had my camera to capture the eerie sight of bones and a 110cm antler sticking out of the snow. It looked even more eerie on the ski back at night with the boney shadows of my headlamp.
On the ski back the trackset was a little damaged by a few skate skiers who had no skier etiquette or skill to to skate only on the narrow skating lane.
The snow was moderate to fast coming out at night using Swix 30 wax as usual. The temperature at night at Stoney was a very pleasent-5c and cloudy. Winds were light to light moderate speed.
The bottom part of the trail is hard and well scraped, so some may experience a few difficult moments on the descent, if you are planning a trip to the area. Good conditions above Marmot creek.
Peter Lougheed PP
-13C at 9:00 AM / -3 at 4:00 PM at Pocaterra Hut. Five of us volunteered with Nordiq Alberta to monitor PLPP parking lots from 9:00 Am to 1:00 PM. All parking lots from Pocaterra to Elk Pass were full by noon and we were directing folks to the Upper Lakes lots.
After work we skied Pocaterra to Packers junction and returned same trail. Pocaterra and Come Along tracks are still in good condition considering the traffic since January 14 grooming. Pocaterra from the Hut to Come Along is well loved but okay. VR45 and VR50 worked for this afternoon ski.
Fairview, Moraine Lake Road, and Pipestone really don’t get any better than they were today. -7C everywhere all day, tracksetting perfection, it was even sunny at Pipestone, and smiling faces abounded at every corner and junction. Swix V40 worked well for grip, and glide was slightly better than outstanding. Skiing these trails right now is HIGHLY recommended. 🙂
Well we did Pipestone and it was busy! We tried to replicate a MASID bench at the top – reasonable – but not as sophisticated. We had the help of our grandchildren who contributed snow angels too. Not sure how I can post a picture.
I love Pipestone and know it is a canine friendly ski loop but it does seem a bit much to have a guy skijoring the trail with three dogs…It is not exactly a wide trail and one track.
Anyway lovely day and so good to see lots of people out and cross country skiing.
LOST Jan 15: A pair of grey gloves with yellow liners in the Elk Summit area, while being dragged into a tree well by Wolverine. If found, please put them on the Ek13 Campground sign. Thanks!
Adding to the other Blueberry reports of excellent conditions…a photo trail report below, and an encounter with the two errant snowshoers on middle Elk Pass. They were on their way out at that point when we mentioned in a nice way that they shouldn’t be on that section of trail, to which they replied, pleasantly- “yes, we have been told that many times already”. So it sounds like maybe an honest mistake, but there were a few short areas where they had dug in a bit and created some divots. No damage to the set tracks though, and I thanked them for that.
Pipestone has been such a joy this year to many people: families and canines alike. Good to hit the parking lot before 9:30 and today there had to be a km of cars trying to exit at Lk Louise, so forget the civilized bathroom break, and get into the left hand lane to bypass all the downhill skiers trying to get into the lineups. While Mud Lk is only 0.4 down a short trail, it has one of the most majestic pics of Mt Temple. If you did not stop for the civilized BR break, then it offers some privacy. We had a fairly early start up #20 Blue, but one has to be aware that this trail, while recommended to be skied counterclockwise, many prefer to ski it in the opposite direction so “head’s up for skiers and dogs”. The grooming was amazing as was the snow and even the last hill on blue was relatively easy to descend. Couch provided a sunny enjoyable seating and we were surprised we did not need a reservation. Please note: last year at this time, Pipestone had not even opened, and today was my 6th time there already this year. Thank you Parks and groomers for it skiing like ripe avocados!!
Lost a single diamond earring at WBC. Could be in the parking lot or on one of the trails. I am desperate to get it back as it was an anniversary gift from my husband. Thank you!
PLPP. Started from Boulton bridge and skied up Whisky Jack, over the Lookout, then to Elk Pass and back on Fox Creek and Boulton Creek. Very nice snow. Trails north of Hydroline did not have grooming since it last snowed, and Lookout was especially choppy and a bit slow to descend as a result. Whisky Jack also has a tree down across the trail near the bottom of the s bends. Superlative fresh grooming on Hydroline, Patterson’s and Elk Pass, as good as I’ve ever seen them. Fox Creek and Boulton Creek were very nice and fast to ski. View from Lookout with the elk pass cloud below and sunshine above was very nice. Funny to think that a certain current politician referred these trails as underused; every parking lot was full and there were people everywhere. Thanks groomers!
Missing/lost in WBC – Men’s toque/hat – mainly red (patterned) with ear flaps and even a chin string! Skied just before the big blow, so a couple of weeks ago now. Somewhere along the road (parking lot was full) or along the Crystal Line, Iron Springs, Loggers Loop circuit. It is a large, the brand is Moonshadow or something with Moon in it at least.
Lovely Lake Louise
Jamie and I skied many kilometres today, starting at the 1A parking lot. I was the first skier on the fresh grooming on the first part of lower Tramline. The lower Tramline was fun and so pretty. We continued down to the Continental Divide. Our return was along the 1A to blue Peyto, up along the Upper Tramline. It had just been groomed and track set, so we had to zoom down the Upper Tramline. We skied Peyto to Deer Lodge, crossed over and did the Fairview loop counterclockwise. MaSid, we were happy to have lunch on your bench, in the sun! Fairview was amazing too! We skied over to Lake Louise, and on the lake (following the groomer right in front of us), where hundreds of people were skating. We went back up to upper Tramline, down blue Peyto and took the lower Tramline, back to the 1A. It was a super great snow condition day!
Evan Thomas – Wedge loop CW / Bill Milne up and back to the hotels. Conditions were pretty good out there today with temperatures a degree or two above zero most of the day. I skied up Evan Thomas. There are lot of people that walk that way so the middle is getting pretty bumpy. If you can stay in the track going down it is fine. Other than that there have been few walkers on the route so damage to the grooming not very extensive. There is a some tree debris here and there in the forest sections but not a lot of stuff on the trail.
Fischer RCS Skate Skis 187cm with SNS pilot Bindings – skis and bases in very good condition – weighted for 140lbs to 160lbs / (63kg to 73kg)
Salomon Waxable Cross Country Skis 196cm & Salomon Prolink NNN Bindings – weighted for 140lbs – 160lbs / 63kg – 73kg. Skis and bases in good condition
After reading the recent trip reports (thanks Normand & Chris S) regarding the removing of the fallen tree and the recent grooming, it was a perfect blue day for a nice ski. Just after the steep climb after the warden cabin, the roller coaster trail was “interesting” on the way back on skinny skis as sometimes you get “stuck” in the tracks where you would love to snow plow… As Normand mentioned the last 4km back to the parking lot were quite fast but still controllable. I never saw so many people on the trail (counted 30 folks) and most people stepped to the side of the tracks as we were cruising down.
Bluebird day with a dusting of fresh snow in the track on the Bow River loop at Lake Louise. I finally found where to park in the campground.. https://photos.app.goo.gl/tu7rfH8mSStn2Sj8A
Had a great day on Great Divide and Lower Telemark today. Started at the Lake O’Hara parking lot. The tracks were good although a bit blown in at spots – certainly not an issue. The trail on the east side of the great divide arch was great and Lower Telemark was absolutely awesome. The round trip was 21 km, so we got our half marathon in.
Skied the Goat Creek Trail to the Banff Springs hotel today. A very enjoyable 26.4 km but some of the downhill sections were bordering on too icy to be completely safe. I would not try it again myself until we get some new snow. Pretty deserted until the Spray Loop junction, and even then very few folks out. The Goat Creek parking lot however was full when we were dropped off at 1130…
Boulton Parking- Wheeler-Amos-Woolley-Meadow-Wheeler back to Boulton
-5 deg at 11:30 under sunny blue skies. VR45 was good. Meadow and Amos north/west of the Lynx junction trackset and in immaculate condition.Wheeler, Woolley and Amos (south of Lynx) covered with 3-5 cm new snow on older grooming, but there was a very serviceable skier track that provided very enjoyable skiing. No sign of temps above freezing doing any damage to the trails.
Pocaterra, Elkwood and Boulton parking all close to full by noontime, but no cars parked out the road at 1130, or as we left at 130.
Did Tramline today. It was lovely and not busy until you get closer to the Lake of course. It’s track set but someone has recently walked all over the first and last km of the trail- bummer!
MORAINE LAKE ROAD – Jan 16
Great conditions today at this iconic location.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
The best part of the trip were the people we met!
Upper Lake Louise trails from the Chateau grooming team:
Fairview Loop (#2): Double trackset, good condition, Jan. 14.
Shoreline (#4): Double trackset, good condition, Jan. 16.
Lake Trail (#4): Double trackset with a separate path for walkers, good condition, Jan. 14.
Upper Telemark and Peyto Trails (#5): Double trackset, good condition, Jan. 16.
Started out at PLPP this morning at the Elk Pass parking lot at 9:30. Most trails freshly groomed and perfectly track set Elk pass – Blueberry – Patterson – Hydroline – Fox creek – Moraine.
Had my skate skis in the truck so stopped by Bill Milne for a cruise on the flats. Super fast and crusty snow and still in decent shape despite that rain they got. Went from Mount Kidd to Ribbon and back and it was pretty similar conditions throughout.
Elk-Pass —> Blueberry.
Arrived to no cars at 9, and fresh trackset/corduroy. A little chilly and windy at -16, but warmed up to -7 at noon.
Lot full at noon.
Trackset was in really good condition with minimal shrapnel in the tracks from the wind.
Just an all around nice ski. Amazing sunrise over the mountains and a super cool fog cascade down the valley from Elk pass in late morning.
Couple of errant snowshoers decided to go on corduroy where they shouldn’t. Won’t get into that debate. But just makes me feel bad for all the hard work the tracksetters did the night before to get it ready for today.
Not sure how we can let them know how much we appreciate their effort. The tracksetters not the snowshoers 😉
Got there early to avoid the masses – no problem parking – did the Crystal Line Sun Dog Loggers loop cw then turned around and did it ccw. Tracks were as advertised by Boomer cold crisp and fast. A little crusty on the snowplow sections but we are half way through the season so we had our snow plow on when needed but given the masses were yet to arrive it was mostly point them and push and let it go. What a great time is was given what the Groomers had to work with. DONATE FOLKS these guys work magic for us so DONATE
Jan 16 Yoho/Emerald Lake update from Kicking Horse Ski Club:
We still cannot chance driving the sled across Emerald Lake —to avoid the avalanche area. It is just too mild and slushy…and all the new snow we got recently is not helping the slush freeze up. The hardest part is getting the Ginzu Groomer across the lake — because it is super heavy and can easily get totally bogged down in this slush. Not a good situation. We have been told by Avalanche Control(early January) NOT to sled or groom the walking trail or ski trail under the danger zone and that is understandable! It leaves us no option right now… All we can say is– “Sorry the trails are such a mess at Emerald Lake”. We will not take a risk like that with our sled and driver! Hate to ask for Super Cold Weather—but that is what we need!
CNC 9:00. -4C parking lot empty but filling fast 11:00 full
Used Skin skis again today.
Trails are hard Natural snow tracks are glazed and Klister would work. Saw a few waxed skiers armstronging it. The skate lanes have been groomed but were hard. Later in the day they should soften up somewhat.
The man made snow trails were groomed, trackset and in great shape. We skied Lynx For the first time from Biathlon Stadium up to Banff Trail Also skied the 200m Riversdge trail extension to BNP boundary.
Check on the CNCPP trail report page for which trails have been groomed.
It is -10 degrees and sunny with some scattered clouds in Peter Lougheed PP at the discovery Centre.
Re Chuck’s “single track right of way”: I thought that if there was space for two tracks that the “right hand rule” still applied. Skiers often get out of the track anyway on the downhill sections to better perform a snowplow or to obtain a wider stance for stability.
PLPP on Friday – Elk Pass via Morraine/Fox Creek and Tyrwhitt/Whiskey Jack. Skier tracked on most of them which made for some fun powder skiing on the downhill. Lovely solitude on a single skier tracked trail through the meadows on Tyrwhitt. Sounds like major grooming/track setting happened last night. Get out and enjoy!
Good to see you yesterday Bob, if only just to say hi as we went down the hill! And thanks for stepping out of the track, much appreciated!
PLPP on Friday. Started at Pocaterra, temperature around -4, V40 wax worked well. It doesn’t get much better. Pocaterra (as far as Packers), Come Along, Amos, Meadow, Lynx all beautifully groomed. For most of the drive the temperature was well above 0 and there was no new snow on the ground, but PLPP had lots of snow and winter wonderland scenery.
Shaganappi Point golf course in Calgary update:
Sign-up for email updates on conditions via our website:
Renovating and grooming of the Chinook Glaze has been done on all trails with the exception of the loop to the Quarry Road Trail entrance. That likely needs more trail debris clearing…and there just wasn’t enough time to venture in that direction.
All the trails that were groomed in the evening on the 15th are in great shape, and there may be a Chinook Glaze developing on the trails that were groomed in the morning, those morning grooming trails are indicated by the red lines on the map below.
The Expert loop north of the driving range was renovated and groomed the morning of the 15th as well, there may be a Chinook Glaze (icy layer) on top of the trail by now too.
Quick thank-you to everyone who went to Shaganappi these past few days to clear the wind-blown debris off the trails so we could then groom them, that was a HUGE help!!!
All the glazed and icy track setting was broken, but there wasn’t enough time to redo the track setting everywhere.
Track setting has been completed in both directions from junction 1 to 8 the night of the 15th, and the driving range track setting was done the night before. The driving range was re-groomed the night of the 15th.
THINGS TO NOTE DUE TO THE ENDLESS JANUARY CHINOOK CYCLES:
1) Westgate corner is bare asphalt for about 10 meters (SW corner of the golf course), and there doesn’t look to be any do-able workarounds. As a result, we did not groom in that direction after junction 3.
2) The trail section between junction 1 and junction 2 has a couple bare spots of asphalt and there wasn’t enough time to look for workable workarounds, so expect icy conditions.
Volunteer time grooming on the 15th:
The renovating/destruction of the Chinook Glaze (ice layer) on the trails and grooming was done with 3 hours of work in the morning, and another 4 hours in the evening of the 15th, by the same volunteer.
JAN 15 ELK LAKE SUMMIT AND TOWARD ELK LAKE
With a friend, headed up to Elk Lake Summit starting from the Mount Norquay ski resort. I was on my fishscale 89mm wide light touring skis. Temperature varied between -5C and 0C during the day. Chuck’s and previous tracks were covered in a few cm of snow near the ski resort, increasing to about 15-20cm of fresh snow at the Summit. I put on full-length skins for the relatively steep ascent from the Forty Mile Creek bridge to the Cascade Amphitheatre Trail junction, but full-width kicker skins would have been enough. Beyond the junction, the trail is much less steep and I went for a while without skins, but eventually put on my kicker skins. Winds were calm in the trees for most of the ascent, but picked up in the open areas of the Summit.
After lunch, we continued on the summer trail toward Elk Lake, following old buried ski tracks. We had to turn around about a km short of the lake because we were running out of time to get back to the car in daylight, and had concerns about the steep descent from the Cascade Amphitheatre Trail junction to Forty Mile Creek. The snowpack on that section was only a few cm deep, so we decided it would be safer to descend with skins to slow us down instead of snowplowing. My kicker skins and my friend’s full skins both worked well. As usual, the final stretch back up to the resort was longer and more elevation gain than expected!
Anyone have any ideas on what made the trench in linked photo, taken above Elk Summit on the way to Elk Lake? The trench is about 25cm wide and 40cm deep. It came out of (or went into) a tree well. My guess is a mountain pig. https://photos.app.goo.gl/pL797KHtpH7AVdjw7
UPPERMOST HAIDUK CREEK VALLEY
After reaching Shadow Lake lodge, I decided to take advantage of trail breaking done in the last week (Sara, Mike), along Haiduk Creek. Well, I ended up breaking trail pretty much from the bridge over the outlet of Shadow Lake, all the way to the upper reach of Haiduk Creek, just at the base of the steep ramp heading up to the Haiduk Lake basin. Apart for about 300 meters of a previous ski trail on Shadow Lake south shore, almost totally blown in with snow, and 2-3 short stretches of trail along Haiduk Creek, everything had to be broken again. Wind slab in the open meadow areas along the creek made for some awkward progress in places. At 2 pm, I finally reached my ultimate destination, well at least what my body could handle for such a long day and early in the season. Wind and more blowing snow picked up upon return to the lodge. A return trip from TCH1 clocking just over 37 km. A good day in the (outdoor) office. The fresh track setting from the lodge to the road, done late in the morning, was much welcome to cruise away from the high country. With clouds and blowing snow at times, Mount Ball was rather grumpy today.
SHADOW LAKE LODGE
For this section, I will only refer to the ski track setting all the way to the lodge. Look into the backcountry section for the ski touring I did beyond the lodge today. About 2 km skiing into the Red Earth Creek trail, I was passed by two skidoos with 3 people; they were going to “rescue” (their word) a skidoo in the meadows before the lodge. Until I met them back passed RE6 campground, the track setting was pretty poor. BUT, they were laying out brand new track setting going down from the meadows before the lodge. What a treat to get that for an easy approach to the lodge, for already my 5th visit this winter to the area, before a long tour up the upper reach of Haiduk Creek (see backcountry section, as well as photos). The return from the lodge was great on the new track setting. I was on light touring skis with metal edges. I can see the lowermost 4 km being challenging on skinny skis, especially where the snow is starting to be a bit scrapped off. Just need to adjust your speed accordingly. More fresh snow would not hurt lower down.
Pipestone-What a great xski day. Great glide. So much snow. Only saw a few ppl. So peaceful.
It would be nice that anyone who brings their dogs, as this couple did, that they follow the trail rules-that dogs Must be leashed. The snow was soft, and this very cute dog was following in the back and making non stop paw tracks in the middle of the track set trails. Thx
CNCPP. I skied the alpenglow Friday night. Tracks are icy, glazed and fast but not yet deadly. Parks staff have revived sun exposed and dirt prone areas. Many needles and debreeze in wind prone places. Skate lanes were also fast. Needles abound but overall, it’s okay. It will be fast and icy Saturday morning. Crown skis had weak grip, but wax to your own peril.
WBC at sunset:
I did a quick ski on the various West Crystal options, and onwards out Mountain Road west. The skiing was fairly good throughout, with nice tracks, and a thin layer of softer snow over a smooth icy base out of the grooves. Fast skiing! It’s amazing to me that there is much enjoyable skiing at all at WBC- considering the bad hands that have been dealt by the weather recently! Skied classic, with Start Purple, my go-to wax for these conditions, performing perfectly.
Looking for size 40 ladies XC ski boots compatible with NNN BC bindings. Should be stiffer in the ankle for better support. My old Alpinas are quitting on me and there is nothing comparable in stores these days. Would consider buying BC touring skis (metal edges, sidecut, NNN BC bindings, for 135 lbs skier) if they come in a package.
403 815 4465
West Bragg Creek from Boomer Groomer
1900h Jan. 15, 2021
Still no new snow and temps got up to +6C on the trails this afternoon. Subzero temps tonight means the possibility of ice and crusty conditions in many areas especially on hills and southern exposures on Saturday. Classic tracks may be glazed and fast depending on aspect. Skate lanes especially Mountain Road W. were surprisingly good this afternoon, once west of the first cattle guard. Expect a mixed bag of conditions throughout the area for the weekend. Be COVID aware!
Nakiska to Skogan Pass to Dead Mans Flat return.
Enough has been written about Skogan, I’ll just add icy and fast on the descent. Light trail breaking on the descent from Skogan to Dead Mans. About halfway down where the traffic picks up from that side, it became very icy and the descent was fast and sketchy. Used skins for the ascent back up to Skogan. Great day out!
STONEY CREEK – Jan 15
Perfect timing, with excellent tracksetting on the Cascade Valley.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Bob, we might need a reminder that trail etiquette is that the downhill skier has right of way when there is only a single track… especially on their escape!
Baker Creek with my dog Bajoue today. Perfect tracks and a temperature of -5 at 1:30 pm. One of those perfect days. We ran into Bob; his face really lights up when he sees a dog on a trail! Attached pictures of perfect tracks and pooch. https://photos.app.goo.gl/uqt8CrKMeQZJqhy76
Castle Junction (CJ) to end of Railway Track grooming towards Baker Creek. Started at 9am on the fresh track setting at CJ. Stayed cold -9 most of day. Started seeing alot more people and their dogs closer to our turnaround at 11 am. Cars on 1-A appeared to have spotted moose as they kept stopping across from Protection Mtn. It has been years since I skied that stretch of 5 kms from CJ to Castle Lookout. Grooming was sweet and I felt like I might be in a different province, it had been SO long since I’d skied that stretch. Decided if there was to be a Lk Louise Loppet, that stretch could prove rather interesting. Not sure which direction best to ski it in, but we did both. Skis came on and off a few times. A great but humbling 24 kms day.
Windy drive with temps around +6C around Nakiska turnoff, but by the time I reached Elkwood parking lot is was -3C at 10:30. Perfect wax for the day with VR40 as a base and VR45 on top. Started out on Amos which was freshly trackset. Wheeler and Amos, past the Lynx Junction, were skier set tracks on 10cm of snow. Went on to Moraine and Fox which were freshly track set and in perfect condition. It is probably the best I have seen these two trails. Up to Elk Pass on wobbly skier set tracks. Same with Tyrwhitt but it was such as nice day it didn’t matter. Continued on Pocatera which was skier set tracks until you got to the Packer junction when excellent fresh track setting resumed. Nice and fast trip down Pocaterra to Lynx which is also fast and has fresh track setting, and then back to the truck. Great day out. No pine needles or debris on trail. Some old snowbombs on the north side of Tyrwhitt. +1c at 2:30 at the truck.
Missing: lost in Bragg creek xc cross country area parking lot Jan 14. Hoping somebody picked it up and is good enough to return it 🙂
Please contact me if you have any info.
Mount Shark – Minus 2 upon arrival at 10:30 – Greeted by a very friendly Ken Hewitt who was out volunteering / collecting parking fees. Fresh overnight grooming and track setting throughout the entire area. We skied the Watridge Lake trail and carried on down to the Spray River Bridge. Some degree of needles and tree beard in the area near the Banff border, but otherwise it was a spectacular day.
The 5, 10 and 15 kms. loops looked fantastic. Just 20 cars in the parking lot at 1:30 pm – temp. minus 1.
I would also concur that the grooming throughout K-country has been outstanding this winter. Thank you! We are so lucky!
Skied Cascade to about 5 Km past the bridge, we got there at about 10 and the temp was -1, and were met by fresh track setting. Not very busy in the parking lot and the temp stayed constant all day. Great conditions and lots of smiling faces.
PLPP South Yesterday (Thrusday Jan 14) – Fox Creek and Elk Pass; OT (offtrack) in East Elk Pass and Patterson Meadows
About -13 to start with brilliant sun all day. Fox Creek was freshly groomed and a nice bookend to the near boot-top trail-breaking on Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt. There’s a most impressive tree bomb crater on Elk Pass. Not much hang-fire left in the trees anymore, thankfully. Meadow travel was easy enough for track skis.
Fri Jan 15: castle lookout to baker ck and back.
Crunchy, chunky and a bit rough in the base of the track to start early in the morning, improving further west. By the time I got back, enough travel to smooth out the chunky bits, so even better tomorrow. Busy parking lot on return, but nobody there before 9 in the morning. To finish I skied down the south ditch to the parking lot. A good alternative to the hill so close to the lot.
Castle Junction to Protection Mtn road crossing.
This web site is wonderful, first thing this morning 3 destinations were considered from previous reports, the new track setting along the 1A won out. We parked at the Rockbound Lake lot just south of the junction – the washroom is open here. The track setting was excellent from the work done yesterday. The section to the Lookout parking lot is double track set except where the trail is narrow. VR40 was good but a hint of VR45 made it even better. The kick and glide all the way to our north turn around was a delight. After turning we spotted two moose browsing in the forest. The next interesting sighting was skier Bob near the bottom one of the faster hills, thanks for standing to the side to let us pass! Many people and dogs were enjoying the trail, all hills are passable by all abilities, and it will still be good tomorrow.
Redearth Creek, snow temp @ 10:30 am was -6 C.
Just before starting up the trail, Bill and the Alpine Club crew came down to the parking lot on 3 snow machines after having cleared away the fallen tree and groomed & trackset the trail, thank you!
Definitely not a beginner trail unless you’re comfortable with the downhill runs, in particular the final drop to the parking lot.
But a pleasant ski once you’ve climbed up into the valley beyond the roar of the highway.
CASTLE JUNCTION TO CASTLE LOOKOUT: had never skied this section before so tried it today. Nice fresh grooming and snow quality, more steep hills than we were expecting but they were fun and fast. One section in trees is too narrow for double tracking (going back to Junction) so be careful you don’t get a ski stuck in the down track!! Some nice views and lots of wildlife tracks.
Castle Lookout to Baker Creek yesterday: -16 at 10 am, -8/-10 snow temperature, warming up nicely in bright sun. Swix VR40 worked well all day, fellow skiers on skin skis. Slight icy crunchiness covered with new snow. Smooth snow last 3 km towards Baker Creek, but snow covered skier set tracks. Note: washrooms at Castle Junction gas station NOT available. Baker Creek trailhead outhouse open, no outhouse at Castle Lookout. https://www.flickr.com/photos/152288647@N08/albums/72157717906927227/with/50838419518/
PLPP – Whiskey Jack-Pocaterra-Packers
Conditions were very nice for skiier-set tracks when setting out at 9am, another reminder that about 150m before the large hill heading CCW there’s a fallen tree across the whole path. Warmed up while we trekked, plenty of skiiers later in the morning. Hope it’s an enjoyable trip for all!
Jan 14 – Redearth Creek to Shadow Lake. The trail had both a fresh snowmobile-packed trail and a skier-set uptrack at the side. One fallen tree blocked the trail near the bottom, but otherwise the going was easy. I enjoyed the nice sunny weather at the lake.
Maybe this is why it’s called Shadow Lake?
It turns out I’m more of a skier than a snowshoer, so I’m selling these great snowshoes that I’ve only used 3 times. They are in excellent, pretty much new condition. Hopefully I can find a loving home for them where the owner can take them for frequent long walks in the mountains.
MSR Lightning Ascent (25″ men’s black)
MSR Lightning Tails
MSR Snowshoe bag
Asking $450 OBO
Skied Cascade fire road today. Skier set tracks were well established to the 7 km bridge and campground. We continued on for another 5 km, breaking trail for most of that distance, so slow going but very pretty. We had wanted to make it to the warden cabin porch for a break, but turned back as it was getting late in the day. Fresh powder and blue skies – a slice of heaven!
-15 when I left Boulton Bridge at 10:25. Lovely track set run up Boulton Creek and Fox, then skier set tracks from The Elk Pass jctn over the pass and down Tywitt and Whisky Jack back to the car. A beautiful, sunny and crisp day. Blue wax all the way!
I love reading your posts and often get excited about trying many of these trails, which are new to me. What I would really enjoy is if you would let us “out of towners” know where these locations are. Just a thought.
Wedge Connector to Bill Milne (crossed River on foot to make loop to Wedge Pond parking). Thin skiff of snow on crusty hard snow with some debris. Was doing some reconnaissance for skate skiing. Wedge Connector is not wide enough for skates about 1.5 km in. Bill Milne is better. My first time here. Lovely just to be out even without ideal grooming or snow! https://photos.app.goo.gl/1nBeXnZjrdvqqdyM8
Bob- your wish is my command! A couch picture:
After clearing the fresh snow and stomping the area a bit, we enjoyed the panoramic view and lunch in the sun. Thanks, MaSid!
We passed by again later on the blue loop (pipestone#20) at around 3- the couch was still catching the rays. I will add that the sometimes challenging hills on the blue loop were in possibly the best shape that I can remember for skiing downhill, while leashed to an eager retriever.
Thanks, Steve. I’ve added the photo to my update. -Bob
Ribbon Creek-Skogan Trails
Yesterday it rained at lower elevations at Ribbon Creek but snowed at slightly higher elevations. And the trails report said there was fresh grooming on most of the Skogan part of the trail network. Add clear skies, pleasant temperatures and no wind, and it’s a recipe for a great day of skiing.
The rain crust at the Troll Falls parking lot suggested the potential for difficult conditions to start out. But one second on the Hay Meadow trail laid those fears to rest. The snowcat tiller had worked it’s magic on the ice crust an Hay Meadow was impeccably groomed. The snow was firm and fast, but the corduroy was still “edge able”. There was no problem with grip on Ruthies and the Skogan Screamer, and then things just got better above the old Marmot Creek junction. The new snow depth increased from a few cm at the top of the Screamer to around 15cm at the higher elevations.
We went up Skogan Pass trail to Sunburst and stopped at Hummingbird Plume Lookout. Then across on High Level to Skogan and counterclockwise around Skogan Loop. The snow on Skogan Loop was actually a bit soft-packed, so you had to be careful not to edge too hard on the crazy-steep south side hill.
I’m sure Bob would have loved spending the day with the Samoyeds. They loved the loop too.
Thanks to the Ribbon Creek crew for the superb grooming!
Thanks, Alf. What a fantastic set of photos. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Hay Meadow without a boot print! Those beautiful dogs look right at home in the snow. -Bob
Boom Lake ski tour. Soft beautiful powder on the way up. Chewed up snow full of boot holes from winter hikers who refuse to wear snowshoes on the way down. The trail definitely warranted skis or snowshoes today but I guess it’s easier to leave the snowshoes in the car (as one group reported.)
I remember the good ol’ days when this was an official ski trail. A groomed one in fact. Wish we could get grooming and tracks on it again.
Detest for winter hikers in running shoes aside, it was a gorgeous day and a fun ski. Only one tree down too. Climbing was easy, we had good control coming down, and no evidence of rain or ice.
Baker Creek to Castle Junction
It hasn’t been reported on the Parks Canada trail report, but I saw it with my own eyes this afternoon. Baker Creek to Castle Lookout is trackset. The fresh tracksetting continues from Castle Lookout to Castle Junction, so you have 15K of trail with excellent tracks for tomorrow.
Jan 14 Upper Lake Louise trails from the Chateau grooming team:
Shoreline (#4): Double trackset, fair condition, Jan. 13.
Upper Telemark and Peyto Trails (#5): Sled packed Jan. 14, poor condition . We hope to work on this trail tomorrow (Jan. 15) morning.
Thu Jan 14: east elk pass +
Nice bluebird day, light winds, and no pesky cloud at the pass. Good meadow dancing weather. Elk pass lot plowed. Skier set track on elk pass trail. Excellent fresh grooming on fox creek. Combination of single and double track after that. New snow was dense which made steeper descents a bit more challenging, in the wobbly slow track or out of it. Ankle ski pens on the prior off trail route to east elk pass; track was just noticeable. Busted trail about 1.5 to 2.0 k past the border until the drainage narrowed up. 3 of us out and back on the track, so good travel again until the next storm. Returned the way we came, other than descending the hydroline snow shoe trail to the Patterson meadows. Nice to get back on the fast clean track of fox after descending the skier set on elk pass. Always an excellent outing when clear and sunny.
Lovely fresh grooming on Pocaterra. A short run from the Pocaterra Trailhead to about 1 km past the meadow and the Lynx junction. About -5, no wind, sunny. The fresh snow is covering the debris that was there a couple of days ago. Tracks are hard and fast, and grooming is superb. Again. Soooooo lucky to have such great skiing so easily accessible.
LAKE LOUISE – Tramline from near Railway Station to meet Fairview and then out Lake Louise to the Lake for a quick stop. Back down Fairview (best I have seen it) on fresh grooming!! to Moraine Lake Road. Went to the sunny spot just past Paradise Picnic Area (at the curve in the road) for a quick lunch. Back down Moraine Lake Road and the Lower Tramline to Railway Station parking. A cold day to start at 10AM -13C with grippy snow. 16.4 km, 440m ascent on a glorious blue sky day!
PLPP New Grooming:
Our group of three skied all the new North-end grooming at PLPP today. Pocaterra (hut to Packers), Lynx, Come-Along and Rolly Road are all in excellent condition. We also skied some other trails (Pocaterra south of Packers, Amos, Lodgepole, Braille, north Meadow) which were generally skier trackset in some 10cm of new snow. Mostly decent skiing on these trails, though bit wobbly at times, and certainly slower than the new grooming. Overall, a pleasant day under sunny skies and calm conditions. -12C at our 9:30am start; -5C at 2pm.
PIPESTONE- nice fluffy new snow was cold and slow at minus 14 degrees at 10am. Great skiing conditions!! Skied the outer loop all the way around, and to Mud Lake. About 18 cars in parking lot at 130pm. Parking lot has at least 6 in, our little car juuuuuust made it in and out. Blue swix wax worked well. Met Skier Bob on the trail too!!
CNC -4C 9:00AM parking lots quite empty. Skintecs rule! Snow reports show Banff Tr to Meadow groomed and TS. The rest of the trails were just groomed especially the natural snow trails. This means the tracks are decent but not fresh VS the skating lanes were groomed but not in tip top shape. I’m thinking the lack of natural snow base isn’t allowing the groomers to put in full tracks for fear of hitting the ground. We found one spot on Snowshoe Hare where the renovator hit dirt and there is barely 3CM of base. Skied out Banff all the way to the North end then up Rundle and connected back onto Meadowview. Snow on man made is hard! Past the meadow maybe 1CM new snow at Meadow and 3CM at far end. Banff trail got progressively dirtier the further out we skied. Good skiing regardless. If we were waxing layers of VR 50 corked in really well covered by VR 45 or a -2C wax covered by a blue extra or purple multigrade.
It is more than frustrating. It is dangerous. On December 30, I was going downhill on Trappers heading to Sundog and the tip of my ski got caught on a “pothole” like the one on the first picture. I hit the ground so hard, I developed a hematoma on my right lower leg (not just a bruise). Still swollen and sore.
Used Fischer RCS Classic Plus
Salomon SNS Profile Binding
“Wayback Wednesday: Marmot Basin/Gate is the trail which branches off Skogan near the top of the Screamer”
Used to head up there breaking trail, get a burger and beer at mid mountain and ski powder all the way back down,really miss that too! Have a few videos somewhere.
One time we went up, sans lunch, only to find they closed the Lodge midweek. So we shared granola bars, chocolate bar and an orange! Good times
Looks like Lower Telemark was copied from “Highline” trail to Paradise Creek. I’ve emailed parks (assuming I found the right email addy).
Trail debris cleanup help needed; grooming and track setting on the driving range loop Wednesday night…
Many hands make light work!
If you have sturdy footwear with ice spikes/YakTrax, and a fan rake, there is A LOT of plant debris on the Shaganappi cross country ski trail system from the wind event today that now needs to be removed to areas the wind won’t put the material back onto the trails…. The only debris-free area at the moment is the beginner area / driving range loop because that area does not have large trees around it.
The Chinook Glaze (Chinook melt/freeze ice layer on top of the snow) has hit all trails at Shaganappi. Once the trails are plant debris-free and proper temperatures hit, we can consider re-grooming the trails for the skate skiers, and break-up and redo the track setting on the trail sections that have a deep enough base of snow where the renovator knives of the groomer won’t hit grass when breaking-up the old track setting.
The lower advanced loop is NOT RECOMMENDED due to the icy approach to the corner and access trail.
The Driving Range Loop (green ski loop east of the main parking lot) is the best snow conditions after Wednesday night because it has been renovated so the grooming for the skate-skiers should be really nice. The track setting was broken-up and redone as well, by a volunteer who spent 5 hours on a Skidoo Wednesday night doing all that. Breaking-up and redoing the track setting took 4 passes with the groomer to do each lane of track setting…super time consuming.
With the lack of new snow since the 3rd week of December and the Chinook Glaze along with the wind debris on all ski trails in and around Calgary, at least the driving range is in good shape so people have an option for good skiing without driving a long way out of town.
Have fun on the snow!
Asolo women’s boots, NNN BC, size 7 1/2 (39 European), older but still in good shape, $15
Metal edge waxable Kastle 54mm skis, 190cm, $25
Jan 13, Moraine Lake Road. Got to the parking lot (open again!) at 9:30 and was the only car. Tracksetting had just been done but the middle of the road had not been smoothed so wasn’t suitable for skating. I was on classic skis with 1 layer of Vaughti violet (+1 to -2) and one layer of Swix V40).
Grip was okay, but virtually no glide since the tracks were so soft. About 1/3 of the way up it started snowing, and by the time I neared the top, the tracks were filled in with powder.
Lovely day, not the speediest but better than no skiing. And lots of work when you have to stride downhill because you can’t even double pole. (I scraped all the wax off with my More rewards card, but it didn’t make much difference, there was no glide to be had).
Don’t get me started with dogs on set tracks, seriously what difference does it actually make and why should I pay for track setting places I cannot ski with my dog, rant, rant, rant
Lost two sets of race glasses/goggles at West Bragg Dec 30th or 31st. They were each in their own black soft case with multiple lenses.
Red Earth Creek. We started at 9:30 this morning in about 5 cm of new wet snow. I used my fish scales as the wet snow scared me away from using my metal-edge wax skis. My friends both waxed, and we all did very well. The snow dried up and the temperature cooled as we ascended beyond the first 2 km. There were about 10 cm of new snow up top, and it was snowing quite heavily. Our turn-around and lunch spot was the warden’s cabin a few hundred meters beyond the Shadow Lake junction. It was just glorious up there. The descent was good the whole way, except that some walkers had really made a mess of our newly-made tracks. Also, there were some downed trees, one of which had fallen after we ascended. We were able to move that one off the trail. Managing the hill in the bottom third was no problem at all. Overall, it was a magnificent ski!
Confederation Golf Course
Ice, ice, and more ice. Oh, and debris. I was there early this morning and suspect it might have been slightly better in the afternoon. Let it snow…
It is an unwelcome surprise to see the potholes and deposits left by horse riders on the set tracks at West Bragg. In my innocence I thought that the horse crowd was somehow more aware and considerate of other users than the usual targets of XC skiers’ frustration, rutting bikers and trampling hikers. I will never look at a horse train at WBC the same way again. Most disappointing.
Minnewanka Loop Road/Upper Bankhead area. Zero to start at noon and on fish scales. Snow squall came through for about an hour, before blue skies appeared by time I was finished. Varied stride between slight glide, then kicking off excess snow, scissor-scraping and eventually decided on the white universal glide for waxless skis. Much better after that. Played around in the little wooded trail from Upper Bankhead to Cascade Meadow. -1 at finish.
I am looking for full and 1/2 skins for my Rossignol BC 65 Skis – 195cm.
Did Kovach and Terrace loop at Ribbon Creek. It was very slow going. Icy underneath a few centimeters of fresh snow. Snowing heavy, wet flakes as we left at 2pm ish. Hard to wax for, little to no kick, yet snow was sticking to skiis. Bit of an arm workout!
I am an intermediate skier new to kananaskis area thinking of do a loop starting from Ribbon creek parking lot along ribbon creek, link, and kovach back to parking lot. Just wondering whether there is any really big hill/tight area along the route. Thx
Speaking of Emerald Lake, every year them I ask about the Woodies, every year I hear crickets
Looking for SNS boots size 40.
The temperature is -2 at Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre this morning. Approximately 9cm of snow accumulated at the PLDC overnight.
Jan 13, 2021
Heavy chinook winds will have left debris and possibly trees down on the trails system. Conditions will be variable and skiers can expect glazed tracks, ice/crusty snow, and natural hazards. Caution is advised. Snow would be welcome at this point!
Terrific ski on the trails in central and south PLPP. We arrived at Elkwood at about 9:45 to a temperature of -2C. VR45 gave good grip as long as I was paying attention to my technique. Wheeler, then Amos and Lynx had good tracks with a some debris and a few snow bombs. Just after we started up the perfect tracks on Pocaterra it started to snow, adding a dusting in the tracks that gave a bit of extra grip but didn’t affect our glide. There was heavier snow on Tyrwitt with up to about 2cm in the track. We were first skiers on parts so the skiing was a bit slower but still great. At Elk Pass, the tracks were partially blown in but they packed down easily. There was some wind but nothing close to the gales further north. The run down from Elk Pass to Fox Ck. was a speedy cruise that ended too quickly. Fox Ck. had older track so there were lots of skied out turns, debris and snow bombs. Moraine was better, particularly as you got further north. The track had not softened on Wheeler, back to Elkwood so my wax still held, but just barely. As always, thanks to the groomers for their great work.
WBC late afternoon skate outing report:
It’s gonna be ice ice BB!!
Had a good skate there from 330-5’ish today. They did an amazing job refurbishing and tracks look great but two days near 10C have them heavily glazed as was the grooming for skate when we finished it was sure crusty and getting slick and fast. Not good for beginners right now. Spiked tires needed for FB I’m sure.
Just under 13km. SUPER windy and gusty and so even on flats going into that wind was tough. However the tailwind back on Mountain was pretty awesome. Will see evidence of the wind by way of more debris. They might get snow tomorrow… hopefully not rain. Will need a major refurbishment IMO before it’ll be worth going again (or just above zero to soften things).
I’m curious if Confed conditions are about the same now? (Minus debris)
I went to check out the “other” Baker Creek that Chuck reported on a couple days ago but quickly decided it wasn’t a trail for me. It’s alot more hilly and winding than I was expecting and I foolishly took my skinny skis, so all speed and no control! Fortunately, the main Baker Creek trail was being trackset today so I did that instead. It was getting a bit late in the day so I only went as far as the campground at Protection Mt. and enjoyed a nice loop around there on a lovely, skier-set track. I stopped at the Castle Lookout parking lot on the drive home and it looks like the tracksetting goes at least that far. Depending on how much snow falls overnight, it should be a great ski tomorrow.
ELK LAKE SUMMIT – Jan 12
Some exposed rocks at lower elevations near Forty Mile Creek, but a good broken trail all the way.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
This trail in BNP used to be called Elk Pass, but the new name attempts to avoid confusion with the Elk Pass in Kananaskis.
Looking for poles 120cm
SNS Salomon binding for those still with SNS boots – $20. – all parts plus some spare parts
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am in Canmore
PLPP Central Trails – Wonderful day on fresh tracks with a skiff of new snow (it flurried on and off most of the day). -1C – +1C. Wheeler was great with minor debris.
Boulton was fair with lots of big debris (twigs, old man’s beard) which didn’t bother us much. Moraine had very good tracks with small debris (needles, cones) while Amos was quite needley. Lodgepole and Braille had excellent tracks, with a few needles on Lodgepole. We used fish scale and skin skis and had excellent traction. There was very little wind most of the day, with a few big gusts in early afternoon.
Jan 12 – Redearth Creek and Ball Pass Junction
I was inspired by Mike W’s backcountry report amd decided to head out that way. It started snowing shortly after I started skiing, and it snowed off and on for the whole day. I skied along the edge of Shadow Lake to Hiaduk Creek (as per Normand), then followed it up to where Mike’s tracks on the summer trail met the creek. Mike’s tracks were covered by wind-blown snow in many places, but it was nice to be able to follow them. I broke trail for the last 1.5km to the campground. I was on track skis but the supportive layer ~15cm down held me up most of the time and it wasn’t too tough. On the way back, I followed Mike’s tracks on the summer trail. Now that there’s a bit of a track set, this was better than sticking to the creek, although that might change with the coming snow. Fresh grooming on the trail on the way back down!
Parked at Boulton Creek parking lot (-1C at 9:30am) and skied Whiskey Jack – Lookout – Hydroline – Tyrwhitt – Pocaterra – Lynx – Amos – Wheeler
The conditions were fabulous with a skiff of snow over recent tracks. The lookout descent on the South side was one on the best I ever done, fast and safe. As mentioned by Ray Young, there was a bit of pine needles on the lower part of Pocaterra and Lynx but Wheeler was in superb conditions (I had forgotten how pleasant this trail is).
We had the pleasure to meet the. Ever Green gang on Tyrwhitt (Amongst which Greg, the leader, Anne the writer, Michael the trail breaker).
Another great day out
Tue Jan 12: upper blueberry meadows
And beyond, towards the turret, looking for an efficient route. Didn’t find the best line, only found tightly gladed trees. Know where to look next though. An inch or two fell latter part of morning back there, with wind. Above ankle ski pen off the track (AT). 1.2 m of snow just below treeline. Blueberry grooming was a bit slappy on return with tree bomb debri. You didn’t want to sit under a tree today if it was loaded. Fresh grooming in the morning on initial part of elk pass to north end of hydroline (groomer turned up hydroline). Mostly irrelevant grooming info after tonight and tomorrow’s snow, unless they keep grooming. Just above zero on return to the car at 1.
Pocaterra-Come Along-Pocaterra-Lynx-Amos-Wheeler-Whisky Jack – Pocaterra
Got to the Pocaterra parking lot at 0815, just as the groomer was finishing up. It looks like Meadow was done, but I’m not sure what else. The conditions on the route I took were just perfect. Recent tracksetting everywhere; about 1 – 2 cm of snow fell while I was on Whisky, but only a trace of that was at the Pocaterra trailhead. Debris is a bit of an issue on the wind-exposed parts of Lynx, Amos, Wheeler, and parts of Pocaterra, but I’ve seen worse, and the coming snow (fingers crossed) should take care of that.
I have to admit, as I was skiing along, I couldn’t believe what a privilege it is to be able to ski in such a great location on such exceptional grooming. I’d swear the grooming is the best I’ve seen in years, but maybe that’s just my impression based on lucky timing. Still, the groomers are doing a fantastic job. Full kudos to them!
Hi everyone, can anyone describe for me the beginner-friendliness of the trails that are marked as Green from the Pipestone area (Hector, Drummond, Merlin?) This is my first season but I’ve been out a lot and had some instruction, I can manage long gradual hills or steeper short ones but I would prefer to avoid longer, steeper hills or hills with turns.
Wait, did I read that right?
“An expert is a beginner who has done anything once.”
REDEARTH CREEK- Pharaoh Creek Trails
Generally excellent skiing on Redearth Creek trail with 59mm wide metal edge XC skis. Mid winter conditions. Moderate to fast trackset snow conditions on VR30 Swix wax (last applied 87 km ago). The wax worked much better once I skied on top of the first few hills.
I decided to ski up Pharaoh Creek beyond the warden cabin, I followed an older skinned fat ski trail on my wax skis. It was a bit of a challenge with small snow basket poles to ski climb. I skied or side stepped somewhere around 2km beyond the Redearth Creek Warden Cabin. My old muscles prevented me from side stepping up the last little steep portion of the hill before the trail began to mellow. It was not even dark out at that time.
I kick backed and enjoyed lunch-dinner and headed back after the sun set. At dusk the temperature at the warden cabin was -5c. The snow slowed as it got darker to moderate speed on much of the trail going back.
The steep hills on Redearth Creek trail were in nice carving shape and the snow was moderately fast. coming down them. It is well worth skiing Redearth Creek trail but with 5 cm of new snow, the trackset could get rather shallow and a bit sloppy as it is getting a bit worn now.
The ACC snowmobile tracksetter should consider widening the trail more where ever possible, particularly on the downhill sections as the trackset has been getting partly snow plowed out by skiers. I skied off the snowmobile track in some areas to demonstrate where the trail can be widened up on a number of hills. A 20 -50 cm wider trail in areas can make a real big difference and make the skiing easier for less advanced skiers. It could also allow for a skating lane on much of the trail which would be greatly appreciated by those with combo skating/classic skis or those with metal edges and big honking legs.
Wider trails are wonderful ski trails!
A quick ski out to the end of Spray and back along the Watridge trail (and a couple of quick trips to some side trails). Watridge tracks in good shape, but are getting windfilled in the openings. Trails in the trees are in great shape, but the winds are causing a fair amount of debris. No impact on skin/waxless skis, but a couple of people I met on wax skis remarked about debris pickup.
Hi West Bragg Creek Skiers,
Had a number of close calls when yesterday when coming down steep hills and almost running into dogs. I know they are allowed to be off leash. But if they are really playful and friendly this can be super scary for those who are not confident skiers. I know it is great to let them run and they look so happy. Please just be mindful to call them back, especially before slopes.
PLPP Bolton parking to couch via Bolton / Elk Pass / over Elk Pass/ Trywhitt / Pocattera / Lynx / Amos. It was warm out today with temperatures around freezing. There was fresh grooming / track setting on upper Pocattera / Whiskey Jack (which I did not ski) and Lynx / Amos so conditions were great in those places. Otherwise the tracks were pretty good. It was windy enough that there were quite a few tree bombs hitting the trail and there are a fair number of pine needles on the trail in places. It was not windy at all up at the pass / couch. A couple of walkers made it up all the way to Elk Pass from Bolton. As usual, the impact of the damage is on gentler hills were skiers may wish to snow plow outside of the track. The ride will be a bit bumpy where that is the case.
Hi, brand new skier here. I’m wondering what the proper etiquette is when the trail is only a single set track? Who is “supposed” to get off the track to allow a faster skier to pass, or another example would be when one is coming down a hill in the tracks while someone is coming up.
Any feedback regarder proper ski etiquette in general is also welcome 🙂
Thanks so much for this! It’s also a great list for pregnant ladies like myself 🙂 Up to now I’ve been using Confed golf course, which is another great start for beginners!
Outstanding! Very good selection, in my opinion.
Thank you thank you thank you for the info to beginners. I really want to experience skiing in the . mountains, but have been Uber reluctant to head out and end up on a track beyond my limited ability. This blog was sooooo timely. Thanks!
JAN 10 REDEARTH CREEK, GIBBON PASS, TOWARD BALL PASS
See Trip Reports > Backcountry 2020-2021
JAN 10 READEARTH CREEK, GIBBON PASS, TOWARD BALL PASS
Not wanting Normand’s Jan 8 tracksetting to Gibbon Pass go to waste, I headed out from the Redearth Creek trailhead on 89mm light touring fishscale skis at 9am, temperature -15C. There were already 3 other vehicles in the parking lot and 2 more arrived as I got ready. The amount of traffic since the last tracksetting had widened the trackset to the point where my skis fit into it; normally I’d have to ski outside the trackset. Conditions were really fast, and I and another skier who caught up with me averaged 6km/hr from the trailhead to the Pharaoh Creek junction.
After first lunch at Shadow Lake Lodge, I started following Normand’s up (and down) track. I had both kicker and full skins with me, and decided that full skins would be best for the terrain ahead. In hindsight, kicker skins might have sufficed, but would have involved some sidestepping, more energy consumption, and slower progress. After about 750m Normand’s track continued straight ahead whereas the summer trail turned right. I decided to follow the summer trail. Ski penetration was about 15cm. I lost the trail a couple of times, but thanks to my GPS was able to find it again. When you see 2 or 3 open corridors in front of you, it’s difficult to decide which is the trail!
I expected to see Normand’s track again once I reached the meadow in the pass. But it was fairly windy and any sign of his track had disappeared, or his track was well to the left (SW) of mine. After a short rest I headed back down, staying in my track on the gentle slopes and getting a few turns in on the steeper slopes. Skiing became more challenging as the trail steepened and the trees became closer together. I wasn’t keen on leaving the summer trail because the snowpack was relatively shallow and I was concerned about hitting buried hazards such as deadfall. In a few places I had to sidestep down sharp turns in the trail, but I was mostly able to avoid trashing my uptrack. At about 250m from the Lodge, I left the trail and had a great ski down a clearing that took me back to the Lodge.
After second lunch, I headed toward Ball Pass, hoping to make the 5km or so to the RE21 Ball Pass Junction campground. There was an excellent skier-set track to the bridge just before Shadow Lake. After crossing the bridge, I followed a skier-set track along the SE shore of the lake, looking for a track heading off on the Ball Pass trail. No sign of a skier track where I expected the trail to be, but there was a moose (or elk?) track along what could be the trail. I followed it for a while but turned around once the track headed into denser woods. After backtracking almost all the way back to the lake I found another opening that indeed turned out to be the trail. After a few hundred metres the moose track joined it. Evidently the moose knew about a shortcut! The trail steepened a bit and I put on my kicker skins which worked well. Ski penetration was 10-15cm. Unfortunately it was now getting late and I had to turn back about 1.5km short of the campground. The return ski back to the car was uneventful except for the exciting survival skiing down the steep hill to the Pharaoh Creek junction. Good thing I had a warm-up on the Gibbon Pass descent!
One thing I would like added to the recommendations is where to park (for example north side of lot) and where to start the trail (example -once you park on the north side, the trail starts on the far east side of the parking lot). I was a beginner fairly recently and would stand looking stupid in the parking lot until someone helped me out.
Thanks for this website as it is very helpful to all skiers.
I hope this guide includes “things not to do”, like that first bit from the Goat Creek parking lot on the Canmore side down the hill to the start of the trail! I went down it Saturday, and the same couple of rocks were there from when I did it ~3 years ago, the path was just as narrow right beside the [running] creek. and it is still all around sketchy! I’ve skied all my life, and was again amazed I didn’t mangle and/or soak myself before even getting started!
EMERALD LAKE and the ALLUVIAL FAN – Jan 11
Lovely quiet snow with great views.
Details in the photo descriptions here:
It’s been a while since any tracksetting has been done.
Looking for NNN-BC boots size 46. Could try on a 45 or 47 also. Thanks.
Hello – looking for classic skis for my spouse, waxable ideally.
200-207 (H:5’9” W: 190lbs-ish)
If you have anything that fits the profile please let me know.
G. 403 606 8280
Field: Tally Ho from Natural Bridge then Kicking Horse Trail to beautiful spot at Ottertail River. 20 kms with both trails. Met only two skiers. -7 warming to -2. Grooming excellent on both. After, checked out Yoho Valley Rd and while ascending saw two Parks snowmobiles descending. Track was not in good shape perhaps due to heavy use on weekend. Volunteer Joe will get it beautiful again: please support KHSC as these machines need more than a volunteer groomer to run.
Shadow Lake via Redearth Creek 27.4km 647m total ascent. The snow gets better the higher and further you are from the TransCanada Highway. Single track is good (a little weary in places) throughout. Good snow coverage on the steep hill at the Shadow Lake turnoff . Made it up the hill but I walked on the return downhill for safety. V45 special violet in the kick zone worked all day starting at -5C and ending at 0C. Strong winds in the afternoon were causing snow bombs which may interrupt the track in places for future travelers. Downhill was delightful and fast with just a skiff of snow for control.
Pipestone. 10;15 -7C two other cars in lot. Waxed VR45 which proved to be fast but slippy. Upped the ante to VR 50 and Rode Multigrade. Stickier wax worked but picked up debris. Tracks are well used, in good shape, but hard due to the traffic.
Skied Pipestone CCW and returned via Hector. The downhills on the west side were quick and we used caution snowplowing and bailed a few times.
Returned to 12 cars in parking lot. -5C .
A beautiful springlike morning ski at WBC. Stepping into my skis around 10:30, the air temp was plus 1 and VR45 was working just fine as I looped around West Crystal-Loggers-Elbow-Iron Springs-East Crystal, with a side trip out Iron Creek. No surprise at the plus 7 as I left at 12:30, after armstronging my way in bright sun up the final long south facing hill to the Iron Springs highpoint. Ski conditions were good-very good overall, with some imbedded vegetation in the well defined tracks. Hills were firm and fast, but “edgeable” for control. Walkers have put divots along all of Elbow, but miraculously stayed out of the tracks. Same goes for the multi-use Iron Creek trail- chewed up on one side- great untouched single trackset on the other. Maybe there’s hope in education after all! If contemplating a ski later today, or tomorrow- south facing hills will be in melt-freeze condition, but the sheltered core trails should still be really nice.
Thank you again for your efforts into confirming dog-friendly trails, we responsible owners/skiers appreciate it!
1. Brand new – never worn Ladies Size EU 40 XC Fischer XC Comfort Pro My Style Nordic Ski Boots. White and black . $190.00.
FISCHER SPEED LOCK: New, revolutionary quick lock with minimum size and weight. Simply pull the laces tight and that’s it! The system is safe and reliable.
THERMO FIT: Thermally formable foam cushioning with outstanding thermal insulation and a perfect fit for the individual shape of the foot.
EASY ENTRY LOOPS: Practical entry loops and wide-opening designs guarantee that boots can be put on/taken off comfortably.
VELCRO STRAP: Fastening element for cuffs and instep straps, easy to handle and adjust.
2. Brand new – never worn Ladies Size EU 38 XC Comfort Pro WS. The breathable Triple-F membrane sheds snow for a warm, dry boot, while the molded heel and Velcro power strap team up for improved stability and power transfer. $190.00 Still in box
Please email if interested. In Calgary
Confederation Golf Course
The south-west side is freshly groomed and quite nice today. The north-east side is very icy, so classic skiers beware. Skate skiers appeared to be more graceful, even on the icy side. We could use another good dump as the groomers probably have a tough job in maintaining these trails and I’m always grateful.
Its -3 this morning at the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre.
Is the PLPP maintenance compound forecast from Weather Network Boulton?
This coverage reminds me of a quote I heard recently upon meeting Kevin & Leslie on the Goat Creek trail. Leslie said “When I retire, I want to become a SkierBob reporter”.
Well, I don’t know if I should pass on this photographing secret just yet, but I just say “Wanna SMILE for Skier Bob!”. It works, at least until they realize that I am not Skier Bob!
Whenever I go to PLPP, I find many vehicles parked at King Creek. What’s the attraction there? I assume people are climbing ice falls, but that is not based on any evidence. Anyone care to enlighten me?
Here’s a weird one. West Bragg was great today if somewhat icy in spots on Mountain View.
Biggest item I noticed was a steady trail of…yellow snow along the edge of the trail and most thoughtfully patches of the trail markings in front and surrounding the trail signs.
At the picnic table on Mountain View when looking at the view of the valley there is a veritable field of Pee markings perhaps a foot away from the table…Really guys?
There was a post a few days ago about signage an it’s effectiveness. Perhaps we should be putting up sings that indicate how disgusting it is that humans feel so compelled to urinate right beside the trail we are skiing on.
I propose a 5 meter minimum distance from the trail into the woods. People shall have full right to yell deprecating and ” belittling” comments at the people/men creating these offensive blights.
Cmon guys we can do better than this.
Thank you for the positive comments on the Redearth trail. It’s really nice to see people out enjoying the park and this trail in particular. I am currently responsible for the grooming which has been done up to this point, and am pleased to see that people are enjoying the most recent work done on the trail. Let’s hope the snow continues so we may keep the trail in good shape for all users. Thank you to anyone who has provided feedback, both good and bad, please continue to offer your comments, but try not to be too harsh 😉
I knew it was going to be a fantastic ski day, when I started up Rolly Road from Pocaterra parking lot. The trail had absolutely perfect, pristine grooming. Many of the north-end trails at PLPP had been groomed overnight and had set up superbly. Nice, crisp tracks, which had set up firmly. The great conditions continued for our entire figure-8 tour. We skied Rolly Road, Come-Along, Pocaterra, Lynx-Amos-Wheeler and Packers. Packers is now good to go in both the uphill and downhill direction. We then took Pocaterra down to Lynx junction… maybe my fastest descent on that part of Pocaterra. Then once again on Lynx to Amos and Elkwood parking lot. We crossed the road and returned via Lodgepole, Braille, and Sinclair.
The parking lot was about half full when we arrived and about 2/3 full when we finished, but it probably filled up in between.
West Bragg Creek-skate skied West Crystal Line, Mountain Road, Sundog, East Crystal Line-We opted for a close, quick morning ski today having not ventured over to West Bragg since long before the holidays (mostly to avoid crowds). 1st car in the South parking lot at 8am!….but had to wait 15 minutes for it to be light enough to ski 🙂 . The grooming was very good considering the lack of snow and warm temps in the last couple weeks-excellent job groomers! Very few, if any, icy spots; trails were smooth and fast. There was a lot of small tree debris along all the trails (to be expected) but as we were skating it did not affect us at all. Trails were quiet for the first bit and as we headed back to the parking lot we saw about a dozen people total in small groupings. Got back to the lot at about 930-the place was packed!! With more cars heading in…great early morning ski though
Lake O’Hara Fire Road to just beyond the steeper grind at km 8. Rode blue -2 to -6 worked fine all day and temp around -8. Saw one couple who’d been at the Hut and decided to ski out a day early. I am giving up hope that the road will ever get groomed this season. If I loved the men’s downhill at Lk Louise, I’d be in my element. Perfect width for snowplowing down. Staying two nights at Truffled Pigs Hotel/Bistro in Field. 10%off for Kicking Horse Ski Club members. Terrific in house dining for guests: take out otherwise! Only 3 of 12 rooms bkd. Great inexpensive getaway!
Sun Jan 10: pocaterra meadow hunting.
Adventure light with cheeky and Simona, scoping out a meadow route north of packers and west of pocaterra. While we found open(ish) terrain to play in and stay away from the crowds, thin snow cover in these north meadows. Doesn’t compare to higher meadows further south with better views, and perhaps only worthwhile when the cloud is present at elk pass, winds are strong and snow is deeper later in the season, or you are into early morning moose photography. Something new and different to entertain ourselves at least. Came back on lynx and a clockwise loop around marl lake (including venturing onto the lake for some tea in the sun), crossing the road to Braille, lodgepole and suicide hill to finish. All track set in pretty good shape despite the traffic. A bit more debri on the other side of the road, but not under the power line. Great snow conditions down suicide hill. Good times. Traffic volume issues coming back on the TCH about 6pm.
Bill Milne/Evan Thomas/Wedge Connector
Great day trotting along with my humans, even if I did have to wear this new-fangled Halti harness which I hate so that I don’t pull too hard nor go off to the sides. Lots of happy families with kids out though not many other pupsters. Fresh grooming so great tracks for the humans (I stay out of them!), except for short sections of wind sift in the open meadows. -2C at start, +5C at finish (around 1.30pm), Peter used VR45 which was getting a bit slippery by the end, Chris used twin skins which worked really well. Now back to my well-earned bone, yum!
Redearth Creek, BNP
Went for a ski on Redearth to the Shadow Lake junction. Turned around there and headed back. Temp was 9C at the parking lot at 11:Am. Blue VR 40 worked well. We were on skinny skis which managed fine. Still able to get a good snowplow in. Track was in reasonable shape. Skied out on some of the steep descents. Trail was hard packed like concrete- wouldn’t want to fall. Trail wasn’t too busy and didn’t see any walkers. Could certainly use another snowfall to refresh it.
CASTLE LOOKOUT TO BAKER CREEK: snow is still very good quality but high use has made the tracks wobbly in places, still a great ski day tho. Took the recent tracks through the campground, nice. Recent cloudy skies have conserved the snow really well as the tracks near the railway do not appear to have melted in any way yet. Used cold blue swix wax, minus 13 degrees when we got to the mostly full parking lot at 10:30 am.
I would like to thank you so very very much the groomers and the volunteers. Could enjoy Pocaterra and Ribbon with tones of joy. THANK YOU
Pipestone (LL): Parking lot was full by 11:30 AM. Beautiful conditions out there. Temp. Was about -10 when we started and warmed up to about -5 into the afternoon. Lots of groups on the trails enjoying the conditions. One set of snow-shoers that we observed were staying off the ski tracks. In general, a low amount of needles and debris on the trails, just a bit in the more densely forested areas. Been noticing ample human urination locations on the trails today. I get it – if it’s yellow go mellow but it only takes a second to cover it up with snow using your ski or pole or at least try to go off the trail/rest areas a bit. I drink as much coffee as you do and I can find a way!!! Otherwise great day out there and lots of folks getting after it!
BAKER CREEK (incl. Scout Cabin) – Jan 10
Only locals seem to know about this adventure!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Don’t tell anyone.
Went to Mt Shark for an easy trip into Watridge Lake and Karst Springs on light touring gear. Lovely day out, albeit a little on the windy side. Kind of wished we had been on regular track skis (skate or classic) – every trail looked to be in perfect shape with solid tracks and cord visible from every junction. The Watridge Lake trail was double trackset the whole way, with a lane for snowshoers and other users which everyone was doing a great job of sticking to. Maybe we can just all get along 😉
PLPP- Whiskeyjack, Pocaterra, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, and Moraine.
We had a wonderful ski at PLPP this afternoon. The temperature was around -4c so waxing was easy. It was also a lot quieter then I thought it would be. Whiskeyjack had new tracksetting, and also Pocaterra up to the Lookout junction. Tyrwhitt was on old tracksetting but it was fine, and also beautiful (like it always is!). Elk Pass trail was recently trackset and the busiest but even then less busy then what I’m used to. Fox creek was in great shape and also Moraine. Only a few debris in the tracks throughout so overall conditions were excellent! Thank you Alberta parks groomers for such amazing trails!
Found on Bill Milne trail Sunday Jan 10:
1- battery pack for a camera, found between golf course and village turnoff
2- snow basket for a hiking pole by bench at Evan Thomas bridge
3- womens (leather) sandals by bench at Evan Thomas bridge
Call or text 403 680-6691 to identify and arrange pick-up.
Lost (or stolen ?):
Salomon 190 (or 200 i can’t remember exactly)
(Grey, red, white)
Last used Dec 28 @ East village ski track
Did you find them? Did you buy them on marketplace?
I’m desperately wanting them back!
Please call or text 403-869-7441
CNC start 9:10 -3C Iron in VR 30, 2 layers of VR 50 and covered with VR 45. The snow at CNC is getting old,hard, and abrasive. We always wax up one wax warmer due to the snow at CNC. Hoping to prolong our wax, we heated in our first layer, added a warmer wax then covered it with a harder wax. Did it work?, Really well for 30 minutes and once we got onto the natural snow and gone down some steep hills the wax was gone. Switched skis left to right 1/2 way through and came home with barely enough wax.
CNC website showed minimal grooming and Track setting. Mainly Banff Trail up to meadow and Bow junction 18-25 which appears to be the lower lit loop. The rest has older grooming. Tracks are holding up well. The skate lanes are smooth IE corduroy gone. The natural snow base further out is maybe 20CM deep.
We skied Bruin full length, which was a chore going from the lowest point on the system to nearly the upper elevation. Skied onto Meadowview and back into the Meadow on Coyote. Lots of team skiers out this early so keep an eye out behind and ahead for these young rockets.
Kovach-link-Ribbon-Milne loop starting and ending at Village.
Trackset is still in pretty good condition. A little bit of debris here and there from big wind last night. But very manageable.
Downhills were still in good condition on Kovach.
Getting a little thin in spots on Ribbon, with the odd rock visible, so if you are headed downhill on the big decline, best to use caution going down.
Milne from Ribbon to Village was excellent.
Question: Can one easily do Skogan Pass on regular XC skis without metal edges?
Thanks for your reply!
Happy New Year!
Its -13 degrees at Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre this morning
PLPP North End
Skied a counter-clockwise loop yesterday starting at the Visitor Info Center. Meadow looked recently track set but had a lot of needles and other debris, Wheeler was in good shape, Packers also in good shape, the downhill skiers seemed to be snow plowing ok since it was not icy, Pocaterra was a fun steady downhill and the tracks were decent if a bit wobbly, Lynx tracks were getting quite wobbly and worn, Wooley was in good shape. Overall a great blue sky day with quite a few people out having fun.
Tunnel Mountain Campground is in pretty decent shape, just watch out for the occasional elk droppings in the tracks as they tend to grab the skin skis quite well!
Kudo’s to the volunteer track setters who have been working hard at keeping the skiing close to town looking good. I really like the “outer adventure loop” just outside of the campground. There are no tracks, but it is a fun groomed addition to the regular skiing at TMC. I am not sure if they plan to pop a track in it after the next snow fall, but I would be okay with that!
If you are looking to ski in the sun, your best bet is likely the afternoon, as 10am-11am was pretty much full shade.
Even walking on the flat part in middle beside tracks on ups and downs is dangerous for skiers as shoe imprints make holes that cause crashes as skiers ski down hills. So many hikers now and walking by twos and threes beside each other rather than single file on the outside edge of tracks. Definitely need better signage for ski only trails and tickets. But if it’s not government groomed trails who is going to give out tickets?
Do hikers need some of their own hiker only groomed hard packed trails? Some snowshoers also seem to like groomed hard packed trails as well (maybe easier for the less strenuous working
snowshoers?) This way they can all get on board with helping chip in on parking passes to keep trails groomed and trails accessible!
Yoho today including Kicking Horse, Emerald Connector, and Alluvial Fan. Starting at -9C, the KH track setting was sublime and with a couple centimeters of new snow, the glide was exceptional. The downed trees on EC have been removed, and this trail has not been skied much this year. Snow coverage is good, and views from the trail are inviting. Halfway along EC the sun partially appeared and there was a teenie bit of warmth on AF in the late afternoon. There was about 8 cm of new snow at the alluvial fan and the setting is simply wonderful there. This most enjoyable day ended too early and darkness made the final, steep run down to Tally Ho invisible. A superb day on the skis. 🙂
Mt Shark. Skied the 15km loop. Heaven. Beautifully groomed all the way along. And the various steep hills were in excellent conditions for my legs (+ dog-in-training…) to stay under control.
PLPP: Whiskey Jack-Lookout-Pocaterra-Packers
Stunning day on the trails! Grooming report said that Lookout was last trackset on the 4th of January but the wind has swept any sign of it away (or there’s been snow but it seemed more wind than that!). It’s quite soft, especially at the bottom, then has icy patches between the hairpin turns and the viewpoint. Pocaterra and Packers were FAST today!! So much fun
Goat Creek Canmore to Banff
Conditions were surprisingly awesome once we reached that first park boundary sign where track setting begins. (Before that it was like skating on skis, and not the good kind of skate skiing!)
Tracks were fast and very well preserved.
Hills weren’t exactly icy but they were fast and polished. I appreciated my metal edges!
I was with another family and all 6 of us (including three children) made it successfully down every hill without having to walk at all. And we all made it over the “death bridge” without having to stop at the bottom of the hill – always a victory. Just had to take it really really slow!
We took Spray East to the golf course which also had decent tracks, easy to ski.
The bottom steep part had several exposed (and unavoidable rocks.) if you have new skis I’d walk this part.
And best of all, the trail was gloriously quiet today! We saw very few people until the second bridge. And even after that it was still quite peaceful compared to the busy trails in Kananaskis.
Ribbon Creek – Skogan Pass
It was pretty much a perfect day for a ski to Skogan Pass. A sunny, blue sky day. Cold enough for easy waxing and warm enough to be comfortable. No wind. And absolutely text-book perfect grooming on the Skogan Pass and Skogan Loop trails. Firm, crisp track setting… spaced about a metre in from the edge… and nicely edge-able corduroy. All on clean, debris-free snow. It is so worth the Nordiq Alberta parking pass to enjoy this great skiing and wonderful trail. https://photos.app.goo.gl/orMNnM8bZt427rNB9
If you are skiing the Bill Milne trail, to avoid the congestion at Ribbon Creek, there’s now lots of parking at the golf course for about 25 cars adjacent to where the ski trail crosses the access road. It’s been plowed.
Skied Baker creek to Castle junction. Great conditions and views from end to end. Only came across a dozen or so skiers all day.
Sundance Lodge and campground beyond from Healy Creek parking. It was cool day (-12 on the lodge thermometer at 1430) but the snow conditions were quite good. The lodge is closed this winter. There is no grooming beyond the Healy / Sundance junction. This route does not see a lot of traffic (thankfully nearly no walkers) so the skier set trail and the downhill sections are holding up nicely. The Healy creek section sees a lot of walker traffic (Share the trail) and has not been groomed for a couple weeks but the ski track is still reasonable.
Tyrwhitt Loop, plus. January 9
A cool minus 20 encouraged a fast pace up the freshly groomed Whiskeyjack this morning, and onwards around Tyrwhitt in the face of a southerly breeze. After a brief lunch under the damp feeling Elk Pass cloud and a quick descent on fast tracks, we were delighted to find Fox and Moraine recently trackset and in great shape. All too soon we were basking in the early afternoon sun on the final stretch of Moraine- too early to go home. Okay- how about a bonus loop over to Elkwood on Amos and Wheeler! This was in the same superb condition as everything else we skied- fine snow, great tracks, and easy waxing with VR30. Despite the cold start and lack of the usual views on Tyrwhitt and Elk Pass- one of the better days on what has already been a very good xc season.
PLPP was pretty busy today (but not as crazy as Ribbon Creek). Most lots nearly full, and lots of people on ski trails. And why not? It was a gorgeous day with fresh tracks on several trails.
Parking volunteers reported between 60% and 90% of cars with passes
Well, I hate to be a Debbie downer, but we skied Sandy today and, well, maybe best to stay home. I saw that some trails had been groomed and some track set so threw skies, dog, and my beloved of 41 years into the car for our 20 minute drive to Sandy. Because of dog, we stuck to Logger’s and I can say without exaggeration that it was pretty bad. Oh, there were a few nice spots that reminded us of why we enjoy skiing, but not many. The rest, even after the valiant attempt to groom, was hard, icy, and filled with debris from wind storm only now pressed a little deeper into the snow making it even more treacherous. I took off my skies at one point to walk down a “hill” (did I mention we were on Logger’s) due to ice and no ability to snow plow as nothing for my skies to grab onto. Can’t even imagine what north side behind ranger station would be like. Only a death wish would motivate anyone to do Pine Ridge until we receive a substantial amount of snow. On the bright side, we were out in beautiful sunshine, got some fresh air, and exercised Bob (the dog) who never complains about the conditions!
Cascade Valley to Stony Creek (just past the end of the tracksetting) – great conditions. Tracks mostly in very good shape. Cold snow in the shade, especially on the way back. Lots of people out.
Lake Louise Pipestone Loops:
-15 C at 9:30 am / -9C at 3:00 pm. VR40 wax worked well all day. Early morning valley cloud lifted by 11:00 am to give warm sun in the meadows of West Pipestone. We skied all Pipestone trails today, Hector and Merlin twice both directions. Early track set of East Pipestone was worn by the many skiers but not washed out. Beware of a large snow bomb with wood on the trail to Mud Lake. Beyond Drummond, Pipestone tracks improved all around to Pipestone Pond. In the sun, Ma Sid’s couch at the Pond was the big draw making physical distancing a wee bit tricky. The chutes of Pipestone are well scraped but were not icy. Merlin tracks and hills are in great condition. Hector tracks were great except on two tight curves were they were washed out over very short distances. Lots of skiers today and the parking lot was filled but only one vehicle remained on access road at 3:30 pm. Overall a fantastic day and a super place to ski.
Post Script: The line of vehicles leaving the TCH at Hwy 40 this morning was fantastic! Small wonder Ribbon Creek was busy.
Confederation Golf Course is in great shape – maybe the best I have ever seen it. The classic tracks are good and the skate lane is flat and firm. The snow cover isn’t that deep so I hope it holds up to the warm weather in the Calgary forecast.
Skied Canmore Nordic Centre yesterday and it is also in very good shape.
SHADOW LAKE – Jan 9
To Begin… Thanks Normand!
Many were inspired by your report, but I chose this more traditional destination up Redearth Creek.
Details in the photo descriptions here:
No parking issues, but this valley feels cold until you get up into the sun.
Found a cell phone today skiing down cascade fire road – found up the trail about a km from the bridge. Please phone 403 819 0780 and describe.
Classic skis – 192-200 – male & female.
2 sets of recreational poles (~145)
First ski for us at PLPP this season. -15C at Elk Pass trailhead and a stiff breeze, but we warmed up fast climbing the hill. Excellent tracksetting on the trails. Blueberry Hill was wonderful with hoar frost trees, the view of the lakes in the sun, yet a strong wind blowing. Descent was chilly and not that fast with the cold snow. Elk Pass was enveloped in the cloud, so we didn’t linger and double poled down Hydroline. Turning off at Fox Creek was a great choice. Good tracks on that fun narrow trail along the creek. Have to come back for more.
Afternoon Ski Peter Lougheed from the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre.
Crossed Road to Meadow – skied downhill (some pine needle debris but nothing sticked) …. Skied Up Lodgepole; Sunny and no debris. Excellent Trackset, good beginner/intermediate ~3km loop.
Loop could have been made longer by doing Braille and the rest of Lodgepole towards William Watson Lodge.
Looking for size 90 cross country skis and size 28 shoes for my daughter.
Lost a black Icebreaker vest at Black Prince on Friday, January 9th. It was either left on the Black Prince uptrack or on the car and later flew off.
Early ski at Ribbon Creek
Jamie and I skied early at Ribbon Creek, with three cars in the parking lot at 8 a.m. We went up Coal Mine. The descent was fast but controllable; I was pretty cautious and not too brave today. When I came around the corner near the old cabin, a big lynx ran across my path. I stopped. It stopped and looked at me. Jamie got to see it in the trees. What an awesome sight! I did not get a picture of it. We went down Ribbon Creek; a bit of soft snow helped the control issue but once again, I was not extremely brave. We both skied down the winding trail. We looped around Kovach, did an extra middle loop and along Terrace. I met many skiers going up the last hill as I descended. The track setting is beautiful! The parking lot was very full by 10:45 a.m. when we finished skiing! Some volunteers were checking people in as we left. We forgot to put out our pass this morning.
Looking for a set of skis for my daughter she is 5’6 130lb NNN prefered
Thank you for posting about this important conversation Bob. These are unprecedented times for new people heading outdoors. Sandy Mcnabb has always had some crossover, where people would walk on the ski trails, but nothing close to what I’ve seen this year. I think having clear signage at all trail entrances is important, but also maybe using social media to spread the message? People new to outdoor winter activity are going to need to hear this message more than once. I think if we are kind, and if possible add a bit of humor, it might make the message more palatable. Try not to let the few ‘entitled’ folks wreck our attitude for the many many who just haven’t thought about it and don’t realize.
If any groomers read this message, I have a question. Is it technically possible, to create a hardened trail (like the trackset area) but just flat, and off of the ski track? I’m not sure if I’ve described that well…. Like one of the previous posters noted, the hardened ski track area is very enticing. I’m trying to think of future solutions moving forward, and I don’t have the knowledge base for how ‘grooming’ works. I just know I love how the trails turn out at the end of it, and can see how inexperience hikers are drawn to them.
how much are you selling them for?
Volunteering at Ribbon today. Stop in and say hello.
Temperature is -16 with no wind, feels brisk out.
RED EARTH CREEK & GIBBON PASS, January 8
Since I had to ski to the Shadow Lake lodge first, before the grind up Gibbon Pass, might as well talk about the GREAT conditions on Red Earth Creek. VR40 wax worked fine on the way up. Single track setting all the way to pretty much the front porch of the lodge! The ski track setting above the short hill past the lodge turn off is very good and fun to cruise along going in and out; the best I have seen in many years. As for the last 1 km to the lodge in the meadows: AWESOME. Overall, one of the absolute best skiing I had to the lodge from TCH1 in over 30 years. Get there, to see majestic Mount Ball dominating the skyline.
Now the climb to Gibbon Pass from Red Earth Creek may have been too early for this time of the year, to take advantage of as much daylight. Once you get to the lodge, half of the 900 m elevation gain remain to be done in only 3 km. I normally wait till late January to attempt it. The trail breaking was mostly with 20-30 cm ski penetration; smooth at first on the summer hiking trail, which I lost about one third of the way up; fell pretty bad about it. But I persevered upward on a steep treed ridge, too far to the SE of the drainage where the summer trail merge with. Finally emerging in the alpine meadows of Gibbon Pass was satisfying. Blue sky and windless; so peaceful. Trail breaking in the meadows was about boot top. I could have spent an extra hour up there, but I was not keen to ski out in the dark so early in the year. See photos and comments.
WBC at Sunset today.
After getting my granddaughter set up at her XCBC jackrabbits class, I had time for a short loop of West Crystal-Loggers-East Crystal. Skiing conditions were quick and enjoyable, on smooth firm recent and older grooming, with very well defined tracks – except on Loggers, where they are a bit worn but still decent. VR45 grip wax performed well, and as expected picked up a small amount of “lumber” here and there in the tracks. Upper East Crystal was a highlight, with perfect tracksetting and clean fast snow!
LAKE OHARA ROAD- Minus 13 at the parking lot this morning but minus 20 at the lake, yikes it was cold! Slow cold snow today, no grooming, thus not much for classic tracks. Mostly AT skiers since the last big snowfall, it appears. Great location if you are looking for a quieter wilderness trip and don’t mind following wobbly AT tracks but attention needed (if using classic skis) on the steep hills down since the AT trail is only about 1m wide. Anyone know if any future grooming is planned since both the lodge and Acc hut are now closed?
Skogan Pass and Loop. Fast skiing on a freshly groomed track on a bluebird day. It was good.
I found a pair of women’s sunglasses (gold and brown) on Hostel loop WBC Fri Jan 8th 2021. Let me know and we can figure out a way to get them back to you.
Also found a “Mont Ventoux 1912m” water bottle on Loggers trail at WBC.
Also found a baby soother and clip on Hostel Loop at WBC.
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.
“ECONO BOX” SKI CAR WANTED
If you have an older econo box manual transmission ski car that you are sick of getting stuck in and are considering a trade-in, give me a shout first before trading it in. A mouse chewed my air cleaner on my ski car and wrecked the engine so I need another highly fuel efficient reliable ski car to get me up to the mountains. If you know of anyone that has such a ski car, pass on my telephone number. Tell your mom!
Contact James at 403-252-0494
Mount Field Yoho Park
Went to ski some of the glades on Mt Field today in Yoho. Temperature was -9C at start at 9:00AM and headed up the Takkakaws Falls road to the avalanche Shute above the switchback. There was was about 20cm of fresh snow on a supportive base. We stayed below tree line. Slopes above bench and tree line were wind affected and likely slabby . Glades had been skied but we found some good turns and did a couple laps. Fun day out.
A short ski day on Mt Shark to Watridge, around part of the lake, and then a bit beyond. It looks like the whole network was done yesterday as MAAD pointed out. The grooming and tracksetting is very hard, and so made for pretty fast conditions. Temperature was -15 at 1400, humid, and no wind, so the tracks should maintain their consistency really nicely. Anyone heading out on them over the next few days should have a great time. The handful of people walking the trail were taking care to avoid the tracks, which was nice.
We skied Hummingbird Plume today. Someone had driven a 4×4 for about 700m along the Skogan Pass trail just as it heads North from Mount Allen Drive (Nakiska Road). Now if that doesn’t mess up a trail. My wife fell on part of the ruts left behind. Wish there was a big enough sign or stick!
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Kananaskis Fire Lookout via Whiskey Jack. Was met this morning by very friendly parking volunteers at the Boulton Creek Parking Lot. Temperature was -11°C at around 11:30 am. Up Whiskey Jack, turned right at Pocaterra and plodded up to the Kananaskis Fire Lookout. What a view!! White-frosted evergreens and frozen Lower Kananaskis Lake in the background. Upper Kananaskis Lake was covered in low-hanging cloud. Due to the cold, my phone camera went back to sleep after attempting two measly little photos. I signed the guest log, and found my name from Jan 27 2013. Back down the north side to Pocaterra – then returned via Tyrwhitt-Elk Pass-Fox Creek and Moraine. Good track-set conditions for most of the way. Lookout trail (north side) was getting windswept and icy near the top. I didn’t even attempt the southern side. Fox Creek has single tracks and is in good shape (only minor pine needle debris); Moraine is mostly track-set, except for some small tricky areas. Mine was the last car in the parking lot upon returning. Temperature was -10°C but was dropping quickly.
Skied Cascade Valley Jan 8. Arrived ~9:30; two lovely young wardens were checking for park passes. Three improvements to excellent Jan 8 report: 1) here is a 1k ski to the the signage for the division between Cascade & Bankhead. 2) the description of a “hill at the beginning is 1.7K with 110 metres of elevation. You might climb it okay, but it’s pretty adventuresome coming down.” is a bit of a misstatement. It is a steady incline rather than a hill. That e-gain over distance is fairly doable for most unless icy conditions. 3) Oppportunity for a nice sunny lunch spot w good views of peaks is ~1/4 k past the turnaround for the initial loop 6k (just past bridge).
A different perspective is always welcome. I’m not sure if you are aware that I was referring to beginner skiers when I was talking about the hill at the beginning of the actual Cascade Valley trail. I use the criteria for when I was a beginner skier to give my advice to other beginner skiers, and there is no way I could have successfully come down that hill when I was a beginner. I don’t want to encourage beginners to get themselves into a situation that could result in an accident or injury. Perhaps the beginner skiers you know are much better skiers than I was. 🙂 1) It’s 750 metres to the Bankhead sign. -Bob
PLPP – South
Elk Pass parking lot was -18 at 9:30 and -10 at 3:30; wind blowing fairly strong all day. The persistent cloud in the Elk Valley side of Elk Pass stayed roughly in place all day, shading the southern reaches of Tyrwhitt and Elk Pass. The Blueberry side was still seeing sun, so we followed the couch-builder into the “upper Blueberry meadows”, which spur left a km or so before the viewpoint. A couple nice spots in there to get out of the wind and gather some rays until 12:30, 1-ish, before the cold shadow of Mt Fox encroaches. So back we scurried to the sunlit “lower Blueberry meadows”, where the latest track now meanders further south along in the west side glades before crossing and connecting the two meadow forks, and looping back to the Fork’N Meadow Lunching Log. Meadow travel is generally supportive, with a nice wind-sift / hoar-frost mixture that satisfyingly goes zzrunch zzrunch zzzrunch at these temps. Tracksetting, if that’s your thing, on Elk Pass and Fox Creek, is skookum.
ISO classic boots size 35.5 or 36 NNN compatible
Banff Cascade fire road – excellent conditions right to the end of grooming (14.4 km out). There were not a lot of people out there today so it should be pretty good tomorrow.
In some cases signage is indeed ambiguous. For instance yesterday when I skied the entire network south of Ribbon Creek I noticed that it often depends on where you enter the trail. In one case one junction indicated skier only and the very next junction (coming the opposite way) was signed “share the trail”. Even if the signage is clear as is the case for some WBC trails (the yellow ones, not those blue skier signs that Tanya mentioned) or most trails at PLPP it does not seem to matter to some entitled users. I find that WBC is particularly bad, perhaps because of the sheer number of users. I think that parks need to enforce the rules and ticket people. If it becomes expensive to walk on groomed trails, people will stop doing it. You almost never see dogs on cross country trails in PPLP because when that rule changed it was enforced.
Skied Goat Creek today in great conditions. Starting from the top, there is no track setting until you reach the park sign – and some rocks on the first hill. But then the tracks are great. Today was really fast, but still some snow to control the crazy descent down to the creek. As I got closer to Banff, the tracks became less firm and many sections could use a re-set.
Re the conversation about signs. I encountered a group with 2 skate skiers in PLPP last week. They pointed out that the common signs say ‘Cross country skiing only’. A few signs do say that the area is for classic skiers, but these aren’t common. The narrow trails aren’t fun on skate skis, and if the tracks are soft, just one skate skier can cause a lot of damage. Fortunately, the tracks were very firm that day. But there does seem to be a need for better signage.
I feel like some signs just aren’t clear enough. For example, some of the WBC signs say that they are for skiing, but they don’t say that you can’t hike on them. The signs tell a hiker that he may encounter skiers on this trail and that he should share the trail. The signs need to be more similar to the ones at Kananaskis Village where they actually say “no hiking.”
And then I’m still seeing the “share the trail” sign on trails I know are supposed to be for skiers. Wedge Connector for example. No good reason to walk that trail. We shouldn’t be sharing the trail.
I noticed some new signage the other day on Great Divide. There was the added element of the dogsled track! I thought that the signs looked nice and were quite effective, and I hope that people will check them out.
I find the signage at Bragg Creek to be very effective. As you can see in the photo Bob posted (man skiing with lovely Golden Retriever), you cannot miss or misinterpret the signs. We also ski at Sandy McNabb. Their signage for both multiuse and off leash areas for dogs (I have whined about this before) is terrible. I try to always approach people kindly as I can see why there is confusion. Although, when I see the same people repeatedly each time I go skiing walking on the skier tracks, well, my practically perfect manners go to hell in a hand basket! Back to the main issue. I do feel the areas that suffer the worst damage are areas where signage is lacking, or open to interpretation, or, for some reason, easily ignored. All signs should be universal so that no matter where you ski, they are the same color, same wording, same meaning, and same dollar fine amount (money often changes people’s perspective) for breaking the rules.
i normally use the Lake Louise WebCams to see the temperature, However the last week or so the temperature at the base has been -4 exactly! all day and night,
I knew there was something wrong and it was obvious as today it was -15 at the Pipestone!- at about 9:45 Am. Of course I prepared for colder temperatures so it was all good for skiing
so this is just I warning that their temperatures are not to be trusted right now.
Jan 8 Upper Lake Louise trails from the Chateau grooming team:
Fairview Loop (#2): Double trackset, good condition, Jan. 8
Shoreline (#4): Double trackset, good condition, Jan. 7.
Lake Trail (#4): Double trackset with a separate path for walkers, fair condition, Jan. 6. Watch for ice patches on the ski trail.
Upper Telemark and Peyto Trails (#5): Double trackset, good condition, Jan. 7.
Looking for NNN skis for beginner 5’4″, 130 pounds.
Selling Fischer Twin Skin Sport classic cross country skiis. 189cms. Suitable for 5’’6”, 140-160 lbs. Purchased in 2019, only used a few times. Includes NNN bindings.
-3 deg at noon, -1 at 2:00 pm. Grooming done on Jan 4 still in good shape. Skate lane from Ribbon to Golf Course getting a bit beat up, trackset is a bit worn but in good shape. South of the Golf Course conditions are better ( due to less traffic, or shadier trails?). It has obviously been above a little above freezing since the last trackset, but the trails are not icy – firm and a bit glazed in the track in places, but very enjoyable. VR 50 with a touch of VR55 was good.
PLPP – Middle trails (Wheeler, Amos, Meadow, Wooley) – Trails in excellent condition. A skiff of snow after the last grooming has been well skied in, leaving very good tracks. The hills are firm but not overly so. There is some debris in the tracks, but with cold temperatures it shouldn’t be a problem with your kick wax. Temps were -13 at 11:00 warming to -8 at 1:30, amazingly close to what the Boulton Creek weather station was reporting (not always the case!). With a clear sky, it made for a wonderful sunny day of skiing.
Thanks goes to the parking volunteers for being out there on a cool morning (yes, that’s you, John R)!
Looking for xc boots for my 16 year old boy. He’s a size 11-12 shoe. Also have a pair that’s he’s outgrown: Alpina skate/touring size 44. He’d likely need a size 45-46. Or size 12 ??
Make an offer on above boots.
Salomon S/Race eSkin skis
Prolink Shift binding
188 cm medium
~ 50 kg
Text 306 501-5730
AT SIDE OF TRAIL
This morning skied a loop from Ribbon Creek parking lot: Hidden, Ribbon Cr, Link, Aspen, Aspen/Kovach connector, Kovach, and Terrace. All in excellent recently groomed shape with good coverage but slow due to cold temperature. Nice corduroy for snow plowing the hills. -13C in 1/3 full parking lot at 9:30 AM, -10C at 12:30 PM in 80% full parking lot; however Ribbon Cr, Link and Aspen were around -20C and no sun.
A BLUE bird day! -15C to start and -11C at 12:30PM. Blue wax and beautiful Alberta Blue sky.
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park NORTH LOOP 15.2km. About 200m of ascent.
Start at Pocaterra Parking
Cross road on Lodgepole
Right onto Sinclair
Right when meets Lodgepole
Follow Lodgepole to right
Stay on Lodgepole to Elkwood Parking (including road crossing)
South to connect onto Wheeler
Turn left onto Amos (1.0 km from Boulton parking lot areas)
Right onto Lynx
Turn left onto Pocaterra
Ski ComeAlong and RollyRoad to Pocaterra Parking Lot.
Trackset in good used condition except for Rolly Road which has skier set track.
Fun and thoroughly enjoyable. Lynx is my favourite.
Bragg Creek @ 10am was -16C and green wax worked well. We did East Crystal to Sundog, conditions were pretty good considering the chinook. Not icey, definitely some pine needles though. Wasn’t very busy while we were there.
From my experience walkers are the main issue, as they don’t snowshoe I believe groomed trails are very inviting to go for a walk…In PLPP there are no shared trails (from what I know), hence less risks to get it wrong. In Ribbon Creek the permanent signs / summer map just show trails name / distance and unless you look at the small paper winter map that is below the main map, you will not know what is allowed / not allowed. The winter map from Alberta Parks (https://albertaparks.ca/media/6496176/kananaskis-ribbon-creek-winter-map.pdf) is also confusing with just different shade of blue to differentiate xcountry only trails from shared trails. I could not find winter trail map for Skogan pass area, are all trails (Sunburst, skogan loop, etc.) shared or not? Personally, I believe a big sign on the trail and at junction (whatever the colour) stating xcountry ski only would be best.
Crystal-clear signage first so that no one can pretend they didn’t know. Then enforcement for the ones who pretend it doesn’t apply to them. If they can fine me $1,000 for having a couple of friends over in my own house… okay, let’s not go there.
maybe Bob won’t move this post to the delete bin so here goes; “sign sign everywhere a sign blocking out the scenery breaking my mind”; thanks to the Five Man Electrical Band for this song “Signs” circa 1968. OMG do i ever wanna see more signs cluttering the landscape.
I’m finding almost every trail in West Bragg Creek gets trashed despite the ski only signs. I always ask people to kindly not walk on the track set. Some people seem to purposefully walk on the tracks despite having 3’ of flat track beside it. Do people feel they are that entitled that they won’t read signs?
It is -19 degrees Celsius in Peter Lougheed Provincial park.
Looks like its going to be a blue bird day.
Jan 7th: Two grooming shifts took place on Thursday under a clear sky with all trails at Mt Shark groomed and trackset. The recent snow has improved the base significantly, and most early season hazards are now covered. However in a few places there is a small amount of brush above the snow (over the first 2 km’s of the Red 5, and some windblown areas of the extra 5k on the 15k loop), and there are rocks or dirt on two sharp corners at the top of hills, one on the Red 5 (and Yellow 10, etc.) and one on the extra 5k of the 15.
Jan 7: Coal Mine, Ribbon Creek, and the Kananaskis Village trails were trackset.
West Bragg Creek
The Rabbit happily hopped along Moose Loop last night, renovating and resetting tracks. Lots of drifting and debris from the winds last weekend have been tamed and conditions now are very good on Moose Loop, East and West Crystal and Sundog. Conditions on other trails remains marginal. Happy Skiing!
I was wondering if that was you, Bob. I just caught a glimpse of you as I was coming off the bridge. I was paying more attention to getting lined up for that tricky little hill that goes down into the campground. Just curious, what were you using for wax? With the varying temperatures along the trail, I found I had to re-wax a couple times and never really found the perfect combination.
I applied two layers of VR45(-2/-8) and covered it with two layers of VR40(-4/-12). -Bob
WATRIDGE LAKE – SPRAY LAKES WEST TRAIL
Skate Skiers Take Note
The grooming/ tracksetting crew was out today laying sweet corduroy and tracks throughout the Mount Shark trails and the Watridge Lake Trail system. Excellent ski conditions to the Spray River Bridge. Such nice straight tracks to enjoy.
From the Spray River Bridge to the Spray Lakes West trail system it is excellent skier tracked skiing. I took the second exit and broke trail towards the mid Spray River. I decided to check out various trails on the west side of the Spray River and ended up in several old burn blow downs. Eventually I took a light bush whacking route near the shore of Spray River and the reservoir to the bridge with the impressive canyon upstream. Off trail travel was generally easy to moderate difficulty with generally less than boot top ski penetration. I never did hit the mid Spray River as planned. On the way back I followed the road up valley of the bridge. After about 500 meters I came across 3 fallen trees that I decided not to go over, fearing more after. I reversed course and followed my track back along the reservoir and river shores, enjoying pinkish snow after the sun went down.
The routes I took where rather impressive blue sky scenery. In one particular area along Spray Reservoir, there were very nice 360 degree views of a number of mountains. This was a great trail breaking ski with great views. Skied out at night to twinkling hoar frost on the snow which was reflecting off of my head lamp.
Lake O’Hara fire road, not track set. Cold -15 with a fresh layer of snow, made for a wobbly slow ski up and slow ski down. Wait for the much needed tracksetting.
Jan 7 Upper Lake Louise trails from the Chateau grooming team:
Fairview Loop (#2): Double trackset, fair condition, Jan. 5. We hope to trackset this tomorrow morning, Jan.8.
Lake Trail (#4): Double trackset with a separate path for walkers, fair condition, Jan. 6. Watch for slush/ice patches on the ski and walking trails.
Got there a little after 2, just as the groomer was finishing up. What a treat! Brand new double trackset to the river and single trackset beyond that. I only went as far as the campground so I don’t know how far the tracksetting went beyond that. Minus 6 at the parking lot and -14 at the campground.
Pipestone parking lot was jammed packed (still not ploughed) @ 12 noon with overflow on Slate Rd, skied the perimeter trails counter clockwise to Mud Lake, visited with Kassy and humans a couple of times, second time at the couch photo opp where Jip shared her lunch, what a good dog! Awesome tails on a really beautiful day, walked over the highway and skied back to LL village for refreshments, my ride home and time to reflect on our good fortune 🙂
Redearth Creek – very nice fresh grooming (although a little wobbly in places). It’s groomed all the way to Shadow Lake lodge, although past the warden cabin the track is fairly rough and very narrow. Met the groomers on snowmobiles coming down from the lodge. There was a skier set track going to shadow lake but I only followed it to the end of the meadow by the lodge. Mt Ball and Copper Mountain stole the show today. Fresh wolf tracks. Beautiful but cold bluebird day, especially in the shady valley.
Castle Lookout towards Baker Creek: Gorgeous day out there and warmed to -6 as stated on Weather Network. Snow abundant; no sign of groomers. Saw 6 happy people all day and one even happier dog. Anyone know why they are not grooming through the usual loops in Protection Mountain-it is one of the prettiest parts of the whole ski, besides the top of the two “humps”? No sign of the moose’s.
Ribbon Creek south towards the hotels – entire network plus Ribbon trail CW and Hidden to Nakiska. Snow conditions are pretty good and grooming is recent. Unfortunately there is a fair bit of damage due to walkers in places. Mostly the damage is in the middle between the set tracks (as mentioned by Jean-Francois. It would only be an issue on the gentle downhills for skiers that want to use the middle to slow down. This was most pronounced on the little hills above the big one heading south from Ribbon parking. The ride down the middle would be pretty bumpy. Signage for appropriate use is a little better than last year but still ambiguous in places where the stated usage is sometimes a function of which end of the trail one enters. Still, in a couple of cases the signage was really clear but the sense of entitlement that some walkers have won out anyway. I skied by one of my old time favourites, Coal Mine and saw that it had a little bit of grooming (looked like 2 passes of the narrow grooming for fat bike trails). It would sure be nice if that one could get regular grooming. It has the best viewpoint in this part of the trail network.
Thu Jan 7: elk pass area (a three pass day).
Oh man, phenomenal meadow touring conditions, maximized appropriately (11 out of 10!).
– east elk pass: this skier set route is in excellent shape having had a few more visitors last couple days (somebody even did some filling on the couple drainage crossings. Thanks!!!). Better shape than west elk pass right now. Probably doable by any width ski, if proficient. Ankle to boot top trail breaking off the main track. If you have enjoyed west elk, this one is worth a visit while the track is good. You will know when you get to the border with its fantastic reveal. No signs of any cats, dogs or ungulates. One can travel further south into BC through the long meadow, down the tobermory drainage. It eventually pinches into a tight drainage valley with some avalanche danger. Return the way you came.
– Patterson meadows (via hydroline snow shoe trail): broke a fresh track, so LT probably best there until more travel.
– west elk pass: only a few have been to couch HQ recently, and nobody went beyond since GH went through to hydroline. I only went to the fork ‘n meadow. A bit drippy on the log with the tree cover there.
– blueberry meadows: now extended for a long full loop from blueberry grooming to 100 m past fork ‘n meadow. the exit/entry at blueberry grooming is now lower down the trail, maybe 100 m from the junction with elk pass trail. LT probably best until more travel.
Looking for skis (Non-wax ,around 180cm, and boots size 8.5)for a woman. Thanks
CNC 10:00 -9 VR 45 over top of VR 50. We always wax up one level of wax at CNC due to the number of skiers and the hardness of the track setting. Skied out Banff Trail onto Olympic and up Coyote and King of Sweden We worked our way down from Rundle, Wolverine and out on Silvertip to the North end of the system Grooming was either new or a day or two old, the whole width of the trails were groomed. We returned via Banff Trail with lots of arm strong skiing due to the downhill snow plowing we had done coming off Rundle and skiing Silvertip, stripping off our wax. Need to iron in our base wax next time. Trails weren’t busy but were being used even further out. Met quite a few skiers, parents with pulks on the return from the meadow.
Parking lots were 1/2 full when we left at noon.
Today we did, from the Ribbon Creek Parking lot, Bill Milne to Evan-Thomas parking lot, continuing on Evan Thomas to Wedge Connector and back to Bill Milne and the Ribbon Creek parking lot, starting at 11 AM it was about -4C, on some section of Wedge connector got down to -10C, and back and the Ribbon Creek parking lot was ~2C. Snow/tracks were excellent on the Bill Milne trails, some needles on the Evan Thomas, and a bit less on the Wedge Connector, overall excellent day with blue skies, used Swix V40, worked well.
PLPP South Trails
Encouraged by the lure of fresh tracksetting, we parked at Boulton, and skied to Elk Pass via Moraine, Fox, and the Elk Pass trail. Fabulous conditions! From Elk Pass we skied nearly 4Km north on Tyrwhitt, to the high point of that trail. Tyrwhitt was decently skier trackset in some 5-10cm of fresh snow. We returned by the same route, enjoying some fast downhill gliding, especially on sections of the Elk Pass trail. Fox and Moraine were as nice as they ever get! Total bluebird day, no wind, -15C to start at 9:45am; -5C when we finished 4.5 hrs later. Quite a few happy skiers out there.
FAIRVIEW – Jan 7
Beautiful conditions on a beautiful day in a beautiful place!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Temperatures of around minus 10 required a change from my favourite kick wax!
Lost a new pair of men’s Julbo sunglasses at Pocaterra by outhouse structure last sat Jan 2.
By outhouse structure or close by in parking lot
Blue frame, gold/bronze lens
Skogan Pass Area / Kananaskis Village
We parked at Nakiska (-9C at 9:00am) and skied Sunburst, High Level, Skogan Loop (CCW), Hidden, Kovach (CCW), Terrace and back on Hidden.
All these trails have been groomed recently and the tracks are in great shape. There are a few areas with a bit of dirt but nothing too serious.
While on Kovach I noticed many tracks from walkers (tracks untouched) and met a group of 6 on the downhill towards Aspen spread over the width of the trail. I stopped to let them know that they should not be on Kovach as it’s a skier only trail, thanking them for not trashing the tracks but still creating many deep divots that can be hazards for skiers. I suggested they should buy a day pass to help with the grooming but they did not seem too keen to do so…May be there should be more yellow signs “skier only” at some junctions.
For Sale: 2 sets Madshus Skis:
542 Nordster Wax
New NNN Bindings
good for lighter (175# range, 5′ 11′)
822 Race cap Classic wax
New NNN Bindings
Near Cochrane. Pictures available
I can second the comments on Confederation Golf Course. It’s in good shape, and snow farmers were moving a lot of snow last night. I like the atmosphere at Confed at night. The reduced festival of lights is still festive and the east end of the park is not as crowded as it has been in other years. Lots of skiers with headlamps were out. A fast line of skate skiers with headlamps in the dark is an impressive and beautiful sight (who knew?).
Confederation Golf Course
Still great conditions on my ski yesterday afternoon. The tracks are still in great shape, and some snow farming has maintained the snow cover. Thanks to the volunteers for creating this great facility in the city.
My wife and I skied at Boulton Ck today. Our route was Whiskey Jack, Pocaterra, Lynx, Amos and then we returned on Wheeler. Wheeler was the only trail that had been recently groomed and trackset (Jan 5 ?). The other trails are in good shape however some attention to grooming/tracksetting would preserve a great base and tidy up the trails.
Skogan Pass , Sunburst, High Line trails.
Snow temp @ 10:30 am -4 C
Great grooming and track setting!
Get on it while the goings good.
WBC groomed trail tour. East Crystal / Sundog / West Crystal / Moose Connector / Mountain Road. These places with grooming were okay to ski on (with waxless metal edged skis). There is still a fair bit of tree debris in places which wax ski users would find annoying. West Crystal and Moose Connector were also trackset and in much better shape. It is amazing what the grooming crew is able to accomplish. There were lots of walkers out on the ski trails today. On fresh grooming the divots were 5 to 10 cm deep. Perhaps the blue ski trail signs need to be replaced with the more obvious yellow “skier only” signs. I would certainly volunteer to put those up. I tried a couple of not yet groomed trails, Mountain View West up the big hill from the south and Moose Loop. Mountain View West (hill) was decent with no debris but a bit of softening in the sun exposed places. Moose Loop was not great. I gave up there pretty quick.
BOULTON-FOX-ELK PASS-TYRWHITT-WHISKEY: Lots of wonderful snow out there. Fox in excellent condition. A bit of sticking with purple/blue swix wax near Elk Pass, but Tyrwhitt had drier snow so not so sticky. We saw a fox jogging down the trail towards us on Tyrwhitt, we stepped aside and she passed us. We took a look at the tracks. Lots of snow when we skied down Whiskey. Some skiers were stopped in the middle of the trail chatting — please beware as the downhill skier may not be able to stop very well when you are not visible around the corner!! Boulton parking lot was mostly plowed out when we returned to the parking lot about 230pm. Saw a female moose on the side of the road, she was in excellent condition likely due to no calf at side this winter.
PIPESTONE and a little beyond – Jan 6
Tracksetting occurred while we were there… but parking lot remains unplowed!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Happy Ukrainian Christmas Eve
Jan 6 Upper Lake Louise trails from the Chateau grooming team:
Fairview Loop (#2): Double trackset, fair condition, Jan. 5.
Shoreline (#4): Double trackset, fair condition, Jan. 3.
Upper Telemark and Peyto Trails (#5): Double trackset, poor condition, Jan. 2.
Mt Shark @ 9:30 am -2 and warmed to -1. Occasional new snow in mini squalls hampered the waxing job, but we switched to different waxes (Ski Go -1 to +3) with some success. Managed to ski to top of the big hill down to Spray Bridge. Tempted to do 5 km Rec Loop but would have been a workout breaking trail. Picked up loops at #13 to #26 back to car. Upper parking lot of impeccably cleared just before our arrival.
Icy debris filled tracks at Shag this morning.
I managed some kick with V60 Red Silver Swix.
Good for some fresh air. Lots of parking available.
What is the distance of this loop? About 14km?
For sale: Alpina XC boots size 41, NNN, in great condition. Insulated and nicely padded, a comfy, supportive boot for track skiing. Asking $100. Text me at 403-479-7235. Located near McKnight/John Laurie.
Its -4 degrees at the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre this morning.
I think people forget how much time, resources, people and relationship building it takes to effectively lobby the government. Especially true with this government who doesn’t want to listen and just marches forward.
Those who feel lobbying the government is the best method are often unwilling to take up and lead the fight. Sure, most people will sign a petition or put up a lawn sign, but are less willing to put in all the work behind the scenes that makes lobbying effective.
There is still time…you have a year until next XC season to start lobbying the government to reverse this decision. You will also have a plethora of data collected by Nordiq about use. Are you willing to lead the charge?
I fear that if a group like Nordiq didn’t step up, then there would be no track set trails this year in these areas.
I don’t think this means they made a choice for user pay for all Albertans I’m every situation, they simply stepped up to the plate when no one else was willing.
I will happily display my pass and volunteer to support groups that are willing to work and provide activity options for all Albertans.
Ribbon Creek: Skied up the Ribbon creek ski trail and then Ribbon creek proper, down link and Kovach yesterday with my dog. The fresh grooming was lovely. Snow conditions were good early season with thin spots in places. The only problematic spot was a rock right in the middle of the hill going down to the bridge over the creek where you essentially turn from Ribbon to Link. Glorious day to be skiing!
Confederation Golf Course, 5 Jan 21 & East Village
I have been skiing at Confederation for the last few days and especially with the fantastic recent grooming, it is great for those who don’t have time to go further afield. Small benefit to not having the Christmas lights up there this year – the trails are nowhere near as tramped down as in previous years. Thank you to groomers and all those who respect the trails. I also took a crack at the East Village trail at Fort Calgary a few days back. It is also groomed and only 1k round-trip, but great for a quick whip-around if you live close by or want to practice on flatland.
JAN 5 GOAT CREEK & SPRAY EAST RETURN, GOAT CREEK & SPRAY WEST RETURN
I started at about 9am from the Goat Creek trailhead, along Goat Creek, Spray East and back. The temperature was in the -4C to -1C range for the trip. I was on skin skis. There were some strong wind gusts in the open area and the usual 3 or so rocks to avoid on the steep downhill at the start, and then boilerplate until you get to the Banff National Park boundary. Beyond the boundary the trackset is in great shape, but the descent to the “death bridge” is getting hard-packed and “dished”, so beware! There was just a skiff of fresh snow in the tracks. The good trackset continued all the way to the Spray East/West junction, where I saw the first person of the day at the shelter. As expected, the grooming and trackset on Spray East wasn’t as good, but was still better than usual. I passed 2 groups totalling about 10 people heading up the trail in the opposite direction. The uphill return trip to the Goat Creek trailhead was uneventful, and as usual a lot slower, taking about half again as much time compared to the outbound leg.
After lunch and reapplying glide wax, I headed out again, but this time connecting to Spray West. The temperature was in the 0C to -4C range for the trip. Along Spray West the trackset was shallow and getting worn out, and tree debris on the trail for the last couple of km. Arrived back at my car just as it was getting dark. Another great ski day!
No new grooming or track setting over the last few days due to the Chinook temperatures and shallow base of snow that is sublimating with the warm temps and winds….we want to preserve the snow as much as possible.
Skate-ski lanes are hard-packed and fast, and the track-setting is in great shape with no reports of icy conditions in the track setting.
We may re-groom the skate-ski lanes next time the temperatures are forecasted to be several degrees below zero overnight, it depends on volunteer willingness and availability.
We are hoping for more snow to increase the base, but conditions are excellent as they are! ?
(3700 x $50) + (500 x $10) + $16000 = $206000
The government had better not cancel grooming for these trails; they are a huge asset to Calgary and the cost, especially with the paid parking program, is minimal even if it doesn’t quite reach 210000.
As I see it, buying and displaying a pass is a way to help these trails survive: it is giving credit to Nordiq Alberta for working hard to save the trails, rather than to the government for being jerks. Besides, 50 bucks a season for some of the best trails in North America is pennies. It’s less than a tank of gas. Compare it to other ski trail pass costs!
PLPP 24k Cookie Race Route.
Isabel and I had a marvellous ski under sunny skies and great conditions. Lynx, Amos, Wheeler all in pristine condition with fresh snow and fresh tracks. We were even treated to a great view of a magnificent male Moose with a huge rack of antlers in the woods near the bottom of Pocaterra on our return . Feel so lucky to be skiing in this beautiful place.
Selling: Waxable Rossignol Classic Max 206 length.
It was a pleasure to meet Bob in person on Evan Thomas and my son, being as astute as he is said, “He just loves to ski”. Today was the best day of skiing I have had this season and one of the best in recent memory. Excellent conditions, great company, and a beautiful setting.
Jan 4 Update from Kicking Horse Ski Club in Yoho:
The weather cooled off a wee bit and Joe was able to do the Tally Ho today and drop off the track setter at the base of the Connector to machine groom & cut lots more trees all the way up to the Lake!!! The Connector is NOT ready yet by any means—needs many more passes with just the sled, then at least a few with the groomer to get it some what safe and skiable. when Joe stepped off his sled to cut trees–he was down to his armpits! AND— he did track set all of the Emerald Trails— Could be the BEST skee of your winter!!!!! Also—Avalanche control tells us–This is the last time we can track set underneath the AVI path—gotta work that trail on the ice(as we usually do)—away form most of the avalanche dangers–! We will still use the picnic area(not the usual drop down by the boathouse) to start our new trail and veer RIGHT towards the bridge, the point cabin and swing around to get up the Horse Trail.
Jan 5 Upper Lake Louise trails from the Chateau grooming team:
Fairview Loop (#2): Double trackset, good condition, Jan. 5.
Lake Trail (#4): Double trackset with a separate path for walkers, fair condition, Jan. 5. Watch for slush/ice patches on the ski trail.
Upper Telemark and Peyto Trails (#5): Double trackset, Fair condition, Jan. 2. We hope to work on this tomorrow afternoon (Jan .6).
Hi Bob. We didn’t cross paths again because … after we met on Wedge, upon reaching E-T parking lot, I came to my senses and simply backtracked to ski that outer loop clockwise not CCW for the second lap – got the same miles logged in but avoided doffing skis and walking the E-T parking lot twice. Nice tailwind to Ribbon. Strava said 26.8 km. See you next time.
Good job. You did double my mileage. -Bob
Love your page and love the reports.
I know it’s not possible to have these pristine ski conditions without Kananaskis grooming but to imply that we wouldn’t have grooming in Kananaskis without a user pay system is a stretch. The government threatened and the nordic community caved to the threats and set a precedent on behalf of all Albertans. I still think we could have lobbied the government in other ways to pressure them to maintain the grooming in Kananaskis. Now that the precedent has been set, I fear there will be no end to user fees going forward.
Our government is inept (as clearly seen in their covid response / leadership, plan to de-list parks and protected areas, opening up the eastern slopes for coal extraction, undermining our health care workers at a time of crisis, giving away billions of dollars to corporations with nothing in return…and the list goes on). I’m grateful to be skiing on nicely groomed tracks but I think we let the government off the hook way to easily.
I do appreciate the grooming efforts of staff as well as the volunteers that come out for various events, etc. Thank you very much for this!
I do not appreciate that we’ve gone down a dark rabbit hole without proper engagement, thought and discussion of all Albertans on the matter.
BTW – I bought my parking pass but I will not display it. I don’t need to give this government any more support for their poor decisions.
Arrived at Boulton Creek parking lot circa 0950, first car in lot with one more arriving before I departed. Temperature in lot was -3C with 5cm overnight snow in the parking lot and a bit more up higher. Skied Whiskey Jack > Tyrwhitt > Elk Pass > Fox Creek > Moraine. Caught the best powder of the season coming down from Elk Pass, where the fresh corduroy and track set from December 31 were nothing but a distant memory (probably 30 cm has fallen since then?). Fox Creek and Moraine were a delightful way to end the day. 10 cars in the lot, -2C on departure. Wonderful day to be in the mountains.
PLPP I skied from Elk Pass parking up the Elk Pass trail to the couch. My son was with me for his first trip in 17 years. It was good to have some help breaking trail (15 cm penetration when we were on it and about double that when we could not see it). We broke trail all the way to the hydro line having lunch at the the alternate couch. There was a good trail coming up from the Elk Lakes cabin so we took that back up to Elk Pass then down via Patterson. Logging on the BC side may have stopped for the time being. Grooming had only been done on lower Elk Pass and Hydro line. There was about 5 – 10 cm of fresh snow on that grooming so a lot more where it had not been groomed but the skier set trail up to Elk Pass was pretty good. The parking lot had not yet been plowed out so it would be a good idea to only enter it with a high clearance vehicle and winter tires.
Conditions at Ribbon Creek were lovely today! Started off on the actual Ribbon Creek trail for the first time since before the 2013 flood. Holy COW, has that changed!! So thankful for the conditions, as that series of downhill S turns was pretty intimidating! Especially endeavouring to negotiate the last right turn and coming across four skiers across the width of the trail. Yikes!
It’s been awhile since we have skied that area, the last couple of years being so amazing at Bragg. Lots of changes and also lots of signage for fat bike trails and snowshoe trails (some of which had not been touched it would appear) but the fat bikes made the decision to ride right in the middle of the two ski tracks on Terrace. While it IS a shared trail, there was so much room for them to be riding to the right.
Ribbon Creek: all the Skogan trails. I skied up Hidden and then to Skogan Pass, and did Skogan Loop on the way down as well as going over to the Hummingbird Plume lookout. Snow was sticky at first (+1) but got better after it clouded over. There’s a few cm of ungroomed snow on all the trails I skied after the first junction out of the Ribbon Creek parking lot.
Fairview Circuit: early birds got the first tracks down Upper Tramline today. -11 at 10am. Saw no one on MLR or Fairview until we were comfortably on time for our outdoor lunch reservation at Ma Sid’s couch. Gorgeous spot with amazing views. Parking lots seemed half empty at Great Divide and MLR. No sign of the groomers on Fairview but evidence they had done #4 to the Lake. Lots of people enjoying skating on the lake. -5 back at the car. Would have been a perfect day to ski Townsite groomed on the 4th!
Meadow and Wheeler trails were a delight this morning. Fresh snow and track set. Minus 6 or so when I started and minus 2 on the return two hours later.
Pocaterra -> Whiskey Jack
Arrived at the Pocaterra trailhead at about 0845 and there were 2 other cars in the parking lot. There was about 4 cm of fresh snow on the ground. Took Pocaterra to Lynx to Amos to Whisky Jack, and back by Pocaterra. The Pocaterra tracks are holding up well, but are slowly getting beaten down. Most of that loop hasn’t been groomed/trackset recently, so there’s anywhere from 10-15 cm of fresh snow to contend with. Whiskey was “interesting” to climb, as the fresh snow made for somewhat slick conditions on skin skies. All in all, though, great conditions, no wind, and temperatures just below 0C. About 30 cars in the lot when I left at 1300.
Thanks Bob, for the track setting report early this morning. We parked at Ribbon Creek – parking volunteers already in position – and thoroughly enjoyed the perfect snow along Bill Milne to Wedge Pond. We then took the Connector to Evan-Thomas Creek, pausing to bask in the sun for a snack. The path up to the E-T fire road was in good shape and as we pushed off to glide down to the highway we passed Bob himself. The return to Ribbon was enjoyable with a following wind. The trail should still be great tomorrow. No idea what wax worked as temps were around and slightly above zero and we chose to use skin skis.
Castle Junction to Baker Creek, plus the other Castle Junction trails.
There was a few centimeters of fresh snow over skier-set tracks. I started early-ish at Castle Junction and got the first tracks of the day until the final kilometer before Baker Creek, where a couple skiers had began the trail in the opppsite direction. My return to Castle Junction was much quicker as more skiers packed down the fresh snow. The creek crossing at the Castle Lookout parking lot is getting a bit narrow and should probably be approached slowly. Other than the whole trail system being in need of some fresh grooming, conditions were great!
Spray River west side to high point before Spray River bridge and return – What a delight to ski this route today. Warm temperatures(-3C. to 0C.) and cold snow made for some fast skiing on the downhills. The dusting of fresh snow on new track set was welcome, and only a few hundred meters near the parking lot had any needles to speak of. Most of us used fish scale skis, but two were on V45 wax. No one had any problems with their choice of ski. Not many people on the way out, but by the time we reached the junction with Spray East on our return, we saw many more folks out enjoying the perfect conditions.
Jan4- Kananaskis Village pioneer tour- 50km covers a bit of ground suffice to say KVillage trails are superbly trackset. Go there & find out about the Kovach claim-to-fame. Don Gardner’s Hummingbird Plume was skier trackset in 15cm light powder which though slow up, safe for the screamer descent. Good fitness tester and just fine tracks above Ruthie’s. Upper Skogan is burried so don’t bother unless on 60mm+. Who/what was Skogan? Mr.Bill Milne & Sir Hugh Eva-Thomas trails weren’t (but are now!) trackset and -befitting the former gentleman, the BEST trail for beginners, leashed k9’s and skate skiers. Try Hidden Trail connecting 2 areas via the upper Ribbon Crk trail for some lively ‘Nakiska’ traversing.
Maple Ridge Golf Course: We skied last night after work and the tracks are still only skier track set. We used VR60 and grip was reasonably good around the majority of the typical loop but there were definitely a number of places where the tracks were glazed over. The west leg and west side in general were full of pine needles, leaves and twigs. While the east side, along the ridge over Deerfoot, was reasonably good – grip was best along here. The tracks are getting a bit worn in places – I hope the city will start grooming and track setting on Tuesdays as per their website and previous years! Does anyone know for sure?
I just bought a pair of xc skis but im trying to piece two sets for myself and my husband.
I am 5’9 160-165# and I purchased 201 cm atomics.
I am in need of a pair of bindings, 140cm poles, and 43 boots to fit the binding.
My other half is 5’11 175#
We were thinking 205-207s?
Bindings and 44 boots
150 ski poles
We are both athletic but definitely not cross country skiers.
We are in Calgary near downtown.
Looking for classic XC ski set up. I’m 135lbs and 5’8. Something around the length 196 is preferred. I’d like waxless as well.
Also looking for boots size 40 and poles length 140
Also looking for AT ski set up.
Skis around 172cm
Boots size 26
Please email me.
SPRAY RIVER TRACKSET TO SUNDANCE JUNCTION
Parks Canada was out with the trackset equipment and grooming the skating lane today. Generally excellent skiing up to Goat Creek junction.
Beyond the Goat Creek junction up to the Sundance trail junction it is well skier packed with a couple of centimeters of new snow in the skier track. The skier track was pretty nice and straight and wide. My ski trip up the upper Spray River was cut short at the creek beyond the junction. It was not crossable on skis due to high water. This is the first time in decades that I could not cross this creek with my skis on. I headed up the Sundance trail but was blocked a few hundred meters up by fallen trees.
I turned back and decided to go part way up Goat Creek to ski some hills. The snow was moderate speed and excellent skiing for a couple of kilometers past the bridge.
Coming back to the Banff Springs Hotel area at night the skate skiing was nice and soft and the snow speed was moderate. I have now skied 14 days using the same Swix 30 -5 to -15c old snow wax without using anything else and it performed well again today. The snow consistency has been superb this season.
There isn’t a skijoring club specifically, but there are a few groups on Facebook for all dog-powered sports – check out Kicksled Calgary or AB Mush for Fun. They occasionally hold events, including races and learn to mush clinics.
As for trails, anything dog friendly has worked for me. I love Bragg but also find it more difficult because of the the prevalence of off-leash dogs – mine always wants to say hi so my quick release gets a lot of use, hah.
Castle Lookout to Baker Creek return: – 10 at 10:40 am. Saw hardly anyone until top of first “camel hump”. One area of water open on a little dip after the “tree tunnel” which I marked with orange flagging. Was hoping to encounter the groomer which often happens when wanting to unload cookies in my pack! Was trying out new booties so was glad tracks were well worn with lovely soft snow. I find the new longer stretch along the railway tracks no where near as nice as the trail through Protection Mountain Campground, so skied it on the way back. Two moose were spotted in there (from the railway tracks trail) but no sighting for me skiing through. Generally it seems people like to start at Baker Creek, but I find the most scenic part is starting from Castle L/O. Anyone know why the trail is not following thru the campground this year? No sign of any work trucks.
I skied Glenmore Reservoir tonight. There is no formal track setting I am aware of. The tracks which have been layed down are by skies. Many on east west part are wind filled. The ones parralel to North Glenmore Park are deeper. The same can be said to those by Heritage Park H. The crossing tracks are filling in with snow. I have not expored by the sailing club or the south side yet.
January 4th – Excellent conditions today on the Pipestone Loop in Lake Louise. Soft snow and smooth gliding in the tracks. Great day!
And Fairview track set Saturday morning.
Kananaskis village -Terrace to Bill Milne to wedge pond and back. Wind blown and a bit wobbly tracks, but still an enjoyable day out.
Mon Jan 4: elk pass.
Ah, nothing beats a weekday non-holiday ski. Parking lot unplowed in morning, and still unplowed at end of day. Got stuck on the way in and on the way out (slushy junk). Nothing a bit of back and forth couldn’t solve, and didn’t have to break out the metal folding traction devices. But glad I wasn’t the last car in the lot. Wobbly Skier set track throughout. The best “ungroomed” grooming of the day was fox creek on return with an excellent track compared to elk. But not to worry, when I popped back out to elk pass trail, fresh corduroy for the final stretch!
Mon Jan 4: elk pass area.
Broke trail through east elk pass to BC border. Boot top to gator top trail breaking (LT, waxless, no skins required). Took a bit of shovelling to fill in two drainage crossings, but otherwise excellent travel, especially on return (probably needs some more filling as it sags). Somebody followed my track part way in before I came out (that’s a first!) so well packed now for the first 1.25 k, and fast return, thanks to the nice couple who opted for a bit of exploration today. Unfortunate they didn’t get all the way to the massive open meadow at the border. Went back to west elk pass and re-established the skier set track to the fork ‘n meadow couch. Much will be blown in by now in the larger open areas, but followable.
HEALY & BREWSTER CREEK to Bw10 campground past SUNDANCE LODGE – Jan 4
Thanks to all those who have previously broken trail up here, I could just take pictures!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Nice to see Frank & Leslie who were smokin’ fast on the way back!
Skied CNC late morning and early afternoon. Conditions on Banff and Meadow View trails were sublime. I returned on Bow trail, which was softer and slower and had more debris (needles and twigs) to contend with. All and all a great outing!
Goat Creek Trail from Goat Creek to 10 km top of hill and back. Other than the first kilometre in the Provincial Park the snow was excellent and is completely groomed with a single trackset as of Noon today (Thank you Parks Canada). Only met one skier all morning! Temperature -6C at trailhead when -3C in Canmore at 8:45AM. Temperature held below -2C .
For those that don’t want to travel to the mountains, or just have an hour to ski, Confederation Park is a great alternative. All the trails were trackset last night and thanks to some snow farming and grooming, they are in very good condition. A big THANK YOU to all the volunteers that have worked so hard to keep this facility in shape over the holidays.
Looking for womens 7.5 SNS classic xc ski boots! Could possibly fit size 7 depending on the fit. Thank you in advance 🙂
In Search of: Women’s classic XC gear set up. I’m a beginner so looking for Waxless Cross Country Skis – Scale Pattern or Skins. I’m 5’5 and 120 pounds and wear a size 6.5-7 boots. Please let me know if you have any set ups available for sale. I’m located in Canmore Alberta. Thank you and happy skiing! 🙂
I did some digging to find the full version of that pamphlet:
I was running 40 Mile Creek this summer and noticed some Parks Canada nordic styled signs. What an area that would be to ski!! Carrot Creek as well, so many gems in there. I also can’t imagine how wonderful Middle Spray River would be if it was still properly maintained. Might need to invest in some LT skis next season…
Dean – technically the Glenmore Reservoir is Closed from Nov 1 thru April 30, however I don’t think I’ve seen any enforcement except when people are being really dumb. Be cautious – the reservoir water levels can change resulting in ice well above the level of the water, or resulting in slush on top of the ice. If I were to ski on the reservoir I’d stick close to shore and preferably along the east shore near Glenmore Landing. Be aware of where the river flows in at the west end, between the canoe club and Heritage Park and by the causeway as all those areas have unpredictable ice
3 pins won’t fit in the tracks at the Nordic Centre, but you can always ski outside the tracks on the corduroy which should work fine for wide skis.
-10 degrees at the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre this morning.
Lookout-Tyrwhitt- Sunday January 3
Thanks to some suggestions here on Skier Bob- we were very happy with our route 🙂
Skier Bob asked me to share my thoughts / experiences so here it is:
I decided to try a new route and head out for a bigger ski with our 9 year old son. I should say though that he’s been cross country skiing since he was 2 and has already put 320+ km in this season with our family and training with the Nordic Ski team – so I probably wouldn’t recommend this trip typically for a child that young 🙂
We had a bit of problems finding the parking lot for the trail head. I heard some others in the parking lot say the same thing- but when we did we were greeted by a friendly volunteer checking for parking passes ( we purchased ours last month).
Although I have winter tires on our van- we sometimes have problems in the parking lots when there is a large fresh dump of snow like there was Saturday night/Sunday am. PLPP apparently got 15-20cm and I can say that it was even more in the higher elevations! After talking to other skiers I am going to carry kitty litter in my van and traction aids. I love the ski community 🙂
We headed out up Whiskey Jack and found it to be fairly gradual with a few parts that needed herringbone. Once we hit the lookout trail the tough slog began.
I had fish scales and it was mom’s ski’s for the win today!!! My son had waxed with blue in the parking lot- but the deep, deep powder combined with the wax less skis had him slipping and sliding everywhere. We put 2 generous layers of purple on and that helped a lot. It looked like there was some snowed in tracks of someone ascending when we went up around 1pm. Encountered a few skiers coming down from the other direction and they were struggling with the powder on the downhill as well as us on the up. It was far to deep to snow plow- and one commented we all needed back country skis!
The Lookout was BEAUTIFUL! definitely worth the climb. We layered up and enjoyed a surprise hot chocolate with marshmallows for a treat!
On the advice of others we went BACK down the North side of Lookout ( the way we came up) and it was a crazy ( from all the powder) but fun ski down in the powder. My son wiped out and it’s the first time I’ve ever “lost” a ski. LOL!!!! After digging in the buried powder we found it (phew). Encountered few frozen binding issues and frozen water bottles- but all was good. The tracks coming up were ruined by all the downhillers trying to save their lives by staying upright in the deep powder 🙂
Once at the junction we headed South on Tyrwhitt and it was beauuuuuutiful. A welcome flat compared to the black uphill of the lookout! Had another hot chocolate break at Elk pass and then started our fun descent. Hydroline was not groomed at all so the only option was Elk Pass that had some skiier set tracks on the flat and then it was a free for all on the down hills with tracks in the powder everywhere.
We took Elk Pass all the way down to Fox Creek, then Boulton Creek. Boulton was done in headlamps as we started late but it was totally fine. Ironically Fox Creek and Boulton were some of our favorite trails because they were nestled in the trees and the trail was so narrow you felt like you were in another world.
Made it back to the parking lot the only vehicle-and never got stuck.Phew!
My apple watch said 22km, and it was about 5 hours with lot’s of hot chocolate stops, pack adjustments, finding ski’s in powder etc.
Overall I’d say the fresh powder would have made the ski ( down especially) MUCH more difficult for beginner skiers and would not recommend this loop if it’s a lot of fresh powder and you are not comfortable on skis.
Love this page- this community is the best!
Yes! That is what I was thinking. I realize the unprecedented interest has led to strain on the current trails and parking, but what if this enlightenment of the masses leads to a bigger voice for this wonderful activity and MORE trails get funded, and better parking solutions are found, and all the other great things mentioned in the above post!
Just wondering about skiing on the Glenmore Reservoir. Lots of people do, but I can’t seem to find any information about conditions or whether it’s even allowed (though my internet search skills may be the issue!)
I have modern equipment but I do love to ski on wooden skis with 3-pin bindings fairly regularly too. The track setting at some locations is such that the bindings drag due to width, especially in icy conditions. Do you know how 3-pins will function at the Nordic Centre? Conditions are always so great there and Id love to take some family members who only ski on wooden skis with 3-pin set ups.
Who’s this guy? A young Steve Riggs?
Tracksetting on the evening of Jan 3:
The Kananaskis Village trails and Ribbon Creek. The only portion of Coal Mine which is trackset is the 600 metres which is used to access Ribbon Creek.
In PLPP, the trails on the west side of the road including Lodgepole, Braille, Sinclair, Meadow, and Spruce road.
Cascade Valley and Upper Bankhead in Banff National Park.
Most of the trails at Confederation golf course.
New snow over grooming was fun with great track balance. As I discussed with another group “the trails were far from excellent but the skiing was great”. The groomers arrived at the junction at the bottom of the lake.
We didn’t wait and out ran them to the parking lot.
A great day just making your way!
Hi Bob, what is the deal with the Live Grooming report? When I click on there it says the site may be compromised. I thought it wasn’t being serviced anymore yet on your home page I saw a Live Grooming Report screen shot showing the recent grooming at Ribbon Creek.
The Live Grooming service was very useful and would love to see it reactivated by whoever provides it.
Skier Bob asked what the future of XC skiing will be like. Lets look at ski sales to predict it.
Well if the lack of choice for ski equipment continues at the many shops I have visited in the last couple of years, skiing may not occur for a lot of people. I have not been able to buy a decent durable reasonable priced pair of ski poles for years. My size does not seem to be available by the time I can make it to ski shops after harvest without paying more for the poles than my skis. The Rossignol poles I bought 3 years ago were junk as the thin straps broke and the tips fell off. I feel like I am living in the old Soviet Union Dictatorship (I wonder if they were short of XC ski poles?). I am on my” back up back up pair” of poles and the tips are nearly worn to the baskets. I can only ski soft trails as a result. I will likely not be able to ski hard spring snow with these poles. I will likely have to resort to being stuck in COVID downhill ski line ups at Lake Louise in late winter rather than cruising on my XC boards.
I won’t get into how I can’t buy the super narrow high camber metal edge waxable skis I used to be able to buy years ago. UGHHH!
On Kijiji there are a lot of people looking for XC equipment- the most I have ever seen. People can primarily only buy old junk from way back in the last century. I really don’t think bamboo poles will last more than 5 minutes for me before splintering and leaving dangerous debris on a ski trail for someone to crash into and get all slivered up!
If ski shops can’t supply equipment demand, a lot of people may never get into the sport or leave it. Some of the local shops are just too small to store gear so I can understand that they run out quickly. But bigger shops have no excuse to run out of equipment selection by the 3rd week of November. They are missing sales and profits as a result. If a “want a be beginner” xc skier can’t buy gear as late as January 31, then they may never get into skiing nor advance and buy better gear as they get better at skiing. This is a potential huge future profit loss to the ski shop industry and ski equipment manufacturing industry. Then such “want a be skiers” won’t introduce 2 friends to skiing and those people won’t introduce 2 friends to skiing and so on and so on. The is what XC opportunity ski equipment sales losses look like not only today but in the future.
The ski shop and ski manufacturing industry really needs to understand the marketing concept of “Just In Time” supply chains, like other industries do. Imagine if a car parts store only brought in parts the way the ski shops do. You would not be able to get an air filter after the first few weeks of November.
A lack of XC ski equipment supply also means fewer than the maximum possible amount of new skiers entering the sport. This has negative economic spin off effects on the local economy as well. Just imagine if there were not enough cars for sale on the market or enough gasoline or electricity to supply cars on the road. Similar negative economic spin off effects would occur.
Lets hope the ski shops in the future better match equipment demand with supply for the benefit of all skiers, their profits and more. If they don’t Amazon may and that will kill a lot of ski shops along with parts of the local shop economy.
Bob, I managed to dig out my copy of the booklet whose cover you displayed. Here’s another booklet cover from “the olden days” – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VoE9CdMxpJYsC2T0PFjQpYqItzsaRLWG/view?usp=sharing
CASCADE to past STONEY CREEK
Quite sticky snow when I started at 9:30 am. Ended up scrapping all grip wax and it worked fine over freshly machine trackset to the Cascade River bridge. Then skier track only to Stoney Creek, with up to 15 cm of fresh snow over previous tracks. Skied another 2.5 km past the old bridge wreckage at Stoney Creek. Good thing there was an older ski track past Stoney Creek, as my light touring skis were sinking almost to the ground in places with some whoofing collapse. The crux of the day was a 2 hours long drive from Canmore to Calgary; stalled traffic starting a few km west of the exit for K-Country.
Backcountry xcountry skis, Fisher Europa 99. 180 cms long, 68-55-62 with full metal edges. The E-99 is a versatile, waxable, distance-oriented BC-XC ski. It is double-cambered for kick and glide efficiency, designed for the backcountry but also works in XC tracks. Mounted with Rottefella BC bindings. The skis are five years old but have hardly been used. $350.
Alpina BC-NNN boots, size 40. Thinsulate insulation adds extra warmth. $125.
In west-central Calgary. Call or text 403-519-6633.
Colder temps in Bragg creek (wishful thinking); proper tax base funding for grooming given the demand and benefits (or a tax/health credit for user fees); expanded trails and grooming; winter roadside camping options with weather protected cooking facilities; more skis available and snowshoers/walkers embracing this efficient way to travel in winter; a new generation of younger skiers so demand/grooming continues; more seating options in good places; better connections between trails for more continuous ski options; more rapid or strategic parking lot plowing after large snow events, and; Bob finds an apprentice with equal talent.
Shaganappi Golf Course-2 skate spins around the complete golf course today to have a day of no car and walking to the trails. Still generally in good condition despite the mild temps and lack of snow in the city. There are definitely some bare spots in the usual areas-near parking lot by the club, along the condos on the west side and near tree covered areas. Easily avoidable though. Some of the steeper hills are getting pretty slick. All in all though still good snow coverage and the classic tracks look like they are holding up well. Thanks SNO team!
Ribbon Creek-Skogan trails
After seeing the report of fresh grooming on the Ribbon Creek-Skogan trails, I headed out there expecting pristine corduroy and clean, crisp tracks. Boy, was I ever disappointed. Everything was covered by 15 cm of fresh, soft powder. Despite those conditions, I persisted and did the Hidden-Skogan-HighLevel-Sunburst loop. There was lots of evidence of damage from skiers leaving deep tracks in the snow, especially on hills. Still, it turned out to be a great ski, despite the conditions.
Looking for SNS boots (ladies 10-10.5) and 3 pin (mens 10.5)
Please call/text at 4037004113 if you have either option for sale!
Skogan Pass plus loop and Sunburst / Highlevel from Nakiska. There was about 15 cm of fresh snow in the parking lot but less higher up 5 – 10 I would guess. The conditions were quite good but by this afternoon it was getting pretty chewed up particularly lower down on the “screamer”. Up higher there was enough fresh snow that descending without snow plowing was feasible most of the time. Fortunately there were only a couple of walkers that got up as high as the Sunburst / Skogan junction.
Another great day at PLPP!
Headed out early and hit the Pocaterra Hut parking lot at 9:15 – might be a record for us! There was a lovely dump of fresh snow which totally filled in the tracks that were groomed last night. We skied Pocaterra to Whiskey Jack and while Pocaterra was a bit of a slog with the sticky snow, the downhill on Whiskey Jack was a ton of fun. Returned via Wheeler/Amos/Lynx/Pocaterra on much faster trails. Wasn’t as crowded as we expected and everyone seemed to be really enjoying the lovely conditions. We even had blue sky to really enhance the Narnia effect. Overall, a wonderful outing!
Hi! I know it’s a long shot, but I lost my phone in the parking lot at Mount Shark around 3:30 this afternoon, January 3rd. I was parked close to the dumpster. If anyone found it, please email email@example.com Thanks!
In search of men’s classic skis 195-200cm and boots size 9.5. My number is 250-668-5988.
CNC – soft and clean.
Outer Ba-Bo-MV. Little congestion, not perfect, a bit slow with the fresh, but it was so nice to ski on soft snow after the too-hard-too-fast conditions recently at low elevation, and especially nice to ski on clean snow after seeing pics of the debacle at WBC and reading the caveats on Ribbon and PLPP websites.
Lost a new pair of Julbo sunglasses Blue frames with bronze lens yesterday at Pocaterra parking lot close to outhouse structure
Redearth Creek to Shadow Lake Lodge. A fantastic ski in beautiful new snow, 5cm at trailhead, more like 15cm at the lodge. Quiet winter wonderland today with lots of snow goblins. We opted for light touring skis which worked very well with Rode light blue wax and followed a good skier track. Met the young trailbreakers at the lodge. The snow was deep and soft and made the steep hill descent manageable with skis on. Amazing!
My skis were stolen out of my vehicle – 2 sets
Rossignol classic skins, green colour (I think they are about 185cm), Solomon classic boots size EU40, Madshus Métis women skate ski 175cm, blue in colour, with Fischer boots size EU41
If anyone happens to come across these for sale anywhere please contact me!
I am also probably looking to replace them so if anyone is selling anything similar let me know!
My number is 403-478-1151
2 pairs of Salomon SNS Profil boots for sale. This is the Salomon boot with only one bar on the sole and fit Salomon Profil bindings. Boots are size 36 and 38.
Call or text 403-993-6585
For photos and descriptions:
Jan 3 Upper Lake Louise trails from the Chateau grooming team:
Fairview Loop (#2): Double trackset, Fair condition, Jan 2.
Shoreline (#4): Double trackset, good condition, Jan. 3. This looks to have been substantially walked on.
Lake Trail (#4): Bad Slush layer on the lake. Ski trail not track set. This will be worked on (Tuesday Jan 5) when the slush layer freezes more. Separate path for walkers, rolled but not in the best condition, Jan. 3.
Both the walking and ski path are very slushy, there is a thick slush layer on a good portion of the length of the lake use caution when skiing and walking. See notes below for why slush layer has occurred.
Upper Telemark and Peyto Trails (#5): Double trackset, Fair condition, Jan. 2.
SPRAY RIVER to PARK BOUNDARY on GOAT CREEK and back – Jan 3
Excellent conditions today on yesterday’s tracksetting, with beautiful temperatures.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Must have missed Carole, but met lots of other interesting people!
CASCADE TO MEADOW: Snowing at 10 am until noon, groomer was out all morning smoothing out the 5cm or so of overnight snow. Lots of skiers out this morning which probably reduced the probability of snow sticking. Warm blue wax worked well. Stopped for snacks at the meadow past the campground, then turned home. Tracks back were surprisingly fast. Overall excellent conditions – so get out there!
This was our choice for today and it turned out beautifully. We entered a bit of a blizzard at 9 a.m. at the Banff turnoff but the sky opened up as we started skiing. There were 3 – 4 cm of fresh snow on top of track setting from yesterday. I skied out from Banff to Goat Creek & back, breaking trail after the first bridge. The snow is snowy white with no debris on it. There was no wind. The trail is not as pristine as when I started skiing this morning, but it’s wonderful!
Parked at Nakiska and we broke trail on Hidden, Coal mine, Ribbon Creek, Link and Kovach in approximately 15cm of fresh snow. Back on Terrace there was a lot of foot traffic and we even met a few folks with dogs on leash (pretty sure they read Skier Bob’s update regarding dogs in Kananaskis Village). Skied back on Lower Skogan to reach Nakiska’s Bronze chair lift.
Overall a great slow day, conditions will be amazing as soon as it will be groomed. Coal mine as not been groomed this year I think and the descent was a bit tricky when your track skis get stuck in 30cm + of snow.
From Coal Mine we could see the effect of wind gusts in the valley with clouds of blowing snow.
Swix V45 Violet was the best choice today with air temperature around -2C
Did the Great Divide today starting at about 10. Had to break trail to start but they had everything track set by 11. Left at 1:30 and there was still room in the parking lot. Snow was slightly sticky, so be mindful of that when choosing your wax.
Broke trail through 6-10cm of fresh snow up to the top of the lookout on the sunburst loop at Ribbon Creek. We started from Nakiska and skied up High Level, down Sunburst. Beautiful fluffy powder! Lots of people going up as we were descending. Trail will be a mess if it goes through a freeze melt cycle or the powder gets crunchy. For now it was glorious and we loved getting first tracks.
CNC 9:30 -11:30 0C Parking lot was filling at 9:30 and overfull by 11:30. Skin skis.
Skied out Banff Trail and hooked up onto Snowshoe Hare ,climbing up on Coyote and onto Meadowview. Noodled up onto Bruin and onto Wapiti. Out Wapiti to Rundle. Out Rundle to junction 31 returned via Meadowview through the middle of the meadow and back down Banff trail. Base is soft and good for skating and classic. We had a great ski. However, the Nordic centre trail info has become like downhill resorts where a 2cm dump is recorded as 10Cm The CNC calls a trail groomed but it only is 1/2 groomed IE on one side with the other side left alone. Meadow view at least has been groomed and trackset full width . The rest of the trails we skied, even Banff trail appear only to be either groomed or groomed and trackset, on one side only. Not sure of the policy here but we talked to a few of the regulars we know and they noticed this as well. Not a biggy but it cuts a trail’s width down and on downhill corners there is much more chance of conflict with other skiers. Think the CNC is going for quantity not quality.
I am looking for men’s sns size 46 cross country ski boots. Any suggestions?
Hello! I would like to try cross country skiing, but do not own gear and have never had skis of any type on my feet. I’ve considered renting gear for a day, but suspect I’d be miserable trying to figure out the very basics of the technique on my own. Does anyone know a casual instructor that could help me out for an hour or so? Everything I find on the web is for multi-week courses, which I can’t commit to; I just want to try it out to see if it’s for me.
I am looking for classic skis/boots/poles for a 5ft 2 in 120 lbs female size 7.5-8 boots. Please reach out by text if you have anything available 403-968-7222.
Looking for skis (Non-wax ,around 180cm, and boots size 8) for a woman. Thanks
Highway 40. South Lane partially covered (but ploughed) and North Lane snow covered to Kananaskis Village. Beyond Kananaskis Village both lanes covered (ploughed once probably). The Parking lot in the Discovery Centre has not yet been ploughed (as of 10am) – will update when it is.
Bragg Creek Trails 1800h Jan. 2,2021
The skiers dreaded ‘snow eater’ took it’s toll on the well loved trails today. Warm temperatures and this afternoon’s fierce winds have drastically transformed snow surface and deteriorated skier conditions —in and out of the tracks. Extreme scouring and drifting in open areas and several downed trees —some around blind corners, with abundant littering of needle/branch debris is widespread. The glistening ‘Holiday’ snow is gone at WBC and conditions are now marginal so adjust your expectations until more snow and the grooming team is able to repair some of the damage.
-5 degrees at the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre this morning. Lots of fresh snow, approximately 15-20cm.
The Sawmill Trails in the Smith-Dcrrien Valley have not been groomed for XC skiing for decades, but they are well packed by snowshoers and are currently quite good for ski touring. These trails are well signed, easy to follow and avoid any avalanche terrain. While an intense Chinook was blowing in the foothills, it was just snowing lightly in the Sawmill area. Our tour included Snowdrift and Mt. Murray Viewpoint, portions of Frost Heave, the High Rockies Trail, Whiteout and Sawmill Loop. We connected those with the new Sinter trail (a bit tight and twisty in places) and Sun Cups. Lots of space in this parking lot!
Jan 2 Upper Lake Louise trails from the Chateau grooming team:
Fairview Loop (#2): Double trackset, good condition, Jan 2.
Shoreline (#4): Double trackset, Fair condition, Jan. 1. This looks to have been substantially walked on.
Lake Trail (#4): Double trackset with a separate path for walkers, fair condition, Jan. 1. Both the walking and ski path are quite rough and icy in places, use caution. Walkers are everywhere.
Upper Telemark and Peyto Trails (#5): Double trackset, good condition, Jan. 2.
Emerald Lake: Started on a snow shoe recon around 10am, in hopes of finding Emerald River Trail. It started OK just off Hamilton Lake Trail but after a little over 1.5 km. the snowshoe track we followed was heading downhill towards the road. Plan B: Had a nice ski around the Alluvial Fan using the Tree Hugger for access. Snow was sticky but for a short flat ski, it did not matter too much. No wind all day. Light snow and even a peek of sunlight mid day, as Keith noted. Ma Sid mentioned “don’t leave home without the windshield washer in abundance”. Our Honda went directly to the Canmore Car Wash on route home. +3 at 3pm.
Tecno Pro Jr Ski set
150 cm skis
boots are 3.5 (Eur 35.5)
For reference my daughter used this set when she was in Grade 2 and 3
In excellent condition. Asking $75.00
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 403-479-4116
Steve say it isn’t so a Dogsledder, I trust those sled dogs wanted to be leashed to that sled cause WBC is a designated Off Leash Area
XC ski poles 165cm or longer.
I skate skied Bill Milne trail in Kananaskis today with 2 friends who were classic skiing. We arrived at 9:30am. Had the trail to ourselves on the way out towards Wedge Pond. The skate lane was slick from the wind and lots of debris on both the classic and skate section in places. Still enjoyable despite the windy conditions. Bill milne could use a touch up from the groomer but it’s thin in places so more snow first would be good. More snow dancing needed.
Cascade Valley: great skiing with 3-4cm new, soft and clean snow, good tracks and sheltered from the wind. Lots of people enjoying the trail. Descending the hill was slow due to the warm temperatures (+2C) and snow sticking a bit to the skis, but still fun. Tracks down to Bankhead were blown in.
PLPP Elkwood Parking: (-3C@09:50 / +2C@14:15) Three on waxless One on waxless & then waxable. Good conditions today for waxless skis. PLPP received 3 to 5 cm new snow overnight on north end trails. By days end all will be skier tracked judging from the number of people met today. Good trackset was found under the fresh snow on all trails skied. One pass by a skier and the game was on. Hills were very controllable with the fresh. First, skied Lodgepole, Sinclair, up Lodgepole and Meadow to K-Lakes trail. Some lost soul (or an idiot) tried to drive a truck down Meadow. Tracks were destroyed to the top of Meadow hill. From Discovery Centre skied Meadow, Amos, Wheeler and Lower Lake. Returned to Elkwood parking on Wheeler. I do prefer colder days and snow, but it was a very pleasant day after some of those -15C morning starts.
Tom Snow north from Pine Woods west to Dawson Day use plus short cut to Powderface Trail. No real trail breaking occurred today. Snow shoe users have headed out from both ends to points about 2 km from the parking lots. In between there was actually a snow mobile track from just after the storm. That would have been nice to ski on but the local moose have been using the trail too so it was pretty slow skiing (faster on the way back though). I stopped about 1/2 km shy of the Dawson parking where the trail drops down to cross Jumping Pound Creek. That would be tough descent with a hard packed walker track. It is 6 km from Pine Woods parking to the Cox / Tom Snow junction. About 4 km from Pine Woods there is a cut line coming in from the north that had seen some snow shoe use. I followed that all the way out to the Powderface Trail at the point where the road leaves the flats and rises up towards Dawson. That section is only 1 km. It was a nice day but very windy. There were only a few downed trees, 2 of which required removing skis. That was the case yesterday on the other section of Tom Snow that I did. That number will likely be up a fair bit after the big wind today. There were 2 additional downed trees on my return and one tree nearly blocking the access from highway 68. This section of Tom Snow is much less hilly than the section heading towards West Bragg so I did not have to use my skins today.
10 trip reports and related comments on the Home page – check it out for a full picture of the day
Sat jan 2: lake Louise (Fairview/ lakeshore/telemark/Peyto/lower telemark and return). Wasn’t windy in the louise area, as is often the case close to divide when a warm pulse of snow comes through. Started out in -4 early in the morning and a hair below zero on return.
There is now a couch on the Fairview trail at a nice meadow/viewpoint. When reasonably clear you can see Fairview, saddleback, temple and little temple, all from the safety of the couch. And as Aqua Toque pointed out, now with internet service! (Same for the pipestone pond couch too. Couch HQ, not so much). It will need bums in seats though to compact the expected new snow.
Fairview got groomed and track set while I was there. I can’t recommend the lake shore trail toward end of lake, combination of shallow tracks with ice chunks, slush or solid ice and frozen boot prints. Fine for just buzzing across to the chateau to pick up the telemark trail, but perhaps not in the track, and definately not further down the lake. Leave that one for the hotel guests. Telemark, Peyto and lower telemark were not freshly groomed but very nice with the powder for descents. Didn’t see a soul on that side except at the Great divide trail. Crazy mayhem at the parking lot on return. Had to wait a while just to to back out! Dirty wet driving from Louise to Banff. Fill up your washer fluid first! And then the winds further east made for some challenges on the road with high traffic. Hopefully some normalcy next week. Scott lake hill was icy from the wind and blowing snow.
Beautiful day but marginal to downright bad Chinook conditions at Sandy McNabb on both sides of the road. Insane wind on Pine Ridge so I didn’t stay up there for long. Decent conditions but lots of tree debris on Pine Ridge trail. I went up the north leg of Long Prairie loop, which is either snowdrifts or ice, and then along Death Valley (north of the loop) which was pleasant enough but too icy to ski properly (also some rocks). I also skied Loggers south of the road which had a lot of tree debris and collembolas. It’s hard to make a day at Sandy McNabb not enjoyable but I would wait for some more snow. Still very busy despite the crazy wind.
Short lunch loop. Discovery Centre (Info Centre) down meadow and up lodgepole back to the info centre. VERY sticky and slow on lodgepole, meadow was a bit faster. Temp was -2 at the time of ski. Light flurries around 12pm. Trail was in good shape. One track on meadow had a dusting of snow, other track was skier packed.
Let’s try this again since I posted this under December.
Saturday: WBC – Iron Springs/Elbow loop north + south
– extremely windy!!
– tree debris everywhere! Tracks are full of pine branches, cones, sticks, etc.
– tracks were fast but the grooming is getting very icy and polished on the hills. Ski with care!
– the loop has become full on multi-use. We saw a group of fat bikers, many hikers, and two trail runners (leaving divots down the centre of the grooming.)
Unfortunately the blue ski signs are being interpreted as “skiers can use this trail” and not “only skiers should use this trail.”
This loop would benefit from signage like they have at Kananaskis Village where they have placards at every junction right on the trail saying “no hiking, no biking, skiing only”
Jan 1 Sunshine Road Healy Creek trailhead to Sundance Lodge and a bit beyond.
There were only 3 other vehicles in the parking lot when we arrived at 10am, and we didn’t see anyone all day until we returned at about 4pm. The Healy Creek section had decent shallow tracksetting. We were on light touring skis and wanted to test out our kicker skins, so we took the shortcut horse trail on the way up. (It starts 1.3km from the trailhead, and has a sign warning you not to take it!) There are still many exposed rocks and boulders on the steeper sections. I didn’t have a problem with my full-width kicker skins, but my friend had “skinny” kicker skins that didn’t provide sufficient grip, resulting in backsliding and the skins periodically peeling off. The trail is narrow and herringboning or sidestepping is difficult, especially when you’re trying to manoeuvre around rocks at the same time. It’s 2.5km versus 4.7km on the regular trail. So you save about 2km, but the shortcut is probably no faster because of the difficulty of the trail and the time taken to put on and remove skins. But if you have skins, I’d recommend it as a nice alternative to the regular trail on the way up. Descending the trail would be dangerous.
Once the shortcut rejoined the main trail, it was well-packed double skier-trackset with one cross-country / light touring track and one alpine touring track. There were periodic strong wind gusts bringing down needles and other tree debris onto the trail. The two creek crossings in the last 2.5km before Sundance Lodge were in good shape. The sun came out a bit during our lunch at Sundance Lodge. We continued beyond the Lodge following a single skier track, presumably “Make Alberta a Democracy” from Dec 24. There were also what looked like recent cougar tracks along the trail. About 1km beyond the Lodge the skier trackset headed toward the creek and abruptly stopped with what looked like an expertly executed kick turn back toward the Lodge. We followed the cougar tracks another 400m to the BW10 campground at the Fatigue Pass / Allenby Pass junction. We started toward Fatigue Pass, but the trail breaking was unpleasant due to a buried breakable crust layer, so we went toward Allenby Pass instead. After about 300m we decided to turn around and head back for second lunch at the Lodge. We returned to the parking lot via the “normal” trail. It was a great day reminiscent of the “good old days” of parking lots with lots of room and empty trails!
I’m looking for a nnnbc boot size 49
Hello- I am wanting to try the Lookout Trail and/ or Tyrwhitt. I’ve done some reading but can’t figure out the “best loop”? Is it better to go up Whiskey Jack and to Lookout and back down hydroline?
Or for a “loop” go up Elk to Hydroline to Tyrwhitt and loop back on Lookout trail and back down?
18-20km is just fine distance for us 🙂 Thank you for all you experienced skiiers input 🙂
Headed out to Sandy McNabb this morning and trails are treacherous but lovely (oxymoron??). I am sure it will be worse tomorrow as wind was really picking up. Logger’s and Campers are doable but coming down Pine Ridge is not for the faint of heart. Arrived before 10 to a very full parking lot. A word to the wise, there is now a large sign saying “parking fees in effect” as well as a volunteer in parking lot by ranger station politely “educating” people that did not have pass displayed on dashboard. We had ours, but a number of people that were there to walk, snowshoe, hike, or ski, etc. were caught unaware. Hopefully, people will catch on. We have been to Sandy a handful of times over last two weeks and this was the first time for signage and volunteer educator. Another thing for people to realize when heading out to Sandy is that it is not all leashed dogs only. Sandy has a few trails that are on Crown land, specifically, but not limited to, Macabee, and Logger’s Loop. I have had a number of people telling me off, yelling, pointing at “Bob” the dog, etc., because they believe the whole area to be on leash. I had this encounter today with a lady that told me that Sandy was her “backyard” and she did not do well around dogs (I should add here that Bob is 10 years old and very well behaved). Luckily, I have taken to carrying a map which shows the off leash area of Sandy, but childishly, she refused to even look at it. I have dealt with this many times as I live close to Sandy so ski there as often as conditions allow, and, on this site I am probably preaching to the choir, but in case some readers are not in the know, if you do not like off leash dogs (and I understand that) perhaps choose Camper’s, Pine Ridge, Long Prairie Loop, Death Valley, or any other trails at Sandy that are in the provincial park boundary.
Regarding web cams at West Bragg Creek: I frequently find that I am unable to view the pictures from these web cams. Sometimes a tiny slice of the top appears, but nothing else. Does anyone else have this problem? I use my laptop (MacBook) for this.
Many thanks to Jeff the Redearth Creek groomer for taking note and putting in so much work to make the trail safe and fun to ski! I am someone who prefers fewer tracks in general, and am looking forward to enjoying this trail again soon 🙂
x-country ski poles 150 cm for 5’8 to 5’9 person – Swix Alu light
warm cork handle and new carbide tipped baskets $40
email me email@example.com
January 1 at Peter lougheed I lost my sunglasses around top of whiskey jack or tyrwhitt. If anyone found them could you please leave a comment? Thanks!
WANTED… Ladies Cross Country Ski Boots (NNN) – Size 39 UK / 7.5 – 8 (US)
Thanks for clarifying the dog rule at Kananaskis Village/Ribbon Creek/Bill Milne with Alberta Parks. We have been challenged a couple of times in the past on Bill Milne with Kazzy even though she was on leash. Now there should be no issues!
Jim and I skied Pipestone yesterday; conditions were good with lots of snow coverage and only a few needles. The parking lot was 3/4 full but we only saw a few groups on the trail. Happy New Year everyone.
Fairview in Louise getting track set right now. Just past me while stamping out couch site.
Perfect, thanks Bob!
It is -3 at the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre.
“Happy to report that most trails are in quite good condition, with the exception of East Telephone, where skiing is not recommended due to large ruts and post holing.”
#$!*&#! It’s time for East Telephone to be designated as skiers only. Before someone is seriously injured! At the very least- this should be in effect for the challenging section between Disconnect and Long Distance all season trails- with prominent signage at those junctions and at the upper ends of those trails- which feed ever increasing numbers of trail wreckers onto East Telephone. Really though- the north and west sides of Telephone should also be ski only, through to Reconnect.
Happy New Year!
Is the Evan-Thomas trail to The Wedge Connector dog friendly? I’d like to park here and do the Evan-Thomas/Wedge/Bill Milne with our dog. Thanks!
Madshus 130cm kids xc ski, waxable
Rottefella binding in good shape
REDEARTH CREEK – BEYOND SHADOW LAKE
Friday afternoon/ night
Excellent trackset skiing conditions up to the Shadow Lake turnoff. Coming back at night the right track going downhill was gone. Just a single trackset now. Skier Bob should dig that. Moderate speed snow with Swix -5c to -15c old snow blue wax and good grip. I have not changed my wax all season so far and I have had generally excellent results.
I skied a few hundred meters beyond the warden cabin on the way in. Once I got to the new part of the trail that switch backs up the hill, I decided to turn around due to potential avalanche conditions. I heard a few whummps skiing in which is not a good sign. Excellent travel conditions beyond the warden cabin. Less than boot top ski penetration while breaking trail. Moderate speed and moderate trail breaking difficulty. I met a young lady on fat skis who was cruising up to Egypt Cabin and she was planning on returning at night. She seemed pretty pumped up and was moving rather quickly. Great to see such a hard core woman skier. Egypt seems to attract a number of them. The most hard core skiers I have seen over the years in the Egypt region have been women.
I widened the trail going up to Shadow Lake Lodge in critical areas. Excellent snow base. Snowmobile packed to the Lodge. Moderate speed snow.
From the Lodge to Shadow Lake there is a skier tracked trail. The temperature was about +1c with Chinook winds gusting up to 30 km.
I broke trail and skied on the shore of Shadow Lake and then took the winter route up toward Ball Pass campground. I skied up roughly 1 km until it started to get somewhat dark. Trail breaking was easy to moderate difficulty with less than boot top ski penetration. Moderate speed trail breaking. Fantastic off trail skiing travel conditions for this time of year. Get up there and ski it up. It is fantastic scenery.
New Year’s Day Ski at West Bragg Creek. I arrived around 2 pm. The parking lot was busy, but not the circus that I’d expected. I had no trouble finding a good spot. Temperature was 0°C. Starting at Mountain Road, I skied counter-clockwise around Moose Loop – Mountain View – and West Crystal Line. The tracks were holding up very well most places. Some of the exposed hills on Mountain View had a few icy spots. I’d made a good decision to go counter-clockwise, which is to say going uphill on the steepest slopes rather than screaming down. Overall conditions were still good by the time I finished – despite the warmer temperatures. Happy New Year, everyone!
We started from the Evan-Thomas parking lot, where there was plenty of space. We started out on Evan-Thomas trail, which may have been roller-packed previously, but it was certainly well packed by snowshoers and hikers. The narrow trail-missing bridge bit to Wedge Connector was do-able on skis, but much safer just to walk. Wedge Connector was in great condition. Very nice grooming! Then we headed up Bill Milne to the Nakiska/Village road and doubled back to Evan-Thomas parking lot. The sheltered parts of Bill Milne were still in good shape, but the open meadow areas and the long straight corridor were alternatively scoured and drifted by the strong Chinook winds. https://photos.app.goo.gl/FPRcJ97zFWu8Jp9MA
CASCADE FIRE ROAD – Parking lot about half full at 10:30 this morning. Winds picking up as we started out, with snow bombs coming off the trees on our way up the initial climb. Snow conditions quite good, a little bit “skier scraped” on the way down to the first bridge. Out to Stoney Creek the conditions were excellent. On our way back a few pine needles littered the trail, but not enough to affect our glide. Parking lot was bananas at 2 pm, even with Parks staff directing traffic. Most were there to skate on Minnewanka apparently.
A Plea for 2021
If you have old ski equipment lying around that you are likely not going to use anymore please consider offering it for sale to others. The demand for cross-country equipment has far exceeded the available supply for this season and I’m afraid that some people are going to be forced to do without – unless at least some of the increased demand can be met with used equipment. Ideally we’d all like to ski on the newest and best equipment available… but having something is far better than having nothing – and it pains me to see people having to miss out on all the fun. There is a specific demand for used pulks if anyone has one just hanging around.
Mountain Trolls First Urban Ski Tour of 2021
It being New Years Day got a very late start (blaming the “Reindeer Games” from the night before)… but made up for it with no commute. Skied out the back door at 10am and through North Glenmore Park into The Weaslehead. Skier-set tracks most of the way but got to cut a couple kilometers of new trail through the deep sugar powder… magical. Lots of people enjoying the park… but basically just us and the deer in the Weaslehead. A perfect blue wax day even when the sun came out mid-afternoon on the south facing slopes of the Black Bear escarpment. Saved the gas money for another day. We are truly blessed to live in such a wonderful area.
Hi Bob, Sounds like you are looking for a report on Emerald Lake. We skied there on new years eve. Starting by the washrooms near the parking lot, it is a bit of a do-it-yourself proposition as you head clockwise towards the avalanche area. The trail is then good through the forest, but when you get to the beginning if the alluvial fan, things get messy for 750 meters or so from walkers and snowshoers. Eventually it improves, but could use a refresh. We then skied kicking horse trail (by Natural Bridge). It seemed recently trackset and was quite pleasant through to Otterhead where we turned back.
I found a single key on a ring on the road outside the north north gate at Confederation Golf Course. Looks like maybe a Thule key? If you think it’s yours you can send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mt Shark. Jan 1, 11:00am – 2:30pm. Yellow loop – 10km, difficult.
Trackset was crisp and clean with a few moose tracks and some snowfall from the trees. Companions were classic and skate skiing, and conditions for both were terrific. As Helen mentioned (she lapped us a few times) the winds were strong and the trees creaking nearby were worrisome. Parking lot had plenty of room, but the Spray Lake Road was in the worst condition I’ve ever driven on. Icy, rutted and rough with sparse and insufficient gravel. Even in my heavy Volvo with winter tires, there was slipping and snaking as we drove up in the morning. The return drive was smoother.
Happy New Year!
Shaganappi Point in Calgary update:
All skate ski lanes were groomed the morning of the 31st by a volunteer on a Skidoo, and trails are hard packed and in great shape.
The night of the 31st most track setting was redone over a 5 hour period by another volunteer on a Skidoo.
Because of the week-long Chinook coming in, we did not redo the track setting on the Bow Trail loop due to the fact that section of trail is notorious for microclimates where the snow melts fast because the south facing trees act as heat collectors, and the trail is on an asphalt cart path.
Skiing is fantastic!
We have increased parking capacity until January 3rd inclusive, by plowing and opening the overflow parking in the upper lots north of the clubhouse. The gate to this parking lot is locked daily at 5pm but the lower lots are open 24/7.
Please stay off any hills with a flat top, as those likely are tee boxes and the grass underneath is easily damaged by compacted snow.
Have fun out there!
The snow remained cold and firm later in the day. That’s for Iron Springs, Elbow, and Crystal. It was +1C at 3pm and zero at 5pm at the parking lot.
The night of the 31st most track setting was redone over a 5 hour period by another volunteer on a Skidoo. Due to the Chinook coming in, we did not redo the track setting on the Bow Trail loop due to the fact that section of trail is notorious for microclimates where the snow melts fast due to the south facing trees that act as heat collectors, and the trail being on the black asphalt cart path.
Looking for classic gear for 5′ 2” (157cm) 120lb (55kg) female, intermediate. Perferably NNN but not opposed to SNS if it’s a set. So probably something around 180 cm or so for a ski. 120 cm pole. Size 39/40 EU boot (ladies size 8)
Mt Shark: first time ever parking in bigger parking lot. Skied loops with exception of 5 kms. Recreation Loop. That first initial loop is getter tougher every year. Had to add some warmer wax as Rode blue -2 to -6 was not working on all those climbs. Strong winds on arrival and once into trees, wondered if needed a helmet? Very few people skiing out to Watridge Lk. Saw lots of dogs having a fun day; how does one control two dogs on lease I will never know? Returned 3 hours later to the parking lot only to discover I had never closed my trunk. Nothing was taken, not even my Parking Pass or Asnes skis. Thank you, HONEST outdoor recreationists. You have redeemed my faith in human kind!!!! Stopped on route home, parking at little lot by one way bridge and skied the Spray Canal to the end. Have always wondered about that trail. Totally flat, skier and snowshoe tracked to end where there is a big red DANGER sign at 2.3 kms.
One of the neatest sights I ever saw was at that canal. A cow moose and her calf were swimming across it. -Bob
CASTLE LOOKOUT TO BAKER CREEK : Excellent snow all the way to Baker Creek, we even snowplowed down the hill near the road with ease. Nice cloudy day protected the snow. Only saw about 10 other skiers out. Lovely winter wonderland.
Today at Peter lougheed I lost my sunglasses around top of whiskey jack or tyrwhitt. If anyone found them could you please leave a comment? Thanks!
Happy New Year Bob. I reported on Emerald Lake on the 29th, and on the first half of the Kicking Horse trail – both good with soft silky snow in groomed tracks. I’m happy to report that today there was no sign of doggie damage in the tracks on the Yoho Valley Road as reported by Wally yesterday, must have got skied and snowed over. Snowing lightly all day today and if the forecast comes true, all of these reports will rapidly get outdated!
Thanks, Chris. Now that you mention it I did read your report. My memory is failing me. Bob
Size 9 women’s (41.5 EU) SNS profil classic boots, excellent condition. $90, please text 403 690 0097.
Skied Yoho Valley Road on Dec 30th. It was snowing lightly so the tracks were getting a bit soft, but still in pretty good shape. Lots of fat skiers go up that route but they were staying clear of the set tracks. Unfortunately, near the end of our return we met a couple who were letting their exuberant labradoodle jump all over the tracks. He said he was “trying” to keep the dog out of the tracks, but his efforts seemed feeble at best.
Glad you had fun on South Iron Springs/Elbow. Boomer Groomer Jeff set those tracks as people kept asking and we thought it best not to wait any longer for AEP to get back from holidays.
Take Care Groomer DNA
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.
Fairview Loop-Lake Louise
Happy New Year! We had a beautiful quiet ski on the Fairview loop today. The parking lot at the chateau was full when we arrived but luckily we got a spot at the Moraine lake parking lot just as someone was leaving. Moraine lake road was in excellent shape, and Fairview was skier set but fine. We were surprised just how quiet it was. We only met a handful of people along the way. Lake Louise was very busy. Lots of people wandering around the lake, and families with kids playing on the avalanche runouts under Mount Fairview. Yikes! They really need more signs warning of the avalanche danger along there. The ski back down to the parking lot on Tramline was quick.
CNC. +1C 10:30 VR 55 Parking lots were nearly full.
Skied out Banff and turned down onto Bow Trail (snow piles have been pushed out leaving a rolling descent ) Turned up onto Grey Wolf and returned via Banff Trail across the meadow on Coyote and back down on Banff Trail. The skating lanes are in need of grooming. The tracks are starting to get glazed and depending on how warm it got today and how much traffic, waxing may become trickier. The beauty of the Nordic Centre is that they groom the main trails often. It’s the lesser used trails further out that don’t get the same attention.
LAKE O’HARA – January 1, 2021
Nice cold snow, and very few skiers… but they were all very excited.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
A nice way to complete my 12 days of Christmas… Skiing!
Tom Snow north from Pine Woods trail head to Kestrel / Tom Snow junction (NW edge of West Bragg trail system). I thought that I might have to break trail but I only sort of did. There have been snow shoe users on the entire section of this back country route from both ends but not much activity in the middle. I was the first skier to go all the way up and back this section. Bragg Creek trails has now groomed (for fat bikes) the Tom Snow segment that I broke last week and gone around Kestrel as well. This section of trail is just under 8 km (one way) from the parking lot. The section that connects to Moose loop is just over 4 km. The trail near the parking lot has seen a fair bit of snow shoe and walker traffic so it is pretty hard packed making for skiing that is a little faster than I would have wished for. Most people turn around about 3 km from the parking lot at a point with nice views of the north side Moose Mountain. Next up… Perhaps I will complete the route to the Dawson parking area (Cox Hill).
PETER LOUGHEED PARK – started the year right with the ‘Skier Bob Special’*. It’s all in great shape, as long as you’re good with skier track set on Moraine. It also wasn’t very busy, even arriving at 11am on New Year’s Day. Highly recommended! End of trip report 😉
(*For those not in the know, Skier Bob Special is parking at Boulton Creek and skiing Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, and Moraine)
The trails at West Bragg Creek which are groomed by Alberta Parks, Elbow South and Iron Springs South, were trackset within the past 24 hours. I was there today and they were in excellent condition.
Jan 1 Upper Lake Louise trails from the Chateau grooming team:
Happy New Year!
Below you will find the trail update for the cross-country ski trails that surround the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Fairview Loop (#2): Double track set, fair condition, Dec. 27. We hope to work on this tomorrow morning (Jan. 2).
Shoreline (#4): Double track set, good condition, Jan. 1.
Lake Trail (#4): Double trackset with a separate path for walkers, fair condition, Jan. 1. Both the walking and ski path are quite rough and icy in places, use caution.
Upper Telemark and Peyto Trails (#5): Double trackset, fair condition. Dec 26. We hope to work on this tomorrow afternoon (Jan. 2) if everything goes well.
CLASSIC BOOTS – Salomon Men size 8 SNS profile classic boot “Active 9 CL Pilot” for sale – great condition $60. If you need an SNS binding to fit the boot the boots and bindings are yours for $100.
I am in Canmore
email me at email@example.com
WBC (-7C at 9:30am)
Skied East Crystal, Iron Spring / Creek , Iron Spring South (Groomed by Alberta Parks), Elbow, Loggers, Moose Connector, Mountain.
Soft snow and overall good conditions even though more snow would be nice – Happy New Year / Bonne année everyone!
PS: Crossed path with Skier Bob coming up on Iron Springs South!
Happy New Year to all!
Pipestone Blue Loop in Lake Louise area was superb this morning with air temperatures -8C to -4C. Snow coverage is now excellent with no rocks that we found. Can only get better with more snow coming tonight!
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.
Hi! I’m 6 months pregnant and its my second season of XC skiing. I went along the bow river during the big snowfall in Dec., but am wondering if there are any other trails that are FLAT in the city or surrounding area? No hills at all please… just looking to change it up from snowshoeing.
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.
Lost 31 December
Mount Shark on the first section of the 15km loop (ungroomed powder!) or on the main Watridge Lake trail, or possibly down by the lake where we stopped for photos…
An airpod case with 1 right airpod in in. The left one was in my son’s ear. Please let me know if you happen across this needle in a haystack!
Hi there – does anyone know of the condition of the xc trails at Sandy McNabb?
That photo by Jeremy is just fantastic. Inspiring, and a pretty good Christmas post card with its perfectly placed “ornament”. And my favourite place to ski on a sunny day of course. Happy new year Bob et al! See you on the trails or at a couch. (-:
Good Morning! Happy 2021 . It is -6 degrees C at the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre.
Jan 1, 2021: Mt Shark trail report
“Happy New Year! The 35 to 40 plus cm’s that had accumulated on the Mt Shark trails last week has now been groomed out on all trails at Mt Shark. On New Year’s Eve, the full 15km loop was groomed and trackset, as well as the biathlon area. With all the previously ungroomed snow on most of that loop, expect some soft and uneven surfaces on anything that was not groomed last week, especially on the extra 5k of the 15. There has only been a couple of cm’s of snow over the last week, and the machine set tracks on Watridge Lake trail have had the new snow skier packed, and are well defined. The recent snow has improved the base significantly, and most early season hazards are now covered, though there is still a small amount of brush above the snow in a few places.”
It may be late for me to ask, but has anyone done the North end PLPP? Pocaterra, Comealong and Lynx? I wonder if they are getting too worn, and we should head further south.
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.
Cascade Fire Road was an amazing way to end the year on. Fast and firm tracks from yesterday’s grooming made for a super fun way down to the road on the last hill. We saw lots of happy faces but it was never super busy.
CNC – The Nordic Centre is a busy place, until you turn onto the black diamond trails. Are you a stronger skier looking for the thrill of fast descents without the hair-rasing experience that has been reported on some trails (and I had first-hand on Telephone yesterday)? If so a combination of Bruin, Silvertip, Flying Squirrel, Coyote, etc. might be just the ticket – these were all in good to great condition today, and may improve further if this weekend’s snow materializes! Needless to say, if you’re into green’s and blue’s then Banff, Meadowview, Lynx and Grey Wolf were all in amazing shape too, just a little more crowded. Get out and enjoy!
It’s not just me… none of our group walked or fell on the trackset trail.
Caution is advised on the descent, but with another Kohut working on anything excessively hazardous tomorrow, 2021 will be a fine!
Happy New Year to All,
Judy, I’ve noticed your trip updates often on this blog. I’m so sorry to hear what happened to you, but it’s heartening that people are so kind and helpful. I hope that your ankle repairs quickly and I wish you well.
Judy, my condolences. Do hope your ankle repairs well and soon. I’ve retired from skiing and now mainly walk on City trails. I love following all Skier Bobs updates. They take me back. Once you are mended I recommend that you do ALL your physio exercises. They will make a world of difference to your future. All the best.
SPRAY RIVER EAST & WEST: -3 deg at noon, Rode Viola Multigrade worked well. Both East and West Spray River Trails in good shape for classic skiing after grooming and tracksetting yesteryday (Dec 30). The first half kilometer of East Spray goes uphill from the golf course and has numerous exposed rocks due to downhill skiers snowplowing the snow off. Strongly recommend you take your skis off and walk down. Other than this, good snow coverage and good track for classic. Skating lane on West Spray is getting a bit rough from walkers, I would suggest there are better places to skate at present. All things considered, a day of skiing.
I can also remember a much wider double trackset Redearth Creek trail in the good ole 1990’s. Back then it was double trackset with a skating lane in the middle. Today, Redearth should never be skied without metal edges unless you are a highly advanced or expert skier. Even so, you will likely have more fun on METAL edges rippen down the hills on your way back to the car to listen to some METAL.
(Warning- a political note below. Blind yourself if you don’t like politics)
Due to government xc ski trail cutbacks that I have been discussing for many years, pretty much all cross country ski trails in Banff and in Kananaskis are much narrower due to a lack of summer maintenance with only a few exceptions, like trails on the old 1A Highway. This has made for much more difficult skiing as narrow trails are much more challenging and require higher skiing skills to ski. Good for skiers like me but not the majority of the population. The narrow trails have resulted in me slowing down as that is what narrow trails do, similar to narrow roads. It is a little too much to do a 100 kph on these narrow trails as compared to the good ole “fat” trail days that were a part of the Olympic Legacy. The Olympic Legacy has gone down the political toilet.
What the Banff Superintendent spends his budget on is a mystery. My requests for information in the past have been ignored for the most part. Certainly, there is far less of his budget spent on XC skiing today as compared to the last century when one considers summer trail maintenance as well. The decrease in xc spending correlates with increased controlled burns and clear cutting in Banff Park.
(End of political stuff)
I do know of a couple of xc skiers that skied Redearth today and they had no problems on their METAL edge skis. These were downhill skiers who have an advantage in the knowledge on how to use METAL edge xc skis properly.
If possible, I will hit Redearth tomorrow and work on anything that may be excessively hazardous to anyone on METAL edge xc skis. But what I think is OK may be hell to someone else. I look forward to skiing the double tracks to get a rippin’ trip back to the 90’s!
Ski ya at the Lodge or Lake at night. The moon is still shining.
I had a very eventful day skiing from Elkwood on Amos when I fell and ended up fracturing my ankle. So many kind skiers all stopped to make sure we had help coming, offered blankets, space blankets, food and one family even transported me in their sled to the parking lot where we were met by Kananaskis rescue team on a snowmobile then EMT who transported me to Canmore for X-rays.
I felt humbled by all the kindness showed today by everyone and wanted to thank them here. I didn’t get names but really your support will never be forgotten.
Cascade Fire Road is presently in great shape in both directions. Well-defined tracks are very fast at the moment, and the downhill stretches are even faster. 🙂 The thermometer at Stoney Creek showed -7C at 2 pm under mostly sunny skies. Cascade is very good right now, let’s hope the forecast rain doesn’t happen.
Telephone Loop at WBC not skier -friendly. Deep foot gouges from walkers/runners on both groomed and trackset sections as well as swales made from bikes made skiing difficult today, especially on the downhill sections.
Lake Minnewanka parking lot to Upper Bankhead
In need of an easy/short day today, I opted to ski this trail, turning off the main Cascade Fire Road trail after about 1.5 kms (well signed). Good tracks, -7C, used Swix Blue, however, it had not recently been groomed for skating with lots of loose snow and footprints in the skate lane which would make it hard work. Otherwise a very scenic open trail and would make a good beginner trail at about 5.5 kms return (I did an extra lap since it was sunny and so pretty with lots of hoar frost crystals forming!).
PLPP pot pourri of 24 kms. Started up Packers in -7, VR 40 worked all day, then went up to L/O junction before heading down Pocaterra. After reading Sam’s report wish I had skied to high point of Tyrwhitt. Took in the Back Door for a bit of nostalgia. then Lynx, Wooley, Meadow, (where an accident had occurred close to Elkwood parking lot, then Wheeler and Amos back to Boulton. -3 at finish and a good workout.
Someone sent me a card several months ago: front of card said “Alexa, Skip to 2021: and here it is. Happy New Year everyone. I would like to propose a toast to SKIER BOB which will be in the form of a financial gift to him via this site. He spends hours improving the site and keeping us all informed on grooming updates. I propose, since none of us are travelling anywhere, a financial gift to say thank you to him. There are many ways to say we appreciate all his work, but as a former minister used to suggest, “Give Until it Feels Good!”
Jeannette and I were NOT on metal edged skis!
No worries, by the end of the day that harsh snow will have been beaten into submission by some Kohut Metal Edges!
But yes, hopefully the next time they will just trackset once on any hill and leave the multi-use lane for snowplowing or herring boning.
Well, you’re an even better skier than I thought! -Bob
Sandy Mcnabb! First visit in 20+ years of skiing from Calgary.
Our loop: we started at the ranger station, went up the Pine Ridge Trail, over to Long Prairie via a connector trail to skip the top loop on Pine Ridge, skied around the Long Prairie Loop (counter clockwise,) down to the Death Valley parking lot by the gate, went across the road and skied back on Meadow Loop.
Conditions: the south trails were fabulous. Tracks were fast and provided great glide! People had walked on the ski trails but the tracks were clean and skiing easy. Highly recommend the loops on the south. They’d be especially amazing for families and for beginner skiers.
The north trails had been destroyed from hikers who can’t read a map! The snowshoe trails around Death Valley were very obvious and hard packed. There was no excuse to be hiking the ski trails.
As long as you could stay in the tracks, the skiing was good but the hills were treacherous from all the boot holes and foot traffic.
If you’re going to ski Long Prairie, go clockwise! The big bill down from the top is not in good condition to descend. Best to walk it right now if you don’t go clockwise.
We wanted to ski the full Pine Ridge loop but we’ll have to return when it’s been freshly groomed or there’s been fresh snow. I wouldn’t attempt it now with all the foot traffic having chewed up the trail.
Great conditions at Confederation today, and not crowded. I couldn’t face the crowds at WBC, but had a warm afternoon in the sun at Confederation instead. If I were a skate skier, that’s where I’d be! It’s amazing how much trail length they’ve folded in to the available area.
Sandy McNabb- good snow, but choppy conditions. Had a good time skiing the trails north of the parking lot. The snow is a good temperature and texture, but the trails are pretty chopped up with walker traffic, some tree debris, and the occasional partly buried log. Be especially careful of buried logs on Balsam Link and the east leg of Pine Ridge. I also went north a bit to the first few viewpoints on the very nice but ungroomed north Pine Ridge trail, which strangely had an old snowmobile track. Definitely worth skiing at Sandy (full parking lot, lots of other skiers) but not a place for skinny skis at the moment. Beautiful bluebird day.
Cascade Fire Road- December 31
We started from the very busy parking lot at 1 pm but most of the people we met along the trail were heading back as we were skiing in. Conditions were good but it felt a lot chillier then -5c out there! Went about a kilometre past the Cascade bridge then back to a sunny dry spot with a beautiful view of Cascade mountain for a short lunch. The return trip was quick but chilly.
PLPP – Whiskey Jack – Tyrwhitt, Elk, Fox, Moraine loop
All trackset other than Fox and Moraine that are skier set. A few icy spots or scrapped off snow on Fox otherwise nicely covered. VR40 worked well for the entire loop. Beautiful ski day, didn’t seem that busy, Boulton parking wasn’t full.
Update on Maple Ridge GC. Still just skier tracked, but in even better shape than when we did it at Christmas. It’s odd, given that the entrance gate is wide open and they have plowed the entire parking lot!
Easy to be distanced, as there are so many different tracks that have been set by skiers. Even though the parking lot was pretty full, we didn’t run into many people. Kind of perplexed as to where they all were…..
West Bragg Creek- New Years Eve.
Moose-All the Mountain Roads and Views-West Crystal-Loggers-Sundog-East Crystal.
Superb skiing throughout, with recent refreshing of the grooming on most trails, and glorious weather to top it off. Such a great way to finish off 2020! Kudos to the trail crew for being so dedicated, and for the MV West reroute:
Heaven on Cascade Fire Road
Jamie and I went early and had lunch in the sunshine at the Stoney Creek Campground. The trail is is great shape. We met 30 to 40 people today, on the way back from the Stoney Creek Ranger’s Cabin. I would recommend this route at this time. It was fast but controllable skiing.
It was very common in the early 1990’s to have double trackset all the way to the Shadow Lake turnoff, with a much wider trail free of vegetation, especially above the Lost Horse Creek campground. A group of us skied out from the Egypt Lake shelter 30 years ago; one guy in front of me (an excellent skier) took a big wipeout at full speed over that elevated bridge, carrying a large backpack and skiing with metal edges. I tried to avoid him (I was flying too) but fell too, hurting my shoulder quite badly and shaken up. That bridge is poorly designed being too elevated of a sudden for a downhill section, especially when you pick up speed around the last sharp corner, 100 m before. That irrelevant how fast you are going down.
REDEARTH CREEK – Dec 31, 2020
With news of first tracksetting of the season, where to ski was an easy decision!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
The ACC tracksetter needs to learn what hazards to avoid… but Thanks.
Found 31 Dec:
A small electronic item on Fox Creek trail in PLPP, fairly close to the Elk Pass junction, soon after 9:30am today. Post a reply if you think you can identify it – one part is missing!
We did something similar to Sam, but we passed Dennis and Paule a little higher up the Elk Pass trail! We also did a side trip to Blueberry Hill which was good going up and exceptional coming down. Picked up an item that I will enter in the Lost and Found section. Surprised that VR45 worked very well on the lower trails but a bit slow on the high ones.
PLPP was much quieter than recent trips to Confederation golf course and WBC, no problem with parking and the snow is in great shape.
Thanks to the groomers.
Castle – Baker
We had a good, relaxing ski here today. -15C in the Castle Lookout parking lot at 9:45am. Early section of the trail through the forest was nearly needle free. From there to Protection Campground was in pretty good shape for a week old trackset. We made the mistake of crossing the road and skiing in the campground – no tracksetting there. In fact, we broke trail in deep snow for about 300m. We re-crossed the road at the west end of the campground, and continued on the good trackset by the rail line. Soon, that track crossed the road again, and from there to Baker Ck was decent, often double tracked. On the return trip, we stayed with the trackset all the way. Quiet on the way out, but we passed several skiers on the return. -3C back at the parking lot; lots of cars there now. A refresh of the trackset would be great, but it probably won’t happen until next year. Happy New Year, everyone, especially tracksetters.
Jeff and I met at Boulton at 9:30. We skied up Whiskey – without seeing a soul – the conditions were superb. But, honestly, it was Tyrwhitt – in all its glory – that was the trail of the day/year! Gorgeous and spectacular…A few folks were at Elk Pass – and the ski down, on the freshly groomed/tracked trail to Fox Creek was a dream. Despite a lack of recent grooming – both Fox Creek and Moraine were excellent (ran into my friends Paule and Dennis on Moraine, which was a New Year’s Eve treat!!!). Back at Boulton – I concluded – best ski of the year! Thanks, Bob – for the excellent advice – thanks to the volunteers – and, of course, thanks to the groomers everywhere we ski. Happy New Year!
Rossignol Cobra Carbon skis 172cm, with Salomon skate SNS profil bindings. Very good condition.
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.
Did Iron Springs/Elbow via East Crystalline and except for a couple of thin spots under trees on Springs it was fantastic. The parking lot was half full at 9:30 but was quickly filling up. The skiing wasn’t too busy and once we were further out it was very quiet. Everyone was smiling and the sun was shining, Happy New Year everyone.
Had a good ski yesterday on Bill Mine trail from Ribbon Creek to Wedge pond and back. Mt Kidd is so beautiful. With a side trip on Wedge pond trail it made a total of 23km. Tracks were in good, early season conditions with some branches poking through on Bill Mine. Wedge was a little thinner and stops at the creek crossing. Nice to be out again with the Calgary Ski Club (safely)
I skied out to Sundance Lodge today, starting from Healy Creek. I made the bad decision to follow a skin track on the ungroomed hiking trail (first junction, where there is a sign telling you to turn at the next junction for the lodge instead). Lots of rocks, very steep, do not recommend. I gave up after a kilometer and bushwhacked uphill to the groomed trail. The trail hasn’t been groomed since the last snow, but the base is solid and there is a pretty good skier-set track. I stayed on the groomed trail on the way back and the downhill corners at the end were fast but the snow wasn’t too icy and I felt in control. I was on track skis, so metal edges probably would have made it feel even more secure.
In search of boots and skis and maybe poles for 5’4″ woman, size 8 (39) shoe size, preferably NNN, in Calgary. Thanks!
Double track for us please 🙂
Personally, being a 50/50 skate/classic skier, I wish it to include a skate lane. A beautiful ski trail for both disciplines.
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.
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.
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.
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.
RED DEER is in fine shape! The groomer was making multiple passes through the competition trails yesterday PM which will set up very nicely for today. The driving range loop is excellent, and the golf course loop has a solid classic track.
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!
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
In search of secondhand cross country ski equipment suitable for a women’s size 8 1/2/9 shoe size. Looking for boots and skis. Poles as well. Thank you very much in advance and happy new year
Today a friend and I enjoyed a beautiful day of xc skiing at PLPP. She is classic and I skate ski. Two people in a kind way told me that skate skiing is not allowed in PLPP. On this website people have commented likewise. I’ve checked the government website for PLPP and nothing is noted about the trails there being classic only. I’ve been skate skiing in PLPP for about 8 years. We parked at Bolton and there were no signs anywhere saying “classic only”.
Is this an actual rule that it is classic only in PLPP? If so…where is this officially noted?
Greatly appreciate your input.
Thank you in advance.
Thank you gentlemen very much for speedy responses.
Good to know they are not altering the glide performance of the more popular and common type binding. I really like my 3 pin setup but I guess I will have to tolerate the lack of glide efficiency. It did seem to bother hubby more than me. Thank you to Track setter Jeff ,,,I am also curious if a different machine was used on the Bill Maline vs the Wedge pond to the Evan Thomas stretch. I just didnt feel nearly as much drag on the binding on the Wedge trail!
Also Bob, I was trying to find a link you previously provided by a lady speaking on waxing techniques. Looks like my old skis are a hickory base. Just used a liquid glide rub on wax and was pleasantly surprised they had any glide at all lol Guess I need a kick wax on the center areas now.
Bob…love the last name,,, my Father and Brother are both Truman’s!!! Cheers to 2021
To Lots of snow !!
We found good touring conditions today in Chickadee Valley. The creek drainage is quite well filled in, but there are still some open water holes to watch out for. There are a LOT of random tracks winding around in all kinds of strange directions, but a pretty direct line up the valley does exist.
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.
Banff – Goat Creek trailhead & return – December 30
Trying to escape the crowds at WBC and RBC, I opted for that annual pilgrimage return trip. Trail is still in great condition throughout, with a thin layer of scrapped snow on the descent to the Goat Creek bridge. Not too crowded most of the way, except for about 20 skiers gathered by that bridge, upon my return. Caution on the last hill down on Spray River East to the Banff Springs Golf Course, with several exposed rocks. A great day of gliding.
Lots of fun on Bill Milne south from Ribbon Creek. Two beginners with us really enjoyed the pretty good tracks. Parking lot was full but not packed like Monday. Many people vanished into the park so the trails weren’t as busy as expected but most skiers we encountered were polite and ready to share the trail.
Double tracks would make it safer on the downhills especially for beginners. Parking lot volunteers were kept busy. Thanks for volunteering.
PLPP Started at the Elk Pass lot around 9:30, parking lot was empty at this time. Had a great ski up to Blueberry Hill, track set till Hydro junction then very good skier track all the way up. The views of the Lakes were amazing and Blueberry Hill trees are laden with snow making for beautiful scenery! Trail is snowy enough to make for a comfortable and exciting descent. Took Fox Creek on the way back which is not groomed but great to ski on anyways. So grateful we can ski these Kananaskis trails this year – thank you groomers and xc ski community!
West Bragg Creek (WBC). Late afternoon ski. Some people say that the early bird catches the worm – or in this case, a parking spot – but in my case, arriving late worked out better. I arrived around 2:15 pm, and the early birds were just leaving. Clearly though, parking at WBC had been a zoo earlier, judging by the long row of cars still parked along the access road.
Temperature was -2°C to start. Skied counter-clockwise loop around Moose Loop via Mountain Road. Tracks were well-used but holding up nicely. Some hills were a bit on the thin and scraped side of things, but overall good. Temperature was 0°C when I finished. I was hoping to spot a moose along the meadow but had no such luck – the Chinook arch sunset was lovely though.
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.
Thanks for asking. I ski both skate and classic and love Bill milne for both. Please maintain a skate lane.
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.
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.
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.
I really like the website and my wife and I are new to cross country skiing. The only thing I would like to request from the reports is a little more of a descriptor of where a trail is. When I read about a report on a trail it usually names the trail but not where it is (PLPP, WBC, Lake Louise, Banff, etc.) Not a big deal as we hope to learn all these areas but in the meantime we are doing a lot of research on this. Thanks
We skied about 10 km of the Bearberry trails on Monday – they just purchased a new tracksetter this year so they are still getting up and going – but we had an absolutely great afternoon.
The terrain is great for those just starting into the sport – a little of everything and not too technically challenging. Also a great place for classic folks to get away from the crowds and enjoy some nice long stretches that allow you to fall into the kind of hypnotic kick and glide rhythm that keeps you skiing in the first place . They still need some build up on the base (a couple soft spots under the track), and a few bald spots in the trees but not enough to break stride. No problems with ice or tracked out stretches – light purple swix did us just fine the whole way. Not ideal trail width for skaters – definitely designed and built for classic nordic stylers.
Thrilled to receive a report from Bearberry, thanks! -Bob
ISO: 90 and 105cm jr Xc ski poles! Please message me if you have any to sell!
I was out there this week. It’s getting pretty busy. I think it needs a double track now.
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
Skied the “middle” trails today – Meadow, Woolley, Amos and Wheeler – all firm, fast and fun! Temps -10C to -6C, Swix blue wax. Just a quick heads up, some of the downhills are getting very slick, not yet icy, but in a couple more days, they could be entertaining!
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!
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.
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!
Lost something in the Ribbon Creek parking lot today Dec 30. It has my name on it. If you found it, can you email me? Ordman (at) telus.net. thanks!!!
Confederation Golf Course – I arrived at 10:15 or so and the parking lot was completely full. I have never seen so many people there, either for golf or ski! I’m a classic skier and the tracks are fairly good but have also been tramped down in areas. Snowshoe folk were respectfully avoiding the track-set but novice skiers were pulling the usual novice skier challenges – blocking the trails for chit-chats, adjustments, etc, winging poles haphazardly in the air, and the usual assortment. Mental note to come at less popular hours. Thank you to groomers, the real snow angels.
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…
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Double track on Bill Milne is preferred by us.
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.
Older style SNS binding Salomon boots for sale. Size 36/kids 3.5 or so.
Note these are the kind with the D ring on the front of the boot and flat sole – not Profil or Pilot (check your bindings!).
Asking $10. Pick up near John Laurie / 14 st NW.
Not a trail report huge thank you to trail sports for setting me up with new boots after a malfunction and changing my bindings to be compatible while I waited Thank you!
Thank you all for your comments. They were very helpful to me. Clint
PLPP- I did the skier Bob special clockwise from Bolton Bridge, with a side trip up and down the north side of Lookout. Despite the cold temps and wind there were tons of people there with all the parking lots that I saw full; hard to imagine calling this “underused.” Conditions were fantastic. Very frosty trees on Lookout and near Elk Pass. Elk Pass above the lower hydroline junction has not been groomed since the last snow and neither have Fox Creek and Moraine, but the tracks are still good.
PLPP – Family outing to PLPP today, -8 in the Elkwood Parking lot at noon. Lot full but fortunate to get a spot due to turnover. Light traffic on Wheeler out and back. Excellent conditions, all on wax less so can’t comment on wax choice. A few new skiers with us today and all had fun; only two tricky spots. Thanks to Skierbob for the one stop site to see all the local conditions and all the volunteers keeping the trails in shape. Parking pass fee was a small price to pay for a great day outside.
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.
Night skiers please be aware of wildlife risk if you’re @ CNC Nordic Canmore .
Local skiers have reported seeing cougars this week while
Night skiing ; one or two cats including a small one . Bear spray would be advisable for enjoyable moon skiing.
HIDDEN LAKES – Dec 30
Lovely cold snow and excellent tracks to follow!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Could be done on track skis, but skinny skins and metal edges help.
Pipestone Loop. Good day at Pipestone today. Arrived at noon and parking lot was 3/4 full. It was -11C at the start and -7c at finish. Fresh snow (3cm) over set tracks. All the hills were in good condition we saw very few people on the trail. We went counter clockwise on the Pipestone loop (#20) Vr 40 worked well on the new snow.
Dec 30 West Bragg Creek (WBC)
Telephone Loop- Moose Loop – Mountain View West – Mountain View – West Crystal
Yet another Telephone Loop report! Skied counter-clockwise on waxable track skis. Met Steve Riggs along the way. Not much to add to his report, except we disagreed about the cause of the gouges. I felt they were due to fat bikes that were braking too hard and were locking their wheels on the downhill, or spinning their wheels on the uphill. I had waxed the night before with Swix VR40 for expected -10C to -5C. Temperature on arrival at 0915 was about -6C, but quickly warmed up to about -1C with the Chinook. Not much grip, but glide was fantastic and I double-poled up the gentler hills. Did the loop in about record time for me.
I’ve done Telephone Loop many times counter-clockwise, but only once clockwise. I found the hills much more challenging in that direction, and you encounter more people going in the more popular counter-clockwise direction. Another advantage of counter-clockwise is that you have lots of options to extend your trip when you reach the Telephone – Moose junction, based on how much time you have and how tired you are after finishing Telephone.
Canmore Nordic Centre – very good.
Banff, Bow, Meadowview – even the older tracksetting is in great shape. Everything has firmed up, including skate lanes. By early afternoon, Banff Tr to mine meadow was congested but sparse traffic on Bow and MV; overflow parking lot was maybe half full.
Can everyone please write a letter to Jason Nixon to ask that ALL of the stalls in the outhouses are opened at the parking lots in Kananaskis??? I realize they think they are saving money by only having 25% of them open (I think they are using covid as an excuse…people can wear masks inside and there is enough airflow). This is so ridiculous it’s beyond belief.
Standing in a line of 15 people at Wedge Pond today…crazy!
Goat Creek trailhead to 2nd Spray River bridge (the bus stop) and back
Pleasant ski on skier’s tracks, the trail is well packed and fat bikes did not leave ruts, same for snowshoers / walkers.
It was nice to meet Janice the poet waiting (impatiently?) for her hubby at the bus stop. On the way down we met a few skiers coming from Banff and on the way back there was definitely more traffic coming down.
The descent to Goat creek bridge was rather safe even though on the way back I saw a few people falling on the way down.
Swix Blue V40 worked well.
Forgot to mention, parking lot at WBC was a zoo again and full by 10:00am. And the trails were crazy!! Telephone was delightfully quiet until we hit Moose Loop! The big hill down to the bridge before Mountain Road was absolute carnage. Fallen people on the ground, folks resting halfway up, others standing in the middle of the trail… we had to slalom around people to try and descend.
I love the Telephone Loop at West Bragg Creek so we had to give it a go now that it’s trackset. This was my third time on this loop and it was the most challenging I’ve ever found it. I love steep crazy hills but they were especially terrifying today in the first half of the loop going counter clockwise.
There were deep ruts on all the hills (possibly from fat bikes,) and the grooming wasn’t even. (No fault of the groomers, it’s a hard trail to groom and the snow was soft.)
We only had one wipe out in our group and my 11 year old loved the hills. I was scared a few times though!
Definitely bring the light touring skis with metal edges and only ski this trail if you’re looking for some excitement. It was a wild ride!
Cascade fire road today, to Stoney Creek. There was fresh grooming being done as we skied, and the snow was flawless!
Wed dec 30: WBC (beyond the mountain Rd grooming)
Snowshoers walked the off trail skier set beyond the grooming, continuing up towards the gas pump, who knows how far they broke trail. I turned left again before the initial hill into the narrow cut block on my track of 4 days ago, heading east to access the large south meadow. Beyond the first drainage crossing, its on and off barely burried logs with only 30 cm of snow cover, requiring weaving around all but the smallest of logs. Eventually the horseshoe shaped narrow cut block becomes a 40 degree north side slope, so bailed down to the west arm of the meadow (although moose thicket would be a more apt desriptor). Improved travel once into the less scrubby main meadow (40 cm) and north back to mountain Rd. Can’t recommend the route beyond that first drainage crossing currently until at least a foot more snow (but fine up to there with LT gear), unless you really like moose tracking on their turf. Didn’t see any, but lots of evidence. Best to just access the south meadow direct from mountain road. Parking lot overflowing on return at 130 with cars all along the access Rd to the Texas gate. A little further down the road a sea can rental delivery was taking up the west bound lane blocking traffic all the way back into town. Bad timing.
Hostel-Telephone-Moose-West Crystal, December 30. Fast conditions overall!
East Hostel has seen a lot of non-ski traffic, but miraculously the tracks were intact. Quick and fun- A great way to warmup.
Telephone from Hostel to Snowshoe Hare is trampled wall to wall, with only vestiges of track setting remaining.
Continuing north to Reconnect- trampled, but tracks usually in OK shape.
Reconnect to Disconnect-still trampled a bit, tracks are generally reasonable, however the steeper downhills especially, feature some gouges in the snow that I think may have been caused by snow machines struggling to pack the deep snow. Use caution and check your speed early into the downhills!
Beyond Disconnect right through to Moose- very good- the best part of my ski. Mostly smooth with good track setting and soft snow. Only one walker who kept (mostly) to the side.
Overall I’d say Telephone is in good shape for experienced skiers, who can handle the occasional more rugged hill. For those new to Telephone- don’t expect grooming to the same standard as the rest of WBC, and be aware that there are some steep downhills especially going CCW as I did.
To finish off my morning I did Moose Loop and a mix and match of West Crystal main and side trails. Moose a bit worn, but skiing well, West Crystal and variants in good shape.
Oh yeah- thanks groomers!
Ribbon Creek parking lot 8:45 am felt colder than -6 but no wind. Not much change from Tanya’s report yesterday. Headed up Terrace North’s big hill (only trail showing its wear). Stayed on Kovach to the top, but took in Link down to bridge over Ribbon Creek and sadly big boot prints on Kovach all the way. Aspen trails offer some nice views and variety; only saw 2 people in first 8 kms. Hoped to find the fire pit burning to sit beside for lunch outside, across from the skating pond, but no such luck. Can only imagine how delicious a Hot Buttered Rum would taste like tonight out there, soaking up the moonlight, in those big chairs. Very few people in and around the village, but WOW! was the Ribbon parking lot and hwy 40 ever busy as we drove back to Canmore. Likely guests arriving to hotel for New Year’s reservations.
XC NNN boots size 40 or 41 anyone has one for sale please
Has anyone skied WBC Telephone loop lately? How difficult is it? Is it safer to ski it clockwise or counter clockwise? I’m nervous of steep downhills.
Hi I’m looking for boots size 39ish for my skis with sns pilot bindings. Anyone have some kicking around they aren’t using anymore??
0900h Dec. 30, 2020 Bragg Creek Trails
Another beautiful morning! Skate lanes have all been renovated. New track setting on East Crystal, Iron Springs N., and Elbow N. Iron Springs south has been packed only.
Conditions are very good to excellent throughout the system.
Hi Skier Bob!
Thank you so much for your amazing web site and wealth of information. Truly a wonderful resource and I love your spirit of enthusiasm.
Hubby and I are not seasoned xc skiers, to say the least, but are enjoying these wonderful conditions and workout, usually after a 1/2 day on the down hill at NAKISKA.
We have bought, second hand, ole school 3 pin bindings skies and have very comfy, warm 3 pin boots which were bought new.
Our issue… yesterday, on the Bill Malign, we were experiencing quite a bit of drag with the wider binding but noticed a nice difference coming back, as drag was less due to them already broken through the side walls and do they damage the track for the more common style binding?
Can groomer machines not accommodate these style bindings !??
Margaret, I’ve passed your question along to Tracksetter Jeff. -Bob
I’ve been skiing at night by headlight or moonlight and it’s been fantastic, both Elk Pass and Skogans recently! Although I’ve been THE ONLY PERSON out there in the empty parking lot. lol. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s been lonely by today’s standards, peaceful for sure.
Outstanding Bob! Glad you had such a fantastic day!
Kicking Horse Trail
Adding to Canmore Chris’ report on the trail – the trail was trackset to the bridges (so it’s now a little soft, but still fantastic). From there it’s skier trackset on the existing track all the way to the end. Temp. about -6 today, high humidity, overcast, but conditions where great for both grip and glide. https://photos.app.goo.gl/1ksPGvjmJFnRUiiF6
All the trees that were down on the slope leading from the start to the bridges were removed, and there are a couple of limbo trees between the picnic table at the 3.5 km mark and the end of the trail at 7 km. Gorgeous conditions, no wind, and lots of snow in the trees
WBC: Tom Snow/Kestrel
I followed MaSid and GH’s tracks on north Tom Snow and filled in the blanks by going up Old Shell Road, Moose single track and taking all of the new re-routes on Tom Snow. We also went part way up the north end of Kestrel to see if there were any tracks to follow, but finding none, we opted to take advantage of our packed track all the way back. The parking lot was full in the morning and still quite busy at moonrise… but we only saw a few other people after leaving Mountain Road. https://photos.app.goo.gl/2PMXMHvqAg5wRoEr9
If anyone wants to avoid the busy WBC parking lot, you can always park at Spruce Woods and follow Tom Snow trail down to Moose Loop.
I found a pair of sunglasses on the Ribbon Creek trail at the bottom of the crazy corkscrew downhill. On Monday Dec 28.
Hey Bob, so good to run into you in the parking lot! You arrived at prime time, it was pretty chilly out there early morning. I was looking forward to a lovely ski after volunteering in Boulton Creek parking lot, but unfortunately was suffering from a bad night sleep, combined with a stupid fall the day before. Such a disappointment to not take advantage of those wonderful conditions! Wasn’t that cloud amazing?
Thanks for your website AND thanks to Nordiq Alberta!!
You’re never going to get a better deal than $50 a season for these exceptional trails. My kids pay more than half that for one day of skiing in B.C.
Great ski at Lake Louise today. The tracks were good, temperature at a crisp -14C as we climbed Tramline to Fairview which was magical in the sun and frosted trees. The trails were surprisingly quiet. We crossed the lake and it got cold in the shade. Lots of skaters on the ice by the ice castle. Then we skied up to the lakeshore trail and followed it to Peyto and the Divide and down Tramline where we emerged in the sun again to finish our ski.
The Pipestone trails at Lake Louise were all superb today, not withstanding the -20C start. Brilliant sun, excellent tracks, and glidey skis made for gentle strides and easy progress. Kick using Swix V20 was just right, and it lasted all day in the smooth snow. There were many friendly people out, overall it was a wonderful winter day outdoors. 🙂
Skied the Moose Loop at West Bragg Creek this morning. Cold (-20 C) at 9 am but conditions were excellent. Grip and glide were good using V20 wax. Apparently Moose Loop is well named – I saw three moose in the meadow.
PLPP – Pocaterra – up and back. After parking lot duty this morning, I skied up Pocaterra to the Packers junction and then back down to the warming hut. If Amos-Lynx-Wheeler forms the middle of the park, then I say that Pocaterrra must be the backbone. I agree with all that Bob has reported about conditions today. I couldn’t have said it better. Conditions were absolutely terrific, although a bit nippy! However, I’d like to thank all the supportive smiling faces that greeted us this morning, proudly showing off their season parking passes – and in particular the lovely folks that supplied the volunteers with chocolate. You guys are the best!!
Skied Skogan Pass today with the two extra loops on the way up (Hummingbird and Skogan loop) – total about 25.5km
Beautiful blue sky and the snow/tracks were still decent (once you pass Troll falls!) although a bit skied out for my liking…
High Level was still perfect (thanks Bob for your recommendation) but Sunburst had some holes from hikers, I was going up and tracks were still in great shape so not a big deal.
I was lucky to find parking spot at 11:45 as someone was leaving. Still lots of cars in the parking lot at 3:30 p.m. but not full – likely hikers as I believe there was only one person behind me down Skogan Pass.
Overall great trip!
Yoho Double: First a trip to Emerald Lake. Access initially is either across the corner of the lake, or along the lake shore, neither ideal with no tracksetting, before heading up to the trackset Horse Trail which runs above and parallel to the lake – great fun on soft snow (approx. 5 cms since last grooming) with lots of whoop-de-doos. Then onto the Alluvial Fan which we did in both directions, tracks holding up well. Then we drove down to the Kicking Horse trail and skied out to the picnic area by the river – same snow conditions (i.e. mostly good tracks which had been covered by new snow since grooming, which made for lovely silky texture). Just as we were leaving, the groomer headed down the trail having arrived from the Tally-Ho trail – he would soon encounter 2 trees across the trail not far from the trailhead and hopefully he was able to move them, though they were easy to ski past. Temps around -10C to -7C all day, used VR40 or Swix Extra Blue, and not very busy (got parking at the lake around 1030 am)
I skied the lookout loop as a side trip on the way back from Skogan Pass today, and encountered 3 more avid subscribers to “Postholer Quarterly” magazine. In all honesty- the divots were annoying to see, but didn’t really affect the skiing for me. I did have to remind the one young woman to “please stay out of the set tracks”- I think it was just a momentary lapse on her part, as the track setting remained in good shape on descending Sunburst. High Level is still pristine.
Where is hayfields trail please. Love reading about it but can’t find directions. Desperate to find an off leash ski for our pup,
Many many thanks – and a very happy new year!!
Skied Strathmore Golf course today. Good to very good track setting all around the course. There is an honour system at a cost of $5. Not many people there and fun to ski the prairies rather than the mountains. We combined our ski with a drive around the backroads near Strathmore and located three Snowy Owls. A great days outing.
Inspired by Charlie’s trip report of Dec. 27 we skied the PLPP Cookie Race 24 km loop. (Air temp. at PH was -18C at 9:30 am / -11C at 2:00 pm) VR40 worked well all day. Conditions are still fantastic! No new grooming or track setting but all tracks are in very good condition. Steeper hills are scraped to icy snow and more difficult to climb and snow plow. Packers was in better condition than expected but still caution is advised skiing down from Pocaterra. We dropped down to the old trail via Lower Come Along and found ice in the tracks at one spot. Due to the trail’s flatness here the ice is not an issue. Tracks nearer to PH are well loved but are still good. A very satisfying day.
CASTLE LOOKOUT to BAKER CREEK – Dec 29
The new bypass of Protection Mountain Campground is complete, and fully trackset!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Privileged to meet Bruce & Lindsay, cash donors to this website.
PLPP today. We started at the Pocaterra parking lot and skied out along Pocaterra, headed up to the Lookout on fresh grooming and screamed down the other side. We then took Hydroline north and returned to the cars on Fox Creek, Moraine, Wheeler, Braille, and Lodgepole. Other than a couple twigs on Fox Creek and Moraine, the snow was pristine. It was a chilly day and returning along Lodgepole in the sun was a lovely way to finish the ski.
We skied Wedge Connector today, my son and I. It is his … second time on Xcountry skis, and this trail was perfect. Loved to get into the mtns and have an accessible trail to ski.
Skied a loop around Ribbon Creek and the Village.
Ribbon Creek – excellent fresh grooming and no hiking traffic until we reached the creek where I believe it’s a mixed trail for skiing and snowshoeing. The steep hill was in good condition going down to the creek (a few rocks to watch out for but no ice.)
Link – great fresh grooming again. Met some snowshoers but they turned on to the snowshoe trail at the “skiers only” sign.
We then climbed up Aspen and Kovach and met only a few skiers. Brand new corduroy and tracksetting on this part. Bob, you would have approved.
We descended to the village and returned on Terrace back down to our car.
Terrace was a zoo by the village but crowds thinned out before the first junction.
Busiest section all day was the descent down to Ribbon Creek on Terrace. Everybody seemed to be climbing up this way around 1:30-2:00.
A few rocks and some dirt on this part but good skiing for the most part.
Parking lot was insane!!!! People parked everywhere they could find a spot.
Thankfully the trails were quiet. I guess people all spread out once moving.
Tue dec 29: elk pass area (and lots of meadows).
-15 this morning at 8AM in the elk pass parking lot (warmer than down the road luckily). Fresh grooming from the lot to north hydroline, then back to the shallow worn track all the way to the pass. Fresh corduroy and first tracks down thyrwitt. The track was bomb proof solid, and noisy with metal edge LT gear until more traffic went through. Attempted getting up to east elk pass, but thwarted by the narrow hallway/drainage in the tight trees (the squeeze), at least with waxkess LT gear and no skins. If only I had brought the shovel, easy fix. The drainages are narrow and deep and some still open water. Needs another foot or more snow for easy access. Track goes in about a Km to the end of the first meadow. Back to the pass and down the Patterson meadow, returning to the blueberry table. Stamped out the snow bench again behind the table as auxiliary seating when busy. Cold damp cloud with a stiff breeze from the south in the west elk pass meadows. Fork ‘n meadow couch supplied better wind protection, always good having more options, thanks to cheeky and Simona. Track has set up nice from yesterday and continues to supply easy fast travel. Back at blueberry table, the snow bench was already getting used. While I didn’t get to meet helen on the trail today, I did meet her lovely neighbours at the bench, Kelly and partner. Good meeting and chatting with you both about all manner of things!
Hi, just wondering if there’s a headlamp that you’d recommend for night cross-country skiing? My little 3 bulb LED one doesn’t quite cut it. Thanks!
We skied a loop at the Strathmore Golf Course this morning. It was -15 when we started, but bright and sunny so it felt warmer. The tracks are well used and wobbly in areas, with a few bare spots.
The big draw for us is that its dog friendly so it’s a pawsitively perfect place to start our young pup. We were on waxless, light touring skis with metal edges, all the better for control when attached by a waist belt to an 10 month old Aussie.
Don’t forget your 5.00 fee if you head out that way, there’s a box on a pole close to the club house to make your payment.
My understanding was that the fire lookout (gazebo) was built by the POWs who were “incarcerated” at the Barrier Lake POW camp, which was where the UofC Field Station is located.
Night time magic on TYRWHITT
The weather forecast for last night was phenomenal – clear skies, a nearly full moon, and good ski temperatures. That meant it was time for a nighttime ski and it was absolutely magical. We started from Elk Pass, did Moraine and Whiskey Jack first, obligatory snacks at the Whiskey Jack picnic table, and continued on to Tyrwhitt.
It was amazing to only have a single track along Tyrwhitt after that last big snowstorm, but it made it so much more magical. The snow in the meadows reflected from my headlamp like a field of diamonds. It was eerily quiet, and eerily beautiful. The stars came out and sparkled, we saw Mars, then had another snack at the Tyrwhitt picnic table where the night felt so surreal … it looked like spotlights at the hill below us. This was the full moon coming over the mountains and was so bright that the trees cast shadows and one could ski without a headlamp. Absolutely amazing.
We made it to Elk Pass, I had planned a fondue for the pass, but temperatures were dropping and the high humidity brought a beautiful mist. Then, off in the distance down Hydroline were two brights lights – none other than the groomer. We talked to him briefly (is it Jody?), he was happy to hear that there were no downed trees on Tyrwhitt, and we were happy to have amazing corduroy to ski on for the way back.
The night was so magical that it felt like being suspended in some time warp and sense of awe. I’m not a fast skier, but never before did it take me six hours to ski the Tyrwhitt loop. Worth every minute and longing for more. Fondue ended up being plan B – made it in the parking lot of Wedge Pond, before heading home feeling pleasantly depleted.