Their IQ or their tire pressure?
PLPP: South Pocaterra and Tyrwhitt from the Back Door
We were the first two cars in the backdoor parking just after 9:30am. South Pocaterra is trackset and in great condition. Tyrwhitt roller packed only, quite skiable if you don’t mind the absence of tracks. Some needles and debris in the treed sections. On the return, it was great to get back in the tracks of Pocaterra – a pleasant reminder of how wonderful tracks are. 5 cars at backdoor parking at 1pm. Temps -4C to start, -2C at the end.
PLPP report for yesterday –little to add that isnt in Bob’s update save for my advice to skier’s -novice and experienced alike: avoid downhill (west/south) travel on Packer’s trail in early season. That means now until likely Christmas as a safe bet. Their are several trecherous downhill sections of irregular awkward humps, bumps, open ground, open water, and thin base throughout the middle and upper reaches. This isn’t just about ski base preservation but personal safety and enjoyment. If you figure you’ll just walk unpleasant sections, know that your deep boot prints are destroying the base further as prints freeze in unevenly and creates additional hazards for skier days later. Parks really SHOULD have recommended difficulty colour coding and/or directional travel signage on a few reaches of trail in PLPP, that being the most critical early season. No wipe out sitzmarks/divots seen yesterday but if their is an accident that’ll happen, its there. Saw 37 people out skiing in total -unprecedented for a November Monday.
Is the Elk Pass trail trackset from the Elk Pass parking lot? Or is it still better to start from the back door?
Great Divide Lake Louise to O’hara and back – 23 Nov 20
Had a really nice ski. Classic trails are track-set and in good shape. Skate ski lane is a bit tramped down but there were lots of skiers out. The dog sled groomer was also out, so expect the pups in the near future.
I am looking for size 40 NNN x- country boots and 140 poles.
Pocaterra Hut Friday 20 November
Someone grabbed my daughters brand new poles at 11am or so when they finished their ski. We were waxing up when they drove away.
403 478 9905 – Darcy
PLPP: Back door, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox, Moraine, Whiskey Jack
We skied this route a week ago prior to grooming, how wonderful it is to have grooming, we are so grateful. Bumps are gone, snow was fast, had a blast coming down Elk Pass. Fox and Moraine could use some snow. Had a fantastic day.
Pocaterra & Tyrwhitt from Hwy 40
A gorgeous day to be out skiing. We got a last spot at the “back door” parking lot. Pocaterra to Lookout was trackset and still in great shape, in use by skiers and wolves. Tyrwhitt was nicely rolled but not trackset – snow is still too thin, particularly in the trees, and needs a good dump of snow.
Could drivers park their cars as close together as possible, say no more than 75 cm / 2.5 ft. apart. This will allow as many skiers as possible to start at their preferred trailhead in this COVIDian era. Just be a little careful opening doors!
Looking for Madshus CT 120 Men’s Boot Eur Size 44/US 10 NNN
Mon nov 23: west elk pass.
Busy at the couch for a Monday! Several friendly visitors. FCFS as they say. It takes a pandemic (maybe) for more people to wander away from the beaten path. To rectify, a third socially distanced “snofa” is in the works. Only a bench for now, but full couch soon, which should bump up max capacity to 5 or 6. But that will be it. No more room in the tree bay. But full sun dial coverage at least, choose your couch based on time of day. Gets sun from about 1130-3 this time of year, 12-2 best.
Scoped out an east aspect avi slope off mount fox (BC side). Thin in the trees still above the meadows (60 cm) making forest skiing in that area a bit sporty, unless you like wood and twig carving. Lots of peckerwood trees in the lower reaches of the slide path that needs much more snow for decent skiing. Didn’t check the other slopes out, but perhaps better “around the corner”.
Haven’t seen the coyote last few trips, but might have spotted him in the ditch, “resting”. )-: Perhaps he was getting fed, or enjoying the occasional road kill. Never works out for the best.
Wedge Connector from Wedge Pond
After playing around in the Highwood Meadows for a bit, I decided to check out Wedge Pond just in case, on my way home. Surprise! Despite no grooming and lots of foot traffic, the skiing was pretty decent! There are a few early season hazards to watch for, but conditions were much better than expected. Fat bike tracks stayed on the Bill Milne trail.
ELK PASS/MEADOWS/HYDRO LINE/ FOX CREEK: We would agree with Frank’s recent posting, although we sure enjoyed the snow conditions today. The Elk Meadows are full of snow, great touring through to Hydroline and then back up to the picnic table at the Pass. Nice to visit with Masid at his new couches. Fox Creek needs some new snow, although the recent skidoo packing is appreciated. Trail is nice and generally wide. Very busy today.
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park: Elk Pass Trail-Boulton Bridge-Fox Creek-Moraine and return.
These trails showed the results of the large amount of weekend traffic and no overnight
fresh snow which have left the trails hardpacked and fast.There is sufficient texture for the advance skier but more tentative skiers should take note. Snow is in the forecast for the rest of the week. We went over to Elkwood later and noted that no grooming has been done there, at least around the parking lot although there are skier tracks. The excavator was at work at Elk Pass parking, safely behind a barrier It is easy to infringe on the barrier, so keep your head up.
What a beautiful day on Elk Pass with my hubby on his birthday! Ok, it’s the day before his birthday, but I’m working tomorrow. The sun was shining, our skins were working really well in the approximately -5 degree weather, and the tracks were still quite nice. We ran into MaSid at the Blueberry Hill junction on his way to work on his couch… if we had a few more minutes to spare we would have had a seat. Counting the days until we can go back!
I found some sunglasses on Tyrwhitt yesterday. They were frosted over and it was 7:45 am, so I am sure they were lost on Saturday, Nov 21. Picked them up and brought them back to Okotoks with me so they didn’t get groomed.
Reply with brand/colour and we can figure out some way to get them back to you!
I went skiing on the Great Divide trail / Old 1A highway on Sunday from Calgary and left behind a pair of Under Armour gloves at the parking lot. It would be nice to have back. Thanks
Sunday was a great day of skiing up to Lake O Hara. As always the scenery at the lake is magical and the road up is skier track set but the conditions are very good with 20-30 cm of fresh powder. Highly recommended.
Based on the above, we can see that grooming is expensive, especially to achieve the high quality Pisten Bully grooming. On Friday, we skied with a group of friends on the marvellous fresh grooming on the Elk Pass and Blueberry trails. Everyone had a great time and most certainly enjoyed the grooming.
PLPP is the closest location to Calgary with a reliable snow pack for a long ski season.
In the past years, there was no charge for this grooming at PLPP and this year there is a very modest charge for parking. There is no reason why the users should not cover the grooming costs.
Many users would be happy to pay for more frequent grooming with examples such as at the Golden Nordic Club (Adult $12/day 35 km of trails), the Sovereign Lake club (at Vernon Adult $19/day 50 km of trails), Canmore Nordic Centre (Adult $15/day 65 km of trails) and others. Note that Golden grooms about half of the trails daily and Sovereign grooms all of the trails daily.
At PLPP we have witnessed MANY happy skiers so far this year. This large group of skiers should be able to fund more regular grooming of more trails daily at PLPP, especially this winter of high demand for ski trails.
Thanks to the groomers, Nordiq Canada and the volunteers who helped to retain grooming at PLPP. We are indeed fortunate to have these trails groomed this winter.
Also a shout out to the excellent work done by the volunteers at West Bragg! They are also seeking a bit more funding for their proposed new smaller Pisten Bully equivalent (Sno Rabbit). We should all help with their funding as well.
Hi! I’m wondering what is the widest width of ski that can be used in the tracks? I’m looking for a backcountry ski that can also be used in the tracks. Any suggestions?
Ribbon Creek – Not recommended.
I need new skis now. Meh, reason enough!
Needs more snow coverage, lots of walkers on the trail too. Kinda disappointing to see, however, not a big deal at this point.
Perhaps I should have offered some wax….
Several facts: 1) A small portion of PLPP contains the only high quality classic ski grooming (Pisten Bully) in South Western Alberta.
2) There are very small signs at the start of the trails in PLPP stating that skating is not allowed since it damages the classic track. The tracks are too close together to provide room for skating.
3) Many people are not aware that skating is not allowed in PLPP, but will copy other people that skate, since it is of low probability that they have read the small signs.
4) One person skated over much of the groomed classic track up Whiskey Jack.
5) One person was skating on Tyrwhitt. There were no groomed classic tracks on Tyrwhitt.
6) Yes, I was irritated.
Note that the only trails currently available in this area for skating are at Lake Louise (MLR and GDT) and Frozen Thunder.
Family has outgrown this XC ski gear, so time for a new home:
Alpina Boots size 35 NNN
Fisher Sporty 177cm Wax NNN
Rossignol Max 167cm, 157cm, 147cm Wax NNN
Rossignol XTour 140cm Waxless NNN
Atomic 130cm Waxless NNN
Fisher Standard 190cm Wax SNS, TechnoPro Century 170cm Waxless SNS, Karhu 120cm Waxless
Poles: Swix 130cm & 125 cm, Atomic 110cm, TechnoPro 110cm, Excel 100cm & 95cm
Madshus Vette 140cm Waxless no bindings
pictures, price, and contact here:
If the Pipestone trails at lake Louise are being groomed/trackset this season, is the parking lot open? If not where is the closest parking space? Thanks!
Perhaps Brews did not remember that he skated much of the way up Whiskey Jack as wel as skating on Trywhitt
Appreciate the informative article.If a trail is packed and not track set eg Tyrwhitt this weekend , what is the etiquette regarding skating ?
I found it difficult in places to maintain glide & was switching between classic diagonal and skating . A gentleman stopped to tell me it was extremely rude to skate on a classic trail . I don’t see the issue on an uncrowded trail with no set tracks to damage but willing to consider other viewpoints
Elk Pass upper parking to Blue Berry Hill, the “couch” for lunch, Elk Pass / Patterson and then a short trip up Whiskey Jack. Snow conditions were quite good on all of these routes. There were a lot of skiers on the Elk Pass route so the track is not real tight (which is good for me with my wide bindings). There were far fewer skiers on Whiskey Jack. It was a treat for the 3 (Carole and Jamie) of us to have lunch (with out a reservation) at the “couch” which amazingly was a bit out of the wind. The cup / thermos bottle holder was a nice touch.
Hi Bob, we skied down Packers on Saturday not realizing the condition it was in, happy to report we survived! But yes, it was very dicey. It was a veritable roller coaster. Great day nonetheless!
Found a pair of X-C poles left at Mt. Shark trailhead yesterday (Sat., Nov 21). Send me a note to claim them?…they’re in Canmore. Thanks!
TAKAKKAW FALLS via YOHO VALLEY ROAD – Nov 22
No parking hassles here. Glad I took gaiters as I had to break trail in about 25 cms of new snow.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
For a full day challenge, it was a good idea to get straight into my ski pants as I rolled out of bed!
GREAT DIVIDE: Excellent condition, lots of people out. Snow was a bit slow but it is a beautiful winter wonderland out there. Drove back on 1A, lots of nice snow between Baker Chalets and Castle Bungalows. Tracksetting sòon?
Easiest way to look at grooming is to think of it like making a snowball. What is required when the snow is cold and dry? What happens if you make a snowball when the snow is wet and it freezes?
The answers to these questions is the basic principle of all grooming.
I concur with Mike W. This article is most useful and should make a lot of people think about the crew and all they do for us ( I know it certainly made me appreciate even more what is done for us). This article is good for both new comers to our sport but as well to people like myself who have been using the area for many, many, years. Thank you Bob.
I would also like to pass on a huge thank you to all the folks who sent in emails etc. to the government. Without the pressure we put on Jason Nixon and others and without Nordiq Alberta the wonderful service described here would not have happened.
An excellent article, Bob! How about listing it under Resources, so it’s readily accessible into the future?
Good idea, done! -Bob
Bob, you mention “There’s been lots of concern about there being no Live Grooming Reports. Nobody seems to know anything except for the fact that it’s not functioning.” Does anyone presently know any further? As a retired IT professional, is there anything that I can help with in that regard to investigate?
Skied Tally-Ho in Yoho from the Field info centre out and back to the Emerald Lake road yesterday, Sat. Nov. 21. Track was great with a few baby trees poking up here and there, but no big deal. The little bit of open water running across the track was no problem to avoid by removing skis and stepping over. Really struggled with wax as it was right around 0 deg. C. I covered swix blue extra with Violet Extra and started icing. Violet special was a little better, but eventually I tried to scrape that all off and suffered with no grip blue extra and less icing (not zero). My wife’s twin skin Fischers worked perfectly, of course! It was a beautiful day to be out!
Rossignol Skate Skis – carbonSK, XIUM, 193 cm for about 95 kg skier with NNN Rossignol skate bindings. Skate Boots – size 47 Alpina SP 40. Both are nearly new – used less than 6 times (maybe much less…) Asking $400 or offers. Text to 403 667 4050
Left Pocaterra Hut about 9:40 am. It was -5 and I used good old VR40. The skier trackset on the Marathon route allowed for some kick and glide, but it was good to get to about 1 km east of the start of Whiskeyjack on Wheeler where the powder was machine packed. Whiskeyjack to Tyrrwhit to Elk Pass machine tracked and a great kick and glide. The run down Elk Pass to Fox Creek and Moraine back to Boulton was mid season smooth and fast. Then the slog back east to Pocaterra Hut was a little slower with warmer snow, but still the best November ski ever ! It was -2 back at the hut, so pretty ideal temps throughout.
Great to meet you Skier Bob! We had a great day out!
-Lindsay and Mitch
Looking for a pair of 195-205cm classic skis for beginner, waxless is preferred.
We decided to check out the Rummel Lake tour today. There were around 30 vehicles at the roadside trailhead and the majority of people were either snowshoeing or hiking to the lake. The trail was so well packed that anything from wide touring skis with skins to running shoes worked well. Off-trail travel conditions were excellent, with 20-25cm of light snow on a supportive base. So, we did a bunch of wandering around just to enjoy the powder skiing.
Moraine Lake Road and Great Divide were probably even better today than last weekend. The trees are loaded up with snow and views into the Bow valley and drainage below Moraine Lake were mid-winter’s finest – in November! Easy waxing and superb tracksetting combined for a most enjoyable afternoon and lots and lots of friendly people were out enjoying this warm, winter day. HIGHLY recommended.
Thanks to Skier Bob for the Upper Lake parking tip. We were the first vehicle in the Upper Lake lot at about 9:40 this morning. When we finished at 1:30, the Elk Pass parking lot was completely full, including vehicles parked on the side of the short access road into lot. Upper Lake had probably 15 or 16 vehicles and my buddy commented that the massive Upper Lake lot is a much better option than the crowded Elk Pass lot. We also enjoyed having that nice little 0.9 km connector stretch to casually ski after coming down to the Elk Pass lot.
Moraine Lake Road; started 09:15 from the Chateau parking lot; -6C start and +1C finish at 14:30; VR40 worked perfectly. Approximately 2 cm new snow fell overnight on Friday’s grooming, muffling the sound of skis and poles on snow. MLR up tracks were tracked by earlier skiers providing an easier ascent. Lots of team skiers training, young and old, mostly skating. The turn point was sunny with no wind, which made for a pleasant lunch break. The air was full of the laughter of young skiers enjoying their day and Whiskey Jacks mooching lunch. The ski down was controllable in the soft snow but quick enough to keep your attention. The climb on Upper Tramline was even pleasant at day’s end. MLR always a pleasure!
I hope Parks groom and track-set for the Sunday ski crowd giving them an even better day.
Pocaterra Hut to Elkwood area: Best to wait for more snow and some grooming. This area has not been groomed. It is skier tracked, but with all the ups and downs there are not very many sections with ski tracks to follow.
Please remember that COVID protocols should be followed, even outdoors. Don’t park right next to a car when there are people standing there waxing their skis and preparing their gear. Give people their space.
A month ahead of normal schedule, including travel in the meadows! Happy days. As I have no cross country gear currently, unlikely to be any couches on pipestone or Fairview this year. So couch HQ is it, for now. Bring a foamy to sit on.
We arrived at 10:30 today at Elk Pass parking and were the last to squiz in
Hi! Might be a long shot, but I’m looking for a pair of Madshus snow pup xc skis for my daughter. If anyone is selling a pair please let me know.
Sat Nov 21: west elk pass
Starting from elk pass parking, using fox creek to start. A bit smoother on the way back after some travel. Couch HQ now has a covid separated love seat and throne (seating for 3 total). Cheeky and Simona swung by for lunch via blueberry meadows and helped build. More visitors showed up (the heli-skiers) and couldn’t resist some snow-chitecture! The poster kids and I zipped off and skied the meadow through to hydroline, leaving the heli-skiers the shovel and saw to add their own sculptural snow art (they did!). There’s a kid inside everyone. The later season efficient route through the meadows is good to go, before December! Went back via blueberry meadows. Theses meadow trails saw some bodies today so are in nice shape now until the next dump (powder baskets probably best, but doable without). Elk pass lot was clearly busy enough today that some cars were parked on the access road, making it essentially a narrow single lane driveway. Another excellent day with sun at the couch in the afternoon. Not so good coming down the hill and having to make a quick narrow left.
I was one of the skiers who told you not to ski down Packers, and we only realized it was you after you left!
Does anyone know how much snow there is at the Cascade Valley ski trail parking lot in Banff?
Women’s wax less skis 187” with matching boots.
Do you know if Cascade valley is trackset yet?
Skied Blueberry Hill today with three other families and it was INCREDIBLE!!! The snow, wow! It was a bit sticky for some in our group but those of us with waxless skis had an easy time. My son and I put glide wax on at the top of Blueberry Hill and flew down screaming. We love hills.
The fresh grooming was amazing and the hills were easy to descend. We appreciated the track setting coming down too. Sure made double polling easier.
Sat Nov 21 – Elk Pass Amazing
Words cannot capture the simply outstanding day that Mark, Richard, Jeff and I experienced today.
Mid-winter snow – superb glide – made for a memorable first ski for Sam!!!
Gratitude for grooming and track setting that was so uncertain for a time – and a dream come true today!!!
For those who haven’t been out yet – go, go, go!
Skate ski boots – Fischer RCS Size 42. Brand new $130 OBO, Located in Canmore. If interested send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Salomon BC xadv5 ski boots size 45 1/3 good condition…with BC Binding Salomon SNS xa $125
Rossignol BC H6 W Ski Boots Size 41 excellent Condition $100
See photos on Banff/Canmore Kijiji
Fischer RCS skate ski with NNN binding $300. today’s version would cost around $700 for ski and binding – These have a few cosmetic imperfections as they have been around a few years but bases were stoneground and in good shape – 185 cm long so fits someone 5.5 to 5.8/9 depending on your weight – best camber for 140-160 pounds.
IF interested email me email@example.com
Some of the trails around the Kananaskis Village were packed yesterday. These are still early days and the base is very shallow. Skiing is possible on the flat trails such as Terrace and Terrace Link. Extreme caution on any hills due to hidden surprises such as blue ice and rocks.
Upper Skogan Pass has over 40 cm of snow but Alta Link is currently replacing power poles up there and using parts of Skogan as their access.
Lots of great skiing in Lougheed at the moment best to wait before you try Ribbon Creek.
Please add me to your email list. Thanks!
Mailing list? News to me. I don’t have any such list. -Bob
REC past SDL turnoff
With all those reports of fresh corduroy and knife edge trackset conditions in PLPP, I figured my day of trail breaking was a better fit for this backcountry section. Leaving at 10:45 am on metal edge light touring skis and VR45, I intended to ski to Shadow Lake Lodge. Wishful thinking with up to 20 cm of trail breaking all along Red Earth Creek. I was able to see the ski track made about a week ago, covered by 10-15 cm of new snow, up to about the Lost Horse Creek campground. Poles were hitting the ground through 15-25 cm of snow until then. Then it is was pretty much untracked soft snow afterwards, with hint of an old ski track at times and up to 40 cm of snow on the trail. Pretty slow going throughout the day, tiring, but certainly a good workout. By the time I got to the lodge turnoff, it would have been a return in the dark if I had continued to my initial destination. I decided to just walk up the steep section from REC and turn back. The return to the road was a bit faster in the soft snow with not much of a compacted base. Went from a turtle pace up to a galactic 5 km/hr pace down. Not the longest distance for me this season, but certainly the longest day so far on skis. A good day in the (outdoor) office! Scrapped a few rocks on the last 1.5 km down; still need more snow to cruise that section. The first kilometer from the road is a graveyard of fallen trees.
Friday Nov 20 – Back Door Parking, Pocaterra, Lookout, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass
We wanted to ski on natural powder today so we picked ungroomed trails.
This trail report will not be too helpful for those planning the weekend because parking at the back door, as discussed in other trail reports this week, is a problem during the weekend. Also, as we were leaving we saw the Piston Bully trailer heading toward the back door parking so there may be additional grooming overnight.
There was probably only about 5 cm of new snow last night but in the last three days there was between 10 to 20 cm of fresh snow with skier trackset. The descent from the top of Lookout on the north side was most enjoyable and required almost no snowplowing. Tyrwhitt is not quite as bumpy either.
Please see the pictures at the link below for details.
We found great conditions at Chester Lake today. It snowed lightly all day. There was 20-25 cm of light new snow on top of a supportive base. Total snow depth was 65cm at the lake. Travel conditions were good on or off trail. https://photos.app.goo.gl/hYGxwWutcG6YLFBFA
Mt Shark; Arrived 10:00 AM -4C VR 40 metal edge LT skis. 5cm fresh snow on rolled track. Skied first 5km with trepidation thinking we’d blow through the the base on the downhills.
Base held up well, skied the second 5KM at turned back. It apppeared the 15KM loop has been rolled as well.
Skaters seemed to be having a good ski.
Small parking lot was 1/3 full when we left at 12:00.
I rode down the Kicking Horse Trail this summer and was blocked well before the Ottertail river by an ever growing number of large fallen trees. Much thanks (and maybe even a KHSC donation) must be given to the maintenance crew in getting this trail (and all the Yoho trails) in tip-top shape!
I only discovered these “hidden” gems last year around the time of the loppet -also a hidden gem of an event. And, COVID notwithstanding, really hope to see it go ahead. Well worth the trip, even from Edmonton (and we have snow!)
So many comments already?!!
We thought there would be enough people doing Elk Pass that we should check out Pocaterra today. Not the first: when we arrived just before noon there were about 10 vehicles in the lot. The hut was open, warm and inviting 🙂
Skiing was very good on skier tracks, which we followed to the table just past the Lynx junction. Many tracks continued up Pocaterra, only a couple going up Lynx. There were a few twigs, some bumpy sections, and a bit of deadfall debris – thank you to whoever moved the trees! But overall it was very good and most enjoyable. I do worry that more traffic over the weekend will scrape off the steeper hills.
Snow temps were between about -5 and -2 C, and there were 20 vehicles when we returned at 2:15 pm.
Very sad to see the dead elk in the ditch 🙁
MaSid looks hardcore.
Has Pocaterra been trackset yet? I knew it was groomed this week. Planning to go there tomorrow. Anyone, please advise.
Thank you for your wonderful reports and dedication to the nordic skiing community! I reluctantly bought my parking pass today…not because I believe we should be paying the UCP government twice for this but because I didn’t want the hassle of explaining to volunteers how I feel this shouldn’t be a user pay facility (we already have one in Canmore). People should know that the pass is actually $54 because of the “processing” fee on Zone4.
I encourage everyone to write to Jason Nixon requesting that the live grooming be re-instated. I’m not sure why it’s “no longer functioning” which sounds pretty final to me.
You can submit your feedback using the offical contact form https://www.alberta.ca/contact.cfm#forms
Anyways, I think I’ve made my point known so now it’s time to try and put all this behind me on the trails. 🙂 I’ll try to be less grumpy in the future (but this government is making it very difficult)
Cindy, the Live Grooming Reports were operated by a private individual who seems to have disappeared. There was no government involvement. -Bob
Fri nov 20: west elk pass.
A good day to build furniture. Peaceful, quiet, calm and mostly sunny in the meadows. Had a perfect hole in the clouds all afternoon, shining down on couch HQ. There’s a single seat throne for you now helen! See you there soon. Too nice not to push the trail further down the meadow for a bit (to the log bench). Good travel with only Ankle ski pens (AT). Fox creek snowmobile packing now complete.
Be wary of the coyote that’s been hanging out on Hwy 40 near hood creek. Seen him pretty much every time I’ve been out the last two weeks. Tough to spot when running down the middle of the road in fading light. Seems to understand what lane to be in, eventually. He’ll probably be checking out that elk carcass tonight (in the ditch near Eau Claire). Covers quite a bit of ground using the road, so could be anywhere.
Black Prince Fan
November 20, 2020
Black Prince Fan, in spectacular conditions! 10 cm or more of fresh and no one been there in several days. Dave dug a pit on a 25 deg, NE slope. 60 cm of soft snow on top of 50 cm of rain crust that ran to ground. Collapse on M7, might have happened earlier on a steeper slope. Cathy supervised in fine fashion.
Evidence of a 1.5 slide perhaps a couple of days earlier but hard to tell. Several dry sloughs higher up.
After we put in the uptrack, 2 fellas came along, developers and owners of Paradise Ski. They are making Alberta skis, starting up a business (not giving up their day jobs).
Chip the Backcountry Pro decided to try a new technique; linking turns with one skin still on. Don’t try it at home…or anywhere!!!!
And yes, we trashed the lines!
We were going to head west again after a terrific day yesterday on Great Divide, but after Bob’s last ski report at PLPP, we headed east and got to Elk Parking lot around 9:40 and -5. Thank you for all the extensive grooming done last night James. What a treat to be back on Elk Pass again. Super running into the rest of James’ family at Blueberry junction. Skied to Couch HeadQuarters (HQ) and thank you Ma Sid for likely breaking trail to it yesterday. Added a Rudolf ornament to his Christmas tree. Hydroline was sweet as were all the hills.
Great Divide/1A – freshly groomed and trackset AGAIN this am! Many thanks to the grooming crew, I think that makes 4 days in a row of fresh grooming. Tracks were great, VR40 plus skiff of VR45 later, and Swix Extra Blue worked well. Temps -4 to -2, little bit windy at O’Hara end but not enough to blow snow into the tracks.
Winter wonderland at Boom Lake: my friend and I arrived at the empty parking lot with 15cm fresh snow; we used skins on light touring gear and broke trail to the lake. The temperature was very mild at -3C. We stepped over and crawled under 2 fallen trees and navigated a few small open creek spots. The return trip was fun gliding through the deep snow. 2 walkers were heading up when we came down the last hill. A very enjoyable outing.
KICKING HORSE TRAIL – Nov 20
Freshly trackset again today, so much nicer than just grooming.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Here is a secret for just you: Joe plans to trackset the Yoho Valley Road tomorrow!
BLUEBERRY HILL, FOX TRAIL: BLUEBERRY was freshly groomed this morning, excellent skiing condition, both up and down; FOX CREEK trail skier tracked and in excellent condition too. A perfect day on light classic skiis.
Someone grabbed my daughters poles this morning at Pocaterra hut while we were waxing up.
They had just finished their ski at approximately 1130.
Any info to 403-478-9905
Other than getting to work harder on our technique we had a good day on skier set tracks.
Numerous logs blown but adequate coverage. Decent kick on blue Swix.
Thanks for information Mike W and Masid.
I share most of the sentiments you’ve expressed and am surprised more details are not available.
Went to Narao Glades on Tuesday Nov 17 to see if there was a chance for turns – not so much. About 30 cm in the lower glades at the Ross Lake Summer Trail sign with lots of brush to mash through, so just decided to tour out on the summer trail and back. Beautiful day in the woods!
That’s great news about pocaterra warming hut being open. Surprising even. Thanks Bob! Couldn’t post below the home page post.
That’s good news about pocaterra warming hut. Surprising even. Thanks Bob!
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park-Elk Pass Parking-Bolton Creek-Fox Creek-Elk Pass Trail toBlueberry Hill Junction and return,
Excellent snow conditions at a high of -2C. Skier tracked throughout. At the end of the day we saw grooming coming down from the Hydroline and on to Ek Pass Trail to the parking lot. We ran into Skier Bob on return as he was going up Elk Pass. My wife was able to exchange pleasantries with Bob as I was going too fast (lol).
Skied the Great Divide today. Conditions were excellent. The track setters finished up just as we started out int he morning. Tracks were set all the way to the train track crossing. The temperature when we started was -11C but warmed up to -5C by the time we got to the train tracks.Using Blue VR40 wax gave excellent grip and the glide was great. It snowed lightly most of the with less than 2 cm accumulating on my car. There were enough people skiing that any new snow got pressed down. When I left at 2:30 the parking lot was basically full.
As for the Cooperating Agreement itself, it isn’t available to the public, including on Alberta’s “Open Government” website. This was confirmed with a phone call to the Alberta Environment and Parks FOIP Office. I looked into making a FOIP request. It costs $25 just to file the request, at which point a FOIP representative will give you an estimate on the fee to process the request. The government should have released the Agreement to the public to begin with. If I’m going to donate money to the government, whether or not it’s through an intermediate organization, I want to know exactly what’s going to happen to my money. Withholding this information is counter-productive to public trust and buy-in.
I saw a report from Helen Read on Nov. 6, 20 snowshoeing to Ross Lake. If I consider skiing to the Lake would it be advisable to ascend with light touring skis from Great Divide junction and descending via trail that connects to Lake OHara fireroad? How much downhill is there? Thanks
GREAT DIVIDE – Nov 19
Trackset this morning by Andrew, and now silky smooth travel for all. Snowing much more heavily on the west end.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
My Swix Special Blue wax was perfect… Started at minus 8, ended at minus 5.
Looking for a pair of 195-205cm classic skis for beginner, waxless is preferred. Compatible with Prolink, NNN, and Turnamic bindings.
Thu nov 19: west elk pass
From elk pass trailhead. 4″ of fresh at trailhead. More at pocaterra this morning as I drove by. Enough that I didn’t dare pull in to see if hut open. Looked like close to a foot! Truck with trailer was present, but perhaps that was the construction crew. Luckily timed it right to get behind the first snow plow pass down the lakes trail. 8″ on top of the blueberry junction picnic table. 80cm now at provincial boundary in west elk pass. Neither of the above lots plowed on my way home in the early afternoon.
With a user pay winter permit system, and covid, tough to spread out over time as well as location, when lots not plowed in a timely manner. That’s a wrinkle that will need to be sorted as part of this “pilot”, especially if busier than normal (which it has been and will continue to be).
Moraine Lake Road
Skied down Upper Tramline to MLR in about 5cm fresh snow, partially trackset by others. Headed up MLR in similar conditions – slow going. Then part way up the big hills, two snowmobiles passed us – one grooming the center, the other laying tracks on the uphill side. Now the skiing was easier. The return trip was pleasant, though the soft snow slowed us down on the steepest sections. Constant flurries all day. Upper Tramline was also freshly trackset for the return to the car. -8C to start, -5C at the end.
I bought my pass this morning and am good to go, but its still a bit unclear to me how the funding is going to work? I presume my payment will go to Nordiq Alberta, but will they then transfer all or some of the payments they receive to Parks or general revenue or even some other account? If the amount of funds raised exceeds or falls short of the cost of grooming what then.
Maybe this has been explained in detail somewhere and I’ve missed it, so if there is a link to that information I’d appreciate it.
November 19th, 2020 Shaganappi Point golf course update:
The gates to Shaganappi were opened for the winter as of November 10th.
Skiing is not recommended until there is a compacted base.
-Skis on snow with no compacted base likely will go right through the snow down to the ground hitting grass, asphalt, and the shale cart paths, which can permanently damage your skis.
Feel free to go for a walk or snowshoe. After grooming and track setting has begun, please do not walk on ski trails.
Grooming and track setting for cross country skiing at Shaganappi will begin in December.
-Shaganappi Point golf course and Confederation Park golf courses have two different microclimates. Shaganappi has significantly more year-round sun and wind exposure compared to the Confederation golf course. (Confederation has longer frost delays during the golf season due to having less sun exposure than Shaganappi) If the snow above the turf at Shaganappi is machine compacted for skiing in November, freeze/thaw cycles of November Chinooks create an ice layer that remains in place all winter preventing air exchange within the snowpack, which kills the turf underneath. Turf death in the spring directly equates to lower visitor numbers and revenue loss at golf courses, as golfers in general prefer to play at golf courses that are in pristine condition.
Please stay off tee boxes and greens, as the fragile turf is easily killed by compacted snow.
-All greens are roped off. Tee boxes in general are flat areas with a hill around them. Some tee boxes are roped off, but not all. (roping off greens are the Golf course’s responsibility, roping off tee boxes near ski trails are SNO’s responsibility. There are 80+ tee boxes, and 27 greens at Shaganappi).
MT. SHARK, WATRIDGE LAKE, UPPER SPRAY RIVER
SKATE SKIERS TAKE NOTE
The trail from Mt. Shark to Watridge Lake, along with other Shark Trails, have been roller packed. Thin but good base. Suitable for skate skiing if you have big honking legs and can deal with a slightly rough skate ski surface. Don’t use your new skis yet. Fairly good to good conditions. Just the odd rock, mainly in the first 1/2 kilometer under the trees. I hit one coming back at night. The hills are in pretty good shape considering the thin base. Moderate speed snow with light snow falling at night, around 10:00 pm.
If it snow 7 cm in the next day or so it will be very possible to track set the trail and have generally very good to excellent classic skiing right to Spray River.
There were a couple of French women hikers walking all over the trail with a brown mottled pit bull cross that was running around with no leash in the afternoon on my way in.
I broke trail up the upper Spray River and conditions are also fairly good to good. Thinner near Whiteman Creek, either side about 500 meters. I skied roughly to within about 2 km of the Palliser Warden Cabin. Snow depth is variable and up to 45 cm. There are a couple of rail crusts in the snow pack. Generally very good off trail travel, much better than normal for this time of year, with ski penetration a couple of inches above the ankle on average. Ski penetration increases near the cabin. There is the odd tree root and rock. I did a fair bit of side stepping on the hills to improve the trail. 7 cm of moist new snow on this trail will make for good to very good skiing conditions and may make better trail breaking.
Nice to have another area to ski.
I drove towards Pocaterra back door but the parking lot was roped off. I guess they want people to start using the parking lots towards Kananaskis Lakes. So instead I skied up to Elbow Lake and beyond. The initial big hill is somewhat icy and there is some deadfall and open water. Beyond the lake the skiing is easier and conditions were generally good. The trail was packed by skiers, hikers, snowshoers and fat bikes. Near the Piper Pass turnoff there are a few spots where the wind has blasted the trail to bare rock and it is necessary to do some walking. At Tombstone junction I turned right and broke trail up up towards the Sheep Valley for a ways. There was a windblasted spot about 1 km up this trail but the snow got better beyond that. I’m glad I brought rock skis because I did hit more than a few rocks. In fact I hit one hard enough on the hill back down to the parking lot to cause one of my skis to snap in half. Oh well they were rock skis anyways.
With Parks now grooming GD (Great Divide/Hwy 1A) trail twice without updating website… got me thinking about (pining for) that mind boggling web app for Norway nordic trail conditions. Or was it Finland? Someone dropped it here at SkierBob a year or two ago. The country map starts out peppered with hundreds of dots and zooming in reveals nearly every dot is a PLPP sized live-reporting trail system. I lost the link. Recall that one?
Skied Peter Lougheed today. Parked at Elk Pass, maybe 20cm at parking lot. Icy and pine needles until Fox Creek junction, improved quickly afterwards. Skied Blueberry Hill then over Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt to top of Whiskey Jack and back. At least 40-50cm coverage over that area with ~ 70cm on top of Blueberry. All was skier track set, little to no grooming or tracksetting.
More good news for PLPP. Not sure if this is the right corner of SkiHere for this, but PLPP staff have confirmed that the Visitor Information Centre (aka Discovery Centre) in PLPP will re-open for the winter on Nov. 29. Hurrah!
Hey Bob, tried to ski out of the Backdoor access today. Don’t know if I was at the correct spot at about 8km from the gate. There was 2 No Parking signs with yellow tape blocking the access to small parking lot. Sure looked like I was in the right place from descriptions I have read prior.
Great Divide/1A – Lake Louise escaped last nights rain fortunately, with about 2 cms new snow overnight. We arrived at the 1A around 11 am just as the groomers were finishing off the skate lanes and both classic tracks again. Very good skating on the fresh grooming, just a tad slow due to the soft snow and the classic tracks were great. Twin skins worked really well. More snow in the forecast for tonight so hopefully the groomers get on it yet again tomorrow!
Heard on the grapevine that Lower Telemark (ungroomed) has lots of moguls, and it rained at Emerald Lake last night so not sure how the Yoho trails will be now.
For sale excellent condition – $60 Fischer Comfort NNN classic ski boots Eur 42 – a warm comfortable boot – here is the newest versionhttps://www.fischersports.com/ca_en/xc-comfort-255
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Healy Pass, Nov 18
A beautiful day at the Pass today, but hard work to get there. The 10 cm of new snow was heavy and sticky and we were a bit “out of shape”. Temps varied from -5 at the start to near zero at the Pass with a fair amount of sunshine to make things even slower. My “skin glue”, newly applied, was sticking to the bases a bit but I wasn’t the only one with glide-stick issues. Time for a new wax job and some silicone spray on the tops to keep off the extra weight.
No sign of avalanches aside from a few dry sloughs. No cracking or whumping. 50 cm snow depth on top of suppportive crust.
I’m looking for poles, 155cm and 165 cm.
Free – metal edged back country skis, three pin/cable bindings. 190 cm
Snowshoeing with a dog off-leash – where is that available, and do you report those kind of updates in your website (which is a very useful site; kudos!)
BCA avi shovel for sale – never used $40. this is the model.
email me at email@example.com
Should be a good chunk of new snow in Louise tonight for a little refresh before the weekend, perhaps allowing some grooming expansion, maybe….
Just wondering where I can get a map to find out where all the groomed trails are.
Nov 17th. Skied MLR today from the Upper Parking lot. Sunshine with about 6 cm of fresh snow. On the way back we decided to give Fairview a try rather than climb back up Tramline. From the Paradise Creek end up to the meadows it’s a rough skier track. From the meadows to the Chateau the track is pretty good. No fallen trees of water crossings of concern, just a lot of bumps in the track. Needs more snow and packing yet.
I think they groomed the Great Divide in the morning. They definitely did MLR in the afternoon.
Skied backdoor and up Tyrwhitt this morning. Got off road parking at 10am with -0.5C air temperature. Snow was nice on the way up, but once we got to the sunny meadows and on the way back we found the snow was sticking to the fish scales at times. Despite the thick fog in Calgary, we enjoyed blue skies and sunshine and dodged most of the tree bombs once the wind picked up. It was +11C at Fortress gas station as we passed by on the way home at 1:30pm.
BOOM LAKE – Nov 17
Chose to go HIGH for cold snow today!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Some hazards but lots of fun.
Looking to get into backcountry at a low cost?
2 pairs Elan SCX Cap Parabolic skis, 183cm and 173cm. Fitted with Rottefella TRP release plates and Red Chili bindings. Includes custom fitted Ascension climbing skins. $100 per pair complete.
Set of 2 Ortovox M1 avalanche transceivers. Excellent condition. $200 for pair.
Ortovox collapsible probe and Voile shovel. Like new. $60 for both.
Hi, I’m in Calgary, looking for women’s intermediate classic skis/bindings – 5’8” 65kg.
Pocaterra Back Door to Elk Lakes Cabin Front Door- Nov 16
The day started out great – we got a parking spot and the temperature was -6. There was only a trace of snow from the parking to Elk Pass. Pocaterra and Tyrwhitt was hard packed snow from the weekend traffic but with steel edged LT skis the trails were great.
The BC hydroline had 15 – 20 cm of fresh snow on a good skier set base. This made for effortless cruising on the way down. 2.8 km south of Elk Pass we encountered service truck tracks which, when covered with the fresh snow make for perfect gliding, with the exception of a short mess at a steep section where the truck got stuck. After following the good truck tire tracksetting for about 500 m the road was plowed and we needed to walk about 1 km to the access road to the Elk Lakes Park sign. We were able to ski the final 400 m on skier set track. The cabin was unoccupied and very peaceful. Ian thought we should avoid the plowed road and return directly across the marsh and directly under the steep trail under the powerline. In hindsight, this turned out to be a poor decision because we spent a lot of time avoiding wet spots in the meadow. Also, the temperature was about 2 degrees when we started up the 10 to 20 percent grade under the powerline. The fishscales were of marginal effectiveness so we herringboned/smashed up 70 vertical meters which was quite a lot of work with a poor base and 20 cm of wettish fresh snow. The service road was a welcome sight when we reached it. Wikipedia states that the backcountry ski access to the Elk Lake cabin is for “advanced skiers”. On this particular day we would certainly agree that this applies to the return portion of the trip.
Pictures are at
Is “skitrails.info” defunct? Early grooming of CNC and PLPP used to show up on the map (as well as other select spots in North America), but nothing on the site seems to be working.
looking for classic mens cross country set up for 205lb 6’3″ male. size 13 feet (eu48). also need womens size 9 boots for SNS bindings. thanks!
Has anyone been to Skoki recently and skied on the road yet?
No update on live grooming so far.
Skated MLR from LL parking lot yesterday, starting at 11:45 after spending 20 min chatting with friends from FNSC who had their biathletes out double poling MLR both ways (yep, not for me, just teenagers). Had LF6 and was a great glide until about halfway, then the new snow crystals caused a lot of drag. Super pleasant day, no wind until at the end of trail, we had occasional gust while sitting on that guardrail during snack break. Great glide back and then a bit of a slog skating back up to the parking lot but easy to do as you know you have a hot drink at the end. Even, firm to soft compacted surface for skating. We live in an awesome place – even with packed parking lot we had tons of space! Have to rewax now as 22km probably wore off any remaining glide.
1a Great Divide Lake Louise to O’Hara parking out and back
No new grooming today but conditions are quite good. The tracks are a bit wobbly but travel was still reasonably efficient.
I always figured that AT stood for Aging Telemarker, given how many of us have gone over to the dark side, often due to aging knees.
Hopefully Steve was able to contain his joy and move off to the side.
Healy Pass: Nov 16
Good travelling on the Healy Creek Trail to Healy Pass today. A bit thin for the first 200 metres, then solid coverage. Snowpack in the meadow below the pass was 86cm complete with the super hard Nov 5 raincrust at 43cm. Ski pen was 35-40cm. Lots of deep light powder up there.
The luge run out was fast and fun with lots of deep powder on the sides to slow you down when necessary.
I skied a loop at PLPP today, starting and ending at the Elk Pass trailhead parking lot. I headed up toward Elk Pass and beyond, and returned to the Elk Pass trail via the Boulton Creek trail junction about 500m from the parking lot. At which point I was surprised to see that the Elk Pass trail was now roller packed full width! I don’t know how far up the trail the roller packing went or if any other trails were groomed as well. I’ll follow up with details of snow conditions on my route later this evening.
LAKE O’HARA ROAD – Nov 16
Good conditions with cold snow on a solid snowmobile packed and skier tracked trail. No thin areas and absolutely no rocks. No tracksetting yet.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Rodi Blue -2 to -6 kick wax was perfect, and metal edges were nice on the return.
Are there skate-ski trails in the Peter Lougheed Park? ( I would have posted this in “Ask a Question” but there doesn’t seem to be a link….
Tickets are being handed out if you park on the road at the Back door. Over 40 cars were ticketed on Sunday November 15 from the CO people. Not a pleasant thing to come back to.
Looking for a light touring rig, (skis, boots and bindings).
Skis – Somewhere in the 190-205cm range with metal edges, waxable or no-wax base
Boots – Men’s size 12-13 (Euro 46-47) leather or synthetic with some ankle support three-pin or BC NNN.
Bindings – Compatible with boot type
CCW (counter clockwise)
KNP (kootenay national park)
YNP (yoho national park)
Ski Pen (penetration, depth of trail breaking)
HS (height of snow, total snow depth)
Couch HQ (couch headquarters, west elk pass)
Skied Moraine Lake Road both days on the weekend, the conditions were simply superb. Mid-winter cold snow, a few centimeters of new snow both days, hard wax, great tracksetting, and a ton of friendly people out enjoying the wonderful weather. HIGHLY Recommended.
Not a report, but a request (which may allow others to report):
Social distancing is only “a thing” for people, not cars. So please be considerate of other users by parking as if there were marked parking lanes… not this 5 and 6-feet apart parking stuff. Makes me wonder how some people drive safely, not to mention park at home, if they can’t visually identify the difference between 3 feet and 6+ feet.
Thanks all ya’ll for your cooperation, consideration, and respect for others.
Yoho Valley Road – Nov 15
Enjoyed a quick ski yesterday with my dog on “YVR”. First time and it was perfect with an older dog that likes to take in the scents and sounds more than doing technical trails. We skied from 1:15-3:15 pm and the tracks were well used by then and lots of fresh snow. I used wax less skis and it seemed perfect for the mild temps.
Looking for a pair of Salomon combi prolink boots. Size 9.5 mens.
PLPP Blueberry Hill
There is now enough snow on the trails at the Elk Pass and Upper Kananaskis Lake Parking lots, that there is no need to use the “back door” trail access. There is 15-25cm of light snow over a very supportive rain crust. Travel conditions are excellent on and off-trail. Starting from Elk Pass parking lot, we went up the Elk Pass trial, up to Blueberry Hill and back, then up Patterson to the Hydro-line and skied down the Elk Pass snowshoe trail to complete the loop via Fox Creek. It all looked like a Christmas card.
Sunday Nov. 15th – Early season conditions – not quite enough snow to cover all the creek crossings; but skiable so long as you stay in control (or risk an icy plunge). Will be great with another 20cm of snow. Quite busy on Tramline and Moraine Lake Road but didn’t see another soul on Fairview loop? Track-set on Tramline & Moraine Lake Road – skier set on Fairview Loop. Far too many cars parked on the roadway by Moraine and 1A Hwy – lower parking lot stuffed – upper parking lot nearly empty (particularly on East side). Wise skiers will go directly to the upper parking and leave the lower parking and roadway parking for the tourists.
Great Divide/ 1A
As Mary and Charles have written, there were many people enjoying this trail today. Gliding through the silky, soft, new snow is one of life’s pleasures. The tracks were “well loved”. Disappointed that parks had not refreshed the tracks in 5 days of heavy use.
It’s so underused they have to ticket people so it’s less used!
where is that parking lot exactly? The fire lookout parking lot I mean
By the way… AWESOME website. Please keep it work. Thank you for the great work 🙂
Wanted: women’s cross country ski package. Size 39/40. NNN
I think your question has been answered but the vehicles were encroaching the driving lane. I’m not sure if it would be possible to park completely on the shoulder. The advice the CO was giving was to seek out another trail when the parking lot is full.
Parking violations at the Back Door
It was a great early season ski day today at the “back door” in Kananaskis along Hwy 40. Too bad the grinch showed up to give most of the cars a ticket for parking along the side of the road. The parking lot supports about 10 cars, so the other 20 cars needed to park along the road. All got tickets along the road due to “parked with no clear space for passage”. Maybe our parking pass fund raiser wasn’t enough money.
I was at PLPP today via backdoor. When we returned to our car there were conservation officers putting tickets on the cars parked on the road. Might be worth warning people.
YOHO VALLEY ROAD – Nov 15
With news that Joe trackset the Yoho Valley Road yesterday, we have more groomed trails in the National Parks to enjoy.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Today, it seemed like a locals day, with lots of parking!
Great Divide – We also started early, about 9:45 a.m. and skied to the shelter just past the divide arch for a ‘first’ lunch. The couple cms of fresh snow made the skiing much nicer than on Thursday. Tracks still a bit wobbly in places, but generally good. We saw lots of families out enjoying the outing, and some youngsters in training. Everyone seemed happy to be out in the lightly falling snow. When we left at 1 pm, there were about 20 cars parked on the roadway, as the parking lot was full. When we drove past the MLR entrance, there were about 70 cars parked on the main road with skiers accessing MLR from there. Popular place!
Great Divide Skiing
November 15, 2020
Wonderful skate skiing on the GD today. I started at about 9:30 with maybe 1-2 cm of fresh snow on the road. No views to speak of today, as the area was pretty well “socked in”, but the flurries added some charm and the hordes of people enjoying themselves is always a pleasant experience. Along the way, I met up with fellow skiers, Bill, Ray, Mary and Javier, a chemical engineer from Colombia who was skiing for the past two days (the slow-moving vehicle sign dangling from his backpack made me think of Mennonite country). Couldn’t catch up with Matthew on his fat bike, but he wasn’t causing any damage.
Ended before noon and drove back to Calgary before the ski swarms. Nice.
are there any loppets around Edmonton happening in 2021?
ACRONYMS SKIING IN PLPP – November 14
Started at BKD. PTR – TYW – EKP – BHL – PTS – LKO – PTR – BKD.
What a change in a week from good snow coverage a week ago and only 2 cars in the BKD lot, to winter wonderland and >> 50 cars! Very good ski track up BHL; fun to ski down. Boulton Creek (hard to pick an acronym for that: how about BTC?) at the base of LKO is slowly starting to be snow bridged. LKO is now a well groomed trail, compared to 6 inches of trail breaking a week ago, thanks to snow plowing squads. Can’t believe I have already been up LKO 3 times so far this ski season, before November 15.
BKD should be enlarged with a coffee/hot chocolate stand and Helen’s cookies as prime treat after a ski day. Where can we donate to get that going!
Looking for a pair of 170cm classic skis and size 37 boots. Preferably waxless.
Pulk Has been SOLD
I am looking for a XC NNN classic ski boot, size 7 or 7.5 (US). Please let me know asap.
Hi, we had a great late afternoon ski along Pocaterra today, coming in via the Backdoor turnoff. We found a black Auclair mens XL RH glove on the trail as we skiied back about 4 pm, just before reaching the Backdoor. If anyone lost it, I’ll be happy to mail it to you or you can pick it up. We live in Crescent Heights.
Trip report Fire look out/pocaterra/tywhitt
Not sure how you submit these. Been planning on a back door trip for a couple of weeks, knowing it can be good early season. Don’t think about checking site this early in season. We were third vehicle to arrive at fire look out parking lot. Arrived to a fresh dusting of 10cm of light and fluffy snow. Only 1 set of touring tracks heading up to Elk Pass was before us. Temperatures and wind were perfect for the 7.5km climb. We saw no one on the way up to the Elk Pass arch. Skier track was solid and the glide up was fantastic with the new BC skin skis picked up this summer.
Way back was significantly different. Lots of people out enjoying the fresh snow, and everyone happy to be out of the city. 51 cars parked in the lot and on the road when we left. Busy for Nov! But nice to see so many people out enjoying the trails we almost lost. Hopefully they all purchased a pass for what promises to be an amazing season in PLPP!
Elk pass via the back door in PLPP with a great gaggle of kids. Dads turned around at the pass, moms and kids continued down to the bottom parking lot via the Elk Pass and Fox Creek Trails.
Super fun ski, amazing snow, fresh powder, and the best conditions I’ve ever had on the Elk Pass trail in November.
No grooming yet but many of us had wider light touring skis.
And the traffic congestion Ma Sid referred to was a police check stop to catch drunk drivers coming from the ski hill I presume. It took us a long time to make it to the TransCanada.
Sat nov 14: elk/west elk/blueberry (via Hwy 40).
Perhaps some report delays from Kananaskis today. Accident or something at the north end of Hwy 40. Turned around and came back through Longview for a longer day than expected.
4 knuckles of new snow at the parking lot this morning. 4″ on the whiskey jack table. 5 on thyrwitt table, 6 on top of the elk pass table. Probably close to 8″ new in west elk meadows, now 60cm total. Above ankle trail breaking (AT) off trail. No sign of prior track at all. Swung over to blueberry using the meadow short cut and got more trail breaking up to the top. Ran into a number of trip reporters, hopefully not still stuck on Hwy 40. Thyrwitt and pocaterra saw a lot of travel today, like a well loved backcountry access route. Snowing light to moderate all day with limited views and calm winds except top of blueberry, but easily managed in the mild temps. Like skiing in a snow globe. Very pleasant snowy outing.
I am selling a pair of Scarpa Inferno mountaineering boots. Size 6.5 (fit womens 8.5). They are not nordic but I am getting rid of them due to the fact that I have spent more time cross country skiing in the last few years.
They were used for 2 expeditions and have been dormant too long.
If anyone is interested drop me a note. I am selling them for $80 but would take best offer.
Looking for a NNN classic ski boot size 40 EU women’s.
Looking for a pair of female classic cross country skis/bindings, boots, poles (the package). Approx 180cm and size 9 shoe.
Hey Skiers, anyone been to Mt Shark lately? The Alberta Parks live grooming report shows last grooming was March, wondering how it is looking for skate and also if leashed dogs are still allowed with the new grooming arrangement? Thanks.
I am looking for XC ski tuning vise. Please let me know asap.
Looking for men’s 200-205 cm xc skis and size 12 or 46 boots. Thanks
RED EARTH CREEK TO WARDEN CABIN
Friday, late afternoon/ night ski.
The first kilometer of the Red Earth Creek trail is in poor shape with lots of rocks on the big hill. I side stepped the hills to create a base with rock skis I thought I was going to permanently retired . There is roughly 6 cm of snow on the trail in this section with ice below. A few trees down on the trail.
After the first kilometer and once on top of the first big hill the snow improves greatly. Conditions are fair to good with a few rocks. There is an icy bottom layer with around 6 cm of soft snow on top.
The snow depth increases the further as one goes up the trail At the warden cabin there is somewhere between 20 cm and 25 cm of snow on chunks of fire wood. At night temperatures at the cabin were -7c, partly cloudy with light snow falling.
If 10 cm of very wet new snow falls soon, conditions will improve substantially to fairly good to very good skiing and it will be no problem to run a snowmobile on the trail to pack it down. Rocks skis will still be recommended at that time.
Chester Lake 5cm fresh, L touring skis VR 40 wax. Smith Dorian road was OK
Great snow cover and solid base. A few land sharks lucking under the steep pitch up to the Lake.
A good assortment of Lt tourers AT skiers, walkers and Snowshoers.
To add to Chuck’s good conditions report… I met up with the tracksetter at the trailhead around 3pm ish who was setting up for the weekend crowd.
Any word on when the MLR parking lot construction will start? Seems strange to walk across an empty lot.
MORAINE LAKE ROAD (via Tramline) – Nov 13
Great conditions with some new snow on excellent tracksetting. My VR 45 kick wax worked perfectly at temperatures around minus 6.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Smiles were the order of the day… our friendly ski community is a true gift.
I’m looking for some old SNS Profil bindings. Does anyone have some collecting dust?
For sale in excellent condition: Halti Stormwall XC Ski Jacket and Pants – Mens Large
Any word on if the Pocaterra Hut will be open? What about the PLPP Visitor Center?
Based on MaSid’s Nov 11 6:33pm post in the Trip Reports section, we need to add:
AT Alpine Touring (skis)
LT Light Touring (skis)
Hi, Anyone ski Whiskey Jack yesterday ? I assume snow to be ok but would like it confirmed for those steep descends. cheers,
Looking for classic ski equipment for my husband. 6’1″, 205 lbs, boot size 11 (euro 45). Prefer a Solomon boot.
Lake O’Hara Fire Road – how far in before you start hitting the avi run out zones? Or is it pretty much right away? thanks!
Anyone know if the Bill Milne Trail to Wedge Connector is groomed?
I’m looking for a women’s skate ski boot size 38 for SNS binding. Let me know if anyone has anything. Thanks!
Sanctimonious Urbanites Bumbling Along Roads Unpaved
MLR – good conditions, used Blue VR 40. The set tracks will still in good shape.
Found on the SkierBob website:
BNP Banff National Park
CNC Canmore Nordic Centre
GBCTA Greater Bragg Creek Trail Association
SBFPM = Skier Bob For Prime Minister
BOW SUMMIT – Nov 12
With news that the Bow Summit parking lot is now open, this is the place to get those powder turns!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Today was quiet, but yesterday was busy.
Great Divide Trail from Lake Louise to Lake Ohara and back. Was gorgeous day and very busy by the time I got off the trail (~1:30pm). Track-set trails are visible but have been tramped down a bit. There are a few twigs sticking up in the trail but all very jumpable. Everyone was happy – the usual cross-country skier smiles – and it was great to be out. Also, I love this site – thank you – and have one suggestion: I’m not great with acronyms and would appreciate a guide to the acronyms that are used here. Maybe there is one and I just haven’t found it, but PPLP, MLR, GDT, WBC, etc, all take me a beat to figure out the location, and I’m sure it will be hard for newer skiers – and there are plenty-a-coming – to figure out. I’m pure introvert and enjoy my solo ski journeys so this seems counter-intuitive, but I also love and thrive on the reports and want to know where the great snow sits.
PLPP -Pocaterra-Tyrwhitt-Hydro-Lookout loop – wonderfully wobbly tracks 2 or 3 abreast and well skier packed made for fun balance tune-in. Snow more abrasive than silky appearance; hydroline the least skied and South lookout in better condition and more powder than North lookout trail which was hard ‘snow-plow’ packed —either way, DO have your wits and knees about ya on descending big hills in these early season conditions. Hopefully parks gets it rolled soon. And always anticipate gullies, downed trees (a few) and open water this early. Enjoy the Pocaterra back door parking lot till dec1.
PLPP back door ski today. Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Blueberry Hill, Fox Creek, Moraine, Packers, and Pocaterra. I started early enough to be able to ski all of Tyrwhitt in blinding sun before it got cloudy.
It was super beautiful, with a dusting of fresh snow glittering in the sun. Fox Creek was a bit thin, and Moraine was definitely for rock skis only… luckily that’s what I was on! There were a few downed trees on the bottom half of Packers and some damp spots throughout as well. I was on normal skinny skis, nothing wide or with metal edges.
1A tracks for classic very washed out unfortunately. MLR I would rate good-excellent. Solid tracks and skate lane firm but not overused to cause a wobble.
Nov 11 PLPP via Hwy 40 Back Door
I have a bit more to add to the several posts yesterday on PLPP. We did a loop on light touring skis down Whiskey Jack, Moraine, Fox Creek, Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt, and Pocaterra, with a side trip up Blueberry Hill. Coverage was good on upper Whiskey Jack, but there were a few shallow-covered hazards on the lower half. At the junction with Moraine, the snow was down to 1cm over asphalt! We walked the first 3/4 of Moraine before we were able to put the skis back on. Coverage on Fox Creek was adequate. About 5cm fresh snow on Elk Pass Trail over a somewhat crusty and bumpy base. Blueberry Hill was excellent with 15cm of fresh snow over a smooth solid base. No open water crossings to deal with on Tyrwhitt.
Looking to get my 12 yr old daughter into X-Country skiing. She’s 5’ 100lbs, size 36/37 shoe. I’m just learning about sizing, so am happy for suggestions but from what I can tell she’d need skis around 170cms. Ideally NNN bindings. Any gear tips/items for sale would be greatly appreciated!
Highwood Pass, Nov 12, 2020
With great hopes based on SpotWx predictions, we ventured to Pocaterra Ridge yesterday. As expected, on arrival at 10 a..m the parking lot was nearly full; early season enthusiasm and the holiday. The temperature was -14 C, but with virtually no wind, it was quite comfortable.
Conditions were the good side of marginal. Many slopes had 5-10 cm of fresh, but a rough crust underneath and many lines had been overused. We saw 25 skiers going up to the high point in one glance!
Even though vis was poor and snow needs replenishing, it was a wonderful first day out on the fat rig.
PLPP Back Door Loop
Yet another report from the back door approach to the PLPP trails. Our loop today included Pocaterra, Lookout (north and south), Elk Pass Snowshoe Trail/Hydroline, Tyrwhitt and back via Pocaterra. As described by Tanya, MaSid and Steve Riggs, conditions on these trails are really quite good for early November. Upon reaching Hydroline, I figured that I would ski the “Elk Pass Snowshoe Trail”, since snowshoers seem unable to find that route. Perhaps if they see a set of ski tracks, they will follow them and the snowshoe trail will get established for the season. A better idea would be to groom the snowshoe trail for skiing, since it is actually much more aesthetic than the Hydroline ski trail.
Skinned up to Healy Pass today on AT skis. Very thin coverage at the bottom from Sunshine Parking lot – better to hike the first km but good after that. 10cm of light powder on top of a supportive crust in the alpine with about a 65 cm base. Good early season conditions.
Loved that photo of the skiers observing a moment of silence at 11am on Nov 11 that I posted it on my book face page. It gives credit to Chuck and Bob. Thanks.
We’d nov 11: elk/west elk passes/lookout (via Hwy 40)
An inch of fresh in the parking lot this morning. Superb travel in the west elk meadows on the rain crust with 15cm of powder on top (AT, should work just fine with LT). Only about 40 cm total on the BC side but no problems meandering around the drainages. Earliest I’ve travelled through there so easily. Sure didn’t take long for snowshoers to find my fresh track though. People have been up blueberry and reported good coverage. Returned via Patterson and south lookout. Both aspects of lookout trails got a thorough scraping today by all manner of skiers, some body prints and boot tracks on the south side. Hints of dirt patches starting to show here and there. The couch building process has begun. Needs more snow before any shovelling starts and seating available. Busy enough at the lot that people were parked on the road shoulder when I got back. An excellent day out.
Great Divide Trail: started on the Yoho side at about 10 am. Beautiful snow and freshly groomed. Within a kilometer we were passed by a swarm of local junior ski club. Track now all scratched up!! Come on coaches, didn’t you notice that your guys were skiing abreast for 10 km? Hundreds of people on the trail today, many first time skiers. Please show consideration for other skiers.
Rossignol Skate Skis – carbonSK, XIUM, 193 cm for about 95 kg skier with NNN Rossignol skate bindings. Skate Boots – size 47 Alpina SP 40. Both are nearly new – used less than 6 times (maybe much less…) Asking $400 or offers. Text to 403 667 4050
Great Divide Trail was good today! It was being groomed and trackset while I was there, at about 10 am this morning. Skin skis worked pretty well. The tracks were shallow and wavy at times, but no rocks or exposed dirt showed through.
Skied to Lake OHara parking lot and back.
PLPP was fantastic today!!!!!
We skied from the back door to the top of the fire lookout. Great workout and easy climb with the fresh snow. Coming down was definitely exhilarating and I was wishing I had backcountry skis. No shortage of snow, no rocks, and plenty of coverage!
This is definitely the place to ski right now.
We used light touring xc skis with metal edges. My son also has wider xc skis (no edges.)
Here are my photos and videos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/6ttL2cNhhALhdrSa9
My 11 year old is a great model so there are lots of photos of him. 😉
Moraine Lake Road – we started down the Tramline Trail from Lake Louise parking lot on a wobbly skier track in -9|C. At Paradise Creek 2 groomers passed us, rolling the center for skating and putting in a nice classic track. With about 5cm new snow and sunshine lots of skiers were out enjoying great conditions. I ventured down to Moraine Lake on a single ski track, very peaceful, beautiful views and powdery snow. The return trip was nice and fast in the new track, no ice on the big downhill. Fantastic day!
Quoting Bob from the bottom of Back Door to PLPP:
“Kananaskis pass sales. Season pass sales have surpassed 1200. Along with donations, we are 35% of the way towards the goal of $200,000.”
Does anyone know what the outcome might be if the initiative fails to raise the $200,000?
Bob, there seem to be no grooming reports coming out of skitrails.info for any location. Are they operational?
George, I don’t know the answer to your question, but it’s early season, so let’s give them a chance. -Bob
Shaganappi Point golf course in Calgary update:
The gates to Shaganappi are open for the winter, as of today.
Feel free to go for a walk or snowshoe, but please stay off tee boxes and greens, as the fragile turf is easily killed by compacted snow. All greens are roped off. tee boxes in general are flat areas with a hill around them. Some tee boxes are roped off, but not all.
Skiing isn’t recommended until there’s a compacted base.
Skis on this new snow likely will go right through the snow down to the ground hitting grass, asphalt, and the shale cart paths.
Grooming is not allowed until December, as machine compacted snow above fragile grasses prevents air exchange through the snowpack. Gases formed from natural decomposition during the winter is prevented from escaping up through the snowpack if the snow is compacted. The decomposition gases then concentrate along the surface of the grass, and kill the grass over time.
Nice one Steve, great photos. That’s a brave sheep, hunting season and all? Or maybe he knows he’s not legal yet.
So far Kananaskis remote weather stations aren’t showing that much new snow (highwood and mud lake). So maybe Bragg is lucking out. Assuming if enough they will roller pack it to help prepare the next base. At least temps will be cool.
Kids Equipment for Sale:
Size 29 Fischer XJ Sprint boots- $50
Size 31 Fischer XJ Sprint boots- $50
Size 33 Fischer Snow Star boots – $50
120cm waxless skis with Salomon bindings- $35
All equipment is in excellent shape. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for pictures or more information.
Pick-up in Calgary
Divide Trail, 1-3cm new snow. -8c when we started and finished. No grooming as of 1 pm. New snow skied in nicely in the tracks. Waxing changed from yesterday with the arrival of new snow, still feel the ice underneath in places but didn’t need any klister in the binder.
First two days of classic skiing, going to feel the hip flexors tomorrow.
Basewax: SWIX VG 35
Kick: 4 layers of SWIX V40 (Blue Extra)
What is with the UCP discrimination against cross country skiers?
Mountain bikers in the Provincial Parks are not charged fees for riding on trails, particularly those nice paved ones! Cars are not charged fees for driving in the parks. People putting garbage into garbage cans are not charged a fee. People using toilets are not charged fees so why is Premier Jason Kenney charging cross country skiers fees to park? This is a Keystone XL pipeline money grab by a Premier who is discriminatory .
TYRWHITT-LOOKOUT, today via the Hwy 40 backdoor access. Good early season skiing thoughout with skier tracksetting in roughly 7 cm recent snow over a hard base. Expect wobbly skiing especially on Tyrwhitt which also has some dips and detours at drainage crossings to watch out for. None of which pose a real problem. From Elk Pass, the skiing north on Hydroline was delightful, with a good skier track over a consistent base, full on sunshine after escaping the light cloud creeping over Elk Pass from BC, and the breeze at my back! Ascending Lookout south was sloggish as usual- I would not recommend descending it on xc skis until there is a decent refresh of new snow, as the steep bits have been chopped up by descending skiers, as well as a moose that went up and then back down the whole south side. With the new snow- the north side descent was easygoing, but the hard and sometimes uneven base did not lend itself to good turns on my 54 mm waisted metal edge light touring skis, leading to snowplowing the steeper bits. All in all-a very fine day to be out!
Unfortunately due to Covid we will be seeing a LOT more trail users out there… of all types: Walkers, classic skiers, s’shoers, skate skiers, fat bikers and skinnier-tired-fat bikers. Since so many of them are relatively new to their respective sports and perhaps don’t crossover much, they will require patience and education. Many will end up on some of the wrong trails, some by accident and others by ignorance. Education starts at the shops they buy gear from, from trailhead signs, from other infrastructure users, and from being open to conversations and education. So I would ask the question of how can we include the local shops in the educating process? So if we go looking for conflict it’s pretty easy to find it, whereas if we go looking to share and educate you will most often find friendly reception.
Skied MLR today, -8 when we started at 11:30 from the Lake Louise parking lot, down tram, very rough and not good for beginners. Skiing up MLR the skiing got better and better. Snow is slick from last weeks rain and small amount of fresh snow since then. Some tree debris in track. Luckily we had been advised to use some klister as part of our binder. We encounter several groups of walkers that barely left a mark in the hard packed surface, both were very pleasant and avoiding the track. I think we are going to see an increase in Winter Walkers with Covid and people just wanting to get outside. We did see a group skiing up with dogs as we were descending, wished them a good ski and hope they didn’t get caught. The ski back up tram is arduous to say the least after you have been descending for 30 minutes, made sense why a gentleman was walking up when we originally came down. There were cars taking down the barriers and parking in the lot, even though Parks has a giant electronic sign saying not to. All in all a great first ski with early season conditions.
Binder: SWIX VG35 with 6 dots of Start Wide Klister mixed in. Wax Swix V40 (Extra Blue) 4 layers
My grinds with fat bikers is only with those who run down track sets which is exceedingly rare, those that do not stay to the side of the trail on blind downhill corners and those that bike illegally on trails closed to bikers.
Other than that, they are ok on limited trails as bikes do far less environmental damage on snow covered trails as compared to dirt trails- ie ruts from bikes that lead to more erosion and debris entering fish bearing streams and rut erosion harm to trails which make hiking more difficult and increase trail maintenance costs.
Technically, Parks Canada should limit the speed of biking in the parks, like the City of Calgary does, on the bike trails to a maximum of 20 kph for safety purposes. The bikers are more of a hazard to hikers on certain hiking trails with blind downhill corners than skiers as they can move much quicker on solid ground than typical winter snow. Speed can be used in court cases involving accidents to help determine negligence or fault.
If Parks Canada does not have a biker responsibility code, it better move it’s butt and develop one for legal liability purposes. Parks Canada could be held legally responsible in the event of an accident on its trails which it controls and permits bikes to be utilized. We don’t need Parks Canada wasting more money on court cases than it already does because the Superintendent or Minister of Environment is too ignorant or lazy to develop a biker responsibility code for within Park boundaries.
As a hiker who has been highly injured in a crash by a bike going to fast downhill around a blind corner, I believe a biker responsibility code would be an excellent idea as it would simplify any court cases involving such accidents and educate people to be more careful riding. Making court cases simple also means less lawyer costs for the injured or crash victims which is greatly needed to keep money in the pockets of the injured.
If you ever do get hit by a biker, take pictures immediately for evidence purposes.
Keep on biking and skiing as safe as possible to keep the fun for all out there.
I like using liquid glide waxes when I don’t have time to hot wax, or when optimal performance isn’t an issue such as on light touring waxless skis. After trying out different brands, I hit upon Vauhti LF (low fluoro) “Polar” and “Mid” about 2 years ago. Its performance on its own is superb, and it significantly improves the performance of a hot wax when applied on top. But now Vauhti (and I think most other manufacturers) have discontinued their fluoro waxes due to the health and environmental concerns of fluoro additives. Vauhti LF sold for $23 at Norseman, about $5 more expensive than their lowest price GW non-fluoro waxes. These have been replaced by Vauhti’s PURE line of non-fluoro waxes, starting at $30 for PURE ONE, $64 for PURE UP, and even more expensive ones. Has anyone had experience with these waxes, and which would be comparable to the performance of Vauhti LF?
If you were at the Canmore Nordic Center Yesterday or today, you will notice that the guns aren’t running and its was prime snowmaking temperatures. If you’re like me, you just start conjuring all kinds of reasons whey they are not making snow, the unfortunate reality at the moment is that they have encountered an infrastructure problem that has caused the system to shut down, not great timing, i know!
I have been assured by management that their staff are working as quickly as possible to get things back up and running.
Thank you for your patience.
Anyone check out West Bragg yesterday? Is it worth driving out from Calgary?
Is Bragg Creek skiable this coming Wednesday? I am planning to ski this Wednesday.
Thanks a lot,
Where is the Great Divide parking lot? Are you referring to the one on north side of the highway? If so, do you then cross both the highway and the railroad tracks to get to the ski trail?
Did the GDT today to Lake O’HARA and would rate this as mildly acceptable at best and witnessed two wipeouts as evidence. Nothing that a few cm of snow and then grooming couldn’t fix.
Lake O’Hara fire road today. No rocks showing, but the snow and at times ice underneath a skiff or two of loose snow are hardpacked. Only made it to the 9km market as I had a time commitment, but watch for ice in the snowmobile tracks, especially just after the 4km marker; and a tree down (shallow – easy to walk over, but I took my skis off anyways) after the open area after the 5km marker. Not very busy, but as grooming won’t start for a couple months, not unexpected. Beautiful blue sky!
ELK PASS and LOOKOUT from the front door. Norman’s report of fresh powder up high did not disappoint. Ten to 15 cm of fresh on a supportive crust. We should have gone in by the back door though. The slightly icy conditions from the Elk Pass parking lot were impossible to descend the steep parts due to deep ruts from an off-road vehicle and lots of footprints. Soon they will be but a memory though.
There’s a couple of trees down, but one can squeeze through still. There’s also still a stream crossing coming out towards the front door from Lookout.
We are looking for two pairs of waxless x-country skis with bindings. One pair approx. 180 cm and the other approx. 190. Please email if you can help. Thank you
Yesterday the Moraine Lake Road and Great Divide were in excellent shape. Lots of friendly people out enjoying the great tracksetting, temperature a few degrees below zero, and just enough fresh snow to make for a most enjoyable day. Recommended!
According to the Parks Canada trail report today, the Great Divide Trail is multipurpose, including fat bikes, so where is Charles coming from?
Can you tell me how far the Backdoor trail head is from the gate on HWY 40 and where the parking lot is?
A few years ago, when switching to studded bike tires, all the local shop had were 2.2, which was much narrower than the 2.8 stock tires. Because I had already switched our SUV to narrower winter tires and noticed a significant improvement, I decided to give the narrower bike tires a try as I normally bike on plowed roads. (Plus the price of studded fat tires is eye watering). However, you do end up biking on seasonally closed roads after large snowfalls that have not yet been plowed, or ones that are still not too deep such as the dog loop at the end of the golf course road in Banff. It became apparent that I was able to keep a straighter line, and proceed through unpacked snow better than fat bikes due to the narrower tires that do not push a wall of snow up in front of a fatter tire that pushes back. Fat bikes do require a packed surface because they can only sink so much before they cannot be controlled and require a huge amount of effort to push the wall of snow. That’s why you see them favoring ski trails – up to a point. You’ve probably seen signs of this: evidence presented by spaghetti tracks that they tried for awhile biking on a groomed trail and gave up and turned back (as I did last year early season on the Great Divide Trail when all there was were 2 tire tracks from a truck). I get the impression that someone that’s new to the concept of Fat Bikes does not fully appreciate their limitations, and discover that they are largely also limited to plowed roads, or packed ski trails. Hence it is likely that packed trails will see an increase in this type of use every year, with the bikers being forced to find some sort of packed surface to ride on. And if there are no other alternatives, the track, or the skate lane, may be the only options for the determined biker (or snowshoes).
Is a Snow Rabbit a cheaper alternative to the Piston Bully?
Managed to swing by elk pass parking lot on Saturday. Only a few inches on the ground at the trailhead, barely covering gravel. Snow amounts at highwood dissipate rapidly below the elevation of the pass. The snow that fell has also settled very quickly in that area.
I also had a very pleasant chat with that young fellow and certainly echo Charles’ comments. One important detail I would add is that his fat bike was not affecting that firm surface in any way at all. Zero damage to the skating track.
ELK PASS and LOOKOUT from BackDoor – Nov 7
Started at 11:15 am, with only one other car at the parking lot. A VR45 day, under low clouds and heavier snow falling as the afternoon unfolded. Conditions to Elk Pass as described by Gord yesterday, with a few water puddles on the bumpy Tyrwhitt Trail. The soft snow in the meadows made for a great glide. Only boots tracks (heading to the Elk Lakes side) from the pass. Soft fresh snow made it easy to control while heading down to the Blueberry Jct picnic table. No sign of any recent traffic up Blueberry Hill. Left the boot packed Elk Pass trail for untouched fresh snow on Paterson. At least 10-15 Cm of fresh snow on Hydroline. After reaching the Fire Lookout site, I was quite pleased to head down in the soft powder.
A great loop to do, even only one week into November.
If you are poor do not worry about buying a parking pass and just keep on xc skiing like usual. Don’t let Premier Kenney ruin your winter again.
Kenney’s election slogan was oddly “strong and free” yet he is eliminating what is free. Be strong and keep skiing for free if you don’t have the bucks to pay for parking in our parks.
Be sure to vote out the United Corruption Party, also known as the UCP, at the next general election and support a skier friendly party.
Great Divide Trail: as an add-on to Charles’ post, we started at the Lake O’Hara end around 10.30 am and the tracks were still decent thanks to the new snow from yesterday but getting thin towards the Lake Louise end with icy stretches. Late-morning the groomers came by and groomed the skate lane (looked good!) then attempted to track-set back in from Lake O’Hara – it seemed like their machines weren’t up to the task of breaking down the ice so the track ended up very shallow, wonky and slippery. As I returned from Lake Louise to Lake O’Hara the groomers went to pack down Lower Telemark so I don’t know if they made another track outbound as I didn’t see them again. -6C at start, around -3C at end; I used twin skins, hubby used VR45.
Looking for 32.5 (US2) NNN boots, alpina preferred but open to others. Thanks!
51 mm metal edge skis are now available at Norseman Ski- hopefully no wider! The downside is they include some skin system rather than being waxable which makes them pricy. Wax is the best preferred option for a hard smooth surface spring snow skier like myself.
Is it possible to skate ski on hard smooth spring snow with these new skin system skis? Let me know if you have experience with such skis.
After the spectacular day yesterday, I returned to the Great Divide Trail this morning at 9 a.m. Air temperature was -10 C but the tracks were pretty worn and icy in spots yesterday so I put a small pocket of VR40 over the VR45 remaining. It worked perfectly. Nice track all the way to the Yoho Road. On the way, I met, Matthew, a fat-biker with cerebral palsy who made me re-think my aversion to these machines on the trails. More on that later…perhaps.
Just wondering if anyone found a pair of prescription sunglasses on the Great Divide Trail last weekend (November 1st). I somehow lost them between the Lake O’Hara Parking lot and the the Lake Louise trail head and would love to see them again! They are Maui Jim’s. Thanks all.
Hi James, thanks for the inquiry . At this moment it looks like they are sold but if it falls through I will drop you a note. regards.
ISO kids size 29 (11k Salomon) xcountry ski boots for my 5 year old.
Hi! I am looking to go x country skiing tomorrow on some dog friendly trails. I checked out your list of dog friendly ski trails but am having trouble determining what has decent snow conditions currently. Do you know if Mount Shark or Sandy McNabb are skiable?
Nice to see parking lot fee payments will be voluntary as they should be. Poor people can continue to ski for free if they can not afford Kenney Parking Lot Fees in our Parks.
Once Joe Biden eliminates the Keystone XL Pipeline, Kenney can stop building the pipeline to no where and shift tax dollars back to our Parks where there are better returns on investment for our tax dollars rather than wasting them on subsidizing American oil companies with cheap ass discounted below market value environmentally unethical heavy Alberta bitumen.
If the unintelligent Conservatives would have been less American influenced and built value added oil refineries in Alberta decades ago, rather than foolishly exporting our raw crude oil then the discussion of Parking lot Payments in Alberta Parks would not be an issue today.
Viva live poor XC skiers in Alberta Parks free of costs. Keep on skiing and keep your ski tips up!
Mary and I headed to O’Hara parking lot to do her first snowshoe to Ross Lake. Before reaching our turnoff onto Ross Lake Trail from O’Hara Fire Road, we met a returning split-boarder, who reported seeing a wolf on the trail around km 4. Thankfully our Ross Lake Trail had been already snow-shoe’d but possibly during isothermic snow conditions as it was VERY narrow and tracks were almost at the earthy rock bottom. The lake provided us a stunning sunny lunch spot with Divide Mtn towering above us. Once reaching Great Divide Trail we checked out some huge big bear prints which went back almost to O’Hara end of GD. We met Bob and Chip and you will likely get his report on the Divide shortly after this one. Bring on the snow!! Beautiful day. T-C was closed around 3pm just a few kms past Jasper cutoff but not sure why. Ambulances were present but we could not see an obvious accident.
Elk Pass via Backdoor Update. 11-06-20
I don’t want to bore anyone by reporting on the same trail again but I was back on Tyrwhitt today, from Backdoor to Elk Pass and back. I was hoping it had snowed a few cms up there and it turned out to be true. There was zero new snow at the PLPP turnoff so I considered turning right and heading to Burstall Pass, but thought I’d drive up to Backdoor to check it out. There was 7cm fresh at the trailhead, 10 cm at the Tyrwhitt high point and 13 cm at Elk Pass. I also found the total snow depth at the top of Tyrwhitt to be 42 cm. It was apparent the base had absorbed a good amount of rain yesterday which should become super tough base for the rest of the season. Temps were hovering around zero all day, with heavy cloud and although the new snow was quite warm, it held up very well. Still some open water, great off-road skiing.
Arrived MLR on a glorious day to discover I could still park on the Lake Louise road and walk through the parking lot. Icy conditions covered by 3 cms of nice fresh snow. No new grooming since last weekend and was not expecting any due to previous day temp. BUT a snowmobile had travelled the full length of MLR with no smoother outer behind machine. These tracks froze in, to totally ruin any chance for skaters. Machine also destroyed some of the classic tracks on the inside turns. Dhhh. Plus a couple of walkers postholing in track and in pole track which also froze in. Hopefully the parks staff will be able to mitigate this damage tomorrow when the crowds arrive. No sign of groomers today – Friday nov 6. @ 1300hrs
Upper tram line down to MLR will be icy until more snow arrives or aggressive grooming is done.
Desperately seeking Salomon s-lab Vitane skate boots with pilot system in size 40, US 8 W. I’m hoping to keep my pilot system going for a bit longer! Will pay for shipping to rossland!
Word has it that The Saskatchewan Avalanche Rescue Team has just gone to DEFCON 2.
10 cm of new already at highwood pass today.
Hi there, where do I find out where to XC ski in Kananaskis? Is there a map or directions to parking?
Theme is all the trails are in Kananaskis and were in danger of not being groomed and trackset this season. With the work spearheaded by Nordiq Alberta, we will once again be able to enjoy these trails on groomed/tracked conditions at bargain rates.
Congratulations, Jan. I’m glad to see someone figured this out. -Bob
So far looks like this next system is coming in wet to start. Raining in Banff and Louise and not turning to snow until morning. Blast! Saw some pictures from ramblers up at picklejar lakes and three lakes valley last few days. Still pretty snowy in places, but gaps in between depending on wind and sun exposure.
$50 for a pass is an amazing deal, given the range of trails and quality of grooming you enjoy. I’m pretty sure anyone who doesn’t live in your area realizes what a gem and privilege you’ve had for so many years and at no cost to users. I’ll buy a pass gladly. I live in BC and visit every year for a week of skiing and this is a true bargain.
We arrived at a lazy 3pm start at The Great Divide trailhead. It had been a warm day, about 7 degrees, but the tracks were still very skiable. Snow was crusty/slushy in some spots but not too bad, definitely way nicer than I expected. Great early season ski!
My dad and I decided to take a chance on MLR this morning, and we were so glad we did! We started out at about 10:45 this morning, and the car said it was around 6°. We weren’t sure what kind of tracks we would get, but they were way better than expected! My grip was fantastic on my skins, and my dad‘s grip was slightly less fantastic but still OK on his fishscales. The snow was softer at the top of the hill at the 6K mark, but overall the snow felt fast and we made it to the end and back in record time.
Looking for SNS combi or classic boots size 38
Great Divide Trail, Monday November 2nd- tracks are intact but crusty and icy. Still made for fun skiing on such a beautiful day. Had the trail mostly to ourselves other than one or two others.
ATOMIC REDSTER S7 SKATE SKIS FOR SALE…..350 $
Solomon Prolink bindings compatible with NNN and Turnamic boots
Basically brand new (used twice)
Ski flex is for skier weights between 165-198 lbs
Cross country ski waxes for sale asking $250 for the lot
Swix special (red) X 4, Swix special (green) X 2, Swix extra (blue) X 4, Swix special (purple) X 9, Swix polar(white/black) X 7, Swix glide (white/purple) X 2 – Retails $15 X 28 = $420
Swix underglider base prep X 5 – Retails $20 X 5 = $100
KUU alpine hot wax (green) 3 bar package, KUU alpine hot wax (black) 3 bar package – Retails $30 X 2 = $60
Swix speed granulate, various cork and waxing hand tools and bindings.
TOTAL RETAIL $600+
Elk Pass – Lookout Loop from Backdoor. Nov 2-20
I’ve been watching for reports from PLPP but haven’t seen anything in over a week, so I thought I’d check it out. I parked at the Backdoor entry to Tyrwhitt off Hwy 40. Snow coverage is still very good, up to 30cm at higher elevations. The day began cloudy and zero degrees. Nothing is groomed of course, but I was pleasantly surprised to find 4cm of dry powder on top of a firm base. Tyrwhitt was a bit rough in places, many dips and bumps, some open water but no need to remove skis. I skied to Elk Pass then down to the Blueberry Hill Intersection where the sun finally appeared. From there the snow became very sticky, just right for climbing. I continued up Patterson to the Hydro Line, down to the Lookout Trail, up to the Lookout and back to the trailhead from there. I was skiing on Rossignol 90mm Backcountry waxless skis which were just about perfect for this little excursion. I had skins with me, but didn’t need them.
Looking for sns profil classic boot size 41
Mike W, Jim, Bob et al. Know that your comments and questions are being read and considered. But there are legal and ethical issues here , and FOIP legislation of course. I am only a volunteer here, like many others, and certainly not at liberty to release documents without approval. Please be patient.
Will Nordique Alberta be activating the real time reports on track setting? Any idea when track setting might actually start, once we get some more snow?
Goals are always a better way to motivate people.
If we are looking for 200k how about we have a counter on the Nordiq website?
I mean technically there are 7k members of that club alone…
– Yes btw I already bought mine.
Rossi NNN Xium skate boots size 40.5. Older. $40. Women’s 8.5 equivalent. Photos on Foothills Nordic Ski Club Facebook Group.
In a perfect world, where everyone is buying a pass, what would happen to excess $ raised above and beyond the cost of grooming? Does it all go back to Alberta Parks (government) or does Nordiq and maybe other ski clubs benefit from monies raised?
found what I needed – not looking any longer.
Hi! I’m looking for 170-180 waxless, classic skis w sns profil bindings. email me at email@example.com
Great Divide Trail Sunday, Nov. 1st: started skate skiing from the parking lot by 10 am (new time) at -1C. The snow surface was crusty and bumpy, so double poling in the tracks was easier. The downhill to the divide was less bumpy and quite controllable in a good track and no ice. Snow surface was much smoother for the rest of the way to the Lake O’Hara end. Lots of cars parked there. Snow was still crusty on the return which made for wobbly skate skiing. Beautiful views and sunshine. Last year my first ski at Lake Louise was on November 9th, so this is quite a bonus to be able to ski in October and that early in November.
Piggy backing a little on “Friends” post. What trails work best for pulling a chariot ski pulk? My wife and I are intermediate skiers, our daughter is 10 months and our son who is 3 has already been skiing since he was a year and a half, but when the little man needs a break we are hauling about 60lbs plus the sled. Thoughts? Just wondering what you and the community think.
Looking for skate ski boots for my son. 38 2/3 or 39. Prefer prolink but will take any binding type at this point. Bindings are easy to find!
I am a snowshoer. When I go to the Kananaskis Village or PLP parking lots will I be expected to pay?
Hallowe’en’s Blue Moon howled 8 of us Canmore Seniors up to the top of Kananaskis Fire Lookout last night. We hiked/skied/snowshoed/gripper’d on a variety of methods to reach the top, 4.5 kms from Pocaterra’s Back Door. We got to the Lookout at the end of dusk and enjoyed the moon rising over Elk Range just after 8pm. We knew this was the last time we could do such a thing with the Groomers soon able to resume working their magic on these X-C trails.
I agree with many writers that ALL users of these parks, winter and summer should consider purchasing a Parking Pass. The bike rack atop of Lookout is evidence of that because trees fall 12 months of the year, a very difficult challenge to maintaining all trails year round. eg. Watridge Lake Trail into Bryant Creek/Assiniboine. Now onto baking cookies for the Groomers!!!
The tracks on the Great Divide on Sat were quite icy although it did improve a bit after a few km. The rain on Fri left a crispy crust on all the snow. It was still a decent ski on skin skis and a beautiful day.
Skiing the Moraine Lake Road today was a complete pleasure; cold enough to make waxing easy, warm enough to be completely comfortable lunching at the lake. The track is great; well defined, firm, and very fast. Uphill, downhill, stopped and chatting – today it was ALL good. Highly recommended!
I was 5185 yesterday at 5:30 pm
Mt Shark Watridge Lake Tr
Some skidoo packing appears to have been done on all trails we saw. WL Trail gravelly and rocky in sections, improving the farther out you go. Most users were hiking today. A skiff of fresh over sun/rain affected crust. Rock skis, skate or classic recommended. Significant new snow needed before additional grooming or track setting can be done.
Would advise watching your speed approaching the bottom of the Watridge Lake access hill. Rocky and roots at the end, lake ice also questionable.
Moraine Lake Road
There were many more people skiing MLR today than two weeks ago. The parking lot was full at 10am. Conditions improved and were great. Just some ice glaze in the tracks in the afternoon on the lower 2 km (down from Paradise Creek parking). Otherwise the whole path is complete awesomeness.
How does this affect people who use the nearby snowshoe trails? Will a pass be required? Just wanting to clarify so I know what I need before I head out.
Hopefully they will open PLPP Visitor Centre for shelter for people. This is a safety issue.
If you are missing either your receipt or pass, check your Junk email box. My receipt and pass ended up there.
That will help solve the mystery of the odd missing pass. Thanks John. I updated my post to add that reminder. -Bob
If I’m not mistaken, Kyle and crew perform the ski trail grooming and trail maintenance in Sandy McNabb AND the south Elbow trail from Fullerton day use parking lot. So, technically speaking, parking for xcskiing there for that trail may? warrant a pass too …ABParks and GBCTA should clarify this, or better yet, just implement same for their agreement area. Happy Skiing!
Always partial to a bit of chocolate. Direct deliveries only. Critters will find any stash.
Is nordiq Alberta a charitable corp or whatever? Does payment get you a tax credit, seeing as it’s meant to augment government expenditure?
Sat oct 31: fish creek (Louise).
Couldn’t resist a final October ski attempt. Only about 4-6″ at the parking lot. Ski out to temple day lodge marginal. Crusty snow, no fresh at that elevation, twiggy and open water within first 50 ft. Didn’t meet the covid safe descending standards. Terrible to have to wait until November (-:
First of all, thanks to Ken Hewitt, Nordiq Alberta, Bob, and everyone else who contributed to this effort. If the Kananaskis trails were outside Alberta Parks and groomed by a non-government organization similar to West Bragg, I wouldn’t hesitate to spend $50 for a pass. But I’m uneasy about doing so for Kananaskis, because I’m then implicitly supporting the government’s decision that the best way to save $200,000 is by eliminate grooming, rather than cutting back on other expenses like its Energy War Room and Corporate Tax Cuts. The War Room is a complete waste of money. It makes sense to spend money to create jobs, but why spend billions of dollars in corporate tax cuts hoping that a fraction of it trickles down into job creation? A program that rewards corporations specifically based on the jobs they create makes more sense. Rather than contributing $50 to Kananaskis, I’m considering increasing my West Bragg donations by $50 instead. I’d appreciate any thoughts others have on this issue. Specifically, how can I contribute to Kananaskis Grooming without implicitly condoning the government’s actions? On a related note, what happens if the money raised by Nordiq Alberta exceeds the grooming costs? I certainly hope it doesn’t go into the government general coffers!
I am thrilled and thankful for the hard work of putting this proposal together! We are more than willing to pay for the grooming. We go regularly to Sovereign lake. Due to the worry about our own access to tracks near home, we have 2 X 2 week stays booked there. We could consider cancelling the interprovincial travel now. A question: is there any plan, or consideration for more frequent grooming? Sovereign Lake charges much more, but has Daily grooming. We would support higher fees IF it meant more grooming.
Great perspective in comparing other provinces (they also have a PST/HST) $50 is indeed a bargain! Count me in. I am relieved that a reasonable solution was found. Thank you to all the people that put in the effort.
However, on the political side of things, please note that the Alberta government is planning to close 20 parks and remove 164 from the Alberta Parks system. A total of 175 parks could lose protection and Albertans could lose access.
The receipt has a pdf attached that you print.
Any idea if the access road to Lake O’Hara is/will be groomed this wither?
I was #5135 and I thought that I was quick to “sign up”! I’d like to hear how many annual passes have been purchased already.
Hi there. I’m looking for cross country skis (classic) . I am 115 pounds and 157 cm so ideally 178-180. Please email or call 403-703-2788
Does this fee apply to hikers as well? So this year because it is voluntary, you don’t need to buy a pass and will not get ticketed?
Got my season pass about 2 hours after the announcement. Number is 5197 !
Wow. If numbers are sequential that’s already enough to pay for grooming.
It really is only reasonable to expect the people who use the XC ski trails to pay for the excellent service provided by the hard working caretakers of the trails. I feel it was not something that XC skiers could have felt would last forever to have so much hard work and cost borne by the general taxpayers for a treat enjoyed by a small fraction of the population.
Lets pay up and be grateful for the ability to cohabit with nature on beautiful trails, enjoy the whiskeyjacks, stare with unadulterated one at the views and see people we know travelling on these peaceful pathways of snow.
I look forward to paying for the trail makers, and hope that the experiment works and that we can go on enjoying “paying to ski” as we should.
Thanks so much to everybody who helped make this happen!
Lucky us to get to pay for something that was free a few months ago. Does the government seriously expect a pat on the back for this?
Great initiative! Looking forward to enjoying the great trails this winter. Thanks for your work on this project – Nordiq Alberta, Ken and your team and Skier Bob.
Hi There – looking for a pair of classic skis with bindings, 170 – 178 for 115 lb female. Please email with price. Thank you!
It would be nice to have the option to add both my cars plate #’s to the pass so I’m not stuck having to pick only one.
Thanks to everyone who made this possible!!
Thanks to Bob and Ken Hewitt and Nordiq Alberta. I was skiing at WBC last Sunday – what a crowd! Folks were just glad to get outside and enjoy our wonderful backyard.
Looking forward to Pocaterra!
WBC ice-o-rama this early am but was expecting so prepared. Spent couple hrs double-poling laps on crystalines and parts of mountain rd on old fishscales. Track varietied b/w transformed glazed snow, clear ice and puddles with plenty of boot divots rendering skating not a safe option either. Go hiking elsewhere this weekend pls (a dryer Sheep Valley is a good option).
Hi there, looking for 195/200 skis w sns profil bindings, preferably waxless.
Great news! Thanks to everyone who was instrumental in making this happen, especially Nordiq Alberta! And thanks Bob for promoting our great sport. Now let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Great, Great News!!!!
Thanks to everyone who participated in this project-making process.
Great news! Pass bought already w/ donation.
Thanks for all efforts facilitating this! Looking forward to a great XC season of 2020-2021, especially in the crucial pandemic.
This is excellent news. Bought and printed the pass already. Special thanks to Ken Hewitt for all his hard work in putting this program together. Looking forward to another visit to Masid’s couch! YIPPEE!
BRAVO NORDIQ ALBERTA, Skier Bob and all 4600 emails and letter-writers sent in and T-Y to government officials who read and responded to them (Ministers Jason Nixon, Miranda Rosin and other elected officials). I read about this on Bob’s awesome website on 2:45 pm, and had my Parking Pass via efficient Zone 4 purchased at 3:17. We can celebrate this great news and hope Zone 4 gets overwhelmed with eager responders. Now let’s bring on the next big dump and colder temperatures.
* Online purchases require payment of supplementary credit card processing charges – approximately $2-$3 per transaction. Processing charges do not apply for cash payments at retailers.
this is a rip off on $10 charge to a credit card
Thank you Bob! That’s indeed an awesome news!
Just bought my pass. Ready to play “Guess the date when Elk Pass Trail is trackset” 🙂
Hi Skier Bob, thanks for posting our fundraiser article. The version have is now out date and so I am wondering if you could update your site with the new version? If you send me your email I can get it to you. Thanks!
Karena Brawley, Secretary GBCTA
First good news we’ve had in a long time. Next stop, season pass. And I’m so excited to find another volunteer opportunity – shall be putting my name in immediately as a parking lot volunteer.
Thanks so much, Bob, for the work you do.
And thank you Nordiq Alberta.
Well done, all.
Can’t wait to see you ut on the trails, and let’s hope for a fantastic xc ski season!!
Thank you Bob for the information. I appreciate all your hard work and your obvious passion for the sport. See you on the trails.
Thanks, Bob for keeping us informed. You are so on top of anything that has to do with XC-Skiing. I know I am stating the obvious, but I want you to know that you are super appreciated.
I’m so disappointed that people in the cross country ski community capitulated so quickly and easily and fell right in the current government’s trap to privatize and offload their responsibility onto the backs of Albertans.
Thank you to all that made K-Country happen for grooming this season!! <3
This is great news.
I will bite my tongue before I say something I regret about the useless penny-pinching mavens in government who thought that cutting this program was a great idea.
For backcountry users on a multi day trip to BNP or Assiniboine that do not have an annual pass, the best solution would be to purchase 2 day passes, one for the day in, and one for the day out?
That’s great – from the sidelines it appears that people put serious effort into making this happen. We don’t use the trails, but we certainly understand the importance of them, and did write to our MLA who sits at the cabinet table.
As someone who buys both a national park pass and a ski area pass, plus day tickets when we go to other resorts, a user-pay system seems extremely fair to me. Our province is fighting for its economic life and if we want recreation areas to exist, we may have to pony up. It is unfortunately present day reality.
I feel we pay enough taxes this should be available regardless but obviously this was cut from Provincial services so…awesome work getting a solution figured.
Got Mine Already!
Wonderful, thanks so much to everyone who got involved in making this happen!!!
#12 is Pocaterra, just past the Lynx junction heading west
And here is the news about it:
I am not sure if this is a done deal or not and i dont want to discourage anyone but this looks like a very expensive groomer toy. There are many, many winters in wbc where the snow is thin at best and a machine this size will be of no use. Better to get more light weight equipment and train more people to use it. I am very happy to make my donation but I do not think this is the right direction.
#1 Bill Milne
#12 is the only one which hasn’t been guessed. I thought it would be one of the easiest. -Bob
Nope. The unique mountain you see when you look south should be a giveaway. -Bob
I think I got most of them but I did have to guess a few
#2 Whiskey Jack
#3 Elk Pass
#5 Mount Shark
#6 Hay Meadows
#7 Ribbon Creek
#9 Skogan Pass
Good job. 10 out of 12 correct. #1 and #12 are incorrect. #8 is actually “Link” but you have the right idea. -Bob
#2, Whiskey Jack/Pocattera junction
You’re off to a pretty good start with two out of three correct. -Bob
Hello, whereabouts are the trails at South Glenmore and North Glenmore park for cross country skiing? I know that they are ungroomed. Is it just in the grassy areas nearby the paths?
Also, can anyone suggest a good group(s) to join who would meet to ski together outside of Calgary i.e. WBC?
We decided on MLR and it was the best. Newly trackset and good snow. A nice guy from czech and working at whistler and another guy skier set down to the lake. Thank-you. I am hoping the snow holds or we get more dumps. Anyway watch out for gremlins on the trails. Happy halloween.
I found a pair or Rossi poles in the middle lot at CNC at 8pm Oct 29. One white shaft and one black. I left them outside the Bill Warren front doors.
Another great day on the Moraine Lake road. It was an in-auspicious start, with rain on the highway and warm temps. But conditions were great on the road – particularly because the wonderful groomer was just starting as we drove in! So we had nice clean tracks both up and down. We were both on skin skis which worked well. Likely about 2 – 3 degrees today. And yes, the parking lot was still open.
Lake Louise – Great Divide Oct 29 am
Thank goodness for my Fischer twin skis – they saved my bacon again today! About 4-5 cms new on a reasonable track but very slow with the wet new snow! Made it to the top of the hill down to the Great Divide Arch and back. Very few people out. Temp around 0 – +2C. Then heard from a little birdey later in the afternoon that the 1A was being rolled for skating and then tracksetting.
Stopped briefly at MLR this am – yes the parking lot was still open – and grooming was just beginning there so everything should be good for tomorrow unless it snows too much on top of the tracks tonight and/or it gets too warm tomorrow.
My understanding from talking to staff at WBC is that the new machine effectively allows all of the necessary snow work for the local conditions and excellent track setting in one pass, vs multiple passes doing multiple stages given the limitations of the current machine relative to the snow conditions. This saves much time and labour as well as maintenance hours on the machine and the product is better for the conditions that have to be dealt with and the amount of use the trails get. Sounds like a wise choice, especially with 65+ km’s of trail. I’m sure boomer or Alf could add more if need be for people to understand the need. I always thought the track setting was great and never realized it could be better, or faster. Thanks for educating me on what it takes to make it great for our use and enjoyment.
A Groomer Named Sue
The snow came real early around here,
I rode in on my groomer and the skiers let out a big cheer!
But then came a chinook,
And the snow was all took.
Now they’re kickin’ and a gougin’ in the mud and the blood and the beer.
I have a Fjellpulken for sale, in mint condition.
Call or email for details.
The donation links are kind of buried in there. So here they are:
https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/13948 (one time or recurring)
https://donorbox.org/gbcta-trail-donations (recurring only)
Check out Snow Rabbit manufacturer’s site: http://www.snowtech.co.kr/en/company/greetings/ “Snow is God’s most beautiful and romantic gift to man”.
Thanks, Peter. I updated my story with some of this info. -Bob
My wife is pregnant and is a beginner skier who just learned to snow plow. We are planning a day to ski in early December. Do you have any flat ski area you would suggest? We live in Calgary. It would be nice if the dog could come too. Thanks for all your services with the ski community.
Tale from some not-too-intrepid skiers.
First ski of the season -can cause us big stress
Self doubt runs rampant -our minds are a mess.
We’d been thinking about it -for a week, maybe two
Winter was here now -so what will we do?
I asked of Gazelle -“do you want to go?”
She paused but a moment -her answer was “NO!”
She saw in her mind -scenes of despair
Backsliding downhill -both skis in the air
And hearing again -that gut wrenching sound
Of “my little soft body -smashing to ground”
I knew what she meant -cause I’d felt it too
Several times on the trails-I’ve been black and blue
So our plan for the day -we’ll go for a HIKE !
Moose Mountain’s a place -we both claim to like
We met with “Our Keener” -she was up for the task
“You can ride in our car -but you must wear your mask”
The road to the trailhead -was icy as hell
But our little car -managed quite well
We started on soft snow -like walking in sand
That made it much harder -than what we had planned
We finally got there -I mean out of the trees
The wind was now hellish -no longer a breeze
We attacked the false summit -post holing some snow
we sent OK ahead -“the Keener should go”
The wind was so strong now -it nearly undressed us
We got up the false one -then turned back to our bus
OK kept going – she got close to the shack
But the trail disappeared -and she had to turn back
Our day overall -was a little insane
We’ll rethink ’bout skiing -ere we set out again.
ISO classic cross country SNA Profil compatible boots, size 39 or 40.
Anyone know conditions now at plpp as thinking of this tomorrow thursday?
Selling a pair of Hagan TX Titanium telemark / touring skis with Diamir bindings.
Skis are 192, 2.8 equipped with Diamir Titanal II bindings with safety straps.
Ski bases and edges are in excellent condition.
Ready to go for the winter.
Posted on kijiji Calgary
Asking $165 obo
Great Divide /1A Arrived 10;00 AM TCH was scary, black ice.
5cm new -3C Skintecs
Waxing appeared problematic. Our skintecs and waxless iced up slightly,causing drag.
Tracks were OK close to the parking lot but at around 1/2 way to Divide arch tracks became skier tracked, rattley but with a firm base. Not sure if there ever was tracks out to the end as we couldn’t find any trace of tracks
Skaters had is good. Great glide with a firm base.
Buying – I am in need of 2 pairs of cross country boots, pro link style binding. Size US 2 or Euro 32 for my kids.
Moraine Lake Road – Oct 28
After reading Chuck’s comment that MLR was better than the 1A/Great Divide yesterday, we changed our plan from 1A to MLR (thanks Chuck!) and it was very good. 2 cms new at bottom, about 3-4 cms at top made for silky tracks which are holding up well in spite of no new grooming, if a little slow. I decided not to risk a wax nightmare with the forecast warm temps by using my skin techs which worked really well (I overheard someone saying they were clumping up with wax), meanwhile Peter skated. Temp at start -3C, 0C at end.
No sign of the parking lot being closed, in fact, a Parks employee didn’t know when it would happen, and she thought it was supposed to be today.
Also, we mentioned to the Visitor Centre that there is currently no warning sign of avalanche issues at the end of the grooming, from the lookout down to the lake. Apparently they don’t usually put up a sign till November. However, even though the base isn’t all that deep yet, there is still risk, and people should be made aware of that.
Lots of walkers again but fortunately not in the tracks.
Selling light-weight SkiTrab classic cross-country skis. The SkiTrab Classic “Race Aero’ skis are an Italian-made cross-country race ski with a softer flex, suitable for body weights around 120-130 lbs (+/- 55 kg). The wax pocket (or grip zone where the grip wax is applied) is marked. Length 198 cm. The ski deck is pre-drilled for mounting of NNN bindings. These skis and bases are in excellent condition and have received only minimal use.
Selling Fischer RCS Classic Plus skis. $200 Soft flex. Length 202 cm. With Salomon SNS Propulse bindings. These skis were at one time Fischer’s top-of-the line racing model. Skis and bases are in good condition. Skis are suitable for persons 60-75 kg.
Selling 2 pairs of Salomon SLab Vitane Skate boots ($150 each). Size USA 10, Eur 42 2/3 and Size USA 6 Eur 37 1/3. Both pairs of skate boots are in very good condition.
Selling 1 pair Salomon Slab Classic boots in very good condition $100. Size USA 9 Eur 42 2//3.
Both the skate and classic boots are compatible with the Salomon SNS binding system (Pilot 2 bar).
Available in Canmore. Call or text 403 679 1069 if interested in any of these items.
LOST: a pair of men’s black ski gloves (eau claire?) at Little Elbow on Monday. Last seen on top of car parked just before the closed gate.
Selling some older but high quality mens skis, boots and poles, all in excellent condition. Make me an offer:
– Salomon Profil classic boot, size 45 1/3 (11)
– Salomon Pilot skate boot, size 46
– Salomon Equipe 10 classic skis, Pilot bindings, 206 cm – 175 lbs plus
– Excel 170 cm 100% carbon skate poles (can be cut down)
– Fischer RCS Skating Plus skate skis 192 cm, Pilot bindings – approx 175 lb
– Fisher RSC Classic Plus classic skis 202 cm, Profil bindings – approx 175 lb
Neighbour at Maple Ridge in the white house
He could be upset because i have seen parking in the back alley blocking access to his and neighbours garage. When there is lots of snow there is only one lane to drive down. so if you want to use that access point park on the street not in the alley.
MADSHUS SKIS PUPS WANTED! Hi I’m looking for a pair of Madshus Ski Pups for my boy….if anyone is looking to sell a pair or has some similar equipment that they’re looking to unload please contact me.
MORAINE LAKE ROAD, TRAMLINE & GREAT DIVIDE – Oct 27
What a social occasion… everyone knew where to ski today!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
MLR is better than the GD because it is higher with more snow and less prevailing wind.
We were out on Sunday too – on AT skis to test out new boots.
The classic track on Moraine looked good, but the skate area had been thrashed by walkers and fat bike treads. Would be nice if they can either designate a section for them (nor why you’d want to walk that road in the winter anyway…) or at least strongly discourage walking/fat biking. It had decimated all the grooming work – and it’s one of the few places with a great skate track. And in places, I think the tire ruts hadn’t quite been flattened out.
As to the gate- that would be that gate after the parking areas, and that’s always shut all winter long. Doesn’t interfere with the normal parking. It sounds like parking on Lake Louise Drive is not permitted — not safe. Getting out of the parking area on Sunday was scary given how people were parked every which way. Get there early or park elsewhere, but don’t make it a gong show for people to get in and out!
Yoho Valley Road (-5/6 to start and -2 to finish). Set a nice skier track c friend Mary to about 2 kms above the switchbacks. First km. seemed a bit thin but improved greatly after Cathedral Lodge and campground. Very little wind despite warnings of 40-60 kph. Saw a few people driving in to the parking lot. When we asked two gals where they were headed, they said to the Falls. They left once they we told the total distance and avalanche risk. Chuck, trail broken to kms 7.5! Snowing extremely lightly and were amazed how temps were colder on Field side of Divide.
Spring conditions at WBC today. Moose loop and mountain view west were the softest, despite being the first trails I took this morning. Mountain road and Elbow had colder snow and were in much better shape. Iron springs was absolutely cooking in the sun when I finished off around noon. I skied on VR65 and it kinda worked in most places, but there were some spots where it was too slick.
Three of us from the Seniors Outdoor Club were out Tuesday morning. Snow was soft but skiable with either softer than violet wax or my fish scale skis worked very well! Started at 9:00 and off trail at 11:30. A good morning for a short ski on East Crystal and Sundog and back.
Have you been to Mt. Shark? Do you know what the conditions are like today (October 27/20)?
Chinook has arrived! +7 to +9 C already by 7:00am. Bring water skis, if you are coming out to WBC.
West Bragg Creek
Todays tour included Mountain View West and Moose Loop. As others have noted, the new re-routes on Mountain View West are a nice improvement, as they have replaced a couple of the chronic sun/wind problem areas with very enjoyable sections of new trail. As well, then new wide bridge and re-graded approaches at the north end of Moose Loop are wonderful. If you’re wondering what happened to the skinny bridge that used to cross that stream… it got moved onto the upgraded Tom Snow trail nearby. Tom Snow and the Moose single-track trail that it connects to are not designated ski trails, but they offer a “Fox Creek” alternative, if you don’t mind a bit of trail breaking.
A chinook started blowing in during the late afternoon, so that may be it for the October bonus ski season at WBC.
ISO: men’s xc ski boots size 47 (or US 13); need to be an SNS ‘Profil” sole
We decided to check out the trails from the Kananaskis Village parking lot this morning. There was less snow than I had hoped, but still had a pleasant ski. The snow was about -7C at 10 am and a chilly wind blowing. We stuck to “bunny slopes” due to lack of snow, skied up Terrace and Kovach to the junction with Link and back. Some packing of trails has been done, and even a bit of grooming. There are early season hazards like grass and bits of dirt and rocks, plenty of foot traffic and a few ski tracks. Just below the jct with Link it looked like some deadfall had been cleared but debris still on the trail, so we moved a few twigs.
Not bad for October! Hopefully the packed snow will stay and provide a decent base for future snowfalls.
Wow what a start to the season! Went to WBC today, arrived just before 2pm. Snow was soft in some places but overall it was fantastic. Nice and warm, sat on the bench on Mountain Road getting some much needed Vitamin D. My boots gave me a blister and some under foot pain (new from last year), any suggestions to stop this much appreciated!
Arrived at WBC at 10:30 thinking I need another day given the forecast. Not sure what I would find after the hordes had their day yesterday so what a surprise to find it was just great. Did Mtn View Rd to West Moose all the way around then Moose connector to Crystalline to the parking lot. Pure Joy it was WBC Groomers at great. Lots of over joyed people all thinking DEFEND ALBERTA PARKS (can you eviscerate PLPP and still call call yourself an Albertan?) Definitely a double donation day.
At K Village today Terrace/Lower Kovach/Aspen was pretty sketchy conditions with thin coverage and a few rocks.
Found on MLR today – gloves and thermos in one location and vest in another. Gloves and vest are at the LL Visitor Centre but I had no room for the thermos it’s still up there.
Pair of Rossignol Skis found this morning at Mount Shark trailhead.
Call or text 4068991568
Hi SkierBob: Been an avid follower of your great blog since its inception. Just wondering if you could or why you haven’t included a “Lost and Found” section to your already informative blog.
WBC + a huge Skiers Hug to the parking lot angels Amy & friend
Pretty perfect conditions this morning upon arrival around 10 am to a temp of -6. Did the south side trails before they softened up too much. What a glorious ski in October!
I also must sincerely thank Amy & friend (sorry not to get your name) as I had car issues and they graciously helped me out. And a thank you to the gentleman who picked up a hitch-hiking skier by the side of the road and drove me back to my car – who is now aware of SkierBob’s most excellent website! Skiers & fat bikers are truly the best people!
MORAINE LAKE – Oct 26
As Alaric said, tracks are firm and fast… and today a little warmer with -8 to start and -2 to end… Perfection complete!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
And yes, Thanks to Parks Canada for the amazing early tracksetting this year.
Definitely great minds! Krazy Kazzy (new nickname) says she had a great time again today (and first day of the season for us last Friday) – she just loves running off leash bounding in and out of the trees and bushes following various scents! Kudos to the GBCTA for the great grooming, new bridges and trail rerouting.
Another shout out for WBC, Jip and I enjoyed a glorious ski around Moose and Mountain View * this morning, WOW, talk about trail transformation. Amazing conditions, the snow was a little cooler than I had waxed for but that’s no bad thing considering the current weather forecast, let’s hope it’s wrong. Also had the pleasure of skiing and chat with Eric Lloyd (Director (Special Projects Lead) & Treasurer) for a short distance, learnt a lot more about the GBCTA and heard delivery of their Snow Rabbit is imminent, apparently its capable track setting on a single pass as well as snow sculpting with its multi direction front blade, grooming game changer! https://www.braggcreektrails.org/winter-is-coming-lets-get-grooming/ Also meet up with Krazy and humans at about the same spot on Mountain View West as last season, great minds?
Alpina 438 X Country Ski boots for NNN bindings.
Size 40.5 Eur/ 8.5 Women’s
Good used condition, pick up in Strathcona, SW, Calgary
Email for photos: firstname.lastname@example.org
ISO of XC skis for a 4 yr old. With or without bindings.
With respect to the Live Grooming Reports, I’m wondering if the company that provides the service has gone out of business. The security certificate for their website https://skitrails.info/ expired 2 months ago and their home page doesn’t even display their map. I tried phoning them, but the call gets forwarded to another number with a generic “no one can take your call right now” voice mail prompt. Perhaps someone from West Bragg or the Nordic Centre can clarify what the situation is?
Anyone know which day they trackset the Divide (1a) in lake louise ?
You have created an incredible resource Bob! I have followed you for years. Anytime I meet someone new who xcountry skis my first question is -where do they love to ski? My second question is always-do you follow SkierBob?
Thanks for all the work that goes into this-very much appreciated!
Thanks, Jenn! I’m glad I could facilitate creating this awesome XC skiing community. -Bob
Looking for men’s size 46 xcountry boots and skis approx 200
PLPP Oct 25
Skied PLPP via the “backdoor” today on waxless light touring skis. -13C on arrival at 1200, up to -8C during the day, and down to -11C on departure at 1715. Did a loop of Pocaterra, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, Moraine, Packers, and back up Pocaterra. I had expected lots of people, but we only saw about half a dozen all day. Of special note, there seems to be some Ninja machine packing going on, if not actual grooming. Elk Pass trail was well packed from edge to edge, with machine tracks visible along each edge. There were faint snowmobile tracks on Fox Creek and Moraine, and at least a couple of tracks on Pocaterra as well. Tyrwhitt had an excellent single skier track through the meadows. Beyond the meadows, the trail was well-packed full width up to Elk Pass. Along the Elk Pass trail to Fox Creek, the trail had evidence of lots of skier and hiker traffic, but the entire width of the trail was so well packed that boot prints hardly made a dent on the surface. Not much in the way of a well-defined skier-trackset trail though. Fox Creek had an excellent skier track over a hard base, and was in about the best condition I’ve ever seen it. Moraine was similar, although the snow depth decreased as we approached the Boulton area, where it was down to about 10cm off-trail, compared to 40-50cm further south. The bottom of Packers had a pair of snowshoe tracks which soon turned back, and we continued on breaking trail as perhaps the first visitors there this winter. There was one large tree down, a couple of bridges that we had to step up onto and down off of, and several thin areas near creeks that were easy to get around. I wouldn’t advise going downhill on Packers until there’s quite a bit more snow. Yet another great day!
Highway #66 is closed to vehicles after December 1, so most years it’s a long slog on the highway to get there during the snow season. But with a nice blanket of snow on the ground already, I thought we’d give it a try.
Although Rainy summit is quite a bit higher in elevation than West Bragg Creek, there was only about 20-30cm of snow depth… maybe 1/3 less than at WBC. Nevertheless, we toured over the 4 little summits and across the year-old cut blocks to Cobble Flats and then back up to Rainy Summit. Lots of potential, if one could get there when there was a metre or more of snow depth! https://photos.app.goo.gl/hTg4F8txPK6izTGW8
Skied Backdoor totday, Highwood pass , not much new snow, but plenty for a good ski no rocks, a few trees down . skied to and down Hydro line, and then returned back up Lookout. We had to take skis off to cross one creek after leaving Hydroline heading up lookout. a 2 foot water section. .
We were a group of 4, skiing was great skier set, The down hill coming of lookout a bit of a challenge, plenty of snow shoe tracks .no grooming yet so a bit of a challenge to keep the speed down .
Interesting part to the morning was a set of large Bear tracks coming off the highway down onto the Backdoor trail , we followed them until they turned up Lookout, we went along the Trywit to hydroline.
Be aware the bears are still out there.
Sunset Ski at WBC. I showed up late in the day and had a beautiful evening ski. It must have been a busy day, judging by all the cars that were exiting the parking lot as I drove in. The temperature was a very comfortable -3°C to start and about -6°C when I finished. I skied Mountain View and Moose Loop (clockwise) and the snow was still great, despite all the heavy use. I watched the sun go down and the western sky turning into a delicate palette of pink and mauve. At the top of the last hill, I paused for a few moments to listen to the nearby creek rushing by. It felt like I had the whole place to myself.
Contribute to the WBCTA campaign to raise $25K to finance a Snow Rabbit (aka BabyPiston Bully). Given the 1000+ people there today, this should be a short campaign.
West Bragg again- I skied up Demi-Tel and then along Long Distance to the viewpoint at the high point of the trail just past Disconnect with NNNBC gear. Very good snow with a few rocks. Demi-Tel is massively chewed up by walker traffic and hasn’t been groomed for a few days (neither has Hostel) but is fine with the wider skis. I went around the core trails for a little bit after and conditions are excellent – like February if we’re lucky.
Telephone Loop and others
As part of a longer ski trip today, on track skis, just have these observations on the loop. Great snow coverage everywhere but rather rough on skinny skis and chopped off by hikers until the junction with Long Distance. Then the next 4 km are nicely skier tracked, followed by 2.5 km of heavily hiked and byked section until the Moose Loop is intersected (12.7 km from the parking lot). Not complaining here, just giving the info to those who want to ski the entire loop. Felt great end the loop and enter the very nice mid-winter x-c conditions for other trails, 2 months BEFORE XMAS. A great day for all, skiing, hiking, snowshoeing or byking.
After reading Bob’s remarks about xc skiing in Cypress Hills Prov Park I’m wondering does Alberta Parks provide the grooming there? If yes, a number of questions could occur to me.
Pinch me, I must be dreaming! Our little group enjoyed a perfect day of midwinter skiing today, on the Moose-Mountainviews west and east loop. Is it really only October? Of special interest was the new route bypassing the two former trouble spots on MV west. Kudos- it should hold the snow much better, and adds a little more spice to the trail.
I skied Moraine Lake Road yesterday and it was being trackset by snowmobile from about 10- 11:30 am. Great conditions!
Toodled over to West Bragg around 1:30 pm.
Circled around the lot with the masses for a while and ultimately decided to drop the wife off so she could ski.
I went back and shoveled off the roof.
All in all, a pretty good day.
Due to prior commitments (& who’d’ve guessed 1.5 weeks ago we’d have XC choices!) skied Frozen Thunder this afternoon. Sadly they’ve not had the snowfall Bragg & LL have had these past few days, but the grooming was stellar. Arrived at noon to a hardpack that eased up a bit over the next couple of hours (likely due to recreational skiers like me snowplowing hard, as we remember how this all works). Great first ski of the season!
Ah yes, the neighbor in the white house… I too have felt his wrath. Maybe he should take up woodworking or some such.
Thanks for the update. My golf clubs are still in the car, in anticipation of this weeks’ heat wave. Pathetic, eh?
We did Moraine Lake Road today. It was crawling with various ski teams, including two male national team members, who I had a nice chin wag with. I am always in awe of these people, and their willingness to (delight to?) push themselves to the wall over and over again.
I have a used Child’s single Fjellpulken sled c/w shield for sale. It comes complete with a snow sled waist harness, skier shaft as well as a single dog shaft and harness.
Mint condition. I would like $600.00 or best offer.
Moraine Lake Road
As good as I have ever seen it! The tracks were firm and fast. -22 at 10am, but up to -12 by 12:30 when we finished. Huge thanks to Parks Canada for the amazing grooming.
Too bad our Provincial Government does not seem interested in trails (not to take anything away from the team at the Canmore Nordic Centre who do a great job when they have staff). End of political rant – sorry!
Great Divide was sunny, fast and fairly busy. Still some roots sticking up but overall good coverage for pre-Halloween!
My Nordic comrades…
Fantastic day at the Spring Creek Trails in Cypress Hills Provincial Park.
-12 and sunny. Skier packed. Great to see so many friends out so early!
Maple Ridge golf course. Reasonable conditions, a thin base in some areas. No problems from grouchy neighbours, as mentioned in a previous report, although I have experienced that before. (Even when the course was fully open for skiing). Bring on the snow!
South Glenmore Park. Wow. Busy. Despite no grooming, 20+ people skiing the grassy loop betwixt the two parking lots at 2pm today. Yesterday was almost as busy and covered the whole gamut – from dirtbaggers with pie eating grins to conspicuous consumers with furrowed brows. Takes all kinds. Need new city-iot terrain to explore? Slide behind the new Enmax power station, follow the fence line 100m to duck through a hole and get out into the meadows. Lots of deer in there today and new ring-road din is really not that bad. Mostly settled snow over long grass and thistle patches – no rocks at all.
Sun oct 25: WBC (tom snow north).
Went in via the great trail along the north side of the grooming on moose loop. Excellent travel on the previous skiers track, before the storm? Same on tom snow north with a solid base supplied by the maintenance equipment that was in there doing work, also before storm. Some of the south facing hills were tricky on wax with an ice base under the snow. 60 cm back there in places. And wild. All manner of tracks, including predators.
West Bragg Creek. Arrived at 11:30 and still found parking. It was -13 when we started. By the time we finished it was -3 and the parking lot was at capacity. Cars parked all up and down the road, a dozen parked by East Crystal, and every possible space filled with a vehicle. Cars were circling the lot waiting for people to leave.
It was so great to see so many happy skiers, bikers, and hikers, but I hate to think this could become the norm for busyness if there’s no grooming in Kananaskis this winter.
We skied Sundog, Iron Springs, and Elbow. Fantastic conditions.
WBC had much better conditions than expected and certainly the best I’ve ever had for my first ski of the year. It was a very chilly -22C when I arrived this morning and already noticed that too people are social distance PARKING. Folks… just cos there’s snow on the ground and you can’t see the lines doesn’t suddenly mean parking 5’ apart. Please be considerate so more users get to share the enjoyment. By 1230 when I left the lot was full and people were driving back down the road looking for shoulder parking. There was a constant stream of soon-to-be-frustrated and disappointed drivers coming in as well. Hopefully it worked out?
I’m looking to hire an instructor to teach my friend and I how to skate ski. We’re hoping for a few lessons in Calgary. Any suggestions on who to reach out to?
Alpina BC2250 NNN-BC cross-country ski boot Size 38
Like new. Too big for me.
Looking for size 33 boots and size 160 classic skis for my kid. He grew right past his previous set over the summer.
Greatly prefer NNN but still interested in SNS. Happy to buy boots and skis separately or together.
We aren’t demanding skiers, just recreational.
Let me know what you have and what you’d like for it!
Great Divide! October 24, 2020 – started at the Lake O’Hara end! Not track set yet, but enough skiers have been that there is a great “track”! Some small sticks bushes still aren’t covered but amazing snow and conditions for this early in the season! Lots of skiers out, mostly Nordic as it wasn’t hard packed groomed for Skaters just yet!!
Thanks for the first-hand report. The trail report for Lake Louise now indicates the Great Divide has been groomed and trackset. -Bob
In search for skate skis, NNN bindings, 170-175cm; 65kg. Anyone any leads?
West Bragg Creek
As noted by lots of others, the conditions on the groomed ski trails was like mid-winter. In fact, there are plenty of times in the winter when a chinook or a snow drought means that conditions are not this good.
As is my habit, I mixed up the groomed snow skiing with a bit of a side trip on Tom Snow and West Meadow Horse Trail. https://photos.app.goo.gl/vdn8Ldzx4Tv2J9sSA
I discovered my love of cross country skiing in Kananaskis. Going to Mount shark area and skiing with my friends and our dogs on a sunny winter afternoon is my little slice of heaven. I remember going there for the first time and thinking… all of this for free!? It’s the greatest gift we can give Albertans and visitors to Alberta – groomed access to this winter wonderland for free. It’s such a low cost way to get people outdoors in the winter. It’s a gift to our health and wellness, and should be prioritized at times like these.
I skied the the Maple Ridge Golf Course tonight (Sat) and had an interesting experience. Snow conditions are pretty good for the golf course, not track set yet.
However the locks on the golf course parking lot were pinned shut instead of the usual chain that you just squeezed through. Not to be deterred we checked the other gates and the same thing, there were pinned or chained to tight to get in. It was clear other had skied there before.
As we were looking at the gates a grouchy neighbour said we couldn’t ski there and he would call the police. We ignored him. We checked around the fence eventually find a gap in the fence to go through.
We were skiing about 10 minutes when the cops shined their spotlight on us and said we were tresspresing. They told us that the owners of the gold course had us on camera and we were trespassing. After some discussion about the sign on the front of the gate that says “Skiers and Snowshoers please keep off greens and tee boxes” and how the city website says this is a place you can ski, and how there are no hours of operation posted and how squeezing through the fence was how you always got in the officers let’s us finish our lap. I’m pretty sure it was nosy neighbor and not the city that called the police but can’t be certain.
I looked at the city website to see if there were any hour limitations or changes to maple ridge and couldn’t find any. Did anything change with Maple Ridge this year? I am planning to call 311 tomorrow to find out what’s going on there but a heads up for anyone going out tomorrow to follow the tracks to find the gap in the fence.
“The final sentence on the notice doesn’t make sense to me. “The Moraine Lake road traffic gate will remain closed during the seasonal winter road closure.” I hope that’s a mistake.”
That just means that the Moraine Lake road will continue to be closed to vehicle traffic for the remainder of the winter season (after the improved gate is installed), as usual.
YES ! the 1A was track set Friday afternoon according to a friend that was there! it did not show up on the trail report even last night! parks is still very short of staff don’t think it’s changed since Covid came through.
The tracks were good enough and lot less people than at MLR. amazing turnout considering it was 19 at 11 am.
track goes all the way to the end past the great divide. A few plants showing but easy to avoid- I used vr 30 which didn’t work very well. But then it was my first time on wax skis
Was wondering if cross country ski conditions at Cascade Valley in Banff are posted anywhere?
West Bragg Creek-I went around Moose Loop and some of the core trails. Amazing conditions considering it’s only just past Christmas! Very soft from the very fresh tracksetting. I also went up Demi-Tel, which had a few inches of powder over the packed base and a skier-set track.
One of the great things about nordic skiing is that it can be done pretty much anywhere, with a relatively small amount of snow. With more than enough on the ground in Calgary, today seemed perfect for my usual xc ski tour from home in Silver Springs. And…it was!
Sat oct 24: WBC (moose packers).
Went up mountain road past the grooming (30 cm just off trail), up to the pump station and on to moose packers. The pipeline ROW didn’t seem to have enough hazard coverage. Some wet base in places, only affecting pole tips. 40-50 cm near the moose packer junction and down to 15 under heavier canopy. As a summer trail, the occasional trenched bits made for a cautious ski descent where thinner. Managed to not encounter any rocks. Scooted over to middle tom snow, heading north towards moose loop. 20-25 cm on the narrower south end, back to 35- 50 in more open areas. The short steep descent down the north end of the ridge was reasonable, but the creek crossing was not. Reversed course and took the horse trail east to the meadow and back to mountain road. Good day of quality trail breaking. Saw a hunter returning on the way in. Looks like he had come from the big south meadow looking for deer. Glad I had a bright hat on wandering around off the grooming.
Does life get better than this? Fantastic conditions amd beautiful sunshine at Bragg Creek today!
MORAINE LAKE ROAD TRACKSET – Oct 24
Parks tracksetter Andrew repaired all the damage and set awesome tracks this morning.
Details in the photo descriptions here:
No wonder the ski teams came… they like natural snow too!
Huge Smiles at WBC,
Jamie and I skied East Crystal, across to Logger’s Loop, down the fun West Crystal, Mountain View, Mountain Road, Mountain View West, along the south side of Moose Loop, Moose Connector and returned via West Crystal. The snow conditions are rather fantastic for this time of year, with the occasional rough spot. All we felt was gratitude for the early trails. We encountered plenty of big smiles. The temperature held steady around -14C with no wind. The trees are laden with snow.
Used a handful of times. 2 sets ……. boots are size 12k and size 2 with packages to fit (boots, skiis and poles). See Okotoks garage buy and sell.
ISO XC skis and boots for my 3 year old size 7T or 8T and my 5 year old size 13T or youth 1. Ideally I would like to get boots bindings and skis together but I have a pair of skis and bindings for the 5 year old and could use boots only if our bindings work with your boots.
The following trails have been re track set as of 10 am Saturday morning thanks to about 5-7cm of snow overnight:
Mountain Road, West Crystal and links, East Crystal, Loggers, Sundog, Mountian View, Moose connector and Hostel Meadow. All other trails had been track set the previous day with the exception of Telephone (roller packed only) and Elbow South (which we do not groom)
Conditions are lovely, but expect it to be soft and some hazards exist although they are few and far between.
Apparently (from a friend’s post) there were vehicle ruts on Moraine Lake road Friday from lodge staff trying to drive in. Hopefully those will fill in quickly.
Heard from a friend that the groomers arrived at Divide trail as they were finishing their ski Friday afternoon.
The “Live Grooming” links don’t seem to be activated yet this year?
Skied MLR this afternoon. Good coverage but skier set track only and the grooming was chewed up by a vehicle driven up to the lake today. Apparently the lodge owners needed to go in there. Hopefully this will not be a recurring issue…
The snow depth at Arethusa Cirque was 44 cm in the middle of the larch glades… a bit less in the open areas near tree line. That’s great for October, but its also about the same as at West Bragg Creek. The snow is quite supportive, but it is early season and rocks, deadfall and little creeks are not far below the surface.
I didn’t have time to go out of town, so settled for skiing through my local big park spaces this evening. It was lovely and quiet under the gentle white glow of a city night under snow.
Seven Rocky Mountain Ramblers explored some of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park today. We started from the Kananaskis Lookout (and Mt Roberta) trailhead on Hwy 40 (8.9 km south of the PLPP turnoff).
We skied across to Pocaterra and up the last bit of it, the full length of Tyrwhit to Elk Pass, down Hydroline to Lookout, up Lookout to the fire lookout and down to the Pocaterra/Whiskyjack junction, and back to the cars (18km).
The snow was amazingly good, a full foot of snow that was heavy enough to barely, if at all, hit any rocks. But light enough to make for easy trail breaking except for the steepest bits. We broke trail for almost all of Tyrwhit and most of the way up Lookout. Other sections have seen some traffic, largely snowshoes, but also some skiers a day or two ago. Hydroline had been travelled by snowmobile. There were a few obstacles: a couple of trees across the trail on Tyrwhit, several slightly tricky wet spot crossings also on Tyrwhit, and one spot (the low point of Lookout) where we took skis off to cross the creek. The temperature was pretty steady at around -12. We did have and used skins (mostly short kick-zone ones) for the steep climb up the south slope of Lookout.
Fabulous day at WBC, snow was perfect and no wind in the woods. Took Sundog, Loggers loop and west crystal – tracks were decent and trails were quiet. Best October ski ever!!
As others today, had a great early season ski at West Bragg Creek – East Crystal Line, Sun Dog, Loggers, Moose Connector, Mountain Road, Mountain Road West, West Crystal Line.
Trip reporters, please bear in mind that this may be too much excitement too early for those of us with bad hearts.
WBC – skied Sundog, Elbow, Irons Springs and East Crystal Line this morning. Landscape is gorgeous with all the snow on the trees, it was wonderful to be out skiing. Very quiet route, no skiers on Iron Springs, snow was soft, no difficulties at all, downhills were super fun.
Like many others here, I took advantage of (way) early season conditions and grooming at WBC today. Skied West Crystal line, Loggers, Sundog, and East Crystal. A few twigs sticking up through the track and a couple of iced over slush where you’d normally see ice flows, but otherwise ethereal. Still think I may be dreaming.
We returned to West Bragg this morning and skied West Crystal, Moose Connector, Moose Loop, Mountain Road and Mountainview. All trackset and in good early season shape, with a few minor thin, rough or wet spots. Fun skiing in soft snow, on a wintery day! The only issue was near the east end of Middle West Crystal- two easily crossed little bits of open water, and some ice. The new Moose loop bridge was much appreciated by Piper and Jo:
West Bragg Creek… In February?? I kept having to remind myself that it is still October as I enjoyed every second of West Crystal Line, East Crystal Line, Loggers, and a little bit of Mountain Road. What a treat to have tracks on natural snow…happy birthday to me! 🙂
Anyone know who grooms Bill Milne trail? K Village or ex-Prov parks?
West Crystal / Loggers / Elbow – Iron Springs short loop / West Sundog. Conditions are really good. Grooming on Elbow – Iron Springs was taking place this afternoon. Currently only the short loop is groomed. There are a few skier tracks south of there but that would be “back country” for now.
I had a lovely ski around Sundog and Loggers at West Bragg Creek this afternoon. Everything had been groomed and trackset, and there was fresh corduroy on Sundog as we finished up.
Earliest I’ve ever skies groomed trails and the snow was fantastic! No rocks or grass showing. Could have been February!
Some of the steep hills are still a little rough so take it slow. Lots of rollers, bumps, and uneven spots. Truly though it was quite spectacular for October.
If you’re going out tomorrow dress warm! It was very chilly and my legs were frozen after an hour.
WBC Groomers report:
The whole trail system has now been roller packed and the following trails have been track set: West Crystal and links, East Crystal, Sundog, Loggers, Mountain Rd., Mountain View, Mountain View West, and Moose Loop.
Snow is falling as I type and we hope to get Iron Springs, Elbow N and Iron Creek track set this afternoon.
Skiing should be great this weekend. As it is early season watch for hazards such as subsurface rocks, uneven tread, and slushy areas where water has percolated up through the snow.
Extra caution advised on Iron Creek where there is post holing and debris on the snow from equestrian traffic.
Thanks for the great early season grooming!! Thursdays conditions were great compared to Tuesday especially on Mountain Road leaving the parking area which was a miraculous improvement.
A little late submitting this, but better late than never, I never say. Anyhow, headed to Sandy McNabb yesterday for a lovely, first ski of the year, adventure. There were some tracks there (JeremyN’s, I think) but otherwise, no sign that other humans even exist. As Jeremy said, beautiful, serene, but I must say, somewhat treacherous. We began about 10:30 and stuck to Loggers Loop and Meadow Connector as opposed to tackling hills on opposite side of highway. Eyes were on the trail at all times as lots of debris that had just enough snow covering to make it difficult to see but you sure noticed if you hit it. A little more snow (today, I believe) will rectify the smaller stuff but you do have to be on your toes. Still, a great day which will be even better with more snow but a little maintenance would be wonderful and safer. Sandy is not groomed regularly during a good year and expect even less this year, but still a little treasure that is close to home.
West Bragg Creek
I arrived at West Bragg Creek with my ski touring gear, so although most of the trails had been roller-packed or track set, I opted to go on routes where I could break my own trail. Snowshoe Hare is the first snowshoe trail that the Greater Bragg Creek constructed, back in 2010. It’s a very popular snowshoe trail, but is also makes a nice “backcountry” ski tour… especially when there is lots of fresh snow. We started on east Snowshoe Hare, which took us to the far end of Hostel Meadow to the site of the old Youth Hostel that burned down in the early 1980’s. Just past there, we took Old Hostel Road down to Bragg Creek. An industrious beaver family has constructed a massive dam across the creek right where the old bridge used to be. We skied right across the dam and followed Old Hostel Road up to the east boundary of Kananaskis Country. After returning to Snowshoe Hare, we continued around to Fisher Link. This short 150m connector takes crosses Hostel Loop XC trail and connects to east Telephone. It’s intended to make it possible to do a short snowshoe loop, without travelling on Hostel. A short detour on Hostel took us back to Snowshoe Hare.
Snowshoe Hare had been roller-packed between the DemiTel and Hostel junction, but from there it was back to breaking trail back to the parking lot. Amazing conditions for October!
PLPP is my favourite place to ski. We skied there for years when the kids were small. They still talk about the echo where grandma did a face plant one Christmas. Now they choose to ski there with me, and come home to Calgary for the specific purpose to ski there with me. I’ve also skied there many times on my own, either for the pure enjoyment or to decompress from life. It’s a spectacularly beautiful place with fantastic trails and grooming. Winter would not be the same without it.
1A at LL today: no new grooming, wobbly skier set tracks, but great to be skiing here in October! A few thin spots with pavement threatening, but easy to avoid. Bit of crustiness below a few cms of loose snow. We’ve all seen the dog sleds here, but today for the first time saw … horses! It’s end of season for guided horse rides. Coming uphill (eastbound) guide and two customers turned off on Telemark, hoofprints didn’t hurt much. Air temp -10, my companions’ skin skis worked fine, as did a mix of Swix VR30 and Rode Multigrade on my waxables. Only 3 cars in parking lot at 10:30 am, a dozen when we left … that will change on the weekend.
I like the variety, accessibility and long season of sking in Kanananaskis: Ribbon Creek, Peter Lougheed and Mt Shark.
Ribbon Creek has three different areas: the trails close to the village with lots of loops possible, the calorie burning trails towards Skogan Pass and the scenic Bill Milne and Watridge Lake area. Ribbon Creek is close to Calgary for a quick spin around some trails or to spend a day at a more leisurely pace.
Peter Lougheed is amazing with plenty of rolling loops on the valley trails with access via Pocaterra, Visitors Centre, Boulton, William Watson Lodge and Elkwood. The tour over Elk Pass and Trywhitt is an all time favorite with endless possibilities to start, end and do side trips such as Blueberry Hill and Lookout. Also don’t forget the trails on the other side of the road that are great to do on their own or in combination with the valley trails: Lodgepole, Braille, Meadow and Sinclair. I first discovered the newly developed trails in Peter Lougheed in the mid to late 1970s and have been back many times every year since. I have many fond memories of bringing the kids out for Jackrabbit lessons here, many a short and long tours, helping out with the Cookie race and more recently skiing out of William Watson Lodge.
Mt Shark has the long season and lots of variety in the easy to hard loops plus it gives great access to day trips into Bryant Creek hut and the upper Spray. Again fond memories watching my kids race and helping out at Sharkfest where the final races of the year were once held.
These areas are a treasure for all to enjoy and continued grooming and track setting whether it be free or for a fee is something the Alberta Government needs to maintain for the health and well being of thousands of people to enjoy both now and well into the future.
Adding on the the other WBC reports, I skied Sundog-Elbow-Iron Springs this afternoon, finding good-very good ski conditions (especially for October!) on a consistent roller packed base, with decent skier tracks. No real issues anywhere, even on the hills. Two horses had been on the short section of Iron Springs between Iron Creek and the south end of Boundary Ridge, pitting it up a bit, but thankfully the riders made an obvious effort to stay to the sides. That in itself was a great way to kick off my ski season, but wait- it gets better! Back on Sundog- I found pristine new track setting which I followed around East and West Crystal, and Loggers. Superb, with the caveat that there are still a few short wet spots, and some minor inconsistencies in the grooming. But then-it’s only October! A few pix, below:
Fischer RC7 skate ski boots size 41- 75$
Fischer RC My Style skate ski boots new size 42- 100$
Salomon SLab Carbon classic SNS boots size 42- 60$
First snowshoe of the season today and intrigued by Ma Sid and Normand’s ski trips up there this past week. Found a pr of xc ski poles with yellow mini baskets which could be Normand’s and left them there with a note on them. From “back door” of Pocaterra to top of Lookout was 4.4 kms. Because L/O is shown on map as 5.2 kms. the distance climbing from the Tyrwhitt Junction was exactly 1.7 kms. It was a good workout and 269 metres elevation. Who do we meet swishing down Lookout making great turns on his AT skis, but Ma Sid. So great to be playing in the snow again. -12 to start -8 to finish. New hip still bothering me but monitoring it closely. GO Biden GO!
Red Earth – Anyone skied Red Earth creek yet or know about the conditions?
ARETHUSA CIRQUE – Oct 22
More snow than we expected this early in the season.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
No bear seen… but someone else seen!
Nice day at MLR today. There was a skiff of fresh snow over yesterday’s skier-set tracks. Some walkers walked right in the track for the first km before moving to the side, but the snow was solid enough that there wasn’t any damage. I skied on V40 and it worked well.
Wow! Thats awesome.
Trails are still listed as multi-use this early in the season aren’t they?
Just prepping for the inevitable discussion on what trails we are reserving for skiing and what trails we can fat bike and snowshoe on…
Any thoughts from the grooming staff on how they would like to see the trails shared?
West Bragg Creek: Mountain Road – Mountain View – West Crystal
Mountain Road was being groomed as I skied, Mountain View had some skier and a bit of horse tracks, West Crystal was superb! Very quiet today, winter wonderland, marred only by the freak accident in the parking lot. I do hope that horse is all right!
Oct 22, West Bragg Creek
Light snow and -9c this morning. Almost no wind. Soft slightly sticky/icy flakes.
Followed the grooming up Telephone and Snowshoe to Demi-Tel. Grooming ended at Long Distance intersection.
Good travel on vintage blue swix (circa 1995?). I had to enlarge the wax pocket quite a bit and my glide probably suffered for it. Still good travel.
I am glad I didn’t chirp at the hikers for post holing the lovely grooming on Snowshoe and Demi Tel. Apparently I was the one poaching.
Gorgeous day skiing without the wind. The boughs were heavily loaded and some wind will be dropping bombs.
Thu oct 22: Kananaskis fire lookout (via Hwy 40).
Base has improved along pocaterra and up the lookout with some colder temps, a bit more snow and with the skidoo tracks to the whiskey jack junction. Somebody left their CC ski poles at the parking lot (yellow baskets). Almost ran over them so stuffed them in the snow bank by the stop sign. 5 inches of new snow on the whiskey jack table. Thought I’d try the south side via tyrwhitt to elk pass and hydroline. Only made it about a km up tyrwhitt when encountering open water with rough terrain and a downed tree. Figured there would be more in the meadows so back I went and up the north side to the lookout. Better travel than last weekend, especially the down, and managed a few turns on the way (AT gear). Nice to run into helen and friend on the way down, as they headed up on snow shoes. Unfortunately no government approved hugs. A handfull of wet spots in the fresh snowshoe track, but way less than the weekend.
West Bragg is looking even better with groomers out today. East crystal, loggers ,west crystal all in fine rollered condition. Get it while you can!
I grew up learning to ski here at the age of 7 and I still love skiing here many times a year. I love the variety of trails that are all available for free, with such a wide range of terrain and always neatly trackset. Everyone on the trails is so kind and polite, and the views always make for a magical day. It truly would make our province less to lose this wonderful space.
I’d love to get out to Confederation Park golf course for a ski on the weekend. I know that there won’t be any grooming or track setting yet but is it still possible to get into the golf course to do that? Thanks.
Kananaskis provides fantastic skiing for everyone, every ability and every ambition, from family picnic adventures at Nakiska to elite athlete at PLPP all set in incredible scenery and amazing snow. Its the winter jewel of Alberta and would be a crime to Canadians and our tourist industry for it to disappear.
West Bragg Creek
Snow keeps falling at WBC… about 15 cm more in the past 24 hours. It seemed like there was enough snow coverage to try a bit of an unusual tour. Our loop started on the new Boundary Horse Trail and continued along on Iron Horse and Iron Vista trails (not on any map yet). We returned via Iron Creek, Iron Springs, Elbow, Sundog and Ranger Summit. Snow depth ranged from 25cm under thicker tree cover to 40cm in some sheltered glades. It looks like a good start to the season at West Bragg Creek!
Spectacularly serene Sandy McNabb —took the slow train, today touring the perimeter of the north and south trails in the network (plus a little bit of off trail meadow and bushwhacking near Death Valley and Price Camp Trails). Temp -5, snow squalls all day so was skiing through about 6-8inches with no base of course. Vr45 on 65mm heavy metal rockstar skis! Splendid, silent yet invigorating as given the nature of the season and plethora of hazards and deadfall one must have their wits and tight-wire balance on the ready. Be careful out their but DO enjoy mother nature’s splendour THIS and the coming season!
Healy pass – skied Sunshine to Healy pass this aft. Loads of snow especially after the Simpson pass junction. Had to break trail for the last 2-3 km. Gorgeous day out there!
Yesterday (Oct 20), near the end of my Telephone Loop circuit at West Bragg Creek, I walked down the steep hill on Moose Connector because of debris on the snow surface, along with a possibility of rocks hidden just under the snow surface. To my horror, another skier blasted down the hill at top speed, but fortunately came to no harm. (Perhaps he had previously climbed up the hill and was able to determine that there were no serious hazards.)
In any case, contacting a rock on XC skis at even a striding speed usually results in a head-first fall. At speed, it could cause serious injury, especially since I’ve yet to see a XC skier wearing a helmet! Take extra care when conditions are marginal, even for XC skiing.
I can’t wait to get out again this season. Isolation sucks.
Bowness Park, Calgary
There was just enough snow this afternoon for a quick tour of the west side of Bowness Park! Typically 2 – 5 cm, better on the forgiving grassy areas than gravel……
It was snowing when I left, so getting better 🙂
Great Divide Trail : 10:00
-7C starts two other cars in parking lot when we arrived and 10 when we left around noon. -3C
Fresh snow 2cm on crusty old rattley skier made tracks.
Skintec and waxless skis.
Tracks are getting wider and uneven with moisture creeping up through. Depending how far out from parking lot there are two tracks up to six track where folks are looking for a better base. Snow got better further out . Tracks became more uniform.
Don’t go expecting groomed corduroy It’s early season skiing. Some hardy folks tried to skate but had an attack of common sense and turned back after 500m
West Bragg Creek
Had a very enjoyable ski on the inner loops at WBC this morning. We skied Crystal Line East – Sundog – Loggers – Crystal Line West – Moose connector and back on Mountain Road. There is great coverage for this early in the season, no clicking poles, and we followed skier set tracks the whole way round.
I have a friend who’s planning to buy metal-edged light touring skis, primarily for use on trackset trails. Due to knee injuries, the desire for metal edges is to improve control on steeper downhill sections where the surface would be groomed but not trackset. Her shortlist is either the Rossignol BC 59 or BC 65, which have a maximum width of 59mm and 65mm respectively. All other things being equal, the BC 65 is more attractive because the recommended ski length is shorter than for the BC 59, which would make it easier to control on downhills. But the tracksetting specs I’ve found indicate that the bottom width of each ski track can be anywhere between 60 and 70mm. At the low end of this range the BC 65’s would definitely be too wide. But even if the track were 70mm wide, I’m thinking that on curves the outer tip and tail of the ski and the inner midpoint of the ski would rub against the side of the track.
What are people’s experience of using various width skis in the SkierBob domain? Does anyone (groomers in particular) know what the local tracksetting width(s) are?
Great Divide – October 20
Started at 1 pm, temp was around 0. Conditions started out good but deteriorated pretty quick. Lots of slushy/icy patches approx 1 km from the parking lot (telemark/Peyton junction). It was nice to be out for a short ski but I won’t be back until there is another significant snowfall and grooming.
How beautiful the mountains are in the snow ?? it gets us out to enjoy the outdoors all winter!
KANANASKIS FIRE LOOKOUT– October 20
First (short) ski day of the season and it was a great outing, despite a soft snow base. Started at the Backdoor Pocaterra entrance. Slow going on a previous ski trail, with soft snow and a wet/slushy bottom layer up to the turnoff for the north fire lookout trail. Snow thickness range as described by MaSid 3 days ago. Calm winds and -6 C at the lookout. Peaceful. Cloudy everywhere, but sunny at the lookout! Still no sign yet of traffic heading south. The ski back down to the north was great on light touring skis. Met 2 people heading up on snowshoes with their dog. Encountered Adam, driving a skidoo south on Pocaterra Trail, installing trail signs. He did not any info about the status for track setting this winter. Drove up to Highwood Pass to find out, from backcountry skiers ending there day, that the conditions were great.
Oct 20 West Bragg Creek Telephone Loop
Did a late afternoon ski on Telephone Loop (CCW) using fishscale light touring skis. +1C on arrival, -1C on departure, sunny. Had to walk a few short S and SW facing sections on the east side where the snow was very thin with bare spots. Also walked a few downhill sections since I didn’t want to risk hitting rocks at speed. 5-10 minutes of walking for the entire loop. Lots of boot and tire tracks from the parking lot to the junction with the north end of Hostel Loop, but just an old ski track beyond that (not counting the deer tracks). Beyond the Long Distance junction, the snowpack improved considerably with good coverage all the way to about the middle of the west side of the loop. Beyond that, the snow was thinner, but still better than it was on the east side. Once I reached the Reconnect junction the boot and tire tracks returned. Mountain Road had lots of vehicle tracks on it so I returned to the parking lot via the Snowy Owl snowshoe trail. Awesome day for my first ski of the season!
I like that I have an amazing outdoor hobby for myself and my family (my 5 and 3 year old included) to keep us active in the winter and enjoy our amazing landscape!!! Also I love the feeling of working hard up to fly all the way down!!
The cross-country ski trails in Kananaski are world-class and are a big part of what has drawn my husband and I back to the region from Ontario most years since we started visiting on nordic ski trips in 2011. The trails are amazingly well-maintained, the mountain vistas are wonderful, and everyone is so friendly. There are lots of funding models that the Alberta government could follow to keep this wonderful system in operation for local Albertan skiers and the many folks who keep returning to visit this Western Canadian gem. We were skiing at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in March on the last day of our trip and were shocked to hear the Alberta government announce the plan to stop grooming in Kananaskis as we drove back to Calgary to fly home. This year especially underlines the need to get outside and to be active to stay healthy. We wholeheartedly support Bob and this whole group of people who are passionate about skiing and the importance of maintaining access to these spaces.
GREAT DIVIDE – LAKE LOUISE – Oct. 20, 2020
Only one lonely car at the parking lot upon arrival at 11:30 am. Temperature minus 3 with about 8 cms of fresh snow. Very nice skiing on skier-set only tracks and a quick wax job with VR 40 did the trick. A few frozen/slushy sections in areas of sun exposure, but otherwise the trail was in good condition and improved the further you ventured out. With the new snow plugging up the middle section, skate skiing would have been a challenge. Didn’t see anyone attempting it.
Coverage is still very thin in a few spots, but will be significantly improved with the next grooming? Went towards the Lake O’Hara end for 90 minutes and returned. Probably 8 cars in parking lot upon return at 2:30 – temperature at 0.
A VERY pleasant day –AMAZING snow and ski for October 20! Very worthwhile.
HEALY PASS – Oct 20
Poor staff at Sunshine seemed so envious of us heading up on skis!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Nice cold crunchy snow… about minus 3 degrees.
I had a fine first day on classics on Crystal mountain trail and road out to the right turn.
There is 8 to 12 inches of snow to plow through but sadly beneath it there is quite a bit of slush which I suspect is preventing grooming. Did not hit a single rock in 2 hours of skiing.
Looks like the start of a great season at wbc
My favorite place to go to get away from it all in the winter. Stunning scenery, amazing conditions, peace and quiet. A much needed escape. Well worth the drive.
Cross country skiing in Kananaskis is special because there is no commercial privatized feel to it – it just feels like you are taking yourself, family, and friends to wilderness that is so close and convenient to Calgary /such an unique attraction that can be shared by all, young or old, poor or rich. I always want my out of town/province/country family and friends to experience it. We built very strong family bonds and memories on the groomed trails!
We went hiking on Sunday in West Bragg and couldn’t believe all the snow! We were sure disappointed that we didn’t have our skis!
We will definitely bring them next weekend!
Any idea if they will groom West Bragg before the weekend?
Looks like the bear closure for arethusa basin has ceased.
Having groomed trails has been so important. There were many years when I did not have the money for other winter pursuits and it was so vital for my peace of mind to be able to get out in nature to and recharge from a taxing routine. It is a absolutely essential for our mental and physical wellbeing.
Honestly, xc skiing in Kananaskis is the only way to get through our long Alberta winters. I love that you can drive one hour from Calgary and leave the stress behind.
It truly is mountain therapy.
I am soooooooo hopeful that something can happen to arrange the grooming on the trails, and am more than willing to pay for using it!
I have spent the last 3 years getting my whole family into cross-country skiing. Now my wife and 4 kids ranging from 13 down to 4 love it. When we are in the mountains we are at peace. Kananaskis is our favourite place. In the summer we rock climb and backpack and in the winter we ski. I would be heart broken not to be able to ski the wonderful kananaskis trails. Without these trails there will be six very sad skiers.
Bart and I ventured out for our first ski of the season – yay!!
The fresh snow was lovely, there were a few other skiers and a couple of hikers. The snow temp was about -2C, and some areas were starting to get slushy in the tracks, especially the exposed corner just below Paradise Creek.
We finished about 1:30 pm and there was no sign of any new grooming by then, but I think more cold temps and snow are needed for that?
It was beautiful anyway!
Totally un·prec·e·dent·ed pre-Halloween conditions!!!
Thanks for posting.
Burstall Pass Oct 19. We found remarkably good conditions at Burstall Pass today. About 30cm at the trailhead, good coverage the entire way up, including the headwall. Steady snow most of the day with stiff winds when out of the protection of the trees. I measured 58cm in the meadow below the pass and a reasonable 15cm base. We did a couple of laps on some mellow slopes near the top. Great conditions for October.
West Bragg Creek, Oct 19, 2020
I skied West Crystal Line and it was pretty good for this early in the season. There were not as many rocks as I thought. It appeared this trail had not been groomed. If it has been, it might have been a couple of days ago.
Not many skiers when I went (5:30pm) but a few fat bikers.
It felt good to be on skis again.
If government officials want a compelling reason to keep grooming PPLP trails, healthcare costs is one. I rarely use the healthcare system, hardly ever need to go to the doctor. Skiing in PPLP is great for physical and mental health! I’m convinced that getting out and skiing there weekly makes me healthier and thereby saves the government money.
The beauty of the area and the thrill of outdoor activities.
Creating family memories
Free FAMILY Fun and FITNESS
The chance to discover the beautiful province of Alberta in all its splendour.
I grabbed some rock skis headed for Little Elbow today – Oct 19. -8C on arrival. Skiing was marginal. Sections of good skiing alternated with sections where rocks were poking through. I walked many of the hills. I turned around a few km shy of mt. Romulus. On return a chinook touched down, knocking down snow off of tree branches and sending the temp above the freezing mark. By mid afternoon the trees were dripping and some of my tracks had turned to mud. Still, I spent most of the day on skis. I’ll take it.
World class trails with excellent grooming and amazing scenery. Ideal for both beginners and experienced skiers. A great winter outing, whether you ski fast or slow, for an hour or the whole day, with friends, family or alone.
The groomed xc trail network in Kananaskis should be treasured for generations to come rather than being consigned to the memory banks as something we sacrificed in 2020 – to allegedly save a few bucks. It’s beyond belief we are even talking about this during a pandemic – given so much else has been taken away from us.
As for memories, there are many over last twenty years living here, and many more for my wife who learned to ski here with her Dad. One specific thing sticks out from last winter – that was being soundly beaten down Whiskey Jack by my laughing 10-year old as we made our way back to the parking lot at dusk after an epic family ski over Elk Pass, on the same day as she and her 7 year old sister did their first Cookie Race. The end to grooming was announced the next day…..
Any idea as to expected grooming frequency at Morraine Lake Road or Great Divide? Do you think there will be further grooming this week before the weekend?
Every time I ski at Kananaskis I think of 2 things:
How wonderful that I can make use of my tax dollars by skiing on these amazing trails!
Why would I ever want to go anywhere else to take a XC ski vacation when a short drive from Calgary I can ski on some of the best trails in the world?
It would be a shame to lose the grooming on these trails. Most of us would be prepared to pay a reasonable user fee to keep them. During covid, people need every opportunity to get outside to exercise where transmission is minimized. There was a huge explosion in biking due to covid – maybe the same will happen to XC skiing. How bad would it be if the best location was no longer maintained?
I skied Great Divide on saturday, prior to the roller-packing; and was very surprised that I think I was the only one who did. Got there at noon, and there were no other tracks, other than a couple of non-fat bikers who made it all of 5m past the gate before giving up and walking their bikes back to Lake Louise Road.
Snow depths were about 15cm to 25cm, of fairly moist snow, with a bit of a slushy/icy layer at the bottom where the latent heat of the ground was still keeping things wet.
Had to break trail all the way out (on skinny track skis), and then came back following my own tracks with mixed results.
Outbound the snow was deep enough that even on the hill down to the arch / picnic tables I had to stride down (not even double-pole-able)
On the return trip, there were a few places where my own weight had packed things down to the slush layer, and a fair bit of time I was still compressing soft snow. I never broke through to bare ground though.
Overall, still phenomenal conditions for mid-october. I suspect that the roller-packing might have squished things all the way down to the slush layer, but if the week stays cold and we can get another storm or two, it should form a very nice base for the rest of the season.
What I love about skiing in Kananaskis is the great variety of trails for various skill levels and the phenomenal views. I visit Kananaskis Village, Peter Lougheed, and Mount Shark trails each season, though I am definitely a repeat visitor at the latter two. PLPP and Mount Shark are my favourites: Mount Shark for the fun hilly trails and Peter Lougheed for the trails up to and around Elk Pass… it is so beautiful and such a fun way to get outside during the long cold winter!
Often I stop in the village for food or a drink after skiing, and, if there is an occasion for it, enjoy an overnight stay along with my xc skiing!
Having groomed trails in Kananaskis is a wonderful benefit to the many skiers in the Calgary region and beyond. More than ever we need options for people to stay physically active, fit and healthy.
Given the current situation with Covid-19, we need groomed trails more than ever. This year I have never seen so many people using the trials in Kananaskis and Banff. Please continue grooming the trails.
We at have missed each other again!
Sounds about the same time as I was there too
Met that group of hikers later at higher elevation. They were working their way to the lake single file keeping right on the shoulder.
Good to hear. – Bob
We truly need as many ways to keep healthy and stay positive this winter, especially this winter. K-country ski trails are incredible. Please, please , please continue this grooming program.
West Bragg Creek
This afternoon, I did a tour on the north side of the West Bragg Creek parking lot. That first hill up East Telephone looked pretty sketchy, with a thin layer of compacted snow, but after that it got much better.
The Hostel Meadow Loop had been roller-packed, so I started out in that direction and toured around the east side of Hostel Loop. No roller packing there and there was a packed track made by hikers and snowshoers. Plenty of room to break an adjacent ski trail. East Telephone had seen a lot of hiking, snowshoeing, biking traffic, with a well packed track. We continued around Hostel Loop, breaking trail on untouched snow. At the junction with Snowshoe Hare, we noticed it had been roller-packed (even though it is not a ski trail), so we went uphill and then followed the roller packing to the top of DemiTel. We saw a number of hikers, trail runners, snowshoers and fat-bikers along the way… this is, after all, a multi-user trail. From the Long Distance Junction, we simply turned around and returned on DemiTel, Snowshoe Hare and Hostel Loop.
That’s fabulous, but Cypress Hills is not in Kananaskis.
Let me explain it to you. The fact that Alberta Parks has made the decision to continue grooming in one of their jurisdictions, bodes well for the Kananaskis situation. -Bob
For me, groomed ski trails in Kananaskis are irreplaceable. The setting, the amount and quality of snow for cross country skiing are unsurpassed. It is a magical experience.
As a family we ski Mount Shark, Peter Lougheed and Ribbon Creek. Kananaskis provides a healthy outdoor sport, relatively close to home, affordable for families. Track set trails are much easier for beginner skiers and for children who are learning to ski, are necessary for training, and are an integral part of cross country skiing.
GREAT DIVIDE is GROOMED – Oct 18
Not as much snow as on the MLR… but no hikers, and easy parking!
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Only skiers… happy skiers!
Thank you, Bob, for your reports and updates. It sure looks like a great day!
Lovely afternoon at WBC. I followed Alf’s advice and stuck to the forest – the snow was fine. Someone else was kind enough to break trail for me :). West Crystal Line – Loggers Loop – East Crystal Line. Some very minor areas with refrozen dirty slush, but generally very good for October 18.
Just returning from snowshoeing up to Sherbrooke lake. Not sure if this trail is actually open in winter as the parking lot was not plowed and there seemed to be a chain lying on the ground across the entrance to the parking lot. We did we see this area listed as a snowshoe route in Andrew Nugara’s beginner snowshoe book, and the Yoho trail report did not list this area as closed, so I’m not sure why the road wasn’t cleared. Luckily our all wheel drive tires got us to the parking lot and our snowshoes got us up to the lake. I’m starting to understand why I actually own these things! We were the only ones on the trail, and it didn’t look like anyone had been there Saturday. This was in sharp contrast to our “hike” up to the plains of the 6 glaciers tea house yesterday where we got passed by people in tennis shoes and Saskatchewan snow pants while we lugged our snowshoes on our backpacks. Sherbrooke lake was not frozen over and we enjoyed a nice lunch by the shore. We didn’t make it to the end of the lake. It took us about 2 hrs to get to the lake (all that breaking trail!!) and we enjoyed a quick one hr decent back to the car. The trail was easy to follow and we seemed to be following a rabbit who came up earlier in the morning.
I love the easy climb at Ribbon Creek with a beautiful view at the end. It is so quiet and when the tracks are set, I get lost in the flow of motion and stride. Surfing back to the parking lot, I take in the sound of wind, birdsong and the creek. I soak in the sights of the forest. Such a beautiful drive to enjoy with a couple of friends. We visit the village after for a beverage. It is a wonderful day trip.
The Great Divide was fantastic for October!! We arrived at the trailhead around 11am (pre-groomed) and skied for about an hour before the snowmobile passed us. It was very slow going until we had the fresh groomed track to ski on, and then it was lovely!! We were thankful for that grooming when we reached the big hill down to the Divide.
We skied all the way to the Ohara Parking lot and it’s been roller packed the whole way. My 11 year old and I skied the full distance one way and my husband parked the car at the other end, skiing back to meet us.
As our society seems to become more unhealthy and health care costs grow every year, I find it incredible that the ucp government would eliminate a healthy activity for Albertans. This article says it all:
Looking for a cross-country ski set-up. Need xc skis about 200 cm long, boots size 12 or 46 and poles 58 cm or adjustable in length. Phone or text 4033181680. Willing to pay in cash or via e transfer., and can pick them up.
Please give the government some encouragement by emailing your MLA. Now is the time to let them know how important skiing in our parks is for the well-being and mental health of Albertans.
Skiing in the Kananaskis forest is the best! Your body gets a great work out, your soul gets to soar with the mountain peaks and your imagination takes you bsck to this place until the next time you are there.
The vehicular bridges over Lost Horse Creek and Redearth Creek were removed about 40 years ago. Our crew sure had fun replacing them with the hiker/horse bridges. They and others still standing in the Banff backcountry have stood the test of time.
Does anyone have any info on the New Iron Creek Bridge in Alf’s photo? I’m especially interested in what it cost and how it was built and funded.
My local ski trails in Muskeg Creek Park in Athabasca has (had) 3 bridges all of which were severely damaged in flooding last spring to the extent that only one is now usable. The local municipality has gotten what I think are some ridiculous quotes for replacement; $500 000 per bridge and $65 000 per bridge for engineering fees alone. Our club doesn’t have that kind of money and the municipality isn’t offering anything. These bridges are crucial to our trails but they just need to cross a small creek. Bridges about the size of the New Iron Creek Bridge should be about right.
Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Blueberry hill! The grooming is always pristine and the effort is always worth the view at the end. And then the descent tests all the muscles again. It’s always a magical winter wonderland
I love taking my classes out to PLPP to learn to cross country. I love sharing in the kids successes when they hit the open spots on Wheeler for the first time spotting the mountains rimming Upper Kan Lake.
I love booking LowerLakes group with my classes in the winter and having the remoteness, and the true winter wilderness experience for them.
I broke trail on the north side of the WBC parking lot up the Hostel Loop and into the Hostel meadow. Deep snow with a sticky base that liked to adhere to ski bases! Beautiful laying the first tracks of the season in Bragg Creek. More snow forecast this week. Hot drinks and baking afterwards at the Heart of Bragg coffee shop .
West Bragg Creek
The snow conditions at West Bragg Creek are better for ski touring than they would appear on the webcams.
About 12-16 cm of new snow fell overnight, on a base that ranges from 0cm on very sun exposed spots to about 15 cm in sheltered areas. Total snow depth deepest on the shaded, north-aspect trails and more shallow on the sunny, south slopes.
On todays tour, we went across Chickadee Meadow and along West Crystal Line to Crystal Link #2, then up Middle Crystal Line to Loggers. We headed south on Elbow to the shortcut that links over to Iron Springs. There was lots of snow on the new wider and safer Iron Springs bridge. We followed Iron Springs to Sundog and then took the new Boundary Horse Trail back to the parking lot.
Take note that there has been construction vehicle traffic on Mountain Road, so expect to find ruts and exposed mud. It’s much better to stay on the good snow conditions on West Crystal Line.
I love the silence that comes from skiing in Kananaskis. When there’s a fresh snow it absorbs any sound and it’s the purest form of nature. I love that I can go to Peter Lougheed or Mt Shark and ski a little ways back in the trails and see no one for hours or see families out being active an healthy together.
Umm… “obey themselves”? I meant “behave themselves”. Type, PROOFREAD, send…
I’m with you on Tyrwhitt, Bob. As weird as it sounds, when the track on a certain slightly curvy downhill section heading south (?) to the hydroline is a bit icy, one can hip-steer (I just made that up) through it. It’s exhilarating; try it! Just swivel your hips to keep them square to the tracks, and your skis will obey themselves. As I said, sounds weird.
Fox Creek and Moraine sure are purdy, especially when there’s a fresh dump.
There’s a short stretch along the Kananaskis River I just discovered last year (Sinclair?) that was a nice surprise too. Done now.
I’m looking forward to getting on the skinny skis again!
I rediscovered cross country skiing in PLPP in 2013, and it was a game-changer to my well-being. I went from being depressed in winter to loving it. From couch-potato to a fit, active person. PLPP gave me a place to escape life’s stresses and replenish my spirit. I then put my kids on skis, and it became our place of choice to enjoy time outdoors together. It would be such a personal loss if this resource were lost to us.
I can think of ten reasons at least why I love PLPP:
1. The groomed trails are accessible to everyone, young and old, beginner or advanced.
2. It’s BEAUTIFUL there.
3. PLPP retains its snow long after many other parts of Kananaskis are ruined by Chinooks.
4. It’s not too far from Calgary.
5. The trails are designed to take you places – you’re not stuck accumulating kilometers by skiing in circles.
6. The trails are busy enough that I feel safe there, even when I ski alone.
7. Speaking to safety again, the groomers keep the trails in great shape, and this adds a layer of safety.
8. The trails are not so busy that it feels crowded (except during the Cookie Race :)).
9. Every skier that I meet on the trails is always smiling.
10. I often meet people visiting from outside the province or Canada who tell me what a gem we have here.
I’d add a further shout-out to the visitor center and warming hut, but due to Covd-19, they are unfortunately closed. It would be such a shame if they were closed permanently though. I love that there are always lots of people of all ages in the Centre, enjoying a hot chocolate and admiring the view – it’s a happy sort of place in winter.
Would I be willing to pay for all of this? You bet. It would be such a tragedy to lose this incredible resource for our well-being.
Fresh air. Rosy cheeks. Natural beauty. Sparkling snow. camaraderie. Rejuvenation!
this area is beautiful and used and loved by many every year. it s cruciall that everybody spends as much time as possible out doors this winter due to covid. this area MUST be groomed for x country this winter.
As a newbie to the sport last season I bought my own equipment literally the day before the announcement that the province was going to stop grooming the Kananaskis trails! Talk about gutted!! I was so excited that I would finally be able to head out to K country whenever I wanted, be it for the day, or just a couple of hours to practice what I learnt in my lesson and just enjoy our beautiful backyard. So important for our mental and physical health at any age but even more so as we try to cope with the new ‘normal’
Peter Lougheed is a winter wonderland with beautiful scenery of snow covered trees, mountains and perfect ski conditions. The amount of snow this area gets allows for some of the earliest season skiing as well as well into spring. The diverse terrain allows for so many abilities and our kids are now starting to enjoy the trails we’ve loved for years. This is our primary ski area for so many reasons and are obviously loved by so many!!
Canmore Nordic Centre
Frozen Thunder is pretty much ready, opens on Monday Oct. 19. Snow is all pushed out and cat was working on the firing line.
Hiked up the World Cup. Natural snow up high is 15-25cm deep in places, but unfortunately it insulates the warm wet ground. Skis alright with grass underneath, very poor in rocky areas. Could really use a roll, to help dry it out.
Sawmill Trails. Had fun skiing a few of the trails from the Sawmill parking lot today. About a foot of snow with the occasional rock and tricky creek crossing, otherwise fabulous conditions for mid October. Started with the south loop, surprised to find grizzly tracks on top of our ski tracks on the return. Made a lot of noise then continued north towards James Walker Creek. Narrow twisty descent back to the parking lot. A good trip if you’re looking for an adventure. Used Nordic backcountry skis.
Our Winnipeg-based cross country ski club has organized an annual trip to Alberta during the first week of March for over 30 years. 20 to 40 of us stay in Canmore for a week, and ski every day. Typically, we ski at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and/or Ribbon Creek on 3 of those days. It’s something we look forward to every year. We hope the club doesn’t have to consider an alternative trip this year if there’s no ski trail grooming in Kananaskis.
I love the trails in K Country, especially the PLPP trails – the combination of fabulous scenery, groomed trails with a backcountry feel to them that actually cover distance and reach destinations like hills, passes and viewpoints, a long winter season and easy access on good roads close to the city just can’t be beat anywhere. It would be a major loss not just to Alberta but to the entire western North American mountain system if these trails are gone (it certainly wouldn’t help to “improve the quality of life for Albertans” to eliminate them). If I’m going to live in a climate with long, snowy winters I want to take advantage of it!
Was there any word about the snow at WBC? We didn’t get much snow in Calgary. I was hoping for more.
Kananaskis – my favourite place to ski! The breath-taking beauty, many kilometers of trails, the peacefulness, and the impeccable grooming and tracksetting by experienced Alberta Parks employees always make for a great day. Since we live in Alberta, where the winters are long and cold, the best way to really ‘live’ in winter is to embrace your inner snowman/snowwoman and get out into the wilds! We are winter people! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Exercise, fresh air, peace and serenity!!
I learned to ski in PLPP, and its been my favorite ski area ever since. There is a wonderful variety of trails for both beginners and advanced skiers, and often long trail sections between junctions. Blueberry Hill is mesmerizing after a big snowfall. Even when the parking lots are full, the trails don’t feel crowded. The other ski areas in Kananaskis – the Village trails and Mt. Shark, are also exhilarating. I love the wildness and tranquility of skiing in all these areas, and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of a day on the trails. I’m looking forward to another winter season there.
Love the peacefulness, scenery and the swish-swish! A day xc skiing in kananaskis offers a mental refresh and a workout!
Easy drive from Calgary to some exceptional skiing terrain. Whether a beginner or a veteran skier there is lots to choose. The scenery is outstanding, the people you meet are wonderful and the occasional tracks or sighting of wildlife is exciting. This place is a treasure that should be enjoyed year round.
MORAINE LAKE ROAD IS GROOMED – Oct 17
Awesome conditions today.
Details available in the photo descriptions here:
Tracksetting is next!
Sat oct 17: Kananaskis fire lookout (via Hwy 40).
Almost 15 cm at the parking lot this morning. 30 cm at the whiskey jack junction and about 35-40 at the top. Some wet spots en route easily avoided. Tire ruts from an ATV up and down from beginning of storm? No base really of course. Just enough snow with AT gear to float above the ground. Pole bangs most of the way. No rocks encountered. Wouldn’t recommend it for skinny skis with the tire ruts and lack of base thwarting snow plowing. Straight lining with AT, thinking light thoughts. Moist shallow base on return down pocaterra. On the way in, scared a large hawk off a fresh rabbit catch. Nothing but tufts of fur 2 hrs later. Snowing lightly most of morning. Needs more cold temps and another storm to freshen it up. No tracks going south past lookout junction along thyrwitt.
X-country skiing is our family’s favourite recreational activity, and it is also our children’s main competitive sport. Kananaskis Country is a gem for all mountain activities and especially x-country skiing. We love all 3 main areas of Kananaskis Country for x-country skiing. Mt. Shark for it’s consistent snow and classic and skate trails, Ribbon Creek for it’s proximity to Calgary and Peter Lougheed for it’s great variety of classic trails. Also the Pocaterra Lodge at Peter Lougheed provincial park makes it possible to ski in the mountains with young children. Losing the trail maintenance at these areas would be a great loss to us and other Albertans. We love the fun, the affordability, wildness and tranquility of cross-country skiing.
Cross country skiing is how my family gets outside together over the winter. We can’t afford downhill skiing so cross country helps us to stay active and look forward to winter rather than sit around and complain about the cold. Kananaskis is our go to place to ski. When the kids were especially young, we would always ski in the Ribbon Creek area close to the lodge so that we could warm the kids up. We arranged regular lessons with Kananaskis Outfitters along with some other like minded families. Now, we are part of the Foothills Nordic Club and I , at the age of 40, participated for the very first time in a loppet (the Cookie Race at Pocaterra). Cross country skiing is our lifelong sport and will help my husband and I stay fit and active into our old age. The trails in kananaskis are world class (told to me by a Canadian Olympic team member who has skied all over the world) and should be maintained for generations to come. The cost of grooming is a drop in the bucket compared to the overall provincial budget, but the rewards are long lasting and significant! I hope that not only I, but my kids and their kids can continue to enjoy this amazing sport in such a beautiful locale. Thanks for reading.
I love to spend a day out in the mountains with my family. We love winter activities but we are not die hard backcountry enthusiasts (nor prepared).
Groomed trails allows us to enjoy the #1 reason we even live in Calgary, which is the mountain trails that make us feel connected to nature and connected to each other. I moved to Calgary 20 years ago. I met my husband in the mountain parks, and we have been bringing our kids to the mountains since they were born. Skiing lifts my moods, keeps my body healthy, and my family off video games too.
There is so much negativity in 2020, and we are all facing challenges of a different flavour, surely cross country ski maintenance is a small price to pay for such massive rewards. I don’t know if the healthcare system can manage the physical and mental repercussions, either.
When x-c skiing in K-country I love the fresh air and scenery – great views atop Blueberry Hill and Lookout. It is an exhilarating way to get your exercise and stay fit. We need those trails groomed.
How far did you ski?
Xc skiing in Kananaskis is something I look forward to every year. The peacefulness & magical beauty of the snow glistening on the trails, makes my ? sing.
This is an Albertan pastime that needs to be cherished & looked after. It is an activity that is affordable, that brings out people of all walks of life & results in happy, healthy Albertans. Let’s not lose sight on the forward thinking of Peter Lougheed & his legacy that he left Albertans to enjoy nature & the many activities associated with it. Please continue to groom & track set our trails for years to come.
Cross country skiing is my favourite activity, and I would be devastated if the trails were no longer groomed. It’s also an activity that improves both physical and mental health, and saves a fortune on health care costs. It’s very short sighted to think that stopping the grooming will save money.
Back door better today than yesterday. Still sticky once the ground water seeps into tracks. Great for mid October.
Have been enjoying these wonderful Kananaskis trails with my friends and children for 20 years. Just started bringing my grandchildren. Such a fun and healthy activity, mentally and physically. Can’t imagine not having access to these groomed trails.
I have made over 18 years of memories skiing in Kananaskis (since I first moved to Calgary!). What I love most is sharing all those memories with my children (ages 7 & 10) and creating new memories XC skiing together. We ski in Kananaskis so much every year and reflect on how lucky we are to have access to such amazing XC skiing so close to home.
Kananaskis has the best selection of trails for all abilities. Flat trails like Bill Milne, Meadow, Woolley and Amos plus trails with elevation, like Kovach, Elk Pass, Tyrwitt and Blueberry. Many other areas have limited low elevation trails for new XC skiers. Not the case with Kananaskis. Multiple parking lots means lots of entry points for skiers to keep distance and enjoy the trails. Groomed trails in Kananaskis are low avalanche risk. Keeping these trails groomed for skiers means inexperienced skiers won’t go exploring for terrain unknowingly in more high-risk areas.
My kids have enjoyed these trails every year of their lives, from being pulled in a pulk, to getting to put on their own skis and explore on their own steam. It is an affordable way to keep us active as a family and having fun all winter long. We love these trails.
I love teaching my kids to ski and being outdoors for some dedicated family time away from the city.
Blueberry Hill when grooming and track setting has been completed with good snow is a great run.
Awesome place to xc ski, and for families on a budget it is ideal for exercise, Vit D, and family time. Keeping Kananaskis xc trails groomed and user friendly, especially for less experienced folks, should be a no brainer. Only the small minded UCP types who think the $ is everything would disagree.
Our absolute favourite family activity! We are so fortunate to have access to such beautiful wilderness, practically in our backyard. The kids are a bit older now, and we can really enjoy some wonderful family adventures on the multitude of track set trails…everyone has so much fun that no one thinks of it as exercise! Time in the mountains, and on these trails, has had amazing benefits for our family – both physically and mentally. I can’t imagine an Alberta winter without cross country skiing!!
We love cross country skiing as a family. It’s an affordable sport that keeps us moving all winter. There’s much excitement in my house when we head out for the first few trips of the season.
We climb to fire lookouts on our skis and have a blast skiing down, we ski into backcountry lakes, and we get out for big tours where we get to enjoy the fresh air, frosty trees, snow covered bridges, and beautiful mountains towering over us.
We like downhill skiing too but there’s something more relaxed and natural about xc skiing. Less people, less crowded, no having to show up at an exact time for first lifts, and no packed day lodges.
This is the year we need xc skiing!! So many families are struggling financially and can’t afford expensive sports like downhill skiing. Xc skiing is perfect for physical distancing too and there are no high touch points. Just people spread out throughout the woods outside with space for kilometres in all directions. For mental health alone so many people need this sport this winter!
Cross Country Skiing in Kananaskis provides thousands with enjoyment and enhances their mental and physical health. Groomed trails and available warming facilities dramatically increase the safety for all and make cross country skiing accessible to a broader spectrum of the population. I would propose we transition to an all Kananaskis annual pass for teams, individuals and families that covers the Nordic Centre, Mount Shark, Ribbon Creek, and Peter Loughheed Provincial Park.
XC Skiing allows people to get out and enjoy the benefits of nature. It reenergized the soul. The second part is allowing people to get exercise to stay or become healthy so that they can deal with the stresses of every day life. Allowing users to pay to cover the costs is a far better answer than just stopping the grooming process.
It’s great! Beautiful way to get exercise.
When I get on my skis, put them in the track and set off, I forget that I am on my skis. I feel quiet, peace and the mountains all around me. XC skiing in Kananaskis is where I find my mental and physical health, and what helps me get through the 6 months of winter ever year. One of the main reasons I have chosen to live in Alberta is the amazing recreation opportunities we have here – xc skiing is a big part of this.
I discovered the joy of cross country skiing in my early 20’s as a complement to the running and cycling I did and haven’t looked back in the 30 years that have ensued. For me the trails in PLPP are a true treasure that offer diversity, beauty, connection with nature and with like minded people while being active. The benefits of physical activity and social connectedness are well documented, as are the benefits of unplugging and being in nature. In addition, facilities like William Watson Lodge and adjacent trails foster access for persons with disabilities and mobility challenges.
With a winter of covid restrictions ahead – xc skiing in PLPP is a beacon of hope that will enable many to stay mentally well.
For years I’ve thought that when I pass on, I would love to donate a bench to the park, or picnic table so people can pause to drink in the beauty, feel the gratitude and rest a bit with a thermos of tea, as I have done so many times.
I’m grateful that both my teens know skiing – and hope we can share more outings like our ski to Blueberry Hill on Family Day 2019….
We live pretty far away from nice, groomed ski trails, so we come up to Kananaskis area at least twice in the winter and stay in hotels, pay for food at restaurants etc, contributing to the local economy of Canmore and Kananaskis. Without these groomed runs, which are world-class, soothing to the soul, and a solace to surviving long, cold winters, we will be taking our winter vacations elsewhere. We do not like skiing at the Nordic Centre, it is too busy, trails are limited, and does not offer the same attraction that the Kananaskis trails do.
I know the mental and physical benefits of xc skiing. As I age and fight to keep healthy and out of old age homes, xc skiing during the long winters become so very important. I dont have the strength or skill for breaking my own trail. Having Kananaskis allows me a place close to Calgary, an affordable outing that gives me joy! I’d be lost without it. During COVID it is the one healthy thing I can do with friends and stay safe! Physical, social, mental health and benefits- this in turn helps all residence of Alberta.
Having PLPP and Kananaskis Village machine groomed for xc skiing isn’t just necessary for enjoyment but also required for safety. People will venture there regardless. The user evidence in Kananaskis this summer is proof that this winter will mimic. Not everyone that skis needs or can be in close quarters at the nordic centre as they cannot handle that kind of user pressure nor is that location in any way the same sort of experience. People should have the opportunity to safely recreate and have unanimously declared support for a user pay system to that end. Options exist that can be implemented facilitating safe trail use, supporting a diversity of entry/exit points whilst observing safe distancing protocol. Albertans: elected officials working with bureaucracy and citizens, must find an equitable solution to continue this in-demand service.
The health and well being of the society depends on the health and wellness of its individual. The ski trails in Kananaskis are treasured asset to the people of Alberta. The varied terrain, stunning beauty, well groomed trails are great for all skiers!
The XC skiing trails in Kananaskis are world-class, up there with the best in the world. There is no better way to get a dose of nature therapy, proven to positively improve one’s mental health. What an amazing area for peacefulness, beautiful scenery, disconnecting from media (social, TV, etc). Add in the fitness benefits and this is a region that is vital to protect and maintain. The maintenance and trail grooming pays for itself many times over – keeping the population that utilizes it healthy physically and mentally, decreasing utilization of the healthcare system.
It’s “snow” amazing!
As a senior, hoping to stay healthy, I enjoy the quiet glide of my skis on the snow. Fear of falling on the icy streets and breaking bones or getting a head injury in the winter curtails my ability to walk in the city in the colder months. Breathing the clean fresh air, feeling the wind in my face, getting covered in snow by a snow bomb from the evergreen trees and just the freedom of being outdoors are some of the joys of cross country skiing.
With the pandemic, I feel there will be a much increased demand on the ski trails this winter as new converts to the sport hit the trails in search of healthy ways to get entertainment and exercise.
It is an affordable sport for families, that benefits all ages. My parents introduced their seven children to cross country skiing back in the 1970s, and all of us children have introduced the sport to our children in turn. Dad and Mom would stay in Kananaskis every winter (coming from the Edmonton area), and go skiing with their grandkids. Lots of fun family memories have been made this way. Dad skied into his 80s, which shows what great exercise it is for seniors. When my kids were younger, I would take them out almost every weekend to ski in Kananaskis because of the superb trail system. Now that they are adults, they go on their own with their friends. It is such a gem in the provincial park system, and draws tourists to the Kananaskis area.
Alberta Parks are our treasured recreation spaces that provide escape and reprieve from the stresses of life. Skiing on groomed trails is truly the ultimate winter outdoor activity, for mind, body and soul. They are one of the key features that drew me out west from Ontario as a young adult looking for richer outdoor rec experiences!
The feeling of cool wind on my face, the challenge of each different trail and the bringing together of unique people. Who wouldn’t want to spend time in a place that brings so much positive energy to everyone. I hope to get out more this winter, and I will do as much as I can to make sure that is a possibility. 🙂 There is nothing better than the freedom of a glide…!
In Kananaskis I love to ski
Afterwards enjoying my cookies and tea
Great for the heart great for the soul
Ski a short way or reach a new goal
Scenery is exquisite, beauty to behold
Variety of trails so incredible it never gets old
Trails up and down with views everchanging
Skiing big loops in Kananaskis is amazing
Striding and gliding and feeling so free
Kananaskis is a sacred place for you and for me
Skiing in the PLPP is hard to beat: the beautiful scenery, the varied terrain, and space enough to find solitude even on the weekends. My all-time favourite is the Whiskeyjack-Tyrwhitt-Elk Pass-Fox Creek loop.
I like the terrain and vast selection of areas form beginner to most challenging cross country ski trails. I also love it’s proximity to Canmore.
The quiet solace of being outside amidst mountains, trees and other like minded people. The beauty of the outdoors, the heart rate surge, and the post ski invigorating feeling. We are so lucky to live near the mountains and should take advantage of exploring them and appreciating them. Thanks for all you do Skier Bob to bring the community together.
Cross-country skiing is what I do in the winter to get outside and exercise and that’s critical to my mental health and I know this is true for so many others. This winter is going to be tough on all of our meant health with COVID. Having groomed trails and access to an affordable outdoor winter sport such as cross-country skiing seems like a no-brainer when it comes to efficient ways to use government funds.
Kananaskis is my favourite place to cross-country ski. The groomers do a professional job that I have not experienced elsewhere. Skiing is essential to my well-being in winter. I suffer from seasonal affective disorder and being able to get out into beauty and solitude and move my body vigorously on safe trails is the activity that gets me through the winter.
Cross country skiing is such a peaceful, healthy, and active way to enjoy the winter, great for all ages and many abilities, especially when groomed. The equipment can be reasonably affordable and makes for a great way to enjoy the mountains with family, friends, and on your own. We are so lucky to live in a place with the opportunity to enjoy such a diverse set of trails and activities in our area, and I hope it stays that way!
Skiing to Elk Pass from the parking lot via Fox Creek, Elk Pass trail and then on Tyrwitt and Pocaterra trails is a healthy, visual treat. Hopefully Pocaterra Hut and the Information Centre will be open to allow for warming up before continuing on your ski day. Mt. Shark and Kananaskis Village area trails are also in the same category. With any luck we will be able to continue skiing in what has become one of the best cross country ski areas in Canada!
Skiing in Kananaskis, particularly around PLPP is my favourite winter activity! It is beautiful and it is great for exercise and for mental health. I love that so many of the trails are family friendly! With so many families who are experiencing financial stress due to the pandemic, it is great that we have so many amazing trails and a lodge to bring picnic lunches to. This will help families get out, stay active and help their mental well-being. Please don’t take this away!
Skiing in Kananaskis Country is the best part of living in Calgary, and without it I would probably want to move away. The beautifully groomed trails provide excellent exercise in a safe setting, which is particularly important for seniors and families.
There is often good snow, especially in PLPP, and the variety of trails is fantastic. There is something for everyone!
I truly feel alive when cross-country skiing, and hope to be able to continue for many years.
Ribbon Creek and Mt Shark are two of my most favourite places to ski and some of the few that are accessible for Skijoring. The cessation of grooming will limit my skiing to very infrequent instead of the multiple time’s a week that I normally ski. I am hoping that a change in decision comes about so that we will still have a cross country season at these 2 amazing areas! Yet I understand it costs money to do, so why wasn’t a user pass system evaluated? I don’t downhill ski anymore for physical reasons but when I did i knew that it meant paying for a pass, whether it be daily or seasonal. I was always surprised that we didn’t have to do similar for cross country skiing. It makes sense to me that it would go a long way towards operational costs.
Hey there. I think my Omni Trek xcountry skis are ka put. They are starting to split at top. I was going to try gorilla glue. Has anyone tried gluing it back together? So i am 5 10 , 160 pounds and need a new pair of skis, about 185 to 200 cm. Classical type. I just need skies as i am going to put my previous bindngs on that were compatible with my current boots. Live close to Peters drive in. Thanks.
Last year, for my first ever time on the Bill Milne trails, I really appreciated the excellent track setting that made gliding along in the crisp air and glorious sunshine a truly wonderful experience.
Last year, and over the years I have also skied on and appreciated the amazing network of groomed trails in the Kananaskis: Ribbon Creek, Elk Pass, Pocaterra etc.
Cross country skiing has been an important part of my winter fitness program and I hope to continue that in the coming years.
Skiing in Kananaskis has given winter purpose for me. It is the most beautiful area and has a variety of terrain for all levels. I learned on these trails when the W. Bragg Creek system was too difficult for me. Now that I’m more skillful, it remains my favourite destination due to the scenery and the services provided by the visitor centre.
Skiing in Kananaskis is my favorite winter activity and it gets me through the long winter season. It’s good for mental and physical health! It is an activity that my family and I can do together and we go almost every weekend because we look forward to it so much.
Kananaskis is my favorite place to ski because it is close to Calgary, but once you get on the trails you hardly see another soul. It’s so vast, beautiful, wild and has good snow.
The trails at PLPP have provided these senior ladies with a wonderful and safe place to ski. We love the scenery, the quiet and the variety of trails that provide a constant challenge but are well within our abilities. Having these facilities within an easily driveable distance from home makes our weekly trip there something we all look forward to.