Trip Reports – Apr, May 2014

This winter, the trip reports were viewed over 55,000 times. Skiers are anxious to know what you found on your skiing adventure.

Let’s help each other have a great ski trip by sharing information on trail conditions. If you have photos, upload them to a photo-sharing site such as Flickr or Picasa, and leave a link with your comment.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

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  1. PLANNING FOR NEXT YEAR
    Far from snow and wishing I could have joined Steve, it is time to plan for next year.
    Check out this link to see why our future should include backcountry skiing (and make sure you watch the Vimeo video at the bottom):
    http://blog.mec.ca/2014/04/25/backcountry-skiing-with-kids/?utm_source=Alpine+Club+of+Canada&utm_campaign=1ff2eba025-Newsnet_May_7_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f101f176b6-1ff2eba025-11572213
    You may recognize these local residents!

  2. Good ski days can be elusive in May, and timing is everything, so I was feeling a bit cheated when work got in the way of joining Alf on Thursday last, for the French-Haig-Robertson circuit. Well, the weather gods smiled on Sunday, giving 3 of us a pretty much ideal day to do the F-H-R, on what was likely the final day of my 2013-2014 ski season. Travel conditions were excellent, and fresh powder up high made for some fine skiing on the Robertson Glacier. Despite there being quite a few cars at Burstall TH in the morning, we seemed to be the only ones on the loop, with a pair of skiers having gained the high col via the Robertson, and descending the same way. The snowpack remained supportive through the day despite the hot sun, even low down on the Burstall-Roberston flats where we found the skinny tracks of a couple of xc skiers who had been out extending their season. With the warm forecast, the good conditions won’t last for long though, even though the snow coverage on the tour was deeper than normal for this time of year.
    I’ll let the pix tell the rest-
    https://picasaweb.google.com/steveandjoriggs/FrenchHaigRobertsonLoopMay112014#slideshow/6012546429376275986

    • Oh my goodness. Another perfect day at Mud Lake!
      Great photos and trip description.
      I’m curious, after studying Alf’s photos and map.
      Did you follow his trail up the moraines, where it appears that they went over the prominent shoulder on the left side? Somehow from your photos, it looks like you might have taken a more central route.
      I love the photo of the ski tracks on the Robertson. It could be an ad for the Singer sewing maching company 🙂

      • Henry, you are correct- we took the less direct right hand option which gets on the ice sooner and takes what seems a gentler, but a bit longer line. Left hand route up the trough between Mt French and the moraine has been known to require a short “skis off” walk across rocks to get onto the glacier, but that wouldn’t be an issue this May, with the good snow coverage. Either option has some exposure to hazard from above, off the slopes of the adjacent mountains, but in both cases one can stay on the moraine side of the route to minimize that.
        It’s a case of six of one, a half dozen of the other.

  3. Before the Nakiska resort was carved out of Mt. Allan in the mid 1980’s, the Ribbon Creek Ski Trail network extended across the slopes that now include most of the Silver Chair runs. Now that the lifts have stopped running for the season, you can re-claim those old trails as a relatively gentle way to tour way up onto the ski runs. There was lots of snow at Nakiska on Saturday, with heavy powder above the Silver Chair and and soft, smooth (nearly corn) snow on the runs leading down to the day lodge.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/NakiskaMay102014?authkey=Gv1sRgCKnV5t685ID65wE

  4. This may be hard to believe, but I spent the day SKIING at West Bragg Creek today. I was actually there yesterday, scouting some trail work projects that the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association will be doing this summer to improve the XC ski trails. However, there was way too much snow for hiking. So I went back there today and enjoyed a sunny tour of many of the trails. By the time I got back, it was +10C, so this won’t last. Still, it was fun to ski these trails in May!

  5. Lake O’Hara Fire Road

    We skied Lake O’Hara today during an intense snowfall. The snowfall tapered off as we approached the Lake and was so strong on our return that it covered our uphill tracks. The trail has a solid base and avoiding the tracks on return was prefered as the new snow was clumping readily
    and in the tracks, the snow could gather.

  6. re: Bear Spray
    Note the following link to CNC and their newly mandated policy regarding bear spray during CNC events (May – Oct only). I would suggest this as a general guideline for ALL activities in the Rockies. That said… have they gone too far or are they leading by example?
    Very few of us have ever knowingly had a close encounter with a bear or cougar (or moose). Were we lucky? Or should we all become like boy scouts and “Be Prepared”?

    • Probably a bit of “catch-all” and liability (the root of all evil?), but like you say, the closest I’ve been to a seeing a bear in the back country was across the valley. Probably been closer without knowing it. I’ve been camping/hiking in the BC for almost 30 years. Coming around a bend in the trail and seeing a Moose 6 feet away was the most I’ve come to a heart attack flight or fight feeling in those years. That being said, and my daughter starting to join us, as well as the dog sometimes, I’ve gone the way of the spray.

      • I’ve been ten feet from a mother grizzly with two cubs and lived to tell the tell the tale and bluff charged numerous times. These happened before I carried bearspray . Now I always carry it in the backcountry! Even when I ski in the spring.

        • Let me rephrase that. Charged by bears twice, a big horn sheep once, moose, elk and other creatures on other occasions. All of those encounters it would have been more comforting to have had bearspray!

          • Wow, lucky you! 😉
            I wonder if you would have used the bear spray?
            We bought some last summer but haven’t taken the wrapping off yet…..

            P.S. We slogged through tons of fresh, wet snow around the old Blue loop in the Smith-Dorrien yesterday. No sign of old blue/yellow signs now, just snowshoe trail signs everywhere. They must have cleaned up the first bit out of the parking lot, too, the last time we were there was early September, and what a mess!!!!

          • You win Pete!

      • James- The Griz Track'n Skier

        As an old backpacker since the mid 1970’s, I have been around a lot of bears over the years. I have tracked them out skiing every month of the year in the eastern slopes. I have had them feeding around my tent for 3 days at a time. I have run into plenty of Sows with cubs as close as 10 feet without any threats. I enjoy being around them.

        It is a good idea to take bear awareness courses if you hang out in the bush much. These courses will help anyone better enjoy bear encounters and the courses greatly reduce any stress you may have about the great beasts.

        I believe recognizing bear facial expressions is very important. They have facial expressions similar to humans. If they look pissed off, they probably are- be bear smart.

        Bears sense fear, like dogs, and sense good humans. If you are a bear hater and are in favor of destroying their habitat, they will sense that. I derived this conclusion from camping near hunters. The hunter’s camps get torn apart by bears where mine is always left alone. Coincidence maybe, or maybe not! This has happened too many times with me.

        Out of respect, I do not go into bear country in certain conditions. By watching the weather carefully over a long period, I can predict the bear food supplies. For example, if an area has a very cold fall with little or no snow, I would predict that the blue berry crop would be poor the following fall as blueberries require snow cover for winter kill protection. With a low berry supply, I will stay out of certain areas.

        Most of the big “nasty” bears in our parks where culled in the 1970’s. This has resulted in a genetic change. The bears are smaller and generally (not always) more timid than they use to be. This genetic change, I believe, has reduced the amount of maulings and left more mellow bears roaming the hills.

        If you fear bears, you should not go into the bush without a bear awareness course. Carry bear protection spray if you are worried. The spray works better than a gun at stopping a bear. You have nothing to fear if you respect the bears and are bear awareness trained. Make way for a better environment to enjoy the bush and bears. Protect the bears any way you can. They will appreciate you more.

        Keep on spring skiing. I recommend Skoki/ Deception Pass in Banff now with the cool below normal temperatures. Park at the Fish Creek parking lot and ski up the Lake Louise ski area ski out to the trail just above the back side Temple Lodge (about 150 meters). It is deluxe with outstanding scenery.

        • A couple of springs ago I had an encounter with banffs infamous bear 122 (the one who sleeps on elk carcasses and eats black bears for appetizers) on the Brewster creek trail near sundance lodge. Needless to say this 700 lb+ bear scared the living @%# out of me (easily the most massive animal I’ve ever seen up close! You know when his footprint is longer then my size 9 tele boot too!) but for some reason wasn’t aggressive. He just bounded off into the bush. After a rather long and unpleasant 12 km ski back to my car ( not knowing whether or not he was following me was the worst part!), I realized with some terror on my return that the bear had followed me all the way from my near my car to sundance lodge earlier in the day. Interesting thing though near the lodge I had noticed the massive trenches he had dug in the snow, and where he had climbed uphill and bum slid his way back down in a few spots. Maybe he had just eaten an elk and was having some fun when I saw him and the smelly human wasn’t on the desert menu! Who knows? I hope I never see him again though!

        • Great report and words of wisdom James. Good discussion and comments everyone!
          I had quite a few bear experiences quite a number of years ago when I was doing the treeplanting thing throughout BC. Hard to “be calm” and not smell like fear (or the stuff in your undies) when you’re scared poop-less!!

          That said, I figure they’re similar to dogs in many ways. As such acting predictably, slowly and with care in a non-threatening manner always helps. Think calmly and be rational – there’s always time after the encounter to think of the what-ifs and then you can have your private hyperventilation freakout in the safety of your vehicle or cabin!! 🙂

  7. It is winter again in the Spray/Smith-Dorrien Valley. 20cm of fresh, dry snow on top of a supportive base means that this is a great time to tour trails like Rummel Lake, Chester Lake, Burstall Pass or the Sawmill trail network. I was at Chester Lake today dew were the only skiers. Nobody had been to Rummel or the Sawmill trails. I bet that the PLPP trails are great for touring now too.
    Temperatures ranged between -3 and -4 C all day and it snowed off and on all day.

  8. We received 20 cm of snow overnight in Canmore. It’s -3 and the snow is not melting. The forecast is calling for an additional 10 – 15 cm with a high of +1.

  9. Like Chuck, I too had been on the B.C. coast for a week, and while the flowers and greenery were a nice change, I had been concerned that my ski season might be over. As it turned out though, April 29 was one of the best backcountry days of the year!
    https://picasaweb.google.com/steveandjoriggs/CrowfootPeak2014#slideshow/6008427983570392818

  10. Fresh snow for the mountains this weekend.

    Per the Weather Network, a large dump of snow is predicted for PLPP and Lake Louise starting Friday and going into Tuesday. Temperatures are from plus 2C to -6 C. If you go, at least for PLPP, you will be breaking trail.

  11. Update from Canmore Nordic Centre:

    It’s that time of year again – when we quickly transition from Winter to Summer here at the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park. Due to recent melting, public trail grooming will wrap up here at the CNC today(Apr 30). Starting tomorrow, May 1st, we will no longer be charging for trail use for the remainder of the 2013-2014 winter season. Summer single track trails are still snow covered and wet in many areas so please stay off these until dry. Our trail reports will be updated as our summer trails get on stream.

  12. Great Divide and Tramline Trails

    Spectacular conditions on a bright Alberta sunny day up at Lake Louise.The fresh snow from the previous day had not beem trackset but had been skier set. It had however froze overnite so that established klister conditons. Both waxless and klister performed well with the klister being a liitle faster on the downhill. The waxless key gave a sure grip and the skiing was a little bit easier as far as kick goes. We set up the Great Divide trail with high expectations that the noise from the waxless skis would keep away the bear that had been seen on the trail. No bear was seen so we can only surmise. The trip down the Tramline was icing on the cake with a good solid base. Definitely t-shirt conditions and a great way to spend a few hours in the Great Outdoors.

  13. Canmore Nordic Centre Tues 29 Apr 14. The few km which are still being trackset are quite skiable – there are a couple bare patches which are easily skirted, debris is not a significant issue, universal klister and fluoro glider are working really well at least until late a.m. A staff member predicted that grooming will cease within the next couple of days as the snow will be too thin for the machines to work, but skiing will remain open for those wanting a last fix, as appears to be the case with a number of national team skiers judging from the uniforms on the trails this a.m.

    The season is (sob) over for this addict, but what a beauty last day. Only 6 months to go!

  14. Pipestone Trails:

    We had a surprisingly pleasant tour around the outside loop at Pipestone today. The week-old grooming was holding up reasonably well under several inches of fresh snow, which started off rather sticky and ended up a bit slushy in the hot sun! We did not set any speed records……..

  15. The Banff trail report indicates that Moraine Lake road is now closed to skiers. I imagine they’ll be plowing it for the hordes of tourists who will soon be coming by vehicle.

    The Banff trail loop and a few other trails were groomed this morning(Saturday) at the Canmore Nordic centre.

    • NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      There was so much snow there too 🙁

      We’ll be skiing there again in six-and-a-half months. I await with great anticipation… 🙂 -Bob

  16. Lake Louise:

    Surprised and delighted to see how much grooming was done there last weekend, we drove out to Lake Louise today. Although Pipestone trails had been groomed, we thought that might be a bit dicey and headed the other way. At first, we planned to ski the Great Divide – Peyto – Upper Telemark system, but a bear warning caused us to change plans and ski Fairview instead. We skied clockwise for the first time in many years, up Moraine Lake Road, then Fairview and down Tramline. The grooming had held up quite well, and though a little hard and bumpy in places the trails were in very good shape. In open areas, the snow was still very white, but under trees there were a few rather dirty patches. All in all, we had a most enjoyable ski, especially for this late date. Clockwise seemed like a good choice today!

  17. One last trip to PLPP to take advantage of Jody’s hard work in track setting. Charlie and I decided to get an early start ( really early for us). On the trail at Boulton just after 8:30 A.M with a temperature of 0 and softly falling snow. We skied the whole way in the fresh tracks that were covered in a few cms of fresh snow. Beautiful day and a great ski but slow going. We had to work going down hills too. More yummy dinner for us tonight. We skied up Moraine, Fox, Elk pass, then Trywitt, down Pocaterra and back by Lynx and Amos. Goodbye ski season, hello biking and hiking .

  18. Last day in paradise – until next November!

    Thanks to Jody’s immaculate grooming – and Richard’s steadfast enthusiasm – we were blessed with a final swish up Pocaterra to the Lookout – and a breathtaking ski back to the hut by noon.

    What a season – amazing – and a hearty thanks to Bob and Jody for great reports and efforts to make our skiing better than ever. Five months on the trails – a year to remember.

  19. Good skating this morning at the Canmore Nordic Centre with almost all trails having been groomed after yesterday’s rain. Early is best – things were getting really soft by 11ish. Universal klister appeared to be working early for classic, and waxless later.

    Rumour has it that tonight or tomorrow night may be the last of the grooming at CNC – apparently they will be starting to clear snow from the Banff Trail on Wednesday ready for summer events.

  20. Ribbon Creek Surprise

    After the big dump yesterday, there was still lots of snow at Ribbon Creek today, though of the wet, heavy kind. I parked at the Ribbon Creek parking lot, skied up Hidden trail, across Nakiska where the snow was rather dirty, to Ruthie’s and then up the Skogan Pass trail a bit. No screaming today. Coming down, I decided to follow the Skogan Pass trail below Nakiska, following some old tracks, but a few hundred metres along, the trail was closed, having been seriously excavated. Some large, loud construction equipment was below the trail, in the trees. With a sigh, I turned around and returned the way I had come.
    Driving home, I stopped in at the Barrier Information Centre, but they had no information about construction affecting the Skogan Pass trail. Apparently no one has to tell them anything 😛
    Given the forecast, there may not be anyone trying to ski there again anyway!

  21. Dawn Mt. in Golden has surprising coverage with no bare spots and we are grooming this, our last weekend for the Easter Bunny. Six months of grooming starting November 7 has broken all our records for groomed days, membership and skier visits. Thanks to Erwin, our head groomer, our sponsors and all the supporting skiers for a wonderful winter!
    After Easter, no grooming or trail maintenance. Skiers with pets are welcome. See you next year!

  22. PLPP -Elkwood Parking Lot

    Once again, well set tracks at Elkwood Parking lot. No sign of the fresh snow spoken about during the weekend and promised for today – until we were on our way home on the #40. Temperature read plus 4C and the snow was crystalized and wet so we went with universal klister which worked well.We did the Wheeler – Amos loop. We looked over at Lynx and saw no grooming.

  23. Was sorely tempted to follow Chuck’s “back-country footprint” into Shadow Lake today but had a cake to deliver for Groomer John via his wife, Heather who works at Wilson’s. She advised that Pipestone was somewhat crunchy the day prior so we opted for Great Divide and skied to the O’Hara end. While a bear has been around, we saw no sign of him. The groomed track was very respectable for mid April and for skate skiers the corduroy was pristine from 11 am onwards, once it softened. No sticking no clumping; just stunning scenery and a slow relaxing pace. My hip flexors are weary as are my arms, but very enjoyable Spring skiing. No other skiers on the trail. Skate skiers take note! We drove home via the 1-A from Castle Junction and no snow on the road so time to get the bike tires pumped.

  24. SHADOW LAKE
    Today was a great day to ski to Shadow Lake.
    The longer days of spring gives you so much more time… and light.
    We have never seen the Redearth Warden Cabin bathed in sunlight before!
    It had been -12 overnight with fresh snow… so conditions were FANTASTIC.
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2736452&code=0e922d0fd069459d516067658cd6bd6e
    Many more days to enjoy… and you don’t have to get up in the dark!

  25. PLPP was fantastic, blue bird weather and fresh grooming on whiskey jack and packers. The grooming stopped at the lookout tyrwhitt junction, but it was too pretty a day to not have a run through the meadows. There was about 4 inches of fresh wet snow on tyrwhitt, but it was pretty well packed by the early risers. I went over the top to the picnic table and turned around. Glide on my waxless skis through the fresh snow was poor, had to pole most of the way down, but it gave me more time to enjoy the scenery. I think it was just as easy heading up the south side as it was going down. Packers was great, the iceflow midway down wasn’t too bad to ski over, but by the end of the day it was getting pretty slushy. Temps were -3 at 11 am and +4 at 3pm.

  26. Skied PLPP immaculate groomers today (thanks Jody), Pocaterra, Packers, Wiskey loop, perfect conditions for waxless. Wet snow by mid afternoon and crisp in the shade made for an interesting descent back down Pocaterra on a beautiful last ski day for me. Awesome blog Bob, catch you next season!

  27. We tried Great Divide (Lake Louise) yesterday around noon. The racks were covered with some fresh show. We were on waxless, but I started to stick quite a bit on the way back, particularly in the shaded areas. How can you stick on waxless that much? — I finished the run with a nice faceplant. Same trail sported a grizzly bear on Friday, but we just saw some lovely dog sleds on Saturday. Overall, not a bad last-snow attempt.

  28. Moraine Lake Rd. yesterday, 1pm -3pm. Temperatures were hovering around zero with what looked to be fresh snow in the last 24 hours, and tracks that were looking quite glazed. A few chats about wax theories on the way to the trail seemed to indicate people were largely frustrated, and the few skaters had decided it was too soft and were headed elsewhere. Zero skis were perfect, if clumping a bit up higher when the temperature dropped.. others seemed to be having luck with waxless, etc.

    Still a ton of snow up there, with more falling during the ski yesterday. Things should hold for a while yet!

  29. There was a surprising amount of snow at the south end of the Peter Lougheed Park trails on Saturday. The good news, is that the snow was dry and cold and the daytime temperatures stayed below -2C under mostly cloudy skies. The bad news is that the new snow completely covered all the wonderful track setting of the previous few days. I went to Elk Pass/Blueberry Hill and got there late enough that one set of tracks had been set by skiers ahead of us. Thanks to Brian Keating and Dee for breaking the trail all the way to the Blueberry Hill viewpoint!
    The whole area looked like a Christmas card, with lots of snow in the trees and a fresh blanket of white on on the trails. I used a thin layer of SWIX VR45, which worked perfectly all day. It was great to have cold snow glide again in mid-April! The Fox Creek trail was absolutely delicious at the end of the day!
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/BlueberryHillApr122014?authkey=Gv1sRgCJy3mPS6pv_cmwE&gsessionid=2NiubTi1vc6C8FbtOCHsPg

  30. One last glorious day at PLPP! Driving out to Pocaterra, we encountered lots of fresh snow and a code yellow Hwy. 40. The freshly track set trails were covered with 10 cm. of snow, but for the most part we followed a few early skiers, so did not have to do much trail breaking. It was -7C and quite cloudy and windy when we started. Come-along required trail breaking, but with waxless skis, we had no trouble at all. We then skied Lynx to Amos and returned, back to Pocaterra going south, so as to stay on the newest track setting. By now, more skiers were out and about, as was the sunshine. We skied to Packers and returned via Pocaterra all the way to the hut (temp. -2C). To finish off the day, and the ski season, we built a big snowman by Pocaterra hut. A toast to our best ski season ever!

  31. The fat lady has not yet sung! West Bragg Creek:

    Driving out there was a bit hairy, to say the least, but it was worth it for the big dump of fresh powder last night. Arriving at 10 am, I couldn’t believe I had the whole south side trail system to myself at first. I skied up the east side of Sundog, including the logging road, then took Loggers loop, turning left when I reached Crystal Line to do the west loop around and back. I broke trail the entire distance through deep powder, which was lovely if rather slow. The only problems were two times I sank into deep slush, getting all iced up and having to stop and do a major scrape, and the west end of Crystal Line was surprisingly wet and sticky. Those problems can both be avoided by avoiding the logging road and the west end of Crystal Line!
    I met no one on the trail, but did see a few tracks of hikers walking dogs and a couple of fat tire tracks. It was very quiet this morning! The roads had melted quite a bit by 1 pm.

  32. CNC still grooming. PB was heading out of stadium when we arrived at 10 am Skied lite loop out to end of mine scar up Meadowview and came out on Olympic. Classic on waxless. Skaters were happy as well. Snow is standing up quite well. Spent more time yakking with the regulars than skiing. Pretty quiet otherwise.

  33. The Peter Lougheed Park grooming report indicated that Hydroline-Lookout and Tyrwitt trails had been groomed on April 9, so that’s where I headed today. There was about 2cm of overnight snow on the grooming, so I opted to use a 25cm chunk of climbing skin with my waxable skis. I went up Elk Pass trail to Hydroline, then up Lookout. I took the skins off for the downhill bits and put them back on for the climb to the Fire Lookout. I put the skins away at the fire lookout and skied down to Tyrwitt. From there, I used Swix VR45 and waxed for the lovely tour up to Elk Pass. Along the way, I caught up to Steve and Jo Riggs, who had come up from Boulton via Whiskey Jack.
    Tyrwhitt had between 4 – 6 cm of new snow on yesterdays grooming. After Elk Pass, there was 10-12cm of new snow on the Elk Pass trail… some of it dry and fluffy, but mostly wet and sticky in the sunny areas.
    Fox Creek-Moraine-Boulton had been track set today (April 10), so I took Fox Creek back to the Elk Pass trailhead. Jo got there via the regular Elk Pass hill and Steve skied to Boulton trailhead via Moraine.
    The narrow trails were a bit soft and sticky, but still fun. They should be much faster, if it freezes up overnight!
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/PLPPElkPassApr102014?authkey=Gv1sRgCNK80aaZ2cyaYA&gsessionid=myClrPvXoHlDwQT-0VU7dA#
    Check the grooming reports. I’m guessing there may be more grooming before the weekend. Lots of snow out there and very good skiing… especially on the most recent grooming!

    • You picked a wonderful day for being in PLPP. Wish I was there with you.

      • When we were at the Information Centre during the last week of March we were quoted that track setting will be on until Good Friday and I believe that this is customary for the Park. The Information Centre is closed until May 15 per my recollection of the notice on the Centre’s door. Skiing during this time of year is problematic and this is supported by the trip reports. It is difficult to knock off the kilometers like when the weather is cold. One has to be satisfied with warm ambient temperatures and warm sun to sunbathe in along with the awesome views that Alberta blue skies allow. This time of year can mean t-shirts and easy on the shorts as the melted snow can be quite abrasive.There is likely only a few weeks left for sking and this competes unevenly with gardening, cleaning up around the house and spiffing up the hiking boots.

    • Indeed, Elk Pass, Hydroline, Patterson and Blueberry Hill were groomed overnight. It should be a great day to ski to Blueberry Hill or Elk Pass!

      • Hey Alf, ever since my first steps up to Blueberry Hill, I’ve always heard Fats Domino’s lyrics “I found my thrill, on Blueberry Hill”.

        Have fun!

  34. Winter Wonderland in PLPP (sort of)

    The thermometer at Pocaterra read +1 C at 11 am today, and we decided to ski from the visitor centre (now closed). Yesterday’s grooming was covered with several centimetres of fresh, wet, very sticky snow, of the sort which is ideal for making snowballs, snowmen, etc. We took Meadow south, and did the loop around Woolley – Amos – Wheeler, returning on Meadow. Breaking trail all the way to Wheeler it was very slow going, but lovely to be out on such a pretty day with the trees so finely decorated. At Wheeler we were delighted to find a couple of skiers had laid down some tracks and we could finally glide along.
    At first it was snowing lightly, but then the sun came out and the trees started lobbing snow bombs at us. They scored a couple of hits, but no serious injuries 😉

    We also are “allergic” to Klister, and more or less managed with Swix purple underfoot today, but icing was definitely an issue on hills.
    I am absolutely thrilled that grooming continues on these trails!!

  35. Moraine Lake road – was at Lake Louise today so had to give it a try. Started at 10am, +5C, and the trail was still quite icy. Got good grip with waxless skis, though skis scraping on ice was very noisy, as was the poling. After an hour and about 6.5km, things were getting soft and slow so we turned around. The trip back was slow in the sunny areas, and almost scary fast in the few shadowed places. +8C at the end. A good ski for this time of year.

  36. Pristine machine set tracks greeted us at Elkwood parking lot today. We did Wheeler to Amos and then back to Wheeler and took the lower trail to cut over to Bolton and then return with lunch at one of the picnic tables along Wheeler.. It was klister snow and at least one couple were moving along quite well on waxless skis. We kept our sights low and quit about 1:30 and drove down to Pocaterra to meet up with some snowshoers that had accompanied us on the way in. A long chat at one of the picnic tables there and it was time to go home. A little exercise, lots of sun and a Great Outdoor Experience in the Kananaskis!

  37. Thanks. I will let you know where we go and how it was. I hear that near Watson Lodge in K-country that there is still tons of snow as of last weekend.

  38. Has anyone skied near Minnewanka in the last few days? What about the trails at Pipestone? We are looking for one more weekend and would appreciate advice.

    • Lake Louise has been cooler than Banff, so Pipestone will be better than anything near Minnewanka.
      My advice would be to go higher, when the avalanche risk clears.

  39. What’s that sound? … it might be the “opera” lady warming up for this years XC skiing swan song!! Have to head further out and up to find acceptable snow now.

    Had quite the interesting ski on the weekend from Banff Springs… 10km on skate skiis on collapsing snow through highly variable conditions – from hard pack to slush and mush to heavy wet “powder” snow. Just amazing views and I still enjoyed it. Then figured why not so got out the classics and liberally applied my newly-bought klister (first time ever!) and life was pretty good again. Had a good few km’s… then figured why not and changed to the waxless classics and wondered why I hadn’t started on them – great glide and phenomenal grip. Probably faster than the skate skis! Definitely enjoyed the overall outing although my upper body still still sore a couple days later.

    Thanks all for this ski seasons reports, stories, and anecdotes. I’m enjoying everyones input and Bob’s continued support/encouragement again this year. Now to find me some Skintecs for next season…

  40. Yesterday April 6 the Mt. Shark trails were in pristine condition for a spectacular experience. Great grooming and no risk of a face plant due to frozen vs. mushy patches on the downslopes. Get out there before it’s gone. But avoid my catastrophic mistake of parking right beside the outhouse. Gag!

  41. Here’s an update from Peter who was skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre today:

    The Nordic Centre hosted the season ending Alberta Youth XC Championships this weekend. Sunday morning, the kids were classic skiing up the slopes by the stadium with apparent ease, despite air temp around +3. Coach GS said recipe was “universal klister, covered with a certain hard wax for speed”. Which hard wax? I could tell you, but then coach GS would have to kill me. Didn’t want to klister, so decided to try my luck with Swix VR50 (0 -4 old snow). Coach just laughed. He was right. Skied the Banff Trail Loop with minimal grip, double poling all the way. No problem, I’ll just switch to skates, as I don’t (yet) have the choice of zero or Skintec skis. Reached into ski bag, and found… another pair of classic skis, left in bag from last weekend’s ski at PLPP. Now what? No choice but to “hail Mary” with Swix VR60 (+1..-2). Double poled away from stadium as before. Once in shade, started getting grip, and it got better the higher I climbed. Not great, but good enough for pleasant skiing rest of afternoon…and a very good upper body workout.

    There’s still plenty of snow depth on most trails, so good skiing is possible for another week or two with the right equipment/wax, at least until mid-day. Skating will be just fine. Peter N

    • Come on now, Peter, klister is not so bad! Just think of it as a really strange hand moisturizer!

    • Great story Peter. I had to look up ‘kick wax over klister’. There’s lots of info out there for the curious. It would be interesting to hear from any other ‘SkierBobskis’ using this waxing technique.

  42. Ventured out to PLPP on Sat April 5, mid afternoon. At +6C, the snow was a bit wet and icy in some parts, but on waxless skies we were OK. Slow but steady. We really enjoyed the new grooming on Pocaterra and Come Along trails. This makes a huge difference when the snow is less than ideal. The area was quiet, no strong winds, nice Spring weather. We were greeted by a young moose by the parking lot on the way back. Great Spring skiing close to Calgary.

  43. Thanks to Heather’s report of yesterday and the most recent reports of grooming and cooler temps, we were lured to Moraine Lake Road today. 2 young groomers greeted us on the trail when we started skiing at 10am (snow between minus 2 to minus 3). We also got their fresh grooming on descending after lunch, but had to contend with intermittent mini blizzards. Skate skiers will have a skating lane to die for this afternoon and tomorrow. VR45 worked well until I started sticking a bit heading up Fairview (also groomed today) and a leisurely somewhat slow ski down Tramline back to the car. If that is my last ski of the season, (and I sure hope not) it was superb.

  44. Hi Bob, just want to let everyone know that the Lake Louise trails still have some great skiing on them. We were on the upper Telemark, Great Divide and lower Telemark trails today (10 am – 2pm) and most of it was on recently track set trails. It stayed below freezing while there and for the most part it was great skiing. The only iffy parts were skiing from Deer Lodge down to the Great Divide on a mix of sun crust and powder in the shade. I was able to ski on VR blue the entire time. Most enjoyable.

  45. A Mostly Sunny Day in Paradise, or….. no mud at south end of PLPP!!

    Parked at Boulton, skied up Whiskey Jack. Going up, there were skier tracks on the right side, but on the left were a pair of tire tracks, looked like a small bobcat type of machine drove up as far as the new (?) bridge, fairly near the top, I can’t imagine why…… Conditions mostly good, with a few icy sections, might not be so much fun skiing down.
    Then on to freshly groomed Tyrwhitt, which was quite lovely with terrific mountain views. At the top, we toyed with the notion of skiing down the Elk Pass trail, but found it completely mashed up by hikers. Seriously, what’s with that?? So we skied down Hydroline, also freshly groomed, met a young couple with a pulk, and another lady. It was slow skiing into the wind until we turned the corner and had a rather exciting descent to the Elk Pass trail!
    From there we took Fox Creek and Moraine back, both skier set track in fairly deep snow, mostly very pleasant, like an old-fashioned trek through the woods, with the odd slightly icy section, and a snow flurry for inspiration.
    All in all, a lovely day out on quiet trails with mostly good conditions, though it is obviously more like spring than winter here. Lots of snow!!

  46. Don’t have time to drive out to West Bragg- anyone know if Confed or Shaganappi golf courses are good for a few kms of xc?

  47. Has anyone skied Cascade Valley or Red Earth Creek in the past week and if so what shape was it in?
    Thanks

  48. PLPP on April Fool’s Day – a tale of fantastic and, well, no so fantastic. Started at 10am (-5C) and skied the new grooming of Wheeler, Amos, Woolley and Meadow. Superb, with excellent grip (V45) and glide. Cloudy and calm, felt like a great January day. Stopped for lunch at Noon (-2C, felt warmer), as the sun came out. Back on the trails, we started skiing Sunday nights grooming (Lodgepole), which had about 2cm of new snow overtop. This quickly became very sticky, so we switched to waxless skis which were fine in the shadows but not much help in the sun. We finished with a bit more on Wheeler – now a bit slow but reasonable due to moderate usage. +2C at 2pm. Should have started earlier…..

  49. “Get it While It’s Cold” – Conditions at CNC were excellent today – a blue wax day. The snow and tracks were as good or better than at any time during the entire winter. There was not trash in the tracks, and the tracks were firm and clean! It also looked as though the skating lanes were quite nice. So, if you can get out before the meltdown, expect some nice conditions for the end of the season.

  50. PARADISE VALLEY
    What a spectacular valley for a spring ski. Today we took light cross country skis, but we’ll be back with light touring skis to go a little further before the season is over.
    Here’s your preview:
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2720449&code=d2995110eb53db57c59b0f4dd5fbfc51

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