Trip Reports – April, May 2018

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    Season Finale on the cross country groomed course at Sunshine Village Resort.
    We joined TEAM RAD (Realistic Athlete Development team) and our other local ski clubs to finish off the season with a fun ski on the 3 km groomed loop at Sunshine on the weekend. There were about 40 of us, and some of us continued on up to Quartz Ridge… what a hoot!
    Looking forward to our next ski season!

  2. May Skiing
    OK, this is not from the Rockies, but it IS skiing. I enjoyed an extended long weekend of skiing at Monashee Chalet, near Blue River BC. We were able to drive about 7 km up an access road, then it was alternating hiking and skiing for 2 km, as dictated by snow patches. Finally, we were able to ski the last 5 km to the chalet. The objective for the weekend was to provision the chalet with enough fire wood for the next 12 months and we accomplished that. But every day included skiing to various peaks, passes, lakes and meadows.
    Interestingly, the snowpack was about 2 metres less than it was on the same dates last year. It was a good snow season, but the snow is melting away very fast this spring (as everyone in the Okanagan knows).

  3. Also not a ski report but perhaps this is a good place for summer activities too.
    Carole, Jamie and I biked up to Highwood Pass from the south today. Somewhat amazingly, the road was clear pretty much to the top (from the north as well). There is a small section (about 100 m) right at the pass that is not ride-able but will be in the next day or so. Another section at the official Highwood Pass parking lot has a small section (about 10 m) that one would need to walk over. Otherwise it was bare and dry.

  4. Not a ski report:
    Was at the Canmore Nordic centre the last few days for a course. If you haven’t been there before (like me) and happen to be in the neighbourhood, some really interesting display material in the main lodge with a full record of equipment through the ages, trophies, 1988 memorabilia, etc. Good stuff to peruse for a ski nut on a rainy day. And the mountain biking is free!

  5. Skiing in May? Skied Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill on May 12th!!!!! There is tonnes on snow still on the ski trails and in the trees. The snow is dirty but I had no troubles on my waxless. We never had to take our skiis off to divert around bare or icy spots spots even though the air temperature was +16. Within a couple of days the top of the first hill (1 km from the Elk Pass parking lot) will be snow deprived and muddy. After the 1.6 km mark the snow is 2, 3, 4 feet deep on the trail and will be around for a while. The higher you get the deeper the snow on the trail is. Enjoy one last ski.

  6. Couldn’t resist……. had a fun little tour of the Stevens Pass resort area Thursday morning (Washington State) in light drizzle. Base area snow disgusting, but great improvement with elevation. I plodded uphill for over an hour, then schussed down for about 10 minutes, so much fun 🙂

  7. Sheep Valley Cycle
    OK, this isn’t skiing… but this opportunity is only going to last about another week. The Sheep Valley Road is closed west of Sandy McNabb until May 15. So, there is a short window when the road is snow free and car free. Last weekend there was still too much snow, but now it is perfect for cycling. In fact the road is more perfect than it ever has been, as it was completely re-paved last fall.

  8. PLPP-Lookout
    It was a bit of an unsettled day, with a mix of sun, thick bands of clouds and a few light rain showers. I skied up Whiskey Jack to Lookout and conditions were still pretty good, despite the lack of a good freeze overnight.

  9. Thu may 3: junction hill.
    Went for an exploratory hike to see where snow is at in the southern front ranges. Patches of snow up the east ridge but no prolonged sections, spikes weren’t necessary. The CCW loop down the west ridge still loaded with snow in the trees and the saddle, so back the way I came. Plenty of snow on holy cross and at the divide of course. Lots of deer traffic along the ridge, so no surprise at finding a few hitchhiking ticks!

    • With all elk and deer wintering and calving in this area there are always lots of ticks. The ticks are probably the principal food for the high number of blue grouse we find on the east ridge.

  10. PLPP-Lookout/Elk Pass
    I just had to get out for another XC ski day at Peter Lougheed Park, to take advantage of the recent grooming and amazing conditions. There was a pretty good freeze overnight, and it was just +1C as we pulled into the Elk Pass parking lot. The surface snow was sparkling with frost and just soft enough to provide grip for the uphill, with very fast glide. The surface snow softened a bit more by the time we hit the top of the first big climb and the downhill was very fast… but controllable. We opted to take the steep climb up the north end of Hydroline, in order to get into the sunny, open part of the trail. Then we decided to head over to Lookout by going up the south side of that trail. No sign of any other skiers, since it was last groomed. By lunch, the temperature had warmed to +8C, so the downhill on the north side was soft enough to allow for turns to scrub off excess speed. No tracks on Pocaterra or Tyrwhitt. As we headed up Tyrwhitt, we eventually came across tracks from a few people who had come part-way from Elk Pass and returned. The ski back from Elk Pass was faster than a few days ago, but still much slower than usual.
    There is plenty of snow, so these conditions will last for a while yet. If there is an overnight freeze, expect very hard/fast conditions in the morning… becoming softer and slower as the day heats up. If there is no overnight freeze, it will just be slow and mushy all day.

  11. Smith-Dorrien

    I had to cancel my tour around Mud Lake due to too much open water/ice on the lake!
    It was a lovely morning for a very pleasant tour of Hogarth Lakes, though. I enjoyed a solid crust before 10 am, and after that it was still very supportive, just getting soft and a bit slow. So beautiful out there!
    Lots of interesting tracks, too, wish I had one of our wildlife experts to identify them.

  12. GREAT DIVIDE / 1A – May 2

    With continued overnight freezing temperatures, the ski season seems far from over!
    Knowing that a large male bear is hanging around the Great Divide, we started at the west trailhead (Lake O’Hara side) and travelled with the prevailing west wind so that he would be warned by our scent… and we both carried bear spray!
    Sure enough, he was busy:!ApWd3WZ3ra9Nhy94Qlt8YXqLFBbQ
    While we did not actually see him, we are sure that he was watching us.
    The hard packed trail will provide good travel conditions for a while yet. Solid pole plants all day, and no isothermic snow yet!

  13. PLPP-Elk Pass
    In all the years that I have been skiing, I don’t recall a season where there was fresh grooming and track setting at the end of April. But the trails at the south end of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park were indeed groomed over the weekend. In fact there was 2-5cm of new snow on top of the grooming, so conditions looked amazing. It got to +8C by mid-day, so the snow was wet and a bit slow, but pretty consistent. The twin-skins worked well in these conditions.
    I went up to Elk Pass via Patterson and Hydroline and did the side trip to Blueberry Hill on the way back. A bunch of snowshoers & backcountry skiers had come back from Elk Lakes Cabin via Hydroline, but had stayed out of the track-setting. Only a few skiers had been on the main Elk Pass trail, so it was a treat to see it in it’s pristine glory.
    If you want to try XC skiing in May, these trails should be in fine shape for a while. There was 120cm of snow at Elk Pass. It will be some time before that all disappears!

    • It’s too bad that the aroma of the forest mixed with a hint of sunscreen, the feel of sun on the face, and trickle of sweat running down the back can’t be conveyed via a blog posting.

      I’m curious about the winter ski trails that are not marked on the PLPP summer trails map, as an example, the Blueberry Hill trail.
      Are they off limits to hikers and bikers in summer, or just not maintained and are overgrown?

      • Many of the trails which are not official summer trails tend to be very swampy and impassable in the summer. I’ve never attempted Blueberry Hill in the summer but I know Tyrwhitt is mostly swamp in addition to being a good place for grizzly bears.

        • I did Blueberry Hill on my bike a couple summers ago (hope I wasn’t breaking any rules!). It was a bit soft in spots but totally worth the trip!

          • Thanks Bob and Darrell for the info.

            • I should mention that the short section of the Elk Pass trail between Patterson and Blueberry Hill was quite swampy. There was a detour around it where I had to carry my bike but other than that, it wasn’t too bad.

  14. With such great conditions close to home this year, I didn’t make it down to Peter Lougheed very often so when I saw that Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill had been trackset overnight, I just had to go! It was snowing lightly and about +2 when I got to the parking lot and it continued snowing all afternoon. Elk Pass looked like it had been well-traveled but I only saw a group of snowshoers and one other skier. The track up Blueberry Hill was pretty much snowed back in by the time I got there and it looked like only one or 2 others had gone all the way to the top. Very peaceful up there with the snow coming down and not even a breath of wind. It was a perfect day for the skin skis with excellent grip and pretty good glide in spite of the abundance of fresh, wet snow. A great way to end the season!

  15. ENGADINE MEADOWS – April 28

    An early start is all it takes to go for a grand skate ski here:!ApWd3WZ3ra9NhyN1uYqGpyLpRN0R

  16. Amazed at all the good reports. I will unretire my skis. Glad to hear skier bob is recovering well. What would we do without our bob.

  17. Robin April 27, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Canmore Nordic Centre – Grooming still happening. Lots of keen skiers out. Skating and classic. Zero skis and red klister worked well. A friend had success with Black Magic?? Olympic,Meadow,Rundle,Meadow and Banff – also looked like Grey Wolf was groomed. Gotta be good to have good grooming in late April! Check the grooming report ~~ 8:30 am or so for the trails that have been groomed.


  18. LAKE O’HARA – April 27

    Parks staff had snowmobiled up to Lake O’Hara yesterday (to clear the roof of their cabin) so the trail was firm and clean.
    Lots of bear tracks on the way, but hard to photograph as the crust was solid.
    Unbelievable that I had the lake to myself, on such a spectacular day:!ApWd3WZ3ra9NhxpDDuPCVUCfzFFz
    On my return, just past the campground, I met a hiker going up to O’Hara. It was 2:30 pm and he was only wearing light hiking shoes and a small day pack. He was tired, and asked me if I knew what time the bus would be going back down! I was stunned, and pointed to the road with all the snow saying no bus could get up here. He pointed to the fresh snowmobile track, assuming that was from a bus. I had to explain that it was from a snowmobile. At least, the days are long now!

    • Jean-Francois Richy

      It could be an excellent April Fools’ Day joke…..Do you where the hiker was coming from, to get mixed up between a bus and snowmobile tracks?

      • He was from Korea… and just wanted to go to the lake. While he had not done any research at an info centre, he had seen the signs about bus times at the trailhead, and simply assumed that the fresh snowmobile tracks were those of a tracked bus.
        I suppose you believe what you want to believe!

  19. PLPP Skied up Blueberry Hill from Elk Pass P/L on this gorgeous Friday afternoon. 15C @ 1;00PM start, 19C @top with no wind, 14C return. Snow coverage still very good. Took Fox Ck. up-most of trail covered with thin layer of tree debris/ Collembola .However Elk Pass/ Blueberry in much better cond’n. with very little debris esp. up higher. Top layer of soft, moist snow over a solid base made for pretty good skiing. Skied between the washed out tracks using Red Extra which worked surprisingly well. Good grip, a little slow coming down. Very enjoyable spring skiing day!

    Run across Jody at the parking lot who was checking out conditions. He will be grooming and tracksetting most of the South trails emanating from the Elk Pass P/L later tonite when it cools down.

    Bob- Best wishes for a speedy recovery and thanks again for providing us with this informative and interesting blog.

  20. Apr 25: a Bob condition report for curious blog readers.
    Just had a nice dinner with Bob and Cheryl in calgary. Bob is feeling good 2 weeks after his shoulder surgery and doing better than expected so far. We did opt for pizza though, no cutlery required and one handed eating. (-:
    Hopefully everything will be back to normal for first tracks and regular trip reports in November.

    • Thanks so much for dinner MaSid. A nice outing for Bob after being housebound and no skiing! lol. Bob is doing really well post op. He is very independent with most things. His shoulder is healing nicely and he tells me he is very glad to be with a nurse! lol . Favourite topic of conversation is when he will be back on his ? bike!

  21. MORAINE LAKE ROAD – April 25

    Last year on this date we received 30 cms of snow, and on April 28 we found the MLR ploughed down to pavement… so we had to check it out:!ApWd3WZ3ra9Nhn7iFAQiblchG8rs
    Not a good day to check out the lake!

  22. CNC this 9:00 AM ish +6C H2O running through Lower parking lot.
    Skied out Banff trail to end.
    Grooming has happened on the snow making parts of CNC. However the signage is up saying poor conditions etc.
    Further out past the mine scar on Banff trail it’s ski at own risk deal. meaning spring skiing. We encountered hard ice, slush, puddles, dirt, perfect tracks all within a km. Great AM of skiing.

  23. Taking Hugh’s advice to ski some of the seldom groomed trails I checked out Lynx, Snowshoe Hare, Coyote, Bruin (not cub), Flying Squirrel, Grey Wolf, Silvertip, Cougar, Wapiti, Wolverine and Osprey – missed Chipmunk – in early April. The groomers had done a great job with all the snow this year so while I did not ski every meter of each trail it was nice to explore. One could call this an Animal ski outing. Yes, and over the past week wolf tracks across the Meadow and on several other trails and bear tracks 200-300 meters beyond Cougar trail on Meadow trail heading up a drainage.

  24. April 23 – PLPP – Bolton Creek (from the Bolton Creek parking lot) to Moraine and Moraine.
    A trip to Hawai’i interrupted a spectacular winter ski season so I was anxious to “check things out”. I was surprised to see that what ever track setting that had been done previously was still there, preserved by the over night freezing that has been steady the past couple of weeks. The trail was still icy as I set out and set the tone for the trip. Conditions were slick and fast and I ended up side stepping down pretty well all of the hills. When I arrived at the end of Moraine , the park staff was in the middle of clearing the campsites that exist there and so I had to climb a snowbank and walked a cleared road to the junction of Whiskey Jack where once again I side stepped the hill that eventually leads to the Bolton Creek parking lot. Things perhaps might have gotten better in the afternoon or if I had headed up Fox Creek towards Elk Pass. It was a beautiful day and with it being so quiet , side stepping a long slope took on a zen like quality.

    • Frank, the Elk Pass trail was also extremely icy in the morning, and really big hills! It was definitely softer in the afternoon.
      I was surprised to see snow on the hill from Boulton Creek down to Boulton Bridge yesterday afternoon. I’m sure that won’t last!

  25. West Bragg Creek, April 23
    Now that spring temperatures have finally arrived, I thought I check out the conditions at the West Bragg Creek trails. A year ago, the single-track trails were already dusty-dry. This year, skis are still the way to go.
    I did a 20km loop including East, Middle and West Crystal Line, Mountain View, Mountain Road, Mountain View West, Moose Loop, Moose Connector and then back on Mountain Road. Along the way there were opportunities for off-trail touring, including some fine turns on the cut-blocks west of Mountain View West. Pretty amazing for the last week of April!
    The XC trails which had been groomed all winter still had good coverage and a firm base. The very sun exposed spots will likely have bare patches in the next few days. If it freezes overnight, the trails will be hard and icy in the morning, but they will soften up quickly if it gets to 20C, as forecast.

  26. West Elk Pass — a great place to get sunburned today! The couch is still surfable, and the best skiing of the day was around the extensive meadows on a super supportive base.
    The approach is getting less fun, with the big freeze/thaw cycle compounded by fairly heavy foot traffic: lots more hikers than skiers on the Elk Pass trail now, it seems. More skiers snowplowing the trail smooth would help!
    The complete absence of whiskey jacks was quite eerie.

  27. MOSQUITO CREEK – April 23

    An absolute blue sky day found us in this picturesque valley:!ApWd3WZ3ra9NhmaPyaEHJ3B74NFh
    Travel conditions remain excellent given continuing overnight freezing.

    • Absolutely gorgeous, Chuck. I remember in years past how good the conditions remained in the “higher” elevations despite it being late in the season. Interesting how the ptarmigans are turning already.

      • Oops… another one is still not reading the photo captions!
        Actually Frank, that gorgeous bird is a Grouse, but thanks for the compliment.

        • Chuck, I now read the captions religiously, along with the time stamp info.
          That’s how I know that you didn’t stop for a beer at Temple Lodge as you zoomed down the ski out -)

        • From its posture Mr/Ms grouse isn’t enjoying the winter.

        • You’re welcome, Chuck and sorry for missing the caption. My knowledge of birds can not save me as well. Wonderful that you are still getting out and marvelous that Moraine Lake Road is still skiable. I remember years ago, coming down the Tramline from the Chateau and finding that MLR had been plowed.

  28. Stephen Vermeulen

    CNC Banff Trail, Sunday 0830-1030. I was all set to get an earlier start, but had to change a flat tire before I could leave the garage…

    Still the trip was worth it, groomed and track set all the way to the end last night. Canmore got some new snow last night (before the tracks were set) so there was some snow mixed in with the old crushed ice. This caused some slow sections (depending on how the new snow got mixed in), until things started to thaw out around 1000, then everything slowed down a bit.

    Seemed to be particularly slow for the skaters today.

    There are about three places where there were “puddles”, really a big slush spots at the moment. These were frozen until later in the morning. Easy to avoid.

    There was talk of a bear being seen on Saturday and even a Cougar.

    The main parking lot was about a third full at 1100, so still plenty of skiers out.

  29. Sun apr 22: elbow falls road closure snow report.
    Seems they have plowed the road past the closure (dozer still present), not sure how far they went, but dry pavement now so good for a bike ride in next weeks warm temperatures.

  30. Elk Pass – Saturday – Went couch surfing at the pass half expecting isothermal schmoo but instead found a skookum supportive mid pack with a soft skiff on top. The localized but seemingly perpetual snow-squalls just happened to break up during our mid-afternoon stay, allowing us to burn up and down the meadows a couple of times chasing dappled light. Returned by the westerly glades to Blueberry with no troubles.

    • Was probably the last good couch day before the “schmoo” hits, so good on you for having the perseverance to extend the season. I’ll be biking for the next while until the hiking trails loose their icy skin.

  31. West Bragg Creek
    Never mind bears, the horses are out! Parking lot almost empty at 1:30 pm, horse trailer loading up, sun blazing and a light breeze.
    East Crystal – East Sundog loop, plus odd bits of West Crystal: good snow coverage, good spring skiing, still worth driving out there 🙂

    • Yes… amazing snow coverage, considering we are in the later half of April.
      My WBC ski today included West Crystal, Loggers, Snowy Owl (snowshoe trail), Mountain View, with some turns on the open slopes, Tom Snow, south Moose Loop and Mountain Road. It was only on the final kilometre of Mountain Road that I encountered any icy/slushy sections.
      The equestrians obviously understood the melt-freeze cycle. They went out while the snow was nice and firm, as the hoof-prints were barely noticeable. With ski grooming having ended and few skiers on the trails, it is a great opportunity for other users to check out the ski trails… and vice versa.

      • Had it not been for your post, I would never have ventured out to Bragg Creek today,but so glad we did! Got there early before the incredible wind started. Never have we skied Bragg Creek this late. What a treat! It’s always a gift when we can do a 40 minute drive to xc ski, as opposed to over an hour and a half!

  32. Stephen Vermeulen

    Cnc Friday 0800-1000, Banff trail, fresh grooming and tracks right to the end. Was -1c at start and+5c at 1000. Super fast ?

    Slowed down a bit after 0930. Still was able to set a season’s best time.

    At 0800 there were about 20 cars in the lots.

  33. BOOM LAKE – April 19

    Where is everybody?
    There are so many places to explore while we have these amazing conditions.
    The surface of the lake itself is in ideal condition now.
    Check it out here…:!ApWd3WZ3ra9NhirJOs483tAK1nUZ
    …and/or take a picnic there.
    The options for a backcountry traverse over to Chickadee Valley will have to wait for another day!

  34. Wow and wow. Is it really past the middle of April. CNC had lots of people out this morning, lovely and fast skiing, so many smiley faces!

  35. Cascade Fire Road
    So I had to check this out for myself! The early start was not a great idea as it was very icy and not much fun for the first couple of km. Much better conditions over the big hill, pleasant travel to and around the campground over the bridge. Returning around noon, the snow had softened considerably, descent was fairly slow but not bad, and I was alone on the trail until near the bottom of the hill, where I met a couple skiing up with backpacks and dogs. Dogs okay now? (no sign to the contrary)
    The surface is relatively smooth, there is still lots of snow! Also fairly recent snowmobile tracks up the middle of the road as far as the bridge.

  36. Skied to the Cascade River bridge on the fire road this evening. We left the parking lot at 6:15 pm, the snow was perfect for the multi-grade klister I was using. The long hill was fast on the return – a great evening in April!

  37. Canmore Nordic – skied some of the new tracksetting on Banff, Bow, and Meadowview this morning. The tracks were fast, with a somewhat icy base, causing our waxless fishscale skis to sing quite loudly on the steeper downhills. Good conditions overall, softening up a bit as we finished. The skating lanes looked really good. -1C at 9:30am start; +4C at 11:30am finish.

    • I have to add that I feel Bev’s pain when I see a brand new track sliced up by skate skiers. The soft snow doesn’t set up well after the tracksetting and then skate skiers push snow into the tracks which becomes a lump. Banff and Meadowview west of the warming hut where quite cut up and lumpy in places. A pity, and an annoyance!

  38. Stephen Vermeulen

    Sunday 15 April, CNC Banff Trail. Got a reasonably early start at 0830, the air temp was about +1C, by the time I was done it was around +6C. Banff Trail had been groomed and trackset to the end Saturday night, so conditions were still very good. The snow in the tracks early in the morning is a frozen mixture of slush and ice cubes, sort of a sherbet with ice in it. This gives excellent glide, though grip could be a problem. By about 0930 the warming was making this mixture soft and moisture was showing and by about 1030 there were sections of slush appearing and glide speed had dropped by 20%. There were at least 20 cars in the lots at 0830 and by the time I left the main lot was about half full – so attendance is starting to drop.

    If they get the snow and cooler temperatures that are currently in the forecast for Banff this week, there should still be good skiing next weekend (especially in the early morning).

  39. Excellent spring ski on fishscale skis at PLPP today. Skied Rolly Road, Pocaterra,Lynx,Amos,Wheeler, Braille – decent tracks everywhere and a bit of new snow falling off and on through the day – minimal accumulation though. It was +2C all day – only had a flash of sunshine off and on. An enjoyable day!

  40. Mount Shark – Sadly it snowed hard all morning and there was 15-20 cm to plow through today. I was so excited to ski the 15 km (really appreciate all the hard work that went into opening it again this year and the great grooming), but until the fresh snow consolidates, it is tough skiing up at Shark.

  41. PLPP Saturday
    Rolly Road – Come Along – Pocaterra – Whiskey Jack – Moraine – Fox Creek – Elk Pass – Blueberry Hill – Tyrwhitt – Pocaterra

    +-0C all day. Waxless skis. Cloudy with intermittent sun and blizzards. Occasional simultaneous sun and blizzard. About 2cm overnight snow when I arrived, but only 0.5cm over fresh trackset at Pocaterra. Snow in the tracks was slow; better glide skiing on the groomed area between the tracks. New grooming stopped at Packers junction, skier-trackset on old tracks on Pocaterra the rest of the way to Whiskey Jack. It was still faster to stay out of the trackset, and skied on suncrust in the middle. Slowest descent ever on Whiskey Jack, had to double pole on all but the steepest sections. See my previous moat comment! Moraine and Fox Creek were a bit crusty which was good. Elk Pass from Fox Creek to Blueberry got progressively stickier, but it was OK as long as you kept moving. Started up Blueberry, but turned around after a few hundred metres due to serious clumping in fresh snow. Moved my NIS bindings to their rearmost position which seemed to improve glide a bit. Continued over Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt, and a slow descent down Pocaterra back to the car. Quite a few people out today.

  42. PLPP Whiskey Jack – BEWARE THE MOAT!
    Parks plowed the road into Boulton Creek Campground that crosses Whiskey Jack about 400m above the Moraine / Wheeler junction. So now Whiskey Jack suddenly drops about 30cm onto pavement. No warning sign as you descend Whiskey Jack (or at least I didn’t see one). Fortunately, the snow was so sticky and slow today that there was sufficient time to see the moat and stop.

  43. Canmore Nordic centre – excellent grooming.
    I would like to mention that very often skaters venture too far onto the classic track. I realize that on a few trails, there is quite a narrow area for skaters and they may touch on the classic track. However, today on Greywolf between Bow and Banff trails, some skaters consistently skated on the classic track even though there was 3 to 3.5 meters of space for skating. Classic skiers have only a narrow ribbon of track up each side on which to ski. Probably the skaters were skilled enough to miss the classic track but were just not aware that when they put a groove across it, then it is not as nice for the classic skiers, especially after a freeze when those grooves and lumps harden. Please mention to your skating friends that it is ski etiquette for skaters to try very hard to avoid skating on the classic track.

    • I skied classic along bow and meadowview tonight and skaters sliced through the classic tracks quite a bit, even when the skating lane was wide, especially along bow. With the soft snow, it’s much more noticable and disruptive to classic skiing. It would be good to raise awareness among skaters to this issue.

      • Well, I don’t know about level of those skaters (some people just slowly walk like this) but for actual skate skiing crossing classic track is unpleasant and I avoid it if possible. However when glide is good many skate tracks became too narrow and classic tracks are on both sides quite a distance from each side. In this case I keep closer to one side keeping other classic track intact (and not enjoying it!). If I am left with 1.5 meters on 4 meter wide track avoiding both of the classic tracks is impossible.
        Sometimes people do classic skiing in the very middle of the skate lane despite 2 classic tracks on both sides making it harder to pass and damaging skate lane in certain weather/snow condition. Please mention to your classic skiing friends about ski etiquette.

        • I both classic and skate ski, and have seen “etiquette” issues with both types of skiers. In addition to skate skiers slicing the classic tracks, I’ve also seen classic skiers herringboning up gentle hills right up the classic tracks!

          I don’t ski at CNC, but if I’m skate skiing on wider West Bragg trails that are not designated for skate skiing such as Loggers and Mountain View (West), I feel its my responsibility to stay out of the classic lanes and yield to classic skiers using the middle portion. But I’m not sure what the proper etiquette should be for combined classic/skate trails where the skate lane isn’t wide enough. Presumably the groomers are trying their best to accommodate both techniques in a limited space. I think the ski area needs to specify the proper etiquette for those trails.

          When I’m classic skiing, I often use the middle area which under certain snow conditions provides better grip and/or glide than the tracks. But if I’m classic skiing in a skate lane, I always yield to skate skiers. Igor, you mentioned that classic skiing in the skate lane can damage it in certain weather/snow conditions. What conditions are these? I’ve never encountered them as either a skate or classic skier.

          • Mike,if classic skier(s) went in the middle in soft conditions that changed to hard. Can feel it even right away – glide not smooth, variable resistance, uneven surface compared to evenly groomed. Fatbikes can create worse but similar effect, like a step. It was a bit of a joke anyway, I think Bev taking it to hard – I have problems only with horses and hikers when classic skiing, but if I will be as picky…

  44. Definitely spring skiing today at Mt. Shark. Started around 11AM at 0 degrees and think it got up to around 3 degrees by 2PM. Did the Green 15k loop because I didn’t want to break trail over the fresh snow in the tracks after doing that between junctions 3 and 4 at the start of the loop. I think some people went super early this morning since there was fresh snow over their skate and classic tracks in some areas. Sun exposed sections were soft and sticky and I think I stopped around 4 or 5 times to unclump the base of my waxless skis. Fastest section between junctions 11 and 21. Slowest around the highest elevation point before junction 10 and in the biathlon area between junction 24 and 26. Definitely was a great ski year but time to put my skis away until next November. Thanks to everyone for posting their trip reports on here.

    • KP – We were the early group today. And I broke track on a lot of the classic tracks. But snow was great – but a bit slow. We did the 15 km which was a great treat.

      • That definitely helped a lot with the sticky snow, so super thankful that you guys were able to lay tracks over the fresh snow for a bit more glide. I always wanted to try out the 15k loop but almost chickened out until I saw the tracks heading that way instead of following the 10k after the slow start.

  45. WBC: 11am sun starting to gum up new snow (3”) but by noon +8 so slushy ski and now quick – relatively on fish scales anyway. Iron Springs & Elbow loop good, Logger’s & all other central trails excellent save for balancing act as one passes through sun/shade zones on descents. Mtn View West & Rd to end very good tracks till 2pm whence started to punch through a bit heading ba knot parking lot. Best go after ice softens mid-morning but leave before full melt happens in early afternoon or slushfest. More snow on the way!

  46. Kananaskis…….

    I looked at the snow report for Nakiska this morning, and was amazed to see 13 cm of fresh snow listed there! So I threw the skis in the car and headed on over. Well of course it was too good to be true, it was 3 cm max, so I went and skied around the Eau Claire campground and interpretive trail. Campground road was very good skiing with a couple cm fresh over very supportive base. Interpretive trail a bit more challenging, i.e. less supportive!! But lots of pussy willows out along the river.
    Then I drove up to Wedge Pond and skied the Connector. Similar conditions to the campground road made for a very pleasant excursion, although late morning getting rather warm and sticky in the sun. More cold and snow next week should keep this trail nicely skiable too 🙂

  47. Mt Shark – sad day for pooches and people at Mt Shark – last day of grooming for the season, howl! Excellent conditions as always immediately after grooming with 3cms new on Watridge Lake Trail, 1 cm on competition trails so great skating for my humans (folks on classic skis had success on skin skis). -3 at 9 am, + 1 at noon when the snow softened and slowed down significantly (but fun for me to roll around in!) Sorry we didn’t get to see Jody and Koda this season – till next year and thanks for all the great grooming!

  48. Mt. Shark, superb fresh grooming with about 3cm snow on the new tracks. Outer green 15 was also reset. The groomer said this is the last grooming of the year.
    Saw a fresh kill site (pine martin vs bird). Conservation officer said grizzly tracks spotted from a helicopter a week ago, north end of Tent ridge.
    Spray lakes road is in poor condition, severe potholes especially over White Man’s pass and south to Spray lake where the road widens. Then good driving to before Sparrowhawk. After that slippery muddy slick compounded with unwieldy vehicle tracks that grab your wheels.

  49. Great Divide in Lake Louise still skiable. Started around 10 am at 0 degrees on R-Skin classic skis. Track was still firm beneath +1Cm snow, skating lane a little deeper and heavier. Bear warning sign is out and recommends packing bear spray with you. Telemark trails skied as well and a handful of cars parked at MLR.

  50. Bonus ski at WBC! Who said that Friday the 13th is unlucky?
    Starting out in – 4 at 9 am I found 5 cm of cold dry snow over the final round of grooming from Sunday, which remains in great shape, including the tracksets that were still very well defined. Up Sundog W and down East Crystal, back up Sundog E to Loggers to Moose Connector, Mountain Road, MountainView, Crystal W and then back up Crystal Link 4 to finish on Middle Crystal. Excellent skiing throughout, with Swix VR 45 working perfectly until about 10:30, after which I encountered a few minor slip/sticky bits when climbing sun exposed hills. Along the way I took a detour and circled around the large area of meadows and glades that lies to the north of Mountain Road in the vicinity of the Mountain View junction. With the supportive crust under the new snow that sparkled and hissed as I skied through it- this was a highlight of my morning. By the time I returned to the trailhead at about 11:15, the heat was on and even some sheltered areas were beginning to see the new snow moistening. With cooler weather and more snow forecast for early next week, there’s likely more good skiing yet to be had at WBC, as long as the walkers or moose don’t posthole the crap out of the grooming in the weekends warmth.
    A few pix:

  51. Stephen Vermeulen

    Friday 13-Apr, went to CNC in the morning and did Banff Trail to the end from about 0830-1030. Fresh grooming and tracks all the way to the end. No wind, no debris. Wonderful! Even at 0830 there were a few people out skiing. By 1030 the parking lot near the biathlon range was nearly full. Glide was excellent all morning, it slowed a little as things warmed up, but was still fast at the end. No issues with sticking.

    There’s still plenty of snow, so if you can ski in the morning it’s really nice.

    • We skied 9:30- 11:15 at CNC as Stephen has said, We skied Meadow View out to the and on our way back we saw the Piston Bully grooming Silvertip out past the mine scar. Really quite busy even the further out. Ran into Banff Barb on the trails skating. We were on Skintecs Margarita tracks wth better kick and glide out of the tracks on the corduroy

  52. Did the elk pass, lookout, tywritt, hydroline loop at PLPP yesterday, during the 5 to 10 cams of fresh snow. Skins were working very well starting out but no so much by mid afternoon as the freshly covered groomed ski tracks softened up and had to walk down the hydroline steep hill

  53. CNC today. With a light skiff of fresh snow over Banff Trail (fresh track setting) and Bow Trail (older track set), we had good, fast skiing for the morning (on waxless skis). It was -3C when we set out at 10:30 and around 0C after lunch, which softened up the snow a bit. In the open spaces around the warming hut, the wind had drifted a bit of snow into the tracks, but generally the tracks were on the icy side, making for some exhilarating down hills on the curves.

  54. CNC April 11th

    Peter Neumann and I headed out to Canmore at 8 this morning and, really, it couldn’t have been a better plan. We started skating about 9:30 and the skating lane was perfect. We skied out via Bow Trail to the end and then took Meadowview back to join Banff Trail before headed to the day lodge for an early lunch. Skiing after noon, the snow was much softer and slower but still quite nice. The thermometer read +5 when we left. I suspect that there will still be a few days of good skiing there, especially with the predicted snow and lower temperatures. Hooray!

  55. Goat Creek Canmore to Banff

    Coverage is still decent. No pine needles or debris on the trail.
    Fairly icy tracks, but the tracks exist! Definitely spring skiing.

  56. WestBragg: cold early workout on east Crystal & vicinity trails had my last waxable ski on VR50 till I made it over to MtnRd West summit bench where a high sun rendered untracked snow to heavy cream on decent. BEWARE of ice flow on SunDog near Range Summit trail interection -from BOTH directions one cannot stop prior nor ski around –

    • I only had time today for a short afternoon ski at West Bragg Creek. The meltdown was definitely underway, at +8C, but the core trails were still holding up pretty well. It was ideal conditions for twin-skin skis, so I can’t comment on waxing. The tracks were soft, but still holding up pretty well in most places. I avoided the ice flow at the Sundog dip by taking Loggers over to West Crystal Line.
      Expect icy fast skiing in the morning, transitioning to soft and wet in the afternoon for the next couple of days.

  57. lake minnewanka to cascade bridge
    april 9 7:30 am finish
    zoooom !! what a fast morning ski on cascade fire road that was.
    too fast for the wobbly laid tracksetting on the lower 1/3 of the trail ,but early enough to have some hard snow ,was nice to wax with blue extra and have the trail to myself .
    full on spring now with the freeze/thaw cycle.hope I can get a few more ski trips in with ‘the snow still in the forecast and the track setters still tracksetting’

  58. Bankhead and Cascade Fire Road – thanks for posting that these trails were groomed yesterday, Bob! Today I had planned on skating Bankhead to get the skate legs in shape for the spring skate season – no such luck! The entire skate lane from the trailhead to the far end of Bankhead has been trampled, mostly by walkers, and occasional snow shoers! Heads up if you go tomorrow and it freezes overnight, it’s gonna be ugly! So on to Plan B – I classic skied instead, both Bankhead and Cascade Fire Road to the bridge. Good grip on my fish scales and was able to stay in the track all the way (tracks were in great shape), +5 at 10.30 am, + 7 at 1 pm (and sprinkling with rain). At noon, as I turned around to come back down, someone threw a switch and suddenly I had no glide, I even had to double pole down the big hill! (never done that before, in fact I often have to snow plow) BTW the skate lane on Cascade Fire Road was untouched by foot prints, you just have to get there from the trailhead.

  59. Ribbon Creek & West Bragg Creek
    I was at a meeting at Kananaskis Village until mid-day, so I took the opportunity to ski some of the “Village” trails in the early afternoon. Alas, it we were a bit too late. The air temperature was already above 0C and the sun was having an impact on the unshaded areas. The recent snow over the old grooming was getting heavy, but grip and glide were no problem with my Skin-tec skis. My friend was not faring as well with wax, so we returned after a short lap of Terrace-Kovach-Aspen.
    On the drive home, I noticed that the temperature was only -3C at the Hwy #22 overpass, so I headed south for West Bragg Creek. It was a bit warmer there, -1C on my car thermometer, but the snow was drier and the grooming more recent. About 7cm of overnight snow covered the tracks on Hostel Loop and some of the core trails had been re-groomed earlier in the day. There had obviously been a a lot of skier traffic during the day, but the ski conditions were still great… amazing, actually for April!
    With warm weather forecast for the next several days, I’m guessing that ski grooming is done for the season. There’s a lot of snow left, so there should be good “spring skiing” conditions for a while yet.

  60. Upper and Lower Elk Lakes from Elk Pass parking lot (via Elk Pass trail and Elk Lakes ACC hut) Sunday April 8, 2018
    In some ways this is more of a back country trip than a cross-country ski, but I went on my skinny skis anyway. It’s really worth it, even if a bit of a slog coming back over Elk Pass under the hydroline (~200 m elevation gain). Departed at 10:30 am (-2 degrees C and warming rapidly) and had a bit of a heavy ski up to Elk Pass due to 10 cm of fresh snow, especially past the Blueberry Hill turnoff where the tracks of previous skiers ended. Met a group of 14 snowshoers at the Pass who had stayed the night in the Elk Lakes ACC hut, so I followed their snowshoe trail under the hydroline down into the Elk Valley. Early on the descent, a helicopter appeared and landed near the top of the pass; it was still there at the end of the day. En route to Lower Elk Lake, I passed by the ACC cabin – really nice cabin, well organized with roomy sleeping loft with wooden-frame beds upstairs and well-appointed kitchen and sitting area downstairs. Rather than staying on the “main” (most direct) trail to Lower Elk Lake, I followed a faint, meandering ski trail that took me south along the Elkan Creek to some nice (snowy) meadows beside Elk River, which I then followed to re-join the main trail near Lower Elk Lake. Lovely views of the Elk valley from the lake. Wiggly trail through the trees to Upper Elk Lake, which is magnificent! The south face of Mt. Fox, which forms the northern wall of the Upper Elk Lake, is a giant geological syncline (U-shaped fold of the sedimentary strata), with a large frozen waterfall emerging from the rock at the bottom of the “U”. While I ate my lunch (~14:00; 8 C and sunny), I probably saw 10 avalanches come down from the steep rocky slopes of Mt. Fox, several accompanied by sharp cracks and roars that echoed through the valley; truly impressive. On the way back to the ACC cabin the snow had become sodden from the sun and warmth; not good for waxed skis, even with goopy wax just below klister. Passed a group of 10 staying in the cabin for a couple of nights, and then began the slog back up the hydroline to Elk Pass in the warm sun and soft snow. With zero grip I took off my skis and walked up the steeper sections, at the threshold of post-holing but thankfully just not, thanks to the compressed snow from the snowshoers and skiers. Uneventful ski back to the Elk Pass parking lot, albeit a bit slushy in places, arriving at ~17:30. Total distance (return) about 26 km. Wonderful day.

    • What a wonderful epic adventure! I hope to follow in your ski tracks someday.
      Perhaps we both need to get some skintecs or similar??

    • Small blue helicopter? Talked to the owner a few weeks back. Private owner operated helicopter. Flys in from springbank following elbow river and lands on the non park side of the hydroline (not allowed to land in the parks). Apparently a half hour trip and about $60 in gas one way. Then goes for a ski. Sent him and his date to the couch last time, so might have been doing the same lap around through west elk meadows and back.

      • Yep, that’s the one. Have to admit its appearance was a bit unexpected. Not that I have any real objections, I’m surprised in a way that a private chopper is permitted to land, first, in the hydroline (public utility?) and second, so near to the park.

        • And I thought the snowmobiles back there were irritating! Talk about noise pollution. I’m also surprised he can land there, especially with the power lines so close.

  61. PLPP — lots of snow, but melting fast 🙁

    As I drove in this morning, the road was very snowy. When I left this afternoon it had become a series of muddy rivers and lakes. Elk Pass parking 10:30 am, snow temps already around zero. My wax was useless, and getting up hills was a combination of high heels and herringbones. Lovely fresh snow on the trails would have been delightful a little colder, but instead was wet, heavy and very sticky. Fun run down south side of big hill as I was apparently number 4 at that point.
    Elk – Blueberry picnic table had only been approached and touched by non-human species before me, but I fixed that! Then decided to head up Blueberry, where conditions did not improve at all. I measured snow temps at various locations, mostly shady, and they were all zero. Skiers ahead of me made big herringbone ruts, but my technique was the massive high heels, at least 10 lbs extra weight each foot, bit of a drag…….
    Soft descent, not fast! Back at lower Hydroline junction, a great horde of hiker bootprints came down Hydroline and on to Elk Pass trail heading north, and, yes, up and over the big hill. Curses. I followed them because I had been looking forward to that descent, but alas it was a complete lumpy mess, soft at least and snow-plowable, but not a thrill. If freezing occurs overnight, both of those trails will get rather hazardous, and I might wait for more grooming to go back there.
    At least it was a beautiful day out in the mountains!

  62. lake minnewanka to cascade bridge
    april 8 , 7pm finish
    thanks for the post skier Bob ,motivated me to ski here on the new tracksetting
    OMG ! what a blast this trail was and I hope will be tomorrow ,
    before the sun hits it 🙂 or the wild life trash it.
    looks like the trail got no sun today except at the campground ,and I even got a sprinkle of frozen crystals to send me up the track with some V60 and then a fast enough down with tracks that are new and deep ,except on parts of the lower down hill that are shallow and wobbly .No pavement to pole strike yet and a skate skier went up the soft snow but a snow elf scraped the down hill section a bit for a ,smoother ,faster ,breezy ,fun run.
    but I think spring is finally here ; went from whites to reds (wine) and the tracks have gone from silky to creamy…..

  63. Afternoon ski at CNC today… was expected meh conditions with tough grip and glide. I put the family on VR60 and whaddaya know, worked like a charm, whilst I ran the Skintecs which again were amazing. Although the VR (fluoro) stuff is twice the price, if it grips better and rarely clumps up – it’s small pocket money (compared to gas and food) to virtually ensure good family and personal outings. Couldn’t believe how few people were out after 4pm. Trails (Banff, Meadowview, Rundle, Olympic) were all exceptional with full coverage, no needles, nice tracks, and no glaze at all.

    Also a shout out to Trail Sports – they’re having their annual spring sale with lots of goodies. Switching Gear down in town also had some nice stuff on their racks.

    I know this winter has really dragged on in Calgary… but honestly I’d be happy to have a few more ski days. That said… if this was the last outing then it was a great one to finish on too.

  64. Pinch me, I must be dreaming!! April 8th, blue wax, first tracks on Tyrwhit, and no long johns!! Now that’s a Sunday morning.

  65. West Bragg Creek (April 8)

    After spending a long day in the backcountry yesterday it was nice to do a relaxing ski at West Bragg today. Good kick on the fresh snow in shady areas and lots of glide with no kick in the sunny spots. Trails on the south side of the Mountain road had the coldest snow and will probably last the longest over this coming week. Lots of people were out today on the trails enjoying the fabulous weather and fresh snow.

  66. We took advantage this weekend of the amazing conditions and weather, on what was likely the finale to a most memorable ski season at West Bragg.
    Saturday was pretty much perfect with winter snow and blue skies, today was also great with 7 cm or more of overnight snow- but by noon the hot sun was baking exposed areas such as along Iron Springs, making for some minor waxing issues and glazed tracks. Mid-afternoon- very good skiing was still being found on the generally more shaded core trails, most of which had been groomed and trackset. Those trails should still be good for tomorrow morning at least, but beyond that- who knows.
    Kudos to all the volunteers who have worked so diligently for WBC this winter!

  67. We enjoyed the new tracksetting in PLPP today. We started at the Lower Lake group camp and skied from there to the top of Packers. Tracks were in excellent condition but getting a little sticky in sections. Still no sign of the ice flow on Packers, it will be buried under snow for a while yet. The new snow was dripping from the trees by noon making a beautiful sound in the forested areas.

  68. Amr and I got off to a late start today but we wanted to meet Bob…so after saying hello around 3 pm we left Pocaterra Hut and started skiing up the trail on purple extra glide…slipping quite a bit at first on the wet snow but within 15 min or so the skis / wax started to cool (my theory) and we decided to push on having a great time on fast tracks. The clouds were getting thicker as the temps started to drop gradually. I was thinking we’d only make it to the Lynx junction and then turn back for a short day out but Amr wanted to do a loop so on to Lynx we went on fabulous tracks and generally good conditions. We turned north at Woolley onto good skier set tracks and nice snow…lots of fun downhill! Continued onto Meadow and quickly arrived at the Visitor Centre parking lot around 5:30. By this time the snow was falling quite heavy so we crossed the road and had loads of fun on Meadow (west of the road) with only a small climb up to the hydroline then turning north to head down the big hill back to Pocaterra. I was surprised the conditions were so good on the hydroline trail but this may have been due to the fresh snow! I think conditions in the morning will be fabulous (for me having snow is more important than tracksetting). That having been said, I really appreciate the wonderful tracks as it made the downhill sections a lot of fun for us!! Thank you to the grooming and tracksetting crews! And thank you Bob for a great place to share conditions 🙂

  69. Chip and I skied Pocaterra to the Fire Lookout and back. Snow temp at the hut at 11 am -8, so Swix VR45 worked well most of the way up. Very good tracks up to junction with Whiskey Jack, skier set track thereafter. Rewaxed before starting climb to the lookout. Fast descent, had to stop couple times to avoid speeding out of control. Fast cruise back to the hut motivated by promise of hot chocolate, cookies, and more at Bob’s meet ‘n greet. Thanks!

  70. West Bragg Creek, April 7
    It was dreary and snowing lightly in Calgary, so it was a pleasant surprise to find that it was sunny at West Bragg Creek. Absolutely ideal snow conditions today. -12C to start and -7 at mid-day, a few centimetres of fresh, sparkling snow… a perfect blue wax day. There was some fresh grooming this morning, but mostly just on the skate lanes. No matter, the light new snow felt silky and fast in the tracks from a few days ago. One of my favourite trails is Hostel Loop and I enjoyed it so much that I did it twice… once in each direction. Some of the core trails like East and West Crystal Line had been groomed, but none of the Crystal Links or Middle Crystal. Loggers and Sundog were great.
    If the weather forecast comes true, there may be 10-15cm more snow on these trails for Sunday. Best to enjoy that while you can, because real April weather returns on Monday.

  71. PLPP south end
    Carole, Jamie, Art, Gail and I skied from the Elk Pass parking lot to MaSid’s couch for lunch (with a side trip up Blue Berry Hill. MaSid was not there but I did run into him at Bob’s cookie and hot chocolate get-together at Pocaterra in the afternoon. Thanks Bob for putting that on. The conditions were quite good. There is still lots of snow and it was cold enough in the morning for the conditions to be still considered “winter”. Once the sun is up high, snow on the non shaded portions of the trail get pretty clumpy. The thermometer at Pocaterra was reading +4 at 1430 this afternoon. Thanks for the “treat” MaSid…

    • It was a pleasure meeting your group today, just sadly not at the couch. Treats are easy, trail breaking not so much. While I was not cross country skiing today (downhill day at nakiska), of note was the cooler temps further north. 6 degrees warmer at pocaterra compared to the nakiska turn off this aft. Also very nice meeting all the other couch visitors. I’ll be keeping it going for many years as long as I can, knock on wood. (-: And of course, thanks to cookie bob and Cheryl.

  72. Ribbon Creek.
    After listening to the Armageddon weather forecast, we decided not to venture too far. We skied Terrace , Ribbon Creek, Aspen, and back via Kovach. The sun was still shining, and the temperature was holding steady at -5c, so we did another loop of Terrace, Aspen and Kovach. There was a couple of inches of new snow. A bit of ice and a couple of rocks on The Ribbon Creek Hills. Some of the old track setting was still visible. The trails are multi use now, so some people have been walking in the areas close to the village. We practically had the place to ourselves. A very enjoyable day.

  73. SPRAY LOOP (BANFF). +4C but still very enjoyable skiing with Rode 0-+3C wax! Lovely last ski of the season. Skier tracked only. Icy patches but good overall.

  74. Mt Shark trails, perfect grooming and track including the 15km south section! Temperature inversion today, -13 at 9am in Canmore but only -3 at Shark.
    Shark warmed to +3 by noon but at Pocaterra Hut it was -4 so the inversion continued throughout the day.

  75. WBC still a very nice ski, pretty quiet this afternoon made for a peaceful ski, did not meet a single skier on Mountain View West. Not much on the way of new grooming but the old tracks are still good.

  76. PLPP – started from Elk Pass parking at 10am (-6C), and skied the Elk Pass trail, then up Blueberry, where it was amazingly calm at the top. The trip down Blueberry was fast and fun. Then on to the “couch” for lunch – had to break trail a bit to get there. After that, up to Elk Pass, and returned by Hydroline (much of the track was quite blown in), and Fox Creek (a bit dodgy/icy by the creek at the south end, but otherwise fine). Except for the spots mentioned, all trails were in good to very good condition. Finished at 2pm to +4C, but no sticking problems. Lots of people out today. Went to Pocaterra Hut for Skier Bob’s “Meet and Greet” afterwards, and enjoyed talking to a few other trip reporters (had a few cookies, too!). Great April day!!

  77. Mt Shark, watridge lake trail and then onwards to the end of tracksetting at the first creek bridge in Banff NP.

    Set off from the trailhead just before 11, intended to do a couple of loops in the main trails, but the sun was out so felt like venturing further in Banff given the recent tracksetting. Tracks and grooming holding up well throughout, maybe a skiff of new snow over the recent grooming, overall one of my best skis this year!

    Was melting slightly on my return to the trailhead at 1pm so tomorrow might not be as good (plus about 10cm of snow in the forecast to fill in the tracks, hopefully this will get groomed in early next week as there is a great snowpack still).

  78. Canmore Nordic Centre has superb mid-winter conditions. High trails (Rundle/Chipmunk/Roller Coaster) still have enough fresh from Thursday night to cover most needles. Trackset on Bow is super fast on V40 this morning -10C to -7C.
    Thanks to all the groomers everywhere!!

  79. Can anyone tell me if the 1A has been groomed between Lake O’Hara and Lake Louise?

  80. PLPP april 7
    another awesome midwinter ski !
    thought blueberry hill was fast ! going down west side of lookout was fast fast !!
    fantastic snow and track conditions on both runs
    with little wind tonight boulton ,fox and moraine should remain debris free
    and stay silky smooth ……

  81. Lake O’Hara
    April 6, 2018
    2 or more cm of fresh stuff on a solid base.
    My waxless ski mostly good without skins. I did leave a few herringbone marks on the hills.
    Swift descent , perfect for my fine snow plow technique, with more light snow coming down.

  82. Chuck has reminded me that the park has intentions to close the Pipestone parking lot as of today for some proposed waterman work. Did not see anything to indicate this was going to happen, but thought I should add this to today’s report on the trails.

  83. Strathmore Golf Course
    I went east to Strathmore (the secret place, check). It was windy today. Skate skiing was okay. There’s $5 fee. Picture:

    • Hi Nick,

      We’re planning to go there tomorrow as we are beginners and would like to avoid big hills for now. I can’t seem to open the picture that you attached but wanted to confirm that there’s track setting for classic skiing. Can you let me know please? Thanks!

      • Hi Sheilla,

        Tracksetting isn’t recent there, I was told it occured two weeks ago, and there wasn’t much snow since then. If I were you, I’d look for better conditions in a different area.


  84. Cascade – quite lovely. The parks have stopped grooming but refreshed by skier tracked was delightful under a blue sky.

  85. Skied the Pipestone Loops today, conditions were lovely. Bit of fresh snow over days-old track setting, coolish temperatures and some sunshine. The others heard birds, aging wolverine tracks. No needles on the trail, buttery smooth and fast travelling on VR40, my favourite wax and one of my favourite trails.

  86. 15k of newly tracked bliss with sunshine and no wind at Mt Shark today. Roller coaster heaven with firm tracks and a light dusting of new snow. I forgot my phone at home so unfortunately no pictures. Air temp was -9 at noon and -1 at 3:30. The clouds and wind were just starting as I was leaving. Better than winning the lottery!!

  87. CNC Bow Trail Banff trail onto Meadowview and Rundle
    Fresh snow covered any pine needle VR 40 overtop of what was already on the skis worked great. Trails are in amazing shape. We skied off the fresh grooming and found conditions to be close to perfect.

  88. Jean-Francois Richy

    PLPP (Boulton, Blueberry, Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt, Pocaterra, Lynx, Amos, Wheeler)
    It was -13C when I started at 10:00am, all the tracks were in good shape and a few cm of fresh snow covered the recent grooming. The descent from Blueberry was fantastic and I only met a few skiers. Go out and enjoy while it last!

    • Ditto- Superb conditions for V40 Blue Wax – kind of a shame the Visitors Centre closed April 3rd until May 18th.

  89. Fri apr 6: WBC.
    Did a lap around moose loop today, following the groomers. Thin cloud, sun and light snow all day, -13 to -8 again. A bit crunchy at first but once a bit of snow fell and other skiers in the track, back to silky skiing again. Took a diversion on the north east side of the loop, following a nice skier set track along the edge of the meadows, paralelling the main trail. It Started just west of the first picnic table and joined back up just east of the tom snow picnic table. A nice alternative for those so inclined. Some twiggy bits, but minor. It does continue further into the trees but dead ends when it gets a bit thick. Contemplated extending along mountain view west but the stiff breeze and skier set track convinced me to stay on the more sheltered and recently groomed trails.

  90. CNC
    Upper trails hard, and with some tree debris from recent winds, but in good late season condition. Wax skis will gain some extra fiber. Waxless recommended.

    • Agree that skate surface was quite hard, but much of the classic tracks had a fine layer of natural snow blown in. This resulted in silky smooth quiet gliding, so I often chose to double pole skate skis in the classic track. Air temp -8 at 11 am, -6 at 3 pm, snow colder, fine for wax.

      Paul, who has been grooming CNC for 30 (!) years, said conditions at this time of year are best he’s seen in 20 years.

  91. Excellent ski up Elk Pass on fresh grooming and marvelous sunshine.. We took a detour to the couch (it’s a little smaller than it was early in the season!). We continued on nice skier tracks through the meadow and through the trees to the Hydroline, then climbed the hill on nice firm skier tracks to the picnic table. We skied along Tyrwhitt ( great skier tracks) and had a very smooth descent down Wiskey Jack. One of our group DonC happily hit the 1000 km milestone!
    VR40 worked well all day.

    • I haven’t been back there as much this year, plus too much snow! The seat height has grown at a greater rate than the back height for sure. And yes, overall it has shrunk a bit. Still seats 6 maybe? Doesn’t look like I’ll get out there this weekend, so if anyone is swinging by, bring a shovel to at least pack the seating down if you can. Thanks!

    • Yes! The fresh grooming was terrific – Blueberry Hill, Elk pass, Hydroline and Patterson. The views from Blueberry were awesome. Several groups heading into Elk Lake cabin. -10C at start -3C at 1:00pm. we also were on VR40.

  92. Thu Apr 6: more WBC (south end from Fullerton).
    -13 this morning at 10, -8 on return at 2. Less snow on the trails south of iron springs and sundog junctions. Had to walk up the first hill due to thin snow, ice and gravel, same on descent. A bit rough and crusty underfoot for the first few km. Then silky smooth tracks once on the grooming. A couple of thin icy spots along upper part of iron springs in the sun exposed open meadows area. Only encountered 1.5 ice flows. No issues. Seemed cooler on the northern end of the loop. Sun and cloud in the morning but no affect on snow. Stopped for a civilized lunch at the warming hut (some furnace issues today?) then returned via middle crystal, loggers and elbow. This next storm should eradicate the crust and ice at the south end, but maybe not the exposed gravel of the initial hill to protect the ski bases on descent. An excellent day out for April. Back for more tomorrow!

    • Surprisingly quiet out there this afternoon, especially considering the great ski conditions. Sundog-Elbow-Iron Springs-East Crystal-Loggers-West Crystal all in amazing shape. South end of Iron a wee bit more rugged due to no recent grooming. Skating lanes had been re-groomed over the 5 cm of new snow, the track setting from earlier in the week was still very well defined. Smooth, fast and fun skiing! Easy waxing with VR 40. Does it get any better? 🙂
      Someone had carved nice looking turns down many of the hills- MaSid?

      • No no. Not me at all. I haven’t mastered the cross country tele turn unfortunately. Another bearded fellow (more grey, more experienced). Didn’t see him do it, but did deduce based on the different directions we were going and the lack of other people. Also noticed a lovely photo in the hut by mr Riggs, being my first time in there hanging out. Loved the “this sport has no retirement age” poster too!

  93. Beautiful ski last nite(7-8:30) at WBC
    Thanks winter for hanging on

  94. West Bragg Creek
    As noted by Dianna and Mike, the conditions at West Bragg Creek continue to be excellent. It was a sunny morning and the temperatures got just above 0C for a couple of hours around noon… but then the clouds started to roll in, the temperature dropped and by the end of the day, it was snowing. -10C and 3-5cm of snowfall by late evening!
    I did a tour that included some of the Crystal Lines, Mountain View, Mountain View West and Mountain Road, along with off-trail touring along Snowy Owl, Tom Snow and a bunch of random meadows, old logging roads and a pipeline corridor along the way.
    The forecast suggests WBC will have great ski conditions until about Tuesday next week. Probably the best ski season ever for this trail network!

  95. West Bragg Creek – the magic continues!

    Sundog – Iron Springs – Elbow loop: in the shade, the cold snow was fantastic! The sun did get rather intense, though, making southern sections rather slippery. We stuck to recently groomed trails due to spring conditions, so did not try the most southern sections. There is some slight deterioration on Iron Springs in usual places, and an ice flow at the low point near Iron Creek. The ice flow at the bottom of the gully on Sundog west is getting really big! All of the downhill runs were super fun, and all in all it was a great day out 🙂

    • I was skiing the same territory at about the same time. Might have said hello to each other. I carried on on the skier-set end of Iron Springs and it was very good too. So, feeling encouraged and it being such a great day, got adventurous — decided to have a look at Slagmore. Happily, it had good kick and glide on the smooth hiker-packed track, so … Headed onto Fullerton Loop. That became a ski/hike/flounder. The sun warmed snow became an issue shortly after I started the loop (around 1:00), so I was tres bagged by the time I got back parking lot via Elbow/Loggers Loop/West Crystal. Still, what a gorgeous April day! And a few more yet to enjoy.

  96. PLPP – April 4
    Terrific ski today up Blueberry Hill on 8 to 10 cm of fresh snow. The route to Blueberry Hill wasn’t too busy so the trail conditions held up very well but the tracks on the Elk Pass Trail were getting a little wide and wobbly by the end of the day. On the plus side, Fox Creek was still fantastic!

  97. West Bragg Creek
    Excellent conditions today on fresh grooming and trackset. Classic skied Crystal West, Moose Loop, Mountain View, and back on Crystal West. Then skated on brand new grooming on Mountain Road to the Mountain View West junction and back. A perfect day!

  98. CHICKADEE VALLEY – April 4

    We just went for a tour (no turns) up this lovely valley today. The frozen waterfalls at the head of the valley are always magical. Nestled between Mount Whymer and Boom Mountain, this valley is very pleasant and provides amazing views.
    Here are a few pics to share the beauty:!ApWd3WZ3ra9NhhBoTdAcVhkntuxE
    While we did use climbing skins on our light touring skis to get up, travel conditions are excellent.

  99. PLPP – middle section. Started at Elkwood (-6C) and skied Wheeler to Boulton Campground, and back on Wheeler, breaking trail in 4 cm. of fresh snow. By the time we got to the Amos Jct. others had broken trail, so the going was easier. VR40 wax worked well on the soft, silky snow until about the time we got to Meadow and back to Elkwood at noon, when the skis began to stick a bit. After lunch, we switched to fish scale waxless which worked fantastically on Lodgepole and Braille. Hubby skied back for the van, while I skied down Lodgepole to Pocaterra Hut via Suicide Hill (which was amazingly fast and soft). Wonderful ski day for early April. We’ll keep going as long as we can.

  100. Jean-Francois Richy

    Kananaskis village (coal Mine, Ribbon creek, Kovach, Aspen, Kovach)
    Empty parking lot and -3C at 10:00am – Thanks to Diana Piggot trail report, I decided to have a go and was not disappointed. The coal mine trail have been heavily travelled by snowshoers and walkers, but as the snow was soft the downhill was not as bad as anticipated, Ribbon creek was in reasonably good shape and I encountered a few icy spots on the descent to the creek in the hairpin turns but nothing too bad or dangerous.
    Kovach was a delight with a lot of snow and free of any snowshoers / walkers tracks. A surprisingly pleasant outing.

    • Are they walking all the way to the summit? That’s disappointing, I know there’s a SS trail that intercepts but it’s not well marked.

      • Jean-Francois Richy

        Yes, tracks all over until the end of the trail. With the exception of Kovach and Aspen, the other trails show a lot of foot traffic with some folks seeming to deliberately walk on the tracks like they don’t know or don’t care…

  101. Does anyone know if there will be some late season grooming at either Confed or Shaganappi Golf Courses this week? or what the conditions of the track are like?

    • stephen vermeulen

      The city parks people closed Confed Golf course for skiing on about 15 March, so they could start working on the golf course. Which is a pity because there would still have been plenty of snow today…

  102. PLPP april 3
    night ski as well.
    very light snow for a 5:30pm start .thanks to skierbob’s suggestion ,now enjoy parking at Elwood ! had a silky slide to whisky jack that took me straight up to the lookout in a descender’s snow dust (thank you walker for staying to one side) then back down and got to elkwood by 8pm .
    snow coming down moderate now and by the time I skied back and down to pocaterra all the day’s traffic ,piss and snowshoe tracks 100% covered and I had to push hard for any speed. still snowing moderate when I left with the snow falling all the way to spray lake .hopefully there is one last fast blast down blueberry hill this April !!!

  103. Great night for a ski at West Bragg! Conditions are still very good, the only icy bits I encountered were on Mountain road and the east side of Moose loop. Everything else was fine. Didn’t see a single person on the trails which surprised me as the trails are in such great shape. I might just head back for more tomorrow night!


    Sometimes incorrectly called MERLIN MEADOWS, this is a lovely destination in winter, and now the skier tracked trail is in! The meadows are 8 kms beyond the top of the #20 Pipestone Loop. The route travels up the Pipestone on the west side of Merlin Ridge.
    We were happy to see Charlie & Pam on their exploratory trip up the Pipestone River, but unfortunately they were on track skis and did not have backcountry pole baskets, so had to turn back. The appropriate route at this time of year is to stay on the river all the way to the meadows. Do not get sucked onto the horse trail which is on the left. Keep right and stay on the river. With such excellent travel conditions, we decided to break an appropriate trail all the way to the meadows.
    Check it out, here or there:!ApWd3WZ3ra9NhgViDLwkEGTK07S2

  105. PLPP April 3

    Peter Neumann and I headed out at 8 this morning to take advantage of the late-season wonderful at Peter Lougheed. Arriving at Pocaterra Hut around 9:30, it was a rather chilly -16 C, but little wind and the promise of much sunshine and good tracks motivated us to start anyway. VR40 worked pretty darn well as we skied from the Hut on lower trails to Whiskey Jack, which we climbed, and then descended on Pocaterra. Great conditions all the way, but it was very easy to tell that the stronger sun is having an effect. The snow predicted through the week will certainly help to keep us on skis, in great conditions, for a while longer. Ending temperature was about -3 C and the clouds were coming in.

  106. WBC – Fabulous day! Excellent snow, some fresh tracks on Elbow, Iron Springs (watch out for ice flow here), Loggers and West Crystal were skier tracked and very good and there were fresh tracks on Hostel Loop. Sunny great day, VR40 worked quite well for most of the day.

  107. Maple Ridge Golf Course. April 2nd.
    Who would have thought that you could still ski in Calgary in April? I wasn’t expecting the conditions to be any good at all, but I was pleasantly surprised. There were a few patches where the grass was showing through, and part of a trail has been ploughed out, but, for the most part the conditions were pretty good. ( Skier track set).I was followed around by a large flock of geese, no doubt getting ready to bother the golfers.

    • Really? That is good to know! I thought because they’d stopped grooming a month ago at least, and that big warm-up period was substantial, that the season would be done there. I’m not picky about conditions, so I will probably ski there some more this year. Thanks for posting. ?

    • I second Courtney’s Thank You, Val. Your post got me out for an after-supper ski tonight. And I second your positive report on the conditions at Mapleridge. I skied the outer perimeter, 6 km, and my skis never touched a blade of grass, or anything else except snow, until km 5.9. Sure can’t complain about that! When the days are long enough that you can finish supper at eight o’clock and still have plenty of light to head out for a ski, that’s a good season,

  108. Kananaskis Village: Kovach – Aspen loop was absolutely glorious today!
    Nice cold snow, almost no one on the trails, and the descent down the north side of Kovach was a mixture of magic carpet ride and cruising through whipped cream 🙂

    • From the Village, we got over to the Ribbon Creek Ski Trail via Hidden Trail and conditions were good there too. The Weather Network is predicting some more snow over the next couple of days. If the area could see fit to keep up with the already impeccable track setting, conditions could be good there for awhile

  109. West Bragg Creek, April 2
    Conditions at West Bragg Creek today were the best of the season. 5-9 cm of fluffy overnight snow, pleasantly cold temperatures, a deep snow base and recent grooming. I enjoyed a mix of new grooming and skier packed tracks on yesterdays grooming on West Crystal-Loggers-Elbow-Iron Springs-Sundog-East Crystal. A fabulous mid-winter day… in April.
    Thanks to volunteer Bill for grooming the trails today!
    The parking lot was only 20% full… with 87 vehicles.

    • Fantastic idea, Chuck. Next winter (or maybe this Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?) — I’ll meet you halfway, and then again at the Rose and Crown to swap cars back!

  110. SPRAY RIVER CABIN – April 2

    Excellent backcountry travel conditions (10 cm ski penetration on a very supportive crust), but there are only 2 weeks left before this valley (connecting to the Spray Reservoir) will be closed for the season.
    Check the captions for details:!ApWd3WZ3ra9NhXsZDfh3ZO7gz-eo
    Wish I had a car at Mt. Shark!

    • Chuck, great excitinginspirational photos, as always. See my Reply, accidentally posted on Alf’s post, above. (Because I’m serious about that.)

      • Hey Dennis… a concern might be that one of us might take the wrong route (via Alf’s place)!!
        Thanks for the positive feed back though.

  111. Fantastic conditions in Peter Lougheed today. A mix of sun and clouds but not warm enough to melt any snow or create any tree-bombs, although it did start to get a bit windy towards the end of the day. Did a loop of Amos, Lynx, Pocaterra, Packers and Wheeler from the Elkwood parking lot. The new tracksetting on the lower trails was fast and firm. The trails higher up had just enough fresh snow to make them silky-smooth. Blue wax worked OK. Pretty sure I saw moose tracks in the middle of the trail on my way down Packers. No sign of the ice flow. To top it all off, I also had a SkierBob sighting just before getting back to my car!

  112. WBC -6C at 3pm start. Mountain Road groomed and track set earlier in the day. Moose Loop user set track on beautiful, fresh snow. VR 40 worked well the entire time. Amazing!!

  113. Canmore Nordic – a small group of us had a pleasant ski here today. Started at 9:30am (-12C and cloudy) and skied west on Bow – skier trackset in 1cm of new snow. Back to the main lodge on Banff – newly trackset, very nice. Then out to the meadow on Banff, and back on Meadowview – some windblown sections, but mostly good skier trackset in 1cm of snow. Sunny and -5C when we departed at 1:30pm. Pretty quiet early, but quite busy after lunch – lots of parents with their kids. Great ski for early April.

  114. Jean-Francois Richy

    WBC (Moose, Mountain West, Loggers, Elbow, Iron Spring, Crystal)
    It was -12C at 10:00am, the trails were covered by 5cm of fresh snow and the conditions were perfect for skiing (very light trail breaking). I met Carole (spelling?) at the junction of Moose and Mountain West and again at the junction of Loggers and Elbow. It’s always nice to meet someone that leaves trip report – we could have Skier Bob trip reporter badges 🙂

    • … followed your tracks, thanks for the trail break it was yet another great ski /@ WBC, hard to believe it will actually come to an end!

  115. Just got home from an excellent family ski at West Bragg Creek! Felt more like midwinter then April 1. We started on Mountain road, then onto Old Shell Road, Moose Loop, Mountain View West, Mountain Road, Mountain View, West Crystal Line, and Sundog back to the start. Mountain road had a few icy bits, and Mountain View West was only groomed with no track and a bit soft throughout. Everything else was fine. It snowing lightly for most of our ski but got heavier as we finished up. Conditions should remain excellent as long as it stays cloudy and cool.

    • I took my husband out for the second time in his life cross country skiing and we started later in the day when the snow was heavier. Moose Loop was heaven and after a few initial falls on the north side (including one spectacular face plant) he got the hang of it and finished like a pro. It was soo peaceful and quiet with most people likely gone by late afternoon to catch their Easter dinner plans… 🙂

  116. MORAINE LAKE ROAD – April 1

    Thanks to the winter that keeps on giving, and Parks Staff (Andrew) that keep on grooming, ski conditions at Lake Louise will continue to be excellent for a long time yet.!ApWd3WZ3ra9NhWUz0Hos4TfiTxv3
    Yesterday (March 31) Andrew set the classic tracks, and today he groomed the skating lane. Unfortunately, a skate skier decided to skate in the classic lanes this morning before the skating lane was packed!

  117. Jean-Francois Richy

    WBC (Moose loop – Mountain view – Loggers – Crystal)
    It was -15C at 8:00am this morning and the parking lot as empty. Great conditions overall (only mountain road shows a lot of traffic from past day). A few spots were a bit icy on Moose just after the junction with Telephone but nothing to worry about.

  118. PLPP
    Pocaterra, Tyrwhitt
    So, Bob knew that Tyrwhitt would be trackset…
    This is how it appeared this morning to the first human being there:

  119. Just returned from a quick spin around the Spray Loop. It is definitely still winter there(-7 at start on west side) with lots of snow, firm tracks -they’re getting old, but still usable. The east (Rundle) side is still lovely with a well defined ski track without footsteps in it yet.

  120. Pipestone – Saturday March 31st. -15 in the parking lot at 0945 but it didn’t feel anything like it. We were the 3rd vehicle in the parking lot, where was everyone? The trail was freshly trackset and it was a great roller coaster ride with beautiful sunshine and lots of stops to exclaim “wow”, what an absolutely perfect day! -7 back in the parking lot where it now appeared that the word was out and we were happy to escape the crowds!

  121. PLPP monday
    perfect snow conditions with some excellent tracksetting and tons of people out to make awesome skier tracking for all the trails I skied . got a cookie from skier bob and was enough to send me back up to the look off for bluebird views ,hour of solitude ,beautiful sunset ,fast non stop descent.finished the day with a hour of clear sky full moon skiing on fantastic cold snow ! -15 start at 10:30am ,temp got to -2 late afternoon ,then -12 for a 10:30pm finish.

  122. West Bragg Creek, full moon midnight skate ski
    Crystal and Sundog trails: the base is hard, tracks are fast, double-poling uphill was doable.
    It was quiet in the forest and some haze in the sky, but the moon was bright. I didn’t have a flashlight and didn’t see any animal or human. -14C, no wax, no fear.

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