Trip Reports – Nov 2020

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  1. Well today we had to do last chance for plpp and backdoor, we got there by ten and thought no more could park.. Enterprizing as at least three more squeezed in.
    We did across to hydroline and down to the elk park alpine cabin. It was ace. Met bob and dave (not skierbob). They turned back short of the cabins. We had tried this last thursday but with skinny skis turned back as did bob and dave today. The snow going down was super fun. A couple of spots to cross the creeks. Elk pass fun and fast. Met a couple of trads with older skis but real great who did blueberry. Went down to fox creek and moraine, not nice, needs snow. Then so glad we had skins for whiskeyjack. Then skins off and super fast run back to backdoor. They r logging on the west side of the trail down to the elk park alpine cabins – not sure for what but cuts off some of the side trails. Anyway a very nice day. Please send more snow…

  2. GREAT DIVIDE TRAIL: blue wax worked perfectly for gripping, and gliding was quick from the Yoho side to Lake Louise and back. Blustery snowfall at the Yoho side when we got back there, with tracks blowing in a bit. Saw a pine martin near the Lake Louise parking lot.

  3. Yoho NP
    November 29-30

    Although there isn’t much snow cover, the Yoho Valley Trail yesterday and the Kicking Horse Trail today were really delightful. Less wind than expected, trails a bit glazed but fun anyway. Two American Three-toed Woodpeckers being very co-operative. BIG moose tracks, today, as well.

    Chip Scialfa
    Calgary

  4. PLPP: Boulton Bridge parking, Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Boulton Creek
    Wonderful ski today, snow not super fast, Boulton Creek has a lot of debris, divots and bumps, but not too problematic.

  5. Just had a nice Classic XC from Field visitor centre. We were pleasantly surprised to see it was track-set all the way down ‘Tally Ho’ to Natural Bridge. The skiing beyond Natural Bridge down the Kicking Horse logging road was a dream. Almost 20k’s return.
    We left a little donation in the KHSC box at Natural Bridge.

  6. Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
    It was -8C at the Boulton Creek parking lot at 9:15am. We went up Whiskey Jack (we saw a couple of rocks on the way up so be aware), Lookout, Hydroline to Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt, Pocaterra, Packers.
    The descent from the lookout on the south side was fast and exhilarating and we were happy to see there was no open water / creek at the bottom of the hill as mentioned by Alberta Parks. Conditions were excellent on Tyrwhitt and Pocaterra with good tracks. Skiing down Packers is doable but I would say challenging around the steeper parts were you have open water / ice and a lots of bumps, the upside being a great balancing exercise….

  7. Fantastic ski around the Elk Pass trails today.
    Skied up the Elk Pass Trail to West Elk Pass. Backtracked across the meadows to Blueberry (been wanting to find this route forever so it was an exciting day for me,) and then returned the same way to West Elk Pass to find the couches (another big winter goal for me!) We followed the meadows south towards Elk Lakes and climbed back up the Hydroline to Elk Pass. Back down the pass, around Fox Creek to the bottom.

    Conditions:
    Elk Pass Trail: very fast! The double hill was getting icy. Tracks were speedy on the way out.
    West Elk Pass meadows: fantastic!!! Tons of fresh fluffy snow. Easy traveling.
    Hydroline up to Elk Pass from BC side: best I’ve ever seen. Barely had to herringbone a single hill. Lovely soft snow.
    Fox Creek: AVOID! Super wobbly, icy, and hard to ski. Saw people actually walking it today, skis in hand. I double poled my way along on what felt like a skating rink.

    Elk Pass Parking lot was about full at 10:00.

  8. PLPP West Elk Pass
    We just went straight to the Upper Lakes parking lot. It should really be the main Elk Pass area parking lot because it has plenty of space and it’s a nice, easy warm-up ski to get to the base of the Elk Pass hill. (You do have to search around to find the toilets, however).
    We connected a number of the usual south end trails and toured over to West Elk Pass and “couch headquarters”. Travel conditions were great for the lovely meadow tour that loops back to the Blueberry Hill trail. https://photos.app.goo.gl/1wJC5A2MSxDTWfXRA

    • Was that you I met today? I was skiing through the meadows by West Elk Pass with my girlfriend. I’ve seen your name on this blog forever and didn’t recognize you lol! Great tour through the meadows.

    • …wondered aloud for soooo many years the feasibility & benefit of making our beloved Blueberry hill trail into a loop back through upper meadows to its origin … or better yet a gloriously trail westward toward Sarrial cr drainage & back to parking via lower rawson trail (at least to avoid the awkward turnaround for the groomer: 2 ways up and 2 ways DOWN!)

      • Jeremy good idea so toi et moi with chainsaws and Steve R, Aqua T & Masid to buck the brush however no grooming allowed on your new trail just old school skier tracks

  9. Skied Fairview/MLR/Tramline today with blue skies. No new tracksetting. Fairview is in pretty good early season condition and certainly a nice change from Tramline. Lots of wind debris on any of the treed trails. In the afternoon we skied the Bow River Loop. Close to the town site the trail is multi use and in rough shape from all the foot traffic, but it has good coverage. The campground was much nicer and a delight to ski. Only passed a few skiers the whole afternoon. If you’re going to ski this trail drive to the campground and start there.

  10. Pipestone loop
    The big loop was recently track set but unfortunately snow and wind filled most of it in. Some sections in the trees still had nice tracks but open exposed areas were blown in. Crews were working on the lower trails today with shovels and snowmobile packer. Pipestone photo

    • Thanks for that, David. We have been wondering about Pipestone and whether it was open or not. And, lo and behold, you just answered our question. We love this site!

    • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

      Hello David,

      There was a recent report from Parks Canada that Pipestone was in very poor shape. I had a hard time believing that one.

      How would you describe the skiing conditions in terms of snow coverage/rocks/ice and other?

      • There is plenty of snow and it was groomed before the snow and windstorm Friday. I used my good skis and not a rock to be found. The tracks vary in quality. The downhills have loose snow and ruts so be cautious there.

        • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

          Thanks for that snow report.

          I figured Parks Canada was out to lunch on their snow report calling conditions very poor. XC Nation skiers create much better ski reports than Parks Canada.

          Parks Canada must have been reporting on conditions in the parking lot after it was plowed!

          Keep your ski tips up.

  11. Make Alberta Gondwana Again

    Cascade Fire Road
    A lot of people are talking about the ski I did today. Lots of them. I invented skiing but nobody remembers that. I have a lot of friends who can’t stop talking about it, believe me.
    The section of paved road has very thin snow. Skis suffered some damage. It’s a miracle I could ski on it. They told me I couldn’t do it. But I did. Turning right onto the Fire Road proper it is also thin. It stays this way at least halfway up the big hill. Watch for rocks. I encountered a fallen tree halfway up. The fake news media said I couldn’t move it off to the side. But I did. With almost no others helping. Very few others. I was terrific.
    By the top of the hill the snow is deep enough that no more rocks can be seen. Was able to skate on the skidoo packed trail to the bridge. I could have continued but I’m too classy.
    Anyway, it was a tremendous ski and if it gets another 10cm of snow, it will be a winner.

  12. Great Divide Trail.
    Skied the Great Divide Trail from the Lake O’Hara parking lot. A chilly -16 at 9:00 am made for a cold start. Great tracks and conditions and plenty of smiling faces all the way to the Lake Louise parking lot and back.

  13. Went to Blueberry Hill today. Elk Pass parking lot was close to full when I set out at 9:45. Elk Pass trail was in good shape, Blueberry Hill excellent! The trail crew did a great job in covering the last bit to the picnic table.

    PS – Where is the self pay box at Elk Pass? Didn’t see one!

    • It’s right by the trailhead kiosk. Large black 6×6 metal post about 3 or 4′ high, like a self registration camping drop box.

    • Re Self-pay box at Elk Pass…..a good question — it is in fact the steel black pipe just 2 meters from the kiosk — BUT – it is not finished – needs a cover box and some signage. Long story, but the short version is “Waiting for contractor to finish”. I’ll put up a sign this week – if I can figure out how to attach a wooden sign to a metal post with hand tools.

      • Hose clamp a vertical 1 1/2″ strip of wood to pipe, screw the sign to that. Pre-drill holes at home or shop to make driving screws by hand easier, if you won’t have a cordless drill/driver on site.
        Thanks for all your work towards retaining the PLPP grooming!

      • Thanks very much! Brought cash ready to pay but ended up buying a season pass when I got home. Thanks again for all of your work with the grooming.

      • Just a note that the self-pay box at Elk Pass parking lot is operational now with pay envelopes and brochures.

  14. Good Morning. It is -14 degrees Celsius at the Discovery Centre in PLPP.
    -Happy Skiing.
    MK

  15. Yoho Otter Tail and Head

    Like Carole and Jamie, I also skied twice today in Yoho. In the morning, we headed up the Ottertail Fire Road on light touring skis with hopes of making it all the way to the McArthur Creek Warden Cabin and getting a view of the Goodsirs. It was fairly easy ankle-high trail breaking. Parks had been busy previously removing lots of blowdown from the first few kilometers of trail. But by about 5km in, we were climbing under, over, and through fallen trees every 50-100m. We turned around at that point and headed back to the car. If you want to ski this, bring along a saw, or better yet, a chainsaw!

    We drove to the Natural Bridge parking and like Carole and Jamie, skied the Kicking Horse Trail as far as the Otterhead Trail. We were treated to beautiful late afternoon lighting on the mountains on our return to the car. Got to see moonrise on the drive home. Photos – https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1bnLNYgo-9FOxGCutcgS5C3zUuIu6QGNu?usp=sharing

  16. Interesting ski day in Yoho

    Jamie and I skied twice today. Early in the morning, we skied up the the Takkakaw Falls (Yoho Valley) Road and up the switchbacks. There were no fresh track setting but great skier tracks to the base of the switchbacks.

    Later in the afternoon (after walking around Emerald Lake), we skied the Kicking Horse Trail to the Otterhead River. Our idea was to ski back under the full moon. We kind of gave up on that idea as the moon seemed to be hidden behind Mount Stephen. We stopped at the picnic table (4 km or so from the trailhead) but couldn’t stop too long to wait for the moon. At 5:40 p.m., I caught a glimpse of the moon between tree tops. We were headed back by them. We eventually turned around and made it back to the picnic table by 5:50 p.m. We were rewarded with the bright full moon beaming down on us. We watched it in awe for a while. We returned to our vehicle at 7 p.m., skiing in the moonlight. What an experience!

  17. LAKE O’HARA RD- new skiff of snow on skier made tracks, used our classic skiis. A bit of sticking on our waxables but not too annoying. Had lunch on the warden cabin steps. Nice sunny views on the trip back. Only about 9 other skiers all day.

    • Thanks for the post, Chris & Karl. We wondered about conditions for a Sunday ski. We used our classic skis and skied to Lake O’Hara on Sunday. A snowmobile had gone through to the lodge. After the first five kilometres, we just skied on the snowmobile track, but it was wide and smooth. The downhill was fast, fun, but not icy. We had lunch on the bench by the lake, with minimal wind. We only met 12 other people.

  18. Elk Pass upper parking to Elk Pass via Hydroline / couch / back country route to hydroline / Patterson / Blue Berry “shortcut” to the couch and out…
    There were lots of people out today but Hydroline / Patterson see relatively little traffic. After lunch at the couch, I refreshed Helen’s / MaSid’s route. I seem to ski into the places that MaSid and Helen go to but sadly, I keep missing them. The track had indeed been pretty much obliterated in the meadow areas but was fine in the trees. There was about 5 cm of fresh snow. The winds did no damage to the couches. At the end of the day I tried (for the first time) the “short cut” from Blue Berry to the couch again. The place to turn off of Blue Berry Hill trail is pretty obvious but the track disappears in the meadows. I guessed where I should go and indeed, I did see old tracks from time to time. I ended up encountering the summer trail (decent track) a little bit south of the Frozen Lake Junction. Now that I am home and I can see my GPS track, I see that it is not a very short cut, but non the less, pleasant back country skiing in the meadows.

    • Good style GH (a two visit couch day). The blueberry shortcut can be a bit problematic nearer the pass with all the wandering that can occur there. But thanks for plowing through the wind sift to hydroline.

  19. Great Divide at Lake Louise. We started at the Lake O’Hara end in -2 temperatures. The wind was fairly brisk along this first section to the Divide, but no problem later on. There was new tracksetting this morning and the conditions were excellent! Lots of people out enjoying the fresh air and views, and even a couple dogs, which are not allowed on this ski trail. The owners didn’t seem to know about the restrictions. Maybe signs at the trailheads? The way back was into a headwind which didn’t bother us too much except on the big hill back down to Divide and West to the O’Hara end. A super day on fast tracks.

  20. Mount Shark was quite nice today with a few cm of fresh snow to cover the areas that were wind scoured yesterday. Not much evidence of grooming anymore but skier tracks on the 5 and 10k loops are pretty good. Skate skiing would be a bit challenging until there is a fresh roller pack.

  21. Good Afternoon,

    -4 C, overcast (little bit of blue peaking through). at the Discovery Centre in Peter Lougheed, Kananaskis.

    The information centre is open. 10am-3pm daily.

    -MK

  22. Fri Nov 27 Mt Shark: -1C 9:30 AM WINDY!!! Skin skis Trail reports showed some trails rolled or groomed. Due to the wind no tracks to be found. Watridge trail was wind blown with foot traffic right down the middle. We ducked off onto the groomed trails to avoid the wind. Skied the Biathlon trails and the return part of the 5 and 10 km loops.
    Ran into Ken Hewitt posting signs about parking passes at the trail head. Payment box is at Engadine lodge parking area.
    Only one other car there when we left.

    • Sounds like the wrong place for the box relative to where skiers will park?

      • Yeah Original info was Pocaterra and Elk Pass were to have payment boxes
        There is a brown kiosk on the right side entrance for the Engadine lodge Parking lot, with a lock box and day passes.
        Not sure this location is going to be noticed by the casual XC skier who has come out to ski. Ken was putting up new signage at MT Shark trailhead indicating the location of said kiosk.
        https://www.kananaskisgrooming.ca/faqs

      • It’s not ideal location (at the Engadine entrance signpost0 … but we need it somewhere were it can be serviced frequently. The signage at the Shark parking lot is clear on this (with a photo) … so the idea is that people will ski and then stop/pay on their way out. (NOTE this self-pay process is only relevant to the $10 day pass.) See Hugh’s reply post as well.

  23. Visit to the TRIO of Covid Friendly Couches starting also at Back Door. We were 8th car in arriving at 9:30. Sorry to miss you Bob to return your ski thermometer. We could faintly see Ma Sid’s tracks through West Elk Meadows to Hydroline and hopefully helped to keep it open for the weekenders. Heading north on Hydroline to top of Elk Pass was the hardest part of our day but VR 50 held up for those 2 kms of workout. Tyrwhitt and Pocaterra a lovely downhill back to the car, after we skied those three amazing meadows. Saw two dogs: one on Tyrwhitt and another on Pocaterra. Please check the tab above for Dog-Friendly Trails.

  24. Not really a ski trip report- I was on wheels this morning at WBC. The finish to my loop took me along Mountainview, where I started reminiscing about the amazing week of skiing that we enjoyed a month ago.
    Then, and now:
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/SkiPix2021/i-DZHbdc3/A
    Some of the sheltered core trails have more snow cover, with a bit of an icy base remaining. and I could see that a few brave souls have been out on the boards recently. Not for me, though.
    For the MTB’ers here- “winter” trail riding conditions have been superb on my 3 rides this week in the foothills, on a mix of packed snow, ice, and dirt. No need for fat tires at all, but studs are pretty much mandatory.

  25. PLPP-after reading Jean-Francois’s report from yesterday we planned generally the same route. Parked at Boulton creek (1st car!) headed up Whisky Jack (good conditions)-Tyrwhitt (freshly groomed and tracked, what a treat!)-Elk Pass to top of Blueberry (skier tracked with fluffy snow making the descent easy and fun)-Elk Pass to Fox Creek (LOTS of debris on trail)-Boulton creek back to the parking lot. Although the waxing was a bit tough with the mild weather we had a wonderful ski. What a gem to have this area-thanks groomers!! Back at the lot there were a total of 4 cars (at 2pm) and all had parking pass (yay!).

  26. Hayfield Trails

    We were spooked by the wind warning, so changed plans and headed up north. We had a pleasant morning ski with no wind at all, getting about 7.3 km on groomed trails. The snow is nice but a bit thin, and the track-setting was a tad optimistic! (i.e. often twiggy)

  27. PLPP
    We had to do one trip from the back door before the gate is closed; following Bob’s example, we first headed south as far as the Lookout junction then turned around to enjoy the fabulous run down Pocaterra to Lynx. This trail has the least amount of tree debris and is a joy to descend. On Lynx we moved a very tall but slender tree from across the trail into the forest, the wind has brought down a large amount of needles and twigs on Lynx, Amos and Wheeler . The climb up Whiskey Jack was OK (no major hazards if you descend), then we got the fun of skiing down Pocaterra to the back door junction all over again. We used skin skis so no waxing decisions were necessary on this windy day hovering around zero degrees. 15 cars were neatly positioned in the parking lot, as we left our spot was quickly taken over, we counted 4 more cars in the parking area further north.

  28. MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

    CASCADE RIVER TO STONEY CREEK

    Skate skiers take note. Rare wide trail skating opportunity on Cascade trail to 3 km beyond the bridge.

    The Cascade River trail has been snowmobile and wolf pack packed up to Stoney Creek. It is suitable for skate skiing if you have rock skis and are a good tough ski skater. Conditions are generally fairly good to very good with a few rocks. Some hikers hiked on the trail to the bridge.

    The snow conditions on the Minnewanka road are fairly good. The base is thin but the skis did not hit the road, only the pole tips in many places were getting ground down on the pavement.

    Once one gets through the field after the road, conditions are generally good to the Cascade River Bridge with the odd rock on the hills. I hit 3 rocks coming down the hill at night while skiing to the brilliant moon light. There is a hard rain crust base with softer snow on top which makes for decent early season skiing.

    From the Cascade River Bridge the skiing is generally good to very good except the trail which was re-routed after the 2013 flood. The hill on this section is poor, but thankfully just a short section. Much of this re-route section of the trail is fair to fairly good. There are a lot of wolf tracks from the Cascade River Bridge to beyond Stoney Creek. This wolf pack seems to be dining in the area.

    Beyond the end of the snowmobile and wolf pack packed trail, the ski conditions are only fair with some rocks. Stoney Creek is open water so to ski beyond Stoney Creek the bridge must be crossed. I would expect conditions to get good again after the flood plain with easy trail breaking travel.

    With another 7 cm of new moist snow, the Cascade Trail could easily be trackset and skiing will generally be good to very good at that time.

    The temperature after the sun went down at Stoney Creek was -3c with partly cloudy skies. Snow speed was generally fast and the snow felt very nice and silky to ski on. There is about 20 cm of snow at Stoney Creek. The rain crust is about 10 cm deep with nice snow on top.

    Get out and enjoy the moonlight mojo navigating skiing while the moonshine is upon us.

  29. SHADOW LAKE – November 26

    Having already broken a ski trail on REC six days ago in soft snow and slow conditions (see post in the backcountry section), I wanted to pursue to the ultimate destination of Shadow Lake. Looked like about 1-2 skiers have further packed down the trail, all the way to the warden cabin, making it very nice to ski on. After climbing the 60 meters from the lodge turnoff, I was glad to see a new ski trail (not there last week), with about 10 cm of fresh snow on it. One very large tree fell on the trail and it will have to be cut for any skidoo to go through. The old ski trail ended about 1 km further from the climb, at which point I start breaking trail all the way to the lake, via the meadows along REC proper. Lots of “whoofing” in the 50-60 cm of snow pack below me, as I was skiing there. The view of Mount Ball, from the bridge area over the lake outlet, was very satisfying as usual. Pretty windy conditions by the lake and back toward the lodge. After a short break there, I looped around to ski back in the trees past the campground. Went for a quick side trip to the warden cabin. The ski out along the REC trail was fast(er), now with a nicely packed trail. Last 1.5 km to the road is thin, but I did not hit any rock this time while snow plowing on last sharp bend and the ramp down to the parking lot. A great day.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/fD9NYrQiqLLMTVMY8

    • Stunning. Must’ve been an amazing day. (Not jealous at all…!) Thanks for posting!

      • Thanks Brian. Indeed, stunning views and great to there.

        • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

          How was the trail breaking to Shadow Lake? What do you think it would be like to the Ball Pass camp ground area?

        • Trail breaking to the lake from the lodge was not too bad, with 20 cm ski penetration. However, trail breaking in the meadows to get to the lodge was thougher at times, with collapsing snow and propagating cracks around me. With another 7 km past the bridge to get to RE21, that could be slow depending of the conditions; certainly a much longer day (for me anyway). The lake ice looks rather thin, although I did attempt not to venture much futher.

  30. Lake O’Hara Fire Road: Skied to campground on partially snow-mobile’d 4 ft wide path. Tried to set some decent skier tracks (Rode Blue 0 to -6) but four AT + 2 snowboarders leaving Liz Parker hut, descended and added alot of boot divots. Rather quick descent for us as O’Hara did not get the snow that Lk Louise Ski Hill got. Met four young people who were working at the Lodge and about 4 other couples in total all day. Parking lot and road down was nicely plowed. A group of half a dozen Calgary snow-shoers headed up to Ross Lake and made their own separate track. -4 to start and -1 to finish. If anyone knows why there was so much flagging (green, pink, orange) on both sides of the road, it roused our curiosity.

  31. I’ll echo previous comments about Blueberry, and the cold north wind- our group of Ramblers enjoyed a great easygoing descent after tagging the summit, where there was not much of a view anyway, and hastily retreated back to the junction for warm lunch in the sun. I guess we should have paid Martin a visit at the couch! With about 10 cm of recent snow at Blueberry- grab it when it gets groomed (tonight?)- it will be amazing! We started from Boulton Creek, not a trail that I ski often. I was reminded of how much fun this roller coaster of a trail can be in both directions. Even with wobbly skier tracked conditions and less than ideal snow cover in spots, it was very enjoyable.
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/BoultonToBlueberryNovember26/

    • When close by, always worth a stop at the couch if it’s sunny. Good comfort today with mild temps and sun. Wind was not a factor, with the exception of maybe the approach track in wind exposed areas.

  32. We skied the Great Divide today, starting at the O’Hara end. Tracks were skier set on old grooming, with some gaps. But the snow was like silk. The tracks at the top of the hill were better. It seemed that more skiers had succeeded in keeping the tracks clearer. Skin skis worked well for both of us. Another great day out!

  33. Thu nov 26: west elk pass
    Couch update: 3 separate seating options now, seating a max of 6. Nice and protected in today’s strong north winds. Fully compliant with the enhanced covid health measures, being well below the max 10 for outdoor gatherings (although it’s technically in BC).
    Saw 3 black wolves cross Hwy 40 this morning near boundary ranch. That was a treat. Kananaskis is alive and well. Came back via Patterson and the hydroline snow shoe trail (see if they take the bait again). Just as I exited the snow shoe trail at the steep hydroline descent, up came the groomer (stole my powder!). All good. Nice fast corduroy for the final leg back to the car, which was the only one in the lot at 4 other than the grooming trailer. Max 15 occupancy now at pocaterra hut. A bit of a social day running into fellow trip reporters!

  34. Fairview, MLR, and Telemark today. The upper part of Fairview was rolled until we got to a parked snowmobile and a Parks employee shovelling snow onto the trail. Presumably the whole trail is rolled now. MLR had just been groomed and was a bit soft and slow, but otherwise in great condition. We took Tramline partway back up, then crossed the the 1A and took Telemark back to the lake. Telemark has not been packed yet, but there was a skier-set track to make things a bit easier for us!

  35. Peter Lougheed Provincial Park,
    -3C when I started at Boulton Creek Parking. I went up Whiskey Jack, Pocaterra until Packers junction and return to Whiskey Jack junction – Tyrwhitt – Elk Pass – Blueberry – Fox Creek – Moraine.
    Pocaterra had been freshly groomed and it was a delightful ski. Blueberry has fantastic conditions, Fox Creek and Moraine are hard packed but the skiing was pleasant. When I left out of 10 cars, 5 cars had a Pass displayed……

  36. Skogan Pass/Loop – Nov 26 – Not Recommended!
    But I went anyway. I didn’t want to drive all the way to Louise or PLPP, and WBC is for hikers again. So I elected to check out the Skogan Pass Trail.
    It’s just plain nasty up to the Sunburst junction, about half as bad to the Highline junction, well snow covered above that but with lots of ruts. Much of the trail has been heavily used by various small and large tracked vehicles, especially up to Sunburst. That part has tons of dirt/rocks showing through. Presumably there is maintenance occurring on the hydro line.
    I set out from Nakiska lodge with my Kazama Mountain High skis (early 80’s, narrow, steel edges). Had to walk part of the way down to the bottom of the bronze Chair and started on VR45 wax. But the trail down there had seen heavy foot traffic and was icy, so I put on my kick zone skins.
    Unsurprisingly the higher you go, the better the snow. I did not go all the way to the pass, elected to do Skogan Loop instead. The intial short steep part had some deep snow with a crust that was a bit of a challenge. Below Sunburst I had to walk the steeper stretches, as is was dangerous to snowplow because of the many rocks.
    Looking at the weather in the next week, it seems like it will be a while before the Skogan Pass trails become a good option.
    Cheers,
    Carl

  37. Nov 25 Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (PLPP)
    Elk Pass Parking – Blueberry – Elk Pass – Tyrwhitt – Pocaterra – Lynx – Amos – Woolley – Meadow – Wheeler – Moraine – Boulton – Elk Pass – out and back to Upper Lake Parking

    First car to arrive at Elk Pass at 0915. 6 more arrived in the following 10 minutes! Mixed sun and cloud, -5C at start rising to -2C during the day. About 5cm fresh snow at the trailhead, increasing to about 20cm at the Elk Pass / Blueberry junction, decreasing on the rest of my route. Tried out my new Rossignol R-Skin skis. Broke trail on Elk Pass for about 45 minutes until I was overtaken by 2 snowmobiles towing sleds heading up to shovel snow on the top 30m or so of Blueberry Hill. Thanks to the sleds, the track left behind was surprisingly smooth. Great powder ski down the hill! The amount of fresh snow decreased over the remainder of my route (check out picnic table photos), but there was enough to cover most of the tree debris that blew onto the trails as described in Bob’s Nov 24 report. Photos at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/113UrxNO4MXMTzfUub3Izy3M_XC2oaSVW?usp=sharing. Click on Details to see captions.

    The guys at Blueberry Hill said that Tyrwhitt and Lookout north would be groomed later today, and maybe trackset if there was enough snow.

    If you’re in a rush to post your PLPP report to SkierBob, you can use the WiFi at the Visitor Centre even when they’re closed, by standing outside the entrance!

  38. Mt Shark – Watridge Lake tonight. 5-10cm of new snow on top of the grooming and more coming down. The trails didn’t appear to be trackset. Hopefully the new snow improves the base!

  39. Bow River Loop

    Lake Louise got fresh snow! (Maybe 8-10cm?) We were the first to ski the entire loop today, some of it was skier tracked, some boot tracked, and quite a bit untouched so far. There are some thin spots beneath trees, but most of it was very good. It looked like lower tramline was groomed today, so should be great now.
    Sad to see that Laggan’s was closed, as we enjoy a post-ski cup of tea there.

  40. Elk Pass upper / Bolton / Whiskey Jack / Tyrwhitt / Elk Pass / lunch at the couch
    There was about 1 cm of new snow at the parking lot up to 10 or so in places near the divide. Snow conditions were pretty good. Tyrwhitt is not track set yet but travel on it was fine. I think that I was the only one that checked out the couch. There was about 5 to 10 cm of snow in the track. I also did an extra loop of Bolton / Fox Creek. Bolton is fine. Fox Creek is pretty bumpy.

  41. Kicking Horse Trail & Yoho Rd (sorta)

    Everyone seems to be on PLPP these days, so I decided to head to Yoho and do Kicking Horse for the first time this season. I got to the Kicking Horse trailhead (I skipped the 3 km from the visitor centre) around 1020 and temperature was -6. There was about 5-6 cm of fresh, wet snow. As I was skiing, the trail was groomed and trackset! How’s that for timing! It looks like it was also set all the way back to Field. Track condition is excellent, There’s an ice/crust layer not far below the snow, but it doesn’t interfere or come up. Conditions were kinda sticky, but it’s hard to beat the scenery. Cooler temperatures should take care of the stickiness. Kicking Horse was trackset pretty well to the end.

    After finishing Kicking Horse, on my way back I stopped by Yoho Valley Road to check out conditions. It hasn’t been trackset for a little while, but it’s got a good solid base, and the skier tracksetting on the machine trackset base is still really good. It looked like only two or three people had been on the trail since the 6-8 cm snowfall the night before. Snow was much less sticky than at Kicking Horse. I only went as far as the steel bridge.

    Overall, both trails were great.
    Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/gxho1FUMq7CSfZ43A

  42. PLPP- between 30-40 people on south network trails today, so yes busy for mid-week November but EVERYONE was observing good social distance protocol and enjoying the frolic of pressing in the 2-4” of atypical fresh, early morning wet snow (from lower Pocaterra to most at Elk Pass). A good day of ski fellowship with spirited discussion.

  43. Nov 25 – Elk Pass Parking – Fox Creek – Ek Pass – Tyrwhitt High Point

    The Back Door Parking was closed when we got there this morning so we went to Elk Pass Parking which worked out well. There was 3 cm of new snow at the parking lot, 3-5 cm on Fox Creek, and a variable 5 to 10 cm on Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt.

    With the new snow there was good skier trackset conditions on all trails all the way from the parking up to the High Point on Tyrwhitt. On the return, conditions were excellent on skier trackset until we reached Fox Creek. There is good snow coverage on Fox Creek but it is very uneven and with the heavy ski traffic today all the fresh snow is now hard packed (no tracks). With temperatures warming to just below zero today and cooling tonight, we would expect Fox Creek to be a bit challenging until there is some new snow.

    We had a great day that was capped off when we returned to our car and noticed that all six of us parked on the south side had parking passes displayed.

  44. Lower Tramline / MLR. Snow conditions were good today with temperatures around -5 for most of the day. The track setting is a few days old but travel was reasonably efficient. There was about 1 cm of snow last night and there may be a bit more for tomorrow.

  45. PLPP: South Pocaterra and Tyrwhitt from the Back Door
    We were the first two cars in the backdoor parking just after 9:30am. South Pocaterra is trackset and in great condition. Tyrwhitt roller packed only, quite skiable if you don’t mind the absence of tracks. Some needles and debris in the treed sections. On the return, it was great to get back in the tracks of Pocaterra – a pleasant reminder of how wonderful tracks are. 5 cars at backdoor parking at 1pm. Temps -4C to start, -2C at the end.

  46. PLPP report for yesterday –little to add that isnt in Bob’s update save for my advice to skier’s -novice and experienced alike: avoid downhill (west/south) travel on Packer’s trail in early season. That means now until likely Christmas as a safe bet. Their are several trecherous downhill sections of irregular awkward humps, bumps, open ground, open water, and thin base throughout the middle and upper reaches. This isn’t just about ski base preservation but personal safety and enjoyment. If you figure you’ll just walk unpleasant sections, know that your deep boot prints are destroying the base further as prints freeze in unevenly and creates additional hazards for skier days later. Parks really SHOULD have recommended difficulty colour coding and/or directional travel signage on a few reaches of trail in PLPP, that being the most critical early season. No wipe out sitzmarks/divots seen yesterday but if their is an accident that’ll happen, its there. Saw 37 people out skiing in total -unprecedented for a November Monday.

  47. Is the Elk Pass trail trackset from the Elk Pass parking lot? Or is it still better to start from the back door?

  48. Great Divide Lake Louise to O’hara and back – 23 Nov 20

    Had a really nice ski. Classic trails are track-set and in good shape. Skate ski lane is a bit tramped down but there were lots of skiers out. The dog sled groomer was also out, so expect the pups in the near future.

  49. PLPP: Back door, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox, Moraine, Whiskey Jack

    We skied this route a week ago prior to grooming, how wonderful it is to have grooming, we are so grateful. Bumps are gone, snow was fast, had a blast coming down Elk Pass. Fox and Moraine could use some snow. Had a fantastic day.

  50. Pocaterra & Tyrwhitt from Hwy 40
    A gorgeous day to be out skiing. We got a last spot at the “back door” parking lot. Pocaterra to Lookout was trackset and still in great shape, in use by skiers and wolves. Tyrwhitt was nicely rolled but not trackset – snow is still too thin, particularly in the trees, and needs a good dump of snow.

    Could drivers park their cars as close together as possible, say no more than 75 cm / 2.5 ft. apart. This will allow as many skiers as possible to start at their preferred trailhead in this COVIDian era. Just be a little careful opening doors!

  51. Mon nov 23: west elk pass.
    Busy at the couch for a Monday! Several friendly visitors. FCFS as they say. It takes a pandemic (maybe) for more people to wander away from the beaten path. To rectify, a third socially distanced “snofa” is in the works. Only a bench for now, but full couch soon, which should bump up max capacity to 5 or 6. But that will be it. No more room in the tree bay. But full sun dial coverage at least, choose your couch based on time of day. Gets sun from about 1130-3 this time of year, 12-2 best.
    Scoped out an east aspect avi slope off mount fox (BC side). Thin in the trees still above the meadows (60 cm) making forest skiing in that area a bit sporty, unless you like wood and twig carving. Lots of peckerwood trees in the lower reaches of the slide path that needs much more snow for decent skiing. Didn’t check the other slopes out, but perhaps better “around the corner”.
    Haven’t seen the coyote last few trips, but might have spotted him in the ditch, “resting”. )-: Perhaps he was getting fed, or enjoying the occasional road kill. Never works out for the best.

  52. Wedge Connector from Wedge Pond

    After playing around in the Highwood Meadows for a bit, I decided to check out Wedge Pond just in case, on my way home. Surprise! Despite no grooming and lots of foot traffic, the skiing was pretty decent! There are a few early season hazards to watch for, but conditions were much better than expected. Fat bike tracks stayed on the Bill Milne trail.

  53. ELK PASS/MEADOWS/HYDRO LINE/ FOX CREEK: We would agree with Frank’s recent posting, although we sure enjoyed the snow conditions today. The Elk Meadows are full of snow, great touring through to Hydroline and then back up to the picnic table at the Pass. Nice to visit with Masid at his new couches. Fox Creek needs some new snow, although the recent skidoo packing is appreciated. Trail is nice and generally wide. Very busy today.

  54. Peter Lougheed Provincial Park: Elk Pass Trail-Boulton Bridge-Fox Creek-Moraine and return.
    These trails showed the results of the large amount of weekend traffic and no overnight
    fresh snow which have left the trails hardpacked and fast.There is sufficient texture for the advance skier but more tentative skiers should take note. Snow is in the forecast for the rest of the week. We went over to Elkwood later and noted that no grooming has been done there, at least around the parking lot although there are skier tracks. The excavator was at work at Elk Pass parking, safely behind a barrier It is easy to infringe on the barrier, so keep your head up.

  55. What a beautiful day on Elk Pass with my hubby on his birthday! Ok, it’s the day before his birthday, but I’m working tomorrow. The sun was shining, our skins were working really well in the approximately -5 degree weather, and the tracks were still quite nice. We ran into MaSid at the Blueberry Hill junction on his way to work on his couch… if we had a few more minutes to spare we would have had a seat. Counting the days until we can go back!

  56. Sunday was a great day of skiing up to Lake O Hara. As always the scenery at the lake is magical and the road up is skier track set but the conditions are very good with 20-30 cm of fresh powder. Highly recommended.

  57. I went skiing on the Great Divide trail / Old 1A highway on Sunday from Calgary and left behind a pair of Under Armour gloves at the parking lot. It would be nice to have back. Thanks

  58. Ribbon Creek – Not recommended.

    I need new skis now. Meh, reason enough!

    Needs more snow coverage, lots of walkers on the trail too. Kinda disappointing to see, however, not a big deal at this point.

    • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

      A lesson learned that all skiers can learn from.

      Never ski anywhere in the early season without “classic rock” skis unless there are good ski reports about a ski trail on Skier Bob. That is why Skier Bob does what he does, for the benefit of the adventurous skiing nation.

      At least you have classic rock skis now!

      A COVID lockdown is expect in the next couple of days. Get your skis on some nice snow before Premier Kenney decides to make another foolish mistake and shut the parks down again to XC skiers.

  59. Elk Pass upper parking to Blue Berry Hill, the “couch” for lunch, Elk Pass / Patterson and then a short trip up Whiskey Jack. Snow conditions were quite good on all of these routes. There were a lot of skiers on the Elk Pass route so the track is not real tight (which is good for me with my wide bindings). There were far fewer skiers on Whiskey Jack. It was a treat for the 3 (Carole and Jamie) of us to have lunch (with out a reservation) at the “couch” which amazingly was a bit out of the wind. The cup / thermos bottle holder was a nice touch.

  60. TAKAKKAW FALLS via YOHO VALLEY ROAD – Nov 22

    No parking hassles here. Glad I took gaiters as I had to break trail in about 25 cms of new snow.
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/jbmhHq1i5kaqGQiCA
    For a full day challenge, it was a good idea to get straight into my ski pants as I rolled out of bed!

  61. GREAT DIVIDE: Excellent condition, lots of people out. Snow was a bit slow but it is a beautiful winter wonderland out there. Drove back on 1A, lots of nice snow between Baker Chalets and Castle Bungalows. Tracksetting sòon?

  62. Skied Tally-Ho in Yoho from the Field info centre out and back to the Emerald Lake road yesterday, Sat. Nov. 21. Track was great with a few baby trees poking up here and there, but no big deal. The little bit of open water running across the track was no problem to avoid by removing skis and stepping over. Really struggled with wax as it was right around 0 deg. C. I covered swix blue extra with Violet Extra and started icing. Violet special was a little better, but eventually I tried to scrape that all off and suffered with no grip blue extra and less icing (not zero). My wife’s twin skin Fischers worked perfectly, of course! It was a beautiful day to be out!

  63. Left Pocaterra Hut about 9:40 am. It was -5 and I used good old VR40. The skier trackset on the Marathon route allowed for some kick and glide, but it was good to get to about 1 km east of the start of Whiskeyjack on Wheeler where the powder was machine packed. Whiskeyjack to Tyrrwhit to Elk Pass machine tracked and a great kick and glide. The run down Elk Pass to Fox Creek and Moraine back to Boulton was mid season smooth and fast. Then the slog back east to Pocaterra Hut was a little slower with warmer snow, but still the best November ski ever ! It was -2 back at the hut, so pretty ideal temps throughout.

  64. Moraine Lake Road and Great Divide were probably even better today than last weekend. The trees are loaded up with snow and views into the Bow valley and drainage below Moraine Lake were mid-winter’s finest – in November! Easy waxing and superb tracksetting combined for a most enjoyable afternoon and lots and lots of friendly people were out enjoying this warm, winter day. HIGHLY recommended.

  65. Moraine Lake Road; started 09:15 from the Chateau parking lot; -6C start and +1C finish at 14:30; VR40 worked perfectly. Approximately 2 cm new snow fell overnight on Friday’s grooming, muffling the sound of skis and poles on snow. MLR up tracks were tracked by earlier skiers providing an easier ascent. Lots of team skiers training, young and old, mostly skating. The turn point was sunny with no wind, which made for a pleasant lunch break. The air was full of the laughter of young skiers enjoying their day and Whiskey Jacks mooching lunch. The ski down was controllable in the soft snow but quick enough to keep your attention. The climb on Upper Tramline was even pleasant at day’s end. MLR always a pleasure!
    I hope Parks groom and track-set for the Sunday ski crowd giving them an even better day.

  66. Pocaterra Hut to Elkwood area: Best to wait for more snow and some grooming. This area has not been groomed. It is skier tracked, but with all the ups and downs there are not very many sections with ski tracks to follow.
    Please remember that COVID protocols should be followed, even outdoors. Don’t park right next to a car when there are people standing there waxing their skis and preparing their gear. Give people their space.

  67. Sat Nov 21: west elk pass
    Starting from elk pass parking, using fox creek to start. A bit smoother on the way back after some travel. Couch HQ now has a covid separated love seat and throne (seating for 3 total). Cheeky and Simona swung by for lunch via blueberry meadows and helped build. More visitors showed up (the heli-skiers) and couldn’t resist some snow-chitecture! The poster kids and I zipped off and skied the meadow through to hydroline, leaving the heli-skiers the shovel and saw to add their own sculptural snow art (they did!). There’s a kid inside everyone. The later season efficient route through the meadows is good to go, before December! Went back via blueberry meadows. Theses meadow trails saw some bodies today so are in nice shape now until the next dump (powder baskets probably best, but doable without). Elk pass lot was clearly busy enough today that some cars were parked on the access road, making it essentially a narrow single lane driveway. Another excellent day with sun at the couch in the afternoon. Not so good coming down the hill and having to make a quick narrow left.

  68. Skied Blueberry Hill today with three other families and it was INCREDIBLE!!! The snow, wow! It was a bit sticky for some in our group but those of us with waxless skis had an easy time. My son and I put glide wax on at the top of Blueberry Hill and flew down screaming. We love hills.

    The fresh grooming was amazing and the hills were easy to descend. We appreciated the track setting coming down too. Sure made double polling easier.

    Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/1c7XMy19GeLtWpPD6

  69. Sat Nov 21 – Elk Pass Amazing

    Words cannot capture the simply outstanding day that Mark, Richard, Jeff and I experienced today.

    Mid-winter snow – superb glide – made for a memorable first ski for Sam!!!

    Gratitude for grooming and track setting that was so uncertain for a time – and a dream come true today!!!

    For those who haven’t been out yet – go, go, go!

  70. Friday Nov 20 – Back Door Parking, Pocaterra, Lookout, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass

    We wanted to ski on natural powder today so we picked ungroomed trails.

    This trail report will not be too helpful for those planning the weekend because parking at the back door, as discussed in other trail reports this week, is a problem during the weekend. Also, as we were leaving we saw the Piston Bully trailer heading toward the back door parking so there may be additional grooming overnight.

    There was probably only about 5 cm of new snow last night but in the last three days there was between 10 to 20 cm of fresh snow with skier trackset. The descent from the top of Lookout on the north side was most enjoyable and required almost no snowplowing. Tyrwhitt is not quite as bumpy either.

    Please see the pictures at the link below for details.
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!AqCMMdfYEozbg1UoHZrx23JCEAbE?e=AXF0vh

  71. Mt Shark; Arrived 10:00 AM -4C VR 40 metal edge LT skis. 5cm fresh snow on rolled track. Skied first 5km with trepidation thinking we’d blow through the the base on the downhills.
    Base held up well, skied the second 5KM at turned back. It apppeared the 15KM loop has been rolled as well.
    Skaters seemed to be having a good ski.
    Small parking lot was 1/3 full when we left at 12:00.

  72. So many comments already?!!
    Anyway…….Pocaterra:

    We thought there would be enough people doing Elk Pass that we should check out Pocaterra today. Not the first: when we arrived just before noon there were about 10 vehicles in the lot. The hut was open, warm and inviting 🙂
    Skiing was very good on skier tracks, which we followed to the table just past the Lynx junction. Many tracks continued up Pocaterra, only a couple going up Lynx. There were a few twigs, some bumpy sections, and a bit of deadfall debris – thank you to whoever moved the trees! But overall it was very good and most enjoyable. I do worry that more traffic over the weekend will scrape off the steeper hills.
    Snow temps were between about -5 and -2 C, and there were 20 vehicles when we returned at 2:15 pm.

    Very sad to see the dead elk in the ditch 🙁

  73. Fri nov 20: west elk pass.
    A good day to build furniture. Peaceful, quiet, calm and mostly sunny in the meadows. Had a perfect hole in the clouds all afternoon, shining down on couch HQ. There’s a single seat throne for you now helen! See you there soon. Too nice not to push the trail further down the meadow for a bit (to the log bench). Good travel with only Ankle ski pens (AT). Fox creek snowmobile packing now complete.
    Be wary of the coyote that’s been hanging out on Hwy 40 near hood creek. Seen him pretty much every time I’ve been out the last two weeks. Tough to spot when running down the middle of the road in fading light. Seems to understand what lane to be in, eventually. He’ll probably be checking out that elk carcass tonight (in the ditch near Eau Claire). Covers quite a bit of ground using the road, so could be anywhere.

  74. We were going to head west again after a terrific day yesterday on Great Divide, but after Bob’s last ski report at PLPP, we headed east and got to Elk Parking lot around 9:40 and -5. Thank you for all the extensive grooming done last night James. What a treat to be back on Elk Pass again. Super running into the rest of James’ family at Blueberry junction. Skied to Couch HeadQuarters (HQ) and thank you Ma Sid for likely breaking trail to it yesterday. Added a Rudolf ornament to his Christmas tree. Hydroline was sweet as were all the hills.

  75. Great Divide/1A – freshly groomed and trackset AGAIN this am! Many thanks to the grooming crew, I think that makes 4 days in a row of fresh grooming. Tracks were great, VR40 plus skiff of VR45 later, and Swix Extra Blue worked well. Temps -4 to -2, little bit windy at O’Hara end but not enough to blow snow into the tracks.

  76. Winter wonderland at Boom Lake: my friend and I arrived at the empty parking lot with 15cm fresh snow; we used skins on light touring gear and broke trail to the lake. The temperature was very mild at -3C. We stepped over and crawled under 2 fallen trees and navigated a few small open creek spots. The return trip was fun gliding through the deep snow. 2 walkers were heading up when we came down the last hill. A very enjoyable outing.

  77. KICKING HORSE TRAIL – Nov 20

    Freshly trackset again today, so much nicer than just grooming.
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!AgXbvmC40zK_jgNfk-OBjwYGeC5R?e=EVbb60
    Here is a secret for just you: Joe plans to trackset the Yoho Valley Road tomorrow!

  78. BLUEBERRY HILL, FOX TRAIL: BLUEBERRY was freshly groomed this morning, excellent skiing condition, both up and down; FOX CREEK trail skier tracked and in excellent condition too. A perfect day on light classic skiis.

  79. Hi.

    Someone grabbed my daughters poles this morning at Pocaterra hut while we were waxing up.

    They had just finished their ski at approximately 1130.

    Any info to 403-478-9905

    Other than getting to work harder on our technique we had a good day on skier set tracks.

    Numerous logs blown but adequate coverage. Decent kick on blue Swix.

  80. That’s great news about pocaterra warming hut being open. Surprising even. Thanks Bob! Couldn’t post below the home page post.

  81. Peter Lougheed Provincial Park-Elk Pass Parking-Bolton Creek-Fox Creek-Elk Pass Trail toBlueberry Hill Junction and return,
    Excellent snow conditions at a high of -2C. Skier tracked throughout. At the end of the day we saw grooming coming down from the Hydroline and on to Ek Pass Trail to the parking lot. We ran into Skier Bob on return as he was going up Elk Pass. My wife was able to exchange pleasantries with Bob as I was going too fast (lol).

  82. Skied the Great Divide today. Conditions were excellent. The track setters finished up just as we started out int he morning. Tracks were set all the way to the train track crossing. The temperature when we started was -11C but warmed up to -5C by the time we got to the train tracks.Using Blue VR40 wax gave excellent grip and the glide was great. It snowed lightly most of the with less than 2 cm accumulating on my car. There were enough people skiing that any new snow got pressed down. When I left at 2:30 the parking lot was basically full.

    • Hi Eric!
      Did you notice if any of the single track trails are trackset yet, like upper or lower telemark?

      • Hi Olivia – I believe there isn’t enough snow yet to ski these trails. This would also apply to the Fairview trail.

        • Fairview has been previously reviewed as having been skier tracked, The groomers need a lot of snow to do their work due to the creek that meanders through the marshland there.. The lower telemark showed some skier only activity last week from the BC end but it looked as though who ever skied it did not come out at the correct point at the Alberta end i,e., there was activity further down the Great Divide. As far as the Upper Telemark and Peyto goes, historically they are the last traisl in Lake Louise to be groomed. It is also difficult for a skier to navigate as it is sporadically signed.

      • No tracksetting yet (Nov 20) on either upper or lower telemark

  83. GREAT DIVIDE – Nov 19

    Trackset this morning by Andrew, and now silky smooth travel for all. Snowing much more heavily on the west end.
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/WnYKpEMksYAzDDM26
    My Swix Special Blue wax was perfect… Started at minus 8, ended at minus 5.

    • You gotta love Chuck’s comment with his last photo. Remember when viewing his awesome pics, click on the first picture, then click on the small “i” and then scroll through his photos. His comments are every bit as great as his photos. We parked at O’Hara end and met Marilyn, her sister and Bruce from Field. It serves as a reminder to me to pay my support/dues in joining the Kicking Horse Ski Club as my way of saying thanks for all the great trails the volunteers maintain and groom out there. People are trying to park more efficiently both at regular GD lot and also at the O’Hara end by parallel parking with cars pointed in the direction of the railway tracks.

  84. Thu nov 19: west elk pass
    From elk pass trailhead. 4″ of fresh at trailhead. More at pocaterra this morning as I drove by. Enough that I didn’t dare pull in to see if hut open. Looked like close to a foot! Truck with trailer was present, but perhaps that was the construction crew. Luckily timed it right to get behind the first snow plow pass down the lakes trail. 8″ on top of the blueberry junction picnic table. 80cm now at provincial boundary in west elk pass. Neither of the above lots plowed on my way home in the early afternoon.

    With a user pay winter permit system, and covid, tough to spread out over time as well as location, when lots not plowed in a timely manner. That’s a wrinkle that will need to be sorted as part of this “pilot”, especially if busier than normal (which it has been and will continue to be).

    • P.S. No grooming encountered on elk pass trail today, by 130 anyway. You could feel the ice underneath with poles, especially at sides under trees low down, but not an issue. South side of big hill was showing signs of the shallow base on return after not too much scraping. Needs more snow and a groom for comfortable descending. Mild day in the elk pass area, warmer than northern Kananaskis.

  85. Moraine Lake Road
    Skied down Upper Tramline to MLR in about 5cm fresh snow, partially trackset by others. Headed up MLR in similar conditions – slow going. Then part way up the big hills, two snowmobiles passed us – one grooming the center, the other laying tracks on the uphill side. Now the skiing was easier. The return trip was pleasant, though the soft snow slowed us down on the steepest sections. Constant flurries all day. Upper Tramline was also freshly trackset for the return to the car. -8C to start, -5C at the end.

  86. MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

    MT. SHARK, WATRIDGE LAKE, UPPER SPRAY RIVER

    SKATE SKIERS TAKE NOTE

    The trail from Mt. Shark to Watridge Lake, along with other Shark Trails, have been roller packed. Thin but good base. Suitable for skate skiing if you have big honking legs and can deal with a slightly rough skate ski surface. Don’t use your new skis yet. Fairly good to good conditions. Just the odd rock, mainly in the first 1/2 kilometer under the trees. I hit one coming back at night. The hills are in pretty good shape considering the thin base. Moderate speed snow with light snow falling at night, around 10:00 pm.

    If it snow 7 cm in the next day or so it will be very possible to track set the trail and have generally very good to excellent classic skiing right to Spray River.

    There were a couple of French women hikers walking all over the trail with a brown mottled pit bull cross that was running around with no leash in the afternoon on my way in.

    I broke trail up the upper Spray River and conditions are also fairly good to good. Thinner near Whiteman Creek, either side about 500 meters. I skied roughly to within about 2 km of the Palliser Warden Cabin. Snow depth is variable and up to 45 cm. There are a couple of rail crusts in the snow pack. Generally very good off trail travel, much better than normal for this time of year, with ski penetration a couple of inches above the ankle on average. Ski penetration increases near the cabin. There is the odd tree root and rock. I did a fair bit of side stepping on the hills to improve the trail. 7 cm of moist new snow on this trail will make for good to very good skiing conditions and may make better trail breaking.

    Nice to have another area to ski.

  87. I drove towards Pocaterra back door but the parking lot was roped off. I guess they want people to start using the parking lots towards Kananaskis Lakes. So instead I skied up to Elbow Lake and beyond. The initial big hill is somewhat icy and there is some deadfall and open water. Beyond the lake the skiing is easier and conditions were generally good. The trail was packed by skiers, hikers, snowshoers and fat bikes. Near the Piper Pass turnoff there are a few spots where the wind has blasted the trail to bare rock and it is necessary to do some walking. At Tombstone junction I turned right and broke trail up up towards the Sheep Valley for a ways. There was a windblasted spot about 1 km up this trail but the snow got better beyond that. I’m glad I brought rock skis because I did hit more than a few rocks. In fact I hit one hard enough on the hill back down to the parking lot to cause one of my skis to snap in half. Oh well they were rock skis anyways.

  88. Skied Peter Lougheed today. Parked at Elk Pass, maybe 20cm at parking lot. Icy and pine needles until Fox Creek junction, improved quickly afterwards. Skied Blueberry Hill then over Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt to top of Whiskey Jack and back. At least 40-50cm coverage over that area with ~ 70cm on top of Blueberry. All was skier track set, little to no grooming or tracksetting.

    • …covered much of same terrain yesterday and did observe slightly more snow west of Elk Pass (2-4”) compared to Tyrwhitt and down to Pocaterra (1-2”) back door where I had begun. The trails sure could use a good pressing/rolling as with several inches over the last week (was also there last Wednesday); it would prepare the base nicely to proceed with tracksetting AFTER the next big dump …or else pole punches and wobbly tracks are going to be present for a while. Yes, thought the blocked-off parking lot was peculiar esp. from safety consideration of roadside parking (no signage along ditch)

  89. Great Divide/1A – Lake Louise escaped last nights rain fortunately, with about 2 cms new snow overnight. We arrived at the 1A around 11 am just as the groomers were finishing off the skate lanes and both classic tracks again. Very good skating on the fresh grooming, just a tad slow due to the soft snow and the classic tracks were great. Twin skins worked really well. More snow in the forecast for tonight so hopefully the groomers get on it yet again tomorrow!

    Heard on the grapevine that Lower Telemark (ungroomed) has lots of moguls, and it rained at Emerald Lake last night so not sure how the Yoho trails will be now.

    • Chris, thanks for your report. I will be doing an update on Yoho Valley road(very wet) and some new tracksetting in Lake Louise(beautiful). Check back later tonight.

  90. Nov 17th. Skied MLR today from the Upper Parking lot. Sunshine with about 6 cm of fresh snow. On the way back we decided to give Fairview a try rather than climb back up Tramline. From the Paradise Creek end up to the meadows it’s a rough skier track. From the meadows to the Chateau the track is pretty good. No fallen trees of water crossings of concern, just a lot of bumps in the track. Needs more snow and packing yet.
    I think they groomed the Great Divide in the morning. They definitely did MLR in the afternoon.

  91. Skied backdoor and up Tyrwhitt this morning. Got off road parking at 10am with -0.5C air temperature. Snow was nice on the way up, but once we got to the sunny meadows and on the way back we found the snow was sticking to the fish scales at times. Despite the thick fog in Calgary, we enjoyed blue skies and sunshine and dodged most of the tree bombs once the wind picked up. It was +11C at Fortress gas station as we passed by on the way home at 1:30pm.

  92. BOOM LAKE – Nov 17

    Chose to go HIGH for cold snow today!
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/9AaKkmC5UQanQK2v5
    Some hazards but lots of fun.

    • Hi Chuck! We were hiking there on Friday, November 13. We ran into a guy on alpine touring skis and skins coming up on our return. You got the hazards right. There must be at least three trees down and across the trail. When we were there, there was just the right amount of snow to ski.

  93. Pocaterra Back Door to Elk Lakes Cabin Front Door- Nov 16

    The day started out great – we got a parking spot and the temperature was -6. There was only a trace of snow from the parking to Elk Pass. Pocaterra and Tyrwhitt was hard packed snow from the weekend traffic but with steel edged LT skis the trails were great.

    The BC hydroline had 15 – 20 cm of fresh snow on a good skier set base. This made for effortless cruising on the way down. 2.8 km south of Elk Pass we encountered service truck tracks which, when covered with the fresh snow make for perfect gliding, with the exception of a short mess at a steep section where the truck got stuck. After following the good truck tire tracksetting for about 500 m the road was plowed and we needed to walk about 1 km to the access road to the Elk Lakes Park sign. We were able to ski the final 400 m on skier set track. The cabin was unoccupied and very peaceful. Ian thought we should avoid the plowed road and return directly across the marsh and directly under the steep trail under the powerline. In hindsight, this turned out to be a poor decision because we spent a lot of time avoiding wet spots in the meadow. Also, the temperature was about 2 degrees when we started up the 10 to 20 percent grade under the powerline. The fishscales were of marginal effectiveness so we herringboned/smashed up 70 vertical meters which was quite a lot of work with a poor base and 20 cm of wettish fresh snow. The service road was a welcome sight when we reached it. Wikipedia states that the backcountry ski access to the Elk Lake cabin is for “advanced skiers”. On this particular day we would certainly agree that this applies to the return portion of the trip.

    Pictures are at
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!AqCMMdfYEozbg0X7GW38zX9Tym1L?e=ftJf27

    • Sounds like a great day out. FYI, there is a more aesthetic return route from Elk Cabin via West Elk Pass / Elkan Creek. You really need skins and probably wider skis to climb up through the trees to gain the meadows at the top of West Elk Pass, but it is a much more interesting way to return from Elk Cabin. Going into the cabin we always divert from the Elk Pass Trail at the Blueberry intersection and make our way laterally across the meadows until we reach the hydro line, part way down from Elk Pass proper. Trying to descend Elkan Creek to the cabin would be a bit sporty to say the least, as the trees are tight and there are lots of downed trees to climb over.
      Here’s a map of the trail http://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/elk_lk/elklakes-map.pdf?v=1605648123897

      • Thanks for the useful suggestions. Next time when we leave from Elk Pass parking lot to the cabin we will try the scenic West Elk pass route and swing east to the BC Hydroline.

  94. Has anyone been to Skoki recently and skied on the road yet?

    • Ski louise is reporting all lifts running, including larch. Run report for larch shows ski out as closed. Doesn’t mean it’s not doable from fish creek to temple day lodge, but probably not great, and unlikely much travel beyond lodge if skoki nowhere near open yet (or not opening for season). Give the resort a shout and/or try it out and let us know. Thanks.

  95. Skated MLR from LL parking lot yesterday, starting at 11:45 after spending 20 min chatting with friends from FNSC who had their biathletes out double poling MLR both ways (yep, not for me, just teenagers). Had LF6 and was a great glide until about halfway, then the new snow crystals caused a lot of drag. Super pleasant day, no wind until at the end of trail, we had occasional gust while sitting on that guardrail during snack break. Great glide back and then a bit of a slog skating back up to the parking lot but easy to do as you know you have a hot drink at the end. Even, firm to soft compacted surface for skating. We live in an awesome place – even with packed parking lot we had tons of space! Have to rewax now as 22km probably wore off any remaining glide.

  96. 1a Great Divide Lake Louise to O’Hara parking out and back

    No new grooming today but conditions are quite good. The tracks are a bit wobbly but travel was still reasonably efficient.

  97. I skied a loop at PLPP today, starting and ending at the Elk Pass trailhead parking lot. I headed up toward Elk Pass and beyond, and returned to the Elk Pass trail via the Boulton Creek trail junction about 500m from the parking lot. At which point I was surprised to see that the Elk Pass trail was now roller packed full width! I don’t know how far up the trail the roller packing went or if any other trails were groomed as well. I’ll follow up with details of snow conditions on my route later this evening.

    • NEWS FLASH!
      GROOMING HAS STARTED AT PLPP!
      Forgot to add this headline to my post above!

      • I’ll just say that it was an excellent day out on Blueberry, Elk Pass, Hydroline, Patterson, Fox Creek etc, and throw in some pictures:
        https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/Blueberry-ElkPass-November16/

        • I was with a group of Ramblers today, including Steve & Jo Riggs. I left the group at the Hydroline/Patterson junction and continued over Lookout, down Whiskey Jack, Moraine, and Boulton back to the Elk Pass parking lot. Whiskey Jack now has enough snow to cover the rocks I saw on Nov 11. The snow at the Moraine junction is now 2cm of packed snow over asphalt, up from 1cm of powder over asphalt on Nov 11. And while I had to walk the first 3/4 of Moraine on Nov 11, there was just enough snow to ski the whole thing today.

  98. LAKE O’HARA ROAD – Nov 16

    Good conditions with cold snow on a solid snowmobile packed and skier tracked trail. No thin areas and absolutely no rocks. No tracksetting yet.
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/JCTd8bjfPkJ8zx4m8
    Rodi Blue -2 to -6 kick wax was perfect, and metal edges were nice on the return.

  99. Skied Moraine Lake Road both days on the weekend, the conditions were simply superb. Mid-winter cold snow, a few centimeters of new snow both days, hard wax, great tracksetting, and a ton of friendly people out enjoying the wonderful weather. HIGHLY Recommended.

  100. Not a report, but a request (which may allow others to report):
    Social distancing is only “a thing” for people, not cars. So please be considerate of other users by parking as if there were marked parking lanes… not this 5 and 6-feet apart parking stuff. Makes me wonder how some people drive safely, not to mention park at home, if they can’t visually identify the difference between 3 feet and 6+ feet.
    Thanks all ya’ll for your cooperation, consideration, and respect for others.

  101. Yoho Valley Road – Nov 15

    Enjoyed a quick ski yesterday with my dog on “YVR”. First time and it was perfect with an older dog that likes to take in the scents and sounds more than doing technical trails. We skied from 1:15-3:15 pm and the tracks were well used by then and lots of fresh snow. I used wax less skis and it seemed perfect for the mild temps.

  102. PLPP Blueberry Hill
    There is now enough snow on the trails at the Elk Pass and Upper Kananaskis Lake Parking lots, that there is no need to use the “back door” trail access. There is 15-25cm of light snow over a very supportive rain crust. Travel conditions are excellent on and off-trail. Starting from Elk Pass parking lot, we went up the Elk Pass trial, up to Blueberry Hill and back, then up Patterson to the Hydro-line and skied down the Elk Pass snowshoe trail to complete the loop via Fox Creek. It all looked like a Christmas card.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/wmt84LGuAPaGbSVHA

  103. Pete (the 13th Troll)

    Fairview Loop
    Sunday Nov. 15th – Early season conditions – not quite enough snow to cover all the creek crossings; but skiable so long as you stay in control (or risk an icy plunge). Will be great with another 20cm of snow. Quite busy on Tramline and Moraine Lake Road but didn’t see another soul on Fairview loop? Track-set on Tramline & Moraine Lake Road – skier set on Fairview Loop. Far too many cars parked on the roadway by Moraine and 1A Hwy – lower parking lot stuffed – upper parking lot nearly empty (particularly on East side). Wise skiers will go directly to the upper parking and leave the lower parking and roadway parking for the tourists.

  104. Great Divide/ 1A
    As Mary and Charles have written, there were many people enjoying this trail today. Gliding through the silky, soft, new snow is one of life’s pleasures. The tracks were “well loved”. Disappointed that parks had not refreshed the tracks in 5 days of heavy use.

  105. Parking violations at the Back Door
    It was a great early season ski day today at the “back door” in Kananaskis along Hwy 40. Too bad the grinch showed up to give most of the cars a ticket for parking along the side of the road. The parking lot supports about 10 cars, so the other 20 cars needed to park along the road. All got tickets along the road due to “parked with no clear space for passage”. Maybe our parking pass fund raiser wasn’t enough money.

    • The Alberta government is “optimizing” Parks by expanding its user-pay system to include all Parks users (not just XC skiers), and increasing the parking fee to a $50+ parking ticket per visit. Expect further optimization to include closing all the parking lots so everyone gets ticketed by parking on the roads. 😉

      • Highway 40 is purely a recreational highway: there is no commercial justification for either building this road or maintaining it through the winter. Traditionally it has been acceptable to park anywhere at the side of the road to ski, climb, hike, fish, whatever: that usage needs to be defended

        • You are NOT allowed to park on the roadway unless “there is clear passage for other motor vehicles, and your vehicle can be seen for 60metres (200 feet) along the roadway in both directions”. (Quoted from Alberta Government website). So, I assume the conservation officers determined that traffic was being impeded.

        • Hey 40 exists to serve TransAlta hydro power plants and forestry harvesting – highways are not built, maintained and cleared to serve recreation. Be happy you’re not paying full rate to keep these roads open in the winter.

    • It is a shame to get ticketed; people are just skiing and practicing a healthy lifestyle. I think if cars were parked on the east side of the highway, there would be enough clearance to be off the road shoulder, as I don’t think there is a guard with posts. Alternatively, there is a parking lot about 1.2 km south of the BKD lot, on the east side of H40. It is much larger with an old road parallel to the highway; could pack in quite a few cars.

  106. YOHO VALLEY ROAD – Nov 15

    With news that Joe trackset the Yoho Valley Road yesterday, we have more groomed trails in the National Parks to enjoy.
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/FP664PuaZ7VPbpyt8
    Today, it seemed like a locals day, with lots of parking!

  107. Great Divide – We also started early, about 9:45 a.m. and skied to the shelter just past the divide arch for a ‘first’ lunch. The couple cms of fresh snow made the skiing much nicer than on Thursday. Tracks still a bit wobbly in places, but generally good. We saw lots of families out enjoying the outing, and some youngsters in training. Everyone seemed happy to be out in the lightly falling snow. When we left at 1 pm, there were about 20 cars parked on the roadway, as the parking lot was full. When we drove past the MLR entrance, there were about 70 cars parked on the main road with skiers accessing MLR from there. Popular place!

  108. Great Divide Skiing
    November 15, 2020

    Wonderful skate skiing on the GD today. I started at about 9:30 with maybe 1-2 cm of fresh snow on the road. No views to speak of today, as the area was pretty well “socked in”, but the flurries added some charm and the hordes of people enjoying themselves is always a pleasant experience. Along the way, I met up with fellow skiers, Bill, Ray, Mary and Javier, a chemical engineer from Colombia who was skiing for the past two days (the slow-moving vehicle sign dangling from his backpack made me think of Mennonite country). Couldn’t catch up with Matthew on his fat bike, but he wasn’t causing any damage.

    Ended before noon and drove back to Calgary before the ski swarms. Nice.

    • Excellent Fat Bike conditions. Ran into many super friendly/happy people and one not so friendly!!! Great day in the snow! I always make sure I am not harming the trail – I only fat bike on firm trails! Happy to see everyone out today!

  109. ACRONYMS SKIING IN PLPP – November 14

    Started at BKD. PTR – TYW – EKP – BHL – PTS – LKO – PTR – BKD.
    What a change in a week from good snow coverage a week ago and only 2 cars in the BKD lot, to winter wonderland and >> 50 cars! Very good ski track up BHL; fun to ski down. Boulton Creek (hard to pick an acronym for that: how about BTC?) at the base of LKO is slowly starting to be snow bridged. LKO is now a well groomed trail, compared to 6 inches of trail breaking a week ago, thanks to snow plowing squads. Can’t believe I have already been up LKO 3 times so far this ski season, before November 15.

    BKD should be enlarged with a coffee/hot chocolate stand and Helen’s cookies as prime treat after a ski day. Where can we donate to get that going!

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/ywqaiTKXthYfkKLUA

    • In March, the government justified terminating Kananaskis grooming by claiming it was under-utilized and needed to be optimized. I expect they’ll optimize the Back Door parking by closing it, and claim it was under-utilized and the $200 they spend plowing would be better spent on Energy War Room single-source contracts. 😉

      • I had to laugh every time I drove past the overflowing “under-used” Lantern Creek day use this summer…

      • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

        The Energy War Room has been changed to the Skiers War Room.

        Kenney has to pay severance to all his buddies he laid off in the War Room and elsewhere. Millions paid out at the expense of skiers and tax payers.

    • NFTW

      (Normand For The Win!)

    • TEBGTW: The Early Bird Gets The Worm, Normand and that will likely be the way it is for the entire seasonto get a parking spot, until more trails open up, such as Baker Creek area, Redearth, Pipestone, Ribbon Creek, and Shark.
      Loved your post Normand and also your idea for creating some more revenue for “poor” Alberta Parks! I still want to give you those antique photos of Montmorency Falls. Hope to ski into you soon. I wear a mask skiing now, so easy to identify me. Can barely breathe with it on, but thinking about a snow snorkel? Better get cookie making for those groomers, who’ll soon commence their magic!

    • Nice to finally meet you on the trail Normand. Such a great day. And my favourite acronym: TLA (three letter acronym).

  110. Hi, we had a great late afternoon ski along Pocaterra today, coming in via the Backdoor turnoff. We found a black Auclair mens XL RH glove on the trail as we skiied back about 4 pm, just before reaching the Backdoor. If anyone lost it, I’ll be happy to mail it to you or you can pick it up. We live in Crescent Heights.

  111. Elk pass via the back door in PLPP with a great gaggle of kids. Dads turned around at the pass, moms and kids continued down to the bottom parking lot via the Elk Pass and Fox Creek Trails.

    Super fun ski, amazing snow, fresh powder, and the best conditions I’ve ever had on the Elk Pass trail in November.

    No grooming yet but many of us had wider light touring skis.

    And the traffic congestion Ma Sid referred to was a police check stop to catch drunk drivers coming from the ski hill I presume. It took us a long time to make it to the TransCanada.

  112. Sat nov 14: elk/west elk/blueberry (via Hwy 40).
    Perhaps some report delays from Kananaskis today. Accident or something at the north end of Hwy 40. Turned around and came back through Longview for a longer day than expected.
    4 knuckles of new snow at the parking lot this morning. 4″ on the whiskey jack table. 5 on thyrwitt table, 6 on top of the elk pass table. Probably close to 8″ new in west elk meadows, now 60cm total. Above ankle trail breaking (AT) off trail. No sign of prior track at all. Swung over to blueberry using the meadow short cut and got more trail breaking up to the top. Ran into a number of trip reporters, hopefully not still stuck on Hwy 40. Thyrwitt and pocaterra saw a lot of travel today, like a well loved backcountry access route. Snowing light to moderate all day with limited views and calm winds except top of blueberry, but easily managed in the mild temps. Like skiing in a snow globe. Very pleasant snowy outing.

    • Nice chatting with you at Blueberry junction today. All that new snow (20 cm at the top!) made for an easygoing descent of the south side of Lookout on light touring gear, and great conditions throughout our loop from the back door with a group of Rocky Mountain Ramblers, taking in Lookout, Hydroline, Patterson, Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt. Pocaterra at days end was pretty much skier groomed wall to wall- it was busy out there!
      Yes, we were held up for about 40 minutes between Barrier and Hwy 68 on the way home. It appeared to be a Checkstop also involving the CO’s, by the time we got close we were waved on through without stopping, and it was hard to see exactly what was going on due to the dozens of flashing lights in the dark.
      Winter Wonderland at Elk Pass:
      https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/SkiPix2021/i-j67Zqkn/A

      • Likewise. Got held up in the summer on Kananaskis lakes trail coming out from a big day. Luckily we got there late, but others had been waiting for 5 hrs! (Actually was an accident, involving a motorcycle death). We ate dinner at Bolton store )-: Was happy to turn around today, not knowing what was up. Maybe the check stop was productive. Who knows.

  113. Hey Skiers, anyone been to Mt Shark lately? The Alberta Parks live grooming report shows last grooming was March, wondering how it is looking for skate and also if leashed dogs are still allowed with the new grooming arrangement? Thanks.

    • Not me, but 25 cm being recorded now by the mud lake weather station. And fairly certain no grooming. Last night and today’s snow was slightly damp and heavy, overlying not much of a base in that spot. Porridge skating unless lots of traffic.

    • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

      The Alberta Parks website suggests there are at least 10 cm of snow on the Mount Shark trails as of 12\11\2020. That sounds enticing to my old classic rock skis that I was suppose to have retired last year.

      No grooming has occurred therefore it is highly unlikely that skate skiing is possible unless Mother Nature left a nice solid rain crust. I love her when she does that!

      Break out the classic rock skis and go check the trails out. If Shark trails are not skiable, back track to Chester Lake or Burstal Pass or maybe Robertson Glacier to enjoy the fluffy stuff.

      Don’t forget to leave the Ski Nation a report if you head out to Mount Shark.

  114. MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

    RED EARTH CREEK TO WARDEN CABIN

    Friday, late afternoon/ night ski.

    The first kilometer of the Red Earth Creek trail is in poor shape with lots of rocks on the big hill. I side stepped the hills to create a base with rock skis I thought I was going to permanently retired . There is roughly 6 cm of snow on the trail in this section with ice below. A few trees down on the trail.

    After the first kilometer and once on top of the first big hill the snow improves greatly. Conditions are fair to good with a few rocks. There is an icy bottom layer with around 6 cm of soft snow on top.

    The snow depth increases the further as one goes up the trail At the warden cabin there is somewhere between 20 cm and 25 cm of snow on chunks of fire wood. At night temperatures at the cabin were -7c, partly cloudy with light snow falling.

    If 10 cm of very wet new snow falls soon, conditions will improve substantially to fairly good to very good skiing and it will be no problem to run a snowmobile on the trail to pack it down. Rocks skis will still be recommended at that time.

  115. Chester Lake 5cm fresh, L touring skis VR 40 wax. Smith Dorian road was OK
    Great snow cover and solid base. A few land sharks lucking under the steep pitch up to the Lake.
    A good assortment of Lt tourers AT skiers, walkers and Snowshoers.

  116. MLR Today:

    To add to Chuck’s good conditions report… I met up with the tracksetter at the trailhead around 3pm ish who was setting up for the weekend crowd.

    Any word on when the MLR parking lot construction will start? Seems strange to walk across an empty lot.

  117. MORAINE LAKE ROAD (via Tramline) – Nov 13

    Great conditions with some new snow on excellent tracksetting. My VR 45 kick wax worked perfectly at temperatures around minus 6.
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/yNNGhsqTMFrcLcAy6
    Smiles were the order of the day… our friendly ski community is a true gift.

  118. Hi, Anyone ski Whiskey Jack yesterday ? I assume snow to be ok but would like it confirmed for those steep descends. cheers,

  119. Anyone know if the Bill Milne Trail to Wedge Connector is groomed?

  120. MLR – good conditions, used Blue VR 40. The set tracks will still in good shape.

  121. Great Divide Trail from Lake Louise to Lake Ohara and back. Was gorgeous day and very busy by the time I got off the trail (~1:30pm). Track-set trails are visible but have been tramped down a bit. There are a few twigs sticking up in the trail but all very jumpable. Everyone was happy – the usual cross-country skier smiles – and it was great to be out. Also, I love this site – thank you – and have one suggestion: I’m not great with acronyms and would appreciate a guide to the acronyms that are used here. Maybe there is one and I just haven’t found it, but PPLP, MLR, GDT, WBC, etc, all take me a beat to figure out the location, and I’m sure it will be hard for newer skiers – and there are plenty-a-coming – to figure out. I’m pure introvert and enjoy my solo ski journeys so this seems counter-intuitive, but I also love and thrive on the reports and want to know where the great snow sits.

    • Jezebal,
      Thanks for your comment about all the acronyms used on this site. I totally agree with you. I’m SLOWLY learning the acronyms but I still have to think about them. It seems our society doesn’t like to type or vocalize full names anymore (ever listen to talk radio? They NEVER say full words!?). Anyway, I appreciate your comment.
      For what it’s worth Skier Bob is pretty good at explaining some acronyms sometimes.
      Thanks also for the trail report of GDT … ha ha, just kidding … Great Divide Trail. Based on your report I’m going there tomorrow (Sunday).
      By the way … PPLP is Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, MLR is Moraine Lake Road, GDT is Great Divide Trail, and WBC is West Bragg Creek.
      Mike

      • Hi, Mike. Thanks for the support and spelling out the acronyms. I’m a big fan of ‘using our words’. 😉 I’m planning to go back to Great Divide tomorrow (Monday) so will look for your report later today. Have a great ski.

  122. PLPP -Pocaterra-Tyrwhitt-Hydro-Lookout loop – wonderfully wobbly tracks 2 or 3 abreast and well skier packed made for fun balance tune-in. Snow more abrasive than silky appearance; hydroline the least skied and South lookout in better condition and more powder than North lookout trail which was hard ‘snow-plow’ packed —either way, DO have your wits and knees about ya on descending big hills in these early season conditions. Hopefully parks gets it rolled soon. And always anticipate gullies, downed trees (a few) and open water this early. Enjoy the Pocaterra back door parking lot till dec1.

  123. PLPP back door ski today. Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Blueberry Hill, Fox Creek, Moraine, Packers, and Pocaterra. I started early enough to be able to ski all of Tyrwhitt in blinding sun before it got cloudy.
    It was super beautiful, with a dusting of fresh snow glittering in the sun. Fox Creek was a bit thin, and Moraine was definitely for rock skis only… luckily that’s what I was on! There were a few downed trees on the bottom half of Packers and some damp spots throughout as well. I was on normal skinny skis, nothing wide or with metal edges.

  124. 1A tracks for classic very washed out unfortunately. MLR I would rate good-excellent. Solid tracks and skate lane firm but not overused to cause a wobble.

  125. Nov 11 PLPP via Hwy 40 Back Door
    I have a bit more to add to the several posts yesterday on PLPP. We did a loop on light touring skis down Whiskey Jack, Moraine, Fox Creek, Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt, and Pocaterra, with a side trip up Blueberry Hill. Coverage was good on upper Whiskey Jack, but there were a few shallow-covered hazards on the lower half. At the junction with Moraine, the snow was down to 1cm over asphalt! We walked the first 3/4 of Moraine before we were able to put the skis back on. Coverage on Fox Creek was adequate. About 5cm fresh snow on Elk Pass Trail over a somewhat crusty and bumpy base. Blueberry Hill was excellent with 15cm of fresh snow over a smooth solid base. No open water crossings to deal with on Tyrwhitt.

  126. PLPP Back Door Loop
    Yet another report from the back door approach to the PLPP trails. Our loop today included Pocaterra, Lookout (north and south), Elk Pass Snowshoe Trail/Hydroline, Tyrwhitt and back via Pocaterra. As described by Tanya, MaSid and Steve Riggs, conditions on these trails are really quite good for early November. Upon reaching Hydroline, I figured that I would ski the “Elk Pass Snowshoe Trail”, since snowshoers seem unable to find that route. Perhaps if they see a set of ski tracks, they will follow them and the snowshoe trail will get established for the season. A better idea would be to groom the snowshoe trail for skiing, since it is actually much more aesthetic than the Hydroline ski trail.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/mCqkMXCET3JZYwMy9

    • Hilarious. I used your snowshoe trail ski track on my way back and noticed the fish scale marks, wondering if it was you.

    • I was up there today, (Nov 12th) and noticed that your ‘Snowshoe’ track had attracted a couple of snowshoers. Good work.

    • Another option would be to put it on other (east) sunny side. Too shady over on the west side when other warmer easier options exist, just over there. Tough to resist.

    • Can you ski the Back Door area with classic skis? I don’t have touring but could rent I suppose….if any available.
      Thanks, Rhonda

      • Rhonda, the easier trails(Pocaterra, Tyrwhitt) would be fine, but I’d stay away from steep downhills such as Lookout. Even the gentle downhill on Tyrwhitt can get scary because it’s very uneven and bumpy. I think the area is receiving some fresh snow.

    • Alf, Thank you for your update!
      May I ask you…
      I am new to the backdoor entrance and taking a family tomorrow(sunday) with me.
      Is choosing poca terra, Tyrwhitt, hdyroline returning on the lookout an appropriate route for an athletic but new to cross country group?
      Or is an easier route to park at Pocaterra hut and do lodgepole ?
      Thank you in advance for contributing to our early season trip success !

      • Tina, Lookout might be a challenge for new skiers. This graph shows it to be an extremely steep and difficult trail http://skierbob.ca/ristos-hill-pain-score/ especially if you’re on classic skis.
        Unless a lot of fresh snow came today, Pocaterra and Lodgepole from the hut don’t have enough snow for enjoyable or safe skiing.

      • I’d stick with the higher elevation back door access to Tyrwhitt. Best to avoid the typically thinner coverage at the north end of PLPP system until someone has reported from there. Besides, Lodgepole is boring. No views.

      • Might be alot longer drive than Pocaterra but worth the effort to drive to Yoho Valley Road. New grooming and basically a green run. Or Great Divide and can start at O’Hara end by railway tracks and ski family to the old open shelter.

  127. We’d nov 11: elk/west elk passes/lookout (via Hwy 40)
    An inch of fresh in the parking lot this morning. Superb travel in the west elk meadows on the rain crust with 15cm of powder on top (AT, should work just fine with LT). Only about 40 cm total on the BC side but no problems meandering around the drainages. Earliest I’ve travelled through there so easily. Sure didn’t take long for snowshoers to find my fresh track though. People have been up blueberry and reported good coverage. Returned via Patterson and south lookout. Both aspects of lookout trails got a thorough scraping today by all manner of skiers, some body prints and boot tracks on the south side. Hints of dirt patches starting to show here and there. The couch building process has begun. Needs more snow before any shovelling starts and seating available. Busy enough at the lot that people were parked on the road shoulder when I got back. An excellent day out.

    • Thanks MaSid for the excellent track through the meadows. Yesterday (12th) I connected it up with the hydroline on Elk Lakes Park side to make a loop.

      • Good timing for you Arie, track completely obliterated by a dump now. Couldn’t even spot your exit track on hydroline today, hoping to do the loop CW. Went back to elk pass and accessed via the normal north entry. Didn’t venture past couch HQ other than sliding over to blueberry from there.

  128. Great Divide Trail: started on the Yoho side at about 10 am. Beautiful snow and freshly groomed. Within a kilometer we were passed by a swarm of local junior ski club. Track now all scratched up!! Come on coaches, didn’t you notice that your guys were skiing abreast for 10 km? Hundreds of people on the trail today, many first time skiers. Please show consideration for other skiers.

  129. Great Divide Trail was good today! It was being groomed and trackset while I was there, at about 10 am this morning. Skin skis worked pretty well. The tracks were shallow and wavy at times, but no rocks or exposed dirt showed through.

    Skied to Lake OHara parking lot and back.

  130. PLPP was fantastic today!!!!!
    We skied from the back door to the top of the fire lookout. Great workout and easy climb with the fresh snow. Coming down was definitely exhilarating and I was wishing I had backcountry skis. No shortage of snow, no rocks, and plenty of coverage!

    This is definitely the place to ski right now.

    We used light touring xc skis with metal edges. My son also has wider xc skis (no edges.)

    Here are my photos and videos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/6ttL2cNhhALhdrSa9

    My 11 year old is a great model so there are lots of photos of him. 😉

  131. Moraine Lake Road – we started down the Tramline Trail from Lake Louise parking lot on a wobbly skier track in -9|C. At Paradise Creek 2 groomers passed us, rolling the center for skating and putting in a nice classic track. With about 5cm new snow and sunshine lots of skiers were out enjoying great conditions. I ventured down to Moraine Lake on a single ski track, very peaceful, beautiful views and powdery snow. The return trip was nice and fast in the new track, no ice on the big downhill. Fantastic day!

  132. Divide Trail, 1-3cm new snow. -8c when we started and finished. No grooming as of 1 pm. New snow skied in nicely in the tracks. Waxing changed from yesterday with the arrival of new snow, still feel the ice underneath in places but didn’t need any klister in the binder.

    First two days of classic skiing, going to feel the hip flexors tomorrow.

    Basewax: SWIX VG 35

    Kick: 4 layers of SWIX V40 (Blue Extra)

  133. TYRWHITT-LOOKOUT, today via the Hwy 40 backdoor access. Good early season skiing thoughout with skier tracksetting in roughly 7 cm recent snow over a hard base. Expect wobbly skiing especially on Tyrwhitt which also has some dips and detours at drainage crossings to watch out for. None of which pose a real problem. From Elk Pass, the skiing north on Hydroline was delightful, with a good skier track over a consistent base, full on sunshine after escaping the light cloud creeping over Elk Pass from BC, and the breeze at my back! Ascending Lookout south was sloggish as usual- I would not recommend descending it on xc skis until there is a decent refresh of new snow, as the steep bits have been chopped up by descending skiers, as well as a moose that went up and then back down the whole south side. With the new snow- the north side descent was easygoing, but the hard and sometimes uneven base did not lend itself to good turns on my 54 mm waisted metal edge light touring skis, leading to snowplowing the steeper bits. All in all-a very fine day to be out!
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/Tyrwhitt-LookoutNovember92020/

    • Yes, it was a lovely bluebird day today, but the “secret” is out – arriving just before noon we could barely squeeze into the parking area!

      Did anyone there happen to find a black glove, sometime after 2:30 pm? I’m sure I put it in the car, but it is not there now :-(. It is a MEC mitt with yellow string at the wrist.

    • Our party were the boot tracks from the BC side… we decided to walk in rather ski given the 6 year olds in tow. We were glad to walk as there is still quite a bit of vehicle traffic down near Elk Lakes cabin and the road is still rocky and too many bushes exposed under the power lines unless you are a strong and brave skier. That being said, the rain and boot packing might help the future track set. Where there was space and not too much post holing we tried to stay off the ski tracks during our return to the Elk Lake parking lot via fox creek. The hydroline is still very icy as previously mentioned but will be much better after a groom. We will look forward to a ski out a little later season with grooming on the Alberta side.

  134. Skied MLR today, -8 when we started at 11:30 from the Lake Louise parking lot, down tram, very rough and not good for beginners. Skiing up MLR the skiing got better and better. Snow is slick from last weeks rain and small amount of fresh snow since then. Some tree debris in track. Luckily we had been advised to use some klister as part of our binder. We encounter several groups of walkers that barely left a mark in the hard packed surface, both were very pleasant and avoiding the track. I think we are going to see an increase in Winter Walkers with Covid and people just wanting to get outside. We did see a group skiing up with dogs as we were descending, wished them a good ski and hope they didn’t get caught. The ski back up tram is arduous to say the least after you have been descending for 30 minutes, made sense why a gentleman was walking up when we originally came down. There were cars taking down the barriers and parking in the lot, even though Parks has a giant electronic sign saying not to. All in all a great first ski with early season conditions.

    Binder: SWIX VG35 with 6 dots of Start Wide Klister mixed in. Wax Swix V40 (Extra Blue) 4 layers

  135. If you were at the Canmore Nordic Center Yesterday or today, you will notice that the guns aren’t running and its was prime snowmaking temperatures. If you’re like me, you just start conjuring all kinds of reasons whey they are not making snow, the unfortunate reality at the moment is that they have encountered an infrastructure problem that has caused the system to shut down, not great timing, i know!
    I have been assured by management that their staff are working as quickly as possible to get things back up and running.
    Thank you for your patience.

  136. Anyone check out West Bragg yesterday? Is it worth driving out from Calgary?

    • As of this evening there was 1 cm of snow at WBC, on top of treacherous ice or frozen dirt. No skiing until there is a significant snowfall.

  137. Did the GDT today to Lake O’HARA and would rate this as mildly acceptable at best and witnessed two wipeouts as evidence. Nothing that a few cm of snow and then grooming couldn’t fix.

  138. Lake O’Hara fire road today. No rocks showing, but the snow and at times ice underneath a skiff or two of loose snow are hardpacked. Only made it to the 9km market as I had a time commitment, but watch for ice in the snowmobile tracks, especially just after the 4km marker; and a tree down (shallow – easy to walk over, but I took my skis off anyways) after the open area after the 5km marker. Not very busy, but as grooming won’t start for a couple months, not unexpected. Beautiful blue sky!

  139. ELK PASS and LOOKOUT from the front door. Norman’s report of fresh powder up high did not disappoint. Ten to 15 cm of fresh on a supportive crust. We should have gone in by the back door though. The slightly icy conditions from the Elk Pass parking lot were impossible to descend the steep parts due to deep ruts from an off-road vehicle and lots of footprints. Soon they will be but a memory though.

    There’s a couple of trees down, but one can squeeze through still. There’s also still a stream crossing coming out towards the front door from Lookout.

  140. Yesterday the Moraine Lake Road and Great Divide were in excellent shape. Lots of friendly people out enjoying the great tracksetting, temperature a few degrees below zero, and just enough fresh snow to make for a most enjoyable day. Recommended!

  141. Can you tell me how far the Backdoor trail head is from the gate on HWY 40 and where the parking lot is?

  142. ELK PASS and LOOKOUT from BackDoor – Nov 7

    Started at 11:15 am, with only one other car at the parking lot. A VR45 day, under low clouds and heavier snow falling as the afternoon unfolded. Conditions to Elk Pass as described by Gord yesterday, with a few water puddles on the bumpy Tyrwhitt Trail. The soft snow in the meadows made for a great glide. Only boots tracks (heading to the Elk Lakes side) from the pass. Soft fresh snow made it easy to control while heading down to the Blueberry Jct picnic table. No sign of any recent traffic up Blueberry Hill. Left the boot packed Elk Pass trail for untouched fresh snow on Paterson. At least 10-15 Cm of fresh snow on Hydroline. After reaching the Fire Lookout site, I was quite pleased to head down in the soft powder.
    A great loop to do, even only one week into November.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/YVXyULEWSU7cBPG37

  143. Great Divide Trail: as an add-on to Charles’ post, we started at the Lake O’Hara end around 10.30 am and the tracks were still decent thanks to the new snow from yesterday but getting thin towards the Lake Louise end with icy stretches. Late-morning the groomers came by and groomed the skate lane (looked good!) then attempted to track-set back in from Lake O’Hara – it seemed like their machines weren’t up to the task of breaking down the ice so the track ended up very shallow, wonky and slippery. As I returned from Lake Louise to Lake O’Hara the groomers went to pack down Lower Telemark so I don’t know if they made another track outbound as I didn’t see them again. -6C at start, around -3C at end; I used twin skins, hubby used VR45.

  144. After the spectacular day yesterday, I returned to the Great Divide Trail this morning at 9 a.m. Air temperature was -10 C but the tracks were pretty worn and icy in spots yesterday so I put a small pocket of VR40 over the VR45 remaining. It worked perfectly. Nice track all the way to the Yoho Road. On the way, I met, Matthew, a fat-biker with cerebral palsy who made me re-think my aversion to these machines on the trails. More on that later…perhaps.

    Chip Scialfa
    Calgary

  145. Elk Pass via Backdoor Update. 11-06-20

    I don’t want to bore anyone by reporting on the same trail again but I was back on Tyrwhitt today, from Backdoor to Elk Pass and back. I was hoping it had snowed a few cms up there and it turned out to be true. There was zero new snow at the PLPP turnoff so I considered turning right and heading to Burstall Pass, but thought I’d drive up to Backdoor to check it out. There was 7cm fresh at the trailhead, 10 cm at the Tyrwhitt high point and 13 cm at Elk Pass. I also found the total snow depth at the top of Tyrwhitt to be 42 cm. It was apparent the base had absorbed a good amount of rain yesterday which should become super tough base for the rest of the season. Temps were hovering around zero all day, with heavy cloud and although the new snow was quite warm, it held up very well. Still some open water, great off-road skiing.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZyvmZRSTdoZFSMFv6

  146. Arrived MLR on a glorious day to discover I could still park on the Lake Louise road and walk through the parking lot. Icy conditions covered by 3 cms of nice fresh snow. No new grooming since last weekend and was not expecting any due to previous day temp. BUT a snowmobile had travelled the full length of MLR with no smoother outer behind machine. These tracks froze in, to totally ruin any chance for skaters. Machine also destroyed some of the classic tracks on the inside turns. Dhhh. Plus a couple of walkers postholing in track and in pole track which also froze in. Hopefully the parks staff will be able to mitigate this damage tomorrow when the crowds arrive. No sign of groomers today – Friday nov 6. @ 1300hrs

    Upper tram line down to MLR will be icy until more snow arrives or aggressive grooming is done.

    • Update from Lake Louise visitors centre. Damage to MLR by a snow machine was cause by a rescue call. Stopped by today (nov 7) and from the trailhead, grooming appears to have returned snow surface to normal. Two tracks up, one down and groomed skate lane. Yahoo.

  147. Catherine and Ian

    We arrived at a lazy 3pm start at The Great Divide trailhead. It had been a warm day, about 7 degrees, but the tracks were still very skiable. Snow was crusty/slushy in some spots but not too bad, definitely way nicer than I expected. Great early season ski!

  148. My dad and I decided to take a chance on MLR this morning, and we were so glad we did! We started out at about 10:45 this morning, and the car said it was around 6°. We weren’t sure what kind of tracks we would get, but they were way better than expected! My grip was fantastic on my skins, and my dad‘s grip was slightly less fantastic but still OK on his fishscales. The snow was softer at the top of the hill at the 6K mark, but overall the snow felt fast and we made it to the end and back in record time.

  149. Great Divide Trail, Monday November 2nd- tracks are intact but crusty and icy. Still made for fun skiing on such a beautiful day. Had the trail mostly to ourselves other than one or two others.

  150. Elk Pass – Lookout Loop from Backdoor. Nov 2-20
    I’ve been watching for reports from PLPP but haven’t seen anything in over a week, so I thought I’d check it out. I parked at the Backdoor entry to Tyrwhitt off Hwy 40. Snow coverage is still very good, up to 30cm at higher elevations. The day began cloudy and zero degrees. Nothing is groomed of course, but I was pleasantly surprised to find 4cm of dry powder on top of a firm base. Tyrwhitt was a bit rough in places, many dips and bumps, some open water but no need to remove skis. I skied to Elk Pass then down to the Blueberry Hill Intersection where the sun finally appeared. From there the snow became very sticky, just right for climbing. I continued up Patterson to the Hydro Line, down to the Lookout Trail, up to the Lookout and back to the trailhead from there. I was skiing on Rossignol 90mm Backcountry waxless skis which were just about perfect for this little excursion. I had skins with me, but didn’t need them.

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1DNFUFXSTra7rjMnJQPlFgGixhdSUaohM?usp=sharing

  151. Great Divide Trail Sunday, Nov. 1st: started skate skiing from the parking lot by 10 am (new time) at -1C. The snow surface was crusty and bumpy, so double poling in the tracks was easier. The downhill to the divide was less bumpy and quite controllable in a good track and no ice. Snow surface was much smoother for the rest of the way to the Lake O’Hara end. Lots of cars parked there. Snow was still crusty on the return which made for wobbly skate skiing. Beautiful views and sunshine. Last year my first ski at Lake Louise was on November 9th, so this is quite a bonus to be able to ski in October and that early in November.

  152. The tracks on the Great Divide on Sat were quite icy although it did improve a bit after a few km. The rain on Fri left a crispy crust on all the snow. It was still a decent ski on skin skis and a beautiful day.

  153. Skiing the Moraine Lake Road today was a complete pleasure; cold enough to make waxing easy, warm enough to be completely comfortable lunching at the lake. The track is great; well defined, firm, and very fast. Uphill, downhill, stopped and chatting – today it was ALL good. Highly recommended!

  154. Mt Shark Watridge Lake Tr
    Some skidoo packing appears to have been done on all trails we saw. WL Trail gravelly and rocky in sections, improving the farther out you go. Most users were hiking today. A skiff of fresh over sun/rain affected crust. Rock skis, skate or classic recommended. Significant new snow needed before additional grooming or track setting can be done.
    Would advise watching your speed approaching the bottom of the Watridge Lake access hill. Rocky and roots at the end, lake ice also questionable.

  155. Moraine Lake Road
    There were many more people skiing MLR today than two weeks ago. The parking lot was full at 10am. Conditions improved and were great. Just some ice glaze in the tracks in the afternoon on the lower 2 km (down from Paradise Creek parking). Otherwise the whole path is complete awesomeness.

  156. WBC ice-o-rama this early am but was expecting so prepared. Spent couple hrs double-poling laps on crystalines and parts of mountain rd on old fishscales. Track varietied b/w transformed glazed snow, clear ice and puddles with plenty of boot divots rendering skating not a safe option either. Go hiking elsewhere this weekend pls (a dryer Sheep Valley is a good option).

  157. We decided on MLR and it was the best. Newly trackset and good snow. A nice guy from czech and working at whistler and another guy skier set down to the lake. Thank-you. I am hoping the snow holds or we get more dumps. Anyway watch out for gremlins on the trails. Happy halloween.

  158. I found a pair or Rossi poles in the middle lot at CNC at 8pm Oct 29. One white shaft and one black. I left them outside the Bill Warren front doors.

  159. Another great day on the Moraine Lake road. It was an in-auspicious start, with rain on the highway and warm temps. But conditions were great on the road – particularly because the wonderful groomer was just starting as we drove in! So we had nice clean tracks both up and down. We were both on skin skis which worked well. Likely about 2 – 3 degrees today. And yes, the parking lot was still open.

  160. Lake Louise – Great Divide Oct 29 am

    Thank goodness for my Fischer twin skis – they saved my bacon again today! About 4-5 cms new on a reasonable track but very slow with the wet new snow! Made it to the top of the hill down to the Great Divide Arch and back. Very few people out. Temp around 0 – +2C. Then heard from a little birdey later in the afternoon that the 1A was being rolled for skating and then tracksetting.

    Stopped briefly at MLR this am – yes the parking lot was still open – and grooming was just beginning there so everything should be good for tomorrow unless it snows too much on top of the tracks tonight and/or it gets too warm tomorrow.

  161. A Groomer Named Sue

    The snow came real early around here,

    I rode in on my groomer and the skiers let out a big cheer!

    But then came a chinook,

    And the snow was all took.

    Now they’re kickin’ and a gougin’ in the mud and the blood and the beer.

  162. Tale from some not-too-intrepid skiers.

    First ski of the season -can cause us big stress
    Self doubt runs rampant -our minds are a mess.

    We’d been thinking about it -for a week, maybe two
    Winter was here now -so what will we do?

    I asked of Gazelle -“do you want to go?”
    She paused but a moment -her answer was “NO!”

    She saw in her mind -scenes of despair
    Backsliding downhill -both skis in the air

    And hearing again -that gut wrenching sound
    Of “my little soft body -smashing to ground”

    I knew what she meant -cause I’d felt it too
    Several times on the trails-I’ve been black and blue

    So our plan for the day -we’ll go for a HIKE !
    Moose Mountain’s a place -we both claim to like

    We met with “Our Keener” -she was up for the task
    “You can ride in our car -but you must wear your mask”

    The road to the trailhead -was icy as hell
    But our little car -managed quite well

    We started on soft snow -like walking in sand
    That made it much harder -than what we had planned

    We finally got there -I mean out of the trees
    The wind was now hellish -no longer a breeze

    We attacked the false summit -post holing some snow
    we sent OK ahead -“the Keener should go”

    The wind was so strong now -it nearly undressed us
    We got up the false one -then turned back to our bus

    OK kept going – she got close to the shack
    But the trail disappeared -and she had to turn back

    Our day overall -was a little insane
    We’ll rethink ’bout skiing -ere we set out again.

  163. Anyone know conditions now at plpp as thinking of this tomorrow thursday?

    • Hopefully someone reports today. No first hand info myself, but both of the Kananaskis snow stations at highwood pass and mud lake on the smith dorrien had temps just above zero today (both higher than the Hwy 40 access point). You can access this reasonably live info, plus snow depth/fresh snow, via the Avalanche Canada web site. Zoom in on the map and click on the little black weather station icons.

  164. Great Divide /1A Arrived 10;00 AM TCH was scary, black ice.
    5cm new -3C Skintecs
    Waxing appeared problematic. Our skintecs and waxless iced up slightly,causing drag.
    Tracks were OK close to the parking lot but at around 1/2 way to Divide arch tracks became skier tracked, rattley but with a firm base. Not sure if there ever was tracks out to the end as we couldn’t find any trace of tracks
    Skaters had is good. Great glide with a firm base.

  165. Moraine Lake Road – Oct 28

    After reading Chuck’s comment that MLR was better than the 1A/Great Divide yesterday, we changed our plan from 1A to MLR (thanks Chuck!) and it was very good. 2 cms new at bottom, about 3-4 cms at top made for silky tracks which are holding up well in spite of no new grooming, if a little slow. I decided not to risk a wax nightmare with the forecast warm temps by using my skin techs which worked really well (I overheard someone saying they were clumping up with wax), meanwhile Peter skated. Temp at start -3C, 0C at end.

    No sign of the parking lot being closed, in fact, a Parks employee didn’t know when it would happen, and she thought it was supposed to be today.

    Also, we mentioned to the Visitor Centre that there is currently no warning sign of avalanche issues at the end of the grooming, from the lookout down to the lake. Apparently they don’t usually put up a sign till November. However, even though the base isn’t all that deep yet, there is still risk, and people should be made aware of that.

    Lots of walkers again but fortunately not in the tracks.

  166. MORAINE LAKE ROAD, TRAMLINE & GREAT DIVIDE – Oct 27

    What a social occasion… everyone knew where to ski today!
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/DrQNgW1LDwS2bv3y9
    MLR is better than the GD because it is higher with more snow and less prevailing wind.

  167. Yoho Valley Road (-5/6 to start and -2 to finish). Set a nice skier track c friend Mary to about 2 kms above the switchbacks. First km. seemed a bit thin but improved greatly after Cathedral Lodge and campground. Very little wind despite warnings of 40-60 kph. Saw a few people driving in to the parking lot. When we asked two gals where they were headed, they said to the Falls. They left once they we told the total distance and avalanche risk. Chuck, trail broken to kms 7.5! Snowing extremely lightly and were amazed how temps were colder on Field side of Divide.

  168. Spring conditions at WBC today. Moose loop and mountain view west were the softest, despite being the first trails I took this morning. Mountain road and Elbow had colder snow and were in much better shape. Iron springs was absolutely cooking in the sun when I finished off around noon. I skied on VR65 and it kinda worked in most places, but there were some spots where it was too slick.

  169. West Bragg Creek
    Todays tour included Mountain View West and Moose Loop. As others have noted, the new re-routes on Mountain View West are a nice improvement, as they have replaced a couple of the chronic sun/wind problem areas with very enjoyable sections of new trail. As well, then new wide bridge and re-graded approaches at the north end of Moose Loop are wonderful. If you’re wondering what happened to the skinny bridge that used to cross that stream… it got moved onto the upgraded Tom Snow trail nearby. Tom Snow and the Moose single-track trail that it connects to are not designated ski trails, but they offer a “Fox Creek” alternative, if you don’t mind a bit of trail breaking.
    https://www.braggcreektrails.org/trail-maps/
    A chinook started blowing in during the late afternoon, so that may be it for the October bonus ski season at WBC.

  170. Ribbon Creek

    We decided to check out the trails from the Kananaskis Village parking lot this morning. There was less snow than I had hoped, but still had a pleasant ski. The snow was about -7C at 10 am and a chilly wind blowing. We stuck to “bunny slopes” due to lack of snow, skied up Terrace and Kovach to the junction with Link and back. Some packing of trails has been done, and even a bit of grooming. There are early season hazards like grass and bits of dirt and rocks, plenty of foot traffic and a few ski tracks. Just below the jct with Link it looked like some deadfall had been cleared but debris still on the trail, so we moved a few twigs.
    Not bad for October! Hopefully the packed snow will stay and provide a decent base for future snowfalls.

  171. Wow what a start to the season! Went to WBC today, arrived just before 2pm. Snow was soft in some places but overall it was fantastic. Nice and warm, sat on the bench on Mountain Road getting some much needed Vitamin D. My boots gave me a blister and some under foot pain (new from last year), any suggestions to stop this much appreciated!

    • Sophie, I use kinesiology tape on my heels to prevent blisters. Seems to work. You can get it at good pharmacies like Kenron near Foothills hospital. Any medical supply pharmacy.

  172. Arrived at WBC at 10:30 thinking I need another day given the forecast. Not sure what I would find after the hordes had their day yesterday so what a surprise to find it was just great. Did Mtn View Rd to West Moose all the way around then Moose connector to Crystalline to the parking lot. Pure Joy it was WBC Groomers at great. Lots of over joyed people all thinking DEFEND ALBERTA PARKS (can you eviscerate PLPP and still call call yourself an Albertan?) Definitely a double donation day.

  173. At K Village today Terrace/Lower Kovach/Aspen was pretty sketchy conditions with thin coverage and a few rocks.

  174. WBC + a huge Skiers Hug to the parking lot angels Amy & friend

    Pretty perfect conditions this morning upon arrival around 10 am to a temp of -6. Did the south side trails before they softened up too much. What a glorious ski in October!
    I also must sincerely thank Amy & friend (sorry not to get your name) as I had car issues and they graciously helped me out. And a thank you to the gentleman who picked up a hitch-hiking skier by the side of the road and drove me back to my car – who is now aware of SkierBob’s most excellent website! Skiers & fat bikers are truly the best people!

  175. MORAINE LAKE – Oct 26

    As Alaric said, tracks are firm and fast… and today a little warmer with -8 to start and -2 to end… Perfection complete!
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/qXCnEih4KTCx71Vi6
    And yes, Thanks to Parks Canada for the amazing early tracksetting this year.

    • I’ll chip in here too, with a definite “recommended” for MLR. Skied it today with Kerrie and Fran and we were all very happy to find mid-season snow and track quality so early in the year. We had a few (very few) touches of pole-tips to road surface, at the edges where the snow is not fully compacted. Otherwise, great skiing.

      BTW: we picked up a black MEC thermos bottle today, beside the trail near the top. Mail me at the address below to claim it.

    • Chuck, what is the parking at MLR like these days?

      • Hi Lisa,
        Today may have been the last day to park at the MLR parking lot as they are planning to install a new electronic gate to facilitate management of summer access.
        Normally the parking lot overflows onto the road on the weekends, but is relatively quiet on weekdays.
        If inaccessible, the best option is to park up at Lake Louise, and connect via the Tramline.

  176. Definitely great minds! Krazy Kazzy (new nickname) says she had a great time again today (and first day of the season for us last Friday) – she just loves running off leash bounding in and out of the trees and bushes following various scents! Kudos to the GBCTA for the great grooming, new bridges and trail rerouting.

  177. Another shout out for WBC, Jip and I enjoyed a glorious ski around Moose and Mountain View * this morning, WOW, talk about trail transformation. Amazing conditions, the snow was a little cooler than I had waxed for but that’s no bad thing considering the current weather forecast, let’s hope it’s wrong. Also had the pleasure of skiing and chat with Eric Lloyd (Director (Special Projects Lead) & Treasurer) for a short distance, learnt a lot more about the GBCTA and heard delivery of their Snow Rabbit is imminent, apparently its capable track setting on a single pass as well as snow sculpting with its multi direction front blade, grooming game changer! https://www.braggcreektrails.org/winter-is-coming-lets-get-grooming/ Also meet up with Krazy and humans at about the same spot on Mountain View West as last season, great minds?

  178. PLPP Oct 25
    Skied PLPP via the “backdoor” today on waxless light touring skis. -13C on arrival at 1200, up to -8C during the day, and down to -11C on departure at 1715. Did a loop of Pocaterra, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, Moraine, Packers, and back up Pocaterra. I had expected lots of people, but we only saw about half a dozen all day. Of special note, there seems to be some Ninja machine packing going on, if not actual grooming. Elk Pass trail was well packed from edge to edge, with machine tracks visible along each edge. There were faint snowmobile tracks on Fox Creek and Moraine, and at least a couple of tracks on Pocaterra as well. Tyrwhitt had an excellent single skier track through the meadows. Beyond the meadows, the trail was well-packed full width up to Elk Pass. Along the Elk Pass trail to Fox Creek, the trail had evidence of lots of skier and hiker traffic, but the entire width of the trail was so well packed that boot prints hardly made a dent on the surface. Not much in the way of a well-defined skier-trackset trail though. Fox Creek had an excellent skier track over a hard base, and was in about the best condition I’ve ever seen it. Moraine was similar, although the snow depth decreased as we approached the Boulton area, where it was down to about 10cm off-trail, compared to 40-50cm further south. The bottom of Packers had a pair of snowshoe tracks which soon turned back, and we continued on breaking trail as perhaps the first visitors there this winter. There was one large tree down, a couple of bridges that we had to step up onto and down off of, and several thin areas near creeks that were easy to get around. I wouldn’t advise going downhill on Packers until there’s quite a bit more snow. Yet another great day!

  179. Skied Backdoor totday, Highwood pass , not much new snow, but plenty for a good ski no rocks, a few trees down . skied to and down Hydro line, and then returned back up Lookout. We had to take skis off to cross one creek after leaving Hydroline heading up lookout. a 2 foot water section. .
    We were a group of 4, skiing was great skier set, The down hill coming of lookout a bit of a challenge, plenty of snow shoe tracks .no grooming yet so a bit of a challenge to keep the speed down .

    Interesting part to the morning was a set of large Bear tracks coming off the highway down onto the Backdoor trail , we followed them until they turned up Lookout, we went along the Trywit to hydroline.

    Be aware the bears are still out there.

  180. Sunset Ski at WBC. I showed up late in the day and had a beautiful evening ski. It must have been a busy day, judging by all the cars that were exiting the parking lot as I drove in. The temperature was a very comfortable -3°C to start and about -6°C when I finished. I skied Mountain View and Moose Loop (clockwise) and the snow was still great, despite all the heavy use. I watched the sun go down and the western sky turning into a delicate palette of pink and mauve. At the top of the last hill, I paused for a few moments to listen to the nearby creek rushing by. It felt like I had the whole place to myself.

  181. West Bragg again- I skied up Demi-Tel and then along Long Distance to the viewpoint at the high point of the trail just past Disconnect with NNNBC gear. Very good snow with a few rocks. Demi-Tel is massively chewed up by walker traffic and hasn’t been groomed for a few days (neither has Hostel) but is fine with the wider skis. I went around the core trails for a little bit after and conditions are excellent – like February if we’re lucky.

    • Please remember that DemiTel is an all-season multi-user trail. It is NOT a designated ski trail… ever. When conditions are good, feel free to enjoy the skiing. But just expect all sorts of traffic on that trail.

    • With good snow cover and a more packed base, try continuing north on Long Distance, and closing a loop on whatever leg of Telephone suits your fancy. I did that several times last year on nnn-bc gear. Very enjoyable if you are used to a bit of off-the-groomed-trail travel! It would be a bit of an advantage to be familiar with Long Distance from summer mountain biking, as there are a couple of sharper downhill corners, but mostly it is a long easygoing descent to Telephone, providing there is enough snow. Another great option is to do most of Telephone CCW, then go up Re-connect and down Demi-tel etc back to the trailhead. I was lucky enough to find Demi-tel in really good untrampled shape the two times that I skied it last season, making for a fun fast descent.

  182. Telephone Loop and others

    As part of a longer ski trip today, on track skis, just have these observations on the loop. Great snow coverage everywhere but rather rough on skinny skis and chopped off by hikers until the junction with Long Distance. Then the next 4 km are nicely skier tracked, followed by 2.5 km of heavily hiked and byked section until the Moose Loop is intersected (12.7 km from the parking lot). Not complaining here, just giving the info to those who want to ski the entire loop. Felt great end the loop and enter the very nice mid-winter x-c conditions for other trails, 2 months BEFORE XMAS. A great day for all, skiing, hiking, snowshoeing or byking.

  183. Pinch me, I must be dreaming! Our little group enjoyed a perfect day of midwinter skiing today, on the Moose-Mountainviews west and east loop. Is it really only October? Of special interest was the new route bypassing the two former trouble spots on MV west. Kudos- it should hold the snow much better, and adds a little more spice to the trail.
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/MountainviewOctober25/

  184. Toodled over to West Bragg around 1:30 pm.

    Circled around the lot with the masses for a while and ultimately decided to drop the wife off so she could ski.

    I went back and shoveled off the roof.

    All in all, a pretty good day.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/C8otoMX3HkKCbDnm6

  185. Due to prior commitments (& who’d’ve guessed 1.5 weeks ago we’d have XC choices!) skied Frozen Thunder this afternoon. Sadly they’ve not had the snowfall Bragg & LL have had these past few days, but the grooming was stellar. Arrived at noon to a hardpack that eased up a bit over the next couple of hours (likely due to recreational skiers like me snowplowing hard, as we remember how this all works). Great first ski of the season!

  186. Moraine Lake Road

    As good as I have ever seen it! The tracks were firm and fast. -22 at 10am, but up to -12 by 12:30 when we finished. Huge thanks to Parks Canada for the amazing grooming.

    Too bad our Provincial Government does not seem interested in trails (not to take anything away from the team at the Canmore Nordic Centre who do a great job when they have staff). End of political rant – sorry!

    • I popped into the Norseman post-ski to fix a pole, and apparently they are so swamped they’re booking ski fittings. Glad to have more people take up the sport, but where will we all be xc skiing this year if there’s half? the amount of groomed trails – within driving distance – compared to last year? *sigh*

      • I too was on Great Divide (GD) this afternoon but skied from 2-5 pm. As Erika alluded above, yes, it will be very crowded x-c skiing this season, and it is going to come down to securing a parking place! If they put up signs that people cannot park on Lake Louise Road going up to the Chateau, then there will be very few places to park at either MLR or GD. Once the sled dogs re-commence their season, that lot at GD will get full very quickly. Due to Covid, car-pooling is being discouraged so that means maybe only 1-2 people per car. As Bob suggested, the upper parking lot will be the saving grace. Even the O’Hara end of the GD has very limited parking. I can see myself leaving Canmore by 8am or planning to arrive at 1pm. There is nothing like a first workout on the Great Divide to pull every muscle in one’s groin!

  187. Great Divide was sunny, fast and fairly busy. Still some roots sticking up but overall good coverage for pre-Halloween!

  188. Maple Ridge golf course. Reasonable conditions, a thin base in some areas. No problems from grouchy neighbours, as mentioned in a previous report, although I have experienced that before. (Even when the course was fully open for skiing). Bring on the snow!

  189. Knee Jerk and the Eye Twit

    South Glenmore Park. Wow. Busy. Despite no grooming, 20+ people skiing the grassy loop betwixt the two parking lots at 2pm today. Yesterday was almost as busy and covered the whole gamut – from dirtbaggers with pie eating grins to conspicuous consumers with furrowed brows. Takes all kinds. Need new city-iot terrain to explore? Slide behind the new Enmax power station, follow the fence line 100m to duck through a hole and get out into the meadows. Lots of deer in there today and new ring-road din is really not that bad. Mostly settled snow over long grass and thistle patches – no rocks at all.

  190. West Bragg Creek. Arrived at 11:30 and still found parking. It was -13 when we started. By the time we finished it was -3 and the parking lot was at capacity. Cars parked all up and down the road, a dozen parked by East Crystal, and every possible space filled with a vehicle. Cars were circling the lot waiting for people to leave.

    It was so great to see so many happy skiers, bikers, and hikers, but I hate to think this could become the norm for busyness if there’s no grooming in Kananaskis this winter.

    We skied Sundog, Iron Springs, and Elbow. Fantastic conditions.

  191. WBC had much better conditions than expected and certainly the best I’ve ever had for my first ski of the year. It was a very chilly -22C when I arrived this morning and already noticed that too people are social distance PARKING. Folks… just cos there’s snow on the ground and you can’t see the lines doesn’t suddenly mean parking 5’ apart. Please be considerate so more users get to share the enjoyment. By 1230 when I left the lot was full and people were driving back down the road looking for shoulder parking. There was a constant stream of soon-to-be-frustrated and disappointed drivers coming in as well. Hopefully it worked out?

  192. Great Divide! October 24, 2020 – started at the Lake O’Hara end! Not track set yet, but enough skiers have been that there is a great “track”! Some small sticks bushes still aren’t covered but amazing snow and conditions for this early in the season! Lots of skiers out, mostly Nordic as it wasn’t hard packed groomed for Skaters just yet!!

    Thanks for the first-hand report. The trail report for Lake Louise now indicates the Great Divide has been groomed and trackset. -Bob

  193. West Bragg Creek
    As noted by lots of others, the conditions on the groomed ski trails was like mid-winter. In fact, there are plenty of times in the winter when a chinook or a snow drought means that conditions are not this good.
    As is my habit, I mixed up the groomed snow skiing with a bit of a side trip on Tom Snow and West Meadow Horse Trail. https://photos.app.goo.gl/vdn8Ldzx4Tv2J9sSA

  194. I skied the the Maple Ridge Golf Course tonight (Sat) and had an interesting experience. Snow conditions are pretty good for the golf course, not track set yet.

    However the locks on the golf course parking lot were pinned shut instead of the usual chain that you just squeezed through. Not to be deterred we checked the other gates and the same thing, there were pinned or chained to tight to get in. It was clear other had skied there before.

    As we were looking at the gates a grouchy neighbour said we couldn’t ski there and he would call the police. We ignored him. We checked around the fence eventually find a gap in the fence to go through.

    We were skiing about 10 minutes when the cops shined their spotlight on us and said we were tresspresing. They told us that the owners of the gold course had us on camera and we were trespassing. After some discussion about the sign on the front of the gate that says “Skiers and Snowshoers please keep off greens and tee boxes” and how the city website says this is a place you can ski, and how there are no hours of operation posted and how squeezing through the fence was how you always got in the officers let’s us finish our lap. I’m pretty sure it was nosy neighbor and not the city that called the police but can’t be certain.

    I looked at the city website to see if there were any hour limitations or changes to maple ridge and couldn’t find any. Did anything change with Maple Ridge this year? I am planning to call 311 tomorrow to find out what’s going on there but a heads up for anyone going out tomorrow to follow the tracks to find the gap in the fence.

    • Oh, I sure hope they aren’t closing it to skiers! Please post again if you find out anything more. Mapleridge is my go-to local spot.

      • I talked to 311.

        Golf course is open to skiing, they didn’t say if they would be changing access into it though so more people may need to call 311 to get that fixed. Right now the whole in the fence in the ally is the best access.

        If the neighbour in the White House on the corner tells you it’s trespassing or closed he is not correct.

        • Another Maple Ridge update

          I was in the neighbourhood so stopped by the golf course and they added a temporary paper sign to indicate that the golf course is closed until winter maintenance is done. The hole in the fence is also now fixed.

          So not sure why I got a different answer from 311 but at least it is clear now. Hopefully they do the work they need to before the next snow dump.

  195. YES ! the 1A was track set Friday afternoon according to a friend that was there! it did not show up on the trail report even last night! parks is still very short of staff don’t think it’s changed since Covid came through.
    The tracks were good enough and lot less people than at MLR. amazing turnout considering it was 19 at 11 am.
    track goes all the way to the end past the great divide. A few plants showing but easy to avoid- I used vr 30 which didn’t work very well. But then it was my first time on wax skis

  196. West Bragg Creek-I went around Moose Loop and some of the core trails. Amazing conditions considering it’s only just past Christmas! Very soft from the very fresh tracksetting. I also went up Demi-Tel, which had a few inches of powder over the packed base and a skier-set track.

  197. One of the great things about nordic skiing is that it can be done pretty much anywhere, with a relatively small amount of snow. With more than enough on the ground in Calgary, today seemed perfect for my usual xc ski tour from home in Silver Springs. And…it was!
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/UrbanSki-October24/

  198. MORAINE LAKE ROAD TRACKSET – Oct 24

    Parks tracksetter Andrew repaired all the damage and set awesome tracks this morning.
    Details in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/bkRTkW7hd6nzgeUf6
    No wonder the ski teams came… they like natural snow too!

  199. Huge Smiles at WBC,
    Jamie and I skied East Crystal, across to Logger’s Loop, down the fun West Crystal, Mountain View, Mountain Road, Mountain View West, along the south side of Moose Loop, Moose Connector and returned via West Crystal. The snow conditions are rather fantastic for this time of year, with the occasional rough spot. All we felt was gratitude for the early trails. We encountered plenty of big smiles. The temperature held steady around -14C with no wind. The trees are laden with snow.

  200. Skied MLR this afternoon. Good coverage but skier set track only and the grooming was chewed up by a vehicle driven up to the lake today. Apparently the lodge owners needed to go in there. Hopefully this will not be a recurring issue…

  201. I didn’t have time to go out of town, so settled for skiing through my local big park spaces this evening. It was lovely and quiet under the gentle white glow of a city night under snow.

  202. Seven Rocky Mountain Ramblers explored some of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park today. We started from the Kananaskis Lookout (and Mt Roberta) trailhead on Hwy 40 (8.9 km south of the PLPP turnoff).

    We skied across to Pocaterra and up the last bit of it, the full length of Tyrwhit to Elk Pass, down Hydroline to Lookout, up Lookout to the fire lookout and down to the Pocaterra/Whiskyjack junction, and back to the cars (18km).

    The snow was amazingly good, a full foot of snow that was heavy enough to barely, if at all, hit any rocks. But light enough to make for easy trail breaking except for the steepest bits. We broke trail for almost all of Tyrwhit and most of the way up Lookout. Other sections have seen some traffic, largely snowshoes, but also some skiers a day or two ago. Hydroline had been travelled by snowmobile. There were a few obstacles: a couple of trees across the trail on Tyrwhit, several slightly tricky wet spot crossings also on Tyrwhit, and one spot (the low point of Lookout) where we took skis off to cross the creek. The temperature was pretty steady at around -12. We did have and used skins (mostly short kick-zone ones) for the steep climb up the south slope of Lookout.

  203. Fabulous day at WBC, snow was perfect and no wind in the woods. Took Sundog, Loggers loop and west crystal – tracks were decent and trails were quiet. Best October ski ever!!

  204. As others today, had a great early season ski at West Bragg Creek – East Crystal Line, Sun Dog, Loggers, Moose Connector, Mountain Road, Mountain Road West, West Crystal Line.

  205. Trip reporters, please bear in mind that this may be too much excitement too early for those of us with bad hearts.

  206. WBC – skied Sundog, Elbow, Irons Springs and East Crystal Line this morning. Landscape is gorgeous with all the snow on the trees, it was wonderful to be out skiing. Very quiet route, no skiers on Iron Springs, snow was soft, no difficulties at all, downhills were super fun.

  207. Like many others here, I took advantage of (way) early season conditions and grooming at WBC today. Skied West Crystal line, Loggers, Sundog, and East Crystal. A few twigs sticking up through the track and a couple of iced over slush where you’d normally see ice flows, but otherwise ethereal. Still think I may be dreaming.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/jnKAoXfvBtBT5tW37

  208. We returned to West Bragg this morning and skied West Crystal, Moose Connector, Moose Loop, Mountain Road and Mountainview. All trackset and in good early season shape, with a few minor thin, rough or wet spots. Fun skiing in soft snow, on a wintery day! The only issue was near the east end of Middle West Crystal- two easily crossed little bits of open water, and some ice. The new Moose loop bridge was much appreciated by Piper and Jo:
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/SkiPix2021/i-6cCXWHj/A

  209. West Bragg Creek… In February?? I kept having to remind myself that it is still October as I enjoyed every second of West Crystal Line, East Crystal Line, Loggers, and a little bit of Mountain Road. What a treat to have tracks on natural snow…happy birthday to me! 🙂

  210. Anyone know who grooms Bill Milne trail? K Village or ex-Prov parks?

  211. West Crystal / Loggers / Elbow – Iron Springs short loop / West Sundog. Conditions are really good. Grooming on Elbow – Iron Springs was taking place this afternoon. Currently only the short loop is groomed. There are a few skier tracks south of there but that would be “back country” for now.

  212. I had a lovely ski around Sundog and Loggers at West Bragg Creek this afternoon. Everything had been groomed and trackset, and there was fresh corduroy on Sundog as we finished up.

    Earliest I’ve ever skies groomed trails and the snow was fantastic! No rocks or grass showing. Could have been February!

    Some of the steep hills are still a little rough so take it slow. Lots of rollers, bumps, and uneven spots. Truly though it was quite spectacular for October.

    If you’re going out tomorrow dress warm! It was very chilly and my legs were frozen after an hour.

  213. A little late submitting this, but better late than never, I never say. Anyhow, headed to Sandy McNabb yesterday for a lovely, first ski of the year, adventure. There were some tracks there (JeremyN’s, I think) but otherwise, no sign that other humans even exist. As Jeremy said, beautiful, serene, but I must say, somewhat treacherous. We began about 10:30 and stuck to Loggers Loop and Meadow Connector as opposed to tackling hills on opposite side of highway. Eyes were on the trail at all times as lots of debris that had just enough snow covering to make it difficult to see but you sure noticed if you hit it. A little more snow (today, I believe) will rectify the smaller stuff but you do have to be on your toes. Still, a great day which will be even better with more snow but a little maintenance would be wonderful and safer. Sandy is not groomed regularly during a good year and expect even less this year, but still a little treasure that is close to home.

    • Thank you for the report Sheila, we often ski at Sandy and will head out there soon. I think we will avoid the north side for now, we hiked there a few weeks ago and noted a lot of hazards on the trail. It is too bad it is not maintained, we love the place.

      • Hi, M&J, just thought I should update my last report as we were out at Sandy again and this time did Campers. I know we have lots of snow now, but comparing Campers yesterday afternoon to the day before when we did Loggers was quite a difference. Campers did not have near the hazards that Loggers did and, although there were a few trees down and crossing trail, they were very visible and easy to climb over. Today should be even better and Campers will be perfect for our 4 year old grandson who will be introduced to x-country skiing for the first time. On a funny note, well to me it was, we came across two gentlemen on snowshoe and one was carrying a toboggan! Yippee!! Always on the lookout for fun places to take the grandkids sledding, it was on the tip, the very tip of my tongue to ask where they were going. Lucky my blonde hair was tucked up inside my hat as opposed to bouncing on both shoulders as I then noticed, before it was too late, that the other gentleman was carrying the guns. Lucky day for the deer at Sandy as I did not hear any shots during the rest of the trip.

  214. West Bragg Creek
    I arrived at West Bragg Creek with my ski touring gear, so although most of the trails had been roller-packed or track set, I opted to go on routes where I could break my own trail. Snowshoe Hare is the first snowshoe trail that the Greater Bragg Creek constructed, back in 2010. It’s a very popular snowshoe trail, but is also makes a nice “backcountry” ski tour… especially when there is lots of fresh snow. We started on east Snowshoe Hare, which took us to the far end of Hostel Meadow to the site of the old Youth Hostel that burned down in the early 1980’s. Just past there, we took Old Hostel Road down to Bragg Creek. An industrious beaver family has constructed a massive dam across the creek right where the old bridge used to be. We skied right across the dam and followed Old Hostel Road up to the east boundary of Kananaskis Country. After returning to Snowshoe Hare, we continued around to Fisher Link. This short 150m connector takes crosses Hostel Loop XC trail and connects to east Telephone. It’s intended to make it possible to do a short snowshoe loop, without travelling on Hostel. A short detour on Hostel took us back to Snowshoe Hare.
    Snowshoe Hare had been roller-packed between the DemiTel and Hostel junction, but from there it was back to breaking trail back to the parking lot. Amazing conditions for October!
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/6txj9RbZdrkG3oxJA

  215. 1A at LL today: no new grooming, wobbly skier set tracks, but great to be skiing here in October! A few thin spots with pavement threatening, but easy to avoid. Bit of crustiness below a few cms of loose snow. We’ve all seen the dog sleds here, but today for the first time saw … horses! It’s end of season for guided horse rides. Coming uphill (eastbound) guide and two customers turned off on Telemark, hoofprints didn’t hurt much. Air temp -10, my companions’ skin skis worked fine, as did a mix of Swix VR30 and Rode Multigrade on my waxables. Only 3 cars in parking lot at 10:30 am, a dozen when we left … that will change on the weekend.

  216. Adding on the the other WBC reports, I skied Sundog-Elbow-Iron Springs this afternoon, finding good-very good ski conditions (especially for October!) on a consistent roller packed base, with decent skier tracks. No real issues anywhere, even on the hills. Two horses had been on the short section of Iron Springs between Iron Creek and the south end of Boundary Ridge, pitting it up a bit, but thankfully the riders made an obvious effort to stay to the sides. That in itself was a great way to kick off my ski season, but wait- it gets better! Back on Sundog- I found pristine new track setting which I followed around East and West Crystal, and Loggers. Superb, with the caveat that there are still a few short wet spots, and some minor inconsistencies in the grooming. But then-it’s only October! A few pix, below:
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/FirstSki2020-21/

  217. Red Earth – Anyone skied Red Earth creek yet or know about the conditions?
    Thanks

    • Looking at my log of the last 12 years, I have usually hit Redearth Dec 8/8th or mid December. With Alpine Club of Canada having taken over Shadow Lake Lodge, I am not sure who is doing the grooming, but it is generally not that great until mid December. Having said that, I am rather fussy about the conditions on Redearth that I ski in.

  218. Nice day at MLR today. There was a skiff of fresh snow over yesterday’s skier-set tracks. Some walkers walked right in the track for the first km before moving to the side, but the snow was solid enough that there wasn’t any damage. I skied on V40 and it worked well.

  219. West Bragg Creek: Mountain Road – Mountain View – West Crystal

    Mountain Road was being groomed as I skied, Mountain View had some skier and a bit of horse tracks, West Crystal was superb! Very quiet today, winter wonderland, marred only by the freak accident in the parking lot. I do hope that horse is all right!

  220. Oct 22, West Bragg Creek

    Light snow and -9c this morning. Almost no wind. Soft slightly sticky/icy flakes.

    Followed the grooming up Telephone and Snowshoe to Demi-Tel. Grooming ended at Long Distance intersection.

    Good travel on vintage blue swix (circa 1995?). I had to enlarge the wax pocket quite a bit and my glide probably suffered for it. Still good travel.

    I am glad I didn’t chirp at the hikers for post holing the lovely grooming on Snowshoe and Demi Tel. Apparently I was the one poaching.

    Gorgeous day skiing without the wind. The boughs were heavily loaded and some wind will be dropping bombs.

  221. Thu oct 22: Kananaskis fire lookout (via Hwy 40).
    Base has improved along pocaterra and up the lookout with some colder temps, a bit more snow and with the skidoo tracks to the whiskey jack junction. Somebody left their CC ski poles at the parking lot (yellow baskets). Almost ran over them so stuffed them in the snow bank by the stop sign. 5 inches of new snow on the whiskey jack table. Thought I’d try the south side via tyrwhitt to elk pass and hydroline. Only made it about a km up tyrwhitt when encountering open water with rough terrain and a downed tree. Figured there would be more in the meadows so back I went and up the north side to the lookout. Better travel than last weekend, especially the down, and managed a few turns on the way (AT gear). Nice to run into helen and friend on the way down, as they headed up on snow shoes. Unfortunately no government approved hugs. A handfull of wet spots in the fresh snowshoe track, but way less than the weekend.

  222. West Bragg is looking even better with groomers out today. East crystal, loggers ,west crystal all in fine rollered condition. Get it while you can!

  223. Hi there,

    I’d love to get out to Confederation Park golf course for a ski on the weekend. I know that there won’t be any grooming or track setting yet but is it still possible to get into the golf course to do that? Thanks.

    • I drove by the parking lot today and it was locked. Saw some people out on Canmore Park (now know n as west confederation park).

    • yeah not to encourage trespassing… BUT… most years people are in there XC skiing WELL before the parking lot is unlocked and officially open. I heard via a friend of a friend that some people had already been there on skiis. Would also like to know if this is possible and best way(s) to enter.
      thanks

  224. West Bragg Creek
    Snow keeps falling at WBC… about 15 cm more in the past 24 hours. It seemed like there was enough snow coverage to try a bit of an unusual tour. Our loop started on the new Boundary Horse Trail and continued along on Iron Horse and Iron Vista trails (not on any map yet). We returned via Iron Creek, Iron Springs, Elbow, Sundog and Ranger Summit. Snow depth ranged from 25cm under thicker tree cover to 40cm in some sheltered glades. It looks like a good start to the season at West Bragg Creek!
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/JNmaPTQkEFajZGQL6

  225. Spectacularly serene Sandy McNabb —took the slow train, today touring the perimeter of the north and south trails in the network (plus a little bit of off trail meadow and bushwhacking near Death Valley and Price Camp Trails). Temp -5, snow squalls all day so was skiing through about 6-8inches with no base of course. Vr45 on 65mm heavy metal rockstar skis! Splendid, silent yet invigorating as given the nature of the season and plethora of hazards and deadfall one must have their wits and tight-wire balance on the ready. Be careful out their but DO enjoy mother nature’s splendour THIS and the coming season!

  226. Healy pass – skied Sunshine to Healy pass this aft. Loads of snow especially after the Simpson pass junction. Had to break trail for the last 2-3 km. Gorgeous day out there!

  227. Bowness Park, Calgary

    There was just enough snow this afternoon for a quick tour of the west side of Bowness Park! Typically 2 – 5 cm, better on the forgiving grassy areas than gravel……

    It was snowing when I left, so getting better 🙂

  228. Great Divide Trail : 10:00
    -7C starts two other cars in parking lot when we arrived and 10 when we left around noon. -3C
    Fresh snow 2cm on crusty old rattley skier made tracks.
    Skintec and waxless skis.
    Tracks are getting wider and uneven with moisture creeping up through. Depending how far out from parking lot there are two tracks up to six track where folks are looking for a better base. Snow got better further out . Tracks became more uniform.
    Don’t go expecting groomed corduroy It’s early season skiing. Some hardy folks tried to skate but had an attack of common sense and turned back after 500m

  229. West Bragg Creek

    Had a very enjoyable ski on the inner loops at WBC this morning. We skied Crystal Line East – Sundog – Loggers – Crystal Line West – Moose connector and back on Mountain Road. There is great coverage for this early in the season, no clicking poles, and we followed skier set tracks the whole way round.

  230. Great Divide – October 20

    Started at 1 pm, temp was around 0. Conditions started out good but deteriorated pretty quick. Lots of slushy/icy patches approx 1 km from the parking lot (telemark/Peyton junction). It was nice to be out for a short ski but I won’t be back until there is another significant snowfall and grooming.

  231. KANANASKIS FIRE LOOKOUT– October 20
    First (short) ski day of the season and it was a great outing, despite a soft snow base. Started at the Backdoor Pocaterra entrance. Slow going on a previous ski trail, with soft snow and a wet/slushy bottom layer up to the turnoff for the north fire lookout trail. Snow thickness range as described by MaSid 3 days ago. Calm winds and -6 C at the lookout. Peaceful. Cloudy everywhere, but sunny at the lookout! Still no sign yet of traffic heading south. The ski back down to the north was great on light touring skis. Met 2 people heading up on snowshoes with their dog. Encountered Adam, driving a skidoo south on Pocaterra Trail, installing trail signs. He did not any info about the status for track setting this winter. Drove up to Highwood Pass to find out, from backcountry skiers ending there day, that the conditions were great.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/xxnGPVPZNfeTu7DZ7

  232. Oct 20 West Bragg Creek Telephone Loop
    Did a late afternoon ski on Telephone Loop (CCW) using fishscale light touring skis. +1C on arrival, -1C on departure, sunny. Had to walk a few short S and SW facing sections on the east side where the snow was very thin with bare spots. Also walked a few downhill sections since I didn’t want to risk hitting rocks at speed. 5-10 minutes of walking for the entire loop. Lots of boot and tire tracks from the parking lot to the junction with the north end of Hostel Loop, but just an old ski track beyond that (not counting the deer tracks). Beyond the Long Distance junction, the snowpack improved considerably with good coverage all the way to about the middle of the west side of the loop. Beyond that, the snow was thinner, but still better than it was on the east side. Once I reached the Reconnect junction the boot and tire tracks returned. Mountain Road had lots of vehicle tracks on it so I returned to the parking lot via the Snowy Owl snowshoe trail. Awesome day for my first ski of the season!

  233. GREAT DIVIDE – LAKE LOUISE – Oct. 20, 2020
    Only one lonely car at the parking lot upon arrival at 11:30 am. Temperature minus 3 with about 8 cms of fresh snow. Very nice skiing on skier-set only tracks and a quick wax job with VR 40 did the trick. A few frozen/slushy sections in areas of sun exposure, but otherwise the trail was in good condition and improved the further you ventured out. With the new snow plugging up the middle section, skate skiing would have been a challenge. Didn’t see anyone attempting it.
    Coverage is still very thin in a few spots, but will be significantly improved with the next grooming? Went towards the Lake O’Hara end for 90 minutes and returned. Probably 8 cars in parking lot upon return at 2:30 – temperature at 0.
    A VERY pleasant day –AMAZING snow and ski for October 20! Very worthwhile.

  234. I had a fine first day on classics on Crystal mountain trail and road out to the right turn.
    There is 8 to 12 inches of snow to plow through but sadly beneath it there is quite a bit of slush which I suspect is preventing grooming. Did not hit a single rock in 2 hours of skiing.
    Looks like the start of a great season at wbc

  235. Moraine Lake Road

    Bart and I ventured out for our first ski of the season – yay!!
    The fresh snow was lovely, there were a few other skiers and a couple of hikers. The snow temp was about -2C, and some areas were starting to get slushy in the tracks, especially the exposed corner just below Paradise Creek.
    We finished about 1:30 pm and there was no sign of any new grooming by then, but I think more cold temps and snow are needed for that?
    It was beautiful anyway!
    Photo
    Photo2
    Photo3

  236. Totally un·prec·e·dent·ed pre-Halloween conditions!!!

    Thanks for posting.

  237. Burstall Pass Oct 19. We found remarkably good conditions at Burstall Pass today. About 30cm at the trailhead, good coverage the entire way up, including the headwall. Steady snow most of the day with stiff winds when out of the protection of the trees. I measured 58cm in the meadow below the pass and a reasonable 15cm base. We did a couple of laps on some mellow slopes near the top. Great conditions for October.
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1kT5HP4dWHBVvpzmVTJ0oI_ieUQHXlRU7?usp=sharing

  238. West Bragg Creek, Oct 19, 2020
    I skied West Crystal Line and it was pretty good for this early in the season. There were not as many rocks as I thought. It appeared this trail had not been groomed. If it has been, it might have been a couple of days ago.
    Not many skiers when I went (5:30pm) but a few fat bikers.
    It felt good to be on skis again.

  239. I grabbed some rock skis headed for Little Elbow today – Oct 19. -8C on arrival. Skiing was marginal. Sections of good skiing alternated with sections where rocks were poking through. I walked many of the hills. I turned around a few km shy of mt. Romulus. On return a chinook touched down, knocking down snow off of tree branches and sending the temp above the freezing mark. By mid afternoon the trees were dripping and some of my tracks had turned to mud. Still, I spent most of the day on skis. I’ll take it.

    • Amazing that you were able to ski this route even still! Usually, the road closure precedes skiable conditions for your route. I’ve biked that way many times, camping at Romulus, but have never thought conditions would permit a ski on the Elbow Loop.

  240. West Bragg Creek
    This afternoon, I did a tour on the north side of the West Bragg Creek parking lot. That first hill up East Telephone looked pretty sketchy, with a thin layer of compacted snow, but after that it got much better.
    The Hostel Meadow Loop had been roller-packed, so I started out in that direction and toured around the east side of Hostel Loop. No roller packing there and there was a packed track made by hikers and snowshoers. Plenty of room to break an adjacent ski trail. East Telephone had seen a lot of hiking, snowshoeing, biking traffic, with a well packed track. We continued around Hostel Loop, breaking trail on untouched snow. At the junction with Snowshoe Hare, we noticed it had been roller-packed (even though it is not a ski trail), so we went uphill and then followed the roller packing to the top of DemiTel. We saw a number of hikers, trail runners, snowshoers and fat-bikers along the way… this is, after all, a multi-user trail. From the Long Distance Junction, we simply turned around and returned on DemiTel, Snowshoe Hare and Hostel Loop.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/AUoBReaCFkCNv9Tq7

  241. GREAT DIVIDE is GROOMED – Oct 18

    Not as much snow as on the MLR… but no hikers, and easy parking!
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/nbv8QpAiRqd5UqUK9
    Only skiers… happy skiers!

  242. Lovely afternoon at WBC. I followed Alf’s advice and stuck to the forest – the snow was fine. Someone else was kind enough to break trail for me :). West Crystal Line – Loggers Loop – East Crystal Line. Some very minor areas with refrozen dirty slush, but generally very good for October 18.

  243. The Great Divide was fantastic for October!! We arrived at the trailhead around 11am (pre-groomed) and skied for about an hour before the snowmobile passed us. It was very slow going until we had the fresh groomed track to ski on, and then it was lovely!! We were thankful for that grooming when we reached the big hill down to the Divide.

    We skied all the way to the Ohara Parking lot and it’s been roller packed the whole way. My 11 year old and I skied the full distance one way and my husband parked the car at the other end, skiing back to meet us.

  244. I broke trail on the north side of the WBC parking lot up the Hostel Loop and into the Hostel meadow. Deep snow with a sticky base that liked to adhere to ski bases! Beautiful laying the first tracks of the season in Bragg Creek. More snow forecast this week. Hot drinks and baking afterwards at the Heart of Bragg coffee shop .

  245. West Bragg Creek
    The snow conditions at West Bragg Creek are better for ski touring than they would appear on the webcams.
    About 12-16 cm of new snow fell overnight, on a base that ranges from 0cm on very sun exposed spots to about 15 cm in sheltered areas. Total snow depth deepest on the shaded, north-aspect trails and more shallow on the sunny, south slopes.
    On todays tour, we went across Chickadee Meadow and along West Crystal Line to Crystal Link #2, then up Middle Crystal Line to Loggers. We headed south on Elbow to the shortcut that links over to Iron Springs. There was lots of snow on the new wider and safer Iron Springs bridge. We followed Iron Springs to Sundog and then took the new Boundary Horse Trail back to the parking lot.
    Take note that there has been construction vehicle traffic on Mountain Road, so expect to find ruts and exposed mud. It’s much better to stay on the good snow conditions on West Crystal Line.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/kXkSyF1BGey3wNHp8

    • We ski toured the other side of the valley on hotel loop and telephone . Saw Alf arrive at the parking lot . I agree ski touring is the best modality for the deep snow until grooming starts

    • What’s being constructed?

      • The energy company that has the licence of occupation for Mountain Road (It’s an industrial road first, not a ski trail), is doing work on along the pipeline right of way.
        And the GBCTA is completing upgrade work on Tom Snow, north of Moose Loop.
        All of that will be done before the end of October.

  246. Canmore Nordic Centre
    Frozen Thunder is pretty much ready, opens on Monday Oct. 19. Snow is all pushed out and cat was working on the firing line.
    Hiked up the World Cup. Natural snow up high is 15-25cm deep in places, but unfortunately it insulates the warm wet ground. Skis alright with grass underneath, very poor in rocky areas. Could really use a roll, to help dry it out.

  247. Sawmill Trails. Had fun skiing a few of the trails from the Sawmill parking lot today. About a foot of snow with the occasional rock and tricky creek crossing, otherwise fabulous conditions for mid October. Started with the south loop, surprised to find grizzly tracks on top of our ski tracks on the return. Made a lot of noise then continued north towards James Walker Creek. Narrow twisty descent back to the parking lot. A good trip if you’re looking for an adventure. Used Nordic backcountry skis.

  248. Was there any word about the snow at WBC? We didn’t get much snow in Calgary. I was hoping for more.

    • I checked the web cam this morning and it looked a little scant compared to the Kananaskis snow station numbers elsewhere. Also assumed ground was not frozen, which is more the issue with new snow this time of year down low. Start high.

  249. MORAINE LAKE ROAD IS GROOMED – Oct 17

    Awesome conditions today.
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/9mazPU8eqecPaVHH8
    Tracksetting is next!

    • Nice to meet you Chuck! What an awesome day out there 🙂

    • Thank you once again Chuck for “cutting the ribbon” on the official start to the season. Also to Ray for checking out the Backdoor of Pocaterra. And to Kicking Horse Ski Club for reminding us just what all is involved in grooming trails!!! No easy job and 97 trees was alot of fallen trees. The bike rack is off the car and the waxing board has found its winter home. Now to get my body in order. This will be a first for me skiing in October.

  250. Sat oct 17: Kananaskis fire lookout (via Hwy 40).
    Almost 15 cm at the parking lot this morning. 30 cm at the whiskey jack junction and about 35-40 at the top. Some wet spots en route easily avoided. Tire ruts from an ATV up and down from beginning of storm? No base really of course. Just enough snow with AT gear to float above the ground. Pole bangs most of the way. No rocks encountered. Wouldn’t recommend it for skinny skis with the tire ruts and lack of base thwarting snow plowing. Straight lining with AT, thinking light thoughts. Moist shallow base on return down pocaterra. On the way in, scared a large hawk off a fresh rabbit catch. Nothing but tufts of fur 2 hrs later. Snowing lightly most of morning. Needs more cold temps and another storm to freshen it up. No tracks going south past lookout junction along thyrwitt.

  251. How far did you ski?

  252. Back door better today than yesterday. Still sticky once the ground water seeps into tracks. Great for mid October.

  253. Kananaskis snow stations this morning:
    48 cm at highwood pass (2250 m)
    23 cm at mud lake (1900 m)

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