Trip Reports – Dec 2013

Last month, the trip reports were viewed 10,048 times. Skiers are anxious to know what you found on your skiing adventure.

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

Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

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  1. Just returned from skiing Maple Ridge Golf Course. Expecting poor trail conditions, I took some less favorable skis. To my surprise, Rainer’s track setting was in excellent shape. Not one walker’s boot print was to be found! The +6 temperature will make the track slick in places tonight. For those who cannot escape Calgary, this 6 km of track is perfect.

  2. Hoping to ski West Bragg on the weekend (February 1). Does anyone have any news on the trail conditions there.

    • W. Bragg trails were groomed last night and are said to be in pretty good condition with the occasional thin spot. We’re going out there this morning.

  3. Lake Louise to Banff Loppet course – just a heads-up for anyone planning on skiing the loppet course in the next little while, the ski track up and over the Hillsdale splits has been completely obliterated by snow from the snowplough clearing the road. The rest of the course that we skied from Lake Louise to Johnston Canyon yesterday and today is holding up well, there are quite a lot of needles and other debris in the tracks in the treed sections, but the open sections are clean.

  4. Skied Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill on Sat, Jan. 18. Temperature was warm, conditions were good on these two trails. Track is hard packed but there was enough loose snow to slow you down on the long snow plough down. Skied Fox Creek on the way out but wouldn’t recommend it because there is a lot of debris in the track. Sunday we walked from Ribbon Creek parking lot to Troll Falls and back through Hays Meadow. The track is torn up from walkers, snowshoers and it is icy with a lot of large debris in the track. Would not recommend anything around the hostel. Others in our group skied Pocaterra on Sunday and said it was fair at the lower elevation.

  5. Snowshoed Powderface Pass Friday,wishing now I had taken my skis as the snow was in good shape. Around 15 K from the winter gate.

  6. First ski in the Rockies for the season. Skied the Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Moraine loop on January 1st. Great tracks and clear of debris on everything but Elk Pass which appears to have gotten a lot of snowshoe and boot traffic. Was surprised at how little snow there was in the area this year. Great way to start 2014!

  7. Took family out of Calgary’s cold Tuesday Dec 31st out to the warmth of Canmore’s CNC ski factory where temps hovered around zero around the lodge area and a few degrees above that on the far west end. Far west end trails were getting glazed by ~230pm so hopefully they’ll reset the tracks shortly. My wife even resorted to using the VR70 (0-+2C) stuff over top of the VR55, and then reported she’d had a fantastic ski. First ski back for her since rupturing her Achilles in Sept.
    Our kids (7&10) did 5.5km on their first outing of the season and finished tired but happy and proud of their accomplishment (and compliments from other skiers). Just a note that grumpy skiers (didn’t have any yesterday) really put downers on kids, but a cheerful “hello” or “greeeeat job!” (lots yesterday) goes such a long ways to boosting their self-esteem and eagerness plus makes the parent(s) feel that the effort is worth it.
    I skate-skied up from the lodge, straight up that monster hill to Rundle trail that heads westward. Evidently hadn’t seen much use (only saw 2 people the whole length) but still had a few needles and twigs here and there. Then due to time restraints came back via the well-used Banff trail which was in good shape. Learned that my glide wax at -4C to -10C’ish was a LOT slower at zero’ish temps, unlike a couple weeks ago when they felt like rockets.
    Heading back to CNC Thursday for some more blasting around some of their lesser-known/used trails.

  8. Before Xmas, was at Mt Shark just about to head to Watridge Lake with my family. While it’s good her dog was on a leash, our family was nearly close lined by the long leash and them both coming down the wrong side of the hill. Made for a rather quick scramble to avoid getting hit. We have a dog also and while we love it dearly and want it to get exercise, we manage to make alternate arrangements not take it with us on the trails………..

  9. Had a lovely ski with canine Koda at Mt Shark for our last ski of the year. Only a skiff of snow over Saturday’s grooming; the tracks were fast and the skating lane is still in great shape. The small portion that wasn’t recently groomed was a little tougher skating and the tracks were a bit washed out in places but still reasonable. I am sure Watridge Lake Trail is also in great condition and is groomed to the Spray River bridge. I might have my first ski of the new year there as well.

    Happy New Year

    • PS. The Tour de Ski is underway and it has been pretty exciting for the Canadians so far. After 3 out of 7 stages Alex Harvey is leading with Devon Kershaw currently eighth. Any info can be had on the Cross Country Canada website or FIS cross country; it can also be watched live in the morning hours.

  10. Hi, everyone
    I ski’d the Skogan Pass loop on the 29th. Quite icey for the lower half and 2-3 cms of new snow over the top half. Old tracks were still there. Lots of moose or elk tracks that had frozen made the descent a little challenging.

  11. First skinny ski/report this year. ( I’ve been learning downhill . . . don’t hate me). Trying to teach my (god love her) wife to x-country, so skied around the very busy Kan. village. Trails are not very good, with icy glazed tracks and debris. Recently trackset Terrace was decent, but barely. VR 45 worked okay, but got seriously gummed up with needles, cones and horse hooey when the aforementioned wife couldn’t quite stop in time. It’s okay . . . they were rentals. Claude, Tyler and Eli (and of course Vasco (the dog)) at Kananaskis Outfitters run a great shop. Sorry about the (ahem) debris on the skis!

  12. Kananaskis Village trails Dec 29th. Some debris here and there but it didn’t really seem to slow us down. The horse and sleigh are out as were LOTS of walkers, most well behaved, the few that weren’t may not have been “local” and visiting from another part of the world so I didn’t want to say anything, they seemed to be enjoying the wilderness. It was a very busy place. Oh and the village ice pond is open as well.

  13. We braved the downhill ski traffic to Lake Louise and had a great ski at Pipestone River Trails today. Conditions and grooming was fantastic with only a few twigs sticking out of the snow in the track. One centimeter of new overnight to freshen up the track. Best wax was the Rockies usual, SWIX Blue Extra.

  14. Nice day at PLPP on Monday. Most trails recently track set and still some loose powder around from the Friday night snowfall. We parked at Elk Pass, skied Moraine over to Whiskey Jack, up to Trywhitt then up to the lookout, down to the Hydroline, and back onto Elk Pass trail. Temperature was a steady -3º all day except when you got into the open terrain where a cool wind kept your collar buttoned. Trails in great shape and Blue Extra was as warm a wax as we needed.

  15. For anyone wanting to avoid a longer trip to the mountains don’t forget Okotoks. Track are in great shape and there is also great skate ski areas. Put the $5 you’ll save on gas into slot and you are good to go!

  16. Confed & Shaganappi:
    I’m an avid cross-country skier but can’t make it to the mountains as often as I’d like, so I’m always grateful for news on the Calgary golf courses. Having skied both Confed and Shaganappi over the last couple of days, I guess it’s my turn to contribute. Shaganappi yesterday was dodgy at best. It was tough to find snow for the ice and bare patches. Confed today was much better. There are icy and bare patches, but I was still able to have a good go-around.

    For all those dog-walkers, hikers, sled-pullers, skate-skiers and snowshoers who are gracious enough to avoid the cross-country ski trails, thank you. I applaud your activity AND your etiquette. And thank you to the groomers and SkierBob, every time.

    Let it snow…

    • Thanks for sharing your skiing experiences from the city. We went to shaganappi golf course yesterday and also found the conditions to be mediocre. Glad to hear confederation park is better, we may try it tomorrow. Thanks again!

  17. Boom Lake:
    Skied Boom Lake on the afternoon of the 29th with skinny classic skis. It was snowing moderately all afternoon. Conditions are good with no evidence of the Chinook from last week causing a melt.
    The trail was busier than I have ever seen it. Most of the traffic was people on snow shoes; trying out their new Christmas toys.
    The snow was soft making the downhill trip out much tamer than when the trail is hard.

  18. Skied the Redearth Creek trail to the ranger cabin @ 10.6 Km’s today. Overall the trail was in good condition. I did not see another person on the trail after about 5km’s in which was surprising for this time of year. There was the odd bit of debris poking through the surface of the snow on the lower section of the trail but nothing to really be concerned about. The tracks were washed away in some of the narrower sections of the last 3km’s before the cabin but the snow was soft and slowing down was not an issue.

    • We skied it the day before and conditions were similar, did have a bit more traffic. Saw 5 other people all day, it was very good.

    Having received the call to help prune the shrubs along this trail, we were happy to help, and lucky to find conditions so improved since our trip on December 13.
    For details, read the captions on these photos:

  20. Ribbon Creek and Blueberry Hill.

    I had a festively late start to the day and started up the connector between Ribbon creek and Terrace at about noon. Temp was about +4 and the wind was howling. The conditions on the trail were terrible, lots of ice and a ton of needles everywhere. I have a fairly high tolerance for poor conditions (just check the bottom of my skis) but I couldn’t get much traction so I bailed before I even hit the terrace junction. From Darcy’s report it sounds like it got better higher up, but I was done on that trail.

    Returning to my car I drove down to PLPP and its usually lower temps, and was not disappointed, -5 and beautiful tracks. Elk pass and Blueberry Hill were in fantastic shape, nice fast snow, and enough fresh powder on the edges to make the decent less life threatening. I decided to check out Fox Creek on the way back and was pleasantly surprised to find it in much the same shape as it was before the flood. Kudos to the parks trail crew and all the volunteers for all their hard work on the new bridges. There were some needles on the trail, and the tracks were a bit shallow, but that hardly mattered, I had a grin on my face clear back to Calgary after that run. I was on V40 blue extra the whole day and it worked a treat.

    Returning to my car I found the new full service mobile carwash hard at work in the elk pass parking lot. A pair of moose had helpfully licked my wheel arches clear, they missed a few spots but for a free service I am not complaining.

  21. A question, quite out of context given the present season, but…
    Hiking the Pocaterra last fall I was startled to note that the arch on Tyrwitt has disappeared.
    Anyone have a comment on that?
    thank you

  22. The Village trails at Ribbon Creek were in reasonably good shape today, considering the warm weather last week. Kovach between Terrace and Lynx junctions had quite a number of needles, but the snow was just cold enough to prevent a lot of sticking. Otherwise, tracks were very good except in a few sun-exposed spots that were getting pretty glazed by the afternoon.

  23. Heavenly PLPP

    What a day! The 10-15 cm of fresh snow made it outstanding. Quentin, Richard and I arrived at Boulton parking lot, just after 9 AM – temp a few degrees below zero and light snow falling. Up the Whiskey Jack, superbly groomed, we went – to join up with Tyrwhitt. Although grooming ended at the Lookout cutoff – the rest of Tyrwhitt, skier tracked on the recently tracked trail, was magnificent. Swooshed down from Elk Pass – to join up with Fox Creek (groomed and tracked) and then Moraine (groomed but not tracked), before returning to Bolton and brilliant sunshine! Kudos to the groomers, and to Alberta parks staff and the volunteers for rebuilding the trails! And, of course, thanks to Bob for the best blog, that helps us all enjoy the best X-C skiing on heavenly trails.

  24. I have never seen such heavy, endless snowfalls and such dramatic, inspiring x-country ski terrain as I did this Christmas at Revelstoke’s Mt. Macpherson nordic trails system, which we enjoyed for 3 days last week. The trees are taller (it’s technically a rainforest) and the snow is much, much deeper than we are used to in Kananaskis and the Rockies. As Dylan Thomas said, the snow “was shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees.” The trails, tracksetting & day lodge are volunteer run so it costs $9 per day to enjoy it. About 7 km of the trails are for off-leash dogs, so bring your buddy.

  25. Arrived in Silverstar near Vernon B.C. yesterday after the seven hour drive from Calgary. Snowing like crazy when we arrived.(122cm base right now) Skied 15km or so with my family on the fabulous trail system here under blue skies. They actually groom and track set all 105km of trails here daily! I have to admit it puts the CNC to shame! Great place for families with young kids as there’s so much to do. We still have another week here…. Not sure if I can survive that much skiing! 🙂

  26. Healy Creek/Brewer Creek December 28

    It has cooled down in Banff (-6 today) and 1-2cms has fallen. From the Cave and Basin to the Healy Creek junction the trail is double track set but is in fair condition. The tracks and snow are thin, still lots of debris and some drifting near the river.

    Once the trail breaks of near Sundance Canyon it improves slightly and I would rate it as fair to good.

    Skied about 2 km’s up the Brewer Creek trail. It is single track set and packed. The snow seems to improve as you get higher.

    I would recommend waiting until after the next snowfall and track setting before heading out on these trails.

  27. PLPP Saturday. A nice snowfall Friday evening made Saturday’s skiing very pleasant. We parked at Boulton and skied Moraine, Fox Creek, Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt and down Whiskey Jack. New snow averaged about 10cm but there were places where the depth reached 15cm. Temperatures stayed around -6º or -7º all day, very little wind and even a bit of sun.

  28. I went for a ski this morning at Confederation Park golf course. The snowmobile was setting tracks while I was there – thanks. Conditions were extremely variable ranging from nice tracks where the snow had drifted to boiler plate in wind-scoured areas where the snowmobile had barely made a dent in the snow. Looking forward to a decent snowfall…

  29. Nipika and Kimberley Nordic Trails

    Skied Nipika on the afternoon Dec. 25th. While it was passable, unfortunately, the snow we have had in Calgary seems to have been avoiding them. It was lightly snowing late in the afternoon, but they really need a good dump of white stuff. The Invermere paper has an article and photo regarding a beautiful new snow groomer that they now have at their disposal. I think at least 10 to 15cm is needed to cover up thin and dirty spots and to really let the machine shine.

    Skied Kimberly Nordic trails on the 26th and 27th. Trails were in excellent condition. The weather was mild, around 0C and calm, but wax was still holding well.

  30. Friday Dec 27: Mt Shark today. Started out midday on good hardpacked trackset trails. Then, mid afternoon as Duane decided to break trail into the 15 km loop, new snow began falling. Next 2+ hours he broke trail and we skied 15 km loop with steadily falling snow. Approx 5 cm fluffy new snow made our finale loops around the 5 km loop a blissful , powdery delight. Waxing was challenge with temps hovering +1 to -3;but the new snow was worth the wax challenge. Here’s to hopefully more snow~!

    • We skied Shark today Sat 28th
      Looks like 10 cm of fluffy new stuff. perfect conditions since yesterday. Blue multigrade (Rode) worked well. Still enough tracks showing to ski them back in. Downhills were fun due to the powder.
      First parking lot was full and perhaps second lot had 40 ish vehicles.

  31. He’s the same guy driving with his 100 w high beams and his other show off lights in everybody elses faces

    • I know right !?! And they have like four Xenon lasers going IN THE CITY!
      I could drive in Calgary without headlights and still see. I don’t get it.

  32. John,

    Funny you should mention the skate skier, I was going to mention him/her as well.

    I had a great run on the same trails, Wheeler, Amos, Wooley and Meadow. I chose them specifically because I am attempting to heal up a bad meniscus and didn’t want too much in the way of herringboning or snowplowing, but enough to enjoy myself. Great trails, and I am always surprised at how much fun Wooley is in either direction.

    Biking 1+ hour a day really does help the knee, and I think I’m ready for Whiskey Jack… bring it on.

    At any rate, the only downside was the skate skier. I had this conversation going on in my mind with him/her and the claim “oh, one pass won’t hurt anything”. It really does!

    • Yep ; Big testosterone a few of the skaters feel entitled …small brain . I like to split my classic track apart when possible and keep the lane a bit narrow , he can still get in and vandalize the track but less fun .

      • Thanks for your hard work, it really is appreciated. We had a chuckle at the little section of track set on one of the Wooley hills, part way up. My wife said “The guy know’s his stuff…” you sure do.

  33. Elk pass and Blueberry hill today. Freshly track set but full of debris. Praying for snow. Lake Louise on December 26th was exquisite. Worth the extra drive.

  34. The “Antisocial Skate Skier” is back!

    We finally got some good tracks in the middle elevation trails in PLPP –
    Wooley, Meadow, Amos, Wheeler. This is my favorite place to ski, as it provides very good training for the Birkie – it is very similar terrain. With the exception of the wolf tracks, and the moose tracks the trail had stayed in very good shape, despite the warmer temperatures (-6 to -1 Christmas, -1 to +3 Boxing Day).

    But, on Boxing Day sometime between 11:30 and 12:15 the phantom Antisocial Skate Skier (can you read the initials?) appeared and began the process of breaking down the beautiful tracks that Jody had put there along Amos and Wheeler and Meadow.

    It is so hard to get good tracks in PLPP, and then the Antisocial Skate Skier comes out and makes no effort to avoid the tracks. Please folks, I know it isn’t prohibited, but common courtesy says don’t ski over classic tracks, and common sense says there just isn’t room for skating on the PLPP trails!

  35. Skied at the Canmore Nordic Centre Dec 24-26. Overall great conditions but with some wind over the three days, debris is starting to build up again. Temperatures were just below 0, at 0 and just above 0 so waxing conditions were a bit tricky. However we used Start red (S3) with a range of -2 to +2 and it worked great on the man-made and natural snow. It also lasted well, but did accumulate debris over each day.

    Today we did the Lake Louise trails: parts of Moraine Lake road and Great Divide plus Fairview and the upper/lower telemark trails.Good conditions with fresh tracks on Moraine Lake road. It was starting to snow and looked like it was settling in for awhile. Stopped and talked to tracksetter John and thanked him for his great work.

  36. At West Bragg yesterday, Dec. 26 – very busy and very warm. Did not have a thermometre but well above freezing. Grooming holding up well but quite soft in places and track even collapsed once or twice. V50 not cutting it until the sun went down and temperatures cooled, lots of awkward skating and herringboning for us! Still great to get out. The predicted freeze tonight might make conditions err… interesting. Hopefully there will be some new snow as well.

    • West Bragg December 27; conditions are indeed interesting. Some softer snow in the lower sunny areas, but nearly bulletproof higher up and in the shade. Sigh.

  37. Minus two at the Elk Pass parking lot at 6:30 AM. Over the past two nights all the snowcat groomed trails in the south end of PLPP have been groomed and track set. It has been very windy in the Park the last couple days so expect some debris off the trees, including snow cookies. On that note…

    I dusted off my “hairy” waxless skis yesterday and took a quick tour up Elk Pass at the end of the day. The air temperature was plus 5, but the snow was reasonably cooler. There were quite a few needles and large snow cookies on the trail in the treed areas, but the open areas were in good shape. Be ready to jump out of the tracks to avoid frozen cookies on any downhills in the Park.

    Happy Trails…

  38. My wife Jo has been instigating a Boxing Day Blowout ski with a group of friends to the Kananaskis Fire lookout, for the last 12 or so years now. Conditions have always been good, and the 2013 edition was no exception.
    We skied our standard route- Whiskeyjack-Lookout-Hydroline-Fox Creek and Moraine. The only trackset trail was Whiskey Jack, and the smidgen of Elk Pass that we were on, the rest was skier tracked but very enjoyable, especially Fox where we had a close encounter with 2 friendly moose at the bridge. Temperatures stayed close to zero for the most part, among the 8 of us we waxed with either Swix V40 or Rode Viola Multigrade and both worked well.
    It was a pleasant surprise to pop out at the bottom of the steep hill on Hydroline to find fresh grooming on Elk Pass, we were tempted to detour up to Blueberry to take advantage. I’m guessing that everything will be trackset for the weekend- conditions should be excellent!

  39. Cascade fireroad Boxing Day :
    Arrived 10:15 parking lot was quite empty. We were worried the track would be washed out and rattley. Not the case. Nor were they glazed at all. Skating lane was in good shape until we met a hiker on the way back 2/3 towards the bridge.
    Good tracks both sides used VR 65. Not busy at all. Suprising but I wonder if the word is out about the bridge being washed out and folks are giving the road a miss.

    • Just a few added notes to Hugh’s comments, as we were also on Cascade today. Temperature was -3C at 10am, and 0C at 1:30pm when we finished. Amazingly, there was virtually no wind until about 1pm, when it got a bit breezy. As Hugh mentioned, the tracks were quite good, and clean of any debris. Quiet trails until after lunch, and then it got somewhat busier. We also skied to Upper Bankhead a couple of times – that’s in good shape too, though the tracks are a bit thin in places.

      • We also skied Fire Road and Upper Bankhead this afternoon. I did not find the trail thin at all. Much better than I expected actually. At 3pm-ish, the air temperature was +1 and at 6pm-ish it was +3. We also used VR65. This was the first time I have had that wax actually work on anything 😀 It was however a little bit too grippy. My trusty V55 special red would probably have been fine too. It is amazing that just a few km away, just outside Banff the temperature was +8. I am glad we came out to Banff. Pretty much as good as could be executed in this warm weather.

  40. The Kananaskis trail report indicates that Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill were trackset last night.

  41. For a Xmas treat I took the Atomic Skintecs from Wilson’s in Lake Louise out for a spin on the Fairview loop today. There was fine snow falling the whole way with temps around -6C. These skis are pretty nice but they sure revealed how idiosyncratic my x-c technique has become. Compared to my ski on this trail a few days ago on my waxables, I did less herringbone, but was also concentrating more on working with the mohair grip. The trip down the hill from the Fairview high point to the MLR was a bit wild, with a spectacular header on one corner! However, I flew down MLR. I was on a pair of 198 cm, hard stiffness.

  42. Anyone interested in shoveling snow at Shaganappi golf course? This is from Alasdair Fergusson of the Calgary Ski Club:

    “…There are a few thin and also bare spots on the ski trails that will probably enlarge with the next Chinook or two. These are especially at the Westgate Corner, the LRT Station Corner. and the stretch of trail beside the Upper closed parking lot. Other areas may develop.

    Volunteers to help shovel snow would be appreciated. Please send an email reply if you can help

    We have in storage sheds at Shaganappi some 20 large snow shovels that we use for the Lake Louise Loppet. Also we have our large fiberglass cargo toboggan that can haul heavy loads pulled by snowmobile.

    Thank you

    Best wishes of the Season to all of you and your families and friends

    Enjoy the skiing at Shaganappi, your City-Centre XC ski area.”

    Coordinator Tracksetting 1993 – Present

  43. Merry XMAS! Skied PLPP starting at Pocoterra Hut around noon. Though it was around 3 degrees, the wind was chilly but all was good in the trees. Skied Pocoterra to Whiskey Jack, Amos, Meadowview, Wholley, Meadow and Sinclair back to the hut. Red wax was a great and held firm on the climbs. Some debris on the trail but nothing major. Super cool large wolf tracks along portions of the trail. It was great to see folks out enjoying the trails on XMAS day! It was great wearing off some of the chocolate so more could be consumed during and post-ski. GREAT DAY!

  44. PLPP today – Nice to see a good number of people out for a Christmas ski, particularly on the lower section, and everyone particularly friendly.

    Left from Boulton towards Elk Pass via Fox Creek. Things are in good shape with very few needles (as of about 11am) although it has not been trackset in some time. Beautiful, fresh tracksetting (!) by the time I got to the lookout junction with Tyrwhitt. Speedy descent to the junction of the new Pocaterra. Trackesetting looks a few days older starting at the packers Junction.

    No new information from there. Despite temperatures ranging from -7 to -2 during the day, the tracks are mostly hard, fast and glazed. Spoke to a few folks who were having trouble with wax, and i was well into the sticky stuff myself. If you’re headed out tomorrow, be sure to pack klister.

  45. Conditions were great on the Emerald Connector today using blue wax. This is such a fine trail and a winter wonderland right now! Temp was -4C and the peaks looked spectacular under a partly sunny sky. Only 2 other skiers on the trail with a bit more action at Emerald Lake. A big shout-out to the Kicking Horse groomers for the great tracks.

  46. Skied at Mt Shark this afternoon, it was minus 6 just before dark when I left. The skating was nice and fast, with only a couple of cm’s on top of the last grooming, and the track was still holding up very well, just a little windblown in a couple areas. Nice to see there has been a lot of traffic. I did not ski Watridge Lake Trail, which missed the last round of grooming, but it looked well skier packed (and is probably very windblown it places).

    • Jody , Thanks for the review , glad you like it , careful on the hills .We should be able to get it better after the new snow that we’re getting now’

  47. I skied Skogan Pass / Loop and Humming Bird Plum Lookout today. The last track set on this route was on the 19th but the conditions are still quite good particularly above the Marmot Basin junction. I noticed a recent skier track heading up to Marmot Basin (no longer packed / track set). If a reader of this blog has been up there, I would be interested in how far and what the conditions were like.

    • Hi Gh,
      There is no Marmot to ski on, about 300m or so up the trail it is now a big canyon, If you manage to get by the first one there are a few other major washouts along the trail.

  48. A Christmas Eve ski at Spray River by Banff – we skied the east and west sides today. First the east side, starting at the golf course. Though newly track set, the tracks were thin and uneven, and there was a ridge of snow down the middle of the trail, making skiing a bit tricky. Near the new bridge we took off our skis as the ground was pretty chewed up, and there was no snow on the bridge itself. South of this point we found the best snow and track setting. We only went about a half hour south on this trail, to the top of the hill for a scintillating ride back down! Returning by the west side of Spray River, we found good track setting until the last couple of kms. close to the hotel. Both east and west ends had plenty of tree debris and people had walked all over the tracks. All in all, a great day out. Merry Christmas to all!

  49. Cold hands? A Great Solution From Santa
    For those of you who just can’t keep your hand warm, Santa has a great present this year.
    MEC – and I’m sure other stores – have mitts (MEC Ignitor Mitts) with an outside zipper over the finger box where you can slide in a heater packet. At just $1.20 per set – for the heater packets, they keep your fingers warm on the cold days.
    Jeannie, my wife for lo these 35 years – and yes she has agreed to another 35 – loves them. She can take her hands out of the mitts on a minus 20 degree day and make adjustments and fiddle with things with bare fingers and then put her hands back inside the mitts and get warm again. The heat is gentle, too, not sweaty.
    Then when you get back to the cold car you can sit on your mitts and have a heated set in the car too!
    So if you want to be a good Santa, here’s your chance.

  50. Skied west Bragg Ceek Dec 23 perfect conditions. The right temperature, great snow, not to many people on trails, trackset, sunny. Good Day for skiing

    • Trails south of the West Bragg trailhead were still very good on Christmas Eve. A sunny afternoon with a warm air temperature of 3 or 4 degrees on the plus side, but the snow stayed cool and dry with only a couple of small glazed spots on S facing hills. Start Purple (made for “old” snow, +1 to -3) worked perfectly and did not pick up any of the relatively minor amount of pine needles in the tracks.
      A great Christmas present would be an error in the forecast of plus 9 for Thursday 🙁

  51. Hi,

    Skied Dawn Mountain Trails in Golden on the weekend. Magnificent scenery. Excellent grooming. Wonderful variety of trails. Green wax worked great. Doesn’t get any better really.

    Skied Beaver Loop, Chickadee, Pegasus, Hawk Owl, Caribou, Raven, Moose Meat, Supercharger. i.e. Pretty much all the trails, and they were all great.

  52. Pretty quiet up here at Lake Louise. Skied Fairview on Sunday afternoon (-9C at the parking lot). Track in good shape. Checked out Upper and Lower Telemark and Peyto with very good tracks all the way and above forecast temps (-5C). Special blue worked well. On Lower Telemark there are some twigs sticking up through the set track but nothing too serious. No other skiers today on those trails.

  53. Goat creek still great. Windy at the parking lot. Snow temp -2, air temp hovering around zero, but the snow never got soft. Skiied to the goat creek bridge and back. Some damage to tracksetting due to snowshoers walking on the tracks (asked them politely to please walk on the sides or in the middle).

    As for “everyone” on the trail being a SkiHere reader… well, my wife says “you’d be crazy not to read the blog if you’re a skier here in Calgary”.

  54. We stayed at My Engadine Lodge Sat/Sunday night and skiied Mt Shark and the trails right near the lodge Sat/Sun/Mon…

    It was COLD on Sunday morning at Mt Shark, and the snow was fast. It had been recently groomed/trackset, so all the loops were in good shape. We went past Watridge Lake to the Bryant Creek bridge/waterfall – it was great skiing, although it hadn’t been groomed out that way. The staff at Engadine have been working on a couple trails, so there were a couple fun loops down by the lodge.

    The wind Sunday night did a bit of a number on the trails. One of the loops down by the lodge was badly windswept, but still useable. Mt Shark was warm and a bit sticky – there was also quite a bit of debris on the trails from the wind… but it was still in decent shape.


  55. Elk Pass Dec 22nd. Good snow cover, however, it would have been better if it had fresh track set…only skier set. Did parks say that the groomer was sick or that the equipment was on the funk?
    About half way down from the pass a tree is across the trail however it is after a little rise so it gives you time to slow down.

  56. Dec 21st. Group ski at Mount Shark. The trails are in excellent shape, crisp track and corduroy for skate skiers. The afternoon tea at Engadine Lodge hits the spot.

    How to add a photo?

    Re: adding photos. See the comment below from Chuck. He adds the photos to a photo sharing site(Picasa in this case) and gives us the link. Works great. -Bob

    • We were at Engadine starting Saturday afternoon – beautiful out there and the food is amazing!

    • Bob could do that if you e-mail it to him or set up an account on something like Google’s picasa or Yahoo’s Flickr and upload the pic; then share it via a link created by that site.

  57. Beautiful day and excellent track setting on new Pocaterra (definitely not a beginner track now), Lynx, Amos, Wheeler and Lodgepole. Outside temperature at 0 degrees but snow temperature approx -3 on the border of blue purple VR40 working. ….with a little slipping so the arms got a good workout. Very few people on the trail.

    Three loops were groomed and trackset for classic skiing on the weekend. Unfortunately someone has since driven over the tracks on the 400 loop, so best to go out on the 500 loop and back on the 700 loop. These photos will give you an idea of what it is like:
    Double track set today

  59. Fed up with driving? No need to torture yourself – Confederation Park is awesome track set. Thank you, thank you, mister track setter and Merry Christmas!
    Thomas Steenaerts Monday, 23. Dec. 2013

  60. Ribbon Creek on the first full day of winter:
    After a frosty start, we warmed up quickly by climbing Terrace and Kovach, only to cool down again on the long series of descents to the hotel area, where we ducked inside for a warm lunch.
    By the time we left the village, things had warmed up a bit and we swooshed downhill and out onto the sunny Bill Milne trail through the bottom of the Kananaskis valley. It was the first time skiing the trail for all 5 of us- a bit flat, but a great place for practicing your poling and gliding technique, and the abundant afternoon sun and views were much appreciated on a cool day.
    A handful of images here:

  61. I’ll echo Pat’s comments about the West Bragg Creek trails. Excellent conditions and great track setting, which is holding up very well to the skier traffic. I counted 117 cars in the parking lot at noon, as the morning shift was leaving and the afternoon crowd was arriving. The XC ski trails were not crowded, because skiers can head in several directions… and there is a whole network of separate trails for snowshoers, dog walkers, trail runners and mountain bikers.

  62. A group of us skied for 5 hours and 20 km at West Bragg Creek today: Dec. 22. The snow is excellent – cold, dry, and deep enough with no hazards: a big thank-you to the snow gods! The track-setting is excellent with most of the trails done: a big thank-you to the Bragg Creek Ski Trail volunteers! Get out there while the great conditions last!

  63. skied PLPP on December 21, Elk Pass to Patterson,down Hydroline then back to the same trail out. New snow over what seemed to be previous tracksetting, and skier set tracks made it quite pleasant on Elk Pass, but Patterson was not well used since the last snowfall. Hydroline was windswept, with skier tracks filled in and variable snow firmness – not as fun as a trackset coast all the way down, but still interesting with great views beyond the powerlines. The steep down hills on Elk Pass had mostly good snow cover, a tad thin in spots, but easily avoidable (trickier in the dark – I must remember days are shorter and get an earlier start next time).

  64. A spectacular day trip to the Nipika trails today. Sunshine and temperatures in the range -12 to -8 made for easy waxing for classic and fun conditions for skate. We skied most of the network north of the lodge and found the trails in great condition. And we enjoyed the cozy warm day lodge for lunch. Thanks to Lyle and Steve from Nipika Lodge for getting the trails in such good condition and being so welcoming.

  65. West Brag Creek

    Sunday afternoon. Trails were very busy but the tracks were holding up well. There’s a BIG difference in temperatures between the open-to-sunshine areas and the tracks thru the thick forest. In the latter, I figure it’s still the air left over from the last brutally cold spell. Felt like -50.

    Question: It’s been twenty+ years since last I skied this area. Has the Moose Loop been realigned and made longer or am I just feeling the extra 20+ years?

  66. Fish Creek Park at Voiter’s Flats has very nice looking skier set tracks, running both up and downstream. Don’t know how far they go (I was out for a run), but if you are looking for place to ski in Calgary you probably won’t find a nicer spot. Take advantage of it before the next Chinook!

  67. Skied to Lake Ohara and back yesterday. There was no track of course, but thanks to the multitude of skiers with fat skis, it was close enough. Left at a lazy 11am and arrived back 15 min before dark.

  68. I skied a loop today, on the Skogan side of the Ribbon Creek trail system, starting from the Stoney Trailhead (at the power line). The loop included Hay Meadow, Ruthies Trail, Skogan Pass/Skogan Loop, High Level, then down Sunburst, Skogan Pass/Lower Skogan and back to Hay Meadow. Excellent conditions on yesterdays fresh grooming!

  69. Skied some north-end PLPP trails today. In the morning (-15C), we skied from WWL, and covered various sections of Meadow, Sinclair, and Lodgepole. On all these trails, the tracksets of last Wednesday were covered with about 5cm of light snow, which were then skier trackset over the old tracks. We got very good glide on these trails, and good grip with blue wax
    After lunch, we skied the “new” Pocaterra to Lynx junction, and returned to Pocaterra Hut (a busy place) mostly the same way, with a variation that saw us on Come Along. As these trails were trackset on Thursday, there was no new snow on top. The new part of Pocaterra is often thin, with dirty snow and no tracks, but is still decently skiable. There are lots of short, sometimes steep hills on this trail, so its not particularly suited to beginners. -11C at 3pm.
    We hoped for some new tracksetting at the south end of PLPP, but none has occurred as of this morning. Perhaps because the pisten-bulley was at Mt. Shark?.

  70. Lake Louise is beautiful but cold. -19C when I headed out at noon. Ski’d Pipestone today and despite the fact it was track set yesterday, conditions were disappointing and extremely variable. On Eastern side going counter clockwise, lots of pine needles on the tracks. Not too irritating due to cold weather as they weren’t sticking to the ski’s. On the latter part of Pipestone (between the pond and intersection of Hector) there were many twigs sticking up through the tracks which could be hazardous if descending. Drummond was the worst to navigate and required a lot of detouring out of the tracks to get around the twigs, debris etc….not recommended. Pipestone needs more snow to be really pleasurable. Still feel blessed to be here and taking in the exceptional beauty of this place.

  71. Skied Bragg Creek today via Crystal Line and Moose Loop. Lots of snow freshly tracked. Should be a good weekend.

    When you say freshly tracked, do you mean trackset by a machine, or skier-tracked? RichieRich will be asking if I don’t. -Bob

    • He means track set. I did not ski Moose this afternoon, but skied most everything else and it was all was track set, and “as good as it gets” 🙂
      The north end of Iron Springs (aka snow covered logging road) has been well tracked by skiers and looks ok for skiing. I didn’t ski very far south along it though, but backtracked and re-connected with Elbow trail via the Strange Brew bike trail, which worked fine with the good snow cover.

    • Ta, Bob!! 🙂
      Am thinking one of these eves I’ll get my bike-commuting headlight out and go for a whiz around the WBC trails. Anyone else tried this at WBC? I’ve done CNC w/ the lights there and it was a hoot.

      Unfortunately I did not get out XC’ing the last few eves nor this weekend (sigh) as we’re headed to Windermere Valley for a few nights where snow and trail reports are virtually nonexistent unlike this great blog that everyone in Calgary area benefits from! Methinks I’ll be missing out on fantastic home skiing, totally bass-akwards to what I expected when we reserved our family winter/Christmas outing.

  72. Shaganapi Golf Course
    Skied Shag last nite. It only has skier-set tracks, but some of them were quite good. One noted advantage of Shag at nite is that there are fewer (no) traffic fumes like there are in the afternoon from the Bow Trail traffic.

    The major joy of skiing last nite was the ability to look out over the brightly-lit downtown. It was magical.

    So my advice is this: if you cannot get out into the country for a “real ski” go out and enjoy Shag at nite

    • Just got back from Shag. Much better for skate skiing, but I would not recommend for classic, particularly for beginners. The skier-set tracks were okay, but hard to navigate in many spots. It is best to get out of town if you have the time.

  73. PLPP – Moraine, Whiskey Jack, Lookout, Hydroline, Patterson, Elk, Fox Creek
    Skied Dec. 19
    Man-o-man was it COLD today. -24c at 10am at the Elk Pass parking lot, and a balmy -13c at 3pm. 5 to 10cm new snow lower down, and 15-20cm new higher up. All the tracks where cover, so we enjoyed breaking trail all day to keep warm. We didn’t meet any other skiers that were crazy enough to be out in these temperatures. Lots of fresh Cougar Tracks. Crystal clear vistas from Lookout and a fun ski down in powder. No frostbite, but we kept moving all day. Should be amazing when it’s groomed and track-set again.

  74. Big thank you to Foothills Nordic for a fine job at Confederation Golf Course, great cold weather ski this morning!!

    • I’ll reiterate Bruce’s thank you. Skied there this afternoon, and found wonderful tracksetting with lots of different trail options. There’s probably 8km of tracksetting – its great. Skiers should note that the tracksetting by the Christmas lights will get pounded into oblivion by sightseers until into the New Year.

    • I second Bruce’s comments. A big thank you to the tracksetter for the great job on Confed.

  75. Update from Tracksetter John at Lake Louise:

    We got up to a foot of snow Tuesday night, I tracked the Tram line, Peyto/telemark, Lower Telemark{ getting better }, and the Bow River Loop. Jeff tracked Fairview, and Andrew and Dave should have no problem getting the rest of the trails trackset.

  76. Skied Elk Pass from the Elk Lakes Cabin. 15-20cm of fresh snow all over. The tracks on the Alberta side that had previously been trackset are no longer visible. Sticky snow.

  77. Did a loop at West Bragg this afternoon. There is a lot of new snow – 20cms plus and still dumping when we left- fortunately someone had gone ahead of us so there were tracks to follow (thanks whoever you are!). We skied Cystalline East to Sundog , up Sundog (which hadn’t been plowed by the logging company and was skiable), then over to Loggers and back on West Crystalline. Conditions are going to be spectacular out there for the Chrismas break.

  78. Skied Elk Pass via Lookout. Spring-like conditions; trail to Elk Pass covered with pine needles and other debris. Tree down near pass. Hydroline hard packed and icy in sections. Good snow on Lookout.

  79. Skied at the Canmore Nordic Centre this afternoon and into the evening. It was 4 or 5 degrees, and the natural snow felt close to the same temperature. My waxless skis were collecting huge amounts of natural snow on them which allowed me to ‘walk’ up hills. The man-made snow was still cold and allowed for sliding.

  80. The Olympic Loop at Canmore has finally been groomed in and is in great shape, with only a few needles that don’t really affect the skiing. It’s a fun loop in its own right, but this also means that skiers coming back on Meadowview, King of Sweden, or Coyote can now get back into the stadium without the “off-roading” that was previously required on the ungroomed trails. An enjoyable afternoon classic skiing today at +6C before the temperature drops to -16 tomorrow!

  81. Confederation Park in Calgary still has tons of snow today Tuesday. Not track set but still good most of the way with man made tracks. I used Rode special violet with a hard wax as a base – very good grip. After two in the after noon the snow got a tad sticky with 7 degrees plus. You find better conditions in the morning.

    8 cm of fresh snow really brought out the moonlight reflection tonight on the Cascade and Bankhead trails. Warmer temperatures and a fresh double trackset with a wide skating lane bring sheer joy to those who have been dealing with the previous carpet of needles.
    Check the captions at:

  83. Had a great couple of laps at Confederation Park this afternoon on skier set tracks – the coverage was really good. The tracksetting has disappeared under last night’s 10cm snowfall , but there wasn’t a pine needle in sight!

    • I also did a couple of laps at Confed this morning. The fluffy snow was lovely, and it was great to see some people out enjoying it! We considered going to Bragg Creek, but the snow was so nice in Calgary that we didn’t make it out of town.

  84. Shannon Williamson

    We skied at the Shark Trails on Saturday, did the 10km loop. Conditions were excellent. Very little needles on the trails there.

    Sunday we stuck closer to home and did Cascade to the bridge. Ouch, slow moving, lots of needles, but we powered through it. Temps were awesome.

  85. Lake Louise Great Divide Trail wassite

    my son and I choice this Dec 15 .We choose to skate ski after speaking with classic skiers who came all the way from Edmonton for warmer temps and beautiful mountains. No complaints from us .2°C at the start we were welcomed by the sled dogs and a Westerly warm wind which continued to build as we made our way past the Great Divide. A few pine needles and some old mans beard but no problem for skate skiers.
    We had our snack and drink in the Lake OHera parking lot and chated with a group returning from an over night at the lodge. They reported lots of snow all the way to Lake OHera.
    The gale was welcomed as it made the accent back up to the lake Louise parking lot easy and fast.

    Thanks again for such a great web

  86. You guys are awesome possum for the great trip reports….thanks! : )

    I can hazard a guess….but does anyone know whether the Mt. Shark area is suffering from the same chinook damage/pine needle situation as Banff & LL?

  87. It was a great day for waxless ski’s on Red Earth Creek this Sunday. We made it all the way to the lodge, breaking trail from the turnoff at approx 10 km. The tracks were shallow and in pretty rough shape in most places with even a couple of rocks poking through towards the bottom.

  88. This weekend was time to redeem the big prize from last year’s Lake Louise to Banff Loppet. Me and Linda headed to Lake Louise and the Post Hotel to ski some of their beautiful ski trails. First we classic skied the 1A all the way to Lake O’Hara parking lot, until you get to the great divide it was perfect, once you went down the hill it was a different story, lots of fresh and wind blown snow made it an adventure to the reach the end. I also skied up to the Chateau via the Tramline and skied all the way to the end of the lake ( excellent by the way, no pine needles there 🙂 Next day we classic skied Pipestone, did trail #20 and #21 ( the Grand loop ) Track setting was probably a week old but still in good conditions, some pine needles, very skiable although the wind was blowing hard when we left at 3pm. If any of you may recall my team name last year ( For better or Worst ) well even though I am very competitive and my wife likes to look at birds when the timer is on, it was all for the ” better ”

    Happy skiing people !

    3 days has made a huge change!
    The 10 km bridge is still crossable, but check out these few photos to see what a chinook can do:

  90. West Bragg Creek was brutal on Sunday. I guess it could have been worse but not by much.

  91. Cascade was a bust today. No tracks left, skate lane showing grass, windblown tree debris everywhere. Lots of skiers heading in and turning around.

  92. We can’t ski here, this is pine needle country!
    Checked out Spray River trail. +3 at 9:00, and a quick glance at the trail told me I wouldn’t be going far. The first km was beat up by walkers and what looked to be tracks from the construction crew working on the bridge. The pine needles were among the worst I’ve seen. This trail will need some attention, cool weather, and snow to get it back into shape.

  93. Having spent last night at the Delta in Kananaskis at a Christmas Party (thanks to our hosts, Carrington Lighting and the Delta for a great evening!) we decided to venture a bit farther into PLPP in search of colder temperatures. +2 at Boulton Creek with very strong winds in the parking lot. Lots of pine needles on the trail, the snow was soft but the tracks seemed to be holding up well despite the warm temperatures. The wind wasn’t a problem with the trails being sheltered in the tees and the sun even came out. Our waxless skis worked well for us today. Hope they get the track setting equipment repaired soon!

  94. Just back from Ribbon Creek. The tracksetting is good but the wind and debris made it not so great. The first gust in the parking lot blew ice pellets into my eyes and nearly blew me over. The second gust blew my skiis out of the snow and then did an interesting deformation on the ski box when the lid caught the gale. Fortuately no damage.

    The debris on the trail is worse then anything I remember from last year. A couple of times I stopped to remove 1-2 metre long branches from the trail. Thus I cut my ski short as the warm glide wax I was using (+7 C) was doing a great job of collecting pine needles, pine cones and small branches from the tracks.

    So two strikes on the Ribbon Creek trails for me this season.

  95. Beautiful warm temperatures at Canmore Nordic Center today, but challenging conditions with the warm chinook winds softening the snow surface and covering most trails except the stadium and mine scar areas with a variable carpet of pine needles. I counted 4 trees blown down and blocking trails (Meadowview, Bruin, Cougar and Silvertip, all in the area beyond the mine scar).

  96. A warm day at West Bragg Creek. It was +4C at 9am in the parking lot, and reached +6C with warm winds over the next hour. Then the winds died, and the temperature settled back to around +4C. In our group of 7, the five with waxable skis had trouble even with red wax, while the two with waxless skis had no trouble at all. We skied various combinations of Crystal Line and Elbow, all with tracksetting though the softness of the snow saw the tracksets getting quite worn in places. Generally, we had a pleasant day, and the parking lot was quite full at Noon when we finished.

  97. Skied Pocaterra and Tyrwhitt today. About 3/4 of Pocaterra was pretty good with tracks. Tyrwhitt was ok, mostly skier set tracks, but was still fun.

  98. I wanted to add the parts of the trails that Stephen Vermeulen did not ski. Yesterday with our Skrastins Outdoor Club I skied from Elk Pass Trail along Boulton then next along Moraine to Wheeler/Amos and finally ended up at William Watson Lodge. After a lovely lunch I skied along Lodgepole and down to Pocaterra. It was not track set but fairly good coverage along Moraine and Boulton but keep your eyes out for twigs, ‘old man’s beard and cones so they don’t trip you up. Lodgepole was superbly track set. It is quite thin along the Hydroline down to Pocaterrra. In fact my fellow skier ended up with ‘brown klister’ on the bottom of her skis from the dirt showing through in a couple of places. I wimped out and walked down Suicide Hill but a number of my fellow skiers did ski it with finesse. Do be wary of the warm temperatures this weekend as it may cause some freezing and thawing cycles on the trails. Need I say we need more snow and a bit colder temperatures but please not the frigidity of the most recent cold spell!

    The only person we saw today was Braden, the track setter who works at Baker Creek. He was almost apologetic about the amount of snow, but it is more than we have on Banff.
    He has done a great job track setting to Protection Mountain campground, as well as a loop there. From there we followed an excellent skier tracked trail to Castle Lookout, and then the return.
    You can see the conditions by checking:

  100. Skied West Bragg Creek today. Temperature ranged from -7C to +7C, but the snow wasn’t melting. The trails were being freshly tracked and conditions were excellent.

    • Same here! This afternoon I skied Sundog east, Elbow to Fullerton, Iron Springs south loop, Loggers and Crystal Line west. Snow conditions remained dry and excellent despite +4 at the parking lot. My wax job from Wednesday worked fine (Swix V40 aka Blue Extra) with a thin refresher layer. A couple of notes:
      -Sundog East sucked me in a bit, with track setting leading to a loop in the big meadow. Connecting with Elbow involved easy, well covered skiing along the side of the plowed logging road (Crystal Line).
      -Elbow from Iron Springs south end to Fullerton is groomed only, under a bit of skier tracked newer snow. It skied nicely and was refreshingly free of the usual bootholes from walkers.

      • Two things:
        1) I love hearing reports of West Bragg… but it’s hard to interpret what is trackset and what is not. Could someone’s next report please be more specific? Is there an report that gets updated somewhere that provides more detail? Hesitant to go out there on only skiier set tracks with my super skinny skiis.
        2) Confed Golf Course – super awesome late this aft on nearly untouched track. I managed just shy of 10km classic on wonderful tracksetting with less than 1km of that repeat tracks or skier-set. My GPS looks like spaghetti. Had an awesome time. Super pumped about it. My waxless skiis were perfect for 90%. Only bummer dude was in the vicinity of the lighting display which had seen some foot traffic.

        • The very best way to get West Bragg reports and earn trail karma, is to donate-

          Along with helping the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Assn. continue with the excellent work that they do, you can also sign up for regular trail reports via e-mail when you donate. Win-win 🙂

        • Richie, you mention “super skinny skis”. Unfortunately West Bragg can get badly affected by chinooks, and periods of drought. Long time West Bragg skiers such as myself, know that having a pair of wider light touring skis with at least partial metal edges is a great addition to the ski quiver. Typically these skis measure something like 60-50-55, the Madshus “Voss” and Asnes “Vikafjell” are the two that I am familiar with, but I think that most manufacturers have similar models.
          These types of skis are slower in the tracks, but on those days with less than ideal conditions (icy, ungroomed, or chewed up), they can make all the difference as to how enjoyable the skiing is.

          • Agree with the light touring skis with metal edges for West Bragg. I love mine for skiing there. No matter the conditions, I’m always good.

          • Steve,
            You are absolutely correct – lots of volunteer efforts have gone into WBC the last few years for ALL seasons. If I’m unable to physically help out then I should be more giving with my $$$ to support the continued work out there. Thanks for the reminder.
            Yeah I have my skinny race-like XC set, then a ~15yr old set that is a little more robust, and then last year I splurged on some good waxless but they’re fairly narrow too. When WBC is freshly trackset these skis are all good, but the other 75% of the time some wider back-country’ish skis would be preferred.

  101. Today (Friday 13-Dec) I skied some of the trails from the Elkwood parking lot in PLPP. Started at 10:00 with a snow temperature of about -3C, some light wind, but very pleasant conditions. Took Wheeler to Whiskey Jack. Wheeler is in very good to good condition, track set most of the way, just a couple of spots that have light debris (needles and cones), but nothing to slow you down.

    Whiskey Jack was in very good condition all the way up to the Pocaterra junction. If you are skiing down it you might want to watch out at the stream crossing that happens mid way through the first downhill. There’s some thin spots just prior to the turn over the new culverts that could cause some excitement. Other than that it should be smooth sailing.

    There were two sets of tracks heading from Whiskey up towards Lookout, these looked to be in good condition, but I went the opposite way.

    From the top I took Pocaterra back to Lynx, good snow cover all the way but the tracks between Whiskey and Packers are only skier set and rough in places, didn’t pose a problem going down them but they won’t be running fast for those skiing up. There were wolf or coyote tracks part way along plus a couple of scat piles in the tracks (which is apparently a wolfish thing)…

    Lynx was pretty warn out, no thin spots but sections where the tracks haven’t survived the two weeks since they were set. Not too much debris though. Finished by taking Amos from Lynx back to the Elkwood parking lot, Amos was in very good condition, much like Wheeler.

  102. Skied at Canmore Nordic today. The trails we skied (Banff, Meadowview) were in very good shape, with a few twigs poking through the tracks on the western sections. Nice day – temp around -5C, and just a light breeze. Interesting to watch the Paralympic skiers compete in the World Cup events – they are very skilled in coping with their disabilities.

    Spray River AND Goat Creek
    The section between the 6 km and 10 km Spray River bridges has been groomed, and has been very popular!
    Today, I started in Banff on the West Spray. While there is an ATV track to the 6km bridge construction site, it is easy to ski on the side or even on the track. There is lots of snow and it is well packed (not like last year when they actually bulldozed the full width of the track).
    Beyond the 6 km site, the trail is perfectly groomed to the 10 km bridge across the Spray that will be realigned in 2014. The river is fully frozen at this point, and the sign suggesting a fine for using it has been removed.
    To my surprise, while on the bridge, I heard a helicopter come in low and land for an inspection!
    The next short section to the Goat Creek bridge is narrower and skier tracked on top of a snowmobile packed base.
    The last long section to the Spray River gravel road is double trackset, as previously reported.
    Lots to enjoy, and double the fun when you do the return trip!
    See what it is like at:

  104. Skied all the trails above kananaskis village today. Started from Ribbon creek parking lot. There’s a new bridge from the parking lot over ribbon creek which is track set so that was a nice surprise! A few rocks poking out on the first uphill climb otherwise everything was in great shape. Only met one other person on the trails today. Windy and about -4c.

  105. Confederation Golf Course was trackset yesterday. This info comes from Dave Gammie at Foothills Ski Club:

    I groomed it again last night, snow is in excellent condition. To update you:

    • There is a skate on and classic loop on east side of creek in golf course – best access route to this area is through driving range along trail beside south fence, Note trail on golf course side of this fence is over top of a gravel road , need I say more….. it is pretty good right now but gravel and ski bases are not a good combination
    • There is a “Practice” loop with in driving range ( approx 600m length) complete with dble trackset (3 )/skating lanes up middle
    • There is multiple classic loops on west side of creek in golf course – best access route to this area is from first tee box in front of clubhouse – most of the loops are 2 tracks wide

    Both east and west loops in GC take in the xmas light displays – and I must say are pretty nice at 10pm on a moonlit night

    • Many thanks to Foothills Nordic for the grooming and tracksetting , I had a great ski at Confed yesterday afternoon, the tracks were awesome. Hopefully the base survives the Chinook.

    Make your own judgement before you follow my tracks… but someone was going to be first.
    The big freeze had its benefits. The river is frozen over… in places. I chose a spot where a marten had crossed. The sound of water rushing underfoot is exciting.
    Check it out at:
    The horse shoe around my foot probably helped!
    Everyone will enjoy the sight of several cheerful Christmas decorations that we noticed being hung today.

    “The sound of water rushing underfoot is exciting.” Now that’s putting a positive spin on it! -Bob

  107. West Bragg 11 Dec. No grooming since the storms. Good coverage except for the haul roads.

    • Actually, the trails were groomed on Monday, but now have about 5 cm snow from Tuesday on top of the packed surface. Conditions were very good this afternoon, with decent skier track setting on many trails. It was a bit below zero at 3pm, with light winds. Swix V40 worked perfectly.

  108. Hi Bob ; I checked most of the trails at Lake Louise this week , and they are about the same as before the deep freeze , still early season conditions on the woodsy trails ,caution on the hills,for rocks ,sticks and ridges. The Emerald Lk /Yoho trails are the same ,with a few cm of new snow .

  109. We enjoyed a lovely ski at Maple Ridge Golf course in Calgary this evening. We skied by headlamp and moonlight. The tracks are fairly good, in spite of the wind we have had and the snowshoer (feel free to insert your own adjective) who decided to use the tracks for a fair portion. It was especially wonderful to be skiing along the ridge overlooking Deerfoot and realise that we were moving much faster than the cars. It is nice to have skiable snow here in the city and I’ll try to enjoy it as much as possible while it lasts!

  110. Has anyone tried skiing the Ribbon Creek trails? I know some trails are closed.

    • We skied Terrace and Terrace Link and parts of Aspen and Kovach yesterday – all with good tracks, and only occasional thin spots on the steeper downhills. We had planned on skiing the Bill Milne trail but the tracks that we could see from the road were completely obliterated by wind blown snow. Hope this helps!

    • Skied everything at Ribbon Creek today (Nov 10) – tracks in excellent shape with a few cm of fresh. Real-time report is a bit misleading – last grooming may have been the 6th but clearly not much traffic since then.

  111. For those who may not have spent the last week hitting ‘refresh’ on the winsport/COP website, their hill report indicates that the cross country trails are now open:

  112. Griffith Park- Calgary
    Headed out to ski in the mtns this AM, but Hiway 8 was tricky. Patches of ice I couldn’t see coming up. Thus I turned around and in desperation skied from the west end of Griffith Park. (Go south on 69 St and follow road as it curves around to the very end) It was a pleasant little outing thru the spruce forest. There are well-marked trails and one has a number of choices. That said, this area is not groomed and it is a popular place for walkers, so the trails are churned up. It was still very nice to get out. I figure it might be a great place for a nite ski..

  113. Enjoyed the groomed trails at West Bragg Creek today, conditions and temperature were great! Just a reminder that if skiers would like to support the trail maintenance, they can donate at

    • Keep getting conflicting reports about the trails at West Bragg Creek. Are the trails groomed and track-set? Which sections would that be? Interested in Moose Loop, Crystal Line, Sundog and all the connecting trails.


      • West Bragg was fine Monday. Skied Moose, West Crystal Line and Loggers Loop. They were freshly groomed but not track-set. Telephone was ski tracks only.

  114. Shaganappi Dec 8

    We went for a 1.25 hour ski around Shaganappi…packed trails are gone with the wind but skier-set tracks make for a good workout around the 3 standard loops

    Today I found the website for Confederation Park conditions…may go there tomorrow.

    Bob, maybe you want to add this to the list?

    Done! Thanks, Roy. -Bob

  115. Whiskey Jack was trackset in PLPP so I skied it on Sunday – my birthday!
    Minus 20 weather was okay, but the wind was the problem.
    Made it up on perfect tracksetting to Pocaterra and would have gone up to Lookout but the wind was bitter.
    The ride down was delightful, as always.
    Thanks to the tracksetters and to the nice sunny day.
    Sunny all day – great to be out!
    Peter Lougheed visitor centre is open again after months of repairs.

  116. Skied cascade fire road today with fairly fast tracks and even some sun. Temperature at start was -19 but colder with windchill. Started off with the new Bankhead trail and then joined a great skier made track through the forest that connected to the Cascade fire road. Returned the same way and really enjoyed the new trail.

  117. For some reason, I had no takers for an afternoon ski in the Skogan area. It was actually fairly pleasant at -18, with sun and little wind. I followed a well set skier track as far as High Level, where I left Skogan and broke trail up to the old lookout site. Too bad all those trees at the top blocked the late day sun, as well as more expansive views. After tea and cookies in the warmth of my arctic weight down, I peeled that off for the quick, fun and somewhat frigid descent.
    Some nice tele-turns were had in the untracked powder of Sunburst, but the skis were slow despite stripping off every vestige of the green wax that had brought me there. I opted for a quick exit via the sno-mo trail, and onto the Nakiska beginner run, rather than lower Skogan. Lot’s of fun dodging the snowboarders 🙂

  118. Skied PLPP today, Whiskey(set), Tyrwhitt(skier track then packed, Elk(set), Fox/Bolton creek(skier set / rough), to cold to stop for long -20 arrive @ noon, -20 depart @ 3pm, V30 provide more grip than I needed! Meet my flying buddy John \M on Tyrwitt, great peole are always in great places.

  119. Hit Confederation Park this afternoon – tracks were messy but the snow was nice and fast! A few thin spots but overall a great ski. Just as we were going to leave, the tracksetter started his rounds so tomorrow should be great there with nice fresh tracks!

  120. Skied PLPP today. We left Calgary with wind, blowing snow, icy highways and -13. Arrived at the PLPP visitor centre to beautiful clear blue skies, light wind and -20. Skied Meadow, Braile and Sinclair. Looks like we were the first ones on new track setting. A few thin patches but nothing to be concerned about. Cold toes kept the day a bit short but it was glorious and soooo good to get out of the house!
    We hope Shannon and Andy from Vancouver had a great afternoon on their first x-country trip in K -Country.

  121. Hit the trails in Peter Lougheed today. We did a loop beginning from Boulton Creek of Amos, Wooley, Meadow, and Wheeler to return to the parking lot. Much of the distance covered was groomed & trackset. Huge kudos go to the tracksetter. The tracks were amazing. Quite bombproof thanks to a combination of skill and low temperatures.

    It was a bit colder than in Calgary (-22 at Pocaterra hut) but once we got moving and out of the windy areas, the temperature was fine.

  122. Skied west bragg creek today (Sunday). Beautiful day but no packing or tracksetting. Lots of snow, really a back country ski. Will be great when its packed and tracked.

  123. Skied WBC yesterday, Saturday Dec. 7. Just skier set track at the moment. Took Elbow Trail south but cut over to Iron Springs before the main junction. Iron Springs had just one skier before me so it was slow going. Then discovered that part of Iron Springs was now an active logging road. A little bit of walking then was able to cut back over Elbow Trail and then did Logger Loop and Crystal.

    Great coverage and hope to see everything packed and groomed soon, we should have good conditions for a while.

  124. Confederation Park Update
    Saturday the 7th at 1 p.m., Katrin and I headed out to Confederation Park to alleviate the growing symptoms of cabin fever. Anticipating bone-chilling conditions, we spent the better part of the morning dressing up for the ski. On arrival, we were pleasantly surprised to find bright sunshine, little wind and a thermometer reading of a balmy -18. Tracks were in good shape but for a few grassy spots that produced a deceleration curve normally associated with a world-class bungee jump. After 90 minutes of white ecstasy, we rewarded ourselves with Laksa and some other Malaysian specialties at a great little resto in the NE (I’m not certain if I can put in a plug by name so I’ll hold off for now).

    Sunday morning at 8:45, the weather lady seems to have been looking at the wrong maps. It’s blowing snow and foggy with 35 km/h winds in the NW of the city. Happily, I can see blue sky emerging and I think that Confed Park may be the ski du jour again.

    You’re allowed. We’d love to hear the name of the restaurant. If I ever started another blog, it would be about food! -Bob

    • Malaysian Munchies in Calgary

      As I’ve got the imprimatur to be specific, the resto in question is
      Tropical Delight Noodle House, 4604 12 Street NE. It’s only open until 5 p.m., closed on Sundays. Expect a line-up. It’s a great little family-run affair with a simple, but satisfying menu.

      Bob, if you ever start a food blog, I’ll be your roadie!

  125. Skied old horse trail and alluvial plain at emerald lake on Dec 6 and trails were in great shape. Little wind blown in places but overall just great. Definitely was crisp out at -25 but no wind made it better than you would expect. We met one of the trail groomers who was planning to groom and track set. Stayed at Emerald Lake lodge and that was wonderful.. Food and accommodations were terrific.

  126. It looked like Tracksetter Jeff had recruited a herd of elk to move snow from the sides of the trail onto the tracks at Bill Milne. We caught them in the middle of their trail maintenance and they unfortunately didn’t have time to clean up after themselves. Aside from the elk activity (and lynx or coyote tracks), it was very quiet and we had the trail to ourselves. The snow and track setting was wonderful. There is an excavation going on right now where you usually have to take off your skis. If you look to the left of the excavation, you can walk your skis and continue on as far as the curved bridge, where the river washed the bank away during the flood.

    We also checked out the new bridge to Terrace (Link?) at the Ribbon Creek parking lot and it looks like they have around 3/4 of the boards installed. It shouldn’t be long until that bridge is ready to go.

  127. Jeff is grooming the Kananaskis village trails as I write this. You can follow his progress on the Live Grooming Report.

  128. Just wondering about conditions out in West Bragg Creek. A coworker of mine who lives out there said they received a good thick dump of the white stuff. Any chance there’s been any tracksetting in these cold temps? For that matter… what is the general temperature limitations of the various tracksetting equipment used in WBC? Nakiska area? PLPP? CNC?

    I think it has more to do with the snow characteristics than with the equipment. You might find this interesting: “the snow is frequently too cold and dry to make snowballs or to groom ski trails so we must repeatedly pack and groom the snow before we can set a durable track.” Read more -Bob

  129. Confederation Park Dec. 5th

    Where have all the “keeners” gone? Hunkered down in their duvets, sipping hot cocoa, I suppose. Well…a little cold weather can’t stop a true Krazeee. Vlad and I skied at Confederation Park today and, though I won’t claim ideal conditions, it was an enjoyable outing. Crusty in spots, icy in others, windblown in exposed areas, but nice track that didn’t require a drive out of the city. Tomorrow may be even more challenging but I hope to be there again!

  130. Skied Cascade Fire Road & Bankhead loop today under crystal clear, -18C, blue skies. Great tracksets with excellent coverage with Monday’s fresh snow. Surprisingly warm in sun exposures but a special green wax day.
    On the return we skied the skier set trail that branches from the fireroad just before the groomed bankhead turnoff, It connects at the turnaround of the groomed Bankhead loop, and makes for a nice diversion.


    Wow… another new place to cross country ski in Banff!

    Parks Canada has groomed and trackset a nice beginner loop on the 15th fairway. Check out the attached photo and google location at:
    It has been a long time since this area has been groomed for cross country skiing. Don’t bother trying to ski either side of the Spray River yet, but staff tell me that anyone is welcome to continue skiing further down the golf course beyond the groomed area.

  132. If you want to get out in Calgary despite the chilly weather try Confederation Golf Course. This morning we found it track set, a little wind blown and a few patchy areas but generally a very enjoyable ski. Have something to cover your face when turning westward into the wind!

  133. Update from Tracksetter John at Lake Louise:

    I did MLR, GD, and U&L Tram today, so they’ll set up like iron for a while. I got a rough track on L Tele, and Peyto, and Jeff D did a track on Fairview, and some of U. Tele. I plan to do Pipestone again tomorrow, a lot of the hills need lots of snow due to creeks and stumps, people need to be cautious there [like the tele trails], but it might be warmer there in the sunny glades. We had less storm than Banff & east…I heard that the road west of Banff was good, thats a switch

  134. Skied the Tramline in Lake Louise on December 1st. Started at the bottom near the village and skied to the Lake. I thought about returning via the Fairview trail but my stomach was craving a Outpost burger so I returned the same way. Lots of fresh snow and encountered only one other skier on the lower section. Hard to believe that there was so much snow this early in the season!

  135. Pocaterra’s new alignment is great! It may become my new favourite, twisting and turning and climbing and plunging as it does through the woods. Seems like a who new kind of adventure.
    We skied along it and then on trackset trails over to the visitor centre – CLOSED due to flood damage. Then across the road and back to Pocaterra.
    A good dump of snow is all that is needed to make this circuit a very pleasant Sunday circuit.
    Thanks to everyone who created the new Pocaterra Trail!

  136. We skied our usual loop at PLPP on Dec 1 from Boulton Bridge to Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt and down Whiskey Jack. We didn’t read the trail condition reports closely enough so didn’t know that Boulton Creek Trail was actually closed. We managed to get through but I wouldn’t recommend it. What a mess, trees down, bridges out, trail bed washed away. We limboed under a few trees, did some tricky high kicks to get over others and removed our skis on 2 or 3 occasions. The Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt and Whiskey Jacks trails are in excellent shape however, and we even had 2 cm of fresh to make the waxing easy.

  137. We went to Pipestone for our first ski of the season. The conditions were beautiful. We didn’t get to the point where the tracksetting stopped as per reports, but met the tracksetters on our way back. Tracks were great even before the tracksetter went past. We are curious to know if they have done the full loop now. The ski down on the freshly laid tracks was incredibly fast. We’re all wondering if there was some kind of space warp because it seemed so much shorter!
    As for the lovely lady I hit with my pole, I am still sorry. I hope it didn’t ruin a beautiful day for you.

  138. Skied Elk Pass, Hydroline, Fox Creek late this afternoon. Trails were in about a million times better shape than Ribbon Creek area was yesterday. I foolishly waxed with VR50 for the big climb from the parking lot. I had to scrape it off and use VR30 for there rest of the way. Some stretches of Elk pass were skier set, but it was mostly track set. Hydroline was double track set. Fox creek was skier set. Fresh snow was falling the whole time I was there.

  139. Made the drive to Louise and it was very nice. Skied Great Divide the snow was soft, deep and fluffy. Fair amount of folks out and it seemed everyone enjoyed themselves.

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