Trip Reports – Dec 2017

Let’s help each other have a great ski trip by sharing information on trail conditions. Click on “Add one” to submit a comment. If you have photos, upload them to a photo-sharing site such as Flickr or OneDrive and leave a link with your comment. Last winter, the Trip Reports were viewed over 100,000 times.

{ 125 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Helen Read December 15, 2017 at 8:20 pm

A terrific outing at Pipestone for 8 Meanderthals, arriving -7 and second car in the lot. Parks vehicle there and gate open but no signs of groomer. Less than a cm in parking lot but that covered majority of pine needles. Snow increased to 1-2 cms. at top, which made the hills a lot easier to descend. Checked out Merlin and good coverage on his “shack and root cellar.” Saw 5 people and one dog all day. Great to be skiing there again and saw some big lynx prints just as we turned back down, away from Chuck’s Merlin Meadow trip.


2 Edge of Metal December 15, 2017 at 8:39 pm


My brain is hurting trying to figure out what you meant by “shack and root cellar.” Can you give me some hints?


3 Helen Read December 15, 2017 at 9:39 pm

Ski down Merlin towards Drummond and you will ski by an old shack and beside it another shack that is almost totally buried in snow, which I referred to as the “root cellar”. Someone may have more legitimate Hx on its owner. I believe Bob has shown pics of it on this site.


4 Jeff G. December 15, 2017 at 4:48 pm

Lake Louise still skiing well.

I sampled various trails, including MLR (lower), Fairview, Peyto, Telemark, Great Divide and Tramline. No fresh grooming but most trails still in very good shape. Peyto was the exception, as it was poorly groomed by snowmobile with no tracks. Air temp was minus 5, so extremely comfortable. VR 45 produced perfect grip and glide. Needless to say, lots of beautiful scenes. Another wonderful day on the boards.


5 Adam December 15, 2017 at 11:01 am

PLPP (Elk Pass/Blueberry Hill/Hydroline/Patterson/Upper Lake Parking) – 14 December

Elk Pass is groomed and double trackset. Top of big hill icy/wind crusted, but good amount of loose surface snow for descending once entering the trees. Good snow in tracks, skis well. Blueberry Hill is groomed and double trackset. Good condition, some icy sections particularly underneath trees. Last 400 metres has a significant amount of needles on the trail/in the tracks, waxed skis were picking them up and not gliding well as a result. Windy at the top. Hydroline is groomed and single trackset. Very fast descent, good grip on the uphill. Descending hill into Elk Pass junction was icy (and a little scary)! Layer of surface hoarfrost the whole way, feels like winter proper at the top. Patterson is groomed and double trackset. Skis well. Upper Lake Parking is groomed only. Very washed out, no skier set tracks. Sticks protruding in many sections; easily avoided or skied over.


6 Edge of Metal December 14, 2017 at 7:57 pm

3/4 COULIOR – Base

Moraine Lake road has an excellent base with excellent skate skiing. The track set is a little worn and wimbly wambly but in good shape to ski yet. Low amounts of pine and spruce needs on the trail for the most part.

Beyond the end of the road there is generally excellent back country travel conditions with ankle deep ski penetration. Well worn skier tracked trail to Moraine Lake. Travel on the side of Moraine Lake is excellent with a firm base and about 2.5 cm ski penetration to below 3/4 Couloir. The lake has dropped 8 feet since freeze up leaving some natural ice sculptures on rocks in some areas. Large unusual hoar frost crystals up to 2 inches in length along many parts of the skier tracked trail. A sweet edge of metal skiing day but cool- particularly after sunset. Clouds moved in just before dark indicating moisture is on the way.


7 Mike W December 13, 2017 at 10:25 pm

PLPP Dec 13
From Elk Pass parking, a friend and I did a loop on Moraine, Packers, Pocaterra, Tyrwhitt, and Elk Pass. Temperature was -7C when we set off at 1130, and -6C when we returned at 1500. The high for the day was about -4C on Pocaterra. The morning clouds cleared about an hour after we started, and it was blue sky for the rest of the day. I was expecting warmer temperatures and had waxed with VR50 (-5C to 0C). Even so, grip was pretty minimal due to the crusty snow surface. Lots of needles on Moraine, but they seemed to be frozen to the snow so I didn’t pick any up. Moraine was rough, but fast double poling on the flats and downhill. There were a few icy and thin spots where the sun had got on the trail. Snow was better on Packers, but it also had some rough spots and detours at creek crossings. It was fine going up but I wouldn’t want to go down it. Pocaterra looked like it was groomed yesterday; not Dec 8 as reported on Live Grooming. I guess it just hasn’t seen a lot of traffic since Dec 8! There were surface hoar crystals throughout our ski, but they were absolutely massive at Elk Pass. The trail back to the parking lot was trackset, but fairly shallow and icy. An enjoyable day, but PLPP could really use some fresh snow!


8 Alf Skrastins December 13, 2017 at 10:13 pm

Chester-Sawmill Trails, Dec 13, 2017
It was a beautiful, sunny, spring-like day to enjoy a tour in the Chester-Sawmill area of PLPP. The Chester trail(s) were hard-packed from lots of use. There was sun-crust on steeper south aspects, but still lots of soft snow in shaded areas. I noted that most snowshoers have been finding and following the Chester Lake snowshoe trail, thanks to improved signage. However, the signage also says that the Chester trail is both an XC ski trail and a hiking trail, so lots of people have been dutifully post-holing their way along the “ski” trail. Obviously, this is less than ideal for skiing. It does seem odd, however, that winter hikers are not directed onto the snowshoe trail. Interestingly, there are no signs at the trailhead about bikes. It is a complete mystery to anyone in the parking lot, whether fat-bikes are allowed or not. They would certainly do less damage to the trail than hikers!
I also did a loop on the Frost Heave and Snowdrift snowshoe (former XC ski) trails. They were packed smooth by snowshoe traffic and were quite good for skiing. Better, in fact, than the Chester Lake trails.
No snow for ski grooming at Ribbon Creek, West Bragg Creek, Sandy McNabb, north PLPP, Mt. Shark or most of CNC. But lot’s of snow at Chester-Sawmill, yet these trails don’t get groomed.


9 Karla December 14, 2017 at 8:52 pm

In the summer, you are allowed to bike up to a certain point on the Chester ski/hiking trail. Its not too far up, there is a spot to lock up your bikes there. I’m guessing that the same rules apply for winter. Similar to Burstal and other trails your allowed to bike in a certain distance and then lock up and hike the rest of the way.


10 Chuck December 13, 2017 at 5:34 pm


While the Parks Canada Trail Report indicated that Conditions are Good, we would have to call it Fair as the snow depth is thin.
However, this is a lovely sunny trail with many picnic sites.
Check the photo captions for details:!AhVZXBE7vMV7iT1qcZmbLP8xQ5Na


11 TC December 12, 2017 at 10:45 pm

Interval workout at the Nordic Center tonight. It’s in pretty good shape although there isn’t much available to ski at the moment. Good enough for me though. As has been stated previously, tons of snowmaking has been done and there are large mounds of snow waiting to be groomed. Will be great conditions once this damn chinook goes away and we get some sub zero temps.


12 Sibylla December 12, 2017 at 9:40 pm

Great ski our usual MLR then to the lodge and back via Fairview and tramlines. Great challenge down to the lodge as skier set with walker footprints and it was fast!! Great fun, grip was good coming back with purple not sure of v — sorry bob. We r old style. Fairview is all trackset so ace except tracks have been used? Really, we prefer tracks just for us. The steep run down ML R was incredible, first hubby crashed out but I got round him even though he was sprawled. Got cheered by some walkers.. thank-you. But then full of pride took a huge rolling crash on the steepest part thanks to all the wimps who wiped the trail out snowplowing. Hey ho. Please everyone join the snow dance so we get snow soon.


13 Keith Bagnall December 12, 2017 at 8:12 pm

Lake Louise: Old and icy snow makes the glide wax go (south). Started with VR45 in -10C temperatures behind Deer Lodge to ski Peyto and Upper Telemark to the Great Divide. As previously reported, these tracks are worn and icy requiring a certain level of caution. Skied Lower Telemark Loops, again as reported, the tracks were fast, icy and showing a lot of shrubbery. We continued down Great Divide to the shelter, on very good tracks with little debris, pushing into a head wind that grew colder as we skied under the grey clouds over the Divide. The abrasive snow showed more kick wax was required. Much more pleasant returning with the wind at our backs now. Skied up Peyto to reach Fairview (1st of the year) and continued to MLR. Initially Fairview was littered with tree debris in the tight trail sections. The big hill didn’t disappoint – a fast and exciting ride. Down MLR then lower Tramline to the village. Met Bob and Cheryl on MLR for short chat. Totally agree with Bob’s assessment of conditions.


14 Beau December 12, 2017 at 10:51 am

Went out to Lake Louise on Monday, December 11th. Skied the Fairview Trail down to Lake Moraine Road and then up Tramline back to the parking lot. Fairview was in great shape with nice fast snow though at times some of the pine needles were plentiful. LMR and Tramline were both excellent. I had a little more time so I double-poled it down Lake Louise which was great with a few ice patches and then hiked up the hill to finish off the Louise Loop. Temps were about -8°C when I started at 1 pm which made for easy waxing with some Swix Extra Blue. Do yourself a favour and throw your ice skates in the car and stop in at Two Jack Lake for some of the most amazing lake skating I’ve ever seen. Like glass.


15 Chuck December 11, 2017 at 6:37 pm


With news that someone had put in a track up the Pipestone River to Merlin Meadows, but not taken a photo, the duty fell to us!
The track follows the summer trail in the woods, instead of our traditional route on the river ice, so it was nice to see the difference.
Read all about it at:!AhVZXBE7vMV7iTE9ZZ4_VdO3LhpU


16 Edge of Metal December 11, 2017 at 11:07 pm

Sweet to see someone making use of my ski trail breaking efforts. I hope you dug it. Thanks for taking pictures to give people an idea as too what is up there. My camera only takes blurry pics. Apparently the meadows in your pics are technically called Point Camp Meadows.

When I was there last Thursday Merlin’s Castle and the mountains in your picture were deep red then gold colored just before dark. It was spectacular as usual.

If you ski up valley another 4 or 5 kilometers you come to the warden cabin. Since the big flood a few years ago, it is much more difficult getting across the meadow and up to the cabin as there is more river meanders that often do not freeze over so easily now. The flood changes seemed to have brought out more ground water into the river which makes it harder to freeze further up valley. I usually wait until spring to go to the cabin when the snow pack is nice and deep and it fills in some river channels.

It is possible to ski into the Red Deer River drainage or go to Skoki Lodge from this area while doing an overnight trip- if you are a great long distance skier. It is best to do that in spring with long daylight hours.

I prefer to ski on trails rather than rivers like the Pipestone. I don’t like to ski up rivers as I have fallen through ice a few too many times in my life time way up north. I was going to cross the Pipestone but I decided not to because of the recent warm weather and I could hear the river running under the ice which is unusual for this time of year. I will wait for some colder weather before doing a crossing by myself. When you ski by yourself, it is best not to take too many chances.


17 Chuck December 12, 2017 at 8:51 pm

Yes, we know the route well. In fact we have come out from Skoki via the Pipestone a few times.
Hopefully this link from April 2014 still works:
We spent 2 nights at Skoki which allowed us to complete a Grand Tour. Day 1 arround Fossil Mountain to Skoki Lodge and up to Merlin Lake after Tea. Day 2 to Natural Bridge and back around Skoki Mountain. Day 3 out via the Pipestone River.
While there are a lot of pictures, it may be worth scanning through. You will see us passing the Pipestone Warden Cabin on the last day.
As you say, these are trips to plan for later in the season when the days are longer.


18 Tawny December 11, 2017 at 10:38 am

A few updates already from Louise yesterday, so I’ll just add that we felt like we had Fairview all to ourselves. I forgot how pretty it is. If you haven’t skied it in a while, make sure you do. It’s stunning.
The hills were icy heading up (about 11ish). Our waxless touring skis normally bomb straight up, but we had to herring bone. I suppose there are worse things.


19 TC December 10, 2017 at 8:40 pm

Pipestone: Skijoring, lots of fun did the whole loop with my sled dogs. They hammered it. Bit of a treacherous ski when you have two boys running fast tied to you but it sure gets you competent quickly. Lots of double poling but did do this loop on skate skis, it reminds of skijoring courses that double as dog sled tracks at the moment. There were quite a few wider spots where it was easy to one skate and open it up. I kind of hope they don’t trackset so I can skate it again. It’s perfect prep for skijor racing.

Did the Great Divide solo after Pipestone, great conditions for skating. Wish we could transfer some of this snow at Louise to West Bragg Creek.


20 JeremyN December 11, 2017 at 8:39 am

Good to hear you & your team enjoyed the trails TC -really should ought to have more narrow & varied skate & skijoring track like this in Alberta. Skiing on wide flat trail/roads isn’t much fun in comparison.


21 TC December 11, 2017 at 9:09 am

Pipestone yesterday reminded me of the IBEX Valley Tracks just outside of Whitehorse (used for dog sledding and skijoring specifically, but people cross country ski there too), narrow and varied but a ton of fun. I agree with you whole-heartedly.


22 Jenn December 11, 2017 at 9:40 am

Agree! More skijoring tracks would be great! TC-are there other areas you normally take your dogs for skijoring practice. We are looking for dog friendly trails that allow skate skiing-we don’t mind if they are flat or closed roads either! we’ll take anything!


23 TC December 11, 2017 at 2:26 pm

When there is snow, West Bragg can’t be beat. I never have an issue with my dogs being in anyone’s way. If you have more than one, a neckline is highly recommended. AKKO Sports has great skijoring units and I get my sled dog gear (harnesses) from Snowy Owl in Canmore for the most part. You really want a proper sled pulling harness to skijor or else you can damage your dogs’ necks. Drives me nuts when I see people skiing with their dogs and have them attached to a collar on a leash. You really need a bungee lead too; my dogs are pretty fast and are actually sled dogs (I have an Alaskan Husky and an Inuit Dog, both from mushers) so I am a probably a little partial to the gear, but I don’t want them being sore or getting hurt. They are way easier to control as well if you have proper harness setups. You need to learn basic mushing commands too but they are easy enough to find on the internet. Biggest one is “Whoa” and “Stop”! “Easy” is pretty significant too when going downhill.” “Ha” is left, “Gee” is right, “on by” is move to the side of the trail when passing…If you move the proper way when you call the command your dogs will pick it up pretty quickly.


24 TC December 11, 2017 at 2:30 pm

The Bill Milne trail is a great place to learn basic skijoring safety, so is the Campground Loop at Lake Louise, I actually skated on the road in the campground as well last weekend. My dogs don’t really care as long as they can run. If you have fast animals, you really should use a helmet too; they listen well until they see elk or deer on the side of the trail then all hell can break loose pretty quickly. It really sucks when this happens when going downhill at speed. Just takes time for them to learn how to keep you safe.

25 Jenn December 11, 2017 at 6:40 pm

Thanks for all the info TC! Yes we use a harness and a bungee set up. I don’t think our dog goes fast enough to use a helmet! But certainly a good idea 🙂
We’ve been skijoring with him for about 2 seasons now-he’s a little slow on the commands but as you said, when we shift our body weight and turn he seems to understand that better.
Thanks for the trail info and as well good places to get gear.
Happy skiing!

26 Janice December 10, 2017 at 8:02 pm

A wonderful day at PLPP

A bit skeptical as we drove from Calgary and watched the mercury rise to double digits as we approached the Hwy 40 turnoff at about 11:30 am. The temperature stayed way too high till we neared Bouton (now + 2). After reading the report from fallsalot we thought we would go up Whiskey Jack to Tyrwitt as Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill was getting a little old so far this season. Skeptical again , only 1 car in the parking lot and debris all over the trail, we perservered and skiing very carefully we were able to negotiate our way to Whiskey Jack.( a person could carry their skis those few hundred meters). We were pleasantly surprised to find decent conditions for climbing up Whiskey Jack. My viola red 0- + 1 worked like a charm all day. Skied along beautifully groomed Tyrwitt, over Elk Pass and then decided to visit the couch. Again skepticism reared its head as it was now 2 pm and no sun was to be found on the trail. I had read that the couch has sun till at least 3 pm. Alas we arrived at the meadow hosting the couch and were treated to glorious sunshine. Our return on Fox Creek and Moraine was enjoyable . Some debris on the trails and Moraine has a few thin spots but nothing that some of that white stuff from the heavens wouldn’t fix. To top off our great ski we had a wonderful viewing of a magnificent mama moose and her kid licking salt off the car of the Warden parked outside the Visitors Centre.


27 K-digs December 12, 2017 at 5:28 pm

What’s “the couch”?


28 MaSid December 12, 2017 at 10:59 pm

It’s a couch made of snow. Been building it annually in the same spot for a number of years. afternoon sun exposure and great views, makes for some fantastic lounging on a clear day. But you have to venture off trail and explore a bit to find it and discover it’s true value. Bring a foam pad (and chocolate for any Skiers you meet there). There’s a photo of it from last year in a recent post by bob (what snow looks like?). Not that big at the moment, but easily seats 6 for now.


29 Stephen Vermeulen December 10, 2017 at 3:11 pm

PLPP Elk Pass on Sunday 10-Dec. Got to the parking lot about 0930, snow temp was -3C to -4C, after testing a couple of waxes settled on a SkiGo HF Yellow for grip (my friend used a SWIX Red-Silver wax) , these waxes worked pretty well all day. We went up the big hill and noted it was getting pretty icy. Then took the Fox Creek trail , which was very nice with good grip all the way. Went past the Blue Berry junction and climbed to Elk Pass. Since the steep sections coming down from the pass were getting pretty swept we decided to return via hydroline and Patterson. Both of these were in excellent shape and the steep sections of Patterson only needed a mild snow plow. On getting back to the top of Fox Creek we decided to do a second loop of Elk Pass, Hydroline and Patterson.

One thing to note (which may relate to previous reports of coal fire smells) the snow on the way up to Elk Pass was “dirty”, it had a distinct grey top coat.
Though this didn’t seem to affect the glide or grip.

The return along Fox Creek was a dream. I love that trail, just wish it was a bit easier to get onto.

When we got to the final junction before the big climb to the top of the big hill we decided to take the Fox Creek trail to avoid the worst of the hard downhill. This was in surprisingly good shape, no tracks but well packed. Only real issue is the surface is not very flat as there hasn’t been enough snow to fill in the dips and bumps of the terrain. But much easier than snowplowing for your life…


30 Carole December 10, 2017 at 10:44 am

We went up the Tramline, down Fairview and skied the Moraine Lake Road on Saturday, December 9. Bob, both downhill runs on Fairview were fast and fun! I did them both twice. I had to be a bit cautious on the bumps but kept good control. I did meet Bob in the MLR parking lot and we exchanged a few words. The temperature went from -18C at 10 a.m. to -5C at the end of MLR, and back down to -12C when we finished skiing. It was a great snow skiing day!


31 fallsalot December 9, 2017 at 7:06 pm

PLPP – excellent skiing on upper elevation trails. Snow is cold, dry and fast. The Whisky Jack trail is OK if you go uphill. Wheeler perfectly groomed for skating except few thin spots. The biggest disappointment for me was the Boulton Creek trail. It is not groomed even thou map shows it is. In description only Boulton connector indicates as groomed. Anyway avoid this trail for now. It was very rough with lots of tree debris, icy sections, hungry rocks ready to bite p-tex. I had Start purple synthetic wax for grip.


32 Ralph December 10, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Had a great skate ski on Wheeler today (Sun.)
Thanks for the beta.


33 Jenn December 9, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Pipestone Loop #20 counter clockwise to #21
Great skate ski conditions today! Beautiful sunny skies. Started out at 1030 temp was showing -15. Packed trail with a little bit of debris but not enough to slow us down. As mentioned by Edge of Metal on an earlier date this week, some narrow areas which make the skate skiing a little challenging but still worth it. Didn’t see much skier track for classic but did see some folks out on classics enjoying themselves. Great spot to bring our dog for a little skijoring-saw 3 others with dogs all well behaved and leashed. Excellent day.


34 TC December 10, 2017 at 12:50 am

Clarification, are you allowed to skate on Pipestone? I didn’t think that was an option…


35 Chuck December 10, 2017 at 8:03 am

Until Parks Canada tracksets this narrow trail, I would say you are welcome to skate.


36 Jenn December 10, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Thanks for the clarification Chuck! Wasn’t sure about skate skiing it but we saw other tracks of skate skiers so figured for now it was okay.


37 A December 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Great Divide. Around -15C at the start today, V20 was sticking a bit. Got better as the day progressed. Wonderful, clear day, great views, though too cold for my phone so couldn’t take photos.


38 Martine December 9, 2017 at 3:45 pm

PLPP – Elk Pass

Fantastic conditions with new track setting. Parking lot cold -10C and windy, but once on the trail, beautiful day. No wind at top of Elk Pass. Excellent snow. V40 worked well. Lots of people enjoying the trails including racers whipping by on the downhills.


39 MaSid December 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm

Fri dec 8: elk/west elk.
Also -10 at 830 and 400 at the lot. My terrible waxing skills lead me along fox creek at the start. It was ungroomed at the time and relatively smooth perhaps compared to now. Went and checked out the blueberry couch location. Didn’t contribute given its “shadiness”. Cool and windy in the meadows. Tracks still not blown in throughout. Strange animal markings in the snow back there in the trees. Perfect fresh wing tip feather imprints, singles and doubles, but no foot imprints. Rabbit tracks too. Maybe an owl grab and fly? Surface hoar everywhere, ground and trees, very nice cruising in the sun, if not a bit windy and cold in the more open meadows. November crust seems to be starting to break down. A bit more punchy with the poles here and there, but fine to the couch. Saw the heart, still visible. Then met the makers. Frequent couch flyers and people of many aliases. Wonderful company. The wind wall needed improvement out of necessity, as did the back of the couch. And expanded, now seats 6+. Not upholstered, so bring a foam pad. The closer wind wall is at its max height now until the new year (or your feet are in shade in the morning). Didn’t notice any coal smells, nor did I see bob. Another excellent day out. Fast on return, even on the cordoroy in the middle, barely had to pole back to the car. Tomorrow may be a double poling kind of day with the right wax.


40 MaSid December 9, 2017 at 9:28 am

Couch hours: in sun this time of year from about 11/1130 to 3pm.


41 Rainer December 8, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Elk Pass parking lot was -10 and very windy at 10:30 this morning. Once we got over the big hill and past the Fox Creek junction the wind died down. The tracks on Elk Pass, Hydroline, Patterson and Blueberry were fresh, hard and fast. Fantastic skiing. The temperature was noticeably warmer at the top of Blueberry, classic inversion effect. Noticed a distinct coal burning smell that must have come over from the B.C. side of the pass. Back at the Elk Pass parking lot it was still very windy and a temp of -6. If you go tomorrow don’t be discouraged by the wind in the parking area because if it was like today it moderates once you head up the trail.


42 Hugh December 9, 2017 at 6:25 am

Rainer, We too smelled the the burning coal. Just odd wiffs. Descended with down jacket on from top of Blueberry back to parking lot. Well worth the effort of climbing that first hill.


43 Chuck December 8, 2017 at 4:38 pm


Another great option:!AhVZXBE7vMV7iSbZ0cIV6QjWB4Ur
The devil is in the details (captions)


44 Diana Piggott December 10, 2017 at 2:00 pm



45 Helen Read December 8, 2017 at 4:29 pm

-17 arriving at Great Divide this morning. 9 Meanderthals enjoyed trying out several trails for the first time this season: Lower Telemark heading west(pretty nice for early season), back along GD to Peyto Blue/Green up to Deer Lodge (the best snow all day), and a treat to be back on Fairview (F/V), where snow temp was a whopping -12 while eating lunch in the glorious sunny meadows. The group vote was to turnaround at the top junction and return the way we came. As reported last night, the entire F/V has been groomed and trackset. I love skiing Peyto as so rarely is anyone on it, and it serves as such a perfect connector to the upper Lk Louise parking lot. p.s. Chuck I was so envious of your trip to Boulder Pass and beyond. And thanks for current reports from Pipestone and beyond.


46 Ray Perrott December 8, 2017 at 5:15 pm

I too was enjoying? the rather brisk temperatures at Lake Louise today. Skied the Lake trail, Fairview, parts of MLR and Tramline. Conditions generally good, though the tracks often have a crystallized feel. I also skied the 2km campground loop (my first time) – maybe the nicest conditions of the day. Sorry I missed you, Helen.


47 EDGE OF METAL December 7, 2017 at 11:36 pm

PIPESTONE RIVER- Below Merlin Castle

Busted trail up to the big meadow at the Pipestone River Crossing starting after noon.

Main trail #20 is snowmobile packed with a very good base. A few pine needles but not too bad. No track set. Very good narrow skating right now. Moderate to somewhat fast skiing on 60mm metal edge skis that made the skiing generally great. The skis carved the corners coming down like an all wheel drive sports car – sweetly. I just wished I still had a pair of 50 mm metal edge skis with high camber. Hint Hint ski shops and ski importers! Get with the times!

Off the packed trail there is a very good base with only about ankle deep ski penetration. A little more further up valley. Skier tracked as straight as an arrow for speed. This is a good time to venture way up the Pipestone. The sunset at the big vast meadow under Merlin Castle was awesome. Skied out at night. Pretty chilly at the meadow after sunset.


48 Chuck December 9, 2017 at 6:44 pm

All that effort… and not even one photo!


49 Broken zipper December 7, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Elk Pass: Thursday night. Rest assured, it is being groomed right now. We met the Piston Bully by headlamp at the south junction of Elk Pass and Fox Creek so the hill is done fer sure. Thank heavens…those clapped out tracks made you waddle down the trail with a stink-bug stance.


50 GLG December 7, 2017 at 8:42 pm

Pipestone: thin snow, lots of pine needles. Waxless skis were ok. Temp at noon around -10. Groomed but not trackset. Needs more snow.


51 JohnG December 7, 2017 at 5:57 pm

Lake Louise: I took Fairview to get to and from Paradise Vally. Early this afternoon the groomer was setting a nice new track over fresh grooming, hopefully all the way!


52 Chuck December 7, 2017 at 5:44 pm


Powder conditions on a skidoo packed base to Boulder Pass. If you continue to Deception Pass, expect wind affected snow.
Check out the photo captions for details, or just look at the Eye Candy:!AhVZXBE7vMV7iRp_-arnTJfb_pFg


53 Diana Piggott December 7, 2017 at 6:50 pm

Oooooooooooooooooooo, fabulous!


54 Steven Smith December 8, 2017 at 5:52 pm

Do you start skiing right from Fish Creek parking lot or do you take a bus or buy a gondola ride to Temple Lodge to start? How long is the ski to Boulder Pass?


55 Chuck December 8, 2017 at 6:58 pm

I started at the Fish Creek Parking Lot.
What do you mean by “How Long”?
It is 3.8 km up the ski out to Temple Lodge, and then another 4.7 km to Boulder Pass.
In terms of time, I would say about an hour to Temple Lodge and another hour and a half to Boulder Pass. Of course there are many reasons to take longer!


56 Steve December 8, 2017 at 10:17 pm



57 Henry L December 9, 2017 at 8:30 am

Chuck, I’d probably been to the Fish Creek trail head a half-dozen times, in winter, many, many years ago. Saw it for the first time in summer several years ago. It was very confusing, but there was construction going on, and ‘Stay Out’ signs everywhere. I couldn’t find a summer trail head of any sort. Even thrashed through the bush and across the creek at the back of the parking lot. I had driven an young American hiker up there in my rental car so that he could continue his sojourn. Do the hikers just take the Temple Lodge access road in summer? I also couldn’t quite see where the ski out joined/crossed the road, though it’s obvious on Google Maps.
Hopefully it’s not too confusing for Steve in winter, when I believe it is all more obvious.
(My summer story ended well when a some workers arrived and gave the hiker a lift up to the lodge -)


58 MaSid December 9, 2017 at 9:46 am

People not staying at skoki lodge usually hike up the road in summer as the ski out is a bushy wet plod that doesn’t see much summer traffic. The road is terribly boring for the most part, especially on return after a long day around packers and deception. iPod motivation helps the time go by if you aren’t lucky enough to get a lift from staff. Stunning in the fall though, well worth the effort.

59 Chuck December 9, 2017 at 8:32 pm

In winter… it’s a breeze:
ps Sorry for the delay in responding… this contest is filling the Recent Comment InBox to overflowing!

60 Bev December 7, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Lake Louise Lower Telemark trail: single track only. I met no other skiers however it would be tricky (ie dangerous) to meet another skier on the fast downhills as the packed snow on each side of the track is narrow. A few twigs showing but nothing detrimental. -12C and no wind. Plenty of hare tracks and a couple of the more rare snow angel imprints.


61 Martine December 7, 2017 at 5:15 pm

PLPP – Elk Pass

Skied yesterday (Wednesday) at Elk Pass and was surprised at the great conditions. Snow was excellent with skier set tracks. Only icy spots were on the small steep downhill before Fox Creek turnoff, just after the initial big climb. Started at 11 AM at -10C and finished around -5C.


62 John A. December 7, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Great Divide – There has been no recent grooming on the Great Divide. They rolled the skate lane on Tuesday, but the tracks are a bit older. However, conditions remain very good. The classic tracks are firm (OK, hard) and relatively deep (for the GD). The skating lane seems to be quite firm and despite the cold weather, the skaters seemed to be getting good glide. It was -14C at 10:30, and it felt a bit nippy. But by 13:00 the temperature was up to -8C. As for wax – choose your favorite blue and enjoy. The forecast is for moderate temperatures in the next few days (-8C to -4C), so conditions should be nice for the weekend.


63 Scott M December 7, 2017 at 9:15 am

Looking for great trail conditions? Willing to drive to get them? Consider the 8 hour drive to Grande Prairie to check out Wapiti Nordic Ski Club. Better yet if you are headed to Grande Prairie for work take your skis along. Early heavy snow falls and excellent grooming have combined for great skiing this year so far. Well marked trail junctions help navigate some nice terrain in trees and meadows. Lite trails will welcome you if work keeps you late into the day. Best skiing of the year so far yesterday (Dec 6) Wednesday morning as the sun came up. The freshly reset tracks cleaned up the tree debris from the warm winds and good wax made for a great morning!


64 Norm V December 7, 2017 at 4:53 pm

Thanks for the tip Scott 🙂


65 JR December 6, 2017 at 7:23 pm

The Elk Valley Nordic Center (near Fernie) was groomed Sunday night and is in good condition for classic and skate skiing, albeit with a few small icy sections and a few shrub branches poking through. I skied 8 km including the Galloway loop, it was in great shape.

I skied the trail at island lake lodge a week ago and it had good coverage already but haven’t skied it in a week.

The montane trail has a few more bare sections but looks to have decent coverage once you get up the hill.

The x-country trails at the RCR ski resort are reporting the short loop being groomed. I haven’t skied them yet but a friend reports the initial hill up is a bit sketchy, but he trails themselves are in great shape.

The golf course here in Fernie isn’t open yet.

Hope that helps anybody heading towards Fernie for some X-country skiing!


66 Chuck December 6, 2017 at 4:32 pm


This valley often feels cold, but with temperatures forecasted to warm up over the next few days, this may be a good opportunity to pay a visit.
Read the captions for details, or just look at the pictures:!AhVZXBE7vMV7iQXU1VPsO9oaHJWD


67 Pete December 6, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Any sign of my old ski tracks along the creek Chuck?


68 Chuck December 6, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Not sure Pete… lots of ski tracks up there… even people today on skinny skis!


69 Pete December 6, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Glad I went when I did! Mine were the only tracks and I had the whole valley to myself.


70 Keith Bagnall December 5, 2017 at 8:14 pm

PLPP – Elk Pass, Blueberry Hill, Upper Hydroline, Patterson, Elk Pass down and Fox Creek on returning. Starting temperature was -10 C in am – VR40 wax (blue) perfect all day. The cold south wind kept us company to top of Blueberry Hill, chased us from the Blueberry Junction picnic table and turned us around at Elk Pass. November 1 grooming was covered by 3 cm of snow that was well skied. There was no soul soothing kick and glide today with the washed out and wavy skier set tracks. More snow and grooming is required to bring back the magic.
However, there are no bad days in the mountains. The sun was shining in a blue sky. Low sun angles made for spectacular lighting in the tees and on the hill sides above Elk Pass at 1:30 pm.


71 Ray Perrott December 5, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Great Divide and Lower Telemark – started at the O’Hara end. Up to the BC/AB border and a bit beyond, the tracks were somewhat blown in. While well used, they were still quite good after that. Some pine needle debris in wind prone sections. On the return trip, we skied Lower Telemark – early season conditions here, with quite a few small branches sticking up through the tracksetting, and needle debris. The next good snowfall will help this trail. Temperature steady around -7C.


72 Chuck December 5, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Cascade Valley – Dec 5
You wanna see ice:!AhVZXBE7vMV7iHwzR0upmuegs3Hg
no captions… just great skating!


73 James December 5, 2017 at 11:18 pm

Looks like it will take 15 cm of new wet snow on the Cascade River Trail/ Road before it will be any good for skiing.

There will be a great dense snow base up towards Flint Park for off trail skiing with some new snow. I can hardly wait.


74 heatherd December 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm

We had a lovely ski at PLPP today. Cold wind and thin snow at Elk Pass parking lot and up the hill at beginning, but it improved immensely over the day. Went counter clockwise to Elk Pass and around to Tyrwhitt and down Whiskey Jack. Definitely need more snow and grooming would be welcomed, but overall a great day on VR40 — even saw fresh wolverine tracks on Whiskey Jack section.


75 Bev December 5, 2017 at 4:07 pm

This afternoon Canmore Nordic Centre groomed the section leading out from the lower parking access up Banff trail. This section had snow guns on it for a very long time. The grooming joins the old Banff road (part of last week’s Alberta cup route), goes below the frozen thunder sawdust, then does a loop back. A nice addition.

That’s great news, thanks Bev. -Bob


76 Sibylla and Bryan December 5, 2017 at 10:42 am

Skied MLR and it was just great. Perfect blue wax for slide and kick. The trail from the chutes down to the lodge was a bit spoiled by a snowshoer. We were surprised that the person had made it so far. The snowshoe imprints made the trail harder to ski as it was uneven but still a nice added run to the trackset MLR trail. We came back via Fairview and Tramlines. Fairview has no fallen trees and is beautifully track set AFTER the first part up from MLR due to the creek. Must be like luge on skies going down, really full of bumps and fast! Sort of tricky going up as so uneven but worth it once on the trackset part. It is so nice to be on snow, we are wishing hard for snow in Canmore before Christmas.


77 Diana Piggott December 4, 2017 at 11:09 pm

Couch surfing near Elk Pass……..

Well, the Elk Pass trail is getting a bit rough, and people should stop taking their dogs up there, sigh…….. but still in reasonably good condition. Cold today!

I tried to go couch surfing, but only found one couch. Blueberry meadows – did someone just make up that name? I scouted around there last year looking for the original couch, before I found its true location. Had a similar experience today, lots of “trails”, and signs of civilisation, but no sign of couch. I guess I didn’t remember the trip report quite accurately! Lovely travel through meadows, getting slightly lost, and then suddenly found at the one true couch, which is surprisingly large and spacious already 🙂


78 Grizzly Tracking Skier December 5, 2017 at 12:45 am

I am a dog owner but I don’t bring it into the bush because dogs attract predator animals. I want to track the animals rather than having them track me down because they think they may want to eat Rover.- or me because I can’t run so fast.

I have had a few off leash dogs in the last couple of years “threatening” me on trails in the Parks where they were not suppose to be. I may have to start carrying bear guard to deal with such dogs. I feel more worried about big dogs than the grizzlies as I have not had a griz threaten or bite me and I have dealt with a lot of griz over the years. I have had too many poorly trained uncontrolled dogs bite me in my life time and I have seen some kids get really messed up by them.

I suggest people take pictures of dogs and their owners if they are on trails illegally and send the phots to the wardens, rangers or police for evidence purposes. Post them on the internet too to embarrass them and create an evidence trail.

The Government should have at least $2500 fines to deal with dog owners that do not obey the laws of our society.

May the law abiding dog owners have happy ski trails- just keep Rover out of them. God speed ski with you too..


79 Mary-Ann December 5, 2017 at 12:25 pm

I believe this forum was set up for trail reports, not this kind of vitriol. Perhaps you can find a better forum for this kind of commentary.


80 Skier X December 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm

I agree with the above report as it is pertinent to skier safety. Vitriol? I think you may get the wrath of crazy dog lovers, which are many, they seem to value the lives of animal over humans. I recently witnessed a large breed dog off leash at West Bragg, almost take the face off a child. The owner’s response was the dog was upset and scared by the child. It was as if they expected the child to be on leash??? I threaten to report her to the authorities. Dogs are a greater threat to security on trails than fat bikers.


81 Grizzly Tracking Skier December 5, 2017 at 11:06 pm

I must agree with Skier X (007?).

I ski to help myself recover from sever injuries and associated stiffness. I have spent 1/2 of my life recovering from injuries that were primarily the result of legal negligence. When you spend years recovering from excruciating back pain, knee pain hip pain, head pain and shoulder pain, the last thing you want is more pain from some unleashed dog colliding with you on a ski trail hill or biting you.

Negligent dog owners who do not leash their dogs up are putting themselves at great legal liability risk as well, in the event of an accident or attack. Why risk your life savings and assets in the event of some sort of unnecessary accident?

I and others just want to enjoy the trails along with the law abiding dog owners who leash up their dogs for the enjoyment and security of all.

Make way for safe happy sunny ways skiing for all on the trails.


82 MaSid December 5, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Once the season gets going there are a plethora of random trails throughout the area without any apparent destination other than maybe a quinzee. But it’s good to get slightly lost every once in a while. Hard to go too wrong back there. That was me using the blueberry meadows reference. Nothing official, just lots of individual linear meadows with one closer to blueberry. It can be a magical experience on certain days, hard to force myself to go elsewhere sometimes. Happy surfing!


83 Chuckie December 4, 2017 at 7:07 pm

Kimberly and Panorama
Kimberly – good. Very good.
Panorama – bad (some idiot had walked along the trackset)


84 Chuck December 4, 2017 at 5:08 pm


What a delightful loop… and we only just learned about it.
We carried our skis from the parking lot to just beyond the Chateau where the trail to Lake Agnes goes into the woods. Here we put on our skis and followed trail #4 (which is actually the summer horse trail) along the lake. I would estimate that the trail is about 20 metres above the elevation of the lake, and it was most recently trackset on Dec 2. At the end of the lake you come to views of the icefall and then descend carefully to the level of the lake. From there the track was only skier set on the lake itself back to the hotel.
Check it out at (no captions):!AhVZXBE7vMV7iG_o1VxoRY-GZy1W


85 Dana Laustsen December 4, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Haven’t seen any reports on Shark Mountain so we went there to check it out on on Sunday, Dec 3. Glorious calm bluebird day with 5-10cm new snow. Started out at -12C and finished at -7C. Not trackset, but enough coverage for a good ski. Went as far as Watridge Lake with our dog Willow. Met lots of other skiers with dogs and a couple fat bikers. All were courteous and friendly.


86 Bill December 3, 2017 at 11:31 pm

Great Divide by moonlight and headlamp. After a weekend of standing in the cold watching skiers race in the CNC installment of the Alberta Cup, an after dinner outing on GD seemed appropriate. Indeed it was! Beautiful winter air, starry skies and high-quality time with 12-year-old son, who was kind enough to let me keep up with him. Mommy wasn’t terribly impressed with our 11pm arrival at home on a school night, but…

Another skier was just arriving as we were packing up to leave. Actually, I’m surprised that there weren’t more night skiers out there. Great skiing on cold snow. Tracks were a little wavy in spots, just the way Chuck likes ’em.


87 Phil December 4, 2017 at 12:37 am

That other skier was me, Phil, from Manitoba. That night ski had to be one of those “bucket list” experiences with the full moon lighting up the peaks. No need for a headlamp tonight though at -16 I had to keep a brisk pace.. That caps off a fabulous week of skiing in the Lake Louise area before heading back to snowless southern Manitoba. Sure would like to take some of this gorgeous snow home with us.


88 Bill December 4, 2017 at 11:02 pm

Thanks Phil for reminding us “locals” to never take what we have on our doorstep for granted. Safe travels!


89 Chuck December 4, 2017 at 8:42 am

How Special… that will be such a memorable experience for your son too!
Nice to meet you Bill, while volunteering this weekend at the CNC Alberta Cup. Obviously, I should have been grilling you about your skiing plans. Thanks for the inspiration.
This is what I saw from the couch:


90 Bill December 4, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Great to meet you and Jeanette as well! Might still be a chance to get some full-ish moon photos in the next couple days but it’d be tough to match the ones in the gallery you posted!


91 James December 3, 2017 at 9:24 pm


Generally good to excellent snow base. Great skiing. Moderate snow speed. -7 at parking lot around noon. Snowmobile packed and skier tracked to Shadow Lake turn off. Skier packed up to the Lodge. Just the odd rock, under the odd tree but avoidable. No track set yet but if 10 cm of new snow falls, it will be suitable for track setting and offer excellent skiing.

Used -5 to -15 Swix wax that worked well on narrow metal edge skis.

Parks Canada reported poor snow conditions on their website but they have no idea as to what they are talking about. There is nice snow up there. It would be a good idea for a snowmobile to widen the trail more and to pack the trail to Shadow Lake now.

Thanks, that’s amazing news. I had no idea there was enough snow there. -Bob


92 Henry L December 4, 2017 at 7:10 am

I’m curious as to what happened at the two avalanche paths of last spring. Has this all melted away and been cleared?


93 Paul and Nancy December 3, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Moraine Lake Road and Upper Tramline

Cool, -10oc, so went with Blue Extra. Very good conditions and a bonus. First chance to met Skierbob for this season. Hard to believe how good the snow is just 45 min west of Canmore.


94 Pete December 3, 2017 at 5:58 pm

Blueberry hill. Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. December 3
Had a nice ski with my daughter and our friends up Blueberry hill today. Followed a wobbly skier set track the whole way along Elk pass trail to the top. Used my old skinny tele skis with V40 which worked fine. Lots of people out enjoying the beautiful day, including a bus load of younger people. After the initial steep hill climb (good coverage) the steep hill down to Fox creek turnoff was a bit icy in spots. After that everything was fine. Had great views from the top of Blueberry and a good run down. Continued over to west elk pass and MaSid’s couch to enjoy the last rays of sun. The girls had a short snowball fight while we were there. Met a few people on our way out. The big hill descent back to the parking lot was no problem (I was cheating with metal edges of course!). The girls didn’t have any problem either as there was plenty of soft snow and no icy spots. All the trails need is a good grooming and tracksetting and conditions will be perfect!!


95 Karen December 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Thanks to Bob we headed to Pipestone this morning. Minus 13 in parking lot at 10:30am. The trails got another pass from the groomer this morning. Good snow, blue sky and warmed up. For Dec 3rd you can’t complain.


96 Steven Smith December 3, 2017 at 6:49 am

Healy Pass
With Sunshine Ski resort reporting 19cm of fresh snow in 24hrs. my friend Todd and I decided to check out Healy Pass with our AT gear. We weren’t feeling very inspired in the parking lot at Sunshine as there was only a few cm of fresh snow there. The first part of the trail was very thin and we had to be careful not to ski over rocks but the higher we got conditions quickly improved. At the top of Healy Pass there was over 30cm of fresh fluffy snow on top of a supportive crust layer. We didn’t dig a pit as we skied a pretty mellow pitch back down but there were certainly no signs anywhere of avalanche and everything seemed very stable. A great day out with temps ranging between -10C at the pass and -3C back at the parking lot at 3pm.


97 Chris Canmore December 3, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Steven, thanks for the report. Did you have to walk/carry skis up and/or down the first part of the trail, and if so, how far? Thanks


98 Steven smith December 3, 2017 at 9:17 pm

Skied the whole way but definitely had to take it slow on the final ski out so as not to let rocks take nics out of the base of skis.


99 Chris Canmore December 3, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Thanks so much for the intel!


100 Steve Riggs December 2, 2017 at 8:41 pm

A surprise bounty of overnight snow at Blueberry! The 7 cm at Elk Pass trailhead grew to 15 on the way up Blueberry. The set tracks were still mostly well defined, but a bit wobbly here and there. A bonus to the fine skiing was savouring the sun and lack of wind at the top for a while, before the genteel, somewhat slower than usual glide back down. Despite the new snow- the hill on Elk Pass going south from the powerline down to Fox Creek was scraped down to bare ice in a couple of small patches in the afternoon. Otherwise-coverage everywhere was excellent.
MaSid- was that you on AT gear, that we leapfrogged a bit with in the final km back? My wife talked to you I think- she had seen you at her clinic?


101 MaSid December 3, 2017 at 7:47 am

Yes indeed. As my first day out I wasn’t ready for the skinny sticks and really wanted to break trail in deep snow more than anything (it’s strange what you miss) while also doing some couch work. Was keen for some alpine adventure on the slopes of mount fox too but didn’t have the energy after a few hrs of shovelling. Your wife and I chatted about the spike of hospital visits with the slippery snow last February just before nervously plummeting down the big hill. I went to lougheed though, not rocky, so just one less unhappy skier to deal with.


102 TC December 2, 2017 at 8:21 pm

Campground Loop and MLR. Skijored with the pups for about 45 min at Lake Louise Campground. Needs a groom but it gave my boys a good workout. Then did MLR on skate skis. Great conditions. It would be nice if it was possible to drive less to get to good snow though.


103 Martin & Jip December 2, 2017 at 7:48 pm

PipeStone, great coverage with plenty of fresh snow, good skier set tracks, took in all the lakes on the first loop, decided to go back to the main lake to ski the remaining trails and was rewarded by fresh grooming on the return leg. Snow temp was -4 @ 12 noon, VR45 worked of me, meet you know who at the parking lot where we celebrated our luck to ski the fresh grooming, it was a bit lumpy bumpy the first time through, I’ve a tired dog this evening!


104 MaSid December 2, 2017 at 6:25 pm

Sat dec 2: elk/west elk.
Snow carpentry season is upon us, whether carving turns or building couches. Thanks to Margot and John for a quick visit in the sunny meadows and helping with couch construction. Thanks also to skate rut a week ago for the preparatory snow compaction. As a result, got quite a bit done today and the couch is now “sittable” with a back to lean on and the start of a wind wall. Should be full size by christmass. My first ski foray since the ankle incident. A very good day out. Felt great to be carving smooth turns down the big hill back to the lot. Last nights snow greatly improved the descent. A new track is now in to the meadows (right and left forks), plus Margot and John reestablished the track all the way to hydroline. People were reporting excellent conditions on blueberry.


105 MaSid December 3, 2017 at 7:55 am

I should also point out that the meadows travel well, no bottomless pole plants like last year. About 70 cm in the meadows. Hopefully more snow soon to keep it that way before any extended cold snaps. Adventurous folk shouldn’t have an issue on skinny skis searching for the couch.


106 Boot bang December 3, 2017 at 9:18 am

Did Margot and John ‘feel the love’ on their way to the hydroline?
That big heart we drew with our tracks was for you buddy.
There’s another couch site starting (compacted only) that’s less than 100m up Blueberry then just 150m into the meadows. Easy access and views second only to your site. Last night we reestablished the meadow track(s) between the couch sites as well as all the way to hydroline (someone also set ski track to Fox lake), so today it will be very nice in there. The meadow tracks set up quickly (-5C) when we arrived at dusk to find your handiwork. The meadows are in fact faster and smoother than the ‘trackset’ Elk Pass, which is completely clapped out by the high traffic over new snow.


107 MaSid December 3, 2017 at 9:53 am

Ha! Yes they did. Ran into them again at blueberry and they mentioned the “love”. I myself didn’t go that way, so missed the freindly message! I’m familiar with the more blueberry meadows section and almost went up that way en route to a powder stash, but will likley be there soon and I might just pull out the shovel (can’t resist making creations). The couches are multiplying! (-:


108 Margot McMechan December 3, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Meeting MaSid making his couch was a special bonus as we thought we would go over to have lunch at that wonderful spot. The ski through the meadows and trees to Elk Pas power line was wonderful. We very much enjoyed seeing the heart along the way. I certainly recommend the meadow loop to Elk Pass power line and pass for anyone who likes to escape the tracks.

For a photo of MaSid starting the couch see:


109 chuckley December 2, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Wonderful trip today out of Elk Pass parking lot. Temperature -3C at parking lot and -5C higher up. V40 wax was perfect on at least 8cm of new snow since the track was set. First to ski out Tyrrwhit from Elk Pass – beautiful downhill cruising. We returned to Elk Pass. Downhill on Patterson was superb- we were the first to ski down and had a peaceful smooth ride. A little crowded on Elk Pass trail returning to an overflowed parking lot. Most other parking lots in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (PLPP) were empty. My first trip down herethis season, I was surprised to see the Barrier Lake and Kananaskis Lakes are still open water.


110 Sheila December 2, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Right you are, Chuckley! In all the years we have skied Elk Pass I have never seen the parking lot so full that out near the road was the only place we could leave our vehicle. Beautiful sunshine, glistening new snow, and happy faces made for a perfect day on my favourite trail.


111 Chip Scialfa December 2, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Fish Creek

As I’d done 3 days of skiing since Sunday, I decided to stay away from the conventional weekend trips and visit a place that isn’t so widely known by track skiers, but has it’s charms nonetheless.

I arrived at Bebo Grove at 7:40, just as the sky was starting to brighten. The thermometer read -7 but, to my surprise, there was no one waxing their skis in the parking lot. Actually, it was a hard day to wax, I guess somewhere between VR0 and VR20,000. I had forgotten my waxless rollerblades so I opted instead for the Mark’s Work Wearhouse, all-season skid-techs. They worked reasonably well, until I got to any kind of a downhill section, when I took to the weeds so as to avoid a bone-busting fall.

After an hour, I arrived at the “warming hut” which was closed for the season. I’m sure that this angered the resident cougar, who had plenty of publicity in the park. There was no sign of it today, but I wasn’t terribly disappointed as I was alone, without a huge backpack.

Although I wouldn’t recommend the trails, even for rock skis, the trip did have it’s high points. I managed to see about 20 Pine grosbeaks, a Townsend’s solitaire, and three woodpecker species, including a female Three-toed such as Chuck found on his Mosquito Creek trip.

For pics, go to


112 Chip Scialfa December 2, 2017 at 12:42 pm

P.S. You have to read the captions on the Fish Creek album pics.


113 Frank Howard December 2, 2017 at 3:59 pm

The important thing is to get out, right, Chip?


114 Diana Piggott December 3, 2017 at 12:28 am

Going for the poetry prize?


115 Chip Scialfa December 3, 2017 at 6:52 am

Why Diana? Is there a cash prize? Point the way to the jury and I’ll sharpen my quill.


116 Henry L December 3, 2017 at 7:59 am

Gear questions.

Were the Skid-Techs three-toed ?
Did they have twin mohair strips or just one -)


117 Pete December 2, 2017 at 11:21 pm

Hi Chip! Did you happen to notice if the paved bike paths were clear of ice and snow?


118 Chip Scialfa December 3, 2017 at 6:49 am

Yes, Pete, for the most part they are clear, with a few icy spots in shaded areas. I walked from Bebo Grove east beyond Votiers Flats.


119 Ray Perrott December 1, 2017 at 7:19 pm

Moraine Lake Road / Tramline – a great day on these trails. Very good, fairly fast tracks, nice temperatures (-7C at 10am, -4C at 1pm). The skating lane on MLR was freshly groomed too. It started snowing lightly at Noon, and was still snowing when we left about 2pm. Nice to meet a group of Meanderthals at the turn-around point. Quite a few people out today, enjoying the fine conditions. Should be great tomorrow.


120 JeremyN December 2, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Ray, I think it was we that chatted a bit at the Moraine turn around & played leapfrog on our decent. I travelled back up Tramline to an abrupt stop at the Lakeshore; played crossy-road then down around a newly double trackset Peyto, a few km west on Great Divide, then back via Telemark/Peyto and returned via Tram from the Chateau to my now white car at the Moraine parking lot. Good conditions overall but most uneven on Peyto -all the new snow w/ next groom will bury twigs & even out humocks & rills. A delightful winter day had me back a season in Okotoks by dinner!


121 Lynda G December 1, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Great day skiing at Lake Louise with -3 and snowing lightly.. Skied Fairview on packed but not trackset trail finishing on Tramline. Watch out for the fallen tree though on descent to Moraine…exciting technical skiing for sure, but lots of fun!


122 Mike W December 1, 2017 at 7:03 pm

PLPP December 1
From Elk Pass parking along Elk Pass Trail to the first Hydroline junction, up Hydroline, Lookout, and back via Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, and Fox Creek, with a side trip up Blueberry Hill. Trail conditions as described in the grooming report. -1C at the parking lot at 11:30am, -3C at 3:30pm.
Of note is a SIGNIFICANT HAZARD on the south side of Lookout, where the trail crosses Boulton Creek (at the bottom of downhill sections in both directions). The creek had flooded the trail. The groomer has fixed the drainage and dumped snow on top of the creek, but there is now a layer of breakable ice and crust with about 10cm of air underneath and loose snow under that. See photo at
I wouldn’t recommend descending the south side of Lookout because, unless you’re suicidal, you’ll have to walk the steep sections that haven’t been roller-packed yet because of the ruts caused by the groomer tracks.


123 Larissa Konik December 3, 2017 at 12:30 am

I think I saw you as I was wizzing down Blueberry. I was going too fast to be able to stop. Next time in PPLP, we’ll probably do both Blueberry & Lookout.


124 Mike W December 3, 2017 at 7:06 pm

Yup, that was me!


125 Kazzy December 1, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Kazzy December 1, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Lake Louise – my first “ski-joring” trip of the season with my human on classic skis along part of the Bow River Loop and around the campground thanks to fresh track-setting yesterday – yay! We went south from the campground bridge on the east side of the river, crossed over onto the west, then around the campground. The river tracks were firm and fast and a little thin in spots, but the campground snow was much better (-4C, Extra Blue -1 to -7). My other human skated 1A, skate lane good and tracks fast he said, and at 12.30 pm, the groomers were setting out to refresh the skate lane. Both humans skied down Tramline and said it was fast and fun (too bad I can’t go with them at that trail!).


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