Trip Reports – Dec 2017

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  1. Pipestone was great, no needles really as newer snow. We got snowbombed quite often as the trees dropped snow too. It was definitely cold but we dressed for it so were ok until the downhill back to the car also about 4pm. Due to the cold it was slow skiing too and the fun downhill were slow, shame, but probably saved us from frostbite! We used green grip wax which was fine. Looking forward to warmer weather that is forecast in a couple of days. Happy New Year to everyone and thank-you skierbob for this fabulous website.

  2. Sun dec 31: elk/west elk.
    Temp dipped to -38 on the drive out from calgary this morning. Jumped 10 degrees entering Kananaskis valley. -27 at elk pass lot at 1130. -18 on return at 6. Don’t think it got warmer than -20 at the couch, plus a breeze. Had to keep moving to keep warm, but lots of snow available to shovel. The couch has been unearthed. Deep and soft out there. Bashing off trail went almost knee deep (Even with AT skis!). The old track was still visible which made for easier work. Pole plants were deep, so Probably not so good on skinny skis. Should be good at the couch tomorrow with the expected warmth. Moon came over pocaterra ridge about 530 pm, but without any howling. Saw more people on the trail that I knew than didn’t know, with so few out. Only the intrepid were about.

  3. Fernie, Kootenay Cup Skate Race. Extremely cold day for racing today, however I highly recommend if you are looking for some variety you check out the Elk Valley Nordic Center in Fernie; what a beautiful place to ski. Conditions were soft as there had been close a meter of snow that had fallen in some spots over the fast 48h. Huge base, lots of hills, very scenic. I’ll be back when it’s warmer, on the drive home the thermometer in my truck read -34C at one point.

  4. My wife and I skied Bragg Creek today and while our ski was cold with very slow snow, the groomer appears to have prepped everything for what is sure to be an EXCELLENT skiing day tomorrow. We skied West Crystal, Loggers, and East Crystal, all was groomed just ahead of us. Highly recommended tomorrow.

    Here’s some photos:

    Is this the last trip report of 2017? 🙂

    • I’m next to Kellen
      Crystal and Sundog are fresh groomed, ready for tracksetting, which I hope will happen 😉
      Logger’s Loop is groomed and trackset
      Iron Springs and Elbow Trail, not groomed, but have decent tracks.
      I had a wonderful afternoon ski today, it was soft snow and slow gliding, not that cold cold (-20C)
      Happy New Year! 🙂

  5. Decided to head to Ribbon Creek today after seeing the new grooming. Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the Ribbon Creek parking lot at 1:00pm to a balmy -15C! V20 Green wax worked well and glide was pretty decent. A few areas on the Terrace were quite thin but easily avoidable.

  6. Cascade Fire Road

    Had a chilly ski with my wife on cascade fire road this afternoon. Didn’t bother waxing today as my old V40 wax from yesterday worked fine. Frigid windchill on the way in. (Air temp was -20c) A parks snowmobile passed us laying downhill tracks so we had those for the return. We only skied in about 5km as we had to be back in Canmore for five. Nice to be back on cascade despite the cold.

  7. Braved -32 degree this morning, started Elk Pass about 9:45. Of course we used Polar wax. Great tracksets, but we did see some snow bombs coming down as we finished. Little glide due to the cold.went as far as Hydroline, then down on Patterson and home. That was enough in this weather. It did warm to about -16 about noon. The sun was bright and created a wonderful scene.


    Yesterday, Bob wondered if if the Banff Tracksetter would tackle this next, so I had to check it out today.
    The minus 26 temperature was nothing compared to the wind chill that brought it below minus 30, and was particularly noticeable on the downhills!
    I only met two people all day, both were from abroad and had learned of the area from the SkierBob Blog!
    As usual, check the photo captions for details:!AhVZXBE7vMV7iW7dh4WcgBr1NWEA

  9. Castle Lookout to Baker Creek is still in great shape. This is a great easy trail with nice views of Castle Mountain, the Bow River and the Bow Valley. It was -23C but nearly windless. We parked at a pullout about 5 km north of Castle Junction by where the trail crosses hwy 1A and enjoyed the groomed trail. My son complained of cold feet, but the rest of us enjoyed it profusely. Other than his complaining, the day was nearly perfect. We followed it up with a meal at the Storm mountain Lodge, fabulous.

  10. Emerald Lake

    Went in search of warmer temps and ended up at Emerald Lake. Temp was a balmy -15/-18 around 1pm and had a great ski all the way around the lake with fresh grooming mid-way through. Beautiful views and no wind. It felt like the place to be today with such cold temps everywhere else. The baby slept almost the whole way around the lake in the pulk as it swished through the fresh snow. Cold and snowy is better than red wax and marginal conditions so we will make the best of it while we are in the deep freeze.

  11. Super cold and slow classic ski at CNC late this afternoon out to the warming hut and back on the banff loop. Nice to have the warming hut open and warm to thaw out a bit! Had no glide today so grip wasn’t an issue. Banff trail was in good shape.

  12. Dec 30th. Fish Creek Park.
    Since rediscovering my leather and down ski mitts circa 1980, I no longer suffer from cold hands. A pleasant ski in Fish Creek Park. More trails than usual were skiable as the paved trails have not been ploughed yet. Lots of animal tracks and not many people!

  13. Super wolf moon lined up for some possible New Years night skiing through the meadows. Maybe hear from the pocaterra pack (or revelling warm skiers). Moonrise is at 3:47pm local time.

    • MaSid, if I had known, I would have let you know about last night’s wonderful occultation of Aldebaran by the moon. We saw it in the east. Aldebaran disappeared behind the moon at about 6:25EST and reappeared about 55 minutes later (very roughly). Brilliant! Check for the possible next ones on Jan 27, and Feb 23.

  14. West Bragg – Avoid the crowd, brave the cold, and go at night!

    Had a late start in the day slipping out at sunset for a moonlit ski. I was rewarded for my late ski in -26 C darkness with a clear sky to look up at the stars; I could easily see The Big Dipper, Orion’s Belt, and Billy’s Pants. WBC is in great shape with the recent snow. Get out there before next week’s Chinook!

  15. CASCADE VALLEY – Dec 29

    Just in case this was the coldest day, we had to go for a ski:!AhVZXBE7vMV7iWFweveQYYUkkMiU
    Check the captions for the details!

  16. Went to WBC today – a chilly -23 start to the day, and ended at around -19. Did Middle Crystal up to Logger’s Loop, then down Sundog. A few cm of new snow left some faint tracks for us to ski in. Great day out, even with the low temps!

  17. PLPP (Meadow/Lodgepole) – 29 December

    -24°C, V20 Green worked fine. Approximately 10 cm fresh snow on ground at Discovery Center (more as you go south), so most tracksetting in the park will now be covered to some degree.

    Broke trail on Meadow, which had been groomed day before snow. Great base, easy going albeit a bit slow. Lodgepole freshly groomed and trackset, with a minimal amount of new snow on top. A treat to be able to ski out of the Center on manicured tracks!

  18. Skied out at Emerald Lake yesterday. Snowed lightly all day and temperatures ranged from -19 in the morning to -15 in the afternoon Started on the Horse Trail in the morning skiing out to the Alluvial Fan and returned on the lake. The trails are track-set and in very good shape. After a late breakfast at the Emerald Lake Lodge skied the Kicking horse river trail to the Ottertail river. Great track-setting by the KHSC had 2-3 cm of new snow in it but were still visible and easily followed.

  19. West Bragg Creek, Dec 28, 2017
    After doing most of Hostel Loop, I thought it might be an idea to switch things around and ski on the snowshoe/fat-bike trails. We went up Snowshoe Hare and then Demi-Tel, all the way up to the Long Distance junction. Snowshoe Hare had been packed wide and smooth by snowshoers. Demi-tel had a narrower single-file snowshoe/fat-bike track, and lots of powder along the sides for the downhill run. It’s a pretty sustained downhill from the top of Telephone Ridge to the parking lot, so it got quite chilly on the run down. The strangest thing I saw on Demi-Tel was the guy walking uphill carrying a snowboard for the descent… apparently, there are lots of ways to enjoy the snow covered trails.

  20. PLPP
    There is fresh new snow on the trails, about the same depth as in CNC. Temperatures today were low between -15C to -17C. The glide was silky smooth with the Rode green wax for grip. Wind chill on the Elk Pass trail made me double pole furiously just to stay warm. Once I’ve reached Fox Creek wind died down. It was still snowing lightly as I left and there is more snow in the forecast.

  21. Sandy McNabb -Macabee/Pine Ridge loops
    Been couped up holiday entertaining but escaped for late afternoon ski and reconnaissance to Sheep River PP. -19 so polar waxed for counter clockwise assent of Macabee loops then to Pine Ridge Lookout. Mostly skier trackset with 80% shallow washout as I call it due to plowing, wandering & snowshoe.
    Still, base now established per grooming report & trees gloriously holding snow. Fast decent on west arm of PineRidge with a few ski killer rocks!! to be aware of -as per usual for these trails. ALWAYS love the tight hiking style trails over knob-kettle like topography and (mostly) solitude -today a whopping 8 cars in ranger station parking lot. Note: LoggersLoop newly trackset -I park near campground entrance to avoid road crossing & ski through equestrian loop to access.

    Your photos bring back happy memories of skiing at Sandy McNabb but it’s been a long time since I’ve been there(too long!). I hope they get more snow so I can pay it a visit this winter. -Bob

    • Could you be the one who passed us?
      Lovely day at Sandy! No wind in the trees.
      We descended the east arm of Pine Ridge, which is pretty good, but there is that big ice flow to cross. It is almost flat, and with enough momentum you can coast across it going downhill.

      • Diana, if the individual you encountered was wearing a neck warmer…yes, I know, lots of people wear neck warmers, BUT on top of his head instead of his neck then you would have passed my husband. He was at Sandy and ran into a few people including a couple of ladies with a very pretty dog. Go figure he mentions the dog’s attractiveness. Happens to me all the time. Tells Bob (the dog) how wonderful he is looking on a particular evening meanwhile I am modelling a brand new pair of flannel pajamas and he does not notice. Go figure. Anyhow, he loves the neck warmer around his head cuz it keeps him warm but allows steam to escape from the top of his head. Frightens wild animals not to mention keeping women at bay which is why I allow him to ski alone. So, my point being, it could have been him!!

  22. Baker Creek to Castle Lookout (L/O) with 3 keeners in minus 20 start. Chuck’s pics enticed us to this trail today and did not disappoint. No wind, snowing all day and maybe a dozen out on the trail. Much improved from a year ago when AltaLink were working in there. The trail sadly does not go through Protection Mountain Campground anymore, but crosses the road over to the Railway tracks before it. I call this trail the “outstretched camel with two humps” and we stopped for a break both ways to enjoy those views. We did not cross the 1-A or climb the hill to Castle L/O parking lot as we were not intending to try the most recent track-setting to Castle Junction. After crossing the last meadow on our return, I counted 10 new power poles which marked the end of our energetic ski. First time I have encountered the lid of the toilet frozen to the seat part….had to pry them apart!

  23. Kananaskis Village (Troll Falls/Ruthie’s/Skogan Pass/High Level) – 27 December

    Hadn’t heard much about the conditions around Kananaskis Village so decided to ski some of the trails that were reported to be in better shape. A really beautiful day and largely good skiing, but with enough rocks that I would NOT recommend taking your favourite skis out.

    The lower trails (below Marmot Creek) are hard packed from ski/snowshoe/hiker traffic, and the rocks scattered throughout provide a fun challenge. Conditions persisted until Skogan Pass, where grooming (no tracks start). Use extreme caution coming down Skogan Pass below the creek; many sections where the groomer has struck ground, and exposed rocks throughout. One section has flooded and frozen. Returning to the Stoney Parking lot, we cut across fresh snow from Skogan Pass trail to Troll Falls trail. Be wary of snow that has not been compacted ~ there are a staggering number of rocks underneath.

    However if you can deal with the lower hazards, the pay off up above are well worth it. Tracksetting beings at around the Marmot Basin junction, and continues to improve with height. We only made it as far as the Sunburst/High Level loop before turning around, but if that was any indication it would be well worth continuing up Skogan Pass.

    There were a fair number of boot prints up the trail as far as Sunburst; they didn’t affect the quality of the skiing greatly, but the GT Racers that they were towing might have on the way down depending on how much braking they did!

  24. West Bragg Creek, Dec 27, 2017
    Because of the cold weather, I had only intended on doing a short ski today… but after discovering fresh grooming heading west on Mountain Road, I decided to see where that would lead. Well, it went all the way to the end of Mountain Road, along Mountain View West and around Moose Loop. So it turned out to be a much longer ski than planned. Great conditions, with a bit of new snow falling.
    The old “Special Green” from 3 days ago is still working well!

    • Skied the same route / loop today @ Bragg but by habit counter clockwise, one day I must try the opposite direction, great conditions throughout, a really nice ski. Low temps and light traffic along Mountain View West made for a slower glide on new snow, good glide returned along mountain road

      • I ski that loop both ways, but prefer to go in the counter-clockwise direction like you and Jip did today. Two reasons for this preference: the hill on the north side of the highest Pass is often has thin snow cover, so it is safer to be going uphill rather than speeding downhill. And, from that pass, it is pretty much downhill all the way to the parking lot.

        • Thanks Alf great tips, I’ve decided Saturday will be high time to break my habit, although as you say I’ll miss the constant down hill back to the parking lot.

          Looks like WBC is now getting a nice shiny machine shop / garage ?

          • The downhill that Alf mentions is thin and was showing a few rocks that I picked out, on my end of day ski today. No problem as I was going CCW as well- a bit of caution suggested if going CW.
            Other than that- I would say that MV West is in the best shape ever.
            Great skiing on the other trails on my loop too- Crystal line W, Moose N, Mountain Road, Mountain View(caution on the DH if going E to W), Loggers, Sundog etc.
            Groomers were heading out from the barn at dusk 🙂

          • Yes, that shiny new garage and maintenance shop was supposed to be finished by mid-October, then by the start of the ski season (early November), then by mid-November, then by December “for sure”, then “absolutely be December 22”. Still not done. Government project… So the volunteers have been working on frozen machinery, outside, in the bitter cold.

  25. The Banff Trail report rated Redearth Creek trail as excellent, so we had to check it out today. It was true to its word, freshly groomed and tracked, a trace of snow fell overtop throughout the afternoon. Temperatures steady in the high minus teens, no wind to speak of and only 2 other skiers seen the entire day. Lovely, dress warmly and enjoy.

    • Perhaps we crossed paths. All reports are accurate except for some rocks around the bends at approximately km 6.5 before the bridge. Watch carefully otherwise the tracks are perfect to the end. Is it possible that I saw fresh cougar tracks at km 9?

    • Great report Heather,
      How far did you go?

  26. Canmore Nordic Center is in great shape. Out to Banff Trail, back on Bow Trail then a couple loops of the Lynx and Salt Lake loops. Really cold headwind coming back east towards the main building. Was a little snowblind in a few spots as I didn’t have goggles in this cold weather, and the snow was starting to fall again at about 330pm.

  27. Lovely outing at Shaganappi Golf course. Great to be moving and outside! The tracks are starting to be quite worn down in areas, but there was only one patch where the pavement was actually showing through the snow (and it was easily avoided). The -17C the car reported was surprisingly manageable. Now we’re all mentally prepared to commit to a full ski day in the mountains tomorrow!

  28. Lost
    After skiing in PLPP we returned home to find we were missing a key to our ski rack. We parked in Boulton creek and the discovery center parking lots. If found please reply.

  29. Shark Trails,
    Cold start minus 18 at 11:30am. Skied to Watridge Lake. The trails have all been groomed with “no” track setting on any of them. Snow was quick and good glide. The area needs another good dump and some track setting.

    Shannon and Corey

  30. West Bragg Creek, Dec 26, 2017
    I’m not sure why West Bragg Creek was warmer that most other areas today, but I’m glad it was. It was -16C at 11:00am and briefly got to -12C at about 2:00pm. It seemed to be a bit warmer on the higher trails and colder in the low areas.
    I had a nice chat with local MLA Cam Westhead on Hostel Loop. It’s great to actually see a political representative on XC skis, enjoying the trails!

  31. Mountain Road, Moose Connector, Crystal Line, Logger’s Loop, Sundog, East Crystal, Bunny Loop. A bit of new grooming done on the lower section of West Bragg; did an interval workout on skate skis. Conditions aren’t overly fast but great for getting the heart rate pounding. Good glide on Sundog and East Crystal Lines, was able to one skate pretty quickly on these sections. People hiking on Moose Connector were met with a bit of malice from me. I was in the middle of a 3 min interval and had to stop as they were five abreast across the ski trail. Not sure what it will take for people to get it…There were people hiking on West Crystal Line yesterday as well with steel toes, making bit ruts in the grooming.

  32. Taking advantage of the plentiful snow in Calgary, and the brilliant afternoon sun- I clicked into my skis at my back gate and burnt off some Christmas dinner excess on an urban Boxing Day ski tour. After circling around the Birthplace Forest on a solidly packed dog walker path and a few remnant skier set tracks, I headed south for greener pastures. There- I found some very enjoyable skiing, going a fairways on a nice meandering route following good skier set tracks. Continuing on into Bowmont Park- I hooked up with the snow covered but bumpy dirt paths, and eventually- a bit of an exciting descent towards the river valley. After finding an easier route back up the Bowmont Park hillside- I dropped back onto the course I had taken earlier and looped around twice more before heading home at sunset. There’s always something especially satisfying about skiing right from home!

  33. We skied Cascade Fireroad today. First down to Bankhead, then up the hill to Cascade River Bridge and back. Nice, powdery snow, tracks are a bit shallow, but good, no rocks. Looks like a single track continues to Stoney Creek. A great ski with no wind and some sunny breaks.

  34. Quick ski while staying at the Chateau LL. Nice place but $20 for a margarita and $4 for water at the Wasser Stubbe was a little ridiculous. Anyway, we had fun. I WAY under-dressed for the trip and only skied briefly but the Peyto/ Telemark were single track set, slow and full of walker divots. The result of many tourists visiting, I practically ran over one snowshoer who wandered off the respective trail. Came back for a very welcoming 120 degree eucalyptus steam. And a lot lighter wallet….


    Had to check out the new tracksetting on this portion of the trail:!AhVZXBE7vMV7iVuJkjO1jQMpXek4

    • Looks great! Out of curiosity, how did you find out about the fresh trackset? I can’t seem to find any postings about it anywhere.

      • The scenery is amazing! I mentioned that it was trackset on my Friday Night Update. The manager of Baker Creek Mountain Resort had sent me an email about it. You can also see it on the Banff trail report under Cross Country Skiing: Castle Junction Area. Unfortunately, they still haven’t updated it as you can see here Banff trail report. It’s obvious from Chuck’s photos that it has enough snow and that it is trackset.

      • Actually Chris, I noticed it on December 21 while driving out to Baker Creek when we skied west to Morant’s Curve.
        Here is a link to that report:
        I could see that it was already trackset by then, so I chatted to Jim at Baker Creek and he told me that he was about to set the trackset in the east direction again.
        Then I saw Bob’s report, and resolved to ski it soon and get some pictures in case Bob wants to feature the area some time!

  36. PLPP (Wheeler/Whiskey Jack/Pocaterra/Lynx/Amos) – 26 December

    -27°C at the trailhead but up to -20°C by the end. Terrific loop on mostly trackset trails. Definitely worth having some sort of face covering!

    For the most part conditions holding from 24 December. Wheeler has ever so slightly more needles scattered about, but most of them are stuck to the bottom of my skis now so there’s little cause for concern. Whiskey Jack and Upper Pocaterra to Packers junction are still in great shape from the 21 December set, with a few small sections near the top filling in with snow. Still a pleasure to ski, just a fraction slower. Pocaterra from Packers Junction to Lynx is in excellent condition and appears to not have seen a lot of traffic. Lynx is groomed, providing a nice smooth surface with only one section a few metres from Pocaterra junction that has some foliage in the trail, easily avoided. Some skier set tracks are starting to appear on packed Amos to connect back to Wheeler and the Elkwood Parking Lot.

  37. A very cold day on the Lake Ohara Fire road. Tracks were great but the arctic temperatures combined with the wind and constant shade made for a painful outing. Too cold to take a break at Lake Ohara so just turned around and skied back to the car. Met a total of 3 groups of 2 the whole day.
    Finally starting to feel my toes!

    • Is Le Relais not open for the season yet?

      • Le Relais is ONLY open when Lake O’Hara Lodge is open. the best way to find that out is to call their phone line and it should have a recording. Last year I marked it on my calendar as February 2nd. Was supposed to ski there tomorrow but think will take Ken’s cold toes as a good reason to change the proposed trip. But I will take this cold snap over a Chinook Day of +8 any day.

  38. We headed out to Sandy again today because a) had a three hour time limit that included driving and b) thought it might be a tad busy at WBC. During our entire ski up Artic Hill and surrounding area we only encountered one other couple. The temp was -20 but, surprisingly, not really noticeable. Skied over two hours and wish we had time for more. Descent on Artic Hill was great. One ice flow (well marked) and one large rock that was easily spotted but unable to remove would be the only distractions. A few thin spots through trees and, of course, only skier tracked but all in all a wonderful two days of skiing. If the groomers could get out there and with this cold weather, conditions should last until the next Chinook. Fingers crossed as it certainly is a hidden gem. Skating rink in operation also. Family fun for everyone!

  39. A fantastic but cold ski in Lake Louise today. Started at about 10:30 from the trailhead at The Station Restaurant and skied up The Tramline to The Chateau for a coffee and to warm up. The lake was packed with holiday guests staying at The Chateau and four or five tour buses. Returned on Fairview to MLR and back down The Tramline. Tracks on Tramline were worn but still ok and the same for Fairview and MRL. Snow was slow, it was -30 when we started out but it warmed up nicely to -27 when we finished. We saw only four other skiers all day.
    Merry Christmas to all!

  40. CNC
    Another cold day in the Rocky Mountains. High temperature was -18C or so. I could only ski for two hours, after that it was getting uncomfortable. The warming hut is still closed and the mountains of artificial snow are not groomed yet, but since I did not pay a dime to ski today I can’t complain. Good conditions overall except few rocks on the Meadowview and some twigs here and there. Merry Christmas to all.

  41. West Bragg Creek, Dec 25, 2017
    It was a surprisingly busy day at West Bragg Creek, considering that it was Christmas Day and that it got no warmer than -17C. There was about 1 cm of new snow on top of the new grooming on Iron Springs and Elbow. Other tracks are getting worn from a lot of use.
    It looks like the tread on snowshoe/fat-bike trails is getting more firmly packed, with lots of happy faces on those trails.

  42. Skijored Iron Springs, Elbow, Sundog, Crystal Lines in West Bragg today. Lots of snow, could use another groom. Beautiful way to spend Christmas Day.

  43. Shaganapi continues to be remarkable. Out yesterday and today on extensive good to excellent snowmobile and skier set tracks. Glide was dicey yesterday with a couple cm of fresh crystals and the cold but today VR 05 polar worked pretty well on more polished tracks. Merry Christmas to all and particularly to that Shag trail crew.

  44. PLPP (Wheeler/Whiskey Jack/Lynx/Amos) – 24 December

    Beautiful post work ski by headlight; -24C at 5PM, cold enough that my sweat turned to ice on the way down Pocaterra. All quiet with the exception of an owl that swooped down in front of me on Pocaterra.

    Wheeler has held up very well from grooming a few days ago, as has Whiskey Jack. Can echo what others have said about Pocaterra – impeccable conditions all the way down to the Lynx junction and very little evidence of other folks. Lynx had new ribbon with great coverage with the exception of a few sticks peeking out near the Pocaterra junction. Amos has been packed only, with no continuous skier tracks and a fair amount of exposed grasses.

    Peter Lougheed Visitor Centre is closed tomorrow (25 December) but resumes regular hours 26 December onward. It was snowing at 7:30PM north of Barrier Visitor Centre. Happy holidays!

  45. Cascade valley to Stoney creek ranger cabin – Started at 9:30 this morning and saw only four skiers on my way to the cabin, it was rather cold (-21) and with a light head wind. The tracks are a bit worn out but still skiable and helpful. On my way back, I saw a lots of skiers coming on the big hill. Merry Christmas everyone

  46. Exhilarating ski down Whiskey Jack!
    Ski outing #12 so far this season was terrific! It was -23C when Jamie, Scott and I started at the Boulton Creek Campground parking lot just before 10 a.m. We went along trackset Moraine (one of my favourites through snow-laden trees), up Elk Pass (not recently trackset) and did a side trip on a fairly narrow (not recently trackset) Blueberry Hill trail. At noon, it was -24C at Blueberry Hill with the wind adding some wind chill. A few minutes later, we skied a thrilling downhill run without seeing anyone. We continued up to Elk Pass, down the beautifully trackset Tyrwhitt and ended with my favourite fast downhill run on Whiskey Jack. We encountered a total of 6 other skiers all day under a beautiful blue sunny sky. The snow conditions were great. Merry Christmas everyone!

  47. Another great afternoon ski at WBC ,looped around Mountain rd E.Crystal, Loggers Elbow Iron springs Sundog, great conditions, VR40 worked well and not bad glide @ -15C. What a treat.

    • That sounds pretty much like my afternoon. The fresh tracksetting on Elbow and Iron Springs is still not showing on the live grooming page, which possibly explains why there seemed to be so few skiers down that way enjoying the great conditions. First time out this season at WBC with the “best” skis and I had no qualms about that, as the very few minor thin spots were easily dodged.
      The far south loop was still only skier tracked- OK skiing but slower and wobblier. Looping back west on my way homeward- I noticed that Mountainview appeared to still be skier tracked only.

  48. -18C VR 30. Yes LF glide wax Skied out Banff Trail up to Meadow. Snow making in progress on Banff loop and on some of Bow Trail.
    Once at meadow still piles of snow so skied up past warmup shelter which still wasn’t open. Dodged piles of snow and ended up on Banff Trail . Still good tracks with wee sticks and evergreen trees sticking up in tracks. We skied out to Gray Wolf down it to Bow turned left and connected with Banff Tr again and returned along Banff tr.
    Quite a few folks out past all the snowmaking. It would be great if they pushed the piles out tonight and opened the warmup hut. Not holding my breathe.

    • Should add we saw five snowmachines out with I assume snowmakers on board. Being Christams eve I can’t see them making snow all night.

  49. Sun dec 24: pocaterra?
    -26 at elk pass lot this morning at 830. Bailed back to pocaterra hut and got the fire going. Nice to run into nicolai for a chat at the fire. Left at 1130, still -26, so went for a walk along the sunny side of upper lake to point junction (for a loop). Felt like one of those days that wouldn’t warm up. Thankfully barely any breeze. Older ski tracks on the lake in the sun. Looked like a good option. Back at the hut to warm the core, fire still going, and ran into bob and Cheryl. So a very pleasant day despite the cold. Happy holidays everyone!

  50. Just home from a beautiful outing on Pocaterra. Surprised to see just a handful of cars in the lot at what I thought was a relatively late start time of 1130am. Even more surprised to see that zero other skiers had ventured out on the perfect new tracks. No pole plants or herringbone steps to be seen. The new tracks ended at the Packers junction, giving way to older, but more than adequate tracks all the way up to the Whiskyjack junction. Turned around there and had a somewhat chillier return trip back to Pocaterra hut. Lots of sunshine and great snow which I had all to myself… didn’t see another soul all day! Started with a couple layers of Swix V20 green on top of yesterday’s green and didn’t think about wax again all day, although it was getting a little slippy toward the end.

  51. West Bragg Creek – Christmas Eve
    After a bit of uncertainty as to the objective today, Dan, Nancy and I decided on West Bragg Creek, a spot I had visited earlier in the week, as had Dan, but which was a first for Nancy on skis. Arriving at about 10:30, it was a rather fresh -22 in the parking lot, at least according to Dan’s car thermometer. We didn’t spend much time dawdling in the cold to get ready.

    Despite the live grooming report to the contrary, we found that not only had the Crystal trails been track-set but Elbow and Iron Springs to their junction was also double-tracked. It was gorgeous. Thank goodness there was no wind! CR30 was all that was needed.

    There were about 100 cars in the parking lot when we left and it was a balmy -11 C. It’s great to see so many folks willing to brave the cold to get enjoy the wonderful XC opportunities on Christmas Eve.

  52. Just finished a bone chilling ski at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Trails were quiet most likely because of the temperature (around-20c). Did a loop and passed the warming hut (not open?). Part of Banff Trail was closed for snow making. Trails were thin with branches poking through in a lot of places. Otherwise had a nice ski but I was glad to get back to the lodge to warm up!

    • Yes, the grooming up the left side to the turn around near Chandra’s hut was well groomed and track set. Some snow mounds below the hut then clear sailing beyond for skate or classic. Start green for glide and no warmer than vr40 for kick. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

  53. PLPP
    It was cold and sunny today. Temperature -16C at 4pm. Thankfully there was no wind. It was not bad on the uphills but downhill was a bit chilly. Wheeler, Moraine, Fox Creek are in top shape. Whiskey Jack looked good also. Packers has no tracks and an ice flow shows in the usual spot. Elk pass has too much snow on it to be enjoyable for fast travel. You can use Hydroline instead to complete Bob Special.

  54. It was a busy day at West Bragg Creek with pleasant temperatures, if you arrived after 11:00am. You can always get current weather conditions for the WBC area at this link (near the parking lot) and at, which is located along Merlin View ridge.
    The best conditions were on the most recently groomed and track set trails, including Hostel Loop and the Crystal Line/Sundog/Loggers area.
    If Nicolai has been good this year, he may get his Christmas wish of fresh grooming on Elbow/Iron Springs.



    For the most spectacular city skyline skiing views with Blue Line LRT access, Shaganappi Point is the place to track or skate ski in Calgary- for free!

    Today the Calgary Ski Club was doing their volunteer thing making tracks for skiing and packing the big dump of snow that hit this week for the skate skiers.

    This ain’t your regular flat golf course skiing centre. Shaganappi Point has plenty of nice undulating terrain to enjoy as well. There is great city skiing for all levels of skiers and probably the best place in the city to learn how to cross country ski because of the scenery along with easy access from the LRT.

    Skiing is currently very good with just a few avoidable thin sections on the skier track set trails. There is about 9 inches of fine pillowly silky powdery snow off the tracked trails that made me feel like I was floating on cloud 9. It is great skiing off the trails with that golf course grass somewhere down under for good ski protection. Shaganappi Point is a great place to round up the family and friends for some urban skiing this Christmas season. Get it before the next chinook does.

    Santa Claus may be bringing in a snowmaking system to Shaganappi Point in the near future- at least according to some spy Elves. This will make for great consistent skiing all season long when there are not snowy years. Consider giving the Calgary Ski Club a Christmas season “stocking gift” if you like the skiing and want more to like.

    Tell your mom, don’t forget the camera!

  56. Skied Cascade Fire Road this afternoon starting about 12:30 PM.
    Lack of wind and glorious sunshine made the -17C start bearable.
    Bankview trail from Minnewanka Parking lot only has 10cm of packed snow base – Cascade fire road gets better as you pass the first kilometre. Heavily used track set on each side of packed skate track. About 1 kilometre past the bridge there are exposed rocks (and some barely hidden) on the first hill – snow past the bridge is thinner than on most of the trail. Snow was very good, but really could use more to allow solid tracksetting.

  57. It is great to have west Bragg Creek back. I did a late day ski starting after 3:00 PM after it warmed up. Used V40 and it worked great in the -9 air temp. The grooming near the parking lot has been well loved and could use a refresh. Skied sundog, loggers and mountain road. Great tracks and relatively fast snow.

  58. Puking north blizzard right now in calgary, at least in bridgeland anyway. A cm in the last half hour. Confed should be good tomorrow, if not too wind blasted up there.

  59. I Skied from Nakiska to Skogan Pass via Humming Bird Plum Lookout (High Level/Sunburst). The trails were groomed yesterday. There was a lot less snow than we received in Calgary/Bragg Creek as the past snow event was upslope. That said, once one gets up to and beyond the point at which one encounters the ski area maintenance road the conditions are quite good (essentially no hazards and way more snow the higher one gets). That lower section is pretty bad though. Skiing up is no problem. I only had to walk a couple of those sections going down, one for a about 100 m just as the trail veers away form the maintenance road, and another much shorter section lower down. I am pretty conservative on marginal conditions downhills. If one likes solitude, it is the place to be. In 22 km of skiing I encountered 3 other skiers.

    West Bragg Creek on December 22.
    There have been quite a few reports on that area in the last couple of days. I was there yesterday. I skied a long loop from West Bragg to nearly Alan Bill. That southern part of the trail system has not been reported on so here goes. The most southerly Iron Springs / Elbow loop and Elbow loop south to Alan Bill had (has) not been packed or trackset. Elbow had (has) a good skier set track to the escarpment overlooking the Elbow River. From there down to Fullerton Loop and back to the parking loop there was (is) a well packed snow shoe track. The Iron Springs section had (has) seen very little traffic. Even in the later afternoon, I was breaking trail in about 15 cm of fresh snow on top of the big snow event of December 19. It was (is) a bit of “back country” skiing in good conditions.

  60. Just returned from Sandy McNabb and have to say it was reasonably good for the area. While it was packed a few days ago fresh snow now has it looking like it is skier tracked only. Fine with us as we were not the ones breaking trail. Some thin spots for sure and a few branches covering trail (we removed what we could) but a very enjoyable ski with perfect temperature (-8) and beautiful sunshine. A challenging day at Sandy still beats a 3 hr. return trip to the mountains so two happy skiers are turning on the X-mas lights and heading to the hot tub. Merry Christmas everyone!

  61. West Bragg Creek
    Dear Santa, thank you for all that new fluffy snow! Could your elfs please do more packing and tracksetting on Iron Springs and Elbow trails 🙂 Thank you for our Merry Christmas! 🙂

  62. Sat dec 23: powderface creek trail.
    -20 at elbow falls, and a cold breeze at 10am. Thought I’d try something different given the recent storm snow. Thin to no base with 8-12 inches on top. An ice base to the bridge and flood damaged area, then a thin snow base after that. Didn’t increase much with height gain. But doable enough to avoid the few lumpy rock bits, up and down with some light carefully aimed skiing. I’d call it “fair”. Another dump would make it pretty good. Mostly put a track in beside the walking trail. Travelled well on descent. Removed the tree across the trail, so smooth sailing down steeper terrain past prairie link junction. Didn’t go all the way to the col given the chilly breeze eminating from there. Another party of two was heading that way on skis though. Pleasantly surprised to see nobody had walked in my separate uptrack on return. The trail is well shaded and preserves snow well for majority of the upper route, so should last well until the next storm. But cold!

    • Good to hear that there is potential for a base on the Powderface trail, especially once the snowshoers pack it down. I have skied up there a few times, once even finding some decent powder turns on the hillsides to the north of the trail beyond where the road ends. But that doesn’t happen very often, mostly it’s just a nice short backcountry tour when there is adequate snow.

  63. West Bragg Creek – We thought this might be the best venue given the COLD temperatures! As it turned out, we started skiing at -23C, on Moose Loop, but by the time we reached the junction with Telephone Loop, the temp was a balmy -16C. We even got up to -9 at one spot on the trail. Trail is pretty good with no problem at the ice flow section at the NW end of the loop. After lunch in the warming hut at parking lot, we went out again, this time doing the Crystaline Loop. Nice to have the tracksetting here. Despite the cold, it was great to see all the people out using the trails: xc skiers, fat bikes, families teaching their kids to ski…. Good thing it was sunny to keep the cold at bay.

  64. Skied Lower Tramline, MLR to Fairview, Fairview, Upper Tramline, and back down Lower Tramline today. -27 at the parking lot. The new V05 Polar I picked up worked really well today. A fair amount of hiker damage to the trackset slowed things down – hopefully these will be regroomed soon.

  65. Skied Cascade, middle zone recently groomed, I assume the tracks will be next as they are getting worn. VR40 worked fine, as did those with a bit of green on their bases. Cold start at -18, -12 on return. Some breezy sections as usual, but a nice ski to bridge and back, especially in the sun.

  66. We went to the Canmore Nordic Centre today and had a great ski. The tracks were quite fast and in great shape, aside from the occasional twig and the rare rock. I think that coverage is quite similar to what it usually is at the start of the ski season so no complaints! The main trouble spot worth mentioning is Banff Trail after the Bow Trail junction to the mine scar. This area is not track set and the Nordic Centre is busily making snow in this area, as the snow coverage is quite poor. This area can be easily avoided by going on Bow or Meadowview.

  67. Skiied Maple Ridge ag about 11 this morning. It looks like it’s been packed, and for the most part the skier set was pretty decent. Great for a quick loop if you’re in the south.

  68. Kinkinghorse River Yoho Dec 22

    Good skier track over fresh snow and older grooming. About -12oC all afternoon under a blue sky. Few small twigs sticking through over the last 2 km. About 15 cm snow depth – maybe 50 cm at Emerald Lake but no recent grooming. Great skierbob rate!

  69. West Bragg / Telephone Loop

    Skied Telephone loop Friday afternoon. We were going clockwise, and skiing over the trail broken by a pair (?) of skiers and a dog who had gone counter-clockwise. So the hills have been herringboned both ways now! Still a bit thin in spots (and poles struck ground/ice often), but totally skiable.

    • Similar to Telephone, Mountainview West at the junction with Moose had a track broken by an ambitious skier or two through the 20 cm of new snow on Friday afternoon. As the sun was setting fast- I opted to continue around Moose loop instead of what would have likely been a slow plod along MV West with a finish in the dark. Moose was in OK shape- roller packed by the looks of it with a decent track in many areas. I would guess that we might see more grooming in the near future. If going CW- the curving downhills near either end that drop down to the moose “meadows” were rough with a few hazards still showing. On a waxing note- my glide was very sluggish in the cold soft snow, calling for a hot rewax with green glider this morning after looking at that forecast. Brrrrr…

  70. West Bragg Creek, Dec 22, 2017
    The Tuesday/Wednesday snowfall was most welcome at West Bragg Creek, but it was not really enough, as noted in a number of the reports. From Steve Riggs photos on Thursday, it was obvious that more snow was falling, so I went out today for another look. It was a pleasant surprise to see that this latest snowfall had blanketed the road, the parking lot and the trails with another 15-17cm of snow. This was finally enough to cover any remaining thin spots. The volunteers were out, yet again, grooming and track-setting the new snow.
    I skied Mountain Road, Mountain View, West Crystal, Loggers and Sundog. Most of that was track set, although sometimes only on one side.
    Fat-biking will be a bit of a challenge, since the packing on Telephone Loop and the other north side trails has now been covered by more soft snow. Great news for snowshoers, who have many kilometres of options available to them now.

  71. Skied Pipestone loop at Lake Louise today.Snow is excellent except for a very few twigs sticking through.
    Beautiful day at -13C.
    Most of track was previously track set and very good. Tracksetting today made for super fast downhills! Thank you to the groomers.

  72. WBC, skied E.Crystal, Sundog, Iron springs, Elbow, Loggers loops for a couple of hours really great conditions, mix of skier and track set, nice cold snow made for easy waxing, VR40 gave lots of grip.So happy to have ‘local’ snow over Xmas we’ll be making the most of it.

  73. It was good to meet you Bob. You took my picture at the Nordic Centre with Karl and Susan. I skied both skate and classic at Canmore Nordic today, and was pleasantly surprised by how many trails were groomed and track set. Lynx and parts of Banff were in excellent shape. It was nice to be able to ski to the end of Bow, but the skate lane on Bow was pretty soft, and plants were poking through the classic tracks in a lot of places.
    A beautiful, cold, calm day – V20 worked quite well.

  74. Skiid Shaganappi GC today
    Lots of snow but just man tracks
    No machine groomed trails yet

  75. Skied Canmore park & Confederation Golf Course in NW Calgary on Thursday 21 December.
    There were some trails groomed, but not track set. There was enough snow everywhere for good skiing.

  76. Just got back from a glorious ski at West Bragg Creek. When I left there yesterday it had just started to snow so I knew there would be some fresh stuff this morning but I wasn’t anticipating so much of it! I would say more or less 15cms fell, making for a nice, soft, fluffy trail with good coverage. They were out grooming and track setting portions of it. Thanks Santa!

  77. Had a quick ski at Bowness Park. The tracks are in great shape still with a bit of new snow overnight. There were only a few places where walkers have stepped on the tracks so far. Used VR 30.

  78. Canmore Nordic Centre. CNC is groomed and track set!
    Skied out Banff Trail onto lower Bow Trail, excursion out on Cold Shoulder,returned via Meadowview and then cut back down through Meadow dodging snow guns along Banff and Banff loop.
    Groomed and track set. Depending on where you are along the trails lot of little Spruce trees sticking up and the occasional touch of dirt and or ice left over from the November snow. Conditions were better higher up on Meadowview.
    Snowmaking full tilt! Banff trail till end of Meadow/mine scar. Last 500m of Banff loop all have guns blowing. Warmup shelter yet to open. In talking to John Gallagher at Trial Sports, he felt CNC would be pushing a lot of these snow piles out soon hopefully before Christmas.

  79. Divine, Nordic centre. Oh, we have done the snow dance and finally. Had an ace ski. The trails are all packed, thank-you groomers. Get the base packed, so good. We used traditional skis and I had green kicker spouse with blue, either worked well. Also super glide as well as grip. Soòooo good. Skating would be ace too but again there was the odd bit where we sort of bushwacked to get where we found the best trails. So nice to get a good ski without driving 40 minutes. Absolutely divine, did I already say that! Brilliant day.


    Smoked my way up the valley to about 3.5 kilometers beyond Stony Creek in the afternoon. There is a well travelled skier tracked trail beyond Stony Creek that goes into the Flint Park area. Then, late in the afternoon, it started to snow moderately at a rate of 1cm to 1.5 cm per hour so I decided to make a U turn. At the Warden Cabin just before dark it was -9C with a couple of cm’s of new snow falling quite quickly. A lot of older people were staying at the warden cabin overnight which is unusual, but left in the afternoon.

    The snow got slower the closer to the parking lot I got. Conditions improved greatly with the new snow, hiding most of the rocks that were visible in the afternoon. Conditions are generally very good to excellent. I would not recommend new skis or poles on the trail until there is at least another 7 cm of snow and some new track setting.

    At the parking lot at 7:30 there was close to 4cm of new snow and it was still snowing moderately.

  81. Arrived up at Lake Louise in time to take a spin around Fairview, MLR and back up Tramline. Conditions are great….silky skiing in recently set tracks. Car registered -12C on arrival around 2:30 pm, with no wind. Went with whatever wax from 2 wks ago up here (Extra Blue?) which worked fine. Lots of snow on the Fairview hill and out to MLR. Only a handful of other skiers around.

  82. CNC tonight in the beautiful falling snow, approx 4 cm . Limited trails groomed and tracked. The Livegrooming that shows multiple new trails groomed must have been done by a ghost. Hopefully much will change with the new snow and the trails to the Meadow will open up.

  83. -13 at Boulton Parking Lot which had not been cleared. 6 Meanderthal’s introduced to the infamous “Skier Bob Special”. That initial trail out of the parking lot was almost unrecognizable with work that has been going on. Skier tracks up Whiskey Jack, then incredible Tyrwhitt in bright blue skies, which had just been beautifully track set as Adam mentioned; down Elk Pass in fluffy light powder and skier tracks. Thank you skiers who tracked it. The trail to the Couch looked like perhaps MaSid had been out there already, but I would have felt guilty without bringing a shovel. Blue skies had disappeared by Blueberry junction and the snow started falling. The home stretch on Fox and Moraine were both delightful with only a few thin spots. Drive home got into white out conditions, as we neared the Trans Canada around 2:30. A ton of work awaits the groomers before Christmas. I best start baking cookies for them.

    • work is getting in the way of busting fresh tracks. So wasn’t me through there. But good to hear somebody has. Probably the man of many aliases, or perhaps willie. No guilt necessary. Compacting a track (and a couch cushion or two) is plenty. I’ll probably be out that way over the holidays, unintentionally looking like Santa.

  84. I’ll add to the rest of the reports from West Bragg with a few pictures of the winter wonderland out there this afternoon:
    The skiing was very good- silky smooth blue wax conditions, in a couple of cm’s new snow over the well groomed base. We looped around and about via Sundog, E and W Crystal Line, Loggers and Mountainiew, etc., finding coverage to be better than expected with only a few relatively minor thin spots that were easily avoided.

  85. PLPP (Lookout/Tyrwhitt/Hydroline/Elk Pass/Pocaterra/Come Along/Rolly Road) – 21 December

    Picture perfect day in PLPP. Keep in mind that when I left the Park at 4:30, there was approximately 1 cm new snow on the ground and it was actively snowing; there’s a good chance that it will look totally different tomorrow. At Kananaskis Village there was probably ~3 cm fresh snow on the ground.

    As indicated by the grooming report, Lookout/Tyrwhitt/Hydroline were groomed and trackset (with limited tracksetting on Lookout, I’m assuming owing to the grade of it). Absolutely beautiful, especially Tyrwhitt. Elk Pass is now trackset all the way to the parking lot, though due to heavy winds from the south portions of the tracks up the big hill and along Hydroline had filled in by the afternoon.

    Did a short loop in the north end of the park to see how conditions compared. Lots of new snow had fallen here, and from the looks of things many skiers had been out. Pocaterra as far as the second Come Along junction was well packed by skiers, with discontinuous skier tracks. Come Along had terrific skier set tracks. The skiing at this end of the park was fantastic if you don’t mind that it’s not manicured. While you can see in places that the base is very thin, there is now enough snow that you shouldn’t have to worry about stone grinding your skis.

  86. West Bragg Creek – E+W Crystal + Sundog loop

    Nice wintry day. I skied this freshly trackset circuit and found great coverage – zero ice, not a single rock to be picked.

    Accumulation was 4 c.m. from 1 – 4 p.m. and it was still snowing moderately at dusk. The somewhat shallow tracksetting was getting filled in by fresh powder – can’t complain about that!

    For classic skiers, the single track on this entire loop is on the right hand side of the trail. This definitely favours those skiing in a counter-clockwise direction – you will have ‘right of way’ and will avoid the small annoyance of having to step out of the track to make way for oncoming traffic.

  87. West Bragg Cr. Hostel Loop
    Was out in the sunshine for a few loops of hostel before noon (thx Alf) only to find that I really should have worn my rock skis. Cold last night prevented snow sintering & adhering to base/ground so some rock picking & multiple patches of dirt to surface in track. Always scienic & good dog run but hopefully new snow & some (ever so slightly) warmer days to improve skiable conditions …and the heavy size 13 walkers to stay off the signed ski trails (humpf!)

  88. WBC – 1:15 to 3 pm Light to moderate snow -4C
    I never saw the grooming that Bob showed in his photo despite my efforts. Mostly soft and under-groomed but the new snow was quickly concealing most of the ice and natural hazards – only a few twigs poking through. Should be excellent conditions by the weekend.

  89. Has anyone been on the Spray River Loop since the last snowfall this week? How are the conditions for classical cross country, beginning behind the Banff Springs, crossing the bridge, and heading back on the other side finishing at the golf course. Thanks. Allen


    Nice to see that Baker Creek staff have trackset the trail heading west.
    For details, check:!AhVZXBE7vMV7iVEtWFq5v4bmxSUR

  91. West Bragg Creek

    After reading Bob’s update on the trails at West Bragg, a few of us decided to try out the trails today. We arrived at about 9:45 to -14 C and a fairly empty parking lot. The track-set East Crystal was quite thin, with a few branches and rocks in spots, but otherwise very nice. We opted to go along Iron Springs and Elbow to Allen Bill and then back via Elbow and Sundog. There was nicer snow until we got to within 1 km of Allen Bill, when it got thin and rocky again, but the hazards were avoided easily. On the way back, the snow was falling and it was getting quite socked in. Let’s hope that means more white stuff tonight.

    Thanks Bob for the VR30. It worked very well.

  92. Cascade Valley – it was great to get another trail trackset, so we had to check it out. For the most part, this trail is in very good early season shape. I skied to the warden’s cabin and back. The first 700m, on the road, is thin, with several sections where the track was worn down to pavement. Poles hit pavement all the time. The skating lane was fine. Then up the big hill – mostly OK, with some thin/icy track sections. Once up the hill, conditions to the cabin were quite good, with the exception of the new (since the flood) section a bit beyond Cascade River bridge, which was very thin, often poor/non-existent tracks, and several rocks on the steep little hill. Started at -15C; ended at -10C with light snow falling. Quite a few people enjoying Cascade Valley today.

  93. Skied the Canmore Nordic Centre today. Awesome grooming and snow on the trails that are open. Unfortunately the Banff Trail is only open to junction 17 which is the first bridge so that’s only a little over a kilometer or so from the lodge. The biathlon trails are all open though so lots of terrain in there to ski.
    Still found enough to keep me busy for a couple of hours.

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  95. Anyone know the status of West Bragg Creek? Did they get the snow that Calgary did?

  96. -14c Bowness Park at 9:38pm.
    Fast tracks to be had in the starlight.
    Short. Sweet if a wee bit shallow in spots.
    Get em before the fat bikers smoosh ’em!

  97. Bowness park is track set, although the groomers take some pretty tight turns and the tracks are pretty shallow in some places. All in all, I’m happy we have anything down there. Went this afternoon and this evening. Get it while its good.

    • Skied there tonight with my wife. Definitely a few tight turns! I’m not complaining though. It’s awesome having track set trails a few blocks from my house!

      • Where’s the best place to park to XC at Bowness, and are the trails easy to find? Any approximation of distance/time for a lap?

        • The trails are easy to find. The track setting is basically beside the plowed bike path that runs around the park. We parked near the kids playground which is to the left when you drive down into the park. The first loop we did near the playground was around a kilometer in length. Not sure about the others. Go check it out!

      • Great to know there’s another Calgary option. But with all this new snow, I’m actually thinking of some light touring around Prince’s Island. One could seriously ski to work and how great would that be!?


    Nice to see Helen Read and so many others out today enjoying the new fallen snow.
    Read the photo captions for all the details:!AhVZXBE7vMV7iUnTZJO7_mO3Umwu

  99. Confederation Golf Course
    No tracks, it is groomed only at present. There is enough snow to keep skis safe from rocks but poles will strike at times pavement or dirt. Skier set tracks are soft and don’t get any respect from walkers. Nevertheless it was pleasant afternoon and I got some quality exercise. Thanks Foothills Nordic.

  100. Pipestone – whatever new trackset there was yesterday was barely discernible under about 5 cm. of fresh, snow. Luckily, a couple of skiers went before us and broke trail, so the whole of the Pipestone Loop was skier tracked. Tracks were a bit on the soft and slow side today. Not many people out today (-16C at the river, warmer -11C, in the sunshine by the lake), but some fresh cat tracks (lynx?) on the steeper downhill on the NW side of Pipestone Loop. We broke trail on Drummond for awhile past the Merlin junction, but turned around and exited via Pipestone. Powder-blue skies, no wind, brilliant sunshine…a good outing on a cold day!

  101. Great morning ski at Maple Ridge Golf Course in Calgary. About 25cm of new snow and -10°C. V30 wax worked well. The course wasn’t track-set, but Al and Bill made a fantastic 5.1K loop around the outside. The snow wasn’t deep enough to avoid hitting the asphalt in some places, but overall, conditions were very good. All in all, it was a wonderful place to spend a few hours on a sunny Calgary morning, particularly if you couldn’t get out to the mountains.

  102. Chester, High Rockies Trail, Dec 19, 2017
    Todays tour to Chester Lake was a wintery change from last week. The new snow ranged from 9cm to 16cm and that was enough to re-set conditions on the trail. It was a treat to enjoy skier-set tracks (and a few snowshoe tracks). The hiker post-hole marks were all filled in and the trails were smooth and silky. We wandered off trail to the valley west of the Elephant Rocks and descended all the way to the Chester-Rummel portion of the High Rockies trail. It’s a bit of an adventure currently, because the creek is not filled in with snow, but it would be a fun option in the spring.
    It snowed lightly all day. If the snow continues, as forecast, it should all be a clean slate again for Wednesday.

  103. Pipestone
    I must be reaching a master x-country skier level, because I had a feeling this trail will be good today. Sure enough upon arrival I see new grooming and tracks. It was snowing lightly, temperature -8C whole day. With Rode blue multigrade as a grip wax, the skiing was perfect. Groomers set the track now on the one side of the trail, so it is ample room for passing or even skijoring. The new style works for me, makes plowing easier. I am not sure if the tracks will be there tomorrow because snow fills them up fast. It was great day but driving back home was slow.

  104. Just returned from a wonderful trip to Emerald Lake Lodge which we won in last year’s contest. It was magical!! We left on Sunday afternoon and decided to stop in at Lake Louise for a quick ski before reaching our destination. It was so pretty with falling snow, skaters on the ice, kid’s tobogganing, music playing but mostly an ICE BAR!! Never saw one before and was beyond excited until I realized I had forgotten my purse. Bartender would take nothing in trade so, sadly, turned and headed for our car. The snow was now getting much heavier. By the time we had to give up our divided highway the blizzard was in full swing. With one hand covering my eyes and the other gripping the steering wheel we somehow made it to ELL. Our luck continued with a snowfall of approximately a foot of snow (30 ct. for you young’ns) overnight. Sun shone brightly, spanking new snow glistened, beautiful blue sky and 4 hours of braking trail (for my beloved) made for a most memorable day. Dinner at ELL was amazing as was the roaring fire that warmed our room upon our return. All in all a fantastic trip and so envious of the individual who wins this year’s contest. I am free if you have no one to go with.

  105. Great to be back on skis on great snow after a break enjoying the ice skating. Skied Fairview-Tramline-Lake Louise lakeshore-horse trail-upper Telemark. New snow and decent travel conditions, including fresh track setting on the horse trail above the lake – all on VR45 made for perfect ski conditions. Snowing when we left, yippee!

  106. Fantastic snowy day of -11C at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Easy waxing with green. Skied Elk Pass to top of Blueberry Hill and then returning via Fox Creek. As reported previously lots of new snow on Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill. My favourite trail, Fox Creek is getting better with 5 to 10 cm of new snow under the trees. Another few centimetres is needed to get a good base. Snowed lightly the whole time we were there – keep it coming!

  107. A slow drive down the BIG hill towards Field this morning as all the big 16-wheelers were checking their brakes. We headed for Natural Bridge where my Accord got stuck in 20 cms of fresh powder. Left a sign on the car that we were STUCK and started skiing @ 10:20 in -7 temp. Broke trail in 20 cms. all the way down Kicking Horse Trail and it truly looked like a Christmas card (the ones I have not written!) Got back to the parking lot and two wonderful Parks Canada employees/Christmas elves named Logan and Andrea had put salt under all the tires and shovelled and cleared all the way around the car. It took 4 of us pushing and several attempts but we got onto the road within minutes, thanks greatly to them helping us push. It warmed up to -2 but VR45 worked well. Thank you Logan and Andrea of Parks Canada for making our ski trip have a most memorable ending!

  108. Nice Re-fresh at PLPP: Boulton to Blueberry.
    15cm in the Boulton parking lot and 25 cm in open areas on Blueberry Hill trail.
    Some serious snowplowing on the way up Blueberry, half way to the knee. Luckily the snow was light and dry. Thanks to the large group of teenagers who packed things down nicely so we could get some speed on the descent.

  109. Sweet whipped cream cruising….
    “Time, time!!”
    Better a short ski than none……
    Boulton – Moraine loop, revised edition,
    Late afternoon, hushed creamy delight

  110. Did a training ski at CNC this morning. The highway from Calgary was ok, except for about a 10km section starting at highway 40 and continuing west past Lac des Arcs, where there had been a lot more snow.

    At CNC there had been a couple cm of new snow, which was nice to feel, but made the glide really slow. They still haven’t extended Banff Trail, despite the piles of snow waiting to be groomed out. Hopefully the expected snow this week will allow them to reopen a bunch of trails.

  111. PLPP (Meadow/Braille) – 18 December

    Got out for a short loop on some of the trails in the northern end of PLPP. Broke trail on Meadow and followed one other skier’s set tracks on Braille. Approximately ~7 cm of fresh snow on top of the existing well packed crust. Poles were punching through the crust along Braille. Terrific grip, beautiful conditions, sunny skies, and lots of new powder for the groomers to work with ~ it’s starting to look a lot like winter in PLPP!

  112. Canmore Nordic Centre, December 18, 2017

    We watched White Christmas last night and it worked! Fresh snow last night!
    Conditions were excellent today, still not much open for trails, but what was Open was quick, temps were -5

  113. PLPP south, Nov 17, 2017
    With reports of recent grooming in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and no new snow anywhere east of Lake Louise, it looked as if the south PLPP trails would be a good option for today. We did a loop that included Elk Pass-Patterson-Hydroline-Lookout-Tyrwitt-Elk Pass-Fox Creek. Elk Pass, Patterson, Hydro-Line and Lookout were beautifully groomed and trackset, but generally with less double track-set than normal. Tyrwhitt and Fox Creek were just groomed flat, no track-setting. In fact, Tyrwhitt was perfect for skate skiing!
    The grooming was compacted very hard. The surface is a combination of old snow and surface hoar crystals, so it was both very fast and very abrasive. Glide was great, but it was necessary to re-wax frequently, since the grip wax wore off quickly… especially on the downhills. Some of the longer downhills were pretty close to terrifying, and I typically love downhills!
    Starting tonight, this should all be refreshed with a lovely blanket of new snow!

  114. Lake O’Hara Fire Road -9 at 10 am. VR45 with my wonderful Asnes!!! Climbed to km 9 where a sole snow-shoer and his delightful 4 yr. old “husky” also turned around. Where was everyone??? Incredible snow and noted snow temp at km 9 was -2. Finally met some others as I was descending. There is something about that steepest hill above km 9 that gets the better of my psyche, but only on descending. It was an easy ascent today. Snow squall towards the bottom and some wind which managed to “hard pack” only one small section on descent. For those families going in there for Christmas, many a reindeer and sled is in order??
    p.s. totally agree with Doug Connery on Parks trying to make that descent to Great Divide off Upper Tramline more skier-friendly. I usually totally avoid it by taking my favorite Peyto up and back down.
    p.p.s. Will be interested to hear how Kazzy likes #4 above the upper parking lot and intersecting into Fairview. It is not a favorite of mine.

    • Helen – I love reading your trip reports and and am pleased to see there’s another soul out there that skis solo. I venture out often on my own and it drives my family wild. I remember you mentioning these skis in a post last year. Can you describe them once again and where you purchased them.
      Thank you – LannY~

  115. Yoho Valley Road – another ski-joring adventure with both of my humans today on the Yoho Valley Road (first time on that trail for me). Nice soft snow today thanks to 2-3 cms new (my humans called the tracks “silky” and used VR45). The tracks could well get covered over the next few days with the new snow forecast but apart from one steepish hill, the trail is very gentle and easy and would be a good trip for beginner ski-jorers (both the 2- and 4- legged variety) next time it’s groomed.

  116. Pipestone Sunday, arrived 11 am, took the recommended counter clockwise loop with a detour down Merlin to check out “shack and root cellar.”, Jip was in full stride as we whizzed past. Started on VR40 but soon changed to 45 and had to rewax at the lake skis were totally clean off, not a scrap of wax left, trail is packed, mostly smooth and wide, some debris in places but really no bother. Another great day out @ Pipestone but it would be nice to have snow closer to Calgary over Xmas,I’ve asked Santa and got my fingers crossed, should be good then!

  117. PLPP, Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill
    Great conditions yesterday, absolutely no room on the parking lot.
    Very good conditions today, and parking space too.
    Saw many cars parked at Pocatterra Hut.
    Is Pocatterra in good shape, anyone?

    • And by the way, going down the hills there at over 40 km/h, I was pondering over what a disaster it could be to crash into a metal bike frame at that speed. Bob, thank you very much for raising the concern about the bikers on the trail! Hats off

      • There were tire tracks visible, but only lightly imprinted in the firm base with no effect on the ski quality, on Elk Pass and Fox Creek trails this afternoon.
        Another nighttime stealth mission?
        Tyrwhitt loop was very enjoyable with good coverage on Whiskeyjack, which is in need of a groom. Trywhitt fast and smooth on week old grooming. Elk Pass perfectly trackset. Fox in decent shape, groomed only. Moraine OK but a bit rugged feeling in spots especially towards the north end. All trails had patches of needles here and there- fingers crossed for the forecast snow to actually materialize.

        • The group of 5 winter bikers were descending the Elk Pass/High Rockies Trail between the power line and the parking lot at about 11:00am today.
          I say winter bikers, because only one had an actual fat-bike. 3 of them had regular mountain bikes and one had a skinny tire Cyclo-Cross bike! The snow base on the Elk Pass trail was so hard packed that even the skinniest tires left no noticeable mark on the trail. Certainly not as much of an impact as the XC skiers who were carrying skis and walking up or down the same trail. The cyclists were respectful and kept off to the far inside edge of the trail on their slow and controlled descent. They carefully kept off of the track-setting. Perhaps they were doing a long-distance cycle from the Elk Valley?

  118. -6 at MLR parking lot at 1130. Trace of snow falling. Skied Tram to Fairview and back to MLR, with my jackrabbit Sierra. Overcast sky for the durartion. Nice trackset?. -6 as we returned to parking lot at 130.

  119. On Saturday, skied the great divide trail from the Yoho parking lot for something different. The drive was a bit longer, but the start of the ski going uphill helped compensate for the chilly -15 degree air temperature. I used an old tube of Swix V20 (-10 to -18) and it worked great all day. My ski companions used a combination of VR30 and VR40. The snow and grooming was all great.

    We then branched off on Peyto and climbed up to beside Deer lodge and crossed the road. Then resumed skiing down tramline a short way to the short but steep cut off hiking trail that goes down to the great divide parking lot. I wish Parks Canada would do something about the short but steep trail as it is too dangerous for anyone except experienced skiers to navigate with out walking. There is a fairly easy solution but it would involve cutting a new gentler trail, but that would involve cutting down trees so it probably won’t happen.

    Back on the great divide we branched off again and headed down the wonderful lower telemark trail which has been track set. Then back up to the great divide for the return trip back to the parking lot. Overall a great 23 km loop.

    I noticed near the west end of the lower telemark trail there is a cleared right of way that appears to head down towards the valley. Wonder were it goes and if it drops into the valley and circles back to the Lake Louise village. This would make for a great circuit if it connected with tramline at the bottom.

  120. Skied lower Tramline Moraine Lake Rd Fairview up to the Chateau and then down upper Tramline and lower Tramline.
    The tracks are still in good shape and you can control your descents.
    The temperature was about – 11 at noon and warmed up to about -8.
    A great first XC ski of the year!

  121. Lake Louise – fun day ski-joring on the Bow River Loop with one complete lap with each of my humans. In spite of trail report, the north end as far as the campground has been recently groomed and track set on both sides of the river, though a bit thin in places, but I much preferred the soft snow on the south end where it wasn’t recently groomed! (My humans did too). Cool day (-11 to -7 apparently) but hey, I’m an Alaskan Husky so no worries. Just discovered that Trail #4 Lake Louise Loop is dog-friendly – can’t wait to check that out!

  122. Glorious fresh tracks at PLPP today. Skied Elk Pass-Hydroline-Tyrwhitt-Lookout. Blue extra for grip.

  123. Sat dec 16: elk/west elk
    -14 in the lot at 8am. A bit dirty in the initial tracksetting. Better past the hill. Meandered through meadows and forest off trail west of blueberry and along the flank of mt fox back to west elk pass. Ankle deep trail breaking in a two foot snow pack (fat skis). A bit bushy in the trees but travels fine in open areas. Couch update: full size now, napping optional (chaise lounge). seemed like a good idea Given the day. Windless and warm enough not to wear the insulated jacket from about 130-230. The beardsicles even melted and dried up in the first 20 minutes there. Fast travel again on the way back. -8 back at the lot at 330.

    • Dear gawd, you skied for 7 1/2 hours???? I love x-country skiing but I cannot imagine how happy I would be to see our vehicle if we had skied that length of time. And we would only ski that long in the event we were lost. And then it would be my beloved’s fault. A very quiet ride home would ensue. Divorce proceedings would begin the next day. Our children would be devastated. As would the dog. Nope, not worth the risk. I will stick to my 3 to 4 hour trips. But would my beloved???

      • Wasn’t skiing the whole time. 3 hrs at the couch.

        • Well, three hours on a couch gives us a lot in common. Heading to Emerald Lake Lodge tomorrow and, if given the chance, will try to visit the infamous MaSid couch on the way home.

          • Sheila and MaSid, I don’t believe I have ever met either of you, and yet you seem like old friends <3
            I can't wait to get back out there again!

            • That is so sweet, Diana! Yes, you do get some insight into the different personalities that write on this website and (I am now dating myself) you start to feel like pen pals. Maybe this year at the Nakoda gathering (if Bob is making this a annual) we will finally meet. I also seem to remember that you spend time in Kimberley. We will be there for most of January and February so may bump into you, or collide as the case may be, on the Nordic or Alpine trails.

          • Mostly shovelling though (-:

    • Did you by any chance notice if anyone has tried going down towards Elk Lakes from West Elk Pass? I skied up that from (from Elk Lakes to West Elk Pass) a couple of winters back, so thinking of a ski tour over the holidays going in that way, then ski back via hydroline.

      • There is a solid track all the way through the west elk meadows to the junction with hydroline. Some offshoot trails and a bit of meandering around water ditches. Fresh snow early in the week should obscure things unless more traffic.

  124. MLR – A good day of skiing on reasonable tracks. The snow is getting old, so I found it a bit slippy on hills and had to wax a shade warmer than the temperature would dictate (-16C to start and -10 at end). Coming down was plenty fast, and we finished up with a jaunt down lower Tramline to the Bow River where some ignoramus had walked up hill on the downhill track to the bridge. That made for a bumpy ride the rest of the way down. Chilly day, but lots of sunshine to make things enjoyable.

  125. Did a couple of laps on wheeler Saturday morning. Temperature was about -14C. There had been a trace of new snow Friday night at this part of the park – about 2-3mm was all though. This section is groomed flat, no tracks, a few places there’s ice just under the surface. A little past the second view point picnic sport (going south) there are some thin spots where there is a bit of pavement showing now. Some needles and tree bits, but nothing to be concerned about.

    The downhill sections are not yet icy, so would still be a good place for a beginner to practice snow plow.

  126. 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.

    • Helen,

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

      • 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.

  127. 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.

  128. 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.

  129. 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.

  130. 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!

  131. 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.

    • 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.


    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

  133. 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.

  134. 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.

  135. 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.

  136. 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.

  137. MERLIN MEADOWS – Dec 11

    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

    • 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.

      • 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.

  138. 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.

  139. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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!

          • 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.

            • 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.

            • 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!

  140. 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.

    • What’s “the couch”?

      • 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.

  141. 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…

  142. 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!

  143. 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.

  144. 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.

  145. 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.

  146. 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.

  147. 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.

  148. 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.

    • 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.

  149. LAKE O’HARA – Dec 8

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

  150. -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.

    • 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.

  151. 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.

  152. 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.

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

  154. 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!


    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

    • Oooooooooooooooooooo, fabulous!

      • 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?

        • 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!

          • 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 -)

            • 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.

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

  156. 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.

  157. 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.

  158. 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.

  159. 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!

  160. 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!

  161. PARADISE VALLEY – Dec 6

    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

  162. 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.

  163. 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.

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

    • 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.

  165. 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.

  166. 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

  167. 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.

  168. 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 🙂

    • Grizzly Tracking Skier

      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..

      • 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.

      • 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.

        • Grizzly Tracking Skier

          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.

    • 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!

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

  170. LAKE LOUISE LOOP – Dec 4

    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

  171. 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.

  172. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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:

      • 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!


    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

  174. 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.

  175. 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!!

  176. 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.

  177. 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.

  178. 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?

    • 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.

  179. 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.

  180. 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!

  181. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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! (-:

        • 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:

  182. 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.

    • 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.

  183. 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

  184. 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.

    • 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!

  185. 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!

  186. 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.

  187. 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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