Trip Reports – Dec 2019

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

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  1. Tried out Spray River West yesterday. Thanks to all those that posted reports, which turned out to be very accurate. Despite being on skate skis, I spent most of my time in the tracks as they were fast and very fun to double pole in. A little soft around the edges and my poles did stick quite a bit. The skate lane was soft, uneven and chewed up by fat bikes and walkers. Why would you walk all the way to the bridge in soft snow and not even wear snowshoes? Baffling. Downhills were ok, but I nearly had a scary fall when my ski tip hit a rut. Despite that, I did keep.going past the bridge up Goat. Single trackset and much more space for better skate skiing. I’d sure like to go back once it is groomed again. Really beautiful scenery and despite conditions, a great way to spend the morning before going to the banff springs. Happy New Year!

  2. PLPP yesterday. Up Packers from Boulton, then south toward Tyrwhitt, with the plan to go to Elk Pass than back on Moraine to Boulton. All on good trackset conditions, a few pine needles down at the beginning. But Tyrwhitt closed at Loukout turnoff due to avalanche conditions. So up and over Lookout on very rough ungroomed skier set trail. Many craters from crashing skiers, snowshoe tracks, some boot prints where the going got steep. Skin skis didn’t work so well on such rough snow, so hoofed it on the steeper sections up, also on some of the steeper downhills on the south side. Again very rough conditions, but enough fresh powder lines to usually slow the descent enough. One fallen tree, clearly visible, easily circumvented. Skier set track to Hydroline. Excellent conditions to Patterson, terrific run down Patterson, 1 or 2 cm fresh powder on well groomed trail made for excellent high speed parallel and telemark conditions. Excellent glide on the way out, double poled most of it. The final steep descent toward the Elk Pass parking lot was entertaining, actually had a few small moguls at the top. Easy telemark and parallel turns through that, a bit washed out from skiers snowplowing the next steep bit, but lots of soft snow on the sides to set edges and complete turns. 21 km, 7.3 km/hr, keeping up with my full time athlete son on his easy day out.

  3. SUNDANCE LODGE via BREWSTER CREEK – Dec 31

    Always a great destination for wildlife!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjW1O4sWGSk-lwZi_?e=GSPfGg
    Amazed to encounter skiers heading in on track skis upon my return… they obviously don’t read SkierBob!
    Happy New Year… may it be a Perfect 2020!

    • What an amazing video of what I guess to be a pine marten. Was it doing the vocalizing, or was there another one in the box calling it? Perhaps they were inquiring as to the whereabouts of their News Years treats? -)

      • Yes Henry, there were a couple of Pine Martens, but I had trouble keeping track of them. Each time I got ensconced in photographing one, I soon realized that the other was rifling through my pack! The New Year’s treat in this case hopefully was just the heat under the cap of the septic field…but it could be more!

    • Loved your Pine Marten photos and video-wonder how may hits it would get on youtube? But you sure had to work to get to the Lodge, likely following in VR4U tracks of a few days prior! Shame they cannot re-route the beginning of that trail. People do not realize how much flood damage actually occurred in Banff in 2013 including all those Sunshine gondolas swept out of their “parked positions”. It will be a long while before I post that ski trip; at least after they reopen the Lodge for guests.

    • Thanks Chuck. You’ve inspired me to try this trail again!

  4. Canmore Nordic Centre
    The trails and tracks were in great shape at CNC today. Temp about -2 to start so used Start purple (-3 to +1). The wax worked great on the natural and man made snow.

    Skied Bow, Banff, Coal Cut, Meadow View, top of the competition trails, Rundle and Silvertip. Needles and debris are starting to accumulate at the west end of all trails. CNC should be great for starting a new decade. Happy new year.

    • FYI- I skied Rundle around 4pm and there were 2 trees down – one to the west of junction 66 (close-ish to the high point of the trail) and one just after you get off Meadowview on your way to the Olympic trails. You could cautiously ski around both without having to take your skis off, but might have to scrub some speed! I told the lodge staff, but not sure if there were any groomers out last night?

      Happy trails!

  5. Evening everyone… took the family out to WBC this morning where we had a great (but short) ski taking in Crystal West then connected over to Mountain road before heading back on Mountain view and Crystal east.

    Relatively peaceful and quiet plus saw a few very happy dogs. Owners very good too. A few confused about dog freedom from leashes in parking lot area versus outside. No ill will at all.

    Helped some real beginners with their technique on a gentle hill that had them extremely frustrated. A few simple tips and suddenly they could climb hills. Wish I saw more people out there in general helping noobies.

    Also today saw some of the RCMP handing out voluntary taxes, er… speeding awards, in the vicinity of Redwood meadows. Limit is 80 for quite a length. Both ways. After getting dirt/snow/gravel spayed a couple days back by some impatient dickhead who insisted on passing me there (only to be stuck behind the same ~20 cars as me), I’m glad they’re zapping people. So the purpose of this short rant is to ask folks to respect the local Bragg community speed limits, as well as to drive respectfully.

    • Thanks for the mention Bob. You woulda been impressed and insisted on a photo with my daughter. This season, again, the only way we get her out is if she’s wearing her onesie. So to all who saw a huge green frog this morning at WBC you’ve been blessed. Previous incarnations have included a mad cow (with neon pink teats) at CNC and Nipika. She has several other onesies too… so, like all kids, they enjoy some encouragement and cheering on.

  6. Skogan Pass
    Perfect conditions to Skogan Pass with V45. Thanks to the groomers for an excellenet job. It was -5 at the pass so the snow should be good tomorrow as well. We zoomed past Skier Bob on our way out.
    It was 2 degrees when we returned to the car at 3 pm so the lower half may be a bit fast tomorrow.
    Bob was absolutely correct on his Hay Meadow forecast. It was pristine at 11 am and quite stomped on by our return at 3 pm. We had some challenges on the steep section on Ruthies with boot marks making snow plowing difficult. Take special care there tomorrow after the rough snow freezes.

  7. Dec 31. Emerald Lake. It snowed lightly all morning in Field. Snowing at the lake when I arrived at 1pm and still snowing when I left. Did Tree Hugger, the Alluvial Fan counter-clockwise and returned via the Horse Trail. Tracks were washed out here and there but at least there was very little of footprints or snowshoes on the trails. The going was a bit slow in places with the fresh snow on the tracks but it was a beautiful day to be out there. I had Horse Trail all to myself and it was a lovely ski thru the trees. The new snow created that nice ‘floaty’ feeling. There should be enough new snow now for the tracksetter to freshen everything up once they get out there again.

    Temp was probably around -3C. Nice to see quite a few people out enjoying the softly falling snow.

  8. Took a chance @ Nakiska with Bill Milne skate skiing and was rewarded, the trail damage by walkers is limited to that reported yesterday, no new ‘multi use’ tracks today on the valley portion of Bill Milne just plenty of skiers. A few sections of the classic track have blown in which has helped to fill in the skate lane, along with more skier traffic. Started from Mt. Kidd towards the village and looped around terrace ‘multi use’ trail, what a mess, no clear snow for skating but miraculously both classic tracks were still good despite all manner of other trail users. Bill Milne trail closest to the village had just been groomed, first track for me 🙂 and irresistible to a fat biker thinking ‘this will be a nice ride’, 100 meters of deep ruts later proved otherwise. I did chat with some walkers in the village who thought the skating lane was specifically for walking, they agreed it’s not much fun punching though the soft snow, I recommended they try the snowshoe trails thinking they would be nice and hard packed by now and much more pleasant for hiking.

    • Sounded like a great trip Martin. It should be noted that for the Christmas and New Years holiday the skate lane on Terrace becomes a horse and sleigh trail. By Jan 6 it should be back to normal.

  9. Near-perfect conditions on Skogan Pass!

    We’ve been recently skiing on the Kicking Horse Trail near Field, on the beautiful Golden Nordic Ski trails, on the Telephone Loop at WBC, at Ribbon Creek, and today, we skied up to Skogan Pass. We looped around Sunburst to Hummingbird Plume, down High Level, skied up the Skogan Loop and up to Skogan Pass. It was all in excellent shape due to Jeff’s grooming last night. Thank you!!! We skied down from Skogan Pass to the Nakiska ski area in 45 minutes of pure fun and excitement. The conditions are fast but we could control our skis anywhere along the trail.

    Happy New Year to all fellow cross-country skiers!!!

  10. Red earth trail
    STILL No track passed Campground-
    deep skier set trail only

    The existing Single track is very good however there Are ridges in the centre which makes slowing down or snow ploughing the hills difficult.

  11. High Rockies Trail Goat Creek -towards Goat Pond.
    Warm day -2C with VR 45 + 50 covered with VR 40
    Trail was either snowshoe packed or post holed. I have to admire people who walk that far in soft conditions but there footprints cause a lot of grief .
    We skied the top loop thinking, depending on conditions we’d return via the bottom. Ski tracks were intermittent and when we tried to extend the tracks alongside the packed trail I sunk to the bottom making further track-setting less attractive. After the junction of the figure 8 the walkers and snow shoe folk gave up and turned back. We then had to break our own trail. Broke trail until maybe 1.5km fromGoat Pond. Not an easy job with my breaking through the crust at times.
    Turned back as the wind was picking up and lunch on the pond wasn’t inviting. Ran into a couple of fat bikers close to the start having a great time and a few snowshoers.

  12. West Bragg Creek Dec 30

    Adding to Skier Doug’s Dec 30 7:59pm post, I presumably started later at 1130. It was -8C in the parking lot and about -5C once you gained some elevation. Waxed with a combo of Swix VR45 and VR50. I more or less did his route plus adding in Iron Creek, the south end of Iron Springs, and Elbow South to the start of the Fullerton descent. From Moose Loop I did Telephone Loop clockwise. Then counter-clockwise Crystal Line West, Loggers, Elbow North, Iron Creek, Iron Springs, and Crystal Line East back to the parking lot. Needed my headlamp for the last hour!

    South end of Iron Springs, and Elbow South: Something like a large quad had been driven out and back from the Fullerton end. Perhaps related to the Dec 29 rescue reported by Just Another Skier? In any case it pretty much wiped out the trackset and left a pair of ruts. It was still reasonably skiable, but extra care was required on the descents, especially those with turns. That section of trail now desperately needs regrooming. I didn’t notice the trackset problems Doug reported on Iron Springs and Elbow, but perhaps I was comparing them to the condition of Elbow South!

    Telephone Loop clockwise: Doug said he didn’t do this because of its poor condition. But by the time I got there it had been groomed and trackset, probably just an hour or two earlier. I’ve done Telephone in the “normal” counter-clockwise direction about 3 times this season, so I needed a change by going the other way. It seemed somewhat more difficult with steeper uphills and trickier descents. It also felt like more uphill overall, even though the amount of uphill in either direction would be identical.

    Skiing by headlamp was a pleasant experience. Deserted trails, very calm and quiet. I skied more slowly on the descents, my main fear being screaming around a tight corner and T-boning a moose! Near the end of my tour on Crystal Line East, I met a couple and their dog in the other direction also going out for a nighttime ski.

    • Hi Mike, sounds like you did a great set of loops. I was done by 2:30 so missed you by several hours. Glad to hear Telephone Loop was track set and the track setting was fixed on Elbow and Iron Springs.

  13. BRYANT CREEK SHELTER / ASSINIBOINE PASS – Dec. 28-30, 2019

    Skier-set track at Mt. Shark have been ravaged by snowshoers, hikers, and dogs until the bridge over the Spray River at the base of the “Watridge Wall.” From there to Bryant Creek Shelter and beyond until Assiniboine Pass, there is a very good skier-set track that makes for quick travel. My group went only as far as the pass, but we saw several groups coming out of the Assiniboine area, so you can assume the track has been set to Assiniboine Lodge and the Naiset Huts.

    When we started on Dec. 28, it was -20C at Mt. Shark. By the time we got back to the cars on Dec. 30, it had warmed up to -5C. Most snow we encountered were old facets, which made for slow travel.

    Ski quality coming down from the pass is okay where the storm layer hasn’t been scraped off. We saw evidence of a widespread avalanche cycle on all aspects at treeline and alpine areas.

    On our way back, we saw a weather system enetering the Assiniboine area. Depending on how many groups are at Bryant/Assiniboine for new years, you may have to break trail if you plan on going there in a few days.

    Happy new year, folks!

  14. SHADOW LAKE – December 30, 2019

    Presuming that Red Earth Creek had been trackset until at least RE6 (Km 6.5) campground, I figured it was a good choice to get back a 3rd time this month in the Shadow Lake area. The crispy cold of -15 C at 9:30 am in the parking lot quickly vanished for me, when I got a warm hug from Helen, before hitting the trail. The area along Red Earth Creek and higher up did not get those 60 to 80+ cm of snow that KCountry got, but it got enough to make it even further wintery than it was 2 weeks ago. The trees are simply loaded with the white stuff and look pretty proud to wear such coating. Grooming and track setting stops at the RE6 campground. After that, I picked up what appeared to be a single skier track to the lodge turnoff at 10.5 km, twinned by the passage of a moose. Walking up the steep section from the turnoff, I was passed by two younger skiers also walking up that section. They had skin-skis with them and turn out to be from the ACC for a short visit at the lodge. About 1 km from the lodge, one other skier was coming back from the lodge, after having broken trail earlier in the morning. Must have been hard work, as I found out later. A good 70-80 cm of snowpack in front of the lodge. The skier trail from the lodge to the lake, that was relatively well broken 2 weeks ago, was essentially buried. Broke trail to the lake, with 30-40 cm ski penetration. My intention was to ski as far as the Adirondack red chairs. I took me quite a bit longer to get to the lake, compared to 2 weeks ago. Mount Ball was fairly covered by clouds and fog, without the glorious views we normally get on sunny days. I skied on the lake about 600 meters past the bridge, on either 20 cm of snow over lake ice or 30-45 cm of ski penetration when I was getting closer to the shoreline. Being alone, I wasn’t keen to stay too far away from the shoreline; just a gut feeling that the ice may not be so thick as we didn’t really get serious cold weather so far. With poor views of the surrounding peaks while on the lake and being probably another 30-40 minutes one way to break trail to reach the chairs, I figured I would be skiing out in the dark. Upon returning to the lodge, I met 2 skiers (Julia and Ben; bad memory for names) who knew those two ACC skiers visiting the lodge. The lodge will NOT open this winter; as for next summer, not sure; some sort of commitment. ACC is apparently sorting out the considerations to go from a fully catered lodge to a self-catered outfit. Hearing that, I would not be surprised that there won’t be any track setting and grooming past the RE6 campground, at least for the remaining of the current winter season. It was nice to get back on the Red Earth Creek trail, at least on well-defined skier track. Met Jacinthe and Ian, who had been as far as the warden cabin. A very good day, in spite of little sun up there and trail breaking action with slow progress at times. It took me 1hr 40 min to drive from the parking lot to Canmore (Banff accident by Highway 1, eastbound).

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/aeSGoKMifyrAQU23A

    • Thanks normand. Good to know a bit more about the ACC/lodge deal. I’m guessing it would operate more like the elk lakes cabin (I.e. Potentially higher numbers of users who aren’t climbing or ACC members) given the accessibility. That’s probably a lot of bunks once converted. We will have to see what that means for grooming down the road and the method of travel by guests.

      • Hi MaSid

        Actually, I was just looking at the December 18 press release posted on the SLLodge and ACC. It mentioned that:

        “The addition of Shadow Lake Lodge allows the ACC to diversify into catered accommodation and to serve the demand of the public and ACC members looking for the comfort of fully catered backcountry accommodation.”

        Some what different from what I learned yesterday on the trail.

        Either way, there is such a great variety of terrain out there for year-round activities. Having a wide range of possibilities for accomodation and catering type would make this place accessible ($ wise) to a wider range of clients. With about 10 cabins there, some could be converted into bunk-like accomodation like you refer to, while others remaining more private-style cabins.

  15. Lake Louise: we parked at the Station and skied up Tramline this afternoon. Near the top we met three (3!) groomers on their way down! Around Fairview the snow was fantastic, but the signage is contradictory, and some pervert walked up the down tracks. The descents were as smooth as I’ve ever experienced them in spite of stray hikers. Moraine Lake Road seems in need of some grooming after a busy holiday weekend. There people had walked actually in the ski tracks. Bah.
    It was a great afternoon ski, in spite of the gloomy clouds, and we enjoyed hot chocolate at the big comfy couch 🙂

  16. Shaganappi Golf Course-this morning. The volunteer groomers are doing an amazing job of the relatively thin snow pack on the course these days-thank you! Skate Skied a big loop around most of the course. The north lower section is great fun and good coverage right now as is the driving range. The main course is generally good coverage except for areas close to trees and along the edge of the beige condos on the west side of the course. Fast snow too right now. So great to be able to walk over for a ski!

    • Ditto for Confed this late aft Teaching the teenager And their friend to skate ski and the Skate lanes and stadium were fantastic. Totally awesome for easy skate and/or learning. Awesome stuff!

  17. West Bragg Creek:
    Had a glorious day today skiing the south and west perimeter track set trails. It was -11 C in the parking lot but the temps warmed up quickly with elevation and then decreased again once in the valley. Used Rode Weiss (-1 to -4) then switched to Rode super (-1 to -3) once the temps climbed.

    In a clockwise direction: east Crystal Line, Sundog, Iron Springs, Elbow north, Loggers, west Crystal Line, Mtn View, Mountain Road, Mtn View west, Moose loop north, Moose Connector and Mountain Road back to the parking lot. If the telephone loop was in better shape I would have thrown that trail in as well.

    The trip was 26-27 km with great track and snow conditions, blue sky and no wind. Everybody was behaving themselves on the road, parking lot and on the trails. I saw many happy faces and wagging tails. The only fly in the ointment was the trail crew did a grooming sweep of Iron Springs and Elbow after setting the tracks and as a result about 1/4 to 1/3 of the tracks were wiped out.

    A high five for the volunteers at west Bragg Creek who are doing a fabulous job.

  18. Cascade – Peace, Joy & Happiness

    Headed up later than usual and WOW is there ever lots of snow. Big lineup at the Park gates and then another park pass check off Lake Minnewanka turnoff, so be advised. Also still lots of ice layers on the highway past the gates per Helen’s comment from yesterday. Not many skiers today – we only saw a few spread out here and there. The trail has not been groomed since the stated Dec 26th – it needs lots of love from the trail crew, which should be no issues with all the snow there. Hope they can tend to it soon as the downhill was ‘interesting’ but thankfully slower than usual. The poling situation was best described as ‘grabby’ as the poles sank quite a bit and it was extra effort to extract them. Temp was -10 all day, and the coming snow chased us home. At Lake Minnewanka there were TONS of skaters today so the road was clogged all the way along the west end to the dam crossing. The skating looked pristine with a beautiful blue Alberta sky. Lake Minnewanka

  19. BAKER CREEK EAST THROUGH PROTECTION CAMPGROUND- Dec 30

    Surprising that Brandon didn’t notify Parks Canada about all his hard work tracksetting this trail. I will!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjVjguqCtMmZujMj1?e=oNtV6F
    Nice to see Judith & Eric so happy to see this trail brought back to it’s previous accessibility.

  20. BAKER CREEK WEST to MORANT’S CURVE – Dec 30

    Thanks to Helen Yuen’s report, we checked this trail out, and it was great!
    Details in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjU369cjEfRm7YZMG?e=XIwXmt
    Nice to see Rhonda & Joe out on the trails again.

  21. Ribbon Creek – Hidden / Ribbon Creek to the high point then back to Hidden / up the hill to Kovach / Aspen / Terrace / Terrace link. I skied nearly everything available south of Ribbon Creek. There is lots of snow and the set track is mostly good. This was my first trip on the mainly south part of the Ribbon Creek trails for this season. I got my hopes up when I saw that there is some new signage with descriptions of winter usage at some of the junctions (mainly near the parking lots). At first glance it looked like the groomed ski trails were skier only (green dashed route indicator with only a skier icon as opposed to other colours and icons for snow shoe and biker routes). Sadly, a really close inspection revealed that those green dashes had little pink dots barely visible between them indicating “multi use”. Sure enough there are a number of “share the trail” signs at a few junctions. The result of all this is that the set tracks are fine but between the tracks the conditions vary from okay to really bad with walker post holes and biker ruts. The worst sections are the gentle hills with double track setting where in a few places the middle of the trail is nearly un-skiable. As long as one is confident enough to stay in the track, no worries, but snow plowing would be difficult in such places (novice skiers beware). The “share the trail” signs clearly indicate that non-skier traffic is supposed to stay on the side of the trail not in the middle but unfortunately many non-skier users ignore that. It is getting to the point where it is becoming challenging to find places to cross country ski on groomed trails that are free of “multi user” damage.

  22. Went up Whiskey Jack and down Packers in the late morning / early afternoon – recently groomed and trackset. Cool and windy at the top but a great ski day overall with an excellent glide!

  23. Brewster Creek trail may have been great yesterday but it was not today. My first time on this trail, it has been on my list for a while, today the opportunity presented. First surprise was Sunshine ski hill running shuttle buses from the Brewster creek parking lot entrance, I was very lucky to find a parking spot, for sure the majority of other vehicles were downhill skiers as I didn’t see anyone else on the Brewster Creek trail during my ski. The trail is skier set and has not seen a machine so far this season, guess that makes sense as there is nowhere to park for afternoon cross country skiers! What do Sundance guest do if they cannot find parking and how do they find the trail? I did not see a map and after a false start returned to ask the Sunshine guy directing traffic who had never heard of Sundance lodge though he did radio a buddy for directions (thanks for that) and off I went the same way I’d originally set out. My skinny cross country skis started to break though the ski set tracks just after the bridge, made for slow progress and even the gentle downhill sections challenging. I’d thought the trail off to Sundance would be better but having seen less traffic sadly it was worse and I turned around after a short distance, next time I’ll take my light touring skis, somehow I had it in my head the trail to Sundance is regularly snowmobile packed?

    • BILL VOTRING RIGHTS 4U

      Parks Canada has been dogging it this year when it comes to the Brewster Creek trail and some other trails. They don’t seem to have the budgeted personal to get things groomed and trackset in a more timely manner for the benefit of the ski tourism industry. This is a bad marketing decision by the guy at the top which negatively affects the ski tourism industry.

      It seems like Parks Canada spends more of its budget on burning and clear cutting Banff National Park for the benefit of the land lease holders in the Park than actually working on ski trails for the tourists.

  24. Hold the phone is right Bob! Alex did a beautiful job grooming the Bill Milne trail to Wedge pond early this morning. I was there at 10am and the trail had a wider, gorgeous skate lane. We were classic skiing today.

    I wish I’d taken a pic on the way back because starting at the Mt Kidd campground people were walking all over the skate lane and Alex’s beautiful work was trashed. I saw one skate skier speak to one group so I didn’t bother. More education needed.

    I’ll send a few pics to you Bob.

  25. Kicking Horse River trail. Skied from Natural Bridge trailhead to the picnic table along the river with a group of friends. Enjoyable trail thru the trees and along the river at some points. Tracks holding up well. A few walker and snowshoe tracks but ski tracks mostly unmolested. I think it was around -4C. I had good grip with blue -1 to -7. Light snow started as we were finishing.

  26. Pocaterra to Lookout Jct. – Temp was a chilly -15 at Pocaterra Hut when we started, and -9 at 2 pm. All trails were hard and fast today. We skied to the base of Lookout, then had lunch at Whiskeyjack. The best section was between WJ and Packers (new track setting) and the return trip was fast and exhilarating. It was great to see lots of people out enjoying the lovely sunshine, trees still laden with snow, and the good tracks. Happy New Year to all you skiers out there! May 2020 bring joyful ski days, plentiful snow and safe travels.

  27. Blueberry Hill at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park was wonderful. Fast hard snow with enough loose snow for a safe descent by all. Fox Creek has had a large amount of work from the trail crew removing downed branches. Fox Creek has been snowmobile packed but has innumerable scattered bits and pieces of spruce and pine. It was -11C at 10:30 and about -6C at 1:30PM. A great ski in spite of the howling winds at Elk Pass Parking and at the top of Blueberry Hill!

  28. PLPP – Pocaterra, Lynx, Woolley, Meadow, Wheeler, Packers, Pocaterra

    Very good conditions, even the trails groomed several days ago. But the highlight was Packers, which was pristine. Throughout, only two trees to ski around, and some tree debris and needles, which weren’t an issue with coldish wax.

  29. Shaganappi Golf Course this am. Some bare spots but surprisingly good conditions. No ice. So nice to be able to ski so close to home. Put a smile on my face before going out to do some chores. Consider donating – they need help with time and money to keep it going.

  30. Yesterday went to Lake Louise to ski Great Divide and Lower Telemark. Great tracksetting on both. There is a lot of snow so trails are a little soft. Snow is cold so really need cold glide wax but a fabulous day overall.

  31. Yippeee the live Groomer report for Bill Milne is showing it was groomed and trackset this morning.
    Can’t wait to hit the trail this morning. Thanks to the Groomer’s consistently good and hard work.

    Rhonda W

  32. BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

    BREWSTER CREEK TO SUNDANCE LODGE+

    The trail to Sundance Lodge is now broken in and skier tracked. Excellent conditions right from the Sunshine Road parking lot.

    The short cut up to Brewster Creek trail is in very good condition with just a couple of rocks.

    -10 C at the lodge at night. There are a few trees down on the trail which are small for the most part. 60+ cm of base snow at the lodge.

  33. We skied Baker Creek to Protection Mountain Campground & Baker Creek to Morant’s Curve & were delighted to find the trail now nicely track-set & freshly done. What a joy to traverse out & back in peace & tranquility. Only encountered one person on the trail other than ourselves. Better get out there & enjoy this trail while the getting is good 😉

  34. WBC. Mid-day classic skin ski on Hostel-sundog-Iron-Elbow-Loggers-Moose-MtnViewWest-MtnRd. All trails in good condition despite extremely heavy traffic. Most people and all dogs were well behaved. Advice: ski on trails within your limits, but understand, accidents can and will happen to everyone regardless of skill -nobody’s at fault, its just the inherent nature of skiing. Have fun!

  35. Just Another Skier!

    Heli evacuation at WBC!

    Went out for a little ski at WBC in the afternoon and probably halfway between the WBC parking area and Allen Bill, we came across a person who had broken their ankle from wiping out on one of the downhill sections on the Iron Springs trail. One person contacted 9-1-1 while others went back for extra clothing and other helpful stuff. All told, we were probably there for almost 90 minutes before everything wrapped up. Despite it being relatively mild, the injured person was quite cold by the time he was loaded into the chopper. So…I guess it’s a good idea to have some extra clothing in the ‘ol backpack, just in case. Also keep in mind that cell service is very spotty in that area so it took a bit of time to ski around a find a spot with good enough reception. Don’t assume you’re going to be able to phone someone if you get into trouble. And, there weren’t very many people on the trail at that time of day…

    Also of note was the lovely woman who gave us crap as she skied by because we were blocking the trail…Merry Christmas! In any case, the conservation officers and the rescue folks were all great and the injured person got safely evacuated.

    Trails were in great shape and it started to get colder around 4PM. Car thermometer read -7 as we were leaving the lot. Groomers were out so the trails should be in great shape for Monday too!

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/186239831@N02/49297227082/in/dateposted-public/

    • I must have just missed that as I skied that portion of the trail around 2:00. I was headed north and there was a woman who was very “pushy” when she passed me.

  36. I thought I’d enjoy my favourite trail today by skiing Banff Springs to Goat Creek trailhead and back again. Turned out to be a long day. The good news is that there is a reasonably good track and lots of snow base. The bad news is that there is lots of damage from boots and fat bikes where they have broken through the packed crust. The result is “bomb craters” in the packed area outside of the track and deep ruts from fat bikes. If you catch a tip in one of these you’re going down. The section from the Spray river bridge to the park boundary is particularly bad and makes the approaches to the two bridges quite dangerous as the packed trail is quite narrow. I would give the southern section a pass until they groom it one more time. As others have noted the Spray section starting at the Banff Springs is in good condition despite the heavy traffic.

    • I had a similar experience at WBC the other day. I took a really bad crash when going downhill in a track that was chewed up with dog prints. The side of the track disappeared and I wiped out really badly. This experience has made even more wary of skiing in areas where dogs are permitted, but it’s too bad the two activities seem to be at odds. Especially with the proximity of WBC to Calgary and the fun, varied nature of the skiing there.

      • LRaj, if the side of the track disappeared, that was caused by skiers snowplowing over it. Most likely it was human footprints that you saw. Dogs do very little damage to trails compared to humans. If you read the trip reports, you’ll see that most of the complaints are about humans wrecking the trails. If you dislike dogs so much, there are numerous areas where dogs aren’t allowed. Go ski there and you’ll become a happier person.

        Submitting your comment about dogs an hour after I posted my tribute to my deceased dog was a rude and insensitive thing to do.

        • Bob, love your comment above (and please disregard my initial comment…it was a ‘heart’ emoji). So To add to above, WBC trails can be technical and challenging at times, regardless of the number of dogs, children, elderly, novice, or experts pushing hard on the trail. Happy skiers ski appropriately to their abilities and avoid getting in situations they are not comfortable skiing in. Blaming others when accidents happen rarely ever helps.

        • Happy New Year Bob,
          Thanks for all your work. Your site is so helpful and informative- but also makes me feel that we XC
          skiers are a community. Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2020!

        • I agree with you Bob – dogs do very little damage to ski trails compared to humans. I cross-country skied for many years with my previous two dogs in B.C. and Alberta. In fact, that was our usual daily exercise activity during the winter, so I have loads of experience with this. Thank you for sharing all of the wonderful photos of Tessa. I am so very sorry for your loss.

          • We also need to remember the areas we ski are home to many deer and moose, we all see lots of tacks made be these animals which always punch through ski trails not to be confused with dogs! I take no issue with these animals, it was their home long before our playground, its their turf, Happy New Year, I hear fireworks!

  37. Spray River
    Started at the golf course and skied up the east side – Rode Multigrade and VR 40 worked fine. The trail has been groomed and trackset but it is getting worn, more from walkers and snow bikers. After crossing the bridge continued up the Spray valley to the top of the hill before the descent to the Spray River crossing. We met a large group of about 20 coming down from goat creek.

    The ski back was okay but the the hills that required snow plowing were a bit challenging with snow bike ruts in the skating lane. We split up and went down the east and west sides. The west side was best, the east side was challenging descending to the golf course. It appears many walk down the final hill making it even more challenging with lots of post holes. It was like Boxing Day traffic at the mall, with stop and go drive from the Banff Springs and through DT Banff. Overall a great ski.

  38. Cascade Road in great shape today!

  39. Did Goat Creek/Spray River Saturday the 28th. Spectacular scenery and very few skiers. I’m a novice/intermediate skier so can’t comment too much on snow conditions because I don’t know the difference 🙂 I did struggle a bit with snow plowing on the hills due to deep ruts up the middle from a fat biker who did the whole trail from Goat Creek trailhead to where the Spray loop shelter is. Lots of boot ruts too, especially on the Goat section but probably quite manageable for people with better technique then me!

    PS I live in Strathmore and haven’t skied there yet this year but conditions still look pretty decent. Our temperatures have been a bit colder then Calgary last few days.

  40. Skated Bill Milne, and as was noted already, the skate lane was pock marked and rutted over most of its length. Kinda disappointing since it’s so hard to hit that trail when the conditions are good. For those who were considering giving it a go, the tracks were still pretty awesome. In fact, double poled in the tracks more than I skated since it was that much more enjoyable.

    Anybody ski Spray river in the past couple of days? I’m at the banff springs new years eve and wanted to get in a ski before joining my wife at the spa. Is the skate lane a disaster?

    • Spray was reasonable, albeit a bit soft, with a similar rut, more damage at banff end along with some tree debri and three walkers who went past the spray bridge. We were on classic Friday. Didn’t see anyone else skating. The space between tracks is also a bit narrow for skating.

    • I did Bill Milne with my dog today. The tracks are in good condition but the deep holes in the middle are very dangerous for a dog as he kept tripping in them. Would not recommend skijoring there until it gets groomed again.

  41. CNC -7C purple multi grade covered by VR40. Worked well.
    Started at wax cabins far side of stadium. Up onto Olympic, worked our way via short cuts up onto Meadowview. Great grooming ,hooked up onto Rundle. Rundle is well groomed and track set. Up on top we hooked over onto Wolverine that has a truly great downhill. Usually a fun ride. It was not to be as there is a rut right in the middle of the trail left over from the groomer. The track is also soft and we broke though a few times. Not wanting a high speed catching of an edge, we bailed and turned around following Wolverine back down to Bruin. Returned via Bruin onto Meadowview and did the return via Olympic. Parking lot was full to overflowing and folks were parking where they could find a space.

  42. Ribbon creek clockwise.
    I think counter would be more fun.

    -9c at 0930 huge 30mm surface hoar at parking lot
    Soft base here and there. Consider powder baskets. Twigs here and there. Gravel in some corners.
    Decent if icy blue kick.
    Gorgeous sunshine. Whiskey jacks shamelessly hang out at vistas. Mind your muffins.

  43. To the BASE of ASSINIBOINE PASS – – Dec 28

    Spectacular day… not to be missed (even with a minus 20 start and a minus 15 end).
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjUNtB1OnL-jjq_Df?e=DyLvjB
    By the way Helen, the Smith Dorien is almost as Bumpy as the Trans Canada!

    • Spectacular as always, Chuck! Okay yes I’m drooling………

      A little puzzled by a distance comment: 6 + 16.6 = ??

      Also, is the Bryant Creek shelter wide open?

      Thank you 🙂

      • Hi Diana,
        My GPS said I went 19.2 km each way, and you have to remember that I did not get to the top of the Pass… but of course it did not seem far above!
        Check with Parks, but I believe all you need to stay at the Shelter is a valid Parks Pass and a reservation.
        Enjoy!

        • Hi Chuck, pleasure to meet you on the Bryant Creek Trail today. It was a pretty spectacular ski out, less fun breaking trail in! To book a night at the hut just call Parks Canada camping reservations. Total cost for 2 adults was $46.70.

          • Hey Kev,
            Thanks for the Reply!
            Did the $46.70 include the Park Pass for two?
            Doesn’t look quite as inviting as the Warden Cabin.
            I enjoyed the ski in more than the ski out… “spectacular” may depend on time of day!

            • Hi Chuck, the 46.20 includes a reservation fee 13.60 and 19.60 Backcountry camping fee. No other charge. It’s a pretty good deal, the shelter is primitive but luxury compared to a tent. To bad we couldn’t spend the night at the warden cabin. I think the Bryant Creek Cabin in my favourite one!!

          • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

            Roughly about 2+ years ago the cost of the hut was $30 for 2 people. Now Ottawa is undemocratically charging more for the hut along with Park backpacking fees, which in some cases, have escalated over 400% depending on use. Hence, one of the reasons why I now ski more as the ski trails are still ski tax free – for now- unlike the poorly maintained Parks backpacking trails.

            Over the years I have met plenty of “workers” who use to take “troubled” kids snowshoeing to the hut to help “rehabilitate their souls”. Due to Ottawa’s lack of compassion with the hut price increases, far less troubled kids are experiencing something “spiritual” that can basically turn some of them around. That is a real buzz harsher for the kids.

            Another glorious picture perfect Chuck ski day in a glorious location!

  44. Gorgeous snow covered trees on the Bill Milne today. Skied from just off Hwy 40 to Wedge Pond and return. The skate lane definitely needs a regroom and the classic tracks could use a touch up too. I’m glad there’s no ice flow on Bill Milne this yr so far.

    A great day out!

    Rhonda W

  45. Yoho Valley Road was freshly track-set & in wonderful shape. Thanks to Joe for the grooming & track-setting & the Kicking Horse Ski Club for maintaining this little corner of paradise. Yay!!!

  46. Ditto to Ray’s comments on the TC being bumpy: felt like horse and buggy days in some places (although I am not that old) and often riding on rumble strip as lane defined. Kicking Horse Trail sweet 3 hour ski of just under 14 kms. Sunshine much of the way. Lunch by Ottertail River memorable and glad the tracks extended to that sweet spot. Thank you Joe for your excellence in your invaluable role as volunteer groomer. Some moose tracks alongside the last part of the trail before the bridge, which looked more stable with snow than I’ve seen it previously. Chuck’s pics of 2-3 days ago tell it all. Walkers respecting the tracks and mostly visiting Natural Bridge. Parking lot had been cleared thankfully. We did not do the Tally Ho today as Laggin’s “day olds” were calling.

    • On Friday we saw road maintenance crews scraping the ice with a grader at slow speed with a warning truck following. So hopefully things will improve quickly.

  47. Skied all the Nakiska new grooming, delightful and not many skiers enjoying the pristine conditions, there is some inconsequential debris from the snow ladened trees. Been pleased with my waxing till today, VR40 didn’t provide the grip I’m used to and steadily got worse, probably a combination of being worn off and a colder wax required. Lots of fat bikes, snowshoes and walkers, some on the designate trails, some unfortunately not, don’t suppose the immaculate grooming will last long.

  48. Kananaskis Village trails were excellent – although a few twigs and footprint holes to watch out for. Terrace /Kovach loop was very good and fast with V30 wax providing good grip at the -20C start temperature. We skied the Ribbon Creek loop clockwise – so up the big hill -(rewaxed with V40 for the hill) – which is getting scraped down to gravel in places, The decent to Ribbon parking lot was good, but again lots of boot prints and such to contend with. It was a winter wonderland with the arched trees loaded with snow over the trails.

  49. Great Divide
    Skied from the Lake O’Hara end. -17C to start, and 2 cm or so of fresh snow. Thick fog. Soft tracks and slow going at first, but a little firmer after we reached the AB/BC border. Good conditions from there to the Lk Louise end, though still slow. Clear skies and some sunshine now. The groomers headed out shortly before we had our lunch stop by the dog trucks, and they were setting the outbound track from LL as we headed back to the O’Hara end. The new trackset was soft and slow – we got better glide on the other, older trackset. -11C at the finish. Beautiful scenery.
    Note – several sections of the TCH between Banff and Louise are rough / icy, and the driving lanes do not always match the painted lines. Use caution.

  50. WBC weather accuracy leaves a lot to be desired!! As of about 730am several online sources said about -12 to -14C. So that’s fine right? Upon arrival at WBC parking lot at 910am my car said -21. Yikes. This is why i always bring a couple extra items like glove liners, extra buff, and arm warmers (from cycling). So chased the sun to Moose Loop (and saw a moose!!). Around the Mountainview link things warmed up and my warm glide wax suddenly started working awesome!! Tough rough snow meant some relaxing w VR40. Kept going up Loggers then the Iron Springs and Elbow. Tried to go south towards Allan Bill however trail has been badly chewed by a herd of beasts (or bootpacked). So disappointed after it was amazing great grooming only a week ago). Finished off down Crystal east and west and managed my first 30km outing of the year and since breaking my femur 3 years ago!

    • Congratulations on your recovery! It’s a slow journey sometimes. As to temperatures, I find the various weather app models are not so good at predicting radiative heat loss on clear nights in the mountains, often being off by 5-10 degrees in the early morning. Similar situation at Louise over the last week too. Nice to have a warming hut to change in on those days.

  51. Moraine Lake Road

    Party of five classic skied Moraine Lake Road yesterday (Dec 27). Tracks in good condition but very poor glide from the settling storm snow. Skate lane in middle was soft, not recommended until the next groom that works down the storm snow.

    Saw about 15 people over 3 hours. Beautiful day!

  52. Bill Milne-Wedge Pond to almost the Village
    Lots of snow in the area which is so great to see! Trail is great condition for both skating and classic-thanks groomers!. From Wedge Pond to the golf course lots of boot prints (sinking holes) in the middle of the trail as others have mentioned which makes skating tough and a bit sketchy! From golf course to almost the village less boot prints and more animal prints in the middle section. 3 cars in Wedge pond lot at 10 am-no cars when we returned at 1pm. Glorious sunny day with fantastic views and only a handful of small groups. Love this trail!

    • 16 of us skied from Wedge Pond parking lot to the Bill Milne trail stariting at 10:30 am and returning at 2pm. It was -18C at the beginning, went up to -9C in sunny spots along the flat, and was -14C in the Wedge parking lot at 2pm. The trail was chilly but absolutely a winter wonderland. Saw trees heavily laden with icy snow but only one tree down on the side near Wedge on the descent. The blue wax vr40 worked well but the abrasive track snow stripped a lot of it off; we didn’t rewax on return but poled a lot more on the inclines!
      Everyone loved the trail. A wonderful find for all levels of skier, especially now that there is lots of snow. Next time we are going to start out from Ribbon Creek.

  53. Fri Dec 27. Goat pond along east side of canal to 1/2 way back towards Ha Ling trail.
    Looking for a quick flat ski above Canmore we skied the east side of the canal from Goat Pond back towards Canmore. Shared the track with boot packers and snowshoers for 200m then broke trail until the rock jumble 2.5 km in. We were in the sun the whole way beside the canal.
    Volker Stevin was out clearing the parking areas on either side of the bridge. VR 40 worked well on our touring skis,

  54. WBC: best choice for the short drive and trail conditions

    I was planning to ski the Ribbon Creek trails today, but settled on WBC with a shorter drive and more time spent on the trails. Still very good ski and snow conditions throughout for Telephone Loop, all outer perimeter trails to Elbow South and back to the parking lot. Snow still good for control on the short and steep descents of Telephone Loop, with skinny skis. The groomers are doing a great job over the entire trail system. The gas money I save by not driving an extra 1 hr and 45 minutes to KCountry will go to a donation tonight to the trail maintenance at WBC.

  55. PLPP middle loop. Meadow, Wooley, Amos, Wheeler. -10C to start. The tracks were still in great shape with fast snow, but our trip took much longer than we anticipated as we decided to move about 8 trees off of the trail in various locations mostly on Wooley and Amos. There is still one big one that we couldn’t move on Meadow between Elkwood and Wooley. Hopefully it will make other people’s ski trips safer and more enjoyable.

  56. BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

    BREWSTER CREEK via SUNSHINE VILLAGE ROAD

    A later afternoon ski due to a major traffic jam on the Trans Canada Highway on the Stoney Reserve.

    Healy Creek trail from the Sunshine Road parking lot is generally excellent skier tracked skiing. There is a very good snowpack now which is up to 45 cm in depth. Ski penetration is just over the ankle off trail.

    I broke trail up the short cut to the Brewster Creek trail. It is generally in good condition with a few rocks. Another 7 cm on this portion of the trail and it should be in excellent shape.

    I broke trail up the Brewster Creek trail to maybe within 3 km of Sundance Lodge. Very good base snow for trail breaking. I skied back down the Brewster Creek trail to Healy Creek. The hills are in excellent condition with a couple of small trees on the trial. I did not hit any rocks at night.

    Parks Canada should track set the trails since there is so much snow. Tourist need something easier to ski on.

  57. West Bragg Creek was lovely again today, but oh so busy! We ended up there because of a big accident on highway 1!
    Mountain Road – Mountainview West – Moose – Moose Connector – lower West Crystal all good except the wind really came up on MV West, making it rather cold and less fun. The wind had obviously blown earlier too, as the snow was getting a bit crusty and wind-blasted.
    People do walk right past those signs, apparently without seeing them??

    • We also went to WBC, but didn’t arrive until about 1:15, so it didn’t seem that busy to us. We did Moose clockwise to Mountainview West, Mountain Road, Moose Connector, West Crystal. The snow in the trees was wonderful! The temperature was about minus 2. I used skins, my friend used klister. Both were working well most places. However, the far end of West Mountainview was very windy, and the snow was not nice – no grip going up, no glide going down, wind in our faces. My companion aptly described the last long uphill as “grim!” Lots of snow though, and excellent work by the grooming team! Thank you!!

      • It was a little colder so easier to wax in the morning than Carol’s afternoon description.; We finished WBC just at 1 pm. Highly variable weather on the drive out from Calgary with the temperature varying between -2 and -10. We started skiing with the temperature around -7 and used equivalent of V40. Skied West crystal – Mountain view – Mountain road – Moose connector – West crystal – Loggers loop, Elbow – Iron Springs – Sundog – East Crystal line. Conditions were still very good in the morning with only a few icy soft spots on the south end of iron springs. As Carol mentioned the temperature was -2 when we finished and the snow was holding out quite well.

  58. Bill Milne from the Hotels to Mount Kidd RV, back up the hill from Ribbon Creek.
    There is lots of snow which would normally mean great conditions but… These trails have only been groomed / track set a couple of times so they are not really hard packed yet. As a result walkers and fat bikers are doing considerable damage to the grooming making the down hill sections quite difficult (as noted in Tanya’s report below). We really do need clearer signage at every junction as to what kind of usage is allowed followed up by enforcement from the conservation officers.

  59. Ribbon Creek loop with Link and Kovach. Trees are gorgeous and heavily snow covered (just like on Bill Milne.) I found the snow to be very polished though. Hard to climb without sliding around. The steep descent down to the creek was getting icy and conditions were the most challenging I’ve had for this trail. I believe it’s only been groomed once (twice at most) so far this season so I’d put it in “early season” conditions. Not always level, a few ridges, etc. We still enjoyed the scenery on this trail and it’s always been a favourite.

    Disappointing was the amount of deep boot prints on every trail we skied today. It made the descent on both Ribbon and Kovach tricky. Without better signage I think one has to expect every trail in this area to be “multi-use.” I’d personally love to see big bright signs at every junction saying: “no hiking allowed on this trail” or “skier use only.”

    • The big signs at West Bragg Creek don’t stop people walking. We saw a few today, but said nothing, being who we are. Bah.

      • Agree RE West Bragg and it’s sad that so many people walk those trails. Is there a large visible sign though at every junction? That’s honestly what’s needed (though I obviously see expense with that.) People might start on a snowshoe trail but exit onto a ski trail and without visible reminders, won’t think about being on the wrong trail. Same with Ribbon trails. And not everybody is going to stop to take a close look at the maps. When I was skiing in Fernie they had big bold signs every kilometer or so reminding people that they were on a ski trail. Sad enough though my friend said people still ignore them. 🙁

        The signs at Fernie look like a good idea. This is the photo you provided a while back Fernie signage -Bob

      • We always say something- keeping it calm with the aim of informing and hopefully educating. Most hikers respond similarly and seem to be truly unaware, or are sheepish at being “caught”. Many still think it is OK as long as they are not walking in the tracks. Generally I don’t like to see an abundance of signs, but for Ribbon Creek there definitely needs to be more of an effort to keep the walkers off the ski trails. We did have an unpleasant encounter with 3 senior men stomping along both tracks and the centre on Iron Springs last year, one of whom turned belligerent towards my wife until I showed up. We just skied on as he continued to rant.

  60. Cascade: Fairly well packed with tracks that are still in good shape. I would advise against skating as the skating Lane is quite narrow and uneven. Lots of elk or moose foot prints on the tracks, amazing how far they sink in, but they don’t affect classic skiing much. Past the bridge, the tracks and grooming are in excellent shape, though the tracks are a little soft. Of course, it was a winter wonderland out there!

  61. Finally got to ski Bow Trail both ways taking in all the right hand turns into Wooded Bliss, sunny Cold Shoulder and Grey Wolf-trees particularly magnificent there with the hoar frost glistening. Nice to run into Snow Host friend Carol along with a few other familiar faces. Can’t comment on Meadowview but managed to have a good workout of 17 kms+ enjoying Bow Trail in its new grooming/tracksetting. Thank you to all the groomers as it must have been a gargantuan task tackling all that snow-ice-snow accumulation in the last big Snow Event. Really appreciate Hugh getting a response from the woman (in charge of the grooming) at CNC who explained why the grooming was taking more time than we anticipated.

  62. Sadly, a bit of a nasty encounter today at Sandy. We ski there often as we live less than twenty minutes away, and, for the most part, encounter many lovely people and happy pups. There are so few places that allow dogs within the Calgary area, only Sandy (on leash in some places and off leash in others…please see Skier Bob’s map) and, of course, WBC, where dogs are allowed off leash once away from the parking lot. My husband was out with our two dogs at Sandy McNabb (I am, unfortunately, sidelined with a bad cold) and, with both dogs on leash (even tho in an off leash area), came across an individual that took exception to our dogs being there. He made a rude comment about how our dogs were ruining the trail (obviously, had not encountered the area where horses had been) after a friendly greeting from my husband. I understand people not wanting, liking, or caring for dogs on a cross country trail. What I cannot understand is why these same people ski at the only two places in Calgary area that do allow dogs either on leash or off. Please people, if you do not want to see, smell, encounter a dog, go to the umpteen areas where your dream will come true. Please allow us dog lovers to enjoy the few areas where we can bring them. My husband passed quite a few people today and all (except one) were friendly, happy, and accepting of our senior, well-behaved, on leash dogs, except for this one individual. Funny how we (at least my husband and I) dwell on that one negative encounter. If you are training for the Olympics in stretchy pants and a stop watch and dislike dogs, go somewhere else.

  63. West Bragg – Telephone Loop.

    Well-used tracks. Trackset for counter-clockwise travel and I wouldn’t do it the other way, at least not on racing skis.

    East side: Caution on the section between Disconnect and Long Distance: many downhills (with sharp curves at the bottom, no run-out) have been scraped down to hard pack. Consider removing your skis. I never get nervous about steeps but I was today.

  64. Trails around Kananaskis Village and Bill Milne. Leisurely ski along various trails in the area. Temperature hovered around – 7 deg C; warmer than any day this week so far. Windy on Bill Milne, but more pleasant in the forest. Snow and trails remained in good shape.

  65. Debbie Gauthier-Scott

    We skied PLPP North trails from Visitor centre starting with Meadows, to Wheeler, Amos, Lynx, Pocaterra then Lodgepole, Sinclair, Meadows and back. All were trackset yesterday or today, some debris like trees on the trails were mostly removed. The bottom of Lodgepole was icy, hard packed, very hard to control after a fast descent, we advised the visitor centre to post a warning to be cautious. We used blue wax, weather -10c when we finished the day.

  66. Sandy McNabb – Pine Ridge Loop

    We had a challenging but fun ski clockwise on the Pine Ridge Loop. The trail was beautifully groomed but coming down the east side back from the viewpoints was frightening fast. Three of us employed a variety of exits from the groomed path to control our speed with much humour. The fourth of our party somehow managed to get down unscathed!

  67. Fri dec 27: goat creek to banff (one way)
    Seeing that it had been groomed and having two cars it was an easy choice to do the one way trip from south to north on our return to civility. We figured if we saw Jeanette and chuck today we had obviously made the right choice. And so it was, but unfortunately zooming by on a down hill. South of spray river the single track was both rough and soft all at the same time again so I mostly stayed out of the track. Nice artful mini snowman at the bridge to entertain us after the decent, which was in good shape. Track bases more firm and less noisy/grabby on spray west. Given the soft/rough/slow track on the south end, not the ideal conditions to do the big out and back smoothly and efficiently. A good end to a Christmas ski holiday nonetheless.

  68. Trip report from 3 days ago, but couple of longer relevance points. Did elk wood easy loop, wheeler, Amos, wholley, meadow.
    See pics for route.
    I almost called off the trip because the weather network had the temperature at minus 15 at 11h00, a drop of 2 degrees when I first checked at 10h00. Obviously, I decided to go anyway, but when I got to elkwood around 13h00, the temp was like 6 degrees. It didn’t drop 9 degrees in the time it took me to drive out. That was confirmed when I asked a couple coming into the parking lot off a ski. They said it had been roughly the same temp when they started. I can see being a couple of degrees off, but this i seems strange. Anyone else have similar problem and is there better temp source for PLPP out there?

    • Discovery Centre staff told me they use Environment Canada’s Banff forecast.

    • Hey CD, check out The Weather Network ‘Boulton Creek’ which I think is located in the campground maintenance compound on lower Whiskey Jack. Of course also ‘Kananaskis’ and ‘Kananaskis Golf Course.’

      I get similar grief from WUnderground but you learn which stations are reliable.

  69. Skiing West Bragg Christmas morning was lovely. Unfortunately a few walkers don’t realize that the ski trails are not for walkers…how to let them know in a nice way?

    Skied Crystal loop.

    Photos http://www.flickr.com

  70. Fri dec 27: a 1/2 cm of new snow this morning at castle junction to make the tracks glide nice.

  71. West Bragg Creek

    Did a clockwise loop starting on the Iron Creek trail from RR54. Waxing was easy and the trails were surprisingly quiet. Continued in the sunshine along Iron Springs to the south junction with Elbow then north on Elbow to Sundog. We stopped for a quick snack (chilly in the shade!) then back to Iron Springs and south to Iron Creek trail to where we started. A nice afternoon out!

  72. North PLPP today Dec 26.
    Went to the lookout in PLPP today via elk pass parking lot. The longest loop ever as most trails are not groomed nor trackset. Tons of broken trees everywhere. We went up the elk pass to hydro line. Up to there it was ok. Then breaking the trail was really tough. The ski down towards pocaterra was challenging to say the least. Took a left on whiskey jack, the only fun 3 k of the day. Left on moraine with tons of tree debris not really skiable. Then fox (just the same shape) and back. Tyrwitt still off limits. Beautiful scenery though. Fierce wind. Still better to be there than at the mall!

  73. West Bragg Creek
    Yet another WBC report. We did a figure 8 loop of West Crystal, Moose Connector, Moose Loop (clockwise), Moose Connector and Mountain Road. Sunny, calm and pleasant temperatures in the afternoon and nice blue-wax skiing. Great conditions. https://photos.app.goo.gl/k5SVzamNDMbDwTQV7

  74. PLPP – the middle. From the Visitor Centre on Meadow to Wheeler. I was originally going to make it a leisurely ski but the crisp air and sunshine must have zapped my brain, and I extended my loop. Up Packers, down Pocaterra, Lynx, Amos, Woolley and back along Meadow. The snow was excellent, although I’ll echo some of the reports below about fallen trees across the tracks – especially along Lynx, Woolley and Meadow. I went around a few trees, over some, under some arches, but I did not go through any branches today. It was a magnificent day.

  75. No Boxing Day retail frenzy at WBC. There was plenty of room at the trailhead, and lots of smiling happy skiers (and dogs!) on a beautiful crisp day. To make the most of the brilliant sun after starting off in -18, we skied Moose-both the Mountainviews-Mountain Road-etc.
    So good! Perfect blue wax skiing with great grip and fast glide on a mix of fresh, and older grooming.
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/BoxingDay2019-WestBraggCreek/

    • Another WBC report. I actually found glide a bit slow, but that may be because I was later in the day.
      Other than very wobbly tracks on Moose Loop and the usual groove on Moose Connector’s groove hill, conditions are very good. Whatever the grinch says it was definitely a winter wonderland with snow on the trees. Quintessential West Bragg.

  76. PLPP – Boxing Day. From Elkwoods Parking, we did Wheeler, Packers, Pocaterra, Lynx, Woolley and Meadow. The snow conditions were great and the trails were pretty quiet. The main problem was with trees down across the trail, 4 on Lynx alone. We were able to get around most of them with a slight detour.

    • Add Sinclair, Lodgepole,and Amos to the list of superb conditions at -17 to -19C this monring. *With the exception of Lodgepole from Pocaterra Hut to Sinclair – hills in poor shape and the swampy area has had open water at base of tracks on warmer days – avoid in warmer weather until much more snow.

      December 24 grooming is superb- Thank you. And thanks to Bob and others who have cleared some of the fallen trees

  77. Spray River: fairly soft tracks which collapsed a bit while skiing, and though it was packed, poles would often sink in a few inches. The West groomed trail was pocked with hikers foot prints which disappeared after the bridge at which point the trail was relatively untouched. Heading back on the east side, from the bridge snowshoers and hikers stayed out of the tracks until around half way back, where one particular hiker used the tracks to probably help prevent sinking in too much, but the tracks were still very usable. The descent to the golf course was pocked, uneven, and a challenge to get down… But overall it was beautiful.

  78. KICKING HORSE RIVER TRAIL – Dec 26

    I’d rather be skiing on Boxing Day!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjRdSwtnZvYya_oRh?e=JZFlB9
    Nice to finally meet Cheeky & Simone

  79. 26 on the 26th@Confederation
    The conditions were very reasonable today for 26 Norseman Club skiers this morning. Trails well worn and a bit slippery where the walkers had packed down the snow while viewing Christmas Lights and the wind from the northwest was chilly…..but all in all a beautiful sunny crisp day. Beats boxing day shopping plus it was a chance to wear off. Christmas excesses without a drive outside the city.

  80. West Bragg Creek south
    East Crystal – Iron Springs – The Dead End – Elbow Trail – Crystal

    Thank you Alf for the pictures from your trip! Really helped with expectations.

    Great conditions at WBC this morning: Clean old snow, no fallen trees, good tracks.

    -18C at 9am, -14C in an hour and a half, calm and sunny.
    Rode Green (-4..-10) worked well. It seemed as if tracksetting had been renewed almost everywhere on my route. Massive thanks to Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association!

    • Similar route starting from Allen Bill parking lot to avoid the potential WBC lot madness, where is was surprisingly quiet and also enjoyed all of the above, another really nice ski day

  81. PLPP was nice and quiet yesterday. Lots of snowbombs coming down off the trees. The northwest trails (Meadow, Sinclair, Lodgepole, Braille) were all in fantastic shape with fresh grooming/trackset. One notable tree down on the Meadow descent to Lodgepole – keep you head up, there’s now a jump over it if you’re feeling lucky. Across the road, Amos/Wheeler/Wooley/Meadow have a decent track. A few trees down on Wooley. Boulton Creek and Moraine were a bit of a nightmare with downed trees – wouldn’t recommend them right now.

  82. Sunrise Ski – West Bragg Creek. Arrived just as the sun was peeking over the foothills. There were a handful of cars already at the parking lot. It was a very cold – 17 deg C to start. The tracks were holding up well, despite heavy use. Skied Moose Loop clockwise from Mountain Road, and even saw – wait for it – a real-life moose on the tracks! She was about 40-50 ft away and facing me head-on. She looked at me and I looked at her, and then she scampered back into the forest. No photo – she was too quick. What a magical moment though. For all of you in the Skier Bob Universe, I hope you have a great Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or whatever else you happen to celebrate – may we all have many safe and happy days of skiing this winter.

  83. Fantastic conditions at Sandy McNabb. First time I’ve seen a Pine marten, let alone have it grunt at me. Also haven’t seen fresh wolf tracks on a ski trail till today. Merry Christmas to all the folks in the Skier Bob Universe!

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/h5ZAgbeL9EZBufD29

  84. Merry Christmas SkierBob & fellow XC Ski Enthusiasts!
    Kai & I celebrated the day with a ski on Baker Creek trails in behind the chalets. We found the trail was groomed only & we were disappointed to find no tracksetting yet. The trail had been well used & there was lots of evidence of foot traffic on the trail, no doubt, from the many folks who are guesting at the chalets this Christmas season. Nevertheless, the trail was firmly packed & we maneuvered in our own tracks on the trail. There were less divots & post-holing from walkers on the trail as you head further west from the chalets towards Morant’s Curve. A glorious Christmas day in our beautiful Rocky Mountain backyard!

  85. South West Bragg Creek
    The live grooming report showed that the south end of the Elbow trail had been groomed from Fullerton Trailhead, so starting from the Highway #66 side was a good option for a Christmas Day ski. The first kilometre of the Elbow trail is multi-user access to a number of different trails, so although it gets groomed, it sees a lot of hiking, snowshoeing and fat bike traffic. That’s just the way it is. Beyond the Fullerton-Snagmore-Sugar Mama junctions, Elbow is double track set and typically pretty quiet. We chose to go up Iron Springs trail first to take advantage of as much sunshine as possible. Conditions were great, although only one side of the trail was recently track set. The return half of our loop was mostly in the shade but the tracks were in great shape. We probably didn’t burn enough calories to make up for Christmas dinner, but it was sure a great day to be out! https://photos.app.goo.gl/hBp4QaR1tVp6Xj1d7

  86. Has anyone skate skied the Great Divide trail? We are heading up tomorrow and debating classic or skate (I have two friends who really want to skate so if it’s half decent skate we will do that). Thanks in advance.

  87. If you’re considering skiing Ribbon Creek counter-clockwise, here’s a video I made yesterday which shows the steep downhill. Descending Ribbon Creek

  88. Lower Telemark is tracked! The ski west was so lovely that I came back the same way…lots of snow…-15C. TCH in the Park is not so fun driving just now…the 1A from Banff-LL is less stressful, has now been plowed and right now is a particularly amazing drive.

  89. This might be blasphemous but there is almost too much snow on the Bill Milne Trail. I’ve never seen so much at this time of the year. Will be primo after its groomed and packed down a few more times. Skating was tough in a few spots, and my dogs were breaking through the crust on the skijor line a bit. Beautiful day, and it certainly tired my sled dogs out.

  90. Great ski had at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Out Banff loop, down to Silvertip (good classic track), up Meadow and returned on Banff trail. Bruin was groomed and trackset, as was Rundle. Choose not to return via Olympic which looked great. Lots of smiles and Happy Holiday greetings!

  91. We’d dec 25: Louise (fairview/mlr/upper tramline).
    Quick ski with cheeky and Simona heading direct to the sun of the fairview meadows given the cold morning. Couch is in fine shape now. Seats 4. No reservations required. Gets sun from about 1030-1. Despite the cold, track bases still a bit soft and grabby/crusty at the same time. Better on mlr. Best on tramline. Removed a tree down on the lower east end of Fairview (still needs some chainsaw action), and some scattered debris to watch out for, but it’s not at the base of anything too steep. Busy day back at the parking lot. Dodged down to the campground loops and bow river. Solid tracks with some walker divots.

  92. On the off-chance that the kind soul who found my dog’s Ruffwear bootie on the trails in Bragg Creek and left it on the donation box is a skierbob fan – THANK YOU!!!! We lost that bootie a couple weeks ago and are very thankful to have it back 🙂

    In other news, the trails are in amazing shape!

    Cheers – Elana, Brian and Cooper (the happiest Golden in town!)

    • That was me !! Those booties were good ones and it appeared that they had just been forgotten !! So glad you got them back

      DonnaM

  93. Found: Leatherman multi-tool in black nylon pouch on Kananaskis Village Kovach trail near the Aspen junction. Tried to leave at the Barrier Lake Ranger Station, but (duh) it was closed today. Reply if you lost this, and I’ll figure out how to get it to you.

    Skiied most of the Village trails today. All in good shape, some debris and snow bombs. Moved some fallen trees off the trail, just one left on Kovach (near Aspen) that needs a saw, but broke off enough branches that it’s easy to duck under.

  94. Lovely ski at North Glenmore Park – BUT lost my gloves off the roof of the car when we left (Lifesport XL).

  95. Dec. 24: Bill Milne Trail to Wedge Pond – absolutely stunning and great tracks!

    Dec. 25: Canmore Nordic Centre – It appears that after the snowstorm grooming only occured on the night loop, Olympic,- lower biathlon- and on the Rundle Trail. Christmas Day is a free skiing day at CNC, so we expected no grooming. However, there was not much grooming done previously! Banff Trail was very bumpy, with dips and hollows, no classic track. We skied down the roller coaster from the night loop as it was packed; but on the steep uphill grooming stopped with tons of gravel showing. No warning sign at the start of the trail! Bow Trail was not groomed at all. It made for very bumpy skate skiing, classic would not have been much better on these trails! Wondering whats going on!

  96. North Sandy Mcnab ski trails trashed yet again by “equestrians”

    • Yes, was there today, the tracks have been obliterated by hooves on Pine Ridge Loop, east side, rider went right up to the top of Pine Ridge Loop. West side was fine. Hikers had also walked right in the tracks in places on north and south side. Seems like people do what ever they want at Sandy McNabb. It was really beautiful out there today though.

    • Any chance it was wild horses? I have seen them in that area.

  97. Bob if you were staying in Canmore and an intermediate skier where would you go today? Thanks!

    • Sheila, you have some good choices close by with recent grooming: CNC, Cascade Valley, Kananaskis Village/Bill Milne/Wedge. If you’re looking for challenge and excitement, try the new Ribbon Creek.

  98. Whiskey Jack – Pocaterra – Packers. Had a lovely ski yesterday and never saw a soul. Whiskey jack was wonderfully easy to get up with silky snow that you could dig into. we used blue wax. Pocaterra was track set but what I call frothy with lots of extra snow which made it challenging going down hills but fun. Same with Packers. As we approached the park it looked blustery and we wondering if there was a winter storm brewing but once we got into the park it was calm, sunny and perfect ski temperature. Have never seen the trees so laden with snow! Magical

  99. Pipestone – Anyone know of conditions and if trackset?

    • Sheila, Pipestone trails won’t be accessible until mid-January due to construction. I received an officiial explanation from Parks Canada “Mid-January. Construction activity for the new LL Water Reservoir. Area will remain closed till then.”

  100. BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

    CASCADE RIVER VALLEY TO WARDEN CABIN

    The trail up the Cascade River Valley is groomed to the Cascade Bridge and excellent skiing. Moderate speed snow. From the Cascade Bridge the CR 6 Campground loop is only snowmobile packed.

    From the northly CR6 Campground turnoff to about 2 kilometers up valley the trail is skier packed and a little crusty but not bad. Beyond 2 km the trail becomes softer and with a better skier track to the Stoney Creek Warden Cabin.

    Temperature -13C at the warden cabin at twilight and partly cloudy. Snow pack is over 60 cm with a fairly dense layer about 10 cm from the top of the snow pack. This makes for pretty good off trial travel with less than normal ski penetration.

  101. First time skiing at Priddis golf course today and I was pleasantly surprised. Conditions were very good with fresh tracksetting.

  102. PLPP Middle Trails – Snow/tracks are pretty darn good on the Wheeler/Amos loop. I was able to clear the tree at the base of the “Wheeler Hill” using a little persuasion, so at least as of this afternoon Wheeler is clear. However, there is a tree across Amos (just north of the Wooley Jct) that resisted my efforts. Perhaps a bucksaw will soon persuade it to stop blocking the trail!

    Don’t know where everyone was today, ’cause they sure weren’t out on the PLPP trails.

  103. I skied a couple of loops at WBC today. The snow conditions are really good. The interesting loop was one that I first saw written up in the original Kananaskis hiking (and then skiing as well) Guide by Gillean Daffern. I skied the groomed trails from the parking lot to the south west end of Telephone. I skied up Telephone for about 1 km. That route has not yet be re-groomed since the storm. From there I took the reconnect bike/snowshoe trail up to the top of the ridge and then the Demi Tel trail back down to the southwest corner of Hostel and then down the hill to the parking lot. The route up from Telephone has been “packed” for biking but it is narrow. Coming down that would be very challenging but skiing up is fine. Demi Tel has been groomed for skiing several times this season including yesterday. That run is a lot of fun and once over the ridge onto the eastern side affords a nearly continuous and gentle (intermediate) 2.5 km ride back to the parking lot, by far the longest sustained downhill in the system. I recall reading something in one of the early editions of the the Daffern book about this trail being potentially one of the most popular in the system if it were groomed. Currently it is multi-user uphill from Hostel but does not see a lot of traffic. Today it was a little beat up from walkers but still a lot of fun to ski down. The forest has grown up quite a bit in the 35 years that I have been skiing here but there are still lots of nice views on this trail. Perhaps this trail could transition into an official ski trail (to the junction with Reconnect)

    • We saw you! At the picnic table at the junction of Moose Loop and Mountain View West. I’m was the tan and white Alaskan Husky with my humans Peter & Chris. We were also with Piper, a golden retriever, with her humans Steve & Jo Riggs. Great day for rolling in the snow, eh?!

  104. Ribbon Creek via Terrace (clockwise). Morning workout. It was brisk -12 deg C when I arrived, and the Ribbon Creek parking lot was almost empty. The sun was peeking up over the ranges. Grooming was a mix of crisp corduroy and tracks. I’ll avoid calling it a Winter Wonderland so that I don’t offend the Grinch (oops, I guess I just did that) – but the snow really was spectacularly pretty. There were many arched trees heavily weighted with snow forming bridges over the trails. I expect some may break and collapse onto the tracks so be careful on your descents. I ran into one tree obstruction (not literally!) on a downhill run. Had a nice chat with Bob (it was you, wasn’t it?) just at the end of my ski. He was starting his way up counter-clockwise in the opposite direction. The parking lot was filling up as I was departing. I hope everyone who came out there had a great ski today. It was -7 deg C when I left but it sure felt colder.

    • Shulamit, it was nice to see you. You have the distinction of being the first skier on Ribbon Creek. I saw your tracks going under the downed tree – and you came out unscathed! I’ll be posting a photo later.

  105. Bill Milne Tr.

    9/10. Wonderful crisp single track this morning. Not much traffic so it remains in prime condition. Golf course to Nakiska access: branches are still falling off the heavily loaded trees; pulled one small tree off the trail; there are some insignificant bushes leaning over the track. Snow bombs have just started in the treed sections, but of course, most of this trail is in the open and will be unaffected.

  106. Cascade Fire Road nicely tracked today, until the campground, after which challenging trail breaking was required thru deep, crusty snow, due to no grooming/rolling/packing (nor track setting) yet. One big tree down required a bit of negotiating to go over or around, while two others were easy to get over. Could be more trees down further along but we turned around due to the trail breaking required. Chilly start at 10:10 AM at -15C. Enjoyed encountering Chuck, Rick, then Barb. The drive back to Canmore to the East Banff park gates was much worse than the other way, with thick ice and icy potholes. Clear sailing after the gates. Merry Christmas and happy trails everyone.

  107. Confederation GC — spent a couple of enjoyable hours goin round and round at Confed this morning. The conditions are fairly good — the groomers are doing a great job considering the minimal 10-cm snow cover! It is so nice to be able to ski in town….

    • Does anyone know the hours that the gates to Confederation Golf Course will be open over the next few days? The website says that special hours apply over Christmas.

      • Should be normal 9am to 9pm mon to thurs and 9am to 6pm fri to Sunday. Will depend a bit on volunteer availability to open and close. Which website did you see that on? Nordic Alliance? There is a Facebook page now called Confederation Park Nordic so would be best to post questions there.

        • Thank you so much for your response! I almost missed it. I’m not sure where I saw the note about special hours. I think I just Googled my question and the screen response specified “hours MAY change during holidays”. So I should be careful and be more specific about what I post online. I had this crazy idea to ski on Christmas Eve to see the lights, but in the end decided not to because I was worried the gates might be closed. Thanks again for your information.

  108. We were the first on the wedge connector today at 1pm. Bill Milne looked busy, so we opted for wedge instead. Didn’t see anybody else the rest of the time we were there. Beautifully single trackset until the first big bend by the clearing, and then double trackset the rest of the way. Fresh grooming all to ourselves! There was a downed tree just past the Bill Milne intersection, and a second tree about another 1km past that that was broken and looked like it was about to fall over. The stars of the trail were the beautiful snowladen trees!!! Gorgeous day for a quick ski!

  109. Canmore Nordic Centre – superb -10C to start this morning – Live Grooming on the internet started working some time this morning and there are numerous trails groomed in the past 36 hours, King of Sweden is now a superb downhill run and the connection to Olympic is doable but just snowmobile packed. South section of Rundle is well rolled but the downhill at the South end has numerous snow making piles on it to challenge any crazies. Merry Christmas to all!

  110. CNC early bird today @ 8:15 and 2nd car in main parking lot. Skied to “teardrop” then continued on in back country tracks to Grey Wolf, same back country tracks up to Banff Trail. Measured 48 cms in places and layers of snow/ice/snow. This section of Bow and Grey Wolf could take awhile to pack down. Skied to end and tried Bow Trail back to junction 14 which had been packed down. Snow still had some “ice krispie” sounds to it. Back on packed Meadowview where the snow had a nice consistency. Sounds like groomers have been hard at work but more patience is required before the favorite circuits of Bow/Meadowview become a track-set reality.

  111. Hi Bob and Empire of Bob.
    My friend and I are following up on the Bill Milne/Wedge Connector Trails reports looks appealing . We want to do a modest 10-12km trip Saturday. The trail maps are confusing.

    Where do you park? Any other advice re the trails?
    Mucho gracias and Feliz Navidad a todos

  112. CNC 9:30 -12C VR 40 with remnants of VR 45 and VR 50 underneath. Good gripn glide.
    Skied out Banff trail to Meadow then jumped onto Bruin switching to Silvertip where Flying Squirrel, Bruin and ST converge. Skied out ST to far end. Silvertip itself was in great shape all be it soft in spots and the track has collapsed making for a bit of an adventure. Returned via Banff trail. Skied-in track is intermittent due to the trail being rolled yesterday so the Skaters have spread out to the edge of the trail. Not as busy as yesterday. Main parking lot was 1/2 full when we left.

  113. Ribbon Creek: Kovach – Terrace loop clockwise from the Village

    Beautiful fresh snow over some recent (?) grooming, a few ski tracks and a few snowshoe tracks all around the loop, many trees in distress and some broken. Those of us on waxless skis experienced some sticking, but one on waxable did much better with VR45, surprise! There was quite a bit of new snow, so grooming not apparent.

    Going down the north side of Kovach, the nightmare came true – deadfall just around that big first bend! One could get around it, but another one further down blocked the trail. Happily having a young man with us paid off as he hoisted the downed tree off the trail, and we cleaned up as best we could.

    It was a lovely first ski of the season at Ribbon Creek.

  114. GOAT CREEK via the SPRAY RIVER – Dec 23

    DASHing through the snow…
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjQzWh1ZbKDkC8EyH?e=mwMMBY
    Bob, I think “flat packed” means just getting the air out of the snow. A single pass by skidoo accomplishes that and provides enough support for track skis without all the work required for true grooming.

    • Sorry I missed you today; we also turned around at top of hill just before the Spray Junction. Dasha and Xavier were returning from that same turnaround point and asked if we were skiing with you. Guess you can ask for seconds of turkey, potatoes, dressing and gravy after that marathon workout!! I decided to park on main road to the Springs as there was already one car stuck in that parking lot.

      • Hey Helen,
        Thanks for noticing and thanks for permission to ask for seconds of everything, that would be a welcome reward!
        It did feel eerily quiet up there, as the Smith Dorien was closed for avalanche control. The only sound I heard was the song of a White-winged Crossbill, and when I saw it, the red plumage seemed so appropriate for the season.
        By the way, the Springs parking lot was plowed by the time I got back.
        Merry Christmas

  115. I’ve so had it with winter wonderlands!

    Doesn’t the skiing suck anywhere?

  116. West Bragg Creek. I waited until the fog lifted before setting out and had a lovely afternoon ski. Temperatures just below zero with my brand new wax-less skis. Moose Loop – Moose Connector and Crystal Line. You could tell that WBC had been busy today because the tracks were getting chopped up, but overall conditions were really good. I loved the snow covered trees with the late-afternoon sun peeping through. WBC was a good option today and so nice to have a place to go with relatively short driving time. Thank you to the groomers that worked so hard to make this such a great place to ski.

  117. PLPP mid section – Started at WWLodge, -4C and falling snow covering the grooming and track set. The snow was sticky and those with waxed skis had trouble with icing up and clumping which made for slow going. I used my fishscale skis and they only attracted a little bit of ice that needed scraping three or four times over the day. There was no one ahead of us for the longest time, and we got tired breaking trail in the fresh snow. The snow lightened up as the day went on. We skied Wheeler, then back on Amos (fallen tree just west of the jct. with Wooley, easy to get over) back to the lodge for lunch. After lunch we skied the Amos – Wooley- Meadow loop. One of the prettiest days ever, with snow-laden trees. Beware the snow bombs on tracks, and falling as you pass under these over-burdened trees! We finished at -1C.

  118. I agree with Erin that the Spray parking lot was messy! We turned around before we even got there because a panicky car was trying to get out of the lot and we had 3 cars pressing behind us. Headed for the Cascade instead where the road was freshly plowed and the trail freshly packed. By the time we finished our lovely ski, Don was coming up the trail again to set the track so it will be wonderful for everyone tomorrow! Used the R-Skins, but I think my taxables with a blue would have been great too!

  119. Sandy McNabb – Fairyland!

    Just groomed, some soft spots, some thin spots but that’s because we’re skiing thru a forest with much single track feel. A little wind caused fresh snow to drift off the firs… truly beautiful!

    Did long prairie loop and a smidge of macabee.

  120. West Bragg Creek – a slice of HEAVEN!

    A cool start of -7.5 @ 10:30 this foggy morn, but WOW what perfect conditions all around. We had an absolute blast on all the ups and downs along the crystal line/Loggers/Sundog/Elbow and all the other smaller off shoots from these trails. It was one of those effortless days – suitably fast down, easy grip up and great glide on the flatter areas. We are so blessed to have such a great facility so close to home. Remember to donate – the trail crew deserves your dollars and will probably accept cookies as well!

  121. Mon dec 23: Louise (tramline/mlr/Fairview/tramline/bow river loop)
    Soft and silky tracks. New trackset on tramline with about 2″ fresh on top. Freshies on Fairview for a bit. There is now a 3/4 finished couch on Fairview (ran out of snow! ;-). Not quite “snow banksy” quality today. Ran out of sun. Pops behind temple about 1 pm this time of year. Wonderful cruise down tramline. Fresh trackset on bow river and campground loops.

  122. CNC. New snow paradise! Fresh snow on top of the previous storm made for soft but skiable conditions.
    Skintecs worked well. Ran into one experienced skier wishing he had used them while his wife was pulling away on hers. Man made snow tracks were fast. Fresh snow on top of skating lanes made it harder to skate.
    A lot of the natural snow trails were rolled/groomed last night but no tracking and it was an ongoing thing this AM. A Pisten Bully was grooming some unusual choices IE Bruin, Wolverine, Silvertip and we ran into a single snow machine rolling Meadowview out past the Mine scar. Excellent skating conditions on natural snow trails.
    The CNC grooming report is not up to date.

    • I agree with your description of CNC’s grooming “unusual priorities”. Hope they give Meadowview and Bow as much attention as they did to those minor ones… soon.

  123. Dec 22 Spray River West —> return on Spray River East. Started out around 1:30pm. Parking lot was messy with cars getting stuck. Roller packed on West trail with skier set tracks. Beautiful conditions but a thin layer of crust in between the powder. Headed further south at the River following the roller pack for another 600m… seemed to continue further south still. Came back and crossed the river and took Spray River East back. Lightly roller packed but then a snowmobile came through so it was mostly just packed by it. Some light skier set trail. Conditions were lovely, albeit a bit slippery with blue on our skis.
    Winter wonderland!!

  124. Does anyone know if the trails from Castle Junction area have been trackset? Sorry if this has already been discussed.

    Thanks
    Rhonda W

    • I just drove down the west leg of 1A from Louise to castle junction. Didn’t look like it got plowed today and all the parking lots and pull outs along that leg are unplowed. I wouldnt pull into any of them without high clearance 4×4 or a rugby team. No first hand viewing of the trail, yet.

  125. Has anyone been to Mount Shark recently & if so, how are conditions?

    • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

      Expect Shark to be buried in new snow. Conditions were excellent to and beyond Watridge Lake before the storm. I would expect it to only be skier tracked currently. If Parks tracksets the trail before Christmas, I will be impressed.

  126. You gotta follow the nose back there, especially once in the meadows, and getting back on to the actual tom snow trail. I’ll keep exploring, Setting track in that direction on occasion, learning more and going further each time, but I won’t flag it. Feel free to push the trail out. All tracks are good, some are just better than others.

  127. West Bragg 0c at 6pm.
    Moose Loop via crystal line and Mountain road.
    Piles of new snow. The roads were very slick.
    Both fish scale and kick wax bases were icing up tonight. High heels were developing.
    Our daughters easy skins remained ice free however.

    Pretty quiet in the parking lot. Not even any fat bikers.

    One Ford Flex in the ditch on the way out. 4WD vehicles don’t stop 4x faster FYI. Let’s keep it rubber side down this holiday season!

  128. West Bragg Creek
    The 12 cm over night snowfall and cooler temperatures made a huge difference at West Bragg Creek. What a great Christmas present! We enjoyed the silky skiing on the freshly track-set Hostel Loop and then toured a few non-ski trails to get to Moose Loop. West Snowshoe Hare had been roller packed and well packed by snowshoers. DemiTel was also roller packed, but had seen less user volume. Reconnect just had a couple of fat-bike tracks over the previously packed tread, so it was just like backcountry touring. West Telephone only had a couple of ski tracks on it, plus some more fat-bike tracks south of Braggin Rights. Then, it was back on the groomed trails for Moose Loop-Moose Connector and West Crystal.
    The snow depth at West Bragg Creek is now at about the mid-winter peak level… and it’s only just the first day of winter! What a contrast from last year!
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/TSPcqamY1TAzcTuNA

  129. Lake Louise: We started at the train station up Tramline in -11C. Trail was packed, but not trackset. Met the tracksetter on Moraine Lake Road just finishing packing and going back to set tracks. Continued on Fairview through a winter wonderland, heavy snow covered trees, no snow bombs and sunshine! No grooming yet to the upper parking lot, so we walked through the parking lot and along the tourist path to reach the lakeshore trail no. 4. A fun ski through the snowy forest to the end of the lake with view of the frozen waterfall and ice covered cliffs. On the return we cruised down the Tramline Trail. Now, Moraine Lake Road had double set tracks, but Tramline still was just packed. A very enjoyable ski outing!

  130. Attempted to follow Squeaky Boots/MaSid/Alf trail from the Moose picnic table @ WBC after a false start and about to give up I spotted a couple coming from a lower trail as they seemed to back track towards my trail, confusing! I followed their nice trail for a couple of kms on easy terrain till I could see a climb ahead and with daylight fading turned around. Next time the folks in the know track this route a couple of colorful tape markers would be most welcome. Conditions @ WBC are very good again after the recent snowfall, Happy Xmas WBC groomers.

    • Re Tom Snow: That was us, looping slowly around from lower to upper trail so we could finish our tea at the nice spot at the end of first meadow. Snow-chewers chewed up the ski track before this new snow fell, so it was lumpier underneath than hoped for, but it’s nice now – until they walk over it again. Someone wisely pointed out to me that snowshoers are followers, not leaders – and pretty poor followers at that, what for walking in backcountry ski tracks n’all. Only went halfway up that hill, as returning down it would have been spooky with heavy snow.

  131. WBC- Elbow-Iron-Loggers etc. Superb skiing in silky smooth new grooming, although a bit slow feeling at times with all the soft snow. It seems like “Winter Wonderland” might be getting a bit overused already this ski season, but what can I say….
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/WestBraggCreek-December22/

  132. CASTLE MOUNTAIN WEST – Dec 22

    Only groomed, but will be trackset soon according to Colin.
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjHkkgtXcpx_HX9wj?e=8tX04t
    Sure felt like I was doing the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet… on my own!

  133. CASTLE MOUNTAIN EAST – Dec 22

    As reported, this was trackset yesterday evening (after the snowfall).
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjHCk_glsrkT423nG?e=ZwoCb4
    It’s only a short trip behind the Hostel

  134. West Bragg Ck.

    We arrived about 9:30 to -3 temperatures and lots of new snow. The pile in the parking lot was about 2 m tall. We headed out Moose Loop, going counter clockwise and just after the cattle gate , the track setter came by, just having set the second track. The snow was soft but the track was still pretty good. We did Moose Loop and Crystal Line, our V 40 was perfect. It was a very good day and with some time for the snow to settle and for the groomers to continue their great work, WBC should be in terrific shape for Christmas.

    • Despite the huge sign at the entrance to the West Bragg Creek parking lot saying that dogs had to be on a leash, we saw five dogs without leashes and only two with. Maybe the sign isn’t big enough!

      • Deidre, Depends on where you saw the dogs off leash. Yes, at the parking
        lot they have to be on leash. However, once on the actual trails they are
        allowed to be off leash.

  135. CNC 10:00. Hoping for a great ski after this epic snowfall. The usual trails were groomed and track set. Bow loop Banff Tr. out to end of minescar and Olympic. Tracks were hard and a bit icy. Skintecs ruled today. Lots of skier out being the weekend and holidays.
    Out past mine-scar skier tracked only. Actually decent skiing.
    Hugely disappointed with the lack of grooming.

    • Heads up! Dangerous track setting on the return track at the bridge by junction 4 (where BANFF trail and Bow Loop join) approx 1KM from stadium. As you are coming from the stadium it’s the first bridge past the snow farm.
      As you head back towards the stadium and approach the bridge, the track heads towards the abutment of the bridge then jogs hard left to get onto the bridge itself.
      there is a large drop off there and inexperienced skiers may come to grief.
      I reported this to the office this AM around 11:00. Hopefully the trial crew can sort this out.

  136. Elk Pass trail and fallen trees

    After a long drive to the Elk Pass trail head, with rain all the way south to about the Boulton Creek area, the plan was to ski up Blueberry Hill (dreams are free!). Only half of the parking lot had been plowed, with 4 cars by 11:15 am. As others described, this was a heck of a snow dump. With VR50, I had some decent grip for most of the first steep hill to the power line and remainder of the day. Thanks to the few that broke trail earlier, in spitebthe trail was still soft. Outside the packed trail, there was 45-60 cm of wet/semi concrete/heavy snow. Drizzled snow prevailed all afternoon. Passed the junction with Hydroline, there was only one skier who dared to venture in the soupy and heavy snow. Had a nice meeting with Markus who was returning from breaking trail until the Patterson junction. Passed that, I broke trail, sinking about 35 cm on top of a previous packed trail. The Hill was out of question, given of my lightening speed of 2-3 km/hr in that wet stuff. Decided to ski up toward Elk Pass, “only” reaching the top of steep hill, calling it the turn around point. Returning was a bit faster. Skied 11 Km in 4 hours, but heck of a workout. Lots of snow bombing at times. Backcountry conditions at its best, prime for fat boards with large baskets on the poles, and not for skinny blades.

    Upon return, several large trees had crashed on the trail, likely with all that heavy snow. They will have to be cleared. See photos of 2 of those; one at the Elk Pass – Fox Creek Junction and one about 200 meters south of the junction with Hydroline. Also one about 100 from the trail head was not photographed. Big enough to knock out anyone being there at the wrong time. So, be careful over the next few days, apart also for the very high avalanche hazard (tomorrow).

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/hZNBjrtTCVhr7FcB6

  137. I did a 3km loop around the Village and it was a workout! Thankful for those who went ahead of me and set some tracks to follow. Expect tough trail breaking if nobody has ventured out on your trail. Nothing is groomed and the whole village was digging itself out today. Highly recommend a truck just to get in and out of the parking lots.

    And maybe somebody can explain this to me but there are new maps everywhere around the village and they are super confusing.
    According to the maps, it would appear that all of the trails around the village are now multi-use trails with snowshoes and even fat bikes allowed on some of them. The only ski-specific trails were lower down by Ribbon Creek. Maybe I read it wrong but everything had red and blue dashes (for both skis and snowshoes.) If I go back I’ll take a photo! It’s not what is posted online.

    And if you are thinking of heading to PLPP today, consider waiting till trails have been freshly track set today (not yesterday.) We tried to go there today and every “groomed” trail was under at least 20cm of snow. And it was heavy as concrete according to the people we talked to. Also the visitor centre was closed as was the Pocaterra Hut. We left and headed back to the village.

    • Tanya if you were to look closer at those maps it shows only Terrace and Terrace link as shared trails. The red lines are actually separate trails that run parallel to the ski trails. Trails like Kovach , aspen, Terrace hill to Ribbon Parking are skier only. Those maps are intended to guide people who are already using them. Skiers can use the existing maps. This will remove hiking and snowshoe traffic on over half of the Village trails which is an improvement from past years.

      • Sweet. Thanks for clarifying! I was truly confused at what looked like dotted lines or dashes. Didn’t realize there were parallel trails for each sport. I’m happy to see more trails allowing fat bikes and I agree 100% with Terrace being multi-use. No way to prevent it with the hotel there.
        Thanks again.
        Are there maps anywhere showing all the new trails?

        • Tanya we have an extensive network now that covers both north and south of Ribbon parking lot. The winter non skiing trails are considered pop up trails and can only exist once there is snow. This storm has taken us to full winter conditions now. The map signs you saw were put up in a hurry on Friday. Once we catch up you will notice lots of new signage that will help to separate users and make the trail system safely multi use.

  138. SPRAY RIVER WEST – Dec 21

    With the Minnewanka road closed to allow more snow plows on the highway, the Spray River Loop was a busy place today.
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjGnS6axJEHCzLDVL?e=LsAKu5
    Happy Winter Solstice Everyone!

  139. With all this snow I headed to where I thought there would be some fresh grooming. The Canmore Nordic centre was blessed with a huge dump of wet snow yesterday which has provided an excellent base. Hopefully they can open more trails soon. The temperature was around 0 C all afternoon but the skin skis gripped perfectly on some very fast tracks. Higher up on the mountain the rain came down as snow and the tracks were filling up fast. Cold temperatures tonight should set up the tracks and make for a great day tomorrow.

  140. West Bragg

    At 1030am it was +3c. Snow was melting in the boughs and audibly dripping onto the new, wet, heavy snow.

    Ended up double poling on my Red/Silver swix, negligible kick, good glide. Snow was sticking to the fish scales of my companions.

    Should make for a good base in the days ahead. Looking forward to lower temperatures.

  141. West Bragg Creek, Dec 21. 11:00am to 12:00pm, temp +3.0C

    Skied the south leg of West Crystal to Mountain View and then back on Mountain Road with waxless classic skis. The snowfall last night is melting from the overhanging trees onto the trails and creating a lot of slush in the tracks with the warm temps. Had a bit of snow stick to my skis at these temps. With the warm temps and slush today combined with the sub zero temps coming this week the trails will probably be in poor condition as it will turn to glazed ice. Big thanks to the volunteer grooming team who were out very early Saturday morning to get the trails in shape for today with the snowfall we had last night. Hoping they’ll be able to salvage things once it freezes up again.

  142. Well it was the most powder I had ever seen at K Village Trails about 30 cm. It reminded me of my back country days. We slogged it up to the top of Kovach with Frank out in front with his touring skis then floated down on the powder with the option of braking to the side of the trail. It was a thigh burner for sure!

  143. Skied downhill at Louise this fine Friday: wicked! We Xc skied Louise yesterday (tramline from The Station to MLR, clockwise around Fairview, which is excellent, back down Tramline, then through the campground and beyond), and that was before the storm! Roads are not good. Got home to Canmore in time to help shovel 15-20 cm. Still snowing! Xc trails in the mountains will
    be buried. Need gaiters. Consider avalanche paths such as off Rundle to get up the Spray from Canmore. They will have to do some control work. Merry Christmas!

  144. Powder skiing at PLPP! When we arrived at Elk pass parking today there was close to 15cm of fresh snow. Good thing I had brought my tele skis as I got some nice turns on the steep hills. At Blueberry hill junction there was closer to 20cm of new snow. It was snowing during most of our ski but got heavier on our way back. Drove the Smith-Dorrien to Canmore where there was loads of fresh snow but no plowing until closer to the Canmore end. Highway 1 was in poor condition most of the way back to Calgary.

  145. Confederation Golf Course – I went for a quick skate ski this afternoon at Confed. Considering the warm weather we’ve had, it was in pretty decent shape. The driving range was in excellent shape! I ventured onto the yellow, green, and purple loops. The yellow loop has many thin spots along the fence. The green and purple loops (south side of the creek) were really quite nice except on the more sun- exposed hillsides. The skate track was better, but even the classic track, although somewhat glazed, was in good shape in most places. There are areas with some grass poking through, and there are needles and leaves in spots. It started to rain at 4:15 when I was leaving. Let’s hope the rain doesn’t create an icy mess!

  146. Late afternoon ski @ WBC – Mountain road, View West , Moose loop, light rain to start quickly changed to heavy wet snow, last weeks warm weather has taken its toll on the banks of the exposed sections of Mountain View West however the trail is still intact. I decided to skate ski to avoid the frustration of failing to pick the right wax for classic with temps around zero and had a really nice albeit damp ski

  147. Lake Louise station – Tramline – MLR – Fairview – Fairmont heat – Peyto – Great Divide – adventure route – Tramline. 10am start. Winter wonderland.
    Groomers out on MLR and GD and knocking back Fairmont trails.
    So much fun. We worked uptrack and then worked downtrack. Great workout – so much beautiful snow. Met Calgary party twice who were also having fun. Good times. LL is the place to be this winter 🙂

  148. Banff West Spray today 10:30 am to first east/west junction. Measured 25 cms on my shoehorn. 3 of us broke trail starting in -1 and ending in +1. Waxless: order of the day. Thought we would run into Chuck for sure checking out Goat Creek, but maybe that is his tomorrow project. Met 5-6 skiers happy to find trail somewhat skier set, but snow accumulating as fast as we could skier set it. Spent longer shovelling our driveway in Three Sisters upon return home.

    • Helen, thanks for the snowfall update. I’m really looking forward to the Banff Trail Report no longer containing the phrase “Insufficient snow for tracksetting.” 🙂 🙂

  149. PLPP -well, here’s the report everyone’s been waiting for. POW! Not much more to say other than arrived to Visitors Centre at 8am to 4” Skied southward to incl. Amos-Lynx-Pocaterra-Packers (down)-Whiskey(up)-Lookout- and returned via Hydro-Elk-Fox-Moraine-Woolley-Braille …didn’t see my tips ALL day! Nobody out there save for a foursome on Elk. What a Merry Christmas present all this snow. Only hazards were the usual series of moguls on Packers. Have fun!
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/B1h2PsuvTacPKZhB8

    • Jeremy, I loved your captions on this SOLO ski. Am guessing it added up to a full Marathon Cookie Race (without the cookies) and your captions on photos priceless. I got dizzy looking at my map of your track. No 10 kms outings for you!!!

  150. Lake Minnewanka Road Closed at Banff Airport – skied Cascade Fire Road (in before the closure) this morning at -3C with snow accumulating rapidly – about 30 cm new when we departed at 12:30PM. The track setter had rolled to the bridge earlier this morning and had set new track out and back to the bridge by the time of our return trip. Gorgeous soft powder! This snowfall will create a dream winter wonderland! Minnewanka access is closed by Parks Canada to allow plows to focus on highway 1 for the duration of the snowfall event!

  151. WBC this morning, winds calm, -1 to start at 10, finished in + 3 at noon. West Crystal-Mountain Road-Mountain View-Loggers-Elbow-Iron Springs-Dead End-East Crystal. Very enjoyable fast (for me!) skiing -the snow conditions and excellent firm base have held up well. Worn tracks in spots, with some minor debris and glazing. A bit of wind affect in more exposed areas. Hills are fast and getting somewhat shaved, but all are easily manageable on classic track skis. Started out on VR50 for grip, which worked OK, partway along I added a layer of Start Purple, which worked very well. As I left- the looming wall of grey to the west had advanced, obscuring Moose Mountain. I would still rate conditions as good-very good, but a few cm’s of new snow wouldn’t hurt…..

    • your wish is my command 🙂
      snow started an hour ago, we’ll see what we get overnight
      Grooming in the morning.

      Groomer Bill

  152. CNC this AM 9- 11:30 Skied Bow Trial up Grey Wolf along Banff trail return through Meadow and Banff tr.
    Up to 20CM of fresh soft snow. More accumulation further out.
    Snowed the whole time we were out. VR 50 covered with VR 45 with a bit of icing.
    Quite the treat skiing at the Nordic centre with hard wax and soft conditions. Still snowing as of 12:45

  153. Skiied at CNC yesterday evening. Only the man made snow trails are trackset, others are groomed but not trackset with hazards in the meadow like churned up gravel. Very crusty snow everywhere. Needs some fresh snow!

  154. Alluvial Fan for first time this season after first skiing Yoho Valley Road, which Ray Yong rated so highly last night. No one on YVR except three of us, did not capture any trains going through the Upper Spiral Tunnel either. We saw the hole in the ice but gingerly walked our skis across the initial ice portion onto the more secure feeling trail which connected us to the Horse Trail. That was a blast so we decided to do it both ways. The Tree Hugger Trail appeared to have been mostly walked on. Got to personally deliver cookies to tracksetters via some Field locals we met on the Fan, who willingly delivered them to Joe’s shed. As Chuck reported, the sun started to come out towards the end of our pristinely beautiful ski. I saw some VERY reasonable rates for Emerald Lake Lodge Sunday to Thursday in January on their website for $109 + taxes. Nice Christmas present always. Glad we did not fall through the ice, and we were all glad we’d brought our waxless skis. -5 warmed to -3.

  155. ACC SHADOW LAKE LODGE – Dec 19

    Not seeing Nancy’s report yet, thought I’d better post one!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjF0-tVW2DUvpVoZ6?e=zvPHb4
    Now doesn’t that warm a heart.

  156. Priddis Greens Golf Course.
    Beautiful sunny day with lots of snow. Track was a bit icy but gorgeous scenery. A couple of steep downhills with sharp curves at the bottom defeated these senior ladies and we walked down but otherwise had w wonderful day. People at the Pro Shop were very friendly and helpful and a couple of the locals stopped to chat. Definitely a return trip is in the works.

  157. West Bragg Creek

    Great conditions this morning. I skied Mtn Road – Mtn View – Loggers – Sundog – East Crystal. Snow was surprisingly dry with fast tracks, the downhills were very controllable ,temps a few degrees above zero but V45 worked perfectly. All was track set, although drifting in in places. Nice to see so much snow out there this season.

  158. Emerald Lake update from Kicking Horse Ski Club:

    There is a large open hole on the ice at Emerald–very close to the main bridge and x-c ski trail!!! Do not approach ! It is not unusual for holes to form anywhere on Emerald–due to warm springs. Could be slush around it as well. We’re lucky to have this mild weather but…..these things happen with it. ALWAYS USE CAUTION ON THE ICE!

  159. Yoho Valley Road – 18Dec – Awesome!

    Got a late start (1330) on the Yoho Valley Road. It was a spectacular afternoon – about -5 deg with 4 to 6 cm of fresh snow, overcast with breaks, and virtually no wind. Only two people had been on the trail before us, and they were kind enough to break both the tracks. Yay! It looks like two walkers had been on the trail a few days ago, and one decided it would be a great idea to walk on the eastern-most track, but happily they turned around at the second bridge (about 1.5km in), so it’s not too bad.

    The Kicking Horse Ski Club has done a great job tracksetting (Thanks!), and even with the fresh snow, the tracks are still strong. We got as far as the switchback (about 5.5 km in on the tracks, and then another 800m or so to the first switch, for those who aren’t familiar with it). We couldn’t have asked for a nicer trail or a nicer day. If you can, I’d highly recommend checking it out.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/C4fZLwTpdHBjFfRV9

  160. Nice to see all your photos with snowy trees and winter scenery. Wish I had blasted by you at Cascade Fireroad on Dec. 17th. Skied at CNC after work in a Chinook wind! Natural snow trails are packed and fast for skate skiing, no fluffy snow!

  161. FAIRVIEW, MLR & TRAMLINE – Dec 18

    Lovely velvety snow up here in Lake Louise, and no wind!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjEszv0QbNAZ5kd29?e=B2Vv3B
    Great to chat with Peter and his group… he has a keen eye.

  162. Skied West Bragg Creek yesterday morning, beautiful temperature and snow conditions were good. Skied East Crystal – Iron Spring – Elbow Loggers – West Crystal – Moose Connector then Mountain Road back to the parking lot. Iron spring was groomed and track set the same morning , not many people were on it before us, and hardly another person on that trail. Just beautiful.

  163. STONEY CREEK HORSE CAMP via CASCADE VALLEY – Dec 17

    Camping seems to be popular this year. Skiers do better than Snowshoers!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjD71Qj15HnagxMhm?e=BcqHzM
    Ulrike blew past before I could chat with one more… Sorry.

  164. Moose were certainly meandering all around Tyrwhitt today and even had a rest stop identified at picnic table. Our climb up Whiskey Jack went faster than anticipated but soon thereafter “lost” one of our Meanderthals who took a quick ski up to Lookout Summit before realizing this was not part of our Skier Bob Special. She is superfit and caught up with us shortly after lunch. Looked like those woodpeckers were having a great time on Fox and less so on Moraine but not without yours truly doing almost a faceplant at one particularly bad section before the initial bridge on Fox. It feels like snow is on the way and lots falling in Yoho.

  165. Mt Shark
    Not very busy on a Tuesday. Skied to Watridge Lake and back. Windy day. Tracks slightly filled in with blown snow. All other trails perfect corduroy for skating. Will need more snow before more tracksetting can be done.

  166. Today the Shell Oiltimers wanted to escape the warm temperatures and high winds so we ventured up to Elk Pass. The trailhead was about -5 at 10 am and it warmed up to around -2 in the afternoon. The snow was probably a bit colder so grip was no problem. Skied Fox Creek, Blueberry, Elk Pass, Hydroline, Paterson and back along Fox Creek. The grooming on Elk Pass and Blueberry was superb, even Fox Creek was good with the exception of a couple of spots where woodpeckers had littered the trail with bark chips. Unfortunately the wind kicked up in the afternoon and was beginning to litter the tracks quite badly. Hopefully we don’t have another “Needlemania”.

  167. Cascade Fire Road was in nice shape today, with the trees still beautifully snow-laden once past the beginning. Some debris on the trail initially. We only went to the small rise just past the campground, but the trail looks good if you were to carry on to the cabin. Track was fun and fast coming down. Used Special/extra blue wax. Don’t speed on L. Minnewanka Road—Parks Canada warden pulling people over.

    • Took my NNNBC gear to West Bragg today. First I tried to ski up Merlin View from Moose Loop which was nice until the bottom of the switchbacks, where I decided gooping my skis up to climb wasn’t worth it since the snow was pretty warm. Instead I went over to Tom Snow North and skied the now well established track uo the meadows, but not before bumping into Steve Riggs and his golden retriever on Moose Loop. The tracks on Tom Snow are good in the meadows but not so good on the banktop with thin spots and deadfall.
      Very fast snow conditions on the groomed trails with red wax. Kind of fun fearlessly zooming down steep hills on metal edges!

      • Further to GMJ’s report- today we skied what seems to be our go-to loop lately: Mountain Road-Moose North-Mountainview West-Mountain Road-Mountain View East-Crystal West.
        Some of the tracks and hills are getting a bit worn, there is a minor amount of debris or drifting from winds here and there, but overall- conditions remain very good. We had brought along a quiver of grip waxes in case of wet snow, but Start Purple ended up doing the job perfectly for us, as the sun tried, but failed, to come out in any sustained way. With no melting observed- snow conditions should remain good for a few days.
        https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/SkiPix19-20/i-gSbsdtX/A

    • I skied to the second bridge (about 400 m beyond the end of the track setting). Conditions were quite good. The lower part of the trail has a few craters from people falling on the initial long hill north from the Bankhead junction. It is easy to get around them though.

    • Wardens were looking for and found a skier and her dog on the Cascade Valley trail. We observed her being ticketed. So there is a God!

      • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

        God works in mysterious ways eh!

        Good to hear a dog owner was fined for breaking the law. It is a buzz harsher when unleashed dogs threaten people in the parks. Some dogs are more threatening than Grizzly Bears to skiers and backpackers from my experience.

  168. Blueberry Hill – a great ski today. Started at Elk Pass parking just after 10am at -5C. Both the Elk Pass and Blueberry trails were in excellent condition. There were a few wind gusts at the top of Blueberry where we ate lunch. The run down Blueberry was fast and comfortable. Returned via the Elk Pass trail and Fox Creek. On these sections, the wind gusts became strong, and some tree debris was being added to the trails. Additionally, woodpeckers? on the Fox trail had shredded tree bark onto the trail in several places – a bit tough to ski over that stuff. -1C when we finished; very windy on the drive home. Lots of people out today enjoying the fine conditions.

  169. Red earth Creek Trail still in fine shape with decent tracks and enough snow to manage the down hills safely. VR40 was okay for grip, and excellent glide. Went as far as the warden cabin for lunch before turning around as there was some wind there, little wind otherwise all day. Saw 3 other skiers all day. Lovely!

  170. Sandy McNabb – North Trails. Exercise caution on Macabee (lower) and Pine Ridge east leg to/from summit as several ice flows and open water hazards on hidden descents and blind corners. Actually, entire north circuit (~25km) incl. Balsam (not recommended yet) and Long Prairie (south) mostly hardpack snowmobile packed or worn out track with lots of early season natural hazards (rocks, logs, impaled sticks …) and typical foot traffic. Still tonnes of fun for intermediate skiers looking for old-school, rough-country nature experience.

  171. South Glenmore was groomed and trackset today.

  172. West Bragg Creek
    Off-trail travel conditions are good at West Bragg Creek, so skiing is not limited to the groomed XC ski trails. Some of the best views of the Bragg Creek and Elbow areas can be found along Boundary Ridge.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/oviqy6Uy6mzwMLrs5

  173. Did a Sunday – Monday ski in Yoho and Lake Louise. The Kicking horse River trail is in great shape. A few twigs sticking out here and there. But overall snow was wonderful all the way to the Ottertail Bridge. VR30 was great even with an air temperature of -3.

    Today woke up to -16 and skied the Horsetrail and Alluvial on an old green wax. Snow is quite good but a few dips remain where some of the bridges are on the fan. Clear skies made for beautiful views

    From there went to Lake Louise where the temperature was -13. Skied up Moraine and then onto Fairview and back down Upper Tramlines. Trails were terrific and the trees are coated in snow

  174. West Bragg Creek.

    What do you do when the kids are in school and you have a day off? You head to WBC and ski your heart out. Moose Loop – Mountain View/Mountain Road-West Crystal Line (counter-clockwise loop). Lovely morning and afternoon in the sunshine with bands of clouds racing through the sky overhead. Tracks were still in good shape but the snow was getting hard-packed and slippy in some areas – especially on some hills. Slight tumble on one of them, but otherwise a very fine ski. The word of the day was “pizza”. Cautious pizza wedges going down-slope and backwards pizzas trudging up the hills. My car thermometer was reading -11 deg C at the start and -3 deg C at the end. As I departed the parking lot, I could see Chinook clouds developing in my rear-view mirror.

  175. Confederation GC

    Great conditions at Confed this AM!

    Looks as though the crew did some snow farming and trackset the trails Sunday evening. A couple thin spots, but all things considered a very nice spot for city skiing. I really appreciate the new loops and wider skate lane!

    • I agree. Can’t get enough of this city skiing at Confederation park since I made this discovery. Both classic and skate. Lovely job done by the volunteers, grooming, farming, track-setting. Thank you. A speedy hour a day fits well in the schedule. Lost my water bottle on the blue run when I put on my windbreaker. If anyone finds it. Metanoia logo.

  176. Tom Snow-north
    The portion of the Tom Snow trail which was most damaged by the 2013 flood was rebuilt on a new, higher and flood-proof alignment in 2016 and 2017. With above average snowfalls this season, I figured it would be worth checking out this portion of “The Great Trail” (AKA the Trans-Canada Trail).
    We started at Spruce Woods day use area, along the south loop of the Jumpingpound Demonstration Forest Loop. That turned out the be mistake, because the trail that connects the parking lot to the expensive new bridge over Jumpingpound Creek is a horrible design. Way too steep, with a wooden staircase. No consideration for snowshoers, skiers, mountain bikers, equestrians. What a waste!
    At the bottom of the steep hill is the first of 4 bridges that lead onto the deadfall strewn Moose Creek Loop trail. I know there is a better connection to Tom Snow, but the signage is so poor, that it was impossible to find it. Next time, I’ll drive down the Husky well site road and park near the gate. It’s a lot easier to get onto Tom Snow from there.
    After crossing the new Moose Creek bridge, however, we were finally on the new Tom Snow trail… and we found ourselves stepping over a big downed tree. The first of 40 blown-down trees that littered the trail.
    We removed the trees that we cold safely move, but many still remain.
    Initially, there were a couple of snowshoe tracks to follow, but after they turned around, we were only sharing the trail with wolf tracks. At one point we came upon a partial leg and about 30cm of spine… all that remained of a deer.
    We made it to a wonderful viewpoint near the Moose Creek/Bragg Creek divide. From there, it took a little over an hour to ski back to the parking lot… even with stops to climb over deadfall.
    The snow depth at the Jumpingpound end of Tom Snow is about half of what is found at West Bragg Creek.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/nZmk8C2nwVyMiJtw7

    • Alf, nice to see there’s finally a bridge over Jumpingpound Creek. I admire your persistence – the trail looked like an obstacle course! Wonderful photos as always, thanks.

      • Cascade Fire Road was in nice shape today, with the trees still beautifully snow-laden once past the beginning. Some debris on the trail initially. We only went to the small rise just past the campground, but the trail looks good if you were to carry on to the cabin. Track was fun and fast coming down. Used Special/extra blue wax. Don’t speed on L. Minnewanka Road—Parks Canada warden pulling people over.

    • Nice! On an old school paper topo map, looks like about 12-14 k of travel one way from Hwy 68 to the picnic table at tom snow and moose loop. That’d be a good day out.

  177. My first Shaganappi ski this year exceeded expectations late this afternoon. I’d call conditions very good. The ground cover is thin in a very few brief sections, but no problem staying on snow in any of them. The tracks are wiped out in a few places, but good 95% of the time. The snow was fast, and old (really old) Swix blue gripped well. The ol’ kick and glide was with me today. Glorious hour and a half; last car out of the lot.

    Lost a pair of prescription sunglasses on the trail, though. Black plastic frame. If by chance you found them, please post a comment.

  178. Skied the Cascade fire road to the campground by the bridge and found evidence of Santa’s elves..tracks are getting pretty washed out but I’m not complaining.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/Tb8LzjGd3kopifUM9

  179. Sandy McNabb and Cascade Fire Road

    I have to agree with Alf that Sandy McNabb offered some challenging skiing yesterday. It is a beautiful area. We skied Long Prairie Loop to Pine Ridge Loop clockwise. We were very happy to be using our skis with metal edges for the steep downhills. Caution is definitely advised. We crossed over and skied back via the Meadow Loop. The south side trails are in great shape and not scary.

    Today, Jamie and I skied the Cascade Fire Road to the campground just past the sign at km 14.4. We used our regular skis; the tracks are in fine shape, and the scenery was exceptional! We had lunch in the sun at the far campground. The trees are snow-laden and awe-inspiring. We are so grateful for these trails. Skiers of any ability should feel safe on the Cascade Fire Road presently. Enjoy!

  180. Sun dec 15: elk/west elk
    The promise of sunny skies and light winds lured us to the meadows. The poster children noticed yesterday the couch needed “rebuilding” after some unkind visitors (not on skis), so we had a work session to rebuild it, along with touring around the meadows. Elk pass track setting is great. Went in and out via fox creek. Decent enough for a diversion. Seems to be more barky woodpecker debris these days. Better on return with a bit of travel pressing tha bark in. The shallow meadow snow pack is deteriorating and pole plants are becoming more bottomless. Not skinny ski meadow time yet. Difficult trail breaking off the track that the poster kids re-established after the aforementioned party chewed up the prior track. Stopped for a fire and potential Geminid meteor shower viewing before the moon came up. No such luck, just satellites and planes. A great day in the sun with intermittent cloud. Tracks of elk pass held up well and nice to cruise home on after the off balance meadow skipping.

  181. BRYANT CREEK CABIN via MOUNT SHARK – Dec 15

    Busy at Mt. Shark… but it got quieter!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjCzFY6oO7GagHRsI?e=xAGBpR
    Sorry to have missed Helen Read

  182. Another WBC Mountain / Moose loop, conditions on Mountain View West are glorious, the return leg along Moose towards Connector is getting a little ploughed out on some hills, a great ski day.

  183. Mt Shark: Sunday noon -8 bit of wind mostly around parking lot. Skied to Watridge Lake then on to the bridge. Unlike the “mtnmommas” who express no fear, I would like to have a contest naming that hill going down to the bridge. My name for it is SHARK BITE. I would rather ascend that hill three times than go down it once. The closer one gets to the bottom of that hill, the steeper it gets. Good thing no one saw me; the failing hip is starting to show in my total lack of confidence. Then just to add another challenge, I decided to do the recreational loop from the bench at #10 backwards to the # 9 junction. Great roller grooming and skate skiers would be in their glory on that 4-5 kms. loop. But this scared-y cat on the hills climbed down on my skis on at least four hills that freaked me out. This advertised 15 kms. Recreational Loop comes with a big GREEN sign. Today to me, that section felt like double black diamond. The Green choice of colour might lead a beginner skier astray, as it is truly a workout. But I confess to getting closer to my “best before date”.

  184. Cascade Fire Road was brilliant today. The heavy snow cover on the trees remains, the track is FAST, the waxing is easy, and there is a dry picnic table to sit at when lunchtime arrives.?HIGHLY recommended right now.

  185. Lake Louise encore ski today. Tramlime-Fairview-MLR loop. Thermometer on my car was reading a very chilly -17 deg C to start, and was reading -9 deg C at the end. Delightful snow and track conditions (a big thank you to the groomers). The mountains looked stunning, as always. The force is strong in the LL corner of the Skier Bob Empire.

  186. MTN SHARK, Watridge Lake ,- dec 14th
    -Started skiing at 10:30 am, blue V40 Blue Extra
    -Skied Watridge lake road, double lane track set (deep tracks), amazing early season conditions
    -After Spray River continued on an excellent single lane skier track set to past Brewster Creek to the Big Springs Campground BR 9 (9.6 km). Lots of snow, not too much exposed. Good Coverage.
    -In and Out

    • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

      Little correction as to your ski trip:

      That would be Bryant Creek rather than Brewster Creek that you skied up. You would have to go over Allenby Pass, further up Bryant Creek just beyond BR 17, to get to the Brewster Creek Valley. That would be dangerous at this time of year due to avalanches.

      Glad to hear the snow coverage is good on Bryant Creek now. Skier packing trails does wonders in low snow conditions.

  187. KICKING HOURSE FIRE ROAD & OTTERHEAD RIVER (17.1km)

    Beautiful day in Yoho. We started by skiing the Kicking Horse Fire Road past the Otterhead River bench and to the turnaround. Especially enjoyed the single track through the forest – so serene. I had only skied this trail once before when I stayed in Field and Jessica S. invited me along for a night ski on the Kicking Horse Fire Road. That was a magical night with ice lanterns and a fire pit, and I had wanted to return ever since.

    Snow was absolutely perfect for light touring skis, and as we wanted more after having driven out from Calgary, we decided to continue on past the Otterhead turnaround (and MapApp showed a “trail”, so we figured it would at least be open enough). This 3km extension was magical. Initially we switched between frozen water and more open areas, but soon realized that river skiing (on the frozen Otterhead River) is the way to go. Skiing on the ice with a bit of fresh snow was pure fun, it was faster, and the views were wonderful. Seriously, this river skiing is a thrill and we want more!!! Highly recommended for anyone wishing to go touring off the beaten path. And yes, we knew there is water, but as it was never more than 6” deep, we figured skiing it was fine, and breaking through would not be more than a slight inconvenience (which was later confirmed to be true, but hey, it only adds to a sense of adventure). There definitely is 1km of a sweet spot beyond the turnaround where it feels like you’re skating.

    Lovely day, only saw one other person on our ski back, and finished the day with a dinner in Lake Louise and a quick stop to the Christmas Store in Banff.

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/136268189@N02/6d7V5q

  188. Sandy McNabb
    The Sheep River Valley often doesn’t have a lot of snow, but this year is an exception. Most of the Sandy McNabb XC ski trails have been track set and the conditions are generally pretty good. There are a number of spots where there is exposed dirt, some rocks and some barely covered deadfall and branches, but it’s easy enough to avoid those.
    I did a loop that took in most of the perimeter trails: Sandy McNabb Loop, Loggers Loop, Pine Ridge Loop, Balsam, Long Prairie Loop and back to Sandy McNabb Loop. Some of the steeper downhills are fast, frightening or best walked-down… depending on your skill with narrow descents. Balsam was “rugged” if you were on the snowmobile packed track, but the untouched soft snow beside the trail was supportive enough to provide a safer alternative. I love the character of the forests, meadows and rolling hills in this area. https://photos.app.goo.gl/DJWhfAq88SGFfgyg9

  189. SHADOW LAKE

    After reading Helen’s and Chuck’s reports of their recent ski along Red Earth Creek, past the first 7 km of track setting, I figured the track would be even firmer and better than last Sunday when I was there. Indeed it was, with a smooth glide and great grip (VR40). After a snack break on the porch of the lodge (- 6 C), I followed a narrow ski track to Shadow Lake. There I soaked the stunning views of Mount Ball, in spite of a fairly cloudy sky all day. No one else up there. So quiet and windless. The ski back was great and pretty fast on light touring skis. Caution while skiing down from the lodge turn off to RE6: don’t get off the track while getting speed; the snow is very soft away from the skier well packed track.

    https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipP6DvmBgVRcg0mKG0yLnX_xiInJ-ZX4_SUxvOB8

  190. Skied WBC at 10am this morning-Mountain view West, Moose Loop. Fantastic conditions. Much faster snow than last Sunday. ‘Nough said.

    Rhonda W

  191. Cascade Fire Road today was velvety and FAST. SWIX VR40 worked perfectly, the trees are LOADED with snow and very pretty, and the tracks are well-defined. The only improvement I’d suggest is that next time I start skiing earlier than 3:20 pm.

  192. Skogan Pass today with a 10 year old who made it all the way to the pass.
    We started at Nakiska. Us adults had light touring skis with metal edges. My son also has wider skis ideal for light touring. The Screamer was thin but we bombed down it at a fast pace and didn’t take our skis off on the way down.

    We would have had a much easier time with skins for the long climb up. The snow was very hard and almost had that artificial styrofoam texture. Very hard to climb and quite slippery. We had waxless skis that usually have great grip but today we pretty much had to herringbone the entire 600 meters up.
    The snow was awesome for coming down though and we had great control without aggressively snowplowing.

    Agree with Steve that there were tracked sections where you definitely had to take one ski out of the tracks coming down to snow plow for speed control.

  193. Very good day near Lake Louise. Great Divide and Lower Telemark. Excellent snow and tracks. Lower Telemark, with marshmallow-topped trees, looked like a scene out of Narnia. The clouds even thinned out in the afternoon so we could see the mountains. Not too many people out surprisingly. Waved hello to the dogsledders as they sped on by.

    Did anyone try Redearth Creek today?

  194. Cascade Valley Road: minus 11C to start at 9:00 am and minus 7C to finish at 1:30 pm. VR40 worked perfectly for me all day. Tracks to the Cascade River bridge are quite washed out now, after a week without snow and grooming/tracksetting. Beyond the bridge tracks are very good. The short cut to the Warden’s cabin was rough for my “wedged” descent. (“Wedge” is the new terminology for a snowplough apparently.) This road is in my opinion is a great practice ski for improving your classic technique.

  195. Bow River, Campground (Lake Louise)

    Just trackset today so skiied it all and easter section both ways (13 km). Nice trail for views and sun as it follows the river on both sides. -5oC, used Swix V50, purple. Only four other skiers out on these trails. Wonderful day.

  196. Mt. Shark grooming was great. Out to the river past Watridge, the biathlon trails and even the outer green. Track setting (classic) to Watridge and beyond the rest was well packed for fast conditions. Minus 8C at 10am and minus 5C at noon – perfect conditions.

  197. Sat dec 14: WBC/tom snow(s) on light touring gear.
    Temps ranged -14 to -4 from mid morning to mid afternoon. Moose north to tom snow north and did the loop put in by Alf and co (thanks again!). Only one tree to deal with now on the escarpment portion, but it has a detour. No shortage of wolf tracks indeed. The descent down to the meadow return loop has one exposed rock on the steepest section. Sidestepping by worked fine. The meadow track is nice and solid now with fast travel other than some twiggy sections. Back along moose north to the parallel meadow track and crossed the large meadow direct to south moose at the tom snow (middle) junction. Some thin ice and water if venturing too close to the drainage as one approaches the bridge at moose south. The steep ascent going north to south on middle tom snow is a challenge without skins, but it’s short, and would be tough going the other way. Mostly gentle uphill after that to mountain road with a couple of short moderate hills in the middle. North to south seems like the way to go. Creek crossings just frozen and covered enough. Overall an excellent little tour on a a decent skier set track. More options for exploring inbetween moose south and mountain road. Returning on mountain view, think I saw Shabu, putting the advise into action!

  198. AM Bill Milne gorgeous views, shallow trackset from kananaskis village / highway 40 turn off travelling south to powerlines by golf course. Although thin base exists, evenly packed up until golf course. Road crossings near golf course – minimal snow coverage; took off skis.

    Took Smith Dorrien home so could check out Watridge Lake trackset.

    PM watridge lake – Deep trackset! Great conditions. Only did 3 k, returning tomorrow for a bigger day.

  199. WBC Telephone Loop
    Nice, fast conditions on Telephone Loop today. A couple of the steep descents on east Telephone had a few rocks exposed in the snowplow trough… but easy enough to miss, if you stayed to one side or the other.
    Conditions are great for this weekend!

  200. Lake Louise – Chateau-Fairview-Moraine Lake Road (MLR)- Tramline – Village. Chateau-Peyto – Great Divide – Lower Telemark- Great Divide – Tramline- Village
    Lake Louise is almost 99% ready for business as most of its trails have been groomed or trackset. We did Peyto finally as it at last got trackset. The trail is very good but the centre is very rough and should it become icy it will be difficult to control on the long downhills. We came upon the Lower Telemark just as the groomers were finishing one pass. We completed the trail on the groomed trail and when we finished and gathered at the end, the groomers finished up behind us with their track setting. We saw some rocks on our pass and we can only assume that the groomers were able to cover them with their final pass. We were also behind the groomers as they track set the tramline from to the Village. Very good snow.

  201. Skogan Loop-Skogan Pass.
    Very good skiing, and fine weather, with light winds and highs not far below zero.
    I started from Nakiska- from there, as per the grooming report, things are thin up to the ski area cat track above the Screamer. Beyond that- the trails were in very good shape with pristine tracksets and corduroy that was really firm, almost hardpacked lower down, much softer higher up. I was happy to be on my light metal edged skis, but I wouldn’t say that they were absolutely necessary, just nice to have. Coming down from the pass- some of the downhill tracks felt a tad aggressively set for the average recreational skier (me!) given the firm fast conditions, but it was easy enough to step a ski out and ride the brakes a bit in the corduroy. Back at the top of the Screamer- I elected to take the “Cheater” instead, which was why I had chosen the metal edge skis in the first place. A short uphill on the cat track took me to the edge of Nakiska’s “Homesteader” run, and a quick finish without having to dodge thin spots, or rewax for the short climb back to the daylodge from lower Skogan.
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/Skogan-December13/

    • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

      Howdy Steve,

      What kind of light metal edge skis were you screaming down Skogan Pass on and what is the maximum width of your skis?

      Ski Cheers

      • Bill, I was on a older pair of Madshus “Glittertinds”. I think that they go by a different name nowadays. Tip is 68 mm which JUST fits in track, but drags a bit esp. on corners when the track is deeply set. They are a bit stiff for good off trail turning in my opinion, but the other side of that coin is the well defined wax pocket, which makes them surprisingly quick on groomed trails. If I was buying another pair of metal edge skis for mixed on/off trail use, I would likely go for something narrower, with partial edges.
        A note for anyone thinking of bypassing the Screamer via Homesteader. Although I have done this on regular xc skis when conditions were really soft- metal edges would be very highly recommended. Plus- your downhill skills should be sufficient enough to confidently make turns and keep to the fall line, more or less. Although it is a wide novice run, xc skiers doing slow traverses back and forth across it would present a hazard to others, and themselves.
        The Screamer was actually not terrible looking, with only a few scattered exposed rocks, and some thin areas. I have seen it in much worse shape. It would have been easy enough to take it slow and avoid most everything.

        • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

          Norseman Ski shop is suppose to get the new Madshus ski that is 44mm to 50mm with 2/3 metal edges. The ski includes a skin under the foot which I don’t care for. I prefer the option to wax as I do not usually wax for late spring hard ski conditions. Skating up hills works well then with metal edges and is much faster without wax or a skin. I would assume the skin would make skating more difficult in such conditions. This new Madshus ski should be ultra light though and hopefully with a high camber.

  202. Redearth Creek to Warden’s Cabin #31. Looks like a new sign above the door or maybe I best check last year’s photos. Saw NO ONE on the trail in 5 hours: -9 warmed to -5. Takes a lot to impress me on snow and grooming conditions on Redearth but today was superb. It has been previously described by Chuck, Normand, and VR4U (Voting Rights for you; maybe we could invent a new wax for one of our more creative posters: VR4U would be for anyone who likes to ski in the dark!). Picture perfect as Chuck’s photos revealed on Dec 11th, except I likely snow-plowed my way safely down the last 2 kms. I recycled an irresistible Christmas Card at the cabin, from a new puppy describing his first Christmas (kind of like Kazzy does). Ernie: Got to LOVE your description of the ultimate COUCH MARTIN!!!

  203. WBC – Maria, Tara, Ernie (Shad & Anna P/T).

    Wonderful blue wax day in fine tracks with some zip in them on the downsides.
    Crystal Line East-Sundog-Iron Springs-Elbow South to North-Loggers-Crystal Line West to C L East Sun was intermittent but shone nicely on one of the Meadows on Iron Springs were we saw a Pine Martin scampering in the snow (not to be confused with the much larger Couch Martin often seen sitting in sunny meadows)

    Thanks so much to the Volunteers providing another great day at WBC.

    • Not to be confused with the western “lesser couch martin”. Can be spotted around provincial divides in meadows and open alpine areas, often adapting its surroundings for greater comfort. (-: (-:

  204. If anyone noticed a pair of ski poles at WBC they are my wife’s.

  205. Debbie Gauthier-Scott

    Kicking Horse trail in Yoho

    A group of us skied the beautiful Kicking Horse trail, 6.5km in and back from the Natural Bridge. As per Bob’s article, it was very nicely groomed and track set. Temperature was about-5c at 10.30am, blue wax was perfect, great glide on fresh snow. We took lots of photos, such a beautiful trail!

  206. BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

    MOUNT SHARK TO BEYOND WHITEMAN CREEK

    Thursday ski- Attention Skate Skiers

    From the Mount Shark parking lot to Watridge Lake/ Spray River Bridge the trail is generally in excellent condition. At 9:30 pm the groomer was on the trail making an excellent surface for skate skiing. I can’t understand why the trial was not being trackset as there is lots of snow. Sweet for the skate skiers though on a soft fresh groomed trail.

    The Upper Spray River trail, to roughly 1 kilometer beyond the Whiteman Creek bridge, is skier tracked and in generally good to excellent condition. Expect to hit a couple of stumps. There is close to 50 cm of snow at the Whiteman Creek Bridge area. Trail breaking was moderately difficult with an average of boot top ski penetration or less under the trees. In clearings the ski penetration is up to the middle of the calf on 60 mm back country skis. Ski penetration is a little better than average for this time of year. Some nice moonlight for the ski out. Light snow flurries coming down. Swix -2c to -8c blue wax provided moderate ski speed and excellent grip.

  207. West Bragg Creek
    As part of todays tour at West Bragg Creek, I took MaSid’s and Squeaky Boots trail a bit farther north up Tom Snow trail from the Moose Loop picnic table. I followed the actual Tom Snow trail on the escarpment to the east of the meadows to make a bit of a loop with the long meadow section. The local wolf pack knows where the Tom Snow trail goes. I just followed their tracks. Great “backcountry” conditions at West Bragg Creek right now… absolutely amazing for early December.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/YevFPqVojmF8fjHJ6

    • I went that way (about 2 km) last winter but got stopped by a number of fallen trees. How far in have you gone this season?

      • I went a bit more than 2 km north on Tom Snow from Moose Loop. I was making note of the location of the downed trees, in order to arrange for a crew to have them removed. The trees are still on the trail, but I expect they will be gone within the next week or so.
        If you come across some random ski touring tracks between Moose Connector an Tom Snow (south of Moose Loop) or between Tom Snow and Mountain View West, or Tom Snow and Mountain Road… you are welcome to follow them. Lot’s of great exploring to be had out there.

    • Good to have the guiding tracks of the local trail expert. I’ll be checking it out soon. Thanks Alf!

  208. Saw the grooming cat passing Pocaterra Hut at 2:30 pm. Where are they going? Maybe Mount Shark or Elk Pass!
    Skied from Elk Pass parking to Elk Pass and the trail needs a refreshing. Skied Tyrwhitt and Pocaterra to the hut. The best ski of the winter so far. Nice to be able to speed down the hills in good tracks. VR40 worked well for me all day.
    Previous reports tell all and the PLPP live grooming report was accurate.

  209. CANMORE NORDIC CENTRE – 3.75 Km Olympic Circuit – Dec 12

    Check out what I did between volunteer shifts!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjA03zDwRBXEjgZJp?e=wddy2i
    Excellent conditions

  210. Great ski at Bragg Creek today. Started on the Hwy 66 side, and did the Elbow to Iron Springs loop. The first bit is multi user so not tracked, but we did find some trackset further on. Snow was ‘crunchy’ but not icy. Minus 8 at 10 a.m. and a balmy +5 @ 2 p.m. Enjoyed having lunch in the sun along the trail. Coming back to Calgary the temp dropped by 13 degrees.

  211. We skiied Pocaterra today from the lodge up to the Whiskey Jack junction. The bottom had remarkably good snow for this time of year. Not track set, but beautifully rolled. It would be great for skating. The tracks started at the Lynx junction and then conditions were perfect. It was about -1 when we started and a little above zero when we got back, so we used our skin skis and had great stick and glide.

  212. Bill Milne (from the Hotels to Wedge) / Wedge Connector / Evan Thomas.
    Yesterday’s grooming report indicated that this trail had been groomed. It was indeed. There is not a lot of snow (except up at Wedge) but on a paved bike path you don’t need much. There were essentially no hazards to rub your ski bases on. I did the loop at the end skiing on the groomed (and track set up there) Wedge Connector. The grooming ends at the bridge over Evan Thomas Creek. From there it is about 400 m to the Evan Thomas trail. That piece (lower 200 m for sure) is not ski-able. Once on the Evan Thomas trail there is a skier set track on the north side of the trail (with some walker damage). The trail is gentle enough that the skiing down it was reasonably pleasant even with the divots.

  213. Peter Lougheed Prov. Park – “Skier Bob Special” – Whiskeyjack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Hydroline, Fox Creek and Moraine.
    Minus 3 at Boulton Creek Campground parking lot at 9:45 am. Not a car to be seen. With light snow falling and VR 40 Blue wax applied, we headed up freshly groomed and track-set Whiskeyjack trail to the Tyrwhitt intersection. Trail continued to stay groomed and track-set until the Lookout Trail junction. From the Lookout junction to Elk Pass, the trail was just groomed – still excellent. With the wind blowing and snowfall picking up, we opted to return via freshly groomed and track-set Hydroline down to Elk Pass intersection, and then enjoyed ample snow coverage throughout the trees on Fox Creek and Moraine to return to Boulton Creek parking lot.
    Conditions were excellent throughout the entire area. All picnic tables had been cleared of snow – great job groomers – thank you!
    Very quiet all day, saw just three other groups of skiers all day. Temperature was -1 at 1:45 pm when we returned to the car, with very light snow falling.

  214. WBC (Mountain View West – Moose – Telephone loop). Minus 4 C when I started and V40 wax worked well. The trails are in pretty good shape, please note on Telephone East a few rocks are present and some debris as well.

  215. Tramline Lake Louise – Fairmont lap x2. What a great workout! Skin skis lap one, wax skis lap two. Blue Extra hit the spot. Paradise on your doorstep, topped by cheese ‘n jam sarni and a cuppa afterwards. Magic.

  216. O’Hara Fire Road Wednesday for four energetic Meanderthals. -9 in parking lot and witnessed lynx walking across lot as we drove down the hill. Later saw pine marten crossing trail. Took us longer to hit Le Relais balcony as some waxing challenges ascending. Le Relais reopens Jan 30 when the Lodge reopens. Temp at lunchtime -4 and some lovely snow-plow powder to make it down the steeper hills. Met big group skiing out from hut who enjoyed touring Opabin and McArthur area. Good workout at 608 m. ascent.

  217. PLPP
    Wednesday dec.11
    fantastic day with great company
    a couple of things to be aware of

    blueberry hill is not trackset yet ,has a snowmobile track to bring shovel’ers up
    Pocaterra – packers to linx is trackset but very very twiggy
    elk pass trail has some sections of snowmobile track on one side ,hikers boot path on the other

  218. Moonlight ski after work at Maple Ridge Golf course which is now trackset. Looking at the solid traffic on Deerfoot Trail as I glided peacefully along feeling so free.

  219. Maple Ridge Golf Course

    I went late this afternoon and found some grooming had been done very recently. I think the grooming schedule may be Wednesday afternoons. Some tracks were set, while some sections were only packed, like corduroy. The snow was good and the scenery was lovely with all the frost and snow on the trees. It’s so convenient to be able to ski only a 10 minute drive from home.

  220. WBC this afternoon- superb!
    A picture says it all:
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/SkiPix19-20/i-T2D5VVH/A

  221. REDEARTH CREEK to the cabin – Dec 11

    Record amount of snow for this time of year.
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAjALz0YBMT7FnNXxd?e=vRkOSO
    Note – First tracksetting occurred today, but only to the first campground.

  222. Confederation Park – Great skating conditions this am with the new snow falling. Around lunch, trails were being packed and groomed. Should be even better tonight. Thanks to all the volunteers!!!

  223. WBC – Moose Looped into Tom Snow slack-country on a lark, pushing a km or so past MaSid’s track with the addition of 2 to 3 cm of well settled silky fast snow. Don’t know where the proper trail really is, but coverage is pertnear good enough for hacks like us to noodle around and connect the meadows.

    • More tom snow fun. Pushed the squeaky boot track a tiny bit further, by heading more west up an eastward draining draw along a bench on the south bank, instead of crossing the drainage. Tough trail breaking until the protected snow of the draw. Ended pretty quick once the draw chocked up with deadfall. Turned left too early essentially and probably nowhere near the trail proper. The short meadow section was worth the diversion. Not quite west elk pass, but still nice on a sunny day. Back via moose loop, connector, west crystal, loggers, east crystal, all in fine shape. Crossed paths on loggers with the Riggs family and guest. Piper got some lovin’, but once he realized there was no bacon to be had, persona non grata. Some weekday tail gait action in the dwindling sun of the NE corner of the lot, squeezing a bit more fun out of the day. Foggy soup at the round about on the way back with close to zero visibility for a bit.

  224. WBC was great today, the snow is quite deep and well maintained on Hostel loop, however for those who want to go on Mountain road , heading to Mountain view west, a track vehicle has disseminated sharp pebbles/small rocks all along the trail, at first they look like fragments of leaves but that changes when you ski over them, so going uphill, it is possible to spot them, going downhill it is challenging and I personally advise that if you spot anything along the trail, just avoid it categorically.

  225. Seniors’ Outdoor Club of Calgary (SOCC) at PLPP:
    My group started at Boulton Creek in -16C temperatures. VR40 worked perfectly for me all day. We skied Whiskeyjack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek and Moraine back to Boulton Creek. (Bob’s favourite ski tour). The snow was beautiful and plenty on all these first trails, but we found only skier tracks. With grooming and tracksetting this loop will be spectacular in the days ahead. We continued from Boulton north on Wheeler, with an Amos detour, finishing at William Watson Lodge. Amos has still seen no further work and has only a small amount of new snow.
    We learned there was new grooming from Pocaterra Hut to the Amos/Lynx junction.
    Lots of folks coming and going from/to Elk Lakes cabin. Everyone appears to use the Elk Pass trail to access Elk Lakes. Most folks were on skis but several were snowshoeing on the ski trail – not on the tracks!
    A groomer spoke to some of our snowshoers about skiers only permitted on the ski trails, with no exceptions and violators are subject to a fine. A Conservations Officer also spoke to our people at Boulton Creek parking re the same subject.
    Posting a CO at the Elk Pass trail head for a time would be constructive. Another CO at Blueberry/Elk Pass junction could be lucrative!

  226. Sandy McNabb, December 10.
    Four loops were skied- Long Prairie, Pine Ridge, Macabee, and Loggers, on trails that were groomed and largely trackset on Monday. Conditions covered the whole spectrum, from excellent through to a few short spots that I would rate poor due to barely covered dirt and rocks. Overall- good conditions for the area, and very enjoyable skiing. Expect some tracks that are wobbly and/or crunchy here and there. Best, most consistently very good conditions were found on Loggers, but unlike the north side loops, Loggers is lacking much in the way of hills. Speaking of hills and tracks- a caution that some of the tracks on the north side hills are running fairly quick- combine that with some downhills that feature tight corners on a narrow trail, and a lack of groomed only transitions at a couple of junctions- Whoooaaa! 🙂
    Photo link below shows the very good conditions on Loggers, on a typical Sandy McNabb narrower single trackset trail.
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/SkiPix19-20/i-N9v6hFP/A

  227. Lake Louise – Bow River and Campground Loops
    A new set of dog-friendly trails now in operation for the season – yay! I had a great time ski-joring today with my humans – I was on my best behavior, trotting along at a steady pace, just enough to give them some doggy assist (well, except for the downhills where I can’t resist galloping flat out!). I never stopped dead in the tracks causing them to stumble over me nor did I pull them off the trail into the trees chasing squirrels like I normally do – they were so proud of me!)
    They said the skiing was just about as good as it gets there, fresh grooming from a couple of days ago, very little traffic since (only saw 6 people today including Helen), very few twigs, and the walkers/snowshoers were kind and stayed out of the tracks. Temp -14C going to -8C, blue wax day. Minor construction work on the Campground Loop didn’t interfere with the skiing and nothing seen on the Bow River Loop.

  228. Cascade Valley Road – The glowing reports from yesterday decided today’s destination for us. Much the same as Bob reported yesterday, the early going tracks are a bit wobbly, but then conditions are good to the Cascade River Bridge, and then they get even better! Temperature was a chilly – 15 at the start and -11 to end, with no wind to speak of. It was a blue wax day, a bit slippy going up, but flying coming back down. We skied to the end of the grooming at Stoney Creek and had lunch at the cabin with John and Dean from Edmonton. Beautiful snow on the trees – it was skiing in a Christmas card!

  229. 2 cars at Moraine Lk Rd at 8:45 am, minus 13. Fairview has plenty of snow and ready for re grooming. Stunning views everywhere. Enjoyed the townsite/campground loops. Perfect grooming for skate and classic skiers! This #9 trail would be a PERFECT MOONLIGHT SKI tonight or tomorrow. Looking forward to our Lovely dog, Kassy’s post later. Post Hotel Pub for dinner after hot tub at Mountaineer Lodge!

  230. Stoney Creek cabin – what an absolute blast!

  231. WBC – it was a great day for fresh tracks and perfect corduroy on South Iron Springs and Elbow. Get it before the hikers do!
    We did the full Iron Springs Loop with Elbow but especially loved the south loop that was in the best condition I’ve ever seen it.
    Such a treat to get first tracks on South Iron Springs too!

    Sundog has been freshly groomed too and was delightful coming down. Soft corduroy is a delight for snow plowing in control.

  232. Confederation Park was in good condition this afternoon. The lightly falling snow was enough to refresh the tracks, fill in thin spots, and muffle the sounds of the city.

  233. CASCADE VALLEY – Dec 9

    What a social occasion today… but nothing to the party the Bow Valley Wolf Pack had here last night!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAi2_liuPZNEmOHFRF?e=mvUJyL
    Never seen so much snow up here… and the tracksetting is excellent.

  234. Shaganappi Golf Course-fresh groomed skate trails last night. Early season conditions for sure and I would only go with rock skis at the moment. Skate skied a big loop around the upper course. Track is very thin along west edge near beige condos and south edge along Bow trail-otherwise very impressed with the grooming on such little snow!! Certainly skiable at this time with the right skis. Hopefully there will be another big dump of snow in the forecast-such a luxury to ski so close to home! Check out Shaganappi Nordic Operations Club on FB for their full report and updates.

  235. Cascade Valley

    I went for a moonlit ski down Casacade Valley to Stoney Cabin last night. Conditions were absolutely perfect. I did not notice ANY damage at all to the trackset from the snowshoers, but both tracksets were destroyed by a skate skier to about the 9km mark. I know the trail allows skate skiing, but please, if the trail is too narrow to skate just turn around.

    • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

      We need Parks Canada to remove all trees that are growing on the trail to return this historic trail back to the way it was in the 1990’s and to increase safety.

      When the old Cascade Road was upgraded in the 1990’s it provided perfect conditions for seeding trees along the side of the road where soils were disturbed. This has also happened on many other wide trails like Spray River, Brewster Creek, Red Earth Creek and others. Human disturbed sites are sometimes excellent places for tree seedlings to grow, depending on soil types and moisture. Parks Canada must maintain such sites if it wants to maintain suitable multi-purpose tourism trails for both ski skaters and classic skiers. Furthermore, clearing the trees on the roadside disturbed sites will provide a safety benefit as Grizzly bears are more difficult to see along trails where such human enhanced vegetation grows. Predator mauling’s are at much higher risk on such trails due to the lack of sight lines caused by the human enhanced vegetation.

      In the past, many trails in Banff were cleared of vegetation to provide better sight lines to reduce predator mauling risks. It is far safer to see longer distances when in predator country, rather than spooking an animal on the other side of dense bush or trees.

      Another reason way these trees grow so well along the trails is because they are unnaturally fertilized by horses (in the past mainly) and humans. The high nitrogen in animal and human waste enables the trees to grow far faster than what is natural. Global warming and atmospheric (fertilizing) pollution is also contributing to faster growing trees. Parks Canada must understand this and take pruning actions on the trails if they want safer and better trails for tourism purposes. Parks should organize volunteers to clear trails if the Superintendent does not want to direct resources to fixing up trails.

      This is where real democracy, where people make the decisions rather than politicians, would greatly help improve the skiing in Banff and elsewhere (hence Bill Voting Rights 4U). The politicians and bureaucrats don’t have what it takes to make the trails better and safer. Push your MP and Superintendent for safer and better trails.

      • Right on!

      • Perhaps creating an arms length organization akin to the “Friends of Kananaskis” that do so much for the knowledgeable stewardship of trails in those Provincial parks.

      • This taxpayer is happy with the width of Cascade trail as-is. Similar to other trails in Banff and Kananaskis, and certainly not a public safety hazard.
        Widening it would remove some of its charm and expose it to more sunlight during the melting months. For those who feel unsafe on this trail, I’d recommend Moraine Lake or Great Divide trails, which are proper roadway width. Or to travel in a group.
        We should also remember that the risk of harm is orders ot magnitude higher on the drive out than anywhere on these charming trails.

  236. Bowness Park
    Decent skier set tracks along the south shoreline of the Bow. From 85 St Bridge to near the Stony trail overpass.

  237. RED EARTH CREEK to SHADOW LAKE LODG’ISH

    Starting at 11 am today with -14 C, I figured a good 5 hours would be ok to reach the lodge and back just by the sunset, with light touring skis on a ski track and the fresh snow (from previous years and similar conditions at this time of the year). About 5-7 cm of snow cover a previous ski track on the first steep hill. No rocks were ever hit the entire day, at least on the Red Earth Creek fire road. After crossing the 2nd avalanche runout zone, the fresh snow got deeper to about 10 cm and the trail got quite a bit softer, i.e. lot slower too. Definitely light touring ski territory from that point on. From RE6, where previous (snowmobile) packing ended a few days ago I presume, up to 15 cm of fresh snow was covering the ski track (which was still welcome); about 35-40 cm total snow pack to the ground off the track (semi dense layer of 15-20 cm in the middle of the snow pack). Painfully slower, but reached the lodge turn-off at 10.5 km. I knew then my 5 hours estimate was out to lunch, given how soft the trail was. Once I got up the hill, past the turn-off, the old ski track disappeared as possibly covered by a thicker soft snow blanket in the 20 cm range. To the point that my 54 mm wide touring skis didn’t do the job, sinking at times as deep as mid-calf level; well maybe it was the skier too being not up to the job. Wider skis would have been preferable for that section. Either way, I had decided to turn around at 3:20 pm, getting within about 200 m from the lodge. Disappointed a bit, but not a big deal as I have been there 20 times or more. Wasn’t too keen to ski out the entire 13 km in soft conditions in total darkness. Got back to the car at 6:15 pm. In the end, a good outing 7 hours of ski in pretty soft conditions throughout. A great shot of moon light as I was crossing back the lowermost avalanche runout zone. Not a sole seen today, peaceful winter wonderland, with tree branches loaded with snow. There is definitely enough snow out there to further pack the fire road to at least the lodge turnoff, and deep enough to track set from about km 1.5 and up. Now for a change, I am keen for some fast track set ski conditions.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/W5W1vh9Hj6rvk3fH7

    • Thanks for the detailed and informative report Normand.
      Yes, it is very misleading when it is said that Redearth Creek is packed. As you indicate, it was only packed by a snowmobile to the first campground and that was before the last big snowfall!

    • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

      I really dig what looks like a night shot in the pictures. Skiing at night is special. The moon lighting on the mountains is marvelous.

      Nice to hear that the hill below the Lodge that I skier packed a couple of weeks back or so is in good condition.

      Time for Parks Canada to get on their snowmobiles and trackset Red Earth Creek to open up more skiing for the tourists. It makes me wonder what they are waiting for.

  238. BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

    SOUTH GLENMORE PARK CALGARY

    Looking good throughout much of North and South Glenmore Park for those wanting skiing close to home. Thinner under the big trees on the old Elbow River Trail. Pick clean air days when the wind is not coming from the east so you don’t suck in too much lung harshing diesel exhaust pollution.

  239. Telephone, with a twist.
    Feeling a bit jaded with all the perfectly groomed skiing that we have been enjoying at WBC, and with circumstances leading to a solo ski tour, I decided to take advantage of the good snow cover and recent grooming for fatbikes on some of the all season trails, to ski another variation on Telephone this afternoon:
    West Telephone-Reconnect-Long Distance-East Telephone.
    Shortly into my loop along Mountain Road- I was seduced by an old snowshoe track which turned into a pleasant trailbreaking stroll along a sunny abandoned roadbed in the aspens. Back on plan- I easily ascended Reconnect, took in the expansive views from Long Distance summit, and had a very enjoyable ski north and mostly downhill on Long Distance, to intersect Telephone near it’s NE corner. From there it was a quick easy going return on East Telephone, which was well skier tracked and a bit bumpy in spots until south of Disconnect. West Hostel closed the loop. While this is a loop that I will definitely do again- a few caveats:
    -Long Distance is often narrow and winding, and there are a few rocky and thin spots.
    -I used NNN BC boots, backcountry poles, and a wider (60 waist, 72 tip), softer and shorter (190 cm) metal edge ski, for added support, control and maneuverability.
    -It pays to be familiar with Long Distance from summer mountain biking, which meant that I had a good idea of what to expect, and where the handful of tighter downhill corners were.
    Interested? A few pix showing trail conditions and scenery, here:
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/LongDistanceTelephone-December8/

  240. Phil Parker (Fireball)

    Confederation Park was fantastic today. Snow was cold and fast and the grooming simply outstanding. Rather quiet with only a few skiers out at 10am this morning. Get there before the walkers trample it!

  241. Winter wonderland at WBC. The tracks are mostly pretty worn and in need of fresh grooming, especially on Moose Loop, but the snow quality was excellent. I used blue wax because it was already on my skis but green would have been better. Beautiful sunset glowing on the trees and hills.

  242. WBC Moose, Mountain View / Road loop, wonderful conditions VR40 worked well for me another awesome ski @ WBC !

  243. Sandy McNabb was magnificent! I don’t seem to do well at judging snow depth and have been called out on this before so with some trepidation I would like to say at least 4 cm fell last night making the area seem like a winter wonderland. My husband had been out the day before and did the Pine Ridge, Arctic Hill (why is Arctic Hill no longer on the Sandy McNabb Trail Map??) and Arctic Hill was a bit of a nail biter so we ventured across the road and did Loggers, Meadow Loop, Price Camp, Sandy McNabb Connector and a few other trails I could not figure out on the map. What happened to Camper’s Loop? It has had a name change too. It was a bit confusing as we met a fellow from Calgary that was really enjoying his first trip to Sandy. He was looking for something a bit more challenging and so we directed him to cross the road to try some climbing. My husband mentioned Arctic Hill a couple of times and the fellow pulled out his map and asked where the heck it was and did we truly know what we were talking about. True enough, not on map. In total, we passed six people the whole time we were out. I should mention that trails were skier tracked but hoping some work will be done during the week. It was a beautiful day which I cannot prove as my phone would not take pictures. Will have to remain a mental memory.

    • South side of sandy for us, for the full perimeter loop, CW, starting with loggers. Fresh (4cm bang on!) over prior tracksetting. A bit slow but nice and silky smooth. Off trail along east end of loggers, about 18-20 inches of snow. Overall decent deep tracks with the odd shallow/thin bits. -20 to start and warmed to about -8 maybe. Bluebird and virtually windless. Stopping for a fire with sausages and roasted chestnuts made for a nice end to a great day.

    • Hi Sheila!
      I used to wonder about Arctic Hill, too, but now I think it has become the south end of Macabee Loop. I am sure it is the same trail, and great fun! Not sure if we should go there today…….?
      Also, what used to be the south end of Macabee Loop is probably now called the Macabee Connector.
      Cheers!

  244. Cascade Fireroad: Yes, its winter wonderland up there! When we skied up the hill there was a single track to the bridge. We broke trail towards Stoney Creek in about 10cm fresh, fluffy snow, until the groomer passed us on the last uphill. Beautiful scenery, snowy trees and a fantastic ski out on a new classic track!

  245. Cascade! First tracks of the season. The groomer was zipping up and down all over the mountain and even put tracks all they way down the closed road. It’s trackset past the bridge to the warden cabin. But, no sooner had tracks been laid down than a couple of snow shoers walked right on one of the tracks. Anyway, it’s a real winter wonderland out there!

  246. PLPP SOUTH END

    Beautiful day in PLPP today with light touring skis. There was some fresh snow from overnight and we had Fox Lake as our destination. Same old to the Blueberry picnic table, then turned off at the usual spot a couple hundred metres later on and broke trail on top of a track someone had previously used. A little slow going to West Elk Pass, then on to Fox it was.

    We ended up spotting a moose about 200m beyond West Elk Pass and he wasn’t really moving off the usual way to Elk. By this time we stumbled upon another track, so decided to follow it, hoping that it may go to Fox Lake, but instead we discovered the Blueberry meadows mentioned here a couple of days ago and ended up .. back at the Blueberry picnic table.

    We decided we needed to ski some more, so went up to Elk Pass and down the Hydroline. More fresh snow there. Tracks weren’t very fast, but it was a great day for the metal edges.

    Overall we only saw about a dozen people, so it was a bit strange that it felt so quiet out there on a Saturday before Christmas. But of course loved it.

    As we were having a girls day out, we stopped at Woody’s on our way back. Asked the waiter why it’s called Woody’s, he didn’t know, so pulled over another guy. He didn’t know either, but not one to leave us without an answer, looked around, and said it’s because the decor is woody. 😀 We googled it, and sure enough, that’s what their website said. The ribs hit the spot. Great day out!

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/136268189@N02/B994D0

    • Looks like Ma Sid might have some fun-loving “couch Building” helpers in these three skiers who love the “back country”. Fabulous photos of the moose Barbara. Am I mistaken in thinking that Fox Lake is in avalanche terrain ? Enjoyed your slide show.

      • Looks like they might have been having too much fun and missed the couch. Fox lake is fine for avalanche unless one ventures too far to the west side of it. Hard to find sometimes, especially once a number of meandering trails appear later in the season. All the time I have spent in the meadows, I’ve yet to see any large animals from the safety of the couch. Sounds like this moose has found a winter hideout.

        • Ma Sid beat me to it. Fox is generally considered class 1. Frozen Lake (the one higher up) is in definite avalanche terrain. One can refer to the Avaluator as well; no issues based on the terrain and conditions yesterday.

          And yes, love the off-trail. We didn’t stop at the couch yesterday as we wanted to have our lunch at the lake. Last year a couple of us put in tracks through the back side from Elk Lakes Cabin (via the lower summer trail alongside Elkan Creek and popping out at West Elk Pass). Hoping to do that again on the way back from staying at the cabin between Christmas and New Year’s. With a track in that makes for a nice light touring day trip – start via Elk Pass, down Hydroline to the cabin, then back way out with a rest at the couch and then the nice Elk Pass Trail downhill. Maybe one of the other metal edge skiers here would like to get that track going … 😉

  247. Spent the last two days skiing PLPP, it is still early season but conditions are good. Amos, Woolley and Meadow were packed but not trackset, snow was a bit thin in spots and they were packing more when we were skiing. Did Boulton Creek, Elk Pass, Fox Ck and Moraine the following day and conditions were even better, it was old trackset and skier trackset but no roots or twigs sticking out. Both days the waxing was difficult due to +4 temps and reasonably new snow, but fun was had by all.

  248. Canmore Nordic

    It’s Alberta Cup 1 race day here. Lots of people and tons of fun from what I can see. It’s snowing and getting colder right here, right now. The trail system will be rejuvenated by tomorrow morning, which will be another race day (skate ski technique, Alberta Cup 2).

    Have chatted with one of athletes. She said it’s been one of the toughest races for her. When asked why, she pointed out the air is so humid today here at CNC.

  249. Do we really need anymore WBC trail reports? 😉

    Skied midday on Saturday – East Crystal, Iron Springs, Elbow, Loggers, West Crystal, Mountain. It’s all great! Thank you to all the volunteers who make this happen. If you haven’t donated yet, please do!

    • Maybe just one more. (-:
      Warmed up first on hostel loop, waiting for the sun to rise and shine on moose north. Some rutted-washed out spots on hostel where the track veers into the soft edge, but only really on the east side. Thanks to bob’s recon, I passed on telephone. Moose was a bit wobbly here and there but all fine. Ventured off trail through the moose meadows, extending the track further, eventually linking up with an old track set (Alf’s from a week ago?). Detoured up tom snow north, breaking fresh boot top track on light touring gear. Dropping down to the trail at the end of the initial meadow isn’t easy on light skis. Steep but short with an exposed bump. Easy cruising after that. A few thin spots under a couple trees. Turned around after a couple km when encountering a thinly frozen stream. Mountain view west had the best tracks of the day. Finished with a homeward bound cruise on loggers and east crystal, just as the air was noticeably cooling off. Skies to the west looked threatening, but still not snowing by the time I left at 3.

    • Always!! Keep them coming! We love to read them.
      Groomer Bill

      • Saw the single track grooming bikes out on display as part of the fat bike grooming fundraiser. Always fun to have a close look into the novel equipment used for the multi-use trail network. Love the new snowmobile motorbike crossover. Looks like it might be fun, or super tippy.

  250. West Bragg Creek
    Elbow Trail – Dead End – Iron Springs
    Started at 9am and spent 3 hours skiing. Weather conditions were stable throughout: -8C, overcast, calm. The trails are firm and good snow cover. There is some debris from the trees on Elbow. The tracks are well used by now (that’s what they are for).
    The Dead End stretch was the most pleasant, immaculate and fast.

  251. FOUND: Not a trip report, just checking with the SB community to see if anyone lost a pair of RayBan’s in the Great Divide parking lot. They were under several inches of snow. If you think they are yours please reply below with a description.

  252. Knowing Chuck was busy volunteering all w/e at the Nordic Centre races, thought I best check out the newly packed trail on Cascade Fire Road and Meadow. While the initial 1 km of paved road is seeing some construction, tracks on the left worked fine for me. I just did the campground loop but was so happy to see the bridge in great shape and the packed trail beyond. Lots of animal tracks around the campground loop. You will have to wait for Chuck’s terrific photos of the sheep hanging out on the distant slopes past the Cascade Warden’s Cabin. Met five other skiers on my return. Started at 0 but cooled to -3.

  253. Lake Louise continues to deliver. Brand new tracks on MLR and Great Divide. A large slab of snow came down right at the end of formal grooming so extreme caution for anyone venturing further towards the Moraine lake.
    Tramline is divine.

  254. Does anyone know if Moose Loop at WBC has been re groomed/trackset by the groomer in the past few days or will it be this weekend? It was getting a bit tired when I was there this past Monday but still good. I was thinking it would need a redo this week.

    Thanks,
    Rhonda W

    • Was trackset on Thursday. Conditions were very good overall when I skied the south part of Moose loop only, on Thursday afternoon. Some of the downhills were a little bit rough under the new snow. Mountainview West was excellent! The “live” grooming report is your friend:
      https://skitrails.info/report/bragg
      Bob has placed links to all the live reports on the bar above below the head of the webpage.

      • Thanks Steve and Bob, I look forward to skiing there again in the next few days. I’ll keep a closer eye on the live grooming reports too.

    • Rhonda, here’s a photo taken late afternoon Friday near the Telephone junction Moose Loop I thought it was excellent and the tracks were fast. After being on the soft snow on Telephone, it felt like I was flying.

  255. Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt Basin at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
    Superb conditions as below- just below zero with fresh snow – perfect waxing was difficult. However, with a little scraping the right mix was found for 7 Meanderthals. Tyrwhitt was a winter wonderland with powder on powder.
    Return trip included super conditions on Fox Creek with plenty of snow to protect skis from any rocks.

  256. PLPP Elk Pass – Tracks had at least 3cm settled on top of the new grooming, 5 – 6cm up at the pass. Slow and clumpy on the way up for just about everyone with temps around 0 all day and snowing an additional 1cm (a fair bit warmer than any of the models). 0 all the way down the valley on the road home. There’s now a longer track to the couch – via Blueberry meadows. Glimpsed a pair of moose in the south end; clattering antlers could be heard throughout our tea-break.

  257. just a word of warning for all. Today i ran into a young fellow walking on the ski trail with a shotgun on the south loop at WBC. he claimed to have killed 15 ruffed grouse this season so if he is doing it legally when they are on the fly we had all be ready to “duck” quickly.
    i did not discuss with him that he was damaging the trail.

  258. WBC Iron Springs / Elbow to the highway 66 viewpoint / Loggers / East Mountain View
    The snow conditions are good. Unfortunately walkers have messed up the grooming on Iron Springs south of the short loop all the way down on Elbow to the Snagmore Junction (below which walkers are allowed to be on the trail). The last down hill on Iron Springs to its junction with Elbow was chewed up enough to make the descent substantially harder than it should be. I would recommend descending on Elbow and going up on Iron Springs.

  259. WBC. One word. Sublime.

  260. Tons of fresh snow and still snowing heavily at Louise today. Tramline and Moraine Lake are freshly track set, while Fairview’s previous track set is getting snowed under, but will likely get refreshed so9n. All in excellent condition with this new snow. Beauty day.

  261. Great conditions at West Bragg this morning! Skated Crystal E, Loggers, Mountain View, and Mountain Road. -11C at the parking lot at 11am, which quickly dropped to -14C in the shade on Crystal E.

  262. Skiers heading west can get the double whammy in Golden of excellent skiing at Dawn Mt. Nordic Centre and powder at Kicking Horse Mt. Resort. We have had over 25 cm in the past 48 hours and Dawn Mt. will be groomed this weekend.

    Daily grooming all season starts December 13 at Dawn Mt. with 35K of trails, rentals on site, and lessons by appt. For more information, please see our website: http://www.goldennordicclub.ca.

  263. mallory kosterski

    Good Morning,

    It is -7 degrees and overcast in Peter Lougheed.
    It is snowing !!! Aprox. 5 cm have accumulated overnight.

    -MK

  264. Does anyone know what the conditions are like at Confederation?

  265. BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

    BREWSTER CREEK to SUNDANCE LODGE+

    The first 150 meters of the Healy Creek trail is thin and a tad rocky. Once one gets by the parallel with the Sunshine Road, conditions improve. Fair to good skiing with some rocks to the Brewster Creek junction. Moderately fast snow. Skier tracked with roughly 14 cm of crusty snow with a couple of centimeters of new snow on top. This section of trail could use about 7 cm of new snow and then have Parks Canada roller pack the snow to establish better base. That would provide generally good to very good conditions.

    Areas with more sun exposure or wind exposure or under trees tend to be more rocky.

    The lower portion of Brewster Creek to the top of the hills is in fair to good condition with a few poor spots under the trees. The hills have a number of rocks in some areas and need to be skied slowly. Skier tracked snow. The hills could use 7 cm to 10 cm of moist snow to make things good. The sooner Parks Canada roller packs the snow with an old snowmobile, the better.

    Once one gets above the hills the snow pack increases more. Good rain crust under 2-3 cm of new snow. Fair to very good conditions to beyond Sundance Lodge. There is the odd rock. With 7 cm of new snow this section of the trail will be good to very good early season conditions with maybe the exception of the multi bridge area. About 24 cm of snow at the lodge. -10c at night. Green Swix wax worked well. There is a nice bright 1/2 moon out there which makes for nice moonlight skiing.

  266. Sandy McNabb

    Had a super day today, some fresh snow overnight. Chainsaws have been at work and hazards are removed. The trails we skied on the north side have been groomed, not roller packed, but track set. We skied to the top of Pine Ridge Loop, it was rough and verging on out of control coming down the steep hills, less steep sections were great with tracks set. After lunch, we skied the south side, very nice.

  267. PLPP Elk Pass / Hydroline / Patterson figure 8. There was about 5 – 10 cm of new snow over the old grooming / track setting. The snow conditions are quite good now at the south end of the trail network.

  268. Lake Louise: Grooming and track setting were done on MLR and Great Divide mid-day. Upper and Lower Tramline not groomed or trackset making for a wobbly descent to the Village. CPR work didn’t interfere with skiing Bow River Loop to the Village – no grooming though. There is a bunch of new snow now but tracks were soft and skiing was slow. Fairview wasn’t trackset yet at 3:00 pm. Didn’t know the temperature, but there was a sting to the face skiing down MLR.

  269. 3:30pm CNC applied corduroy all the way to the hut and meadow @ Junction #9. Yippee!

  270. WBC – Great skiing (Moose, Mountain View, Loggers, Elbow N, Iron spring / creek, East Crystal) with excellent conditions. Just note that Elbow N, Iron Spring / Creek have been groomed (the ski trails website stated they have not been groomed / trackset since November 28). There was a hiker footprints on Loggers but did not see the perpetrator…

  271. FAIRVIEW PLUS – Dec 5

    Arrived too early for the promised tracksetting, but in time to enjoy the sun and new snow.
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAi2H9jP9YXctmVP7X?e=gtGZpc
    Volunteering at CNC for the next three days, so someone else will get first set tracks!

  272. Had a wonderful sunny ski at WBC this morning. I skied Mountain Road – sunny side of Moose loop – Mountain View West – Mountain Road. Very scenic after the fresh snow last night. All was trackset with silky smooth downhills. Blue wax did the trick. A bonus was finally running into Skier Bob who was parked next to me, waxing his skis, when I got back to the parking lot.

    • What a coincidence, I run into Sir Lancelot ( Bob ) as well and it must have been right at the time that you posted this comment .
      Yes I agree, the day has been fantastic, the conditions of the trails were much better than I was anticipating, with the exception of Mountain road, already consumed by users when I got there at 12 noon but I had most of the fun on the more challenging trails, just like you did; I am quite sure that we must have crossed way but I don’t know you unfortunately

  273. Good Morning,
    10am in Peter Lougheed – scattered clouds but mostly blue and sunny skies.
    We got some fresh snow (est. 5 cm); no new track setting reported so far.
    Temp at 10 am is -15 degrees Celsius in shade and -12 degrees Celsius in the sun.

  274. Sandy McNabb

    We checked out Sandy McNabb yesterday. The trails were in excellent condition and there was a few cm of snow whilst skiing. We skied the trails in the SE (Loggers Loop etc.). There was heaps of snow and no thin spots to speak of. Snow as a wee bit crusty in a few spots exposed to sun but otherwise it was smooth. I have been meaning to check out those trails for years now and I was most impressed. The forest is more open with some nice stands of Aspen. Great views of the river and probably the mountains but the visibility was not great towards the west. We didn’t see another soul on the trails and only 1 other car.

    Enjoy!

  275. West Bragg Creek

    This morning apparently the temperature was +6, but by the time I got there at 1 pm it was -1 and snowing. I only skied around Hostel loop, but it has more snow on it than I have seen for decades! Good conditions all around, the old hard stuff and a bit of tree debris being slightly covered with a sprinkling of fresh, probably more by now. Waxless skis definitely the way to go today 🙂

    One slight sour note: in spite of the “skiers only” signs, there were boot holes from the people who chose to walk around the loop. Bah.

  276. A group of two ladies and two gents to be precise.

  277. Today’s ZERO temp made for the hardest I have worked on MLR, but it would have been a lot worse without those 4 ski racers ahead of us breaking trail. Fairview had a sign out saying they were working hard on it, as Heather D and others already noted. Definitely packed today. Puking snow most of the day on MLR and tough drive home but no complaints when snow is falling everywhere. I bet I know what lovely bunch of ladies helped out Shulamit in PLPP today!

  278. PLPP today. Elk Pass. About 1 deg C and snowing. The word of the day was “clumpy” – as in wet, clumpy snow that sticks to skis. But the falling snow sure looked pretty, and people seemed to be smiling anyway.

    I’m extending a heartfelt thank you to the kind group that stopped and helped, scraping off an embarrassing accumulation of wax off my skis and then applying their glide magic – it really helped!

  279. The other trails in Lake Louise desperately need tracksetting after today’s dump. Tramline is the worst I’ve ever seen it – lost count of how many times I nearly rolled my ankles on the wibbly wobbly tourist packing. Absolutely nothing on MLR and Divide (unless you count the dog sled tracks which were a life saver). Lots of skiers out there struggling with icing and snowballing on the fresh falling snow @ zero.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/wWg28nLTrWVyiCMX9

  280. At least 3 busloads of skiers at LL today – incl. Foothills Nordic high school students and their guests from Quebec. We checked out Fairview Loop and it’s getting there. I had no idea how much work it takes to get it into shape. We skied from the parking lot to Paradise trail jct and beyond where the groomer was still at work. The route back was just as lovely, warm, soft but packed snow and very, very quiet. Be patient, it will be worth it.

  281. Today (Wednesday, Dec 04 ) in Peter Lougheed it is 1 degree at 9:54 am with flurries.
    Webcam isn’t working so thought best to share here!
    Elk Pass, hydroline, blueberry hill, and patterson were trackset Nov 28/29.

  282. West Bragg Creek – Dec 3
    Bob,
    Sorry to hear that the south trails were challenging. From 11 am to 3 pm we had perfect skiing conditions on the recently trackset Mountain Road and inner core trails. V40 and V45 provided good grip and glide. Thanks groomers!

    • It was just Elbow South that was difficult. Sundog and Elbow North were fine. I should note that the West Bragg Creek groomers are not responsible for Elbow South. The province does that one. Glad to hear Mountain road survived the warm day.

  283. They’re Back!

    I’ve stayed out of the equestrian discussion until today since the Dec 1 seasonal restrictions are now in place. A horse(s) totally trashed the skate lane on the east portion of the Sundog Loop between Iron Springs and East Crystal. Looks like the equestrian rider possibly went up a fat bike trail and came down Iron Springs and Sundog. Total disrespect by this equestrian rider(s) towards all other trail users, responsible equestrian users, and the Greater Bragg Creek Trail Association. My wife owns a horse so I have nothing against responsible horse owners, just the ones that are self-centred pricks. Did anyone come across this equestrian rider today during their ski or cycle? I started at 3pm so it was earlier in the day. End of rant.

    BTW…Sundog, except for the trashed section, and East Crystal were in phenomenal skate condition for some fun zippy laps.

    Thank you Skier Bob!

    • Tom, I got suspicious and worried when I saw the horse trailer in the parking lot.

      • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

        Record licence plate numbers next time and report the activity to Rangers.

        • Just to clarify, horses are permitted to use most of the trails in the WBC area during the winter. This includes some which are groomed for XC skiing (although definitely NOT the ones mentioned in the post). Full details are available here:

          https://www.braggcreektrails.org/welcome-to-winter-at-west-bragg-creek/

          Please don’t assume that any equestrians that you see out there are doing something wrong.

          • Thanks for the link . However, I find the map confusing.

            Take Telephone Loop for example. The Map has two colours on this route. A black line and a blue line. The legend says black lines are “All-season Trails”, which includes horses, bikes and hikers. The blue colour coding is labeled as “XC trail”. Furthermore the legend says: “Horse use is not permitted on ski trails Dec 1 ? Mar 31. Please do not walk, snowshoe or bike on groomed ski tracks.”. So, what is it?

            Besides the fact that equestrian use basically destroys any functionality of grooming for XC skiing, sections of Telephone include tricky navigation on steep hills with difficult corners. I cannot see how equestrian use would be compatible with XC skiing on this trail. This same colour coding exists on Moose Loop and Mountain Road.

            Is this overlapping colour coding really intended to allow for both groomed trail XC skiing and equestrian use at the same time?

            • I agree about Telephone, Ken. Craters from horses, hiker postholes, and ruts from struggling bikers not only affect the skiing experience- but also present a very real hazard to skier safety on Telephone. My thoughts are that Telephone should be skiers only on the more difficult north half of the loop, between Disconnect junction on the east side, and Reconnect on the west. Another option I guess, would be to widen and tame that section in order to better accommodate all users, but I would hate to see that happen, as one of the attractions of Telephone is the narrower and more challenging aspect of the trail. In my opinion, the other “ski” trails that are also multi-use seem to work more or less ok like that, as they are wider, generally more well packed, and have easier downhills.

  284. Canmore Nordic Centre – Great grooming for classic and skate. Olympic competition trail in perfect condition for those wishing to skate with energy and test their grip wax for classic. Meadow from the top of Olympic has been groomed as has Rundle. Great temperature +1c to start at 11am and +4 by 2pm. Biathlon event taking place and lots of fast skiers just over from the races at Sovereign Lake Nordic held last weekend.

  285. PLPP – Elk Pass Parking- Bolton Creek-Fox Creek – Moraine- Wheeler-Amos- William Watson Lodge (WWL).Lodgepole-Braille-Suicide Hill-Pocatera Hut.
    Good snow conditions in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Track setting from the parking lot . Skier tracked on Bolton Creek, Fox Creek and Moraine with indications of machine packing on Moraine. Machine groomed(corduroy) on Wheeler. Skier tracked on Amos. Skier tracked down to Pocatera hut. Much vegetation on Suicide Hill but good snow depth We had one skier who shooshed the whole thing. The pond at the bottom is frozen over but please do not take off your skis. when crossing it. Vegetation through out but sufficient snow depth. Temperature eventually skirted a neg zero but the snow kept its quality. There are indications of skier traffic throughout the park

  286. Shaganappi was pretty thin this am, still better than jogging. IMO.

  287. December 3rd, 2019. Skied the Moraine Lake Road this afternoon. -3 degrees Celsius at the trailhead with flurries and stayed that way through most of the trip. At the end of the day, 5 cm of new snow had accumulated over Sunday’s track set but the track was still in reasonable condition. I felt for the lone skater pushing his way up the big hill as I passed him on the way down. Halfway up the trail I estimated 75 cm settled snow accumulation in the roadside ditch. Lovely!

  288. SylviaA

    WBC
    What a great ski day. It’s nice to start early in the morning, so peaceful and
    Beautiful..

    Before leaving, I left a cute Christmas deer decor by the guest book in the warming hut, hopefully it brings a smile to everyone who walks in.

  289. PLPP: Blueberry, Elk Pass
    We arrived at Elk Pass parking just before 10am, after driving through warm and windy conditions on Hwy 40. It was cooler here, 0C and just a breeze. Good tracks on the Elk Pass trail to the Blueberry junction, although lots of small debris – needles and old man’s beard. The tracks up Blueberry Hill were also great, again with small debris and a few snow bombs that did not affect our skiing. Amazingly, it was almost calm at the top of Blueberry. A good, fast run down, then up to Elk Pass – similar trail conditions. The south section of Hydroline was clean, while Patterson was good, again with needles. From there, back on the Elk Pass trail, and Fox Creek. Fox was snowmobile packed and skier tracked, with quite a bit of debris. Temperature held steady at 0C all day. Great to see lots of skiers from the Calgary Seniors and the Canmore Meanderthals. A very good ski day!!

    • Elk/west elk pass:
      We must have just missed you guys, and diverted to west elk meadows while you were up blueberry. In a similar fashion, less windy than we expected in the meadows. The snow in the meadows was moist and soft with worse pole plants than the other day, with the odd collapse straying to the edge of the track. Nice to see another couple folk adventuring into the meadows, just because. Resident moose has been active in the area, using our track, seeing as we used his. Sllllow on return in the moist snow down elk. But good grip going back up the hill, no herrings on the menu. Hopefully a round of snow to cover any potential freezing of the moist surface conditions.
      Couch HQ update: open for lounging. 3 to 4 seater with full reclining, thanks to the help of cheeky and Simona today. Expansion to follow. Couch/meadow season is on.

    • It was the SOCC from Calgary following Ray and Mary on their tour. Not much to add except to say Fox Creek is rough due to skier traffic.

  290. WBC. – a (relatively) early ski today saw good track conditions with decent preservation of base due to low sun angle and what appears to be still low humidity. Having said that, some transformation is occurring that has affected many skiers grip wax success as I saw many, many ppl re-waxing at various random locations. Note also: poles are starting to push to full depth outside track -continual grooming will help in skate lane but do take care on track margins. Hopefully tracks will be reconditioned and repressed to minimize losses.

  291. Skied WBC today. Air temps hovered around zero but the snow stayed cold. The snow was hard and fast. It was calm most of the day but a few strong wind gusts knocked snow off of tree limbs, stirred up the surface hoar, and blew down a few pine needles here and there (nothing to worry about though).
    Elbow was roller packed today from the south end of Iron Springs to Fullerton trailhead.
    Has anyone skied Goat Creek yet?

  292. Checked out the trail between Baker Creek and Morant’s Curve today. Nice job by the groomer with little snow to work with. Baker Creek end is in the trees and has some debris and hazards, but once out in the open between the railway and 1A it was pretty good. Could not go all the way to the end as TransLink (I think that’s the name of the power company) is still working on their line and had the trail all torn up and a closed sign. Needs more snow.

  293. Priddis Golf Course – Trackset on Dec 2

    Kathy K checked out the Priddis Golf Course today and reports that the course has been trackset – 10 plus km of classic trails. Great coverage with a couple thin spots under trees. Check these trails out if you haven’t before – fun, rolling and flowy. A quick 20 minute drive from South Calgary and half the driving distance to WBC. Trails can be accessed from the clubhouse. Open to the public. Enjoy!

    • Just wanted to mention that we took our dog skijoring at Priddis today, good conditions with waxless skis. Asked at the clubhouse, and they said that dogs are allowed.

    • I’m a newbie and nervous going down any type of incline/hill. Is Priddis hilly or just gentle grades? Hoping to ski and brunch on Dec 22. 🙂

      • There are hills and grooming might not be recent over fresh snow. I’d suggest Maple Ridge Golf course if you want to avoid hills.

  294. PLPP December 2

    Élaine and I went out to PLPP today and has a wonderful ski. We arrived at Elk Pass about 11 a.m. to -3 C. I had to rely on VR 45, which was still giving a bit of slip until I extended my forward kick area. Great tracks all the way to the Hydroline junction. We continued on groomed trails to Tyrwhitt and skied all the way through the meadow before turning around. At reaching Hydroline again, we decided to ski out the way we came in and had a great descent. Yes, the drop from the Big Hill was fast but not terrifyingly so. Leaving the parking lot around 4 p.m., it was -2 and snowing a little. Yeah!

    • Chip. We ran into you just after you had turned around on Tyrwhitt. We continued on to the Whiskey Jack junction and descended to Boulton Bridge on a very fast track. Whiskey Jack is pretty good for early season, a few bumps and rolls to watch for but no ice, rocks or sticks. Cheers, Gord and Nancy.

  295. WBC – Middle Crystal – Moose Loop – Mountain Road – Mountain View

    These trails are in good condition. Tracks within 2 km of the parking lot are worn but the far end of Mountain Road is excellent. The steep sections approaching the picnic table at the high point of Mountain Road are hardened and bumpy from weekend snowplowing. A short section of Moose Connector near the creek is icy and some skiers were walking down it. Other than these short sections the descents were fast and easy to negotiate.

    Todays weather should not have adversely affected the trails. It was zero at noon and did not go above 2 degrees in the afternoon. The sky was mostly overcast as well.

  296. Not a trip report: rookie mistake, left my skis at west Bragg yesterday, drying out in the sun. Drove out today, not in the place I left them, but someone kindly put them in the ski rack by the warming hut! Thanks WBC and patrons!!!! (-:

  297. WBC Loggers/Elbow Trail/Iron Springs/Hostel Loop. I started at -7 degrees and finished at +1 degree. It was a bit slippery at the end… Conditions were still quite good except on lower Hostel which has sustained considerable damage due to walkers on the trail. It is unfortunate that fines cannot be levied against people walking on and wrecking the grooming / track setting. A ticket like one would get for taking a dog on PLPP trails would likely discourage that behavior pretty quickly.

  298. As of December 1, Tak falls road (Yoho NP) is splendid. Track set 4.7 km. Hikers have managed to stay off the tracks!!! Fast with great views. It’s quite cold so green wax was perfect. Thanks to the groomers!!!

    • Ditto to Taryn’s report of yesterday except today excitement in the parking lot of Yoho Valley Road as helicopters were taking in loads to Guy (spelling?) Hut. -10 and snowing as in “Snow Globe” for those old enough to know what that is. Ran into some honeymooners and referred them to this site. Hope they will post the pic I took of them. Talk about bargain shoppers. Her hubby was using skis he’d bought for $2. and hers were under $20. Too bad they weren’t in on the contest for new Fischer Skis. Ran into Dave from Norsemen who was enjoying a short ski on route to Sovereign Lk. Drove to O’Hara end of Great Divide-serious wind happening and wished I had one of those things they use in Norway to ski with a flag thing between their poles. New snow definitely in the works for that Yoho/Louise area.

      • We are the honeymooners! Fun meeting you, Helen. We may be the least technologically inclined millennials ever as our combined intellect can’t figure out how to post a picture here! It turned out great though! Beautiful day on the trail, not a wisp of wind. Perfect snow conditions for our $0.25 and $10 skis (best thrift store purchase ever!). Great time in Canada, back to the US and real life tomorrow.

  299. Middle West Crystal-Loggers-Elbow-Iron Springs-Iron Creek-East Crystal. Not much to add to previous report as to ski and weather conditions- simply put- very good to excellent! The south loop on Elbow-Iron remains ungroomed, but has a very good skier track where, thankfully, hikers broke their own trail alongside of. The steeper downhill on south Iron Springs was a bit chopped up, but soft enough for control on skinny skis. That might be more challenging tomorrow, as the sun beats down on that corner. A side trip from the loop on Iron Creek provided a fast and fun descent on the best tracks of the day. There is payback as this is a dead end trail, but returning to Iron Springs is quick and easy.
    A few pics showing conditions:
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/IronSpringsDecember1-2019/

  300. West Bragg Creek-Beautiful day for a ski at Wbc! Started around 10 am. The parking lot was already busy when we arrived. Skied West Crystal Line, Mountain View, Mountain Road, Mountain View West, Moose Loop, the new Moose Loop Singletrack, Moose Connector then back on West Crystal Line. A few traffic jams were encountered along the way but no one seemed bothered as conditions were excellent with milder temperatures, blue skies, and brilliant sunshine!

  301. Maple Ridge Golf course

    Have been enjoying the amazing skiing in Bragg Creek ( Telephone loop, Moose loop, Loggers loop yesterday.) Today just enjoyed a wonderful ski late afternoon at Maple Ridge. Great skier set tracks that were very fast. Good conditions with just a few thin spots. A great spot to ski when your time is limited especially if you live in the south of the city. So many wonderful places to ski. Life is good.

  302. Sandy McNabb…or, be careful what you wish for. Park warden’s parking lot overflowing with about 10 to 15 cars. That means many people have broken trail as there has been no grooming of any description. For the most part, beautiful. Pine Ridge Connector and Long Prairie Loop in beautiful sunshine and skier tracked. There were three notable hazards on these trails that were somewhat exposed by the skiers before us. I call them hazards as you did not know they were there until you were on top of them. Enjoyable day but maybe not recommended for someone who has not had some experience dodging debris. Did encounter equestrians (4) on trail. Was having too nice a time to consider a confrontation even tho it is now Dec. 1st and they were not on a multi use trail. To their credit, they were trying to stay to one side. We smiled at each other and wished one another an enjoyable day. And it was.

  303. BLUEBERRY HILL – Dec 1

    The new tracksetting is excellent, even though it ends about 300 metres from the top due to lack of snow.
    Ensure you read the captions for full details:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAi1YaHbK-QQ4Ik3z8?e=0zXD2E
    The Wind Chill in Kananaskis made it just as cold as Lake Louise today!

    • Nice photos Chuck. Looks fantastic. I’ve been trying to convince my wife to go up there now for quite a few years. I think the DH (downhill, not Dear Husband…which would be) is intimidating her.

      How many km was that out-and-back of yours?

      • Hey Richie,
        Glad you asked!
        Out and back is 16.5 Km.
        What your dear wife really wants to know is… that it is a grunt going up and fast going down… but as Jeannette says to me… “you can snow plow, or even walk down”. Snow conditions are good… no ice.
        And this could be another bonding experience!

        • Thanks for the photos Chuck! I was headed for Blueberry hill today as well but got a late start so only made it as far as Blueberry Junction. Nice to see what it looked like at the top. The run back down Elk Pass was probably the fastest ever. I decided to avoid the brutal wind on the powerline and took a detour around Fox Creek. It was well packed and skier tracked with quite a few bumps and the odd twig sticking up. A great trail for an early season refresher on quick thinking and tight turns!

        • phew that’s a good haul and lots of elevation. Let me work her up to the 10km threshold first. And the kids. And get all their snowplow skills sharpened up… they don’t feel comfortable at the faster speeds (yet).

  304. WBC – skied the Telephone loop this AM. It’s in good nick, mostly trackset / groomed, a bit rough in spots but good enough for the non-discerning.

    We arrived fairly early this morning (a bit before 9) and had the trail to ourselves — crossed only one other skier, but by the time we packed it up and drove off around 11am, the lot was getting full and there was a steady stream of cars headed in.

  305. Elk Pass – Hydroline – Patterson – Elk Pass @ Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
    Groomers have done a superb job and the conditions were excellent today starting at -13C and ending -10C – I love green or blue wax days!
    Fast snow! Patterson downhill was as good as it gets!
    Debris or twigs were minor and of no concern.

  306. Sun dec 1: WBC/moose/loggers
    -14 and another chilly wind to start at 830. -4 on return at 1230. Super busy parking lot mid day and lots more people arriving in a continuous stream. Tracks getting loved lots. Better glide by 11 so a nice finish on loggers and east crystal line. Cleaned the snow off every picnic table I came across, before it gets icy with the warming temps forecasted, hoping they get used more.

    • Thank you, MaSid, for being such a x-country angel. Enjoyed every single snow couch of yours last year. My Seattle friends were totally impressed… so was I.
      I don’t know you, but hope to meet you on the trails some day to thank you “live”.
      Thank you!

      • You are most welcome Helene! Did you make it to the pipestone couches (3 in total), the Fairview one, and couch HQ at west elk pass? The Louise ones were “pop ups”, built in a day. Hopefully pipestone opens soon and I can do it again this year up at the NW corner on the river. Great spot, and no other seating options at all to enjoy the environs. Couch HQ takes a while to build, farther from the groomed trail, and usually a 10-12 seater, but the best spot ever in my view to spend an afternoon in winter. Just started that process last few days with cheeky and simona’s help. Might be a bench seat by next week and a full size couch with full reclining abilities by end of December. Stay tuned for updates. Maybe we will see you there on a sunny day. Bring a foamy for sitting on and a backpack to place behind you and you can sit for hours when conditions are right (often 5-10 degrees warmer). If it’s bluebird, chances are that I’ll be there, or nearby, roaming through the west elk meadows.

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