Trip Reports – Feb 2016

Trip Reports

This page was viewed over 75,000 times last winter. Skiers are anxious to know what you found on your skiing adventure.

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

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  1. Canmore Nordic Centre

    A generally cool start to the day made the man-made snow at CNC good and fast. Skied on Purple Start wax. Perhaps the fastest snow this year. No ice on the Banff Trail/Loop. Meadowview has iced up a bit since the reported grooming.

  2. Cameron Lake, Waterton Park weekend: We travelled to Waterton Park and stayed at the ACC Cameron Lake cabin. http://www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/huts/cameron-lake-cabin/
    With the warm temps of the past week (+14C) we went with five other friends with no expectations of being able to get any turns in. On Sat. we toured up towards Forum lake and Forum Falls. Snow pack was consolidated enough to travel most anywhere in the trees but not sold enough have confidence in making linked turns. Lots of 1/2 snow plows and a few stem christies with only a few parallel turns. On Sunday we headed up towards Summit Lake but turned back due to the trail having many post holes from hikers, leaving the track uneven and hard to negotiate.
    We then toured down Cameron lake itself to the end on the east side and returned back up the westside. We did run into Ruari Macfarlane safety officer for Parks Canada who confirmed our analysis of poor conditions.
    The cabin itself is a circa 1929 Warden cabin which the ACC has refurbished. It’s a tight fit for 8 with my suggestion being to book the whole place as it would be tough to share the place with other groups who may have other objectives. It’s a 2 km ski in from the winter gate so we used plastic kids sleds to haul gear and H2O. Lots of snowshoe and foot traffic on the road so don’t expect a wilderness retreat. Lots of good terrain though……

  3. CASCADE VALLEY REJUVENATED
    Awoke to the long awaited fresh snow in Banff this morning. The Cascade Valley had been icy, but this couple of centimeters has bonded well, especially above that first big hill. I would rate conditions as fair until you get there, good until a kilometre beyond that first bridge over the Cascade, and then very good all the way to Stoney Creek.
    See the details here:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/CascadeValleyRejuvenated?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCJ3X78CLhpWrJg&feat=directlink
    Very few people out today, but it was nice to meet Rene who mentioned that she is very happy to have found this informative website!

  4. Lake Louise – very pleasant powder skating on 1A today with 2-4 cms of new snow overnight, no new grooming. -1 at 11 am, +1 at 1 pm. Classic skiers we talked to were using VR40 (mostly good), Extra Blue (some sticking), or skintecs. Also, saw no new grooming on Lower Telemark, Peyto, Moraine Lake Road, Tramline or Bow River – noticed there was no fresh grooming last Monday too – groomers day off? Not that we’re complaining, since the skating was just fine the way it was, just wondering for future reference. And many thanks for all the hard work the groomers have been putting in out there this year – they deserve a day off!

  5. Skied up Redearth to Shadow Lake on Saturday. There was reasonable snow coverage considering the weather. Used -1 to -3 wax and it worked OK but not great. Snow at Shadow Lake was very good. Very fast coming out but very doable. Good time had by all.

  6. Skied the Pipestone on Saturday (Feb 27) Snow in the parking lot was -2 and overcast at 10am so tried V45 (Violet) wax. Worked great for almost the whole day, very little herring boning required. Tracks were in very good shape as we made our way around, only issue of the day was once the sun came out areas exposed in the sun (on down hills especially) acted as a brake and almost threw me off my skis.

    I wasn’t as fast as you Bob, but maxed out at 42kph on the way out.

    Turned out to be a really beautiful day.

  7. Mt Shark

    Skied Mt Shark today with skintecs. Icy and fast on the downhills except where there are snow fleas. One of our party did a classic swan dive coming down one of the last hills/corners on the 10 km loop and came down hard on the hard pack. Stopped in at the Canmore Hospital to get checked out, nothing broken but it will hurt for awhile – ouch.

    • I too took a shot at Mt. Shark yesterday. It was pretty warm and wet, and light wet snow coming down on and off. The trails had good snow coverage at least, little debris and tracks holding up fairly well for the most part. Snow temperature in the parking lot was -0.8C. My red wax (-1 to -2) worked OK in some places for grip, but not at all in others. Some high heels started to form, but they kicked off fairly easily. There was some major ankle bending herringbone action going on to make it up any hills, and hard to stand still on them without slipping (the family coming downhill at top speed going the wrong way on the one way trail didn’t help making the ascent any easier, and made me paranoid about not being able to avoid crashes if I encountered people going the wrong way again when I was on the fast, sketchy downhills. True to form though, I managed to stay on my skis on all the on the fast, curvy downhills, but fell hard on a flat, easy area near the parking lot by awkwardly slipping and crossing skis trying to step back into the tracks). It hadn’t been as much fun as I’d hoped, so I gave up after the short loop and headed to Pocaterra instead. I didn’t check the snow temperature, but tried my red / silver wax (+2 to 0) there since it was pretty warm at 2:20pm. I decided not to bring my wax kit with me, and it was a mistake. It didn’t take long for all the wax to be stripped (or just ineffective), so I just skied Come Along and back out by Rolly Road, trying to use better technique to get a good stride since the kick I could get was really limited and slippy. Fresh grooming on Pocaterra, but there is a lot of debris on the other trails, plus washed out tracks in spots. It will definitely get very icy if it gets cold again without snow. It was way more of an arm workout than I’d intended, but the flats were actually pretty fun with great glide once you got going. I bet the South end trails were way better, but I didn’t have enough gas or time to try them and still make it home. I definitely need to get some waxless skis for the rest of the season if this is the new ‘normal’ for temperatures in mid-winter – those I saw on waxless seemed to be having slightly less trouble 🙁

  8. Lake Louise. Skied from Moraine parking up Moraine. Perfect tracks and skate conditions. Tracks hard and cold. Turned up Fairview where some needles and icy issues were present. Crossed in front of Chateau. Lots of footprints in tracks on the lake. Climb beside Chateau well snowplowed but not yet icy. Upper Telemark somewhat rough with ruts on the downhill. Returned via 1A (perfect) and link to Tramline. Holmenkol Yellow -1 to +10 over old klister was perfect on everything, of course.

  9. Canmore Nordic Centre today, Sunday, fresh “big machine” groomed AND trackset on Meadowview all the way from where it joins Olympic to the end near Banff park. Would recommend skiing out and back the same way as the good grooming does not include Bow and Banff. From the north end of the mine meadow (near the warming hut), it is not groomed/trackset from the end of the manmade snow on Banff the 100m up to Meadowview. Don’t get turned off by this as once you get up there, it is magic.

  10. Saturday. Lake Louise Area. Went out with a family with 2 young skiers. Did Moraine Lake Road to Fairview and looping back via Tramline to Moraine parking. Air temp was about 1C when we started. We used special red (-1 to +2C) with pretty good success except some slipping in the very sunniest spots. Tracks were decent with a little washing out in a few areas and relatively debris-free on Fairview. Some glazing. Tramline had a dose of pine needs which stuck to our grip wax. At the parking lot, the rest of the group did Lower Tramline and had a blast while I drove the car down to pick them up. Beautiful sunny day.

  11. Great Divide Trail
    Wonderful day out on the Great Divide Trail. We started in -1C and finished at +4C and were glad we had brought waxless skis as the snow conditions were variable and might have been tricky to wax for, particularly after lunch. (And, I learned today that if you have glide wax on the tips and tails, waxless skis go much faster) Shortly after the start, we veered off to try the Lower Telemark Loop but the conditions there weren’t as good as the main trail. It was a bit slick in places, with pretty worn out tracks and some tree debris on the ground. The main trail on the other hand, was in great shape and we easily made it all the way to the Lake O’Hara parking lot. The trip back was reasonably fast and with the sun shining and the wind at our backs, was a very enjoyable ski.

    • Deirdre, a very eloquent description that mirrors ours exactly. My only add is that we did wax and VR50 worked great as the snow must have stayed below zero despite the air temp getting up to +4. It was a little sticky near Lake O’hara parking lot but we had great grip up the big hill and then glide with that wind pushing us back to Lake Louise.

    • We took the late afternoon shift, arriving in the parking lot at 3pm. Skate conditions on Great Divide, although not as good as last weekend, were still holding up just fine. Noticeably harder than last weekend, with less fresh, the skate track made for quick time out to the top of the hill and back. All it needs is a few cm of fresh snow and a quick grooming and it will be back in excellent shape. Thanks for the continued grooming on this great trail!

  12. I did the 24k Cookie Race today. I even skied with Bob near the Packer’s junction as he was getting in position to take some photos of the racers.

    The Parks people did an amazing job with the grooming. All the spots that had been icy earlier in the week were quite safe to ski. The tracks started nice and fresh but after an hour were looking pretty dirty, not sure if it was just the ice underneath being exposed or billions of snow fleas or moisture forming from the warm temperatures. This lead to somewhat slower glide (especially on the Pocaterra descent), but it was still pretty good for the 24k racers.

    There was a snow squall happening as I drove out of the park, so maybe there’s hope for Sunday?

  13. Think I send my message to the Used ski sale corner instead of trip reports. Oh well I am sure you can figure it out!!!

  14. Smith-Dorrien & Sandy McNabb
    I had the same experience of extreme contrasts as Bill Dreger, over the past 2 days. Feb 25, I was touring around the Chester-Sawmill trails in the Smith-Dorrien Valley. Feb 26, I was hiking in the Sandy McNabb area of the Sheep Valley.
    I could turn this into a contest and ask you to guess “Which area is currently an official groomed XC ski trial system… and which is not”.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=112757355578245802406&target=ALBUM&id=6255808667807202817&authkey=Gv1sRgCMyru6uhhdHnfA&feat=email

  15. Filed under “taking one for the team”, I checked out Bill Milne and some of the village trails this afternoon. I went in with very low expectations, which were not exceeded. I’m likely not telling you anything you haven’t already surmised, but it has largely reverted to it’s summer status as a paved bike trail. I daresay my ski tracks in what little snow I found might be the last of this season for that trail, although as a lifelong Albertan I know we should never say never. There could be some hope for the trails up around the village. They’re on life support, but there’s still a decent base of reasonably clean snow and tracks are still “sort of” visible. A little flurry might just bring them back to life. But until that happens, you’ll find it’s a basically a no-go for classic and at best, a low-quality skating experience. Ever the optimist, I’d like to think there might be another ski or two at Kananaskis Village this season, but maybe it’s best turned over to the fatbikers and snowstompers at this point.

  16. I too enjoyed the fresh grooming at Mt. Shark yesterday. I did two laps skating on the red/black loop and then a classic shuffle to Watridge Lake. In my excitement at the gift of early grooming I left my wax at home, but whatever gunk was left on there from last time did a passable job. I think it was a few dots of purple over blue. Blurple? After my ski, I pulled out our folding chair, had an apple and thumbed thru the Rocky Mountain Outlook in the glorious sunshine. Yep, that’s me in one of Bob’s photos from his post yesterday. I was so engrossed in the letters to the editor that I never saw the photographer!

  17. Mount Shark: We arrived at 10:00 am to find Mount Shark perfectly groomed one day ahead of the usual schedule. Snow temperature was – 6C with an air temperature of -4C. VR40 worked well when there were frost crystals in the track; changed to VR45 at Watridge Lake and upped it to VR50 after noon. We ventured down toward Spray River on skier set track (not groomed last night Bob) to the BNP boundary. We experienced considerable tree debris in the tracks from Watridge Lake to the boundary and chose not to descend to the bridge. We also skied the red/black 5 km loop and experienced fast skiing on good snow. The tracks were shallow and not to be trusted as we all popped on the first sharp turns. (perhaps the snow was very hard when track setting was done). Tracks to the sides of the Watridge Lake road remained in good condition all day as they saw far less traffic and are not as sun exposed. We finished the day with two and one half circuits on my favourite Mt. Shark trail – the blue 2 km loop.

  18. Canmore Nordic Centre.
    Banff past the meadow and Meadowview (west to east) were not bad for some defensive skiing – some ice but not serious, some cones but it’s been a lot worse, pretty decent tracks still, nice and fast. On the outer part of Bow, the tracks are badly iced; however, loose snow in the skating lane was sufficient for braking on descents and for gription on the climbs (waxless skis). Man-made snow was good but slower.
    The above is my opinion only and I certainly don’t mean to contradict the warnings on the CNC web site or from other contributors to this blog. I started at noon, probably after things had softened up. +7C at 3 p.m. will no doubt make for an even icier morning tomorrow.

  19. Fairview Loop/Moraine Lake Rd

    Snow still great butt getting older in Lake Louise. No ice. Skied on purple wax in -5oC to 2oC. Liked the track setting on Moraine Lake Rd. There are no tracks on the Fairview Trail, just a roughly smooth trail. Trail sure needs some help. Great sunny day out for the Canmore Meanderthals!

  20. SKOKI
    Another blue sky day means another adventure.
    Here is a Strava link to show the route and elevation profile:
    https://www.strava.com/activities/501658831
    And because photos tell a thousand words, here they are:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/Skoki02?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMesp_z6hcLcJA&feat=directlink
    Full disclosure: I used skins to climb back out of Skoki to Deception Pass (with a full belly), otherwise VR45 wax was all I needed.

    • 30km/1000m day. You make it sound like a walk in the park! No need to apologize for using skins. Now, if you had used snowmobile, that would be another story. Chuck, you’ve bitten life in the ass and then some! Bravo.

    • I notice most maps call it Whitehorn Mtn, which actually is near Mt. Robson, and LL hill is Mount Whitehorn no?

  21. We found our thrill on Blueberry Hill today (via Patterson, Elk Pass) starting at 11 am in -6 . Snow was hard packed but VR 45 worked well on the climbs. Checked temp at top of Blueberry (they moved the table to a much more sheltered location) and snow was -6. Climbing the big hill back up was probably the hardest part of the day since it did not soften up at all and little loose snow to cling onto. Enjoyed making a few snow angels but funniest part was trying to get back up.

  22. Lake Louise: Pipestone and Great Divide.

    First car at Pipestone parking at 10am (-13C). Skied trails I don’t usually visit – out on Hector to Pipestone Pond, then all of Drummond (both directions), Merlin up and down, and back on Hector. The higher elevation trails (Drummond, Merlin) were in very good shape, with occasional sprinkles of pine needles. Tracks were very good; snow hard packed but still snow. Getting there (and back) is the problem. Lower Hector (for about 1.5km from the parking lot) was mostly hard frozen snow with several icy sections – not bad for skiing up (VR40 worked fine), but challenging on the return. (Now 10 cars in the parking lot).

    Great Divide (after lunch, -3C) has good tracks, crunchy, but not icy, snow. The skating lane looked great. Quite a few people enjoying the sunny afternoon. Hope it doesn’t get too warm there over the next few days.

  23. Beware of the cones in the tracks on Banff trail at CNC. Wife took a nasty spill yesterday while skiing with others and I didn’t think too much of it until I happened to miss stepping over one myself which brought one ski to an abrupt halt and I followed!
    Had been skiing with another fellow earlier who stopped to pick a cone off the bottom of his ski and I thought why not just skid it off but these cones are nasty and really cling to the wax at the prevailing temperatures – beware! Wife will not be skiing for a few days. Outside of the cones the skiing was great with VR40 doing the job.

    • I took a tumble on hitting one of those cones yesterday and have some nice bruises today. I found that sticking to the Olympic/Centennial loops was best as they seemed to have avoided any tree debris and had great track setting.

      • I expect the nordic centre will be paying close attention to the Olympic/Centennial trails considering the Ski Tour World Cup will be using those trails March 8-12. With cold temperatures at night, the CNC will be able to make snow and freshen things up, too. Too bad those trails are so difficult for us average skiers.

  24. PLPP
    Like many others, I was out at the south end of the PLPP trails. I opted to take Fox Creek around the first big hill and found it to be icy, but not as bad as I had feared. The Elk Pass trails was good after the Hydroline Junction, as was the Blueberry Hill trail. Tyrwhitt was fast- mostly just glazed tracks with soft snow out of the tracks and a bit more icy on south-facing hills. I did a quick side trip up to the Fire Lookout. This hasn’t been groomed for a while, so it was a bit chopped up, but still enjoyable. North from the Lookout Junction, Tyrwhitt was in great shape! Whiskey Jack had been groomed on Feb 21, so it was smooth and fast. Too fast and icy, in fact on that overly steep S-turn hill. I barely made it around the bend, but there was lot’s of evidence of crashes!
    I decided to try Boulton as a return route. I feared that this had been a big mistake, as I headed down the sunny hill to Boulton Bridge… SHEER ICE! But, once across the bridge, I realized that Alberta Parks staff had unloaded their snowmobile and were just ahead of me “renovating” the trail. As this was their first pass, I was skiing on ripped hard snow and ice, but it was loose and soft enough to provide decent grip. Good news, as this means that Boulton and Fox Creek Trails will be freshly groomed for Wednesday!
    I enjoyed the new “Boulton Ridge” trail, but it is definitely NOT and “Easy” trail, as the signs indicate! It’s simply too hilly and too narrow on those hills to be considered easy. I’d say it’s a safety issue that the hills are barely wide enough to herringbone up… and there is no room to pass, if someone is coming downhill towards you.

  25. Great day of skiing today. Started with a classic loop at the Canmore Nordic Centre – Olympic, Meadowview, Rundle, Bruin, Meadowview and back on Banff Trail. Then switched to skate skis for a loop out on Banff Trail, back on Bow Trail. The weather was just about perfect.

    VR62 worked OK for the classic section, but for classic I would advise sticking to the Olympic/Centennial loops as the conditions there were far superior to elsewhere (great track setting and no ice or tree debris). Conditions for skating were some of the best I’ve experienced with the trails hard and very fast. I would definitely recommend that over classic at the moment.

    Finished off with 12 km of loops at Canada Olympic Park this evening which was in surprising good shape (at least for skating) given the weather that we have been having.

  26. Today was beautiful day in PLPP. It was sunny with temperatures hovering around 0C. Unfortunately there is no new snow to report on. Tracks are icy hard and fast with sugary snow between them. Pine needles on top of tracks eventually end up in your grip zone. I went Cookie 42k to Elk Pass and returned on Tyrwhitt and Pocaterra. The best tracks are between Packers and Whiskey Jack on Pocaterra. It has no pine needles and relatively ice free tracks and cooler snow. The worst is the hill on Woolley that Tom already mentioned. The best skis for these condition might be skintecs with metal edges.

  27. LAKE O’HARA
    With today’s beautiful weather, we included a circuit of the lake and a trip up to the Elizabeth Parker Alpine Club Hut.
    The access road was groomed again on Sunday and is good and solid, which means that it is not easily damaged by the multi users. VR45 wax worked well for us all day.
    An avalanche had come down a gully and broken into the frozen surface of the lake (a good reminder not to take the high route)!
    The waterfall at the end of the lake looks great.
    If I had not met Skier Bob ascending the steepest hill while I descended, I might have broken my 44.4 Km per hour record, or something else!
    Check out the route and photos:
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=3396107&code=56330ab45e5f143e6a971edacb0e6d50

    • You and Bob are killing me with these trips reports from the most beautiful place in the world!
      Great photos on a spectacular winter day.
      The photo of the glacier on Mt. Odaray brings back a wonderful memory of Ken Hewitt valiantly trying to lead us up onto the ridge in deep autumn snow.

      re. the photo of the Opabin Lake trailhead. Is that foot traffic, or perhaps snow shoes or ski tracks perhaps?

      • Wow Henry… You got it… the glacier on Mt. Odaray. Glad it brought back such interesting memories, and reminds us all of life’s opportunities.
        And yes, those were ski tracks going up towards Opabin Plateau. Looks like they had fun coming down too!

        • So there must have been some sitz-marks indicating how much fun they had coming down the hill -)

          re. life’s opportunities – I try desperately now to live by an adage I heard in a very funny movie, namely, “Grab life by the ass and hold on tight!”

    • Chuck, you are too modest.
      I had my contact at the Bragg Creek Beagle uncover the facts regarding your adventure on the Lake O’Hara road, and your competition with Bob to see who could descend the fastest.

      https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/uwlS9W1Bd6Y1vpmfmIMCp9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink

  28. Skied Telemark, Peyto, Fairview and Moraine Rd trails at Lake Louise from noon till 3:30 on Tuesday Feb 23. No new snow – conditions were good and fast. The Calgary Ski Club appears to be packing & widening (not tracksetting yet) the trails for the LL Loppet March 6. Fairview only had a very shallow user set track. Temp ranged from -5C to -3C. Blue Extra and Violet Special worked well.

  29. We skied the Cookie 24 k circuit today (mid-day). The usual dependence of trail conditions on sun exposure and elevation. However, there is a noteworthy downhill on Woolley (heading southwest). It is extremely icy and dangerous. Linda, who is a better downhiller than I took her skis off walking down after wiping out trying to stop (something she seldom does). I, being first to the hill and not fortunate enough to fall, had to hang on all the while wondering which set of trees (left or right) was about to do me in.

    • That section on Woolley was already icy in spots on Sunday, sounds like its got a bit worse.

    • I had the displeasure to ski downhill on this section of Woolley today. By the time I realized I should take the skis of and walk it was too late. Pure ice no control on the direction of travel. I have felt like a pinball in a pinball machine tossed left and right. I don’t know how I managed to make it in one piece but at the bottom of the hill I have made a prayer and thanked the Lord even thou I am not the particularly religious person.

  30. What a spectacular day at Lake Louise!
    We skied the Fairview loop, anti-clockwise starting from Moraine Lake Road. Upper Tramline good with a little tree debris, Fairview showed signs of recent snowmobile packing, with plenty skier tracks and snowplow smoothing, and very little tree debris, no sign of Collembola. The hills appeared to be smoother in the clockwise direction, from my biased viewpoint! Our big hills were a little bumpy and challenging, but not that bad really, lovely snow on a lovely day 🙂

  31. PLPP: Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt
    A very satisfying ski today. Started at Elk Pass parking, and skied the Elk Pass trail to the pass. Then we headed up Tyrwhitt to the high point at the north end of the meadows. Here we turned around, and skied the same route back to the car, with the small addition of a partial trip up Blueberry.
    The start of Elk Pass trail from the parking area to the Boulton jct (about 500m) is fairly icy, and the tracks show a modest infestation of Collembola. Then up the big hill is decent firm-packed snow, while coming down the other side of the hill to the Fox Ck jct verges on icy at times. Once past the N.Hydroline jct, the trail condition gets better, with occasional debris under overhanging trees. Conditions are very good around the Blueberry jct and up to Elk Pass. Tyrwhitt is generally very good and mostly clean, though several short south-facing aspects are hard/icy. The section of Blueberry that we skied (about 1.5km) was in really nice shape (should have gone to the top).
    Quite a few happy skiers enjoying the sunny trails. -8C to start, -2C to end.

    • We lead / followed Ray from Elk Pass parking to the high point of Tyrwhitt and then continued down to the top of Whiskeyjack. The north end of Tyrwhitt was perfect with solid tracks, no snow bombs and little debris. After lunch we cautiously decended Whiskeyjack. Five of us walked the S-bend hill while two successfully skied the corner. The sun exposed hill above the 90 degree turn was very icy and the remainder of the trail was well groomed and hard packed but quite ski-able. Turning north on Wheeler we found what everyone has been reporting – misery all the way back to Elkwood parking. Lodgepole and Braille were groomed and trackset today and in very good condition – I heard from two of our folks.

  32. We skied the outside loop (20) at Pipstone today. The outward trail was definitely not pristine, quite a few pine needles . We stopped twice to scrape off the debris and re wax. I would rate it as fair since the snow is still fine, with very few icey spots. The return half (we skied it counterclockwise ) was in much better shape and the stunning sunshine and blue sky made for an enjoyable trip.

  33. Great skate ski on Moraine Lake road this morning. Minus 8 to start but the constant uphill warms you up and then cools you down as you return. Lots of footprints close to the start…fewer as you go along but it is interesting how far some people choose to walk. Good hard snow with lots of sun.

  34. Parked at Pocaterra, temp was about -1 at 9:30. Head out Pocaterra to Packer’s trail, first bit was fairly icy with a skiff of snow on top. Across Amos, Lynx and Come Along, the last bit back was super slick. Used my new waxless Aero 9s and experienced reasonable grip the whole day.

  35. Great conditions at Sovereign Lake, BC today; 6cm fresh snow on a deep base and almost every trail groomed today. Lots of snow on the trees and the snowshoe trails look inviting. I was there in the afternoon when air temp was above zero, so used purple with a bit of red wax. It was good for both wax/waxless skis today. Drove over to Silver Star and the downhill skiers and boarders said conditions were excellent.
    Also checked out Larch Hills trails. A bit warmer there with sticky snow, but folks were using waxless or skating. The access road was getting muddy and rutted.

  36. On the subject of MOTIVATION, it is often Chuck and Jeanette who inspire me with their trip reports, most recently to Deception Pass. My hubby wanted to go downhill skiing so I decided to ski up the ski out (nicely groomed) in -12 this morning, got to Skoki Trailhead above Temple Lodge an hour later and to Boulder Pass 1.5 hours beyond that. The top of Boulder often windswept and lots of rocks showing so walked back down from the summit a ways. Four people from Quebec were doing it as a day ski, (two days in a row!!) and had much better down hill technique than me. VR 45 worked fine and more appreciative than ever of my Asnes metal edges. Was also motivated by the story on last night’s news about a movement to promote world peace by making snow angels. Thank you to the “Map Angel” who tucked my forgotten Gem Trek map under my wipers. Thanks Chuck for being able to follow in your ski steps.

    • Hey Helen,
      I must admit, I did not include my photo of Jeannette tip toeing through the pebbles on Boulder Pass… so here is one just for you:
      http://1drv.ms/1WFm0LV
      (Compliments of a neighbour’s child on a neighbouring driveway)
      Motivation for another day!

  37. ROSS LAKE
    Capitalizing on the great snow in the Lake Louise / Lake O’Hara area, we checked out this interesting circuit today:
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=3395799&code=eca9a46b606073fe2531b1287c411579
    Remember that you can Zoom In/Out on the map, and view the pictures.
    I would appreciate any feedback on this Everytrail format.

    • Very nice, needs more photos! Was it you or someone else doing Everytrail a couple of years ago? The format seems to have changed a little.
      The last time we did this circuit, we did not have skins. We found the worst part was going uphill to the west from Ross Lake, and now we have skins I would love to try that again. We also did not go beyond the end of the lake. Do you recommend trying that?

      • Thanks Diana,
        Yes, I have used Everytrail in the past, and now it seems to be working better. I like that it has an interactive map, and that photos can be placed in specific locations. It also shows elevations.
        Skins were very useful on this narrow uphill trail. We did not go beyond the lake… only to a large rock at the other side to have lunch.

    • Chuck, I like the new format.
      Thanks again for sharing your great trip reports and photos.

  38. Canmore Nordic Center

    Two days in Lake Louise were great on the weekend. Thought I’d check out the CNC between 10am and noon. Man made trails (Banff) were good and V40 with a touch of purple gave good grip. Glide was exceptional and fun. Could turn a recreational skier into a double pole racer. Went out Banff and back on Meadowview. The natural snow was fair with places were the ice/snow layer was like popcorn. Skiable but not as much fun as the man-made. Skaters were enjoying the hard conditions.

  39. PLPP Double header; Lookout & Blueberry Hill! 10am Sunday, -11C temp @ Boulton Bridge lot, 300m of icy trail then fresh grooming. Whiskey Jack-solid fresh tracks, Lookout good snow climbing, superb views up top & slightly rough descent north side, Tyrwhitt excellent fast conditons, Elk Pass to Blueberry junction perfect, Blueberry Hill up and down perfect snow for in control skiing, Elk Pass-Fox Creek fast and fun, Fox Creek was very icy but fun besides a couple sketchy spots, Fox-Boulton connector icy, Boulton Creek to Boulton Bridge was su-ice-ide, walked 100m of it, -1C @ 4pm, blue wax applied 3 times throughout day. Great conditions on trails groomed in last few days!

  40. calgary fun paddlers gone skiing

    From baker creek almost all the way to castle lookout

    Thanks to TJ for grooming the trails!

    A hard day but a great day! We did roughly 16km return.

    No new snow recently, so the trail was pretty icy in exposed areas. Still the trail was relatively well covered (no rocks), but there were areas where fallen pine needles slowed us down on the trail.

    Downhill was very fast on the icy parts. 😀

    Lovely sunny day, warm temps, had a great time! Amazing panoramic views of the mountains when approaching castle lookout.

    https://drive.google.com/folder/d/0BzbnEaqnp59DSnBqVUlmR3l5R2c/edit

  41. Sunday PLPP from Bolton Creek, snow temp -7C @ 12 noon, skied Wheeler (hard and fast), Lynx (nice surprise to also see it groomed) , Pocaterra,, Tyrwhitt to Hydroline then turned and returned via Whisky (icy on the very steep section, I side slipped the top half) VR45 was okay on all but the very sun parts late in the day, overall another great ski, praying for cold snow !

  42. DECEPTION PASS
    Cool temperatures at this elevation have preserved the recent snow nicely, and clear skies allow for full enjoyment of this dramatic area. This was a delightful choice for today.
    Check out the photos for details:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/DeceptionPass?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCOr-vMynj-ut-QE&feat=directlink

  43. Two very special friends who live atop of Silver Star Village, led Mary and I out to Alder Point Lookout yesterday, starting right outside the popular Bugaboo Cafe. This was the first day all week I was able to use my wax skis and such a treat after using wax-less the previous 4 outings. Does the Resort at Silver Star ever know how to offer everything to everyone. Their brochures (combined with adjacent Sovereign Lake Nordic) include: snowmobile trails with four way stop signs at ski intersections; x-c trails with cabins having heated stoves lit; incredible downhill boarding/skiing terrain both groomed and ungroomed; snowboard park, well signed snowshoe trails galore; tube park; fat bike multiuse trails; bowling, unique restaurants like Paradise Camp and lots of white snow everywhere up at 1609 M. elevation. Senior’s Nordic day pass $14 for Silver Star or $15 for both Silver Star and Sovereign trail use combined. Some confusion with the distances of the trails and having to pull out “the map” at several intersections but a terrific road trip and never tired of seeing the massive quantities of pure white snow.

  44. Morraine Lake Road
    Started off on MLR just after 11:00 am. I used my wax skis that had new glide wax and VR 45 (violet). It was minus 5 when I started, and the track was very set and cold.
    It was perfect and the first. 3 or 4 km were very fast. It seemed to slow down the further I went. At the lookout to the Valley of Ten Peaks at the end of the grooming was as beautiful as I have ever seen. The outbound tracks were fantastic, but the inbound tracks were inconsistent. I’m not sure why – it was weird.
    The way down was the same. It became fast towards the bottom, starting with the steep pitch above Paradise Creek. Overall, a truly amazing ski.

    • Hey Jeff,

      “It seemed to slow down the further I went.” I hear you, brother! ?

      And it seems to happen a little more each year. Climate change, maybe?

      Lovin’ it as much as ever, though. Keep on stridin’! ???

      • I see Apple emojis show as question marks. Makes it look like I’m even more mystified than I am.

        Read them all as smiley and laughy faces. 🙂

  45. Lake O’hara
    Was ski touring in area and at 2:30 ended up on last 2 km of trail. NEVER seen tracks that perfect on the trail/ or in the Park. Solid- straight – no ice. Whole trail groomed flat with more than a Skidoo. Must have been set last night!

  46. Skied Pipestone counterclockwise today (Sunday 21st). Used V40 Blue because it said it was -10 when I arrived just before 11! Sun was blazing all day (sunscreen would have been handy). After skate skiing at CNC Saturday I was delighted to have such lovely snow and tracks. Went to Mud Lake before heading up around the rest of the loop to Pipestone Lake. Never done this trail before. It was really lovely and not too difficult. Came across a lot of other skiers and dogs along the way. Will have to go back again soon!

  47. PLPP
    Just came back from PLPP, had a fabulous ski. Started at Boulton, up Packers and Pocaterra then down Whisky Jack. Trackset was done that morning and conditions were perfect. -4C and sunny, fast but not icy due to great grooming. Used blue extra wax, grip was perfect.
    Bottom line in these weather conditions is to ski where the track setting was just done. Makes a huge difference.

  48. Ok last one….
    Is it pronounced “tire-wit” or “tirrrr-wit”?

      • Pete, I figure that you mean ‘tear’ as in lagrima, and not as the verb.

        Does anyone use ‘tir wit’ as in ‘stir wit’?

        • Guilty, but we thought everyone did?!

          • I believe the w and h are silent so it should be pronounced tirrit or turret (as in the turret on a castle).

          • According to Wikipedia, it’s pronounced
            TIr it. The ‘yrr’ portion sounds like ‘ear’
            Check out the YouTube pronunciation for Charles Tyrrwhitt.
            It’s a British name. Just because it contains vowels and consonants, it does not necessarily follow that you actually pronounce them.
            The mountain and trail is named after Admiral Reginald Tyrrwhitt, who commanded several Royal Navy fleets in his career. The ships he sailed on as an officer included the HMS Indefatigable, HMS Aurora and HMS Arethusa…all of which are now mountain names in this area.

            • Putnam’s “Place Names of the Canadian Alps” spells Tyrrwhitt as Tyrwhitt….this is a book worth having on your Rockies shelf even though it’s quirky, biased & occasionally sophomoric in the writing (to quote Jon Whyte). The photos & drawings by Glen Boles are wonderful, but I will pencil in Tyrrwhitt over Tyrwhitt?!

            • The damned admiral probably came from Leicester !

              Luckily we North Americans got revenge on the Brits with our pronunciations of ‘Portage and Main’, Dauphin Manitoba, Des Moines Iowa, Tswwassen, and one of my favourites, Wilkes-Barres Pennsylvania !

            • My typo… there IS only one “r” in Tyrwhitt.

            • I spelled Tsawwassen wrong. Not hard to do -)

            • Hey Henry, I don’t hear my home town come up in conversation very often. You know something about Dauphin MB?

            • Dennis, it’s just that Dauphin is on my very informal, and probably completely wrong, list of names that are not pronounced as they might at first appear. My closest connection is that both of my Lithuanian parents worked in Manitoba as displaced persons after WWII.
              As a Canadian, I think the kicker is ‘Portage and Main’. You’d think that we’d say ‘Portage’ just as we say the activity of hauling our canoes and packs. Instead we have Americanized it. I’d love to know the history behind that.
              BTW, there should be a prize for anyone who can pronounce Wilkes-Barres, Pennsylvania as the locals do. Hint – it’s like the last name of a very famous Canadian swimmer.
              New Brunswickers and Nova Scotians have their fair share of local native place names as well which are a mouthful.

  49. I followed the fatbike tracks all the way up Elk Pass and To the top of Blueberry hill and back. Not even once did I observe the bike tracks going over the xc tracks . Instead I saw hiker and snowshoe tracks and other ski tracks within the tracksets. Tells me the rider was fit and competent. Also at the Elk Pass parking lot I didnt see any obvious signs saying no fatbikes.

    As an FYI some of the Fat/biker community is aware of the Skihere thread. Concern was expressed about “public shaming” but I dont believe that has ever been the intent here.

    Another interesting note is I had a very pleasant chat with a couple from Sask on the way up Elk Pass. They LOVED the skiing, first time they said and they were on rentals as they wanted to experience our beauty and try skiing. AND they were some of the folks “caught” yesterday snowshoeing up in that area and had a pleasant chat with Bob. They didnt mind the discussion generated here but did wish to note that once tracks are made the herd tends to follow. Now anyone who has tried setting a new snowshoe trail know how hard it is…. And they simply werent up to the task.

    I enjoyed my chat yesterday with the couple from Milestone, SK. They asked me what to do if they wanted to try skiing and I suggested renting some gear and giving it a try, so I’m happy to hear this. Very pleasant people who live in the vicinity of my home town in SK. -Bob

    • Hard trail breaking on snowshoes is an excellent calorie burner! Especially on a steep incline. Highly recommended for reducing the size of spare tires anyone may be hauling around! (Usually after xmas and new years!)

      • In my opinion snowshoe trail breaking is fun, but then I have old snowshoes. What’s the point if you may as well walk?
        (Of course, skiing is always a thousand times better, but that goes without saying.)

        • Running down steep hills on snowshoes while trail breaking is also thoroughly entertaining! It occasionally includes face plants or my all time favorites somersaults and front flips followed by fits of uncontrollable laughter! (Which provides one and all with an excellent abdominal workout also the release of endorphins and big smiles too!)

          • Chester Lake has phenomenal options if u dont mind bushwhacking up up up to the Elephant Rocks and then follow the fall line down through the widely spaced trees giggling and laughing as u race downhill hoping not to face plant, kick snow down your shirt, or step into a hidden tree well. Good times indeed. ?

  50. Sunday morning report:
    Elk pass really good from Elk parking lot, Blueberry 1st up and down today in excellent conditions with fantastic view, remainder of Elk pass excellent, Tyrwhitt starts excellent and steadily gets slicker and more hard pack, fresh groomed on very hard pack down Whiskey Jack, Boulton awfully icy and crap, then back to car. Waxed 3 times starting with VR40 then incrementally warmer and stickier each time. But ice is ice. Blech!!
    25km, approx 650meters climbing.

  51. Did a Sunday morning ski from Ellwood up packers, down pocaterra and back on lynx, wooley. At 10:00 snow temp was -10c and at 11:45 it was -6c

    Very nice conditions on packers and pocaterra (south of lynx). The rest were glazed and ice tracks.

    Lots of cars heading south into the park after noon.

  52. We skied down from MtAssiniboine on Friday Feb 19. There was half a meter of powder at the top, around Wardens cabin was snow a bit stale but still good and from Spray River Bridge was again fresh powder. Probably a good place to go to this weekend.

  53. Banff Cascade – skied from Minnewanka on Saturday afternoon. As the trail reports say, the first part of the trail is icy and once you’re half way up that first big hill, it softens up a bit. I was on fish scales and although they were slow they did the trick everywhere except the iciest spots. My hubby waxed and had limited success, but still had a good ski. The best skiing on the cascade trail is on skate skis. I’ll try that next time! Overall though, good spring conditions on the whole trail. As long as you’re mentally prepared for that, you’ll have a great day! Enjoy!

  54. Mt. Shark. Word is out, I guess. On Friday we met a busload of 50 amazingly fit and fun skiers from the Vancouver Skiers club who were burning up the Mt Shark trails. They were on a 5-night trip.

  55. PLPP – North
    Skied from pocaterra hut out along pocaterra, comealong and then up o the junction with Trywhitt. Trails within 2-4km of pocaterra hut are like glass but once you get past come along they are better with some fresh snow and less ice. It makes waxing very challenging though – if you wax for come along’s ice you won’t move anywhere once you get past that.

  56. Skied at Heritage Park in Red Deer today. We went from the parking lot just off Hwy 2 to a little ways before the Bower ponds on the other side of the river. The trail was double track set and there was about 3cm fresh snow. It was about -8’C when we got there at 11:30 and about -5’C when we left at 2:30. We saw about 12 or so others out using the trails including walkers, snow shoers, a jogger and a biker all of whom were respecting the signs and staying off the tracks. (Thanks folks:)

  57. Lake O’Hara Rd. – Ice clumps and Duct Tape

    The forecast for Lk. O’Hara was -5 going up to -3, but when we arrived it was already -1. There was a good track going up in about 7cm of new snow. The five of us started out with waxes between VR40 and VR55 with varying degrees of success for kick and clumping. Some added softer wax at the 1km mark. Most people had to scrape their skis at the picnic tables at 5km and everyone had at least a bit of clumping by the time we reached the top. Everyone scraped most of their wax off for the trip down.

    The lake was unskied so everyone except me got to cut some fresh tracks in briliant sunshine. I found my binding had broken and wouldn’t hold my boot, so I started going down, single skiing until the bottom of the first hill. At that point the others joined me and we duct taped the binding in place, which worked very well for the rest of the trip down.

    The track going down was a bit beaten up, but as long as the lodge staff keep setting tracks and the weather gods are helpful, Lake O’Hara will be a good destination for a while longer.

  58. Has anyone been to Cascade Valley since it was groomed Feb. 18? Wondering if it is worth the trip tomorrow (feb 21)

    • I forgot to mention yesterday that my first choice for skiing was Cascade valley. When I arrived at the trailhead, the snow on the paved road which you have to take for 800 metres was pure ice. I don’t know for how far the icy conditions continued, but it looked dangerous. I imagine that once you reach the actual trail, there might be snow. As you know, I changed plans and went to Lake Louise. Got a bobsled?

      • Thanks Bob! Hmm no bobsled in the car…think we will go to Shark instead, and hope it is still ok since the Feb. 18 grooming..trying to avoid the nordic centre due to races there tomorrow.

  59. Smith-Dorrien/Sawmill Trails
    I toured around some of the former Smith-Dorrien (Sawmill) XC ski trails on Friday. Most of the former XC trails are now marked as snowshoe trails and get regular packing and “grooming” by snowshoers, so they are not bad for skiing… except after a big snowfall.
    It’s interesting to note that it has been about 5 weeks since there was enough snow for grooming or track-setting at Ribbon Creek, West Bragg Creek or Sandy McNabb, yet there was over a metre of snow depth and 10cm of fresh, cold snow at the Chester-Sawmill area on Friday.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=112757355578245802406&target=ALBUM&id=6253542431190620225&authkey=Gv1sRgCID6g9Ka29SNWw&feat=email

    • Thanks for this, Alf. The Sawmill-Chester trails have always been my favourite, even though they are ungroomed. And I have not been there at all these last two winters, knowing that the trails have been “appropriated” by snowshoers. Your photos have convinced me to go there this week.

    • Alf, would light touring skis work on these trails with the current conditions?

  60. Conditions continue to be great in Lake Louise after 3-4 cm of snow on the tracksetting done yesterday. Skied great divide, lower telemark and peyto and trails were in great shape for classic. The extra snow may have been a more work for skating, but everyone looked happy. Temperatures were around 0 at 1030 and maybe rose a degree or two. Skies were blue and the highway was mostly dry

  61. MORAINE LAKE ROAD
    Parks tracksetters were busy at Lake Louise today, grooming the overnight snow. Two passed us soon after we started up the MLR. Lots of smiling faces, even from the skate skiers. Some clumping for those on waxless, but the happiest were on waxable!
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/MoraineLakeRoad06?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCM-Kme7x7a7tzAE&feat=directlink

  62. Elk Pass Parking lot to Elk Pass via Elk Pass Trail, Tyrwhitt to picnic table, return to Elk Pass then Hydroline, Fox Creek (15 km). VR50 worked well for variable conditions. 1 cm new over grooming at Elk Pass parking lot increasing to 2 cm new snow at Elk Pass. Temperature above zero in sun. Conditions very good other than Fox Creek. Fox Creek is variably icy with lots of tree debris. Overall, the conditions exceeded my expectations considering how little snow has fallen this month.

  63. Bring a book to Pocaterra or your ice skates! A thin skiff of snow over ice doesn’t make for enjoyable or safe skiing. Best to head elsewhere! Pray for snow everybody!

  64. There is still snow in Kananaskis! I skied to Watridge Lake yesterday, from the Mt. Shark parking lot. Big fat snowflakes started streaming down from the sky, upon arriving at the lake. Conditions were a little soft, but hey, there’s snow and tracks!
    I used my waxless skis with a bit of glide wax, which worked out perfectly.

  65. Mt Shark – February 19 – A bit sticky but highly enjoyable.
    We skied the wonderful trails at Mount Shark yesterday enjoying a few centimetres of new snow. The snow was soft and powdery at first (started skiing just before 11am), getting slightly heavier as the day warmed up. Temps were about -1. Applications of V40 yielded some clumping at the bottom far end of the Watridge Lake trail near the bridge over the river, but once this was scrapped off back up at the top of the hill, our glide was pretty good. As well as the Watridge trail, we also did the red/black 5 and some of the biathlon trails which were in great condition, the track being aided by a busload of eager skiers from Vancouver.

  66. Lake Louise!! Best snow we have seen in a month!!!

    We did bits of Great Divide, Upper and Lower Telemark and Peyto this afternoon. Lots of grooming activity on the 1A, nice skier tracks on the other trails, and groomers just getting started on Lower Telemark as we left. The latter was the only trail with noticeable debris or snow bombs, and they were extremely rare. The rest were all beautiful white snow, and it was snowing lightly most of the time we were out. Slightly challenging waxing for the warm conditions, but no complaints!
    We were also treated to the noisy spectacle of the dog sleds starting out twice, and the mournful sighs of those left behind………

  67. CNC Friday night: +5 air temp. Mostly well groomed freeze thaw ice formerly known as snow. Using universal klister plus a topcoat of V50 worked perfectly and I think it was my fastest day of the year so far. Higher elevation trails better than lower. Olympic loops above stadium are in perfect shape. Most else is good / okay considering the weather. This will be great for the weekend if you are comfortable on less than ideal hard pack icy conditions. If not, then approach with caution. As always the crew at CNCPP does a fantastic job with what they have.

  68. Hi folks:
    For those one who are concerned about the cookie race I have an advice for waxing: I am currently in Italy and enjoying probably the last good snow of the season with crazy situation like I am reading about PLPP, here is what they do here when there is some fresh snow on top of klister conditions:
    You should prefer high camber skies suited for klister waxing and the first layer is REX powergrip gel wax which you can obtain from Fastrax in Edmonton ( Jack the owner is a great guy), it is available in 3 temperature ranges and usually applied on its own but with fresh snow it can stick to your skies so just cover with 1 or 2 layers of the stick wax of the day and use the corner of a natural cork rather than synthetic pressing moderately and from the outside in. REX powergrip is applied with a heat gun and you can go to the REX website to learn how to do it properly.
    My advice is that you should try this method before you race as it requires all your skier’s and waxer’s skills, if anything apply the REX in a thin layer perhaps avoiding to spread it over the edges so if there is a thicker amount of new snow it won’t clog easily and won’t feel uneasy going down hill.
    Remember this: the thicker is the layer of natural snow the thinner is the layer of the REX powergrip.
    Cool off the skies after each application.
    I have witnessed with my eyes how a ski men did the whole procedure on a pair of skies destined to be used by Dorothea Wierer and she literally flies on those skies with the rifle on her shoulders.
    Good luck to you all

  69. PLPP – north trails
    I decided to check out these trails in advance of next week’s Cookie Race.
    Heading out from Pocaterra Hut along the Pocaterra trail, the tracks were fairly crusty/icy esp. where the sun hits the trail. Don’t use the Come Along trail as there is a wicked ‘ice zone’ along that route. Beyond the Lynx junction the conditions improve and I encountered slight sticking with the +1/-1 gooey SWIX wax I had applied for transformed snow as there was a very thin layer of fresh snow. Nevertheless the going was good and it should be fine for the race next week but waxing may be tricky. And some of the runs on the steep downhills pose quite the challenge with these conditions. Saw one fatbiker who rode the centre of the Amos trail, staying out of the tracks, THANK YOU!

  70. PLPP: Elkwood-Wheeler-Packers-Tyrwhitt-Elk Pass-Fox-Moraine-Wheeler

    I’ve been around the world today, or that’s how it feels after having every possible snow condition in one day. Wheeler was do-able because of the little skiff of snow on top of pure ice (didn’t someone say it was raining as they left PLPP yesterday?). When we got to the top of Packers I vowed NOT to come down it. But then conditions improved, almost too much, as new snow on Tyrwhitt was slow, without new tracks. Still, it was gorgeous. Arrived at Elk Pass in a blizzard. People coming up had warned of the icy hard no-tracks condition of the trail. But then we won the jackpot. We arrived at Blueberry hill just after the groomer had trackset. They must have got the machines up and running. Elk Pass was the delight of the day. Fox Creek was double poling largely on brown ice. Moraine was unskiable unless you have a death wish. We walked good chunks of it on pure ice.

    Today was a day for Skintecs. They performed excellently. We call them our “climate change” skis because they can handle the ice and the wonky conditions of freeze/thaw cycles.

    If the skate skier who ruined the tracks on Trywhitt is reading this: I am sure you will wake up in the middle of the night tonight and have a crisis of conscience. As you’re lying wide awake in deep regret and racked with guilt, I want you promise yourself that you will never ever do it again.

    • I don’t understand why classic skiers and PLPP are not considering having more skating lanes. I read the sign at the Pocaterra trail head today suggesting skate skiers avoid conflicts on the trails by going to Mt. Shark or CNC. This is crazy PLPP. Show some leadership and groom more skating lanes. It is possible to have trails for ALL to use by having one-way loops. I don’t skate ski in PLPP, but I do not blame the skate skiers who go there. Come on people can’t we get along. Change is good for all.

  71. Lake O’hara

    According to the Yoho Park website, the O’Hara Road is track set on Thursday. We wondered when: early Thursday morning before dawn, mid-morning, afternoon, evening … So we decided to check it out and arrived at the parking lot at 10:30. After spending about 15 minutes getting the car unstuck, we heard a noise and like magic a Lake O’Hara Piston Bully appeared. It had just set two wonderful tracks down from the lake. People were running with their skis from a car to get started.

    We put on VR45/Swix 0 to -2 and headed up the tracks. The air temp at kilometre 5 was about -1 C and the snow temp at -3 C, perfect. We had good grip and no icing all the way up. We saw skate ski tracks and soon discovered that these tracks belonged to the three people running at the start – 3 members of Canada’s National Men’s Cross Country Team: Devon Kershaw, Graeme Killick and Alex Harvey. No we did not catch them, but saw them coming down. They must be doing some altitude training in preparation for Ski Tour Canada 2016 which begins in Gatineau QC on March 1.

    Being mid-week there was not a lot of traffic, some people on fat skis, skinny skis, snowshoers and walkers going both directions. All were where they were supposed to be: skinny skis in the tracks and everyone else including the skaters in the middle. What goes down must come up and we were passed by the Piston Bully going up just before kilomtere 6.

    It is a winter wonderland at the Lake with tons of snow, no debris and no snow fleas. It started to snow lightly while we had lunch at the day shelter. The decent was great but a bit slow as the snow intensified on the way down. By the bottom it was about +2 C and the snow was very wet, about 1 cm on the ground. This is were the good news ends however. On the drive back the wet snow turned to a rain snow mix by Lake Louise and to drizzle and light rain just east of Lake Louise all the way to Banff.

    This was the last day of a four day foray to ski in Yoho and area. Here is a link to pictures with no lack of snow at Emerald Lake, Dawn Mountain (Golden), Yoho Valley Road and Lake O’hara.

    https://goo.gl/photos/hervC77KrNgwr3BS7

    • Wonderful photos. The Emerald Lake lodge indeed looks like a fairyland.
      Well done!

      I love the photos looking back down the Yoho Valley road switchbacks.Wow, do they look steep from that perspective!

  72. I started on the Fairview trail head at about 10:30 this morning. Temperature was -5 celsius, the trail has not been track set but was very skiable. This was true until I got to Moraine Road where the tracks were freshly groomed pass Paradise Road. The same applies for the lower Tramline all the way down to the train station. My blue wax worked very well all the way behind the Samson Mall.

    Two months of finding the best ski conditions left me no choice but Lake Louise. I am so fortunate to be able to ski the area as much as I have. I did not have the misfortune of skiing in the rain as I was out by 12:15 pm.

    • It certainly seem to me that Fairview is the poor cousin when it comes to tracksetting. We were there on weekend and lots of fresh on Fairview and it certainly could of used some tracksetting, then come around corner to MLR and it was recently trackset. Curious, it is Parks Canada or Fairmont that takes care (or doesn’t take care) of Fairview. It is such a lovely little trail. Just curious

      • Tom, the Chateau is responsible for Fairview. The reason it hasn’t been trackset lately is because their snowmobile is in the repair shop. They’ve been quite diligent in maintaining the trail this winter and you can see how often it was trackset by checking the Groomer’s Reports.

        • Thanks Bob. Didn’t mean to slag them. Too bad that Parks couldn’t pick up slack and help them but I do understand that there are toes that should not be stepped on. Again, thanks for the information

  73. Mount Shark
    Groomed to perfection last night. Visited it today and the trails are in exceptional condition, especially for skate skiers.

    • Went back to Shark today Feb. 19, and about 10 (?) cm of snow fell last night. The down side is that it obliterated the great grooming. The up side; snow on the tree boughs, snow on the ground, happy faces all around.

  74. Boulton Bridge!
    Exciting to park here again after a 3 year absence! Modified somewhat by the number of snow fleas apparent in parking lot. Sure enough, in spite of recent grooming, the Boulton Creek trail is getting rather dirty with both tree debris and collembola, so I would have to rate it as fair with good sections. Interesting new trail, and as with Riboon Creek, I think the first section needs a new name, like Boulton Heights perhaps?
    Over the Elk Pass big hill, snow nice and white, bit soft and grabby in spots.
    Returned via Fox Creek, which sadly is also getting dirty again, lots of tree debris, but travel reasonably good and not too slow. Moraine had much better, cleaner snow, some sections looked icy but were actually soft, hills definitely not fast! No views as weather socking in, and light snow mixed with drizzle starting to fall.
    My skis had brownish bottoms back at the car, and the snow turned to rain as we left, with the rain following us as far as Ribbon Creek 🙁

  75. Canmore Nordic Center

    Bit of miscommunication had me skiing CNC today. Used Vauhti Fluor K9 in +3 to +5oC temps. Good grip with this silver (non-kister) wax. Conditions are very good on the man-made portions of the Banff Trail and hard and fast on the natural snow on the Banff Trail and Meadowview. Meadowview was best but I chose to ski out to the top of the hill, then back and onto Banff at the meadow. Going up the Meadowview hill from the end of Banff Trail was a better choice. It would be very fast on the hard snow coming down.

    For those back country people. We snowshoed Chickadee valley yesterday. About 4 feet of great snow with a supporting crust about a foot below the powder. A couple of people were in on bc skiis.

  76. Kicking Horse Trails question??

    I am thinking of doing the trails in Yoho tomorrow. Does anyone know if there is a trailhead along the Emerald Lake Road that is between the Natural Bridge and the Lake? I would like to do about 20-25 km and include the Lake and Alluvial fan so Starting at the Natural Bridge would be a bit too far. Any suggestions would be fantastic.

    Thanks!

    • I assume you’re asking about an access point on the Emerald Connector? There is no “official” access between the two trailheads. You can see the trail from the road in one location but you’d have to walk through very deep snow in the ditch to get to it.

      • Thanks Bob. We will probably just start at the lake and then do an out and back on the connector after doing the Lake and Alluvial Fan. The lake + fan is about 10 km? See you on the trails!

        • Hi Patrick. This week we did Emerald Lake plus the Lake and alluvial fan from the natural bridge and it was 24 km. Should be fresh track setting, but it was warm today. Had rain from Lake Louise to Banff today so waxing could be fun.

  77. skied pipestone area Wed.17th Good trail except for ice on last section of pipestone loop after pipestone pond (skiing counter clockwise ) .Skipped this section the second time by getting on Hector and then back on pipestone to ski behind cabin.

  78. Wed feb 17: castle lookout to protection mountain and back.
    Just below zero when starting out at 11. Didn’t check on return. But warm enough at the camp up against the shelter wall for a single layer for a bit. Tracks are getting a bit worn, but decent enough. Usual marginal stuff in the trees at the east end, debri, tree drippings, icy bits. Nice clean tracks the rest of the way and didn’t get soft. Pole plants seemed to be hitting hard ice below surface though in the open areas. Construction on the 1a just west of castle lookout delaying travels. Slash burning along the 1a further east of junction, altalink doing some work cutting back along the power line.

  79. I skied Canmore this afternoon as part of my 4-5 weekly trips there to train for the Norwegian Birkebeiner in late March. Conditions were great – actually much better on the non-man made snow trails than they were last weekend. A big thumbs up to the CNC staff for doing a great job on the outer trails which are definitely more of a challenge to maintain given the warm temps and lack of snowfall. The warmer temps have done a bit of damage to the trails but the warm conditions and relatively non-existent wind has been a real pleasure to ski in these last few weeks.

    I have been using a Rex Power Grip hard wax/klister wax combo for the past few weeks which has worked excellent, but today had excellent grip and glide with good old Rode “Chola” klister straight up.

  80. As reported fast trails where grooming/tracksetting had been done yesterday. Took a side jaunt on Lynx which had a cm or 2 of ungroomed snow, a treat to ski.

  81. We skied the Lake Louise lower telemark trail at 10am: -4oC, fast and in great shape. Peyto to upper telemark, skier-set with at least 5cm of fresh snow; made for a bit of plowing on the descent. +2oC by noon and purple wax worked well.Great divide and lower telemark trails were being groomed as we left. Very few souls on the trails and much better skiing than at PLPP.

  82. Lake Louise – lots of fresh grooming today – Bow River Loop, Campground Loop, Tramline, Moraine Lake Road and 1A (don’t know about Fairview, Peyto or Telemark). -8 at 11 am, -2 in village at 2.30 pm, VR 45 worked well early with a skiff of VR 50 to get back up Tramline later. Good clean snow/tracks except for a few icy bits under the trees on the Bow River Loop.

  83. PLPP – We started at Boulton (-3C) and skied north on Amos, Wheeler, over to Wooley, then back on S. Meadow, and S. Amos to Boulton parking on new track set. We used VR45 and V 50 which worked well. The tracks were very fast everywhere (with Wheeler being somewhat icy in places and needle-covered). After lunch, I switched to waxless skis while Ray kept his waxables on and we went to take a look at Whiskyjack and ended up going all the way to the Pocaterra Jct. returning the same way (+3 at end). Skiing down was a bit slow and grabby with the big hill being quite icy on the sun-exposed slope, but skiable. The Evil Collembola have made their appearance, especially on Whiskyjack, where the trails were liberally peppered with them. So everyone join in on the chorus:

    A-wim-ba-way, Collembola, a-wim-baway, Collembola (repeat)
    In the forest, the mighty forest, the snow fleas grease the tracks.
    In the forest, Kananaskis forest, Collembola provide the wax.
    Oooh, oh-oo-oo-oo…etc.

    Great to see Skier Bob in the parking lot at the end of our ski and the beginning of his.

  84. Skied the Yoho Valley Road from the visitors info centre in Field to the top of the switchbacks – 10.5 km one way. As the tracks were set on Tuesday and it went down to -5 C last night the conditions were perfect. The tracks stop about 1 km short of the switchbacks, but lots of back country skiers have set a track beyond. It is still winter up there with cold snow and tons of it. This is a very scenic ski including the initial part out of Field along the Kicking Horse River.

  85. Spending the week skiing Sovereign Lake and Silver Star Nordic Trails. Temps reflect many of the trip reports with -1 to +1, give or take a degree either way. Snow forecast for next few days but temps at Silver Star always say high of 0. S.L. trails impeccably groomed and in many places have a two way skating ski lane-a skate skiers paradise for sure. No one thinks twice about skiing in the brand new fresh track-setting/grooming. Nice outdoor cabins to ski to, often with a warm fire on. Black Prince Cabin built by BC Parks in 1988 and (pronounced) “Chap-tip” Cabin in 2014. Many of the locals favour skiing from one resort (Silver Star) to the other or v.v. to get longer workouts, but they would own passes to both resorts. The 65 cms. base means everything is white (rarely a cone or needle seen) and often snowing up top here at 1609 M. vs. raining in town site of Vernon. Off to ski the “Zuma’s” today and a few other trails we have missed.
    Alf, we thoroughly enjoyed your “drooling-inducing” photos and report of Mistaya-you deserve all that great snow after all the work you do for Bragg Creek trail association.

  86. Lake Louise: -3 C at 9:30 am and +3 C @ 2:30 pm at the LL Visitor Centre. Skied on VR45 from Chateau parking to the Great Divide via Peyto then the Lower Telemark trails and out on the GD to the boundary arch. Most of us were icing on the return due to the warming new snow. Even those on waxless skis were icing! (Chuck has the best plan – an early start). I scraped and re-waxed with VR40 which worked better. We finished the day skiing Tram Line to the Village. Nearing the Bow River we were slowed on wet grabby snow. Nothing was groomed or track set on the upper trails which made for a day of tougher skiing. There is lots of snow though so Lake Louise the best option for xc skiing east of AB/BC border.

  87. Cypress Hills Provincial Park – went down here this past weekend to ski into a backcountry hut near Horseshoe Canyon. No snow. Had to walk in. Snowshoes not even necessary on forested trails. Must go back next winter though because there are 3 backcountry cabins near the town of Elkwater on the AB side accessible by groomed xc skis trails. I’d love to see Peter Lougheed Prov. Park build some cabins. Cypress Hills is an amazing winter playground.

    • Thanks for this update! We are heading there in two weeks to stay at Tom Trott. We have gone out for the past 2 years. 2 years ago, the snow was really amazing and we had great skiing; last year, not a speck of snow to be found.
      The huts are really great though, even if you walk in.

  88. Just skied in and out of Lake O’Hara yesterday/today. Got a once in a life time opportunity to stay at the lodge. Well worth saving your pennies for! (Or hundreds in this case.)
    The road is a mixture of skier tracked tracks, snowshoe prints, skidoo tracks from the lodge, and foot prints from guests hiking in and out in boots.
    Warm temps are making the road sticky as well. I appreciated my wider waxless skis today for the conditions.

  89. Anyone been out to WBC lately? Are the trails walkable? or really muddy?
    thanks

    • I was out at West Bragg Creek today.
      Ski trails are hard and icy, with a few bare spots on sunny south aspects. Chickadee, Bunny and East Crystal Line were renovated for skate skiing on Feb 12, but have iced up again.
      The snowshoe trails are a mix of hard-packed snow, icy sections and bare areas. A loop including Snowy Owl (next to Mountain Road), West Telephone, Reconnect, Demi-Tel and west Snowshoe Hare, was mostly hard-packed snow and walkable with icers/micro spikes. Snowshoes are really not needed.
      Braggin Rights is mostly dry, with some muddy parts and ice patches. Most other all Season Trails are either icy or slushy/muddy with bare patches.
      Conditions look more like April than February.

  90. LAKE LOUISE
    “Quiet” sums up the day.
    With another couple of cms of fresh snow overnight, it was a delight to glide around the Lake Louise trails as of sunrise. A Pileated Woodpecker was the only thing we heard above the hush of our skis over the cold snow.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/LakeLouise?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMu-96mvnJCYUA&feat=directlink
    It was -5 to start, and VR45 worked great.

  91. Dawn Mountain Nordic Trails, Golden BC

    We had about 5 cm of fresh snow overnight, enough to freshen up the tracks. Unfortunately it was about 0 warming up to +3 so the conditions were tricky to wax. Started with VR 45/Rode Violet, that worked for awhile but start to ice up. Switched to skintecs, they worked for awhile but then slowed down. Grooming was limited to some snowmobile setting as the Piston Bully needs some repairs.

    Despite the challenging conditions, we had a great ski on the trails: Beaver, Moose, Coyote, Chickadee, Moose Meat, Pagasus, Hawk Owl and Leaping Lynx. The Nordic Centre has a great modern and friendly daylodge; fees are $12/day. It is just over a hours drive from Lake Louise.

  92. Thanks, Chuck, for your grooming report on Baker/Castle yesterday. It was perfect today, even though we did not start until close to 11:00, -2 degrees. There was an additional 1.5 cm snow last night, no spruce needles to hamper the glide, used waxable skis).

  93. PLPP-Feb 15

    Left Elk pass parking lot at 10am with snow about -2C. Decided on V45 and had a much easier time with the ascents than those on waxless. Still, very sticky snow.

    Went Morraine, Whiskey Jack Trywhitt, then Elk pass out. Trywhitt was beautiful and mostly untouched with about 2cm of new snow.

    Maybe 8 cars in the parking lot when I left around 2.

  94. PLPP – Feb 15

    Started from the Visitor Center and did Meadow-Wheeler-Amos-Woolley-Meadow back to the center. Conditions were improving the more south we moved. There had been no recent grooming so we had 1 cm of sticky snow overtop of various crusts and old tracks. V45 gave us snowballs in some spots. Anything in the sun was getting really wet by about noon. Unfortunately with an infant we don’t have a large selection of trails that we can choose from, I feel like the skiing would have been much better in some other places today. Not many folks on the trails though, only saw 5 other skiers and 2 people walking with boots in the skier set track on Meadow.

  95. PLPP South end Feb 15

    Minus 1 at 10:00 am with 2-3 cm fast, dry new snow over grooming. Started at Boulton. Just enough new to cover debris and ice. Moraine and fox creek were very pleasant. The sun came out on Elk pass and Tyrwhit, causing a small amount of icing on our VR50 and VX43 waxes.
    A mouse entertained us on Tyrwhit as it burrowed around in the ski track.
    A slightly glazed track down Whiskey Jack made for an enjoyable decent.
    Only 10 vehicles at Boulton when we left. Temp at 1:30 was zero.

  96. Skied PLPP Pocaterra today with the kids. Great conditions with ~1cm of new snow. Used VR60 and worked well, some clumping of snow of the bottoms of the skies so had to keep moving, not a big deal. Tracks nice and fast, wasn’t busy out there today.

  97. Skied in Lake Louise today for the Nth time this winter. It seemed like everyone came to the area to celebrate Family Day! The Chateau’s main floor hallways and surrounding areas were packed. It was great to see families celebrating the day.

    I skied my favourite Fairview Trail down to Moraine Road, the Lower Tram Line down to the village. The trails have not been track set as it was all covered with new snow. I’m sure they will do it tonight as the machines were at the trailhead waiting to go. So, for those going to Lake Louise tomorrow – enjoy the snow! I had my blue wax -2 C -6 C and it worked perfect for the conditions. You also won’t have the crowds.

  98. Emerald Lake

    There were a few new cm of snow at the Natural Bridge to freshen up the ski on the connector trail into Emerald Lake today. The snow beneath the new snow was a bit icy and wet as the temp was about +1 C to start. Used skintecs and glided up the hill and and along the 7.25 km to the lake, we had the trail to ourselves. From there we headed out across the lake, slushy at times, to the far shore trail and skied over to the aluvial fan. A bright sunny warm ski with just a bit of wind.

    The aluvial fan trail was great skiing through the open forest. We decided to continue the loop along the south side of the lake on the shoreline trail, then dropped down to the lake for the final km again through slush back to the lodge. The skintecs worked great through the variable conditions to this point. The wet skins were a drag on the fresh snow however for the 7 km back down the connector trail to the natural bridge. This was our first trip to Emerald Lake and really enjoyed it. Better success than last year at this time as we hit it just as the big thaw turned into the big freeze and it was too icy to ski.

  99. Moraine Lake Road

    At least 10cm of snow in the parking area. Freshly groomed and trackset at 11am. Solid track for classic. Skate lane looked quite soft, but some really strong skiers went all the way to the top. Temperature around 0. Good success with RODE multigrade purple, some icing. Beautiful and sunny, likely got above 0, especially at the lower end. -1 at 3pm.
    Fairview was skier set only.

    • We also skied MLR starting earlier (-3 C at 9:00am) on the groomed and single trackset uphill half. We saw the groomers on their way down. Erik has is correct that the skate lane looked soft and the classic tracks were good albeit formed in soft snow that broke down easily. Our group experienced very good conditions while skiing on waxless and waxable – VR40 VR45 and VR50. VR50 was occasionally grabbing above the switchbacks to the turnaround. Scraping and VR45 made for an easy ski back. Great Divide was groomed and trackset after MLR. Tramline was groomed and trackset on the uphill half as we ventured down to add some kms to the MLR distance. Clear blue skies and sunshine when we left at 2:30 pm. Should be great again on Tuesday!

  100. CASTLE LOOKOUT to BAKER CREEK
    With 6 cms of fresh snow overnight, today was a great day to enjoy this area and avoid the Family Day crowds.
    Check this out if you want the details:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/CastleLookoutBakerCreek?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCLePhKvLnZ60dg&feat=directlink

  101. Lake Louise 1A/Lower Telemark

    Great conditions, about 5 cm of new snow, sun, great views and about 0oC. Waxed from V40 to purple worked easily. Should be another stellar day tomorrow as the groomers did both trails today to perfection. Go where the snow is!!

  102. Lake O’Hara – most of the new snow from overnight was in the access road and parking lot. At 10:15 it was -2, just above 0 early afternoon. VR45 worked the entire time, though the snow was a little slow at the start.
    The road itself had less than 5cm of new and most of it has been flattened by the variety of users coming and going into the area. It would be nice to see a bit more separation between narrow/ fat ski tracks, snowshoes, and footsteps – people were all over the trail so hard to follow one track. That said, we enjoyed bluebird conditions.

  103. CNC Challenge: Good day at CNC: Classic Skintecs. Fresh snow made life and skiing much better. 3-4cm of fresh, 0C. At 10:00: Fresh snow on South facing aspects turned sucky and sticky by the end of our ski.
    Skied out Olympic up Beckie’s hill onto Osprey. We skied out Meadowview and onto the top of Rundle turned around dropped over to Wolverine as skied back to junction # 67 where Wapiti, RT, and WO intersect. Wapiti has been groomed this year but never trackset. It doesn’t show on the trail map but older versions have it. We returned on Wapiti, Bruin, M.V. and dropped down onto King of Sweden. While we were out there we saw evidence of new grooming. (Not track setting ) In fact we were passed by two snow machine roller packing with a drag leaving a semblance of corduroy. Not sure if this grooming was added to the CNC website. Note: somehow CNC grooming report has edged towards a downhill resort optimism. What they list as groomed may only have a single pass with a snow machine and groomer leaving little change to the trail. Usually the snow made and wider trails get the benefit of the full treatment but a lot of the time the tracks are left and just the skating lane is groomed.

  104. Cascade Valley-arrived at the Minnewanka parking lot just before 3 pm on Sunday. Icy tracks from the winter road closure gates. At the turnoff to the Valley I applied V55 which got me up to where the snow improved. Then after about 2 km I scraped off the clumped snow and wax. I then had a pleasant ski to the Cascade Bridge and back. The ice was still there on the downhill back!

  105. I skied the Great Divide today with my kids who are visiting from Ontario. We started around 11:30 am, still enough parking spaces. We put on VR 45 which worked very well. just as we started, the groomer was coming towards us and we enjoyed the nice groomed track. On the way back from the Great Divide we turned left on Telemark. Beautiful. As a real treat my son and his girlfriend saw a Bobcat crossing the trail in front of them. We missed it but saw a lot of fresh tracks in the snow.

    • Wow that’s neat! Lucky them.
      That would have been a Lynx. Bobcats have never been recorded in the Lake Louise area. Too much snow for them, as they don’t have the big furry paws. I’ve frequently seen Lynx tracks on the Telemark trails this year.
      Cheers. Another Barb,!

  106. Emerald Lake – a varied day today. Our group started skiing the Connector from the Natural Bridge, and found it difficult – skier trackset in about 8 cm of two day old snow that was water dense and partially hardened. Three turned back while the rest continued, struggling with wax at 0C. A bit later, at the lake, ski tracks across the lake surface were watering in, and pole plants were going deep beneath snow into slush. However, the lakeshore trail was decent, and the Alluvial Fan was quite nice (a bit sticky on our first lap, then very nice on our second after lots of others had skied the tracks in well. Cloudy and calm; temps reaching about 3C by the lake. Lots of skiers (and snowshoers) enjoying the fabulous scenery. In summary – wonderful but slow.

  107. I skied the 24km Cookie Race circuit this morning, starting about 10:00 with a snow temp of -2C. There had been a small amount of snow overnight (Sat. night) between just a sprinkle of pellets to about a cm or so depending on where you were. A few tree debris were present, but not enough to cause any issues.

    The Pocaterra and Come Along trails were in reasonable shape, Though they didn’t get much new snow since the the Friday night grooming, there is some icyness to the tracks in places.

    Lynx had about a cm of new snow, so probably was groomed after the Friday night snow.

    Woolley and Meadow were not groomed on Friday or Saturday nights as far as the snow is telling me. There was up to about 10cm of new snow between the tracks in these areas (more in the Woolley and Meadow sections).

    Wheeler was fine, some glazed track sections, especially along the ridge with the view, but nothing like last year’s skating rink disaster.

    Packers had been freshly groomed and would have been in fine shape for skiing down as well.

    The return on Pocaterra was curiously slow, the Saturday night’s new snow was dragging quite a bit.

    The killer grouse was not to be seen… Instead there were two parties with dogs and a group of over 20 hikers near the north end of Come Along. The hikers were well behaved, but you still need to yell track at them so they notice your presence.

  108. LL- out on 1A and back on Lower Telemark

    -2 in lot at 1000am, added 3 layers of V45 over 3 layers of V40 from last night, generally grip and glide were fine but snow starting sticking if we stood around too much, +2 on return at 1230pm

    Met 2 groomers on 1A going out, grooming was great, thanks to them. Coming back Telemark had some glazed snow, very little tree debris and all snowshoe tracks were very considerately well off the tracks.

    Lots of sled teams with dogs having great fun howling. When we were going out 1A we met the teams coming back in. Is there any etiquette when meeting them? We were in the tracks closest to the dog tracks but none of the drivers seemed upset. Just never skied with the dog teams before.

    While skier and dog traffic was fine, auto traffic was not. Calgary to Canmore was fine but traffic picked up considerably in Canmore at 845. Thought it would drop off at Banff (not at all), Sunshine (a wee bit) and was heavy thru to LL overflow at 10-15k over limit. You could see ~10 cars out the windshield and ~15 cars in the mirror but suddenly it was slick. A driver a ways in front touched the centre concrete median and all of us were suddenly scrambling on a hockey rink. We were lucky but I heard others maybe not so. I will slow down in the future and urge others to do so.

    Other than driving, a great Valentines Day.

    PCF

  109. Lake Louise: As Chris reported yesterday Tramline was track set last night so it was easy to ski up and down the slope. Fairview’s tracks are a few days old and by the end of today will have mostly disappeared. Moraine Lake Road had good tracks but was slow – up and down. Lake Louise was the place to go today albeit it was very busy with people spending the day at the chateau. Early start helped us with low temperatures, by 12 we were on the plus side..

  110. Pipestone – Sunday, Feb. 14.

    What’s the expression – “with success come spoils”. In this case, the success of SkiHere! in the form of multiple positive comments Saturday meant that the Pipestone parking lot was full (spoil) at 10:30 AM Sunday morning. And by 1 PM they were parked all down the access road. (more on this subject in a minute).

    -3ºC at 10:40; and probably not much colder overnight – so waxing was an issue for some of the many folks on the trail today. A bit of fresh snow at the upper end and some wind blown snow on the return past the lake. But… some sunshine too — so a great couple of hours nevertheless.

    I’ve figured out a solution to the full parking lot problem – given just how popular SkiHere! has become …. if you are planning a trip for a certain destiation, be sure to post a trip report the day BEFORE you go – describing the terrible conditions. Just make stuff up — pine needles, cougars, bad skiers, trees falling on the trail, grump wardens — whatever works. Then enjoy the empty parking lot next day.

    That OK with you Bob? 😉

    • We really enjoyed Pipestone today, and chose that because of the reports on this website. So, no, Ken, it’s not such a good idea, ‘ though I understand your viewpoint. “When in doubt, tell the truth.”

  111. Back to Lake Louise today – Air temp in Canmore was +6 when we left, down to +2 as passed the Redearth Creek parking lot and finally 0 (zero) at the Great Divide parking lot. The traffic to the Chateau was nuts today – inching along, and bumper-to-bumper way past the Great Divide lot.

    Wife and kids had what was left of the Super Extra Blue from Friday and when they skied it off, it just made the glide that much better. I had my Salomon RCSkins (skingrips) and enjoyed great kick and fabulous glide.

    We did Lower Telemark CCW, back-up to Great Divide, then headed up Peyto, and down Upper Telemark. Just a great, great day!!

    Hope you’re feeling better Bob.

    • Thanks, Ben. Still feeling pretty rough but was able to sit up and take nourishment today. Hopefully the worst of it is behind me. I guess it saved me from having to fight the traffic(which would have given me a headache!).

  112. CNC.
    Great conditions considering the recent weather.
    Bow, Meadowview and some if not all competition trails have been totally renovated with crisp tracks, no ice nor twigs nor cones, just some sections with needle particles tilled in. Banff beyond the meadow had a touch more debris and the odd glazed bit, but still very skiable.
    It did not freeze overnight so waxless provided perfect gription without having to fuss over the needles. Skaters were doing fine.
    +4C early aft but the clouds had rolled in so hopefully without sun effect, everything will remain just as good for tomorrow.

    • Ditto to all of Barry’s comments – competition trails, Bow and Meadowview are in great condition. It was a great day for skintecs. I tried a part of Silvertip and Wolverine between Banff trail and Meadowview – icy with plenty of debris. Trails in the meadow are in decent shape as well.

      • Canmore Nordic Centre Feb. Challenge: Pretty good skiing today! +7C Skintecs. Out Bow Trail (lower Banff Tr for us oldies) Cold Shoulder (quick conditions) and returned via Banff Trail. Bow Tr had been groomed Banff Tr however was at least 1 day old and dirty tracks. Skating would be OK. Cold Shoulder was fast and depending on aspect, tracks were washed out,soft or icy. Lots of skiers out today around the Stadium was a zoo. Tracks beaten up. Out at the end of the trails tracks and skating lane were good. Again I suggest to check the groomers report for the latest grooming. Barry, “gription” is that a word 🙂

  113. Emerald Lake. Saturday Feb 13. Kicking Horse trail had a small amount of fresh snow, 0 at 10:30, up to about +2 later. Wet snow, but skiable. Emerald Lake loop was very slushy. And deserted – I didn’t see anyone on Kicking Horse, and only a handful of skiers at Emerald Lake.

  114. Nipika was really warm at +5C on Saturday. Glad I had my waxless skis. My companion used rosa klister mixed with silver and that worked well. Nice to have the equipment at Nipika to de klister apres ski.

  115. Skied from Elk Pass parking lot up to Patterson. Very sticky snow near the bottom, until above fox creek from there it was a lovely day on Zeros. Started snowing near the Patterson Elk Pass Junction, hope it amounts to something. It was almost tshirt weather around noon.

  116. Lake Louise – skied classic on freshly groomed tracks on 1A and Lower Telemark, -1 at 10.30 am, started out with Swix 0 to -1 wax which worked well initially, later added Swix Purple 0C which worked on the fresh grooming. Later skied Peyto which was not freshly groomed, though it had been skied – getting warmer so experienced stick/slip on the steeper hills but good on the gentler terrain. Finally skied down Tramline – slower than usual but fun anyway; met the groomer about half-way down so should be fresh tracks there tomorrow! Another good day at LL but the warmest temps we’ve encountered there of late.

  117. Skied PLP from the visitor centre to Tyrwihht, Elk pass and back.
    Wax conditions were tough with 2-4cm of snow throughout the park last night making all trails ski-set. Later in the morning skiers had packed it down enough that fresh snow wasn’t sticking but the warmer temperatures made traction a challenge.
    More snow coming down throughout the day as well.
    Most difficult trails were Fox creek and Moraine – trails were icy and thin. Double-polling only.
    Some great sunshine and minimal wind though except at the top of hydroline.
    – Kris

  118. Lake O’hara

    2 to 3 cm of fresh snow appreciative someone in front of us. -3 at start 2 at end. Started on warm wax vr45 from last weekend at km 1 stopped scrapped all off put a base ov vr30 as it was really sticking. At km 2 added short light layer of vr40 this worked well given temp and fresh snow some stickiness when had to slow down. There was a few icy bits on the skis when we stopped at relais lodge for lunch. After starting fire decided to take the Lake O’hara circuit to end of lake first time for us on this things worked well on a way back but got sticky on the few inclines on way down. Good day for wax skis given temps.

  119. PLPP Feb 13
    Thank you to Henry Yau for yesterday’s trip report which gave me the information to decide to ski there today. Alberta Parks did not post their live grooming update until after 9 am, leaving us to guess what might be groomed.
    The new grooming on Pocaterra, Come Along, and Lynx was great on Zero skis. Temp at 10:00 am was zero. Yesterday’s grooming on Amos and Woolley was covered by 3-4 cm fresh snow causing some icing. Temp at 1:30 pm was plus1.

  120. Fairview to Moraine Lk. Rd. return via Tramline

    Temperature at the parking lot -1. 7+ cm of fresh snow on Fairview so we started with VR50 which worked well. At Moraine Lk. Rd. the track was freshly set and in great shape. The wax worked very well until the top of the last uphill where we all began to ice up. We struggled to the end, then strapped of the ice and put on VR 45 for the return. This worked better although it was a bit grabby in spots. The track seemed to get faster as we got further down. The waxless crew had a bit of problem with icing at the top as well but no other problems.. All in all, a great day out.

  121. Did Pipestone clockwise to Merlin, then Drummond, Pipestone. Temperature at 10:30 am was -1 and rose to 2C; a little bit of sticking up to Merlin but nothing serious using V40 aka extra blue. Great glide after Merlin. Very thankful for last night’s snow which covered icy tracks and tree debris. Parking lot full by 1pm. Lots of happy skiers.

    • We skied Pipestone CCW this afternoon. Very good skiing in soft snow conditions once we got waxing sorted out- on Start Purple. I hadn’t skied there in 15 years and had almost forgotten how enjoyable these trails are. Plus- they are very dog friendly with no steep long descents, which made for easy skiing while tethered to our eager retriever, who loves to charge on the downhills despite being 10 years old. The tracks were somewhat glazed on the final lower km or two heading back to the trailhead, but I wouldn’t call them icy. Fresh grooming was underway as we wrapped up at 3, with a few light flakes drifting down.

  122. Mount Shark and Peter Lougheed

    I lost some black MEC gloves at Shark trailhead. If anyone found them then I would be thrilled tobget them back and I will buy you a proper coffee.

    Aside from lost and found. The skiing up at Shark was superb! I did 20 km and was bagged . On the way home i got my second wind and did Peter Lougheed which was a bit icy but the skintecs worked fairly well.

    Happy ski trails!

    • Skate or classic at Shark? Thinking of heading there tomorrow. Almost went that way today but instead joined the fray at CNC and found “ok” conditions for a quick skate. If I had it to do over, I’d start earlier in the day, but given that it rained a bit in the overnight hours, things are holding up pretty good. I klistered up the other night (thurs) and had a decent classic outing too, although I did stick to the lighted loop. The tracks looked pretty similar today.

  123. Fri feb 12: snow fleas!
    Went for a hike Friday in Kananaskis instead of driving to Louise for a ski. Noteworthy was the plethora of snow fleas up at baldy pass in the sun. +10 in the lot at 3 pm. Stopped in at ribbon creek for a look. Aside from disastrous skiing conditions, the tracks still appear to be holding up and haven’t completely turned to ice yet or melted through to ground so things might return quickly with some snow and cold temps.

  124. South end of PLPP on February 12, zero degree C at start and 5C at finish; skied with Fischer Zeros:
    Elk Pass parking lot to Hydroline junction – machine groomed solid tracks, wind blown dirt near the beginning but improves as we went higher up.
    Elk Pass from Hydroline junction to Patterson junction – similar to above with some pine needles and tree debris but improves as we went higher up.
    Patterson to Hydroline junction – good clean snow covering the tracks.
    Hydroline from Patterson to Fire Lookout junction – perfect grooming!
    Fire Lookout from Hydroline to Tyrwhitt – perfect grooming!
    Tyrwhitt from Fire Lookout to Hydroline junction – good condition with some tree debris and snow bombs at the climb up to the meadows; good skiing.
    Elk Pass from Hydroline junction to Blueberry junction – great conditions.
    Blueberry to the end – great conditions all the way.
    Elk Pass from Blueberry junction to parking lot – wind blown dirt on tracks most of the way; a bit icy at the beginning of the descent to the parking lot. Spring-like condition.
    Overall rating of the day – 7 stars out of 10 (rated by 2 people)

  125. Moraine Lake Road: -3 @ 11 am, snowing steadily with no wind. ~4 cm new by 2 pm. Soft, smooth, relatively slow skiing. Had to double pole most of the way…downhill. Passed a few people whose skis were icing on way down. Colder than temp indicated VR40 applied over warmer uphill wax of the day prevented that. Two (2!) groomers were working their way uphill as we approached parking lot, preparing for busy weekend. Conditions should be very good.

  126. Elk pass parking to Hydroline and up and up. Some blowing snow from previous snowfall along the power line trail filling in new tracks. Followed Tyrwhitt to the high point (2000m) on great grooming. Returned the same route. Plus 2C when we started at noon, tracks full of Spring tails – one of us on skin tecks no slipping even up steep Hydroline hill, I used my RCS zero skiis with the yellow kick zone sanded – also great grip. No snow falling, blue sky and warm on Tyrwhitt. Tracks probably will harden up overnight if it freezes and be very fast. Lots of skiers came to the pass via Elk pass trail.

  127. Another day in winter wonderland – aka Emerald Lake.
    Thanks Skierbob for organizing the skier discount. We had an epic few days skiing the local trails and left our donation today for the kick butt Kicking Horse Ski Club. Fresh snow falling and warm temperatures: +2 at noon and sticky snow on the lake and alluvial fan loop. Nice to get out and stretch the legs!

  128. TOKUMM CREEK
    Fresh snow was a great reason to check out this lovely tour today:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/TokummCreek?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCN6E3OGg2fLFSw&feat=directlink
    Nature’s silence was only broken by the beautiful song of the American Dipper.

  129. Took advantage of the special skier rate at the Emerald Lake lodge. Skied the alluvial fan loop. Nice fluffy snow falling today, improving the conditions and covering up the slushy sections on the lake. Temperature around 0c all day. Wax less ski’s worked well. Snow expected to continue for a while, including at Lake Louise. On the way home, passed lots of campers travelling west. Camping season is starting early!

  130. Long-time lurker but very appreciative of all the insight… Decided on the Lake Louise area after reading recent reports. We got to meet Bob and his ski companion when we arrived in the early afternoon – they had just finished. Air temp was -1°C and snow about -3°C. Had purple wax in hand but Bob suggested the snow behaved “colder”. Went with super extra blue instead and that seemed to be the ticket for my wife and kids. I was on my Salomon RCSkin skis with their SkinGrip pocket. A great day on the Great Divide and Telemark knocking down snow bombs… Great meeting and chatting with you Bob!!

  131. Pipestone today. Went there with light touring setup (waxable) and Skintecs to be safe.
    New snow On trails 1-2cms over top of the soft crusty snow and tracks. Start -4 finish 0 C. We chose waxable. It snowed off and on all AM leaving fresh snow in the tracks. We waxed with VR 45 which slipped a bit especially on open sections where the snow is sun affected. I put a thin layer of VR 50 under the VR 45 and had great climb while Cheryl herringboned …. For the first 1/2. ….. After that she flew along breaking trail while I sucked along with a bit of icing up until I broke down and scraped and covered with VR45. the saving grace was the new snow. We ran into Bob and his better half Cheryl at Wilson’s New skis for Cheryl, Bob?

  132. Skied Nipika Mon Feb 8 – Feb 11 – Trails were great on Monday, but by Thurs they were getting pretty thin and in need of another dump of snow. Fat bikers had a good time. We all (27 or so of us) had a wonderful time at the Lodge.

  133. Thurs had a great ski too in Lk Loiuse starting at the campground and Bow Trail with the family. They had several fresh cm of pow but even so the north side of Bow had debris amd slushy. Family were done at that point so I skiid up Tramline and Fairview for first time ever. Conditions improved immensely as I clumbed that long long trail. Had great kick and glide on my Skintecs despite have cold LF glide wax.
    We stayed overnight and there has been light snow falling since waking up and is still lightly coming down now at 1pm. Should be fan-freakin-tastic for the weekend!! Unfortunately family bailed on xc skiing today so I am on the losing end however had a fun swim and hottub and snacks in the village before paying homage at Wilsons.

  134. Had a fantastic time in Lake Louise today. Four of us skied from the Chateau parking lot through Fairview, went partly up along Moraine Lake Road, then came back down to the lower Tramline and the L.L. Train Station. There was a good sprinkling of new snow the night before so the condition was better than good. My blue wax worked very well for me, enabling me to ski just as fast as I wanted to. Many thanks to the tracksetter who was working on the Tramline. We met him as we were going down to the Train Station.

    In the afternoon, we skied Peyto to the Great Divide. With warmer temperature, the snow was starting to be mushy but still very enjoyable with my blue wax. We crossed the road to the connector trail to get to the Upper Tramline, down to the Lower Tramline and back to the Village. There was a bit of pine needles and cone along the Bow River Loop. The cones in particular can really surprise those who are unaware of what they can do, one threw me forward on one ski causing me to fall. This loop was also starting to get quite icy the closer you get to the end of the loop.

    If there is light flurry overnight, the area will offer another fabulous day of skiing – blue skies and all.

  135. CNC Feb Challenge: We did get out today Skintecs +8C skied out the lower Banff and onto the Banff Tr Manmade was in great shape once onto natural some grooming but no track setting. We made the mistake of hooking onto Silvertip where Greywolf comes on. Yikes! More brown than white. Pine needles everywhere, glazed tracks, and even though a groomer have made a pass they should have saved the gas. We even walked down the couple of hills too slick with a northern aspect and no sun effect. Returned Meadowview to mine scar Day old grooming with less junk on the trail. My suggestion is to read the groomer report closely!

  136. Mtn girl skied the early shift at Lake O’Hara and I did the late shift. Conditions changed somewhat, especially by the time I returned.

    It was +3 at 2:30 pm. I’m not sure about the snow temp, but I started out on Tuesday’s skis which had VR50(0/-4) and it worked well for the first 3k.

    The tracks turned a bit icy from 3k to 7k. I rewaxed with VR55 at the 5k picnic table and had reasonable grip. At 7k, where the big hills start, the texture of the snow changed and was much easier to get grip on those extreme climbs.

    At all times the snow in the middle of the trail was soft enough for effective snow plowing.

    On the return, the tracks were icier for the final 7k with a good covering of the ubiquitous snow fleas.

    This wouldn’t be a complete report without a rant about people wrecking the trail. In the morning, the trail will have frozen divots the entire distance. New track setting seems to be magnet for ______(fill in the blank).

    I have great photos which I’ll post tomorrow night.

    The best thing that could happen to this trail would be a couple cm of new snow.

    • The divots are from people who have tried to cross country ski in and out of Elizabeth Parker Hut. For some it is there very first trip on cross country skis and with way to much food and gear and difficult mid-day snow conditions walking was the easier option. Unfortunately it makes a mess between the two sets of tracks for the rest of us especially since the snow was soft.

      • Sounds like the conditions changed quite a bit later in the day. Glad you had an enjoyable ski! There was a large group that were heading to the hut ~25 teenagers and adults. The irritating footprints the first 4 km of the trail were from some skiers who literally starting squashing the fresh courduroy after the groomer went by – apparently their skis were balling up so they were carrying them and walking. They sure did a good number on the freshly groomed trail. Better wax and some double polling can go a long way….

        • What are beginner x-c skiers doing on Lake O’Hara Fire Road anyways, especially with big heavy packs on their backs?? Even in the BEST of conditions, I would rate it for intermediate skiers only due to the steepness coming down from the hut to approx. km. 7. Perhaps the beginners should try snow-shoeing to the hut for the back country experience. Sure hope they at least had metal edges coming down.

  137. Mt Shark in excellent shape this am with fresh grooming, for both skate and classic. Great texture for skating, if a little slow. Friends used waxable classic skis which they said were great early on then waxless/skintecs would have been the better option by 1 pm by which time it had warmed to +1, so the tracks may be glazed by tomorrow am. Biathlon Ski Team out in force training this am.

  138. -1’C and new frost when we arrived at 10am at Pocaterra. Icy and +4’C on both the Pocaterra and Come Along trails by the time we left at 12:30. So not great snow conditions but double poling on ice is way better than hanging out on the couch all day!

  139. Lake Louise: Air temperature at the Sampson Mall was -2C and the snow temperature was 0C (from a friend). We started at the Chateau parking lot, two with VR45 and one with VR50, and skied Peyto to the Great Divide, then on to the Lower Telemark trails. The side trails were covered with 1 cm new snow and VR45 was perfect for me. Back on to the Great Divide and off west on new track set, where we met Richard working his way back from setting track right to the Lake O’Hara road.. Thanks for the perfect tracks! Out and back, kick and glide was as good as I remember on the Great Divide. Eventually the trails warmed and where there was sun the track slowed somewhat (maybe it was just me by this time). We skied down to the village on the lower Tramline on good snow to the road crossing and then slower snow to the Bow River trail. The trail to the Mall was saturated and the sun was still shining. Yes Bob! – Lake Louise was the place to ski today and fingers crossed it stays good through the weekend.

  140. Checked out Lake O’Hara today. Good timing since we were just behind the Piston Bully. Conditions were soft the first 5km which will likely turn icy. The last 6 km is in fantastic shape! Warm afternoon: +3 at the parking lot.

  141. PARADISE VALLEY
    Lake Louise is definitely the place to ski this Family Day weekend.
    The Moraine Lake Road had just been trackset when we arrived this morning, and with the dusting of fresh snow overnight we were delighted to be able to just use wax. The slightly higher elevation here really helps to preserve the snow. We only went to the second bridge, so no avalanche concerns either.
    The signage is not great, so all sorts of users are out doing their own thing. However, conditions are so good that very little damage is being done and everyone can just have a good time.
    Check out our photos of the day:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/ParadiseValley02?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCNa2osDDsq7v_QE&feat=directlink
    And don’t forget to bring your sunscreen!

  142. Pipestone had ~ 4 cm snow overnight on top of groomed tracks (yesterday?) today. It was 0 when we started, probably +3 when we were done – which was earlier than expected as waxing was tricky; those on waxless probably faired much better. That said, it was still wonderful to be out and when the temperature drops a little bit, we’ll be back.

  143. Tram Line/Fairview/Moraine Lake Rd
    Lovely day at Lake Louise. VR40 and VR45 for our group worked like a charm. -4 at 11 am at the parking lot and +2 at 3 pm. A few snow bombs on Fairview with some minor debris. No icy sections. A great day in the mountains!

  144. Curiosity got the better of me today to explore the newly reconstructed Monarch Trail that leaves by the Teahouse and Gift Shop across from Yoho Info Centre and trail goes to where cars park adjacent to Yoho Valley Trail. Late start (too bad could not ski with Mtngirl) at noon and minus 3. Brand new grooming and a delightful trail of about 4+ kms. which crosses the Trans Canada after about a km. and then heads away from the hwy and stays in the trees. The initial hill was sketchy to sidestep down and on my return, took skis off and walked it back up. One must also take off skis where cars exit onto Yoho Valley Road. There is one short section that the snowplows toss yucky snow debris onto. One final tiptoeing across the parking lot to get onto Yoho Valley Road where the powder snow and grooming were perfect soft tracks. Went to the zigzag switchbacks and it was really nice to get back onto this scenic trail. Am guessing total distance would be 18+ kms. return, is a good beginner trail, is the only dog-friendly groomed trail, and magnificent views everywhere you look. Temp was holding to zero at 4pm when I drove past Louise. Great work from all the volunteers and groomers out in Yoho for resurrecting this Monarch Trail. One tree that needed to be cut down had a trunk diameter of 2 ft wide. Was gently snowing on and off in Yoho but felt rain drops at Castle Junction at 6pm, where it was +1.

  145. Skiied from lovely Emerald Lake down the Connector Trail. Lots of debris on the trail including cones, branches, lichen, etc., Yesterday afternoon must have been warm – snow piles have formed from the snow melting off of the trees overhanging the trail and froze into ice piles. Made for an interesting ski down! Kicking Horse Trail is in excellent shape! Light snow falling so conditions should be good tomorrow. Was about zero our in the PM.

    • I tried to ski the Connector recently and haven’t been humbled by a trail like that in a while. Does one need metal edged skis or just an exceptional side step to descend the hills at the lower end by the parking lot? I had a very hard time attempting to snow plow down such a narrow trail.

      • Yes I hear ya! I made it down some of the tight corners but it was not pretty! This morning it would have been in better shape with the fresh snow but is probably icy now with the warm afternoon conditions.

  146. Wed feb 10: great divide/Ross lk/telemark.
    -8 in lot at 945. +3 on return at 3 pm. Great divide was a bit icy for the first few k or two, or at least for fish scales anyway. All fine further on. Got the Ray and Mary dog experience, all yappy and anxious to run, with sad howling dogs left behind. A bit of sun at first. Then more cloud and some moderate winds near divide. Some of the track blown in west of divide. Ross lake was skier track set. Narrow and boot top deep. Lots of tree bombs in the track to contend with and some detritus. But no snow shoe tracks! Windy at the lake. Moderately difficult descent back to divide given the narrow track and thick/moist snow at the sides, but it’s short. Tracks a bit softer on return along divide and a touch slow, but the sun was staying off it so should be fine tomorrow. Lower telemark was good, a bit drier snow. Some needles but not an issue for fish scales. No junk in The tracks through the meadowy section. the odd tree bomb elsewhere, unlike Ross lake. Well worth the diversion if your not on the klister.

  147. Pipestone!
    #20-22-23-20, with side trip to Mud Lake
    Chillier than the weather report suggested, tried some of that new-fangled VR45, mostly good except for a bit of herring-boning on steeper hills.
    Lots of needles and snow bombs on trails, especially #23!! Snow underneath still cold and in very good shape, so lots of decent skiing still to be had 🙂
    Was it warm and windy yesterday by any chance? Also some hills a bit icy, not terrible, but in places the tracks were a bit of a hazard.
    Three notes of interest: 1. There were groomers in the area today, to my great surprise, so the needle/ snow bomb situation should be ameliorated.
    2. The trees have much less snow burden than a few weeks ago, so one feels a little safer.
    3. I heard lots of loud “boom!” coming from direction of ski hill, so maybe lots of avalanche work going on there?
    Overall, it was a good morning ski, nice to be “back” 🙂

  148. A couple of things of interest at Canmore Nordic Centre today, Feb 10th. We started skiing at noon in order to give the snow some time to warm up so I could use skintecs (they like warmer snow and are not so good in icy conditions). The groomer had just finished Bow & Banff including a track so it was great that he/she groomed late morning.

    Secondly, the spring tails are out, especially in the warm, sunny tracks on Cold Shoulder. I wonder if I should vacuum all those little snow flea corpses off my skintecs….

  149. West Bragg Creek, Feb. 9, 3-5 pm, skate skiing: Middle and West Crystal Lines were in usable condition afternoon, ice and needles present.
    Middle and all 4 Links in good condition.
    Probably 2-3 km of skating trails.
    East Crystal lower part along the road too icy, especially downhill to the bridge close to parking. Mountain road icy and hard, and it was +7.
    Wouldn’t go there in the morning.

  150. PLPP- Pocaterra

    starting temp- Info Centre 915am Swix -8C, Pocaterra lot -5C

    VG30 base ironed last night, 4 layers V30 corked in the parking lot this am

    Pocaterra to Linx groomed 1-31, Linx to Lookout groomed 2-07 (per PLPP website)

    To Linx was icy, little grip, lots and lots of tree debris. At Linx rewaxed 3 more layers of V30. New grooming was big improvement but first 2 km or so from Linx had extensive tree debris.

    Pocaterra to Lookout was softer and debris free but never really warmed up.
    Trip temps were -5 at Linx, -3 at Whiskey Jack, -1 at Pocaterra lot at 215 and +2 at Info Centre at 230. Sun didn’t break though until noon.

    Upper return trip was great but Pocaterra below Linx was no fun. Still icy and lots of little icy hills.

    Not sure I would ski lower Pocaterra until there more snowfall.

  151. Yoho survived the mega-meltdown too – skied Emerald Lake and Fan this am, -9 at start, tracks on the lake are quite wonky and down to ice in places, but very good around the fan. In the pm, we skied the Kicking Horse trail, freshly groomed and trackset either late yesterday or this am. Approx 0C when we finished, VR 45 worked all day.

  152. Looking for the best possible snow, we skied Great Divide trail from Lake O’Hara Parking to the G.D. parking lot for a total of 22 kms. return. Temp was -5 when we started, +3 at the turn around lot and 0C. at the end. The tracks for the first 4 kms. or so, up the big hill into Alberta were blown in in some places with some debris, but not enough to hinder us. The rest of the track set was great. We arrived at the Great Divide parking lot for lunch just as four dog sleds were leaving. What a cacophony of noise! Then after they left, the left-behind dogs in the kennels set up a mournful keening when they realized their sled mates had gone. So sorrowful and oddly funny, but touching…. On the return, we took a side trip down and along Lower Telemark, which was faster, being in the shaded forest, but much needlier. Back on the main trail, the big hill down to the Divide was a bit of a dud, as we had to content with a strong headwind and did not need to get out of the tracks at all! As we skied the last part to Lake O’Hara road, we heard avalanche control being done on the mountain just north of Hwy. 1 and could see a helicopter dropping charges, and then watch the small avalanches come down. Luckily, they just finished as we finished our ski and we could get onto the highway going east, but the west bound lanes were still closed. We estimated about 100 vehicles (mostly transport trucks) were stopped and waiting for the road to reopen. The flagman moved a couple of cones and let us go past, and then we had the entire road to ourselves until around Banff. Interesting day!

    • For those interested in temperature gradients during this chinook, here’s what we found on our homeward journey:
      Lake O’Hara parking (2:30pm) 0C; Lake Louise +3C; Banff +6C; Canmore +8C; Morley Flats +11C; Scott Lk Hill +15C; Calgary +11C

  153. Lake Louise Pipestone Trails today
    Minus 6 at 11:00 am. Skiing counter clockwise on trail 20, also trails 22 and 23, we found generally excellent conditions. Pine needles were noticeable at the start, but few on the last half of the trip. VR 50 worked well. Air temp around 1:30 was plus 1.
    Met a couple with 2 unleashed, uncontrolled, exuberant labs. Dog owners need to respect safety of others by leashing their dogs.

  154. This is a report from yesterday, Feb 8th. I posted in “Ask a question” and decided to add information in this category, in case this information is helpful to other skiers. South PLPP yesterday was holding up surprisingly well. The tracks at Elk Pass were in good shape, and Moraine/Fox Creek were also reasonable. Fox Creek has an accumulation of pine needles. Blueberry Hill tracks varied from pretty good to nonexistent, but there was an abundance of (sticky) snow. The (air) temperature at the Boulton Creek parking lot rose from 0°C to +6°C over the course of the afternoon. The parking lot changed from snow to slush by the time I left.

  155. Sunday skied Banff trail before watching the relay races for the World Cup biathlon at the Canmore Nordic centre.What a preivilige to watch such great athletes. The Canadian team did well and never gave up fighting back.Hats off for a great event.
    The weather forecast told me to try further west so I headed to Lake Lousie.l started at the Skoki parking lot -5 with some warmer wax in my pack and made it just shy of the half way hut when the temperature climbed above the +3 wax I had applied just past temple lodge . I was thinking about those Skintec skis Bob has raved about for these conditions. I turned around and had a very fast down hill run on the ski out.Next headed to pipestone as the valley was colder than higher ground.
    Pipestone was recently groomed and was perfect with-3/0 Rode tline wax.l meet 3 others enjoying the great day.
    That was so much fun I decided to head up to lake Lousie and do some skate sking on the lake.Fast conditions on well worn trails.I met a fulla from Edmonton who was happy to be on soft snow as Edmonton and the Jasper trails were very icy.
    I continued on to double pole Fairview it should be very good tomorrow.Morraine Lake road skating lanes and classic tracks were recently groomed and in good shape with fast soft snow .No sign of ice so a good choice for tomorrow for those who don’t have to be back at work. Enjoy.

  156. Great Divide, including Lower Telemark, to Lake O’hara parking lot in fine condition, even though it was +2 when I began at 3 and ended 2.5 hours later. After seeing 2 groups in the first little bit, I had the place to myself and it was blissfully beautiful. The only small matter was the softness of the snow beside the tracks, making outside poling challenging as the pole post-holed much of the way. Odd to be driving to Lake Louise to ski more often in February than November.

  157. PLPP south end.
    Whisky Jack, Tyrwhitt over to Elk Pass, doubled back to Pocaterra and down Packers.
    Very nice day. It’s not a lost cause yet.
    Last week’s tracksetting on Tyrwhitt is surprisingly good, with most debris buried by the weekend snow. The usual sun-exposed spots over by the picnic table were getting soft this afternoon and the occasional saturated tree cookie dropped onto the tracks. Elk Pass and Hydroline looked pretty rough which is why I retraced Tyrwhitt to the still-fresh tracksetting on Pocaterra and Packers. The snow up high remained cold with fine crystals. It was at lower elevation on Packers at 3 p.m. when globes of moisture appeared on the surface of the snowpack beside the trail, along with snow fleas in the tracks.
    At Boulton parking lot at 4 p.m., snow temp was -1C, air temp +5C.
    For tomorrow, waxless would be best, to avoid dealing with increasing numbers of pine needles. And maybe head out later to give any glazed areas a chance to soften up.

  158. After reading Deirdre’s report from yesterday, I decided to check out Castle Lookout to Protection Mt., a trail I had never skied before now. The conditions were great with a nice skier set track on top of lots of fresh snow. It’s also probably the most scenic trail on the Parkway. I do think there should be a warning sign going down the first hill from the parking lot, though. If you aren’t prepared for it, you could easily get going too fast and ski right out onto the road!
    On the way back, I decided to check the trail from Castle Lookout to the Junction and indeed there is fresh tracksetting along that trail, (even though the Parks Canada trail report doesn’t say so). The bit I skied was hard packed and fast so I might go back tomorrow!

  159. Dylan and Mallory

    Here’s a couple options in the event that the pending warmth crushes the East Rockies. Skied Golden Dawn Mountain on Saturday – plenty of snow there to cover the older ice but will probably warm up like the rest of the valley. Emerald Lake was a hidden gem today with -15 temps preserving the new snow. We also skated the Great Divide on new soft groom. That too will survive even a moderate warmup. But today’s strong west wind+bad technique made for a real challenge.

  160. Skied Kickinghorse River trail in Yoho today. Trail was in great shape with a 1-2 cm of fresh snow in well defined tracks. v30 worked great with temperatures around -9 at 11 and warming up to -3. Went over to the Yoho Valley Road and it was a little rough but manageable as the skier set tracks were run over by some snowmobile tracks. Just skied a couple km up to the spiral tunnels viewpoint and watched a train go through the tunnels.

  161. Mount Shark!

    We arrived to find a snowy wonderland but grooming preceded the snowfall so it was powder skiing! On skate skis that is! Mount Shark trails are pretty challenging as it is but with all the snow it was exhausting but loads of fun. We did the 10 km loop (Yellow) and the 5 km loop (Black/Red). There were a few people about but not too busy. The trails are going to be amazeballs following the next round of grooming. The warm weather may not be the best thing but Shark is pretty high elevation so hopefully it won’t get to squishy. Happy skiing!

  162. A lovely ski at PLPP from the Elk Pass parking lot, up Fox Creek to Elk Pass. Fresh 3-4 cm of snow covered most of the debris along Fox Creek. Mostly skier set tracks along Hydroline and down Patterson. A bit of a traffic jam on the Fox Creek return. Blue wax was perfect, as was the day.

  163. Good to hear so many people had great skiis today at PLPP. I made the mistake (again) of thinking the temperature predictions for the top of Sulphur mtn, Banff airport and Canmore were relevant to PLPP and took my waxless skiis. We started from the Visitor Centre at 11 and temp was about -10. They worked fine where there was new snow but going up Pocaterra was a grip-less slog because of the new tracksetting and hard, crusty/icy conditions. Then again, it was super fast and fun going down Packers! There was needles etc on Pocaterra but the tracksetting minimized their impact.

    • Weather forecasts aside, you can check the temperature at the PLPP Visitors Centre from their web cam page. The displayed temperature is always a bit higher than that showing at CNC, and I think gets worse as the day progresses as that side of the building heats up, but it would give you an idea as to how things relate to the forecast.

  164. Redearth creek had great snow today. Minus 12 in the parking lot at 9:40 am. Would call it more skier tracked than track set. Good dry snow. Some debris on the trail but nothing that affected the skis gliding. Was minus 16 at the lodge early this morning. Hope the altitude helps keep the snow this week with the warmth in the valley coming this week. Good day.

  165. Sunday PLPP skied Wheeler, Lynx, Pocaterra (plenty of tree debris till Packers, then excellent) , Tyrwhitt (picture perfect, calm, warm and lenticulars over a blue sky) , Elk, Fox and Moraine (double pole delight, not up to Bob’s standard but pretty good for me!), another really great ski, cannot help thinking next weekend will be a very different story… maybe we’ll have another winter in March !

  166. PLPP.
    That was a nice little shot of winter, big thanks to the groomer who was out last night. There was fine skiing on cold, clean fresh tracks higher up on Whisky Jack, Packers and Pocaterra, although a fair bit of tree debris has already blown onto Pocaterra between Packers and Lynx. Gotta go back out tomorrow for more of this while it lasts!

  167. Set of on Saturday in the Canmore blizzard to Lake O’Hara. About 6cm of fresh snow. Track set gone. Heavy snow with gusty winds. Not cold snow was clumping underfoot. Great ride out. Click to see full report and pictures.
    http://willski.ca/lake-ohara-cross-country-skiing-2/
    Bill

  168. Cascade
    We thought we’d give Skier Bob the update he wanted on grooming beyond the bridge on Cascade. By now he knows that the trail was groomed and track set today (we saw him skiing way out there) and that conditions are perfect all the way to the end.

  169. West Bragg – Feb. 7
    Tried West Bragg at 12pm, air temp about +1. Attempted the north side of West Crystal but after the bridge it is an icy needlefest so turned around. Did the north side of East Crystal which is a bit better but still icy and plenty of tree debris. The steep short uphill east of the bridge is sheer ice, be very careful walking it. I just ended up going back and forth on the straight stretch of East Crystal in the area where it intersects with Sundog to stretch my legs a bit.

  170. Feb. 6 skied the Moraine, Whiskey, Tyrwhitt, Elk pass circuit in PLPP? Fresh snow, good coverage. Very windy crossing the hydro line but otherwise a lovely day. Temps about -3. Used wax less skis to avoid waxing issues & had a wonderful ski. Not many other skiers which was surprising considering it was a Saturday. All in all a great day.

  171. Has anybody been out to Nipika recently? I want to get out there soon, and would love to hear about conditions. Thanks!

    • We skied Feb 5 and 6 at Nipika and had great skiing there. They have been getting a few cm almost daily the last week and with regular grooming by Steve the trails have been pristine. A few thin spots here and there but easy to see and not a problem. Highs have been near zero so a bit tricky waxing. Used VR55 covered by VR45 first day which worked perfect with great glide and kick. Yesterday my wife used her skintecs and I skated. Snow was a bit slow with a skiff of fresh snow right before we started and + 1 C. Cooler temps this morning and clear sky so would likely be awesome today. We are heading to Field.

  172. Lake Louise Great Divide/1A & Banff Tunnel Mtn. Campground – Feb. 6

    Busy day today for me! Went to Lake Louise at 2pm, air temp around -3 for the Great Divide trail on skate skis. There was about 3-5cm of new snow making skating a bit tiring but still fun. The base under the fresh snow was nice and soft, no ice here. Lots of wind but the trail had very little tree debris. The classic skiers I met along the way appeared to be having a lot of fun too.

    Went to Tunnel Mtn. Campground on my way back just to check it out quickly for a skate. There was about 1-3cm of new snow on top of a packed icy base, but the small amount of fresh snow gave just enough traction. The wind may blow off the fresh snow. I just did the first 5 minutes of the trail so can’t say how the rest of it is.

  173. Absolutely lovely ski on Redearth today. It was -1 with a dusting of new snow at the parking lot when we started (same when we finished too) and -5 and about 5cm of new snow at the warden cabin. Ski tracks over trackset ones held well as did VR45 all the way. As Bob observed the other day, there was the usual variety of users out – fat skis, skinny skis, snowshoes and at least one hiker (only for a km or 2). I bet we all had a great day, hopefully it will be good for a few more before it gets really warm out there!

  174. Despite a late start (bus broke down just out of Calgary) the Norsemen enjoyed a great ski at Pipestone to be forever termed the Goat Creek Memorial which trip has had to be re-directed for the last three years due to snow conditions or lack thereof, Many made the entire loop with a few enjoying trails that they had not previously been on. Trails were in good condition even with 3-5cm of new snow and very little debris from the strong winds. We even enjoyed the odd flash of sunshine so a great day indeed. VR40 worked great for me!

    • Concur, Might be the place to be today too. With the little bit of new snow in the morning. The tracksetters came through but I don’t know if they did the Pipestone loop, Seemed to be running through the green and never saw them after that. Treacherous drive but that just seemed from a perfect conditions (skiff of new snow zero degrees, high winds sweeping) Watch for snow bombs if the wind keeps up. Oh, and pack out, don’t leave it on the ground, put it in a plastic baggy if you don’t want to return it to your pocket. Gross.

  175. After seeing a series of flipped cars on black ice roads proceeding west from Calgary, and ominous clouds/snow on the way to Lake Louise…..39 Norseman Ski club members eventually found paradise today on the Pipestone Trails! Vr40 aka Blue Purple was the wax of choice.: great glide, minimal trail debris, and good tree protection from the winds ripping through the area. Pretty much all trails were skied by various subgroups. Lots of happy skiers.

  176. +10cm of new snow and snowing heavily at Lake O’Hara parking lot had obliterated any recent grooming so headed back to Pipestone. While we were waxing in the parking lot the groomer came through. We had a fantastic day of skiing with 3 layers of VR45 or Rode warm Multigrade. Nice not to have to deal with pine needles like yesterday in PLPP.

    Note to dog owners, if your dog isn’t able to resist chasing skiers and running around on the trails in front of them. You should keep them on a leash for their own safety as well as other skiers.

  177. Deirdre Richardson

    Just got back from a lovely day out skiing from Castle Lookout Parking Lot to Protection Mountain Campground, a nice easy trail with very little elevation and several road crossings. The day started out cloudy but warm and jackets had to packed away. We had to break trail as there was between 5 and 7cm of fresh snow on the tracks. At about 3K the wind picked up, followed by heavy snow, necessitating the jackets coming out again. For the next twenty minutes or so, snow blew into our faces making it difficult to see. But, by the time we arrived at the campground, it had stopped, the sun had come out and we enjoyed lunch in one of the campsite cook shelters. The temperature hovered around -2 degrees all day so most of us used waxless skis (fish scales). Those with waxable skis started with V50 wax but switched to VR 45 after some clumping problems. This worked well. Our trail wasn’t newly trackset, but on our return to the parking lot, it looked like a track setter had been busy on the route from Castle Lookout Parking Lot to Castle Junction. Too bad we missed that. All in all, a very pleasant, relaxing day in the mountains.

  178. We went on a short trip to Mt. Shark this morning because we noticed that it was groomed yesterday. Five inches plus of fresh snow greeted us at 9:45 when we got there and it was still -1C, snowing and blowing at 12:30 when we left. Of course we only brought skate skis for what we thought would be freshly groomed trails. We tired quickly but had a good ski day – so not ideal with the deeper snow but better than no snow and “ice hiking” which is the choice closer to Calgary. If we had brought our classic skis it would have been an A+++ day. I expect that once the groomers are out that the trails will be fantastic for skate (check http://skitrails.info/report/mtshark for a live grooming report).

    Tomorrow we are off the the Canmore Biathlon World Cup races. We were there Thursday and Friday so can confirm the live action is well worth the parking hassles. Remember all on course tickets are free at http://canmorebiathlon.ca/ . The next world cup won’t be here for what could be years so don’t miss the last day.

    Races
    10:10 am (MST) – Single Mixed Relay (1 Woman, 1 Man)
    2:05 pm (MST) – Mixed Relay (2 Women, 2 Men)

  179. Skied PLPP this morning at 9am. Pocaterra to Packers to Wheeler back to the hut. Looks like we got at least the 3cm forecast and skiing was great.
    Snow was a bit sticky but covered all the debris nicely.
    Definitely worth the trip!

  180. Skied Whiskey Jack and Lookout at Boulton Creek this morning. Was snowing lightly on the drive out and during my ski starting at 8 am. Winds were light and not a bother in the trees, but a bit chilly when you got in the open. About -3 for temp.

    Snow and winds picked-up towards the end with 3 cm of fresh stuff on the ground.

    Slow going cutting tracks in fresh snow but worth it. Saw lots of skiers making their way out after I finished and was driving back to Calgary.

    Enjoy

    Philip

  181. Not a trip report- yet – just an update. Just arrived at the PLPP info centre. We were discouraged by the strong winds on the drive out and even contemplated turning around. Looks like this mornings squall dropped the 3 cm that Bob wished for; its -3 on the Swix thermometer and winds light. Should be a great afternoon.

  182. West Bragg Creek

    Feb 6 at 9am. Two tips up to the volunteer groomers for refurbishing a skate lane on West Crystal and connectors. At 9am I got first skate tracks on the north leg of West Crystal. Skate lane was fair to good in places depending likely on the time each section was groomed. Some sections nice small soft ice crystals that will likely turn to slush soon, other sections were more firm ice crystals but still had enough traction for skating. I turned back at the furthest west junction with Link #4 since the main trail beyond was hard packed ice going down the hill to the narrow bridge. Tree debris is present but entirely manageable and not a nuisance for the time being. Not recommended for classic skiing.

  183. Revelled in good conditions friday morning at south end PLPP save for ice balls littering boulton cr section from previous nights attempt to re groom. Recommend Morane for that corridor which was fast and relatively clean considering. FoxCr fine but the real joy was accending Hydroline (from connector) and up Lookout which was supremely groomed, clean and a real pleasure -despite the arduous herringbone. Fun always on decent to tyrrwitt-elk pass which HAD a skiff of snow to cover the most minor of debris save for the odd tangle of old mans beard. -2 to 0 and VR 40/45 comb worked well enough for 25km. SKI ON!

  184. Not your standard trip report but still ski-related. Inspired by the Lifesport ad featured at the top of this page, I popped in a few days ago for a look around. I don’t really need anything (aka “can’t afford a bunch of new stuff”) right now, but I love looking at ski stuff. After doing 5 or 6 laps around the store, i can see that I’ll have to campaign for some adjustments to the household budget. Selection is (or was) still good and there are some excellent deals to be had. Hopefully I can meet with the finance minister soon and get the necessary budget amendments approved before everything’s gone!

    Just to throw some actual skiing action in here, the Divide was Great (see what I did there?) on Thursday morning. Hit the parking lot around 10 and was treated to first tracks in the skating lane… so softly and silently I went. One of the best days of the year for me.

    • Haha good one! As I told a friend interested in the sport, this is the place to go and times running out. I picked my “birthday” new wax-less skis yesterday. Bitter sweet.

  185. Chester-Sawmill
    So… it was +8C and melting/icy at West Bragg Creek today. Ribbon Creek was +7C and “not recommended for skiing” due to icy trails… but at Chester Parking lot it was -2C, with a dusting of new snow on a metre of base. I explored some of the former XC ski trails (now marked as snowshoe trails) and a number of unmarked old logging roads, meadows and glades in the “Sawmill” trails area today. Good skiing on the snowshoe groomed trails and good trail breaking if you want to create your own skier-set tracks.

  186. PLPP Friday excursion.
    Whiskeyjack- Resorted to VR 60 for grip on the steeper uphills, leading to sticking higher up, and efficient harvesting of needles and assorted tree parts.
    Tyrwhitt- On freshly scraped and rewaxed (Start Purple) skis, we found great conditions and fun fast skiing with only occasional tree debris. Turned around at Elk and went back the way we came for more joyous skiing.
    Pocaterra- More very good fast skiing, trending towards being a bit more needled and glazed while nearing Packers junction.
    Packers- Good, but the downhills are pretty hardpacked and scraped. Our skis started accumulating more needles towards the bottom end, leading to some stick and slip in the tracks.
    A few flakes were wafting through the air throughout the day, but not enough to amount to anything.

  187. The el Nino ski team took a bike tour of the telephone and moose loops today and I must say that it was very exciting. Pure ice. Skiing highly NOT recommended in bragg creek until the snow falls.
    thanks for the great blog Bob!

  188. Elk Pass parking lot with new grooming and headed for Elk Lakes ACC cabin. Checked snow temp at Patterson junction and it was -4, although air temp was closer to minus 1. Lovely snow descending down the back side although track had been predominately set by snow-shoers. Powder snow ample to slow us down on that one scary sharp turn section. The couple who were hiking to the cabin on Monday, wearing only big winter boots, put some deep prints on the trail, especially on the lower softer section through the cut block of trees. Paid for a day pass to the cabin and enjoyed our lunch there before the hour climb back up. Took Hydroline to my favorite Patterson down, then got our well earned leisurely descent on Elk Pass Trail. We’d had enough metres of elevation for the day, so chose newly groomed Fox Creek back to the parking lot. Snowing lightly when we left at 3pm and temp in car +1. A super ski and pray the snow will not get rained on.

  189. Five Star skate-ski at Shark Mountain today. Arrived at 10 am, minus 1 in the parking lot (3rd vehicle). Perfectly groomed natural snow with only one skater before us. Amazing. Considering the wind, very little debris on the groomed or tracks. A special treat. Thanks to the groomers and mother nature for the snow!!

  190. CNC last night. What was I thinking?! Counter to some of the intel, you can park there during the Biathlon World Cup after 3 pm. But why would you? The classic trails are a needle-mania nightmare. I was pulled in by the “very good” rating on the trail report for Meadowview and Banff but that must have been for skate skiing.

  191. The amazing tracksetters were working hard today (Thursday afternoon) at Pipestone in Lake Louise. I was the first to ski on the newly trackset Drummond, Merlin and some of Hector. The pine needles weren’t even a problem despite windy weather. A gorgeous day out. Pipestone was done today as well but I didn’t want to hurt myself. I’m still very amateur.

  192. PLPP by headlamp!

    We arrived around 5 p.m. as the sun was setting and parked at the visitor centre and skied up Meadow to Wheeler, then Amos, Lynx, and Wholley. The trails are in fantastic condition and have weathered the nasty Chinooks that have left other places further to the lee side of the mountains in absolute ruins. Temp was about -5 to -10 and I was using the Skinteks. One of my mates was using blue wax and she said it was working swimmingly. Some of the steeper sections are icy and a bit sketch around sharp corners. The trails further south were freshly groomed whilst those to the north were not but were still very skiable with nice track set.

    We stopped at Stony Nakoda Casino on the way home and chowed down on the buffet. The cabbage rolls were delicious.

    Check out me route on Strava:

    https://www.strava.com/activities/486182380

  193. Pipestone Loops at Lake Louise: Started at the Sampson Mall and skied to Pipestone loops on the Town Trail. Skiers could start easily from the Post Hotel or The Youth Hostel. On and off with the skis crossing the work yards and roads. We skied ccw on the Pipstone Trail (20) back to the start, again up Pipestone to Drummond (22) across to Hector (21) and out to the road for 24 kms and a great day. Groomers Richard and Tanya were busy dragging and track setting and planned to complete all trails by afternoon. The tracks were set in fluffy snow and after several skiers passed show some signs of wear. I recommend the Pipestone Loops to anyone planning to xc ski at Lake Louise tomorrow. We saw needles in the snow but they were being covered (mostly) by the grooming. Temperatures ranged from -10 C to -5 C and there were wind gusts in the afternoon. VR30 worked well for me but was slipping a bit as we finished slithering down the Town Trail back to Lagans for coffee and date squares. Nice life eh!

    • I would never have thought to start from where you did.
      Can you explain to an out of provincer how you cross the highway?

      BTW, if gas for the trip hasn’t already eaten half the contents of one’s wallet, then we might as well let Lagans take the rest -). Mmm good.

      • Hi Henry – there is a pedestrian bridge crossing the Trans Canada. There was just enough “snice” on the deck allowing us to ski across – still there are some graveled vehicle trails.

  194. Had a lovely ski on the Great Divide trail today with a side trip outbound on the Lower Telemark trail as there was a strong west wind. About 4 cm fresh snow over top of tracks, but still great travelling conditions in tracks and my skate-skiing partner found the GD trail relatively easy to travel on as well. Good old VR 40 worked well as usual.

  195. PLPP.
    Small supplement to the previous reports on Elk Pass area:
    -there is 1 cm of fresh on top of the older grooming on upper Elk and Blueberry
    -the winds did not cause any drifting on Hydroline
    -snow temp. in the valley is -6C
    -5 thin coats of VR40 then 1 very thin coat of VR45 provided ample gription without picking up debris.

  196. Oops…pressed wrong button. Here is rest of trip report! Arrived at Lake O’Hara parking lot seeing the O’Hara grooming machine picking up likely food provisioning for the w/e by meeting with a Sysco truck by railway tracks. We hit the brand new grooming at 10:15 and -9. 3 cms of new snow in parking lot. Groomers returned back up to the lodge during our ascent so could not have had better tracks or corduroy. Got to Le Relais in record time, walking up the big hill with variety of VR 40, 45, and 50. Leisurely lunch thanks to my friend starting a great fire, and second group equally appreciated it coming in with their steaming heads. An hour back down with some bumpy rides on the corduroy. Huge school group heading in to Liz Parker hut. -3 at 2:20. It amazed us how fast the brand new grooming can change so quickly.

  197. Quite the semi accident tying up eastbound traffic this morning on T-C about 10 kms shy of Lake Louise. Am guessing most cars were diverted to 1-A as the westbound semi managed to connect the parallel lines of the T-C with a perfect diagonal right through the median and his cab and part of trailer totally occupying the eastbound lane. Hope no one was killed.

  198. Elk Pass/Fox Creek-First time trip report.

    Per Bob’s admonishment at the top of the page I thought I should do trip report (first time for me) because I enjoy (and learn from) the reports of everyone else. Hopefully this report is useful to others.

    At PLPP Info Centre at 1000am the Swix thermometer was -8C. The Elk Pass parking lot was -9C with 3 cars. Started up Elk but wimped out by going over to Fox Creek to avoid the hills. Fox was recently (maybe last night) track set but had frozen snow with lots of tree debris. I suspect I lost lots of wax there but beautiful peaceful winter scenes along the creek.

    Back on Elk conditions were great- looked to have been groomed overnight with skiff of new snow. Did not see another skier all the way up but four separate skiers arrives at the top picnic table within 5-10 minutes. Temperature at top was -10C but wind was nippy. Trip down Elk was great (high clouds on the way up but Sun almost broke though on the trip down) and the winter scenes are so nice. Met lots of uphill skiers (including a skier with two young teenagers, all on alpine touring gear!) on the way down.

    Wimped out on the way down by going over to Fox Creek again. Not pleasant as it was icy and the trail seems much narrower going downhill.

    Parking lot had about 15 cars on return. Sun finally broke though as I was loading up in the lot.

    Back at Info Center Swix temp was -3C at about 200pm.

    Wax was V30 and grip was good but not great (again thought that the diversion to Fox resulted in the loss of lots of wax). The grip portion of the skis was pretty dirty at the end (actually was not very pretty at all, really a mess).

    PCF

  199. PLPP – today I skied from Boulton parking. Headed up Packers, then Pocaterra to Whiskey Jack and then on to Tyrwhitt, which I skied down to the picnic table. I returned by reversing this track, then skied a bit of new tracksetting on Wheeler at the end. Packers is hard packed, though not icy. However, sections in tight to the trees are suffering from mild to moderate needlemania. Pocaterra is a bit softer, though still fast, with less needles. Tyrwhitt, newly trackset last night, is mostly very good, though the north section from Lookout Jct to the meadows is beset by some needles and cones. Winds were blowing, more noticeable at lower levels. Temp -5C at 10am; -2C at 1:30pm. A mixture of V50 and pine needles gave me good grip, most of the time. I stopped 3 times to scrape needles, and still brought enough home on my skis to be a good fire starter.

  200. Pipestone
    2cm fresh snow and tracksetting has just been completed now. Perfect!

    • I should add that it was -5 in the parking lot and my V40 is slipping. It’s a bit windy and there are a lot of needles on the track so maybe it’s not quite perfect- but certainly better than the ice elsewhere!

  201. Stephen Vermeulen

    I did an afternoon ski in PLPP starting at about 1430 (Feb 3) with snow temp of -8C from Boulton Bridge Parking. Went up Whiskey Jack, then north on Pocaterra to Packers and back down packers. It was all hard and fast with very few debris. The downhills are swept, but not yet too icy, so snow plowing still works. The Pocaterra section was super fast, the best glide I’ve had on that section in a while.

  202. Feb. 3, PLPP. Fast, glazed tracks in Pocaterra and immediate vicinity (temps @ -12C). Some debris on trails on south side of road, but clean tracks on north side. Those who were using blue said the kick could be better. Those on waxless did fine. Swix universal klister (in a can) with cover layer of VR40 worked great.

  203. Peter Donitz February 3, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Just skied up the MLR just after the groomers finished at about 11am. Beautiful conditions for both skating and classic. They were on the way to do the 1A next.
    No pine cones, no pine needles no ATCO trailers in sight, just lots of snow
    PD

    Reply

  204. PLPP. Parked at Boulton Bridge. Seemed like there was a skiff of recent snow. -12C at 11:00am and -7 at 1:15pm when we finish. Headed south from Boulton Bridge, a bit of debris and hills scraped hard. Fox Creek (a little less debris) and then partway up Elk Pass (good grooming and fast tracks). Then back via Fox Creek, along Moraine (some debris and hard scraped hills) and back to Boulton Bridge. It was windy in the parking lot but not so bad in the trees. We used Extra Blue (-5 to -9) but had some slipping in the tracks on the inclines.

  205. Mt Shark: Being finished skiing so early in PLPP, I also skied 13K at Mt Shark on my way back to Canmore. Watridge Lake road was in excellent condition with cold snow and good tracks all the way to the Spray river.

  206. Lake Louise: Started at Chateau parking in -17 C air temp. with VR30 (-7 to -20 C). Skied Fairview and Moraine Lake trails to the turn around (-5 C) in my best time – “social facilitation” from my two buddies. Returned on the same trails and ended the day going out on Tramline. The snow at Louise is immaculate but must be dry as most of the skiing felt like we were working for every stride – like I had the wrong wax. Talking to other folks this was a common experience. While there was little new snow all trails (including Great Divide and Pipestone) were reported to be in good to very good condition. The sun was shining on the people skating, skiing and walking on the Lake. It was a beautiful day in a truly Canadian Rockies winter wonderland.

  207. Upper Lake Connector to Elk Pass Trail to Blueberry to Elk Pass down Hydroline return. Everything but the connector was newly track set (last night) and was incredibly fast. We started out at -9C and ended at -6 with no wind except on Hydroline. Blueberry has got to be my favorite ski in all of PLPP: a great workout going up, a fast yahoo of a run down, and some of the best scenery going, especially the snow-laden trees of the lower-mid sections. A trail not to be missed. After all that speed, Hydroline was a bit disappointing. There was a fairly strong head wind and a mm. of snow in the track (we were first down -or up today on most of it) which kept us from going as fast as we would have liked. All was forgiven on the lower Elk Pass hill to the parking lot – groomed, swooshed by a few skiers, not a speck of ice to be seen or heard, and empty of people when I went down, to get my best ever speed record on xc skis! Almost worth a trek back up just to ski it again!

    • +2 on Blueberry! We both agreed that it was perfect today.
      Unlike you- we wimped out at the prospect of the Hydroline wind.

      • By ” +2 ” I meant two thumbs up for the conditions on Blueberry, NOT plus 2 degrees. As is often the case- the cool breeze did not encourage loitering at the top.

  208. February 1st PLPP. Skied the big loop from Pocaterra cabin. About -7 but had to go to VR 50. Hard fast crunchy track, base icy. Improved at packers. Tyrwhitt was the best skiing on skied in track. Re-waxed to VR 40. Down Elk Pass, up blueberry, no real track but soft snow. Fox and Moraine surprisingly skiable, and fast. Back on Wheeler where the recent tracksetting setting needed klister, but double polling worked too. Meadow still had some snow except up hills which were scraped to ice. Looks like elk pass has been set now which would be excellent. Won’t be skiing north end again until lots of new snow!

  209. Fiona and I skied out the Bryant Creek trail toward Assiniboine pass on the weekend for a camping trip. The Watridge Lake trail is in good shape, but beyond the groomed portion, the skier-set tracks up Bryant creek are excellent to about 5km past the shelter. They must not have seen traffic while the weather was warm, because they are not iced up like we expected.

    • Hi Doug. Did you go all the way to Assiniboine pass? Just wondering as I’m heading that way soon and I’m wondering what conditions are like.

      • No Pete, we turned around near Allenby junction. We wanted to get back to BR9 before 4:30 so we could eat in the light. We were in about 20cm of fresh beyond the Bryant shelter, but it was easy to get through on light touring skis. If we had had more time, we probably would have tried the pass. Fiona is an 8-year-old.

        • Hey that’s great! Thanks for the info! Any sign of tracks beyond the Allenby junction towards Assiniboine pass?

          • There were still tracks (obvious, but under snow) when we turned around (just about at the junction according to my GPS). I assume they went all the way over the pass. I heard from a few people that it is a common route in winter. I am pretty sure I would have wanted skins to climb the pass, the snow was deep enough that walking up would have been difficult.

            • The pass is the “fun” part of the trip into Assiniboine. It’s pretty steep in places and using skins is definitely the way to get up it. I have done it without skins and with a lot of wax and lots of sidestepping in the past. Great fun! Thanks again for all the info!

  210. I am a snowshoe group leader and love to watch your web site for snow conditions. Snowshoers – let’s use a bit of common sense out there. If you “must” use a track-set ski trail – even for a short distance – please stay to the outside edges so as not to mess up the ski tracks (or the central area used by skate-skiers) – and be ready to get off the track if an out of control skier comes flying at you!
    Our group loves to go off-trail – like Grace’s post – but we don’t need a 20 year old along – just take turns breaking trail so everybody stays warm.
    Enjoy!!

    http://photoshare.shaw.ca/view/22026791505-1454433157-12796/

  211. Nipika

    We had a lovely ski at Nipika today, on our way home from Kimberley. The snow was surprisingly slightly better at Nipika, a little softer and less icy, and well groomed. There were a few dirty patches and rocks to watch out for, though, especially near the canyon bridge.

  212. Pipestone trails in great shape today. -10C at 10:30am. VR40 or VR45 worked great.

  213. West Bragg Creek
    My comments are based on what I saw walking, not skiing. We went to the north of the parking lot and crossed the east side of the Telephone Trail. What we saw was ‘snow-covered’ but it was far more glaze ice than snow. I would not recommend it.
    We did see two skier going along East Crystal. They appeared to be going rather gingerly. Hopefully, they know of this site and will send a report.
    FWLIW
    Pat

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