Trip Reports – Jan 2013

Trip reports were viewed 8,439 times last month by eager xc skiers – tell us about your January ski trip

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. Periodically, as time permits, I will feature a report and a photo on the home page.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed. Scroll to the bottom of the page to leave your report.

{ 165 comments… read them below or add one }

1 RolanD L February 2, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Big tracks at Pocaterra trail PLPP
Skied Pocaterra today Feb 02
From the junction Packers towards south shortly before Whiskey Jack junction we followed large animal tracks on both side of trail and later only on east side of trail. tracks seem similar to Gray wolf. Claw marks where still visible size approx. 5 inches tracks must have been from earlier morning. We skied from 2 pm to 5 pm.
Conditions where still great with hardly any ice build up.

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2 Tom January 31, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Skied West Bragg Creek on a gorgeous Thursday afternoon ,intermittent sun and hardly any wind. Trying to get in a good ski before the forecasted Chinook and logging ravages the trails. Skied the loop- Sundog,Elbow to Allen Bill Pond, back along Iron Springs, then Crystal East and West. Skiing was very good on these trails.The 2 inches of powder snow this area received over the last cold spell covered over any hard,icy conditions and any tree debris which I encountered over the past weekend. The tracks are getting a little worn and washed out but are still very skiiable. Even most of bare patches along Iron Springs were covered over.The section of trail to Allen Bill Pond was not too bad. It is packed down pretty good by heavy foot and snowshoe traffic and is not trackset. I attribute the good ski condition to the good solid base that has been established both by the past weather conditions and the grooming crew. It doesn’t take much snow to make for good ski conditions. Temp. at the start was 2C, at Allen bill 4C and 0C at the end. Snow temp. was -1C. Used Swix Purple which worked perfectly for me, hardly had to herringbone up the hills and the glide was very good.

Logging has not yet started on the above trails but the peace and tranquility is disturbed by the noise emanating from the logging operations just to the North and West of the Parking Lot. Trucks are starting to use the Mountain Road Trail.

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3 Rich V January 31, 2013 at 11:31 am

Hi Bob, down here in Okotoks the fresh snow this week has put the course in prime mid-winter conditions. We have groomed 3.2km of skate lanes in addition to our 7.5km of classic track. To help pay for the grooming equipment we charge adults $5/day, kids ski free. The clubhouse restaurant is open for those that may want to have a glass of wine or dinner after skiing. So far it’s been a great winter. We post the conditions here every few days:
http://okotoksxc.wordpress.com/category/course-conditions/

Cheers!
CRNSC

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4 Adam Kahtava January 31, 2013 at 8:42 am

Skied up to Redearth to Shadow Lake on the eve of Jan 30th. Temperatures in the parking lot at 6pm were 0C – a nice change from the -15C in Calgary. Snow temperature was -4C. The tracks were good for snowmobile set tracks, no debris, clean, with a nice dusting of snow. Upon reaching the fork in the trail (11kms in) we headed right, up the hill. That hill is brutal on skis! I’ve hiked it before, but this was a first on skis. Does the left route also take you to the lake?

The left route is snowmobile packed for a further 200 metres to the warden’s cabin. Thereafter, you are in backcountry conditions on the trail to Egypt lake. Regarding the steep hill, I always remove my skis and walk it. It’s 240 metres in distance and 60 metres elevation gain, a 25% average grade. Very steep. Congratulations if you were able to ski it without crashing. -Bob

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5 Adam Kahtava February 1, 2013 at 9:01 am

Thanks for the response Bob! 25% grade is steep! We did not ski down the steep section. That last off camber turn leading into the dark unknown and being the only skiers on the trail dissuaded us.

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6 Keith Bagnall January 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm

31 seniors from SOCC braved the cold Calgary morning and traveled to PLPP for a great day of skiing (and snowshoeing). It was -17C at William Watson Lodge as our group of 6 skiers started out along Wheeler and Boulton Creek. We returned to WWL via Moraine and Amos for lunch in a warm environment. After lunch we skied Lodgepole and Sinclair to Pocaterra Hut. It was -12C at 3:00 pm at Pocaterra Hut. There was still enough time before the bus arrived to head up Pocaterra and back for one more downhill run on Rolly Road. Those of us using a green wax had good kick and glide. All trails skied were well track set and covered in 1 to 2 cm new snow. It was beautiful – another great day in Paradise!

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7 Helen Read January 28, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Just back from one night at Liz Parker Hut at Lake O’Hara. A fun group of 10 in total and it snowed lightly most of the day. Ski up and down was fine with any wax created for around minus 6. The road is being snowmobile packed currently and likely later this week they will be putting a skier track with some “new-to-them” track-setting machinery. One can ski up on weekends and buy a light lunch for $22.(cash) starting this Saturday, Feb 2nd until they close March 24th but might be an idea to call ahead. The snow got better the nearer we descended to the parking lot, but there were no well defined skier set tracks. Fairly hard-packed.

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8 Lindsey January 28, 2013 at 4:18 pm

The Blueberry Hill trail in PLPP was perfect yesterday — still lots of soft snow so the way down was great fun! Elk Pass/Hydroline were in good conditions, a fair amount of debris still showing on Fox Creek.

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9 Karen January 27, 2013 at 10:44 pm

A group of us skiied PLPP last week. We parked at Boulton and after our ski, back in our cars we turned onto the main road back towards Wm Watson Lodge. Casually crossing the road was a lynx/bobcat.. Possibly the same one leaving tracks this week?

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10 Jan January 27, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Up at Lake Louise today, the last day of the Ice Magic Festival attracted lots of people. It was lovely to escape to the peace and calm on the Upper and Lower Telemark and Fairview trails. Temp was -7C at 11 this morning at the parking lot warming up to -4C by 2 pm with no wind. Swix blue (-3 to -8) proved a little light, however with the new snow that fell on the area on Thu & Fri the trees were snowy and the conditions were wonderful. The cruise down Moraine Lake road was the best yet this year!

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11 Blair January 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm

I skied the 15km loop at Mt. Shark today and found lynxx or maybe cougar tracks crossing the trail. They were about a day old, and in the area of the 15km loop that is not trackset, about the midway point of the loop, I guess. I’ve only seen cougar tracks once before, on the Sawmill Creek trail, about 4 years ago.
Conditions were great. Be careful driving spray lakes road, as a lack of snow in recent weeks has left it very slick and icy. Drive slow.

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12 ja January 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Sorry to bring this topic up again this year as it has been an issue here for as long as the blog has existed. But …
My definition of anti-social behavior is doing something for your benefit that harms the benefit of others.
So, my “anti-social skier of the month award” goes to the person who skated up the Elk Pass trail in soft snow, leaving a clump of snow every 5-6 feet in the downhill track.
I won’t say anything more than that as I skied down Elk Pass my thoughts about this person were far from positive!

I’ve made a point this winter to regularly mention the trails in Kananaskis which are available to skate-skiers. It doesn’t seem to matter. -Bob

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13 gh January 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm

I did a few of the trails at West Bragg Creek today (Sunday). The trails I visited were Crystal Line / Moose Loop / Loggers Loop / Sundog for a total of 18 km. The conditions were still pretty decent given that the last significant snow event was 2 weeks ago. The downhills accessing the meadows on Moose Loop have lots of hazards (going up is no problem). The north end of Loggers Loop is also a bit thin but not quite as bad as the bad bits on Moose Loop. Areas that do not get a lot of sun (most of this terrain) are fine. Areas that see a lot of sun are icy. You might be sad if you ski them on skis without metal edges.

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14 Stephen Vermeulen January 27, 2013 at 5:45 pm

PLPP is in great shape!

I did a trial ski of the Cookie Race route: Pocaterra, Lynx, Woolley, Meadow, Wheeler, Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, Moraine, Boulton Creek, Packers, Pocaterra today (Sunday) and found good to very good conditions throughout.

The lower trails: Lynx, Woolley, Meadow, and Wheeler all have had an inch or so of snow over the last track setting and have received a lot of wear but are very good, all the needles have been buried. There is new trackset on Packers and Whiskey Jack and only a little bit right near the Boulton campsite has some debris that are not fully covered.

Tyrwhitt is good, but it has had anywhere from two to four inches of snow on it since it was last trackset (the amount gets greater as you go south to the pass). The only issue with this is that the tracks start to get a bit unstable as you near Elk Pass.

Elk Pass is in need of fresh track setting, it appears to have had the most new snow and has seen a lot of use since, only really a problem if you are trying to go fast, as some of the tracks have a mind of their own and the left track might disagree with the right track from time to time…

Fox Creek was nice and fun. So was Moraine. The climb back up Packers was painful, good snow but the designer of the Cookie Race knew how to punish the racers!

Pocaterra was a swift descent from Packers to the hut, good tracks all the way back.

At 0830 it was -12C and by noon the day had only reached -5C, and as the sun was obscured most of the time there were no problems with soft spots.

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15 GordN January 27, 2013 at 10:00 am

Currently on Kovach enroute to lookout. Trails around the village are ok but dirty. Temp -8 ish. From the field -Gord

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16 pat davis January 27, 2013 at 8:33 am

Moonlight at CNC
A group of us skied CNC last nite to enjoy the full moon. Skied to the end of the lit loop and then hied us off into the unlit portion. It was magic- a monochromatic world of silver and various shades of grey with the peaks looming over us and the moonlight making diamonds in the snow.
Two newbies to XC showed their mettle and were awed by the beauty. Heck, all of us were agog with it.
Temp -7
If anyone is looking for a ski tonite (Sunday) I recommend this. Mt. Shark might have been better but we lacked the time.
Finally, Aussies are tough!

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17 Barbara B. January 26, 2013 at 10:19 pm

EMERALD LAKE
Skied Emerald Lake and the Alluvial Fan in very good conditions today. Driving to Yoho I was very tempted to stop at Lake O’Hara and ski up there, but felt I didn’t have enough time so decided to go for an easy ski at Emerald Lake. I had never skied there before (just snowshoed), and hearing about all the tracksetting made me want to try it out. There were four tracks at the very start (nearest the gift shop), then mostly two for the rest of the lake and alluvial fan, and single track around the lake. Half of the lake was very icy. Made it to the bench at the far side of the lake in no time, re-applied wax (that got scraped off by the ice [water skiing!]), then had perfect conditions at the alluvial fan. Swix blue worked perfect all day (around -4ºC). Nice sun, and warm enough to only need a light short – no gloves, to toque, no hot shots. I returned along the east side of the lake, took a stroll by the lodge (would looooove to stay there and be able to take advantage of the mid-week special), then took a little drive through Field, and in the end stopped at the Lake Louise Visitor Info to get more info on the ski tour up Bath Creek. Apparently that one isn’t done much at all. Park by the little pull-out on the north side of Hwy 1. The Field Visitor Info is unstaffed until May 1, but is open for the guft shop and use of washrooms.

Photos here: https://picasaweb.google.com/113172765595767945238/20130126EmeraldLakeAlluvialFan?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCIvbgILzwsTzAg&feat=directlink

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18 Mary Perrott January 26, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Lookout – a season first. We started at Boulton Campground Parking and skied Boulton, Fox Creek, Elk, Hydroline to Lookout. There was fresh snow on the trails, a couple inches low down and at least 4 inches by the time we started up Lookout Trail. It was cool enough that the new snow did not stick under our blue-waxed skis and we made great time. The day started out cloudy with a temperature of -8C. and got sunnier and warmer as the day progressed. We lunched at the picnic table at Lookout (-2C). Coming down the north side of Lookout was a blast, very fast with fluffy new snow for those who wiped out at the sharp bend. Finishiing on Whiskeyjack was lots of fun, a bit slower as we got lower. Perfect winter day at PPLC.

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19 Grizzly January 26, 2013 at 8:03 pm

PLPP. A lazy sort of morning. We thought we’d end up at Mt. Shark, but saw as we passed that Rolly Road had been groomed and so we decided to stop at Pocaterra Hut. First run: Rolly Road > Pocaterra > Stroil > Come Along > Pocaterra to hut. Trails were wonderful. We were the second to climb Rolly Road and Stroil. Some of the grooming buried the debris but it wasn’t too far from the surface

BIG CAT tracks! up the first hill on Rolly Road. Could have been a big bobcat, not sure, but they meandered from one side of the trail to the other before disappearing just before the seismic line.

We had lunch and lingered and had a nice chat with someone visiting from Tasmania… dawdling did not make Mt. Shark practical and so we did another loop on ungroomed trails: Meadow > Wooley > Lynx > Pocaterra > Stroil > Come Along > Pocaterra > Lodgepole > Sinclair > Meadow. Some of it was skied in snow squalls. Really pleasant afternoon. Waxing was fine – Rode -3 to -5 mixed with Viola.

Some weird questions I started pondering:

1) Names for trail fragments: What’s the name of the trail that comes up from Lodgepole and connects to Meadow just north and west of the Information Center? Is it a continuation of Sinclair? Does Meadow just bifurcate?

2) What about Stroil? I’d always thought that it ran up and over the hill, from Pocaterra to Pocaterra with Come Along connecting to it at that T intersection, but today someone told me that Stroil is just that north bit from Pocaterra to Come Along and the rest is Come Along.

1. I believe it’s Sinclair. Sinclair is listed as 2K, and only 1.9K is on the other side of Lodgepole, so that short stretch to link Lodgepole to Meadow must be the missing 100 metres.

2. According to my PLPP map, Stroil runs from Pocaterra to Pocaterra and is .8K. See the description here http://skierbob.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/PLPP-Trails-descriptions.png -Bob

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20 John January 26, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Looking at the PLPP trail map, Stroil is listed as 0.6 km and Come Along as 1.5 km. That is consistent with your interpretation.

John, how old is your map? My old PLPP map lists it as .6K, but the newest map has it at .8K. Distances seem to change from map to map. A prime example is the stretch of Pocaterra from Packers junction to Whiskey Jack. It’s been a different distance on every map, from 3.0, to 3.1, but the trail markers once had it at 2.3, and Gemtrek shows it as 2.2. My GPS says 2.9. -Bob

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21 John January 27, 2013 at 7:11 am

Too old, like me!

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22 Grizzly January 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Thanks Bob!

You wouldn’t happen to know where the old Rockwall trailhead was, would you? Lionel? Are they bushwhackable?

That was before my time. -Bob

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23 Alf Skrastins January 26, 2013 at 7:42 pm

There were lots of people out enjoying the Ribbon Creek trails today. We skied many of the Village side trails, including Kovach, Terrace, Terrace Link and Ribbon Creek, as well as Coal Mine, Hidden, Ruthies and lower Skogan. Most of the trails had been freshly groomed Thursday/Friday and were in very good condition. Some, like Coal Mine had not seen any ski tracks since they were trackset. Others, near the parking lots at the Village, at Ribbon Creek and near Nakiska have already seen a lot of hikers and snowshoers, who had mashed the nice grooming. The walking traffic decreases as you get away from the parking lots. It was a wonderful, sunny day, with high temps just above freezing and snow just below freezing. V45 wax worked perfectly.

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24 Glenda Zamzow January 26, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Hi Alf,

Saw your name on Skier Bob. We went ski kayaking with you about 15 years ago. It was the Tofino trip – 1 week. I have a great pic of you and a salmon!

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25 Henry January 28, 2013 at 11:54 am

“ski kayaking”

Now this sounds interesting.

Ifor Thomas pulled us by a snowmobile while on touring skis up at in the Trophies at Clearwater, BC.

Do you drag the kayak, or does the kayak drag the skier -) ?

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26 Liz January 26, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Good tracksetting at PLPP today, even with the fresh snow and occasional light flakes coming down. We started at Boulton, headed up Elk Pass, along Tyrwhitt, and down Pocaterra/Packers. No pine needles in sight! Didn’t get the waxing right at all though – tried green, then blue, then blue with purple, and still no grip, but lots of snow build up on the skis. Not sure why – possibley wet new snow? Maybe others have suggestions, or it may have been a good day for waxless skis?

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27 James Kohut January 26, 2013 at 1:38 pm

PIPESTONE RIVER- beyond the track set

On Friday afternoon the Pipestone River trail track set was in good to very good shape. The snow was great for grip ‘n glide and was very silky. On the lower part of the trail there are minor amounts of evergreen needles on the trail particularly under big trees along with some dog track damage due to 2 ladies having 3 dangerous dogs off leash (it is illegal in the National Parks to have dogs off leash and is a serious legal liabity doing so on cross country trails with skiers safety being at risk going down hills).

I broke another 1.5 to 2 km of trail further up the valley which gives close to 16 km in total skiing up the Pipestone. I would estimate that there is roughly 3 to 4 kilometers more ski trail breaking before reaching the Pipestone River crossing and the open (moon lit) meadows. The trail breaking is moderately difficult with ski penetration being from ankle deep to thigh deep in some areas. Wider skis are required to stay afloat. I would estimate 3 hours of time is required to complete the trail breaking to the meadows by an experienced back country skier in order to absorb the great views. Keep an eye on the tree blazes as many are snow covered making finding the trail a challenge.

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28 John January 25, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Put your waxless skis in the car for PLPP –

Started out from Pocaterra today at about 1100 with temps at about -2C and finished up at about 1400 with temps at +1C. There was about 1cm on new snow in the tracks, and there was more or less snow falling the whole day. Even using Rode waxes that are usually resistant to icing, my skis iced up almost immediately. As temperatures warmed and more new snow hit the tracks, the icing approached the dreaded “high heeled shoes” stage.

When the tracks were well skied in by others, then things weren’t too bad, and Rode Multigrade Purple covered with Rode Multigrade Blue worked pretty well. But in the fresher snow, forget it – it was ice city!

So, unless things cool down quite a bit tonight, my advice would be to throw you waxless skis in the car. If the snow is cold and well skied in when you get there, then leave the waxless in the car. But if conditions are like today, you will be very happy you brought the waxless with you!

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29 Bob Truman January 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm

West Bragg Creek trail report from Bruce Barker:

The ski trails at west Bragg Creek remain in fairly good condition. The tracks set in last week are bullet-proof, and the decision was made to leave them rather than trying to reset them. Resetting the tracks would bring up debris because of the thin snowpack. However, a nice 2 cm snowfall on Saturday, Jan 19 bound in to the tracks well, so kick and glide is good. Expect to encounter some bare ground on sunny, exposed areas of Iron Springs and Moose Loop.

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30 Bob Truman January 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Skate trails in Kananaskis

If you’re a skate-skier looking for an easy trail in Kananaskis, tracksetter Jeff reports the Bill Milne trail from Ribbon creek to Wedge pond was groomed yesterday with a skating lane and single track.

Mt Shark, with more challenging terrain, is an excellent venue for skaters if you’re willing to drive a little further, and it was groomed last night.

As always, the Canmore nordic centre is the gold-standard for skaters looking for good grooming and a good variety of trails for all abilities.

According to the Banff trail report, Lake Louise received 15 cm of new snow yesterday.

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31 Keith Bagnall January 24, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Thursday, January 24: I started from Pocaterra Hut at 09:15 with the air temperature at -2C. At 14:41 back at Pocaterra the air temperature was -1C. All tree debris seems to be groomed in and/or covered with new snow. I skied Sinclair, Meadow, Wooley and Amos to the bottom of Whiskey Jack in 1 cm of new snow on very good track. Then up Boulton Ck and Fox Ck to the Elk Pass junction on good tracks already skied. I was pleased to discover new grooming on the Elk Pass trail and decided to see how far it went, rather than turn back. Disappointing; it went only to Hydroline / Elk Pass junction and up that ridiculously steep hill! I decided to follow the skiers up to Elk Pass and see if Tyrwhitt was groomed. If not, I would come down Hydroline and that ridiculously steep hill. Tyrwhitt was groomed last night, for my pleasure, (but only to the Lookout junction) and off I went down to Pocaterra Hut. I was bagged but happy with my round trip end-to-end of the Park tour. It’s a long time since I last did the circuit.

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32 Oleg January 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Confederation Park
I went to the Confederation Park looking for some local snow after work. While last night’s flurries may have improved conditions a just bit, it is very marginal – many thin spots, mostly icy tracks.
Not recommended.

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33 Helen Read January 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm

A magical day in Yoho with lots of new fresh powder to play in. 11 keen Meanderthals skied Kicking Horse Trail in minus 2 today enjoying the former tracks filled with lots of powder. On our return from the picnic table heading towards the main bridge, we came across a huge tree that landed right across the trail likely within the hour of our first tracks. That will be a BIG job for the volunteer track-setters to clear up. A few of us went on the Alluvial Fan where there was even more snow, but thankfully it had been nicely skier tracked.
My suggestion for a Moonlight Ski would be the Alluvial Fan counter clockwise but use caution crossing all those narrow bridges. The Lounge serves some really nice draft beers, but it is a long drive. Better to support the Kicking Horse Ski Club Annual Fundraiser dinner the following Sat. Feb 2nd @ 5pm. Check out the menu created by amazing top chefs on their club website under Yoho Trail Reports.

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34 Jim January 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm

For Richierich
Shag at noon today was marginally skiable
on the loop at the north end. Any evidence of track setting a distant memory. Better view than from my exercize bike

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35 RichieRich January 24, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Thanks all for the reports on Confed & Shag… I’ll be praying for another 5-10cm of snow in order to more easily enjoy some intown skiing.

Is it safe to assume West Bragg will have icy tracks? Haven’t heard anything for quite a few days on their conditions.

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36 Grizzly January 24, 2013 at 7:51 am

Anyone have any good suggestions for midnight skiing this weekend? It will be full moon time. We’ve had a magical time of it night skiing on Emerald Lake but were looking for something a bit closer to home.

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37 pat davis January 24, 2013 at 7:57 am

We are thinking of the Canmore Nordic Centre for Saturday nite. If it is overcast we can ski under the lights; if it’s a clear night, we can go out into the unlit areas. If anyone else has dome this, I’d appreciate reading your experiences

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38 Oleg January 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Bill Milne (from Ribbon Creek parking lot), if it is in skiable conditions after the recent Chinook, may be a good place to go to. It is mostly open and thus may be adequately illuminated by the full moon; Mt. Kidd must look spectacular in moon light!

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39 pat davis January 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Thanks for the advice, Oleg. It’s appreciated

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40 jeff January 25, 2013 at 9:51 am

Bill Milne groomed and trackset yesterday with a single track and skating lane all the way from Ribbon to Wedge Pond. It is in excellent shape.

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41 Adam Kahtava January 24, 2013 at 7:46 am

Skied Ribbon Creek Jan 23rd. Most tracks were recently set and clean with the exception of the South bit of Kovach and the Kovach / Aspen Link. The Southern part of Kovach was covered in debris with rocks exposed in the field near the Kananaskis Delta. First time skiing Ribbon Creek by headlamp, descending the hills on Kovach was fun!

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42 Stephen Vermeulen January 24, 2013 at 7:45 am

Yesterday afternoon (23 Jan) I skied the Pocaterra trail from the hut to the lookout junction. At 1330 the snow at the start was reading -0.5C and the air temperature at the hut was about zero. Quite overcast so it didn’t really feel that warm. Tracks from the hut to Packers were quite good, there are a couple sections where some more needles have fallen but these weren’t that bad (the worst was between about 5.5 and 6.0 km from the hut – the section where you get up onto the ridge and can look down to the creek).

From Packers to the Whiskey Jack and Lookout junctions the tracks were more recently set and a vast improvement over the conditions last Saturday.

There were a few places the tracks were starting to look a bit damp, so those will probably be glazed on Friday morning.

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43 Mandy Johnson January 23, 2013 at 11:10 pm

I skied the Bow Trail/Meadowview 13 km loop on Wednesday and it was in great shape. Many of the connecting trails that had not been recently groomed had lots of debris on them and did not look too inviting, but there was a substantial number of recently groomed inviting trails.

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44 Mandy Johnson January 23, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I guess I should add this was at the Canmore Nordic Centre!

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45 Dale January 24, 2013 at 6:57 am

I was there (CNC) last night for a couple hours of night skiing on the Banff/Bow lit loops – exactly what I needed to burn off the stress of the workday. Thanks to the skier I talked to at the end of Banff loop (the last bit that’s lit) that suggested purple (P42) wax – I had blue (P28) on. It’s a bit messy to clean and did catch just a bit of debris – maybe a five or ten needles in a couple hours – but the change worked very well.

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46 Richierich January 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Any reports or feedback on tracks/trails at Confed or Shaganappi? am thinking about heading to one of them after work Thurs evening, possibly with the kids. After last weeks disaster at PLPP (trails we did were a debris-carpet), I’d rather not repeat again…ever. thanks.

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47 Diana Piggott January 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Shaganappi: Well, it is warm again today :-(
I went there this morning, and found it skiable but not great. Their track-setting has helped to preserve the base, but the base is thin and icy, especially on south-facing slopes. Avoid the western edge, especially the SW corner. No problem with pine needles, though!

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48 pat davis January 23, 2013 at 8:58 am

Anyone ski Mt. Shark recently?

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49 Ray Perrott January 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm

We skied most of the trails at the north end of PLPP today. The air temp was -10C at 10am at Pocaterra Hut, and -4C when we finished at 1:30pm. Recent tracksetting on all the trails was excellent with very little debris. A few short sections with pine needles, mostly on Pocaterra, were not a problem.. The tracks were fast, verging on icy in places. A very pleasing day to be in the mountains, much better than the smoggy, colder Calgary we returned to.

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50 Bob Truman January 21, 2013 at 9:05 pm

We skied the trails around Ribbon creek and Kananaskis Village today. The air temp at +7 in the Ribbon creek parking lot was cause for concern, but to my surprise, the snow temperature was -4, so waxing was not a problem. The recent tracksetting on Ribbon creek was excellent with almost no debris. Kovach, where it parallels Ribbon creek had excellent tracks and a small amount of debris. Terrace link was also very good, and Terrace was okay. Aspen, which wasn’t trackset recently, was a carpet of debris except for the odd section.

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51 Marlene A January 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Spent the weekend in Lake Louise skiing fairview, telemark, great divide and moraine lake road all of which were in great shape. The track setters were out in full force and even groomed on a Sunday (great divide)! Sounds like it was the best place for good snow, temperature and little debris this weekend.

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52 Frank Howard January 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

The Skyline Seniors Outdoor Club hit Lake Louise with 2-1/2 hours to go for the Ice Sculpturing Competition. If you are wondering what to do with that Dromel kit that you got for Christmas. have we got a project for you. The sculpures were beautiful in the sunlit venue of Chateau Lake Louise and once the sculpters stand away from their work in pride it should be a great show. The parking lot was full with people wandering their way towards the lake in anticipation of the sights that they would enjoy. Skaters were on the lake circling the ice fortress that was part of Ice Magic Festival. Once we had our fill of the aqua fine arts we headed to the trailhead of The Tramline and Fairview trails at the end of the lower parking Chateau parking lot. We headed out on the Fairview trail, our destination Moraine Lake Road. Snow was good with crisp trailsetting. Some debris but not much. When we reached Moraine Lake Road it was again good. We headed for the MLR parking lot to go down to the Village on the Tramline. Excellent conditions. The tramline had a little more debris but was otherwise excellent. Temperatures were cold but the sun came out at times making the weather very pleasant.

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53 Fred O January 20, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Skied Ribbon creek today a bit cold nice trackset all around.

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54 Dale January 20, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Went out to CNC today, took Bow -> Meadowview -> Banff -> Bow -> Meadowview -> Banff. On Meadowview I was struggling up the hills, had to herringbone up a 3% grade – no grip at all. Wrong wax? No wax – I left all of my grip wax and some of my glide wax on the pine cones and needles. And at least some of the base binder. But a very enjoyable day except for those few hills. I watched a whole lot of skaters fly by…. I guess that’s why they’re misery sticks.

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55 Carol S January 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm

We were out in PLPP today. Started at Pocaterra. We headed down Lynx which had a lot of pine needles. Woolley and Sinclair were not so good either. Still, the weather was good and it was nice to get out.

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56 Brent L January 20, 2013 at 9:02 am

We skied the Bill Milne bike trail yesterday and did an out and back starting at Ribbon Creek parking lot. There was a lot of debris and the tracks were degraded significantly in sunny areas. The first two kms from Ribbon Creek parking lot had lots of debris but it cleared up once we got to more open areas. There is a downed tree approximately 3 km from the Ribbon Creek parking lot but we managed to sneak our way under it (it’s a little too low for the limbo unfortunately). The sun and views were spectacular and we were able to take breaks without layering up too much! What a treat! Our turnaround point was where the trail crosses the highway, approximately 3 km from Wedge Pond due to a thick blanket of pine needles. Pray for more snow!

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57 Ken January 19, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Was in PLPP today, Did Pocaterra, Stroil, Come Along and Rolly Road loop first and all were recently trackset and in great shape. No debris anywhere, overall quite fast and barely anyone on Come Along. Did Packers, Pocaterra and Whiskey Jack and those all tons of pine needles and debris, especially on the lower section of Packers and a bit of Pocaterra. Trackset is a bit old and has some random bumps or is pretty thin in some spots. Down on Whiskey Jack had fair bit of debris and was a bit icy. Overall a decent day with great weather.

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58 Barbara January 19, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Skied the Pipestone loop this afternoon. Loads of debris on the eastern half – so many pine needles that it really slows you down. The open areas were the only portion where the tracks were clear. Had a nice ski and two layers of Swix purple with a bit of red added on gave me good grip. Temperature was 0C most if the way, then warmed up to +2 at the end. When I started there were 20 cars at the trailhead, but didn’t see a single person on the trails. Wouldn’t recommend this one until it gets new snow to cover the debris.

Ski touring turnoff to Skoki had skier set tracks, but no idea how far.

Ice carving competition was well under way at the Chateau, so should see the completed pieces tomorrow. Parking in Lake Louise in the morning was crazy – all the way to the highway!

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59 Barbara January 20, 2013 at 6:52 pm
60 Steve Riggs January 19, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Not much to add to the PLPP reports- we went to Blueberry, finding some debris which was easily skirted on the descent, and surprisingly fine weather at the top.
Nice enough for afternoon tea!
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/nT_-I-QcN_rKXLV2gEMRydMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink
We avoided the worst section of cones and needles on Elk Pass by returning via Hydroline- it was clean and fast with tracks only partially filled in by the wind.
Despite the sometimes less than ideal conditions, it was a glorious day out.

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61 Steve Riggs January 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm

I should add, that if you ignored the tree debris and occasional snow bombs in the tracks, snow conditions were actually very good- firmly packed and fast but not icy, other than the steeper downhills that have been scraped down by snowplowers. The snow stayed dry with an air temperature of around zero. For wax, a thin layer of Rode violet worked well.
And kudos to the visually impaired skier and guide that we talked to at the top of Blueberry!

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62 Doug Connery January 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Skied the lower part of leg one of the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet trail – Baker Creek west for about 7 km towards Corall Creek. A wonderful ski on 0 to -2 wax and minimal debris. Should be a good race Sunday on great conditions (at least this part of the route).

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63 Mary Perrott January 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm

In an attempt to avoid all the debris on trails everywhere, we decided to ski the Mount Shark Trails. The tracks were crisp and sharp, though glazed and a bit icy, but very clean nearest the parking lot. We skied the Watridge Lake Trail and found that after a couple of kms. there was some debris in the tracks, which got worse as we went towards Watridge Lake. After turning around and skiing back to the parking lot for lunch, we tried the 2 km. blue loop and found it quite good. As this is a favorite of ours, we skied it twice (even three times for some!) Temperatures were around -2C. and the morning was bright and sunny.

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64 Grizzly January 20, 2013 at 8:44 am

Mary, isn’t that last hill and the run out to the parking lot a delight?

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65 PM January 19, 2013 at 5:48 pm

CNC – competition/man-made snow trails in excellent shape – minimal to non-existent debris.

Natural snow trails are a carpet of needles, twigs, sticks and cones. Base seems a bit thin (on the natural snow trails) to groom deep and bury all the clutter.

If you’re planning on going on the trails without snow gun coverage, bring your rock skis or pray for 15cm of fresh.

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66 Sam January 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Tim and I started at Bolton this morning – just after 11. Going up Whiskey Jack – a fair amount of debris – red wax effective to the junction. Surprisingly – beginning up Tyrwhitt, it got warmer and we stopped and applied yellow. Freshly groomed and tracked, great skiing up to the meadows – but clearly early this morning, Bullwinkle and calf(?) took advantage of the freshly groomed trail and forced us to move from side to side – almost all the way to Elk Pass! The trail from the Tyrwhitt Meadows to the Pass – wonderful, as always. Lots of folks at the Pass – many proceeding down the Hydroline. We decided to continue along the Elk Pass trail – lots of debris, moss and needles along the way – but we enjoyed it nevertheless. Remarkably – and most gratifying – the best part of the day was Fox Creek and Morraine – both MAGNIFICENT, relatively free of debris (more spruce than pine trees?) and fantastic snow. All in all – another outstanding day in the Mountains.

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67 Frank Howard January 19, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Among the places where the Skrastins Outdoor club went on Friday, January 18 was the Goat Creek Trail above Canmore. The temperature was above zero on arrival. I put on universal klister while others applied various concoctions of red which worked for them. The klister worked well until where the trail forks either to the golf course or to the upper chateau. There was not much klister left on the ski and I probably should have re-applied but I did not and so I was slip-sliding until the golf couse while my ski mate merrily scampered ahead on her waxless skis. The waxless skis worked well on that day. The trail was rife with pine debris which helped somewhat with traction. Some were complaining about the debris causing them to come to a halt but speed seems to be factor. If you are going fast enough it seems to help. The trail suffered from the heat, making it look older than it was. The long curve to the wide bridge crossing the creek, was challenging to all but to those who had steel edges , a waxless base or to those who had firmly mastered the snowplow. The sun came out oft-times giving a great camera opp at the creek but in general it was overcast. A great day to get out and enjoy some warm temperatures before the cold weather returns.

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68 Stephen Vermeulen January 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm

This morning I skied up Pocaterra, the tracks had been freshly set last night and the snow temperature was in the -10C range. At 0905 there were about 5 cars in the parking lot. The trail was excellent, very little debris all the way to Packers. The track setting stopped at the Packers junction and both Packers and the section of Pocaterra that continues to Whiskey Jack were covered in needles, cones and twigs so I didn’t go any further. One the way back I tried Lynx which was also very recently trackset (maybe Thursday night?). It started in great condition but as soon as you enter the trees there were a lot of needles so I didn’t go further. This part of Lynx did not have as much debris as the Packers junction area though.

At about 1030 as I headed north of Lynx I encountered lots of skiers (after having only seen about 10) and when I got back to the hut (at about 1050) the parking lot was about 60% full. Snow temperature was still showing about -10C, though the air had warmed up a bit. Odd thing was there were quite a few people who were re-waxing in the first km or two, since the tracks were firm and not icy pretty much any blue should have worked well.

The sheriffs were out in force today, they were camped out near the wishing well (at the end of the long downhill going south which is one of the better places to pass…). They even had two cars, to give better service…

And, in case the cross country skiers felt left out they were also providing service a bit south of the Nakiska turn off.

On the way back from the park at around 1100 I counted 123 cars going south between Pocaterra and the Nakiska turn off – the trails are going to busy today.

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69 James Kohut January 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Cascade River

Lower to Mid section 5 KM beyond Stoney Creek.
I found the snow to be variable in the afternoon of Jan. 18 while skiing due to temperatures being well above zero. The Lower Cascade Road consisted of wet early spring like snow. Coming out at night the temperature dropped and the snow became icy fast in some sections (thankfully I ski smart with metal edged cross country skis and so I enjoyed the fast icy conditions). There was also high winds that dropped a lot of pine and evergreen needles on this part of the trail.

Past the Cascade River Bridge conditions improved with less debris on the trail although the snow was still early spring like. I crossed the frozen Stoney Creek by the knocked out bridge and skied another 5 KM up the valley to gets some nice views of Flints Peak. I stopped at a location where an unfrozen creek runs down the road (this is another problem the Parks needs to fix in order to avoid major erosion of the Cascade Road- and fast). The snow greatly improved past Stoney Creek. The trail past Stoney Creek is in excellent skier tracked condition and is on a firm base so your poles do not penetrate very deeply. If you are a long distance skier, now is the time to get up into this part of the Park and enjoy the views up the valley- before more new snow comes and buries the trail.

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70 leo hetu January 19, 2013 at 4:05 am

Peter Lougheed — Friday the 18th

Beginning at the Pocattera parking lot I took Pocattera to Lynx, then looped back down to Wooley and Meadow. The snow was great the whole way Pocaterra was fairly clear of debris but Lynx, Wooley and Meadow were full of pine needles and some branches.

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71 Helen Read January 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Just back from a GLORIOUS two nights at Emerald Lake Lodge. Honestly X-C ski enthusiasts there is NO better “skier special around”. We were happy to support Kicking Horse Ski Club and also be able to take advantage of this $89/night special rate on this skierbob website. I knew the monies spent in the dining room would be greater than the total room rate but the breakfasts in the D-R are worth making the trip alone!!!! Try the Brie/wild mushroom omelette for $12 or their Eggs Benedict with wild salmon for $13
*Wed. we skied Baker Creek to Castle Lookout in minus 6;
*Thurs. Yoho Valley Road in am (both the road in and parking lot were nicely plowed after last week’s huge snowfall), and Kicking Horse Trail (did not see one person in 14 kms) and minus 5, then before dinner, Alluvial Fan, again having it all to myself. Was tempted to try the Fan at night but did not bring the most dependable headlamp. This morning we skied the Fan again in minus 3-4 and met Hans, who was corduroy grooming the trail on his day off. He was the happy recipient of some home baked cookies I’d brought for “the groomers”. Support the Kicking Horse Ski Club and Emerald Lake Lodge while the opportunity exists. Drove back to Lac Des Arcs sadly watching the temperature rise to +6.

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72 Ray Perrott January 17, 2013 at 7:13 pm

PLPP today. We started at the Visitor Center, and skied Meadow, Woolley, Amos, Wheeler, Boulton and Fox to its junction with the Elk Pass trail, and then returned via Fox, Moraine, Wheeler, Lodgepole and Braille. All trails were nicely trackset, though many were covered with tree debris. It was warm today, about -2C at the start and +3C at the end. Lots of big wind gusts. We used purple wax for grip, but unfortunately lots of needles and cone bits stuck to it and we had to make several stops to scrape them off. The cleanest trail was Braille (under the powerlines, away from trees), while some sections of Wheeler were a pine carpet. So, a bit slow today, but enjoyable nonetheless. A bit of glazing in some spots, but generally no heat damage to the snow..

I was anxiously awaiting a trip report from PLPP. It doesn’t seem to be as bad as I had feared. It was +8 here in Canmore, and windy. -Bob

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73 Adam Kahtava January 17, 2013 at 8:41 am

Skied the Canmore Nordic Centre on the evening Jan 16th. Arrived at 5:30pm with the air temperature at +4C and snow temp at -1C. Grip was good with a Toko rated for -2 and warmer. Skied Bow Trail, Meadow View, and Banff Trail. The West (upper) tracks were full of debris on all trails skied but the lower tracks were good. As we headed back to the car the tracks were being reset and should be cleaner today.

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74 Jim Davis January 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Went out to Sandy McNabb today and had a quick ski (someone forgot their boots!!). Was hoping to do Arctic Hill, Pine Ridge and Long Prairie Loop but nothing has been packed or tracked and only one set of snow shoe tracks towards Arctic Hill so did a Whitetail, Macabee Loop and Wolftree Link onto Long Prairie Loop and back to the Sheep River Ranger Station. There has been quite a bit of skier and snow shoe activity on the lower/closer trails but who could ask for a nicer day to be out and enjoying the trails. Blue wax was working fine and only saw two persons on the trails. Downhill sections were very fast and a little tricky with uneven surface – not for the faint of heart! Some wind debris but can’t have everything!

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75 Frank Howard January 16, 2013 at 11:01 am

While Keith and his part of the SOCC went to PLPP the rest of us headed to The Burstall Pass and Chester Lake trail heads. Burstall Pass was a hodge-podge of snow shoe and ski set trail setting. The snow stood up to the task as it was flat and packed but not beyond skiing control. Past the cutoff to the lake we encountered pronounced snowshoeing and that remained until we got back into the trees just before the terrain opens up and the trail splits between Burstall Pass and Robertson Glacier. At this pont you arre at the top of the lake and it was windswept on our return. However, at this time we headed to Robertson Glacier, our destination. We were rewarded with a sunny day and beautiful views. The wind rose and fell at times and when it rose it was cold but in the lulls, it was perfection.Our trip back, once we got back on the trail after the lake was swift and fun with cries of ‘Track” as we came upon other slower users of the trail. A great day and this trip should be an annual destination for everyone. Just a side note, when we were in the Robertson Glacier valley we noted on the far right hand side as you approached the glacier, snowshoe tracks that paralleled the slopes on that side.. They went along a ways and then suddenly headed up the slope into an avalanche that had fallen after the tracks were made. The point is, that side is prone to avalanches and your path should be on the left-hand side.

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76 James Kohut January 16, 2013 at 10:29 am

REDEARTH CREEK- SHADOW LAKE

Single track set to Shadow Lake turnoff. Great shape with soft medium speed snow. From Redearth Creek trail to Shadow Lake the trail is in excellent shape. The hill has been skier packed fairly wide so a person can snow plow coming down, if required. I finished off the re-breaking of the trail to the lodge and lake at sunset yesterday. Shadow Lake is a great place to see colours from the sunset at this time of year. The red cloud sky is something else up there. Red sky at night- skiers delight!

Tip: Ski with cross country skis that have metal edges. You will have far more control, safety and fun skiing down hills particularly when trails are icy later in the season. Metal edges may just extend your season.

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77 Keith Bagnall January 15, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Five of us from the Seniors’ Outdoor Club of Calgary crossed the road at Pocaterra and skied up Lodgepole and Wheeler to access Bolton Creek. We took a 3 km detour down and back to the Lower Lakes Group Campground. We returned, from the Fox Creek lower junction, on Moraine, Amos, Wooley, Meadow and Sinclair to Pocaterra Hut It was minus 15 C at Pocaterra at 10:30 am and minus 6 C when we came back to Pocaterra. The coldest part of the day was our lunch break in Boulton Creek. We stopped in a sunny location and were out of the wind, but the Creek seemed to be a cold sink. All trails were in good shape except Boulton Creek. Lower Lakes had snow drifting into new trackset. Moraine had a slight amount of new snow over good trackset. All other trails were pristine trackset. I had first tracks
on Upper Meadow! I used a special blue and it was perfect until after Moraine, when I think the wax was worn off. Glide was super all day. All in all a perfect day. The wind was creating a spectacular snow plume off Mount Fox.

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78 Ray Perrott January 15, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Windy! Windy! and cold. Today we were at PLPP, starting at Boulton Bridge, and skiing Boulton, Fox, Elk Pass to the Blueberry jct, then Blueberry Hill. Returned the same way except Moraine instead of Boulton. -14C at the start, -10C at 2pm when we finished. At times, it felt like -25C with the windchill. Boulton and Moraine are skier trackset, but in good shape if you don’t mind the tree debris. The Elk Pass trail is in good shape, though with some debris and lots of tree bombs. Blueberry was very nice and mostly clean, though a bit soft in the tracks. Some drifting in the open areas, but no problem. Fox Creek should be avoided, if possible, until the next trackset. A trail crew was working on most of Fox, shoveling snow from the margins onto the trail, making for a minefield of lumpy snow. No sign of the chinook in PLPP!

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79 Linda Vaxvick January 15, 2013 at 11:34 am

Shagannappi Golf Course was excellent this morning. The track is good and should hold up through the warm weather. I was using some old special blue wax (not yet into the newfangled stuff) and it worked fine. At 10 am there were 13 cars in the lot. Definitely some pent-up demand for skiing in the city. If only there were snowmaking to get the trails through the Chinooks! Thanks to the Calgary Ski Club volunteers for a great job of grooming.

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80 Thorsten January 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Well, we DO have snow making in the city. All that’s needed is someone to sponsor a trucking company to drive a few loads the 10km from COP to Shaganappi …

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81 Konrad Ross January 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Hi Linda, I was wondering if Shagannappi was groomed for skate skiing or just track set. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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82 Linda Vaxvick January 16, 2013 at 9:41 am

Yes, the main trails have a skate lane with classic lanes on each side. Scroll down a couple of pages here to see the trail conditions report. It might also be on this website’s Trail Conditions page.

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83 Bob Truman January 16, 2013 at 9:55 am

The Shaganappi trail report is on my main menu under “Trail Reports” – “Shaganappi Golf Course”

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84 C McClelland January 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm

http://flickr.com/gp/76155412@N06/8a93pR/
Photos of my solitary ski down the Tramline this morning. Awesome. I did run into the groomer as you will see. Had a bit of an upset while trying to widen the track for the loppet.

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85 Chip Scialfa January 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I just finished skiing at Confederation Park (5:00 p.m.). Depending on the source, the air temperature was somewhere between -2 and +3. I took the Peltonen Altura waxless skis I bought as rentals ($100 including bindings!) and they were “the cat’s pyjamas”. After 10 km, Rainer from Foothills Nordic Ski Club showed up to set new track. I regretted leaving my headlamp at home!
I’d say that urban skiers may want to get in their klicks early tomorrow as Father Sol is predicted to be heating up quickly.

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86 pat davis January 14, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Skied the Elk Pass-Tywhitt (sp?)-Whisky Jack-Boulton Creek loop today. Temp about -10 with a nasty cold wind. Blue wax was a bit too warm, but at least I had grip on the ups. Set tracks all the way except along Tywhitt where there were skier-set tracks. Renewed my acquaintance with Whisky Jack by bouncing down for about ten meters before I stopped. Learned humility. Still had a great time!

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87 Jim Davis January 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Skied Crystal Ridge for the third afternoon in a row and with the small amounts of new snow the conditions are pretty good. Considering only a couple minutes drive if you live in Okotoks (no – no C-train service) the local facility provides a great alternative to a longer drive to the mountains.

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88 Dan Z January 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Saturday, my bro & I skied Ribbon Creek area. Skied the freshly trackset Lower Skogan Pass trail towards Troll Falls, then dropped down the fast & fun Ruthies trail, checked out the falls & returned same way. Leg #2, we skied ~8kms total on Bill Milne Trail. It was sunny & no wind so felt like +10 (-12C actual temp). The grooming was perfect except one big issue my brand new skis did not like. There is a big ROCK sticking up in the left track about 3kms from Ribbon Creek when heading in the Wedge Pond direction in the open area of Bill Milne. Leg #3 was skiing the decent tracks of Ribbon Creek Trail. Took Link, then up to Kovach Lookout where we met a moose (2nd of day on trail). Very enjoyable skiing down Kovach in the deep fresh snow! Nice & quiet on the trails.

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89 Natalie Young January 14, 2013 at 11:42 am

Skied in fantastic new snow conditions at Kananaskis Village-Ribbon Creek area yesterday (Sunday). Although the Trail report mentioned that Kovach had been groomed on January 11th, it appeared to be only skier set most of the way up to the Lookout point. Maybe they received more snow after the 11th? It was a beautiful day, the sun came out in the valley and we were grateful to bask in it once we skied downhill along Ribbon Creek to the parking lot, as it was a bit chilly in the forest. Temperatures seemed to be around -10 degrees or so. Terrace was nicely groomed for us on the way back. Highly recommend K Village and Ribbon Creek!

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90 Adam Kahtava January 14, 2013 at 10:04 am

Skied to the Blueberry Hill lookout on Jan 13th. Second car parked at 10am (-17). Quiet day, had the lookout to ourselves. Passed our first skier as we descended onto the Elk Pass trail. Boulton Creek and Fox Creek were skier track set, Blueberry Hill had a bit of snow over reasonable tracks. Great day out.

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91 Mike B January 14, 2013 at 6:47 am

Discovered Confederation Golf Course for the first time yesterday, thanks to the info on this website. Got some good practice. So nice to have this available in the city; I didn’t have time to drive out of town yesterday. Thanks for the tracks Rainer!

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92 Mike fr Edmonton January 14, 2013 at 2:06 am

Thanks to Rainer’s Trip Report and the Foothills Nordic Club, we had a great time at Confederation Park Golf Course yesterday Sunday at -8 in Calgary. No surprise it was busy in the afternoon and so is finding parking spots. The previous day, Bill Milne trail in Kananaskis was picturesque and warmer than Ribbon Creek at -15 (with a breeze) late afternoon. Good trackset (single) and nice ski skater area same trail. Trail on the flats recommended for novice classic and ski skaters. Pictures can be viewed here: https://pinterest.com/yeghikermike/alberta-winter-2012-2013/

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93 Jan January 13, 2013 at 10:30 pm

If there had to be a weekend when one couldn’t make the trip from Calgary into the mountains to ski this was a good one. Skied for a couple of hours today at Confederation Golf Course on the 5 km set on Thu night by the Foothills Nordic Ski Club…for which many thanks. Air temperature was -8 at 1:30 pm and waxing blue, there was great glide and good kick. Lots of folks there today, similar to Shaganappi and Bragg Creek…perhaps that explains in part the 5 cars at Boulton!

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94 Paul January 13, 2013 at 9:55 pm

After a Saturday of downhill skiing at Fernie our trip took us through Kimberley on the way home and decided to quickly check out the Kimberley nordic club’s trails for the first time. Beautiful day, fantastic conditions. We were short on time but skied the centennial/snowbird/landsem/spruce loop for a fast 6.5km. A great area, 10 bucks to ski and worth it if you are nearby. I’ll definitely be back.

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95 Bob Truman January 13, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Here’s an update on Shaganappi golf course from Alasdair Fergusson:

Hi fellow skiing enthusiasts

As usual, the snow was cold and dry with a high air content so difficult to make a snowball so difficult to set tracks.

AS a result Larry and Graham packed the trails on Friday afternoon to permit the snow to harden and set up before Larry trackset on Saturday afternoon.

The other news was the incredible number of cars in the parking lot.

We had a CSC Jackrabbit group plus a Norseman ski club group in the morning.

Sat at 11:15 am – 81 cars
Sat at 3:15 pm – 64 cars
Sunday at 3pm – 100 cars – the entire parking lot was filled down to the bottom where the trailers are parked.

As always, cars were constantly coming and going.

I need to ask City how to obtain a vehicle counter for Shaganappi.
Also we need to get a Porta-Potty. I need to ask Golf Course who their preferred suppliers are.

Some people that I talked to said that they had heard about Shaganappi on QR Radio when they interviewed me.

One couple I spoke to were so pleased that they had ridden the C-train for the first time and came to Shaganappi to go skiing.

on every occasion there was a lot of kids with their parents.

Proof of the success of this City-Centre XC ski area when we get good snow and moderate temperatures.

Keep up the prayers or offer sacrifices to the snow gods!!

Alasdair

Coordinator Tracksetting 1993 – Present

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96 Grizzly January 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm

We were a bit tired and draggy but hit the roads for PLPP. Stopped at Pocaterra Hut a bit late for a long run, but enough time to do our quick pre-lunch warmup of the figure eight Rolly Road – Pocaterra – Stroil – Come Along – Pocaterra. Wonderful conditions even if a bit of snow had fallen since the trails were groomed Friday.

This was actually the first time in 16 (count ‘em) 16! years that we were able to ski that last little hill on Pocaterra without having to queue up or wait at the top. Thanks to the skier coming in the other direction who told us that it was clear!

After lunch we headed to Boulton on word that Whiskey Jack and Packers had just been groomed. We met two young ladies who were just finishing up their run (Packers – Pocaterra – Whiskey Jack) and judging by their smiles they had been in heaven. I have to tell you that the conditions were amazing, and there were only 5 or 6 cars in the lot!

I skied with a big smile on my face the whole time, and another first, I did the Pocaterra bit in a semblance of a tuck position – not bad for a decrepit 54 year old. Great day. Great day! Where was everyone?

It sounds like everyone was at West Bragg! -Bob

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97 Stephen Vermeulen January 13, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Today I skied the pocaterra trail. The parking lot had about six cars at 0915 and the snow temperature was -22C, the hut thermometer read -20C. It was sunny and calm, so not too bad. The tracks from the hut to the lynx junction have already got some wear but they are still level and not too sloppy. Lynx has not been set yet, so it is skier tracks in some deep grooves. From lynx to packers the pocaterra trail is nice. Then I hit new tracks, both packers and the pocaterra to whiskey jack had been set last night, so I continued to the whiskey jack junction. Both whiskey jack and the short trail to the lookout turn off had also been set last night. At this point the track setting stopped, so only single track skier set tracks for lookout and tyrwhitt. Good ski back, got a bit cold on the long downhill sections. Was about -15C around noon at the hut and the parking lot was about 60% full. Lots of cars heading south on the 40 when I drove back, including one police car and a heard of sheep on the road (they actually got off the road when the snow plow came by).

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98 Stephen Vermeulen January 13, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Here’s a few photos of the end of Pocaterra and the start of Lookout and Tyrwhitt trails:

https://plus.google.com/photos/113224617295715051229/albums/5833110520228405905

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99 RichieRich January 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Myself & good friends arrived ~4-5th car in West Bragg Crk approx 9am today at a chilly -16C and went out Moose Loop which seemed mostly skier-set tracks (but well-skied) so a little sloppy. Never done it before and really liked it despite the extra work staying up on the super-skinny new waxless skiis (not the right conditions for them). Didn’t like the creek crossing at the end (opted for this instead of the “luge run”).
After the above, and a ski change and some special-blue wax, hit up the Crystal/Sundog/Crystal loops. West end of Crystal area had the best tracks of all trails I did today.
As I was going up one hill on Crystal, a young lady and her dog were coming downhill…. the dog was easily leading and racing down as fast as it could, legs snow and ears flying and flapping everywhere. I swear that dog had the biggest grin on its face – totally priceless!
When I was packing up at noon the parking lot was insane. I have *never* seen it so crazy busy – reminded me of Christmas shopping at Market mall. After I vacated my spot there was a “small spat” between those awaiting my spot with a near-miss almost-bumper-car incident. Given the size of the lot there was high parking turnover at least so folks gotta settle. That said people were parked 3/4km up the roadway.
It’s fantastic we have this stunning resource accessible to so many out there… and all sorts were enjoying it today. I saw classic and skate skiers, walkers, ‘shoers, kids of all ages, and even a few “fat-bikes” off on their trails and everyone was having fun (except for parking). Yet it’s been such a struggle in terms of logging. I don’t get it. How can’t the government and logging feel this pressure and see the benefits?

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100 Sarah January 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm

When I left West Bragg Creek at 11:45am Sunday, the parking lot was full, and the road had cars parked all the way down. Crazy busy. Cars were pouring in as I left. The snow was still good. Beautiful snow covered trees. -10. No wind. The sometimes icy “ice flow” areas are all covered up by snow. Although it was busy, once you are out there on the trails, you don’t see that many people.

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101 RichieRich January 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Myself & good friends arrived ~4-5th car in West Bragg Crk approx 9am today at a chilly -16C and went out Moose Loop which seemed mostly skier-set tracks (but well-skied) so a little sloppy. Never done it before and really liked it despite the extra work staying up on the super-skinny new waxless skiis (not the right conditions for them). Didn’t like the creek crossing at the end (opted for this instead of the “luge run”).
After the above, and a ski change and some special-blue wax, hit up the Crystal/Sundog/Crystal loops. West end of Crystal area had the best tracks of all trails I did today.
As I was going up one hill on Crystal, a young lady and her dog were coming downhill…. the dog was easily leading and racing down as fast as it could, legs snow and ears flying and flapping everywhere. I swear I that dog had the biggest grin on it’s face – totally priceless!
When I was packing up at noon the parking lot was insane. I have *never* seen it so crazy busy – reminded me of Christmas shopping at Market mall. After I vacated my spot there was a “small spat” between those awaiting my spot with a near-miss almost-bumper-car incident. Given the size of the lot there was high parking turnover at least so folks gotta settle down – this is supposed to be fun! That said people were parked 3/4km up the roadway.
It’s fantastic we have this stunning resource accessible to so many out there… and all sorts were enjoying it today. I saw classic and skate skiers, walkers, ‘shoers, kids of all ages, and even a few “fat-bikes” off on their trails and everyone was having fun (except for parking). Yet it’s been such a struggle in terms of logging. I don’t get it. How can’t the government and logging feel this pressure and see the benefits?

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102 Simone R. January 13, 2013 at 9:50 am

Kananaskis Village yesterday Jan 12- the only trackset portion was Ribbon Creek, Terrace and part of Kovach (not the hill though). Must have been trackset few days ago as there was a bit of new snow on top which slowed you down. Green wax (Swix) worked great. It was a glorious day and not busy on the trails- wish Aspen and the Kovach hill would have been trackset..even so, it was fun!

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103 Greg January 12, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Goat Creek from Canmore to Banff. Once you get to the BNP sign the trail is double track set, although it snowed a bit last night so the they are not too deep. Plenty of snow fell over the past few days so it is a winter wonderland!

2 hours and 15 minutes to complete. Glad I brought a headlamp as I was in the dark for the last half of the Spray.

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104 Helen Read January 12, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Started off on Cascade Valley with Canmore friend, Maxine at 10:20 am. One skier ahead of us and lots of animal tracks, with temps staying as promised on weather network to be between minus 16 to minus 12. We skied to Stoney Bridge and lunched at cabin all by ourselves. Very few out considering it a stunningly beautiful sunny (but cold) Saturday. Our minus 10 to minus 15 green worked well the entire day but took us an hour longer than the week prior (when I finally got to meet Chuck!!!). It was freshly trackset (thank goodness) and a terrific day. A hot shower never felt so good (not to mention the Bailey’s Hazelnut in Java with skim milk) upon our return!

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105 Barbara January 12, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Great day skiing up Brewster Creek to Sundance Lodge today. Started in -20C, high of -15C, then cooler again. Swix green worked great for most people throughout the day. Freshly trackset to the junction, then broke trail to the lidge, which should make it easy for the next people out there. Snow conditions were great. On the return half of us took the shortcut, but took us longer than the others who stayed on the main trail. Switchbacks, ups and downs, some rocks and fallen trees all greeted us on the shortcut portion. Awesome day to be out there and it was nice having lunch on the verandah – comfy furniture. Someone needs to bring some wood glue for the moose’s foot as indicated here in an earlier report as well.

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106 John January 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Anyone ski at PLPP today?

The update shows that the trails around Pocaterra were set after the storm.
Were any other of the trails in the middle sections set? e.g. Wheeler, Wooley, Lynx, Amos, Meadow?

Thanks for any info!

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107 Keith January 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Tracks were skier set from the visitors centre today with about 15-20 cm fresh snow. We did Meadow, Wooly, Lynx and Amos. It was slow in the morning but by mid afternoon the tracks were pretty well set in both lanes.

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108 Dale January 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Canmore Nordic Center was very good today, pretty much ‘as usual’. They do a good job of keeping the tracks and grooming in great condition. I used Rode Special (-30 to -10) and that had great grip for me although it was a bit sluggish on the glide.

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109 Barbara January 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm

LOST: Canon G10 camera in black pouch after skiing to Sundance Lodge today. I think I put it on the roof of my car at the Healy parking lot and then drove off to Banff. Would love to get it back; can pick up anywhere from Calgary to Lake Louise. Has ski photos and photos of Sundance Lodge on it.

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110 Ursula January 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm

West Bragg trails were great today! Thanks to all the volunteers who did the tracksetting. We skied on the south side of the road in terrific conditions. The parking lot was very busy when we finished at 1:30, so if you go on Sunday, you might want to start in the morning when it is less busy.

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111 Richierich January 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Bob… any chance you could please add the West Bragg Creek trails map to your resources? These maps would be a great reference for hikers, ‘shoers, skiers, and those with dawgs.
On another note saw this update today:
Jan 9, 2013: Logging is progressing southward from the north end of Telephone Loop toward the parking lot at West Bragg Creek. If using trails north of the parking lot, please use caution and stay away from active logging sites. Trails south of the parking lot are not yet affected by harvesting activities.

Blocks 1 through 11 in the north and middle of Telephone Loop have active logging with felling, skidding, processing and decking occurring, and log hauling in many of the blocks. Block 13 around south Long Distance and Demi-Tel has road right of way construction, felling and skidding.

Ski Trail impacts:

* Telephone Loop: Remains useable with a 100 m section paralleling a haul road on the northwest corner, and one haul road crossing in the northwest as well.

* All other ski trails are currently unaffected.

* Snowshoe Hare trail is unaffected.

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112 Manfred K. January 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Maple Ridge golf course has classic skier set track on all terrain. Some thin spots around and under trees but otherwise excellent snow conditions. My first time skiing this close to home and on such a beautiful afternoon. May return with a headlamp later on tonight..

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113 Ruth McMillan January 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Just got in from a great ski – Moose Loop -14 at 10:30, parking lot 3/4 full.
Tracks had been set, but lots of activity, has made some parts sloppy.
They had gotten maybe 6-7 cm. new snow with that recent system.
Some grass and shrub poking through occasionally.
The snow seemed slow.
Couldn’t get a good glide – we used green.
Maybe we need a new base???
When we left, at 1:30, the parking lot was CRAZY!!
Parking was out on the road.
Snow is great, but I’m sure by the time all the ski traffic goes through, it will deteriorate without more snow.
-9 when we left.
What a gorgeous day!
Thanks – we sure enjoy your reports!

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114 mike fr edmonton January 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Ribbon Creek is nice and sunny and trackset still there…just saw a group on Ribbon Creek trail with a dog off-leash…

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115 pat davis January 12, 2013 at 7:40 am

Shaganapi Golf Course- packed but not trackset. If you are not a skater, best skiing in in skier-set tracks

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116 Clive Cordery January 11, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Did a couple of laps around Confederation golf course after work this afternoon. Conditions and tracks were spectacular. Many thanks Rainer!

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117 pat davis January 11, 2013 at 9:47 am

Thanks so much for the tip, Rainer

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118 Rainer January 11, 2013 at 8:38 am

About 5km of trails were trackset last night (Jan 10) at Confederation Golf Course, courtesy of Foothills Nordic Ski Club. Please use the entrance off of 19th NW. Enjoy the new snow.

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119 pat davis January 11, 2013 at 11:57 am

Oh oh, My map indicates that neither 19 St nor 19 Ave intersects the park?????

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120 Rainer January 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm

The trails were trackset at Confederation Golf Course not at Confederation Park, the golf course is between 14St NW and 19St NW.
The best access is near the intersection of 19St NW and Collingwood Dr NW. Here is a Maquest link showing the area: http://mapq.st/VYtcTE

Hope that helps.

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121 Barbara January 11, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I had wondered the same as I drove past there, so thanks for the clarification, and also clarifying that it’s Confederation golf course and not the park.

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122 pat davis January 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm

yes, many thanks. Us southerners aren’t used to all the things youse guys have up there in the north. :-)

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123 Doug Connery January 12, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Thanks Rainer and Foothills Nordic for setting these tracks. Our ski was great there today on blue wax.

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124 Jim Davis January 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Well not sure there was 41cm where we skied in Pocaterra today. There certainly was lots of new snow as I broke trail from the hut to Lynx and out to the Info Center, crossed the road and did a couple of loops and back to Pocaterra hut. Got down in the Canyon Campground and there was lots of snow but 41cm – not!. Great day though and after doing Cascade well beyond the bridge yesterday – breaking trail for the last couple of kilometers it will be a short evening!

How much new snow would you estimate there was at Pocaterra? I’m wondering if it had already consolidated somewhat. -Bob

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125 Jim Davis January 10, 2013 at 7:17 pm

The wind had definitely moved the snow around and there were a few drifts but I would say 20 cm would be lots where I went. There may have been more up higher.

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126 pat davis January 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I was getting bitter and twisted because the roads prevented me from heading out to the mtns early. Finally, I decided to try a local walking area- Griffith Park along the Elbow River. I had to break my own trail and it was slow slugging, but I rediscovered why I started X-C skiing in the first place- just a chance to get out and enjoy our winter. Sometimes I get so fixated on the desire to put a lot of kms under the skis that I forget to look around and enjoy nature and our beautiful country. Thank you, Lord, for a great slow day!

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127 Dale January 10, 2013 at 8:00 pm

I did the same sort of thing at about 5am. New snow… must ski. I just went out to the top of Bowmont Park in Silver Springs. The first round was a bit sluggish but by the third or fourth pass the tracks are pretty quick. It’s a three minute walk from my house and although it’s not as scenic as Kananskis or PLPP you still get a nice view of COP and the city from there. Many mornings I go there for between half an hour and an hour and a half because I find it a bit hard to head out of town during the work week and I’m enjoying the exercise. I had some Rode green (P20) from the last trip out and I wasn’t going out for long this morning so I just put a bit more on and that was pretty close.

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128 Barbara January 10, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Great inspiration for some in the cuty skiing. I was near the fish hatchety today and there was so much snow that I thought it could be a nice spit to come back to.

A heads up for tomorrow (Friday) – Cannore hill will be closed from 11:15am – 3:15pm for avy control.

And here’s hoping some nice groomer will work on Brewster Creek for Saturday :-).

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129 Barbara January 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Sorry for the typos … phone typing :-o.

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130 Jeannette January 9, 2013 at 7:54 pm

SPRAY RIVER EAST & WEST

Both sides Double trackset today as well as on to Goat Creek Junction….awesome & looking forward to cooler temp. & more snow by tomorrow (Thurs.)

Happy trails.

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131 Helen Read January 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Very interesting weather station data available on your CNC Trail Reports link. Despite such advanced technology, my best guess at using blue 0 to minus 4 gave me a bit of grief when stepping out of the tracks into the super powder conditions. Alot of people having a tremendous time playing in the powder- a GREAT day at the Nordic Centre!!!! Groomers will be busy prepping for the upcoming races there this w/e. Roads not bad at all between Lac Des Arcs and Canmore.

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132 Michael Le Feuvre January 9, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I find that Rode Super Extra works best with new snow with temperatures at zero to -4.

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133 Mary Perrott January 8, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Today, we skied from Pocaterra Hut on Pocaterra trail to Lookout junction and back. The track had a bit of new snow blown into it, and lots of debris from the wind. I had to scrape bits of forest off my skis twice before Lynx Junction. It got better up higher. Temperatures were around -8 all day and the wind was light. Returning down the trail was not quite as fast as usual given the new snow and debris friction, but enjoyable anyway, and good exercise all around.

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134 Helen Read January 7, 2013 at 10:56 pm

SO nice to be skiing again in a light snowfall today at Redearth. Saw 4 other people and came close to but did not reach Shadow Lake junction. The snow in tracks was wonderful and VR45 perfect for minus 6 to minus3 conditions. Did not have to herringbone once.
Out of curiosity, and thinking of my ski on Cascade to Stoney Bridge on Saturday, would love Bob to review the protocol for who should get out of the track, when only a single track is present.

The skier going downhill has the right-of-way, but on Cascade I notice the downhillers seem to be getting out of the tracks very early when another skier is coming. I do it too. Maybe it’s because all those going downhill realize it’s a lot easier skiing in the skating lane downhill, than it is for the uphill skier. -Bob

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135 PM January 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm

The FIS Code of Conduct for Cross Country Skiing can be found here:

http://www.hall-wattens.at/en/fis-code-conduct-cross-country.html

Fairly similar to the ‘local’ codes of conduct commonly posted. As noted, ‘downhill skiers have right of way’ (however, this is a throwback to single-track shoulder-width trails that used to dominate). Doesn’t necessarily apply to a 10′ wide trail.

Note Sections 3 and 5 of the FIS code …. skiers should always keep to the right.

Hence, outbound skiers at Cascade Valley (past the first bridge) should have the right of way and return skiers should be giving way.

Let the debates ensue.

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136 Bob Truman January 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Here’s an update on Shaganappi Golf Course from Alasdair Fergusson:

Hi Fellow Skiing enthusiasts,

Here is the latest snow & trail report from Shaganappi.

We had a shovel crew out yesterday (Sunday 6 Jan) to cover some bare spots and also to create 2 trail diversions away from large bare areas and closer to a supply of snow which we covered smaller bare spots and created a new trail. In every case the bare areas were close to trees which probably sheltered the trail from snow and then radiated heat to assist the melt.

If we have time and if we can drill into the frozen ground, we will have signs on stakes out today or tomorrow.

These diversions were:
a/ at the top of hill beside the closed parking lot between Jct. #1 and #2 b/ at the Westgate Hotel corner – Spruce Dr. & Bow Trail SW.

Thanks to all 6 volunteers who helped with this very important task on a beautiful day despite the wind.

The entire 7 km set of loops were also renovated and snow-combed to leave our usual corduroy finish.

We are all amazed that the little snow base has survived for so long this winter.

Talking to the skiers and snowshoers on the golf course – they are delighted with the trails and very thankful yesterday of our shoveling efforts.

Over the 5 day New Year Holiday period I counted at approx 3 pm each day a total of 107 cars as follows:
Sat 29/12: – 24 cars
Sun 30/12: – 21
Mon 31/12: – 19
Tues 1/1: – 34 cars
Wed 2/1: – 9

Cars are constantly coming and going as people stay for only 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
So our total cars is possibly over 200.

There were many couples and family groups so the normal Nat. Parks & K-Country estimate of 2.3 persons / car suggests perhaps 500 people came by car plus an unknown number walked to Shaganappi entering at the parking lot or at the open gates at the west side.

So it is a well-used facility.

Of note:
Today’s Globe & Mail has a very nice large article in their Health & Fitness section headlined –

“The jaw-dropping benefits of cross country skiing”
And accompanied by a beautiful large photo of a XC skier at the Shaganappi main trailhead with the downtown skyscraper and Calgary Tower backdrop.

Ironically the text has a 2nd last paragraph stating:
“Of course, cross-country skiing is not without its drawbacks. For city dwellers in particular, it can be difficult to find good trails.”

To have this statement accompanied by a photo of a skier at Shaganappi with the downtown backdrop is to really emphasize what a treasure we have at Shaganappi with our long-time slogan –

– Slide & Glide close to home!

And now we have the only XC ski area in North America with European style skiing – Ride a street car or light rail service to the main gate of Shaganappi!

Pray for more snow folks! and we can have even better skiing close to home!

Alasdair

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137 Michael Le Feuvre January 7, 2013 at 7:55 am

My wife and I skied Pipestone on Saturday, Jan 5th. The conditions were excellent. We skied in the reverse direction we usually do this by starting up 21 taking 22 over to 23, 23 to to 20 and then down 20. Its a nice alternative to always skiing 20 the reverse clockwise direction.

We skied Redearth Creek on Jan Sunday, 6th. Its in very good condition but it sure goes up and up and up …

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138 Lynn Bowers January 7, 2013 at 11:09 am

Skied the Pipestone Loops on Sun. Some fresh snow to cover a few pine needles. Find these loops a good setting for groups with varying abilities since the stacked loops permit options in distances & more opportunities for regrouping. With 7 skiers in our group – 2 opting to do a shorter, easier route – we still managed to all arrive back at the trailhead at the agreed time.

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139 Dennis January 6, 2013 at 10:54 pm

So, Cascade today. Great skiing. 2 cm of fresh snow over a well groomed track. Pristine for the skaters. Shallow track for classic, but clean, straight and consistent. Everyone I talked to sounded as happy as I was with the trail, no complaints. Crossed Stoney Creek and skied about 1.5- 2 km along a very good skier set track before turning around. The track continued as far ahead as I could see, so don’t know how far it went. I’m guessing it was set by the three people I saw skiing out earlier who had stayed at the warden’s cabin.
Interesting tracks beside that section across Stoney: just a straight line of holes in the snow, about a foot long and 6-7 inches across, and spaced evenly over a couple of hunderd metres, about 7-8 feet apart. Seems likely a bounding, fast-moving cat. Several of the holes had a shallow line just behind them, eight inches long, 1-2 inches wide: the cougar’s tail, I presume. The new snow had taken out any detailed prints. Fun playing detective.
Skied 33 km and had to head back to town. Feeling fine tonight, Bob, but haven’t decided yet about the 71 km in two weeks. You could be right: pretty far for this old coot, this year.

Thanks, Dennis. Nice hearing about the cougar tracks. The loppet trails are never as fast or firm as the conditions you were on today. I’m not trying to dissuade you, but 71K almost killed me, and I was in shape back then. Race with me on leg 2 or 5. -Bob

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140 Chuck January 7, 2013 at 9:07 am

BEYOND STONEY CREEK
On Saturday January 5, we must admit pushing the trail another 6 km past the washed out Stoney Creek bridge.
The tracks were amazing, and so was the hoarfrost!
Check out the photos at:

https://picasaweb.google.com/accesschuck/January52013?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMT4iIC7tN7ATw&feat=directlink

The water crossings just before the old elk trap will stop most recreational skiers (but of course the animal tracks kept me pushing on).

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141 Alf Skrastins January 6, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I decided to take a spin on the trails at the north end of the Peter Lougheed Park network today, starting from the Visitor Centre. It was overcast, snowing lightly and there was 1-2cm of fresh snow on the beautifully groomed trails. Skiing was fast and easy. The parking lots were all pretty full at Pocaterra, Visitor Centre and Elkwood, but skiers spread out quickly, so the trails never felt busy or crowded. The trails at this end of the park are more rolling in nature than the ones at the Elk Pass end, but they are a lot of fun! There are plenty of meadows, marshes, lakes and openings which offer great views along the way. Excellent conditions right now!

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142 Fred January 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Great day at Mt Shark. Temp -5. Great job of tracksetting. A light dusting of fresh snow.
The big parking lot was almost empty.

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143 Michael Le Feuvre January 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Is Shark groomed for skate or only classic?

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144 Grizzly January 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm

It is trackset, but as the signs in PLPP indicate, skaters are welcome.

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145 pat davis January 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Arrived at the Elk Pass parking at about 11:30. The tracks were covered with about 1-2 cm of snow and it was snowing lightly all day. Windy at the top for sure. I imagine Hydro Line was all drifted in. Lots of snow bombs on the trail. Temp about -1 to -4,-, but wax worked okay. Herds of people. It was still wonderful to be out.

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146 Ray Perrott January 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm

A group of us (7) had an enjoyable day on the Spray River trails today. Starting at the golf course at 10:30am, we headed south on the east side, which was in pretty good shape after the initial hill. Once we crossed the bridge at about 6km, the tracks were quite good as we headed further south. We turned around just before the Goat Creek jct, and headed back on the west side all the way to the Banff Springs. Nearing the hotel, the tracks are mostly worn out. It was fairly cold, -12C at the start and -10C at the end, with blue wax working well for most of us. The snow crystals on some of the bushes were sparkling wonderfully in the sunlight, though the January shadows covered the trails from lunchtime on. Very few people skiing in the morning, but lots on the trails in the afternoon.

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147 Dennis Kolba January 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Anyone ski Cascade Valley today? Any different than what Steve V reports from the 4th? I want to ski 30-40 km tomorrow (to see if I’m ready for the whole LL/Banff Loppet in two weeks, or should just do my two relay legs), and will choose between PLPP/Elk Pass area, Lake Louise trails (for which the published trail report sounds excellent today), Cascade Valley, or possibly Shark (which I’m less familiar with). Reports for these trails from today will be appreciated.

Hey Dennis, 71K is a lot to bite off for someone your age. :) Good luck whatever you choose! I hope you let us know how you’re feeling tomorow night. -Bob

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148 PM January 5, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Skied 35km at Cascade today. Conditions are good (overall) but the track is getting washed out. Is definitely better past the bridge. If it was groomed on the 4 th – it was either shallow grooming or didn’t set up very well. Parking lot was about 80% when I left at 1pm. Is worth skiing but don’t expect a completely bomber track.

Occasionally the skating lane gets rolled without any work being done to the tracks. The Banff trail report is not very precise, and doesn’t account for this. Another good reason for having these trip reports, and thanks to everyone for your submissions. -Bob

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149 PM January 5, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Groomed on the *3rd*.

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150 Dennis January 6, 2013 at 8:22 am

Sounds good enough for today. I’m going to give it a try. Thanks, PM. (Ironic initials for someone who skied 35 km and left the parking lot by 1:00 — you must be a morning person.)

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151 Dennis January 6, 2013 at 8:18 am

Will do, Bob. I’m off to Cascade. Love the sound of the Louise conditions, but no time for the extra driving today. You mountain dwelleres got it good.

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152 Stephen Vermeulen January 5, 2013 at 10:04 am

I skied Cascade Valley on Friday Jan 4. I had expected to find it freshly track set as the Banff report lists it as being done on Jan 3, but instead, found the tracks to be quite worn. Once you get past the bridge things get better as a lot of people must turn around by then.

At 1000 the temperature was about -12C in the parking lot and it stayed relatively constant during the couple of hours I was there. The snow was pretty fast and the grip with Skigo HF blue was very nice.

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153 kate January 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Skiied Ribbon Creek, Kovak, Terrace trails and enjoyed the day but would say snow is nice but won’t go back until new snow. Few rocks and snow build up from so many people snowplowing in some areas, very slightly icy downhill. Want to try the pass as have never gone there are Ribbon Creek. I enjoy in general the Peter Lougheed area better.

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154 Jay January 4, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Skied PLPP Pocaterra and Tyrwhitt, returned on Elk Pass. All trails were in very good shape, some wind debris needles and pinecones but overall very good. Used VR45 wax and was slipping a bit, something warmer may be better but might also be due to the debris. Bring some extra wax.

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155 GordN January 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Quick run up Ribbon Creek, over to the village, back down via Kovach. Tracks are in great shape, despite the walkers, they are quite polished. Little cool in the morning. Two walkers were on the Ribbon Creek trail heading for…Troll Falls! Luckily my always inquisitive Father asked where they were heading and got them turned around and heading back to civilization. No places to eat in the village centre for the season.

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156 Grizzly January 3, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Yes, absolutely gorgeous day at PLPP. It did warm up. Morning was a tad chilly, but after lunch and a thaw at Pocaterra hut we ventured up to Boulton Creek and did Moraine / Fox Creek / Elk Pass / Boulton Creek. Conditions were amazing, but Boulton Creek was a tad treacherous. Not sure about that right hand down to the last bridge, it’s scarier than Elk Pass!

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157 John January 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Had a nice ski in PLPP today. It was a bit brisk (-18C) at 1100, but warming up to -10C by the time we finished at 1400. The tracks remain in fantastic condition – despite all the traffic around New Year I didn’t see any signs of tracks washing out.

The only spot I would warn skiers about is on Packers. There is a pretty good section of ice just after the first meadow section following the first big downhill. It was no problem on the uphill, but it could cause a problem if you didn’t see it coming on the downhill. So, look for it and have fun!

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158 Helen Read January 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

My neighbour and I skied into Sundance Lodge this morning (4 hours total) and saw only 5 other people on the trail. Snow was excellent on at least 80% of the Brewster Creek Trail. VR 40 needed a 2nd application at the lodge and it stayed a pretty consistent minus 12 to minus 14. The moose on the swing WELCOME sign at the lodge has suffered a fractured lower limb-some wood glue would put him back into full swing! Perhaps the wind took the sign down? Any moose vets out there?

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159 James Kohut January 2, 2013 at 10:24 am

SPRAY RIVER- Lower to Mid section

Skied from Banff Springs Hotel up to just past the old camp site at about the 16 km mark on New Years Day afternoon. Good fast track set up to Goat Creek (end of Spray River track set). From the end of Spray River trail to a couple of kilometers past the Sundance trail turn off the trail is a good straight skier packed trail- thanks to the person that broke it (you did a good job)! From the end of the skier packed trail I broke trail several kilometers to just past the old camp site. The trail is also now broken into the old camp site to the outhouse for your convenience. At the old camp site you will have a nice dry tree to sit under to watch the sun go down (nice senic location). The snow in the mid Spray section has a lot of depth hoar. What little integrity is left in the snow pack will require a wider ski (that fits in track sets) in order to ski off or break trail. I would like to challenge someone to break the trail further up the valley to the big clear cut (yes logging has been recently done in the Spray) or beyond. The further up you go the nicer the senery!

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160 Dan Z January 2, 2013 at 1:10 am

I wanted exceptional xc skiing views so I skied Lookout Trail, PLPP on New Years Day. Snow temp was -13C at Boulton Creek Campground at 1pm. I had green wax on from the last few outings & added VR40 Blue on top. I was slipping on my way up Whiskey Jack & once I reached Pocaterra I added a few layers of V40 Blue and it worked fine after that. Whiskey Jack and Lookout tracks are in great condition besides the odd snow bomb off trees. Descending Lookout (North side) was a little difficult snow plowing since its been plowed right down in places. It was -16C air temp at the Lookout tower with sunny blue sky, amazing views and trees coated in a thick layer of snow/frost…perfect for amazing photos!

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161 Jan January 1, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Wonderful conditions up at Mt. Shark today. Since the Watridge Lake trail had been trackset from the helipad recently, today’s start was from there. Pretty fast hills down to the Mt. Shark trailhead and a stiff climb over the same terrain back to the car at the end of the day. The 10 km track is in great shape as is that to Watridge Lake. There was quite a wind coming off the lake so not a day for stopping too long.
As the holiday break comes to a close, cheers to the trail groomers/trackers for the superb conditions throughout the mtn parks….it was a spectacular holiday season for x-c skiing.

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162 Thorsten January 1, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Chickadee Valley, Kootenay NP: hard-packed multi-use trail, creek has good coverage, but on cross-country skis the lower part of this trail is for advanced to expert skiers only at the moment (maybe always?). Felt like going down a mogul field. It was -11 at the parking lot, but felt a lot colder up in the valley.

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163 Mary Perrott January 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Happy New Year! Our first ski of the year was up Cascade Valley – a cold, bright experience. Most of the day the temperature was -15C to -12C. with a bit of biting breeze early in the morning. But to compensate, the sun shone brightly and the snow sparkled like diamonds. The tracks were old and sometimes sloppy, but still good enough for an exhilarating run to the Stoney Creek Bridge, soon followed by lunch in the sun beside the old warden’s cabin. We encountered very few people until almost back at Cascade River Bridge, then there were lots of skiers out enjoying the afternoon.

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164 DB January 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Would echo Britton’s report on Moose Loop at West Bragg (esp. the direction advice). Don’t bring your nicest skis, but definitely skiable, with a few grassy patches.

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165 Britton January 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Skied moose loop at West Bragg Creek this morning. Conditions are poor for the most part but still skiable. The more shaded areas have reasonably good snow and tracksetting. I would recommend skiing moose loop counter-clockwise so you climb up the hills with the worst snow coverage and go down the hills with more snow.

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