Trip Reports – Jan 2014

Last month, the trip reports were viewed 11,889 times. Skiers are anxious to know what you found on your skiing adventure.

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

Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

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  1. I can’t seem to access the Kananaskis website this morning, but here’s a direct link to the PLPP Live Grooming report http://skitrails.info/report/plpp. It appears some grooming was done on Pocaterra, Come-Along and Lynx.

    Lots of trails were trackset in West Bragg yesterday. Here’s a link to the Live Grooming report http://skitrails.info/report/bragg

    This is the link which isn’t working for me http://www.albertaparks.ca/kananaskis-country/advisories-public-safety/trail-reports.aspx. Is anyone else experiencing this problem?

  2. I’m thinking of skiing Pipestone tomorrow. I skied it about a week and half a go and the first few km had lots of needles on the track. Has anyone skied Pipestone this week? Wondering if it was the same.

  3. Thursday eve at CNC report
    I love that the bottom parking lot has full access to the warmth of the bathrooms and a long warm hallway to change in! Last night we arrived about 630pm’ish to find a jammed-full parking lot and lots of bundled up kids and adults out enjoying the freshly groomed trails at CNC. Gotta hand it to CNC for grooming and setting so much trail so fast. Myself and 2 friends put on the headlights and did a ~24km figure-8 loop on Bow, Meadowview, back on Meadowview, and then Banff trail. We survived a really fast ski including a number of sphincter-puckering corners (keep in mind we only had little headlights) and upon completion found that we were last vehicle. Oh and it was -18C… but with constant movement and good gear none of us had any frostbite. Got home at 1030pm so tired and slow on my morning bike commute into work today.

    I had prewaxed with CH7 (blue) glide and a thin layer of VR40 over V30 kick wax… a tad sticky but I didn’t have to rewax at all unlike both friends that had 2-3 re-waxing experiences.

    The night ski was a lot of fun and I’d definitely recommend it, but be prepared.

  4. Hi,

    In response to Laurie’s question about West Bragg, just got an update and though they got a couple of inches of snow, it is still hard pack. They are going to see if they can track-set today, but no promises. Too bad.

    • Crisp sunny weather + new snow + green wax = a very fine Friday morning ski at West Bragg 🙂 .
      The previous rock hard grooming is amply covered by 5-10 cm fresh snow which is skier tracked, with much of the old track setting still in place. In particular I would recommend Elbow, Loggers and Crystal west.

      • Did a similar loop on Saturday February 1 and conditions were great, no issues with ice or debris, and things felt like a winter wonderland. Tracks were a bit messy, but our dog didn’t seem to mind, nor did the snoozing chariot load…

  5. Did the Wheeler-Amos loop at PLPP yesterday afternoon. The tracksetting from Tuesday was still in perfect shape. Temperature was around -17 when I left and the air was bone dry making the glide a bit slower than normal. I couldn’t see my breath at all the whole time I was out.

  6. Mt Shark
    Air temperature of minus 15 at 11:30AM under blue skies and bright sunshine as I returned to the parking lot. Skated the 10k loop and some extra and the downhills were firm, and exhilarating as always. Snow and/or skis and/or muscles were a bit slow with the frosty temperatures and fresh tracks, but it will speed up as it warms and after the 2 busloads and many cars full of skiers that were just heading out have a chance to ski the tracks in. Happy Trails.

  7. Thursday – January 30 (sorry for late post).

    Skied Elk Pass to Blueberry Hill — 2cm of fresh snow on top of overnight grooming made for near-perfect conditions. It was cold (-12 at parking lot, -15 at Blueberry) — but waxing was easy. Bluebird day in mostly sunshine and noted that Blueberry Hill was in glorious sun even at 3:30 PM. I’d post a photo here is I knew how.

  8. Does anyone have any updates on the trail conditions at West Bragg?

    • I skied there on Wednesday. Worst conditions I’ve ever seen. The trails are almost solid ice, like concrete. If I had fallen, I’m sure I would have broken a bone. 🙂 Things may be better after the skiff of snow yesterday…

  9. At PLPP with the Seniors’ Outdoor Club of Calgary today. Three of us started at Elk Pass Parking and skied over the big hill and on to Blueberry Junction. After a detour to Blueberry Hill, we continued over Elk Pass, down / up Tyrwhitt and down Pocaterra. Having ample time we opted to go over Lynx and on to Pocaterra Hut via Wooley and Meadow for 31.6 km total skiing. The temperature at WWL was -12 C and -17C at Elk Pass Parking to start the day. The wind covered south end trails with frost crystals which reduced glide and made for cold skiing. All trails south in the Park are holding the tracks well. The debris Ray reported on Tyrwhitt was the most we encountered, however lower (north) trails still show debris through the snow, which was not a problem.The Pocaterra cruise from top of Whiskey Jack to Lynx was exciting and fast enough to give me an ice-cream head ache.
    By the way Bob – the sun was shining on Tyrwhitt again today.

  10. Cold but very satisfying day at PLPP. Started at Pocaterra Hut (-20C), and skied Pocaterra to Whiskey Jack (-15C). Then a quick run down, and returned to the start via Wheeler and Lodgepole. (-9C at the end). Tracks were great, except perhaps Wheeler which had a modest amount of debris in places. The big excitement of our ski occurred about 3Km from the start, when we encountered an adult female moose on Pocaterra trail just south of the new picnic table. We stopped, then approached cautiously. At about 20 m, she started drawing back her ears, and at one point pawed the ground with her feet. As we could see another moose about 50m behind her on the trail, we decided not to push our luck, and retreated, regaining the trail at the Lynx junction after some serious bushwacking in the valley bottom. Bad time not to have the camera!

  11. We are just back from an awesome mini-xc road trip. First stop was Nipika as described in yesterday’s trip report. We then drove to Golden to ski the Dawn Mountain xc trails. Conditions there were superb with lots of snow, great grooming for skate and fine classic tracks. There is a nice warm day lodge, hot drinks available, flush toilets and friendly people–say hi to Joan and Jeff Delinsky–they will answer any questions. Ski maps available at both Nipika and Dawn mountain. Trails fees at both locations are $10.00 per day, and well worth it.
    In Golden, we stayed at Le Beausoleil B&B (3rd time), very fine hosts, Bob and Heather are downhill skiers (but don’t hold that against them).

    This year we did only the two day trip, however, in other years we stayed an extra night in Golden then skied in Yoho park on the way back to Canmore.

  12. What a glorious day to ski to Upper Skogan loop and Pass. The grooming was greatly appreciated and we four Canmore Senior’s decided to go the clockwise direction. Where the sun had hit the trail (eg under the power lines) it was fast and hard packed but temp at the Pass was still pretty cold (snow minus 9). Saw three others en route to Pass. Wish I had Mary P.’s talents at describing just how stunning it was. Finishing our tea and ginger cookies outside the lodge in the glorious sun after that fast descent provided the perfect ending. My altimeter read 5060 ft. at the second chair and 6960 at the Pass.

  13. Nipika info.
    We skied Nipika today and were able to cover 25kms of the trails on both sides of the road. It was great! Steve was out grooming when we arrived so we had fresh tracks – both classical and skate. The new grooming machine does a terrific job! Temp when we arrived -7C and sunny. Considering it was -20 at Castle jct. on the way we were delighted to see that the temp had risen. This is a fabulous place to ski – we never get tired of coming here for the super trails.

  14. Baker Creek to Castle.
    On Sunday we took advantage of the Lake Louise / Banff Loppett trail to ski from Baker Cr to Castle Junction. The trail is in great shape and with cool temperatures it was quite fast. We only found debris in the track when in the trees, which isn’t often on this section of the trail. Actually, when temperatures are cool, pine needles aren’t such a hindrance because the waxes are harder and don’t pick up the needles so easily.

  15. My day started at Pocaterra Hut, and I skied the new Pocaterra for the first time today. It’s certainly not beginner friendly anymore, although I will say that if a novice skier wants to practice downhill turns, the little s-bend right after the first junction with “new” Come Along would be great. Then Lynx-Amos-Wheeler-Moraine-Fox Creek-Elk Pass- Tyrwhitt (with a tailwind. Sorry Mary)-Pocaterra/Come Along-car, where the second-best recovery drink awaited me: a cold can of Coca-Cola. That Birkie is coming up; need to get in the kms. Today will go down as one of my most memorable days in a long time: good weather, good tracks, good wax (V30 worked for me).

    However, I do have to bring up a matter of trail etiquette. When I arrived at the Fox Creek/Elk Pass junction, a group of four to five skiers were standing in the trail shooting the breeze. A lady came down the steep hill, and there was a lot of quick moving and shuffling that happened to avoid a collision. Unfortunately, the lady still fell, and the group was sincerely apologetic (one gentleman didn’t realize there was a hill there). That said, I think it’s safe to say that proper etiquette is to take a break at the side of the trail, especially at a junction where a downhill skier may need a little space for a good, long, run out. I can see the new Pocaterra/Lynx junction being a real problem for this.

    • Stopping in the track has always been a pet peeve of mine. When you are going to make a stop while skiing, you get out of the track and while you are at it you take a look around you to assess your location and your equipment, relative to your fellow skiers. This is one way to prevent accidents.

    • We have to teach new skiers this etiquette in a kind and friendly manner.

      Did you see where the young skier in the first photo of Bob’s last slideshow was sitting?

      It looks bad, but in all fairness to the youngsters, they were out of harm’s way. For skiers coming up to them in the tracks, most would be herring-boning at that point, and they were presenting no danger to the downhillers. When I posted that photo, I was pretty sure that readers would be concerned about their location. -Bob

  16. Took some inspiration from trip reports below and tried to escape the tropical weather in Calgary by heading to Mt. Shark. Success! Temperatures just below 0 (even a tad colder at Pocaterra) and wonderful fresh grooming. Trails were pretty hard, so should be great for skating, too. We skied down to Watridge Lake, where there was some debris backed into the track-setting beyond the loops (the loops themselves looked cleaner).

  17. PIPESTONE MEADOW
    This was the day to go up the Pipestone.
    Worth going beyond the loop, even if we had to break trail, all the way to the meadow!
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2647374&code=2b48734b34be194e19af86f5e3ed2587
    Great conditions, very supportive snow base.

  18. Looking for suggestions for skate skiing tomorrow (Sunday).

    Obviously Canmore nordic centre is always an option, but just wondering about skate skiing other places. For the people who were out at Mt Shark, is it groomed for skate as well? Any others?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

  19. Day 3 of our short, sweet ski adventure while staying at Wm. Watson Lodge. Starting at Boulton Campground at -9C. we skied up Whiskey Jack and onto the last .5 km. bit of Pocaterra. Both trails were a bit littered with tree debris, as was the start of Tyrwhitt. While sunny lower down, the Tyrwhitt trail ascended into fog (which was there last Saturday and Thursday as well!) The forest took on the appearance of a fleet of ships, ragged-masted and long-forgotten, their tattered flags of old-man’s-beard rimed with frost and billowing in the mist. This eerie (yet strikingly beautiful) scene played itself out the entire way up to Elk Pass and down Hydroline, where the trees were white with rime and the hydro poles encrusted with barnacles of frost. It was an exquisite display of Winter’s handiwork. One side was of the day reflected elegance, the other side cold reality as we skied into a frigid wind all day. All that photo-taking of ragged ships and barnacles turned our hands to blocks of ice that needed hand-warmers to thaw. We did not make our usual lunch stop along the way, opting to ski to keep warm down Hydroline, to Fox, to Moraine and back to the van for a warmer lunch before proceeding down Wheeler to Elkwood and back to WWLodge where one of the cars was parked. For the record, Hydroline was a screamingly fast descent (although the wind had blown snow into the tracks and onto the corduroy which made it a bit tricky to keep up a daredevil’s speed.) Fox and Moraine’s tracks were a bit tired and worn and there was a fair bit of debris. We ended the day at -5C. Another 23 km. for us today.

    I’ve aded five photos from Mary’s ski trip on my update of Jan 25 “PLPP North Trails.” -Bob

  20. I can’t resist commenting on the Mt. Shark Trails as well. I second Tyler’s comments. We skied Mt. Shark on Thursday. There was a light skiff of snow on the trail and no debris in the tracks. Seeing those white tracks was such a joy. We did the 15 km. trail. I had forgotten the roller coaster ride of the trail. We decided to continue on the unmaintained portion that is part of the 15 km. It was skier tracked and felt as close to back country as we get. The snow was quite deep and on some of the down-hills it was hard to get purchase of a snow plow. It made for some thrilling rides and some bailing, and it was great fun. For those who have not been to the Mt. Shark trails, it takes about 2 hours/136 kms from Calgary via Canmore and 1 hour 50 mins/140 kms. via PLPP. We decided to check it out for ourselves. For us, it was the windy mountain road from Canmore to the Smith-Dorrien that accounted for the extra time. via Canmore. Just like the guy at Barrier said, it is 6 of one and half a dozen of the other which way to get there.

  21. Mt. Shark is in fantastic shape. First time there this year and like always Shark didn’t disappoint. Skied the yellow 10K loop. Saw one other skier and two snowshoers on their way back on the Watridge Lake trail. The track is in awesome shape and it didn’t seem to be too much traffic on Friday after the recent grooming. Bluebird skies and a great day of skiing, can’t ask for much more then that.

  22. Friday Jan 24, and just back from a perfect day of skiing at PLPP. It might have been +3C at Barrier Lake Info Station but it was -6 to -8C down in the park. A single application of blue wax lasted me for the entire loop up Whiskey Jack, along Tyrwhitt and back down Elk Pass, Fox Creek and Moraine. What a great day!

  23. Someone was asking about West Bragg-
    I was out there biking the icy Ranger Summit-Strange Brew loop on Thursday afternoon. Shoulda brought the skating skis too, as many of the ski trails that I crossed appeared to be decent shape for that, in particular Crystal Line- hard packed with a skiff of softer snow on top. The trackset looked to be in good shape, but glazed and likely too firm for waxless. All bets are off though with 2 very warm days ahead.

  24. PLPP
    Skied Jan 23, starting from Elk Parking Lot
    It was a delicious and full-bodied day for 27 km of Gourmet Track Skiing.
    I started with a Tapas of ‘Fox au Moraine’, followed by an Antipasto of ‘Steeped (ha-ha) Whiskey Jack poulet’. The Entrée was ‘Elk a la Tyrwhitt’ with a side of clarified blue sky views. I saved just enough room for dessert, the piece-de-resistance, the ‘Blueberries in the Sun’. I couldn’t eat another bite.
    Note: Each dish was served at the easy to digest(wax) temperature of -4c

    Seriously, all the tracks were in great shape with most of the debris and needles covered. Blue-Extra worked well all day.

    • Truly, a feast fit for a king, and well deserved, I’m sure.

      We seem to have some significant literary talent on this blog 🙂

  25. You beat me to it, Rob and Bev, physically with your super fast ski technique, and AMEN to everything you said. I ski this road usually 3 times a season and today was hard to beat. After my skiing it this past Monday, and witnessing Bruce’s excellent grooming, I couldn’t wait to get back on it. We four Canmore Seniors had a splendid day. I hope the students at Strathcona Tweedsmuir appreciate how lucky they are to have outdoor ed programs and eager teachers to offer them such an opportunity. Anyone been to Burstall Flats or Bryant Creek shelter recently?

  26. CASCADE & BANKHEAD
    Today, we skied up 6 km the Cascade Valley and then looped back and used the short cut to also return via Upper Bankhead.
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2645431&code=aeef1c31f2818dfb22dbe4fc07bc90d8
    As you can see, ski conditions were amazing due to the recent dusting of snow and Don’s track setting today.
    The only tree debris to be found is close to the high point where it must have got wind hammered, but it is minimal.
    This cold snow won’t last long, so enjoy it now!

  27. Lake O’Hara road. Thanks to Helen’s note we skied this trail today. Yes, Bruce’s grooming was great: one of us on skate skis and one on classic. Lots of space for both techniques. Temp -6C when we left 10:30 and the same at the Warden’s cabin under two hours later. Four others on a day trip and a cross over school group from Strathcona Tweedsmuir school (met one group coming out with another group half way in on our way out). Sunny day with a dusting of snow on the trail – there was a kill site between the five km and six km signs. Took half the time returning to the car. Best conditions we have skied on this trail in years. Wahoo!!

  28. There are good conditions in PLPP right now. All the trails received 1 to 2 cm of fresh snow. Pine needles and most of tree debris are covered. Temperature at Pocaterra hut was -4 @ noon and 0 @ 5pm. I saw a black weasel on the Whiskey Jack trail gracefully jumping across, a small brown puddle on Amos( cougar bite size )and couple moose on the road on my way back home.

  29. We received 1 cm of new snow overnight in Canmore. Temperature is -4.

  30. I decided to give West Bragg a try this afternoon. I did a short loop – Sundog up to Loggers and then back on West Crystal Line. It was perfect weather for XC – sunny and about -5. The good news: there is lots of snow and no debris to speak of. The bad: sections of the trails are just too icy to be fun. Loggers was actually in pretty good shape, but I will confess to walking down a couple of hills. There is nothing out there that 15 cms of new snow won’t fix.

  31. PLPP – skied Jan. 20
    Nice blue sky day at PLPP for 30k of great track skiing. At 11:30 at the Boulton parking lot, it was -6c and sunny. All the tracks are in great shape, so it’s just the pine needles you need to watch for. I did have to pick pine needles out of my wax a couple times. Today I skied up Packers(some needles), Pocatera(clean), Lookout(clean except for one section near Hydroline, down Hydroline(clean), up Elk to the pass(more needles than I expected), down Tyrwitt(clean), and then down Whisky Jack(clean). Stunning blue sky views from Lookout today.
    Pat, I think we met in the parking lot. I actually don’t have a preference on direction…. but I wanted to check out Packers since I hadn’t been on it for ages.

    • Yes, Dave, that was me. As I noted in the lot, you are a lot fitter than I am. There seemed to be about 10 people doing Packers your way, so I am wondering what I am missing. I guess I still am. 🙂

  32. Been anxious to ski O’Hara Fire Road so in minus 17 at 9:30 I started up with green wax working great the whole way. Bruce, from the lodge was getting things ready for their start-up end of Jan. and skidooed past me. There were skier tracks all over the road and generally the route up was easy. Skied to the lake and then ate on the porch of Le Relais (usually opens once Lodge officially reopens). Saw a couple terrified on the descent around km. 9 (that huge hill) and noted they walked some of the descent. There were two European snowshoers heading down from Eliz Parker hut and another couple on AT equipment coming up. I proceeded cautiously down to around km. 4 and then to my absolute THRILL and amazement, there was Bruce behind me, grooming the entire road in corduroy and one set of skier tracks. Thank you Bruce!!!!! Almost wanted to begin my ski all over again when I hit the parking lot which was now minus 7.

  33. PLPP- Great day!!
    Thanks to the very helpful information lady at the Visitor Centre who suggested Whisky Jack-Pocaterra-Packers because they had been groomed and set yesterday and would therefore be less covered in pine needles and crud than the trails I was planning to ski. She was absolutely correct. Temperature ~-3 to -6. Wind- no problem in the trees. Sunshine- glorious! Tracks- great with only a bit of crud. This was the best outing of the season for me. I am so elated!
    Question: I skied the route widdershins, but everyone else was doing it clockwise. Will anyone share why they prefer it that way?

    • Clockwise is better because we all love going down Whiskey Jack! It’s a great downhill.

      • Counterclockwise is better. We all love going up Whiskey Jack because you gain a lot of elevation in a sustained climb. You can then relax and enjoy cruising Pocaterra and Tyrwhitt. Descending Whiskey Jack you’ll likely snowplow some, stripping your grip wax, pushing snow down the hill. There’s also one high-speed hairpin turn to watch out for. Bob has written about this a couple times.

  34. Fabulous, sunny blue sky day on Elk Pass Sunday Jan 19th. Beautiful track setting, lots of lovely white snow (no needles!) and an overall great day. Snow temp -4. Only 15 cars in the Elk Pass parking lot when we arrived at 10:00, and even less when we came out. Lots of sun worshippers and many smiling faces at the Party Picnic Table too!! (junction of Elk Pass / Blueberry Hill).

  35. “Skating in PLPP” – It is time for some better signage about skating in PLPP! I encountered two skaters today, one of whom said “Well, there are no signs”, and the other had no idea that their skating was causing the breakdown of the classic tracks. It might not have bothered me quite so much, except that the tracks from Packers to Whiskey Jack on Pocaterra that were pristine on my way up, were badly damaged by the time I came back down.
    So, to the powers that be, how about some better signage! And to the skaters, “C’mon man!” – if you can’t skate without breaking down the tracks because it is so narrow at PLPP, then please, please head to Shark, or CNC, or Cascade, or Spray River, or Lake Louise!

    • John… perhaps we even chatted this morning out on the trail (I was wearing the blue buff on my head, and red/white/black jacket). I encountered the same too lovely ladies as they where skating up Pocaterra and almost at Packers. I was going too fast downhill to stop but had enough time to make a quick comment along the lines “interesting choice for a classic ski area”. Whilst I didn’t think their tracks were “badly damaged” (compared to what I’d skiid on in Banff on Friday), it was pretty obvious with tracksetting that close together that skate wasn’t intended. Not good form ladies. Then I started looking at all the signs and online material for PLPP and it doesn’t say anything about skate (pro/con), just “no dogs”. Signage and advance warning to skaters is severely lacking and therefore we should all start making noise about this issue.
      Anyways, I hit virgin tracksetting up Whiskey Jack and down to Packers, then the needles started. And kept coming, increasing in number. At the Amos intersection it was not so good – there had been some heavy gusts between that time and tracksetting. At the intersection a bunch of us were talking and 2 folks (who’d come up from Pocaterra cabin) said “screw it! we’re going home!”. I didn’t think it was thaaaaat bad (again, compared to Banff). Rather take my planned route back to Boulton via Amos, I turned around and backtracked. At top of Whiskey the conditions were SO AWESOME I kept going up Tyrwhitt for another couple km’s before turning around. I don’t remember it being that hard of a climb! Bottom line is that when in doubt head south and stay high in PLPP. Pretty happy w/ my 23km day overall.

      Now on Friday, against my better judgement and advice on this blog, I skiid from Banff Springs hotel. MY GAAAWD! 2nd worst experience on skiis in 2yrs. Cones, needles, twigs, chunks of trees, tons of boot tracks, etc… which continued for about 3.5km then gradually reduced. Even w/ skate skiing it was very difficult to stay upright w/ all the grabby and bouncy bits. I only went about 2km beyond the first bridge and conditions were significantly better (about the same as the “bad” stuff on Pocatera/Amos today). After the ski… a nice spa outing w/ the lovely wife. aaaah… everyone should treat themselves occasionally!

    • Or………. an alternative would be to do a ½ skate where you keep one ski in the track and the other ski skating in the centre. I often do this to keep my momentum up across a flat spot, and it doesn’t touch the groomed track.

      • Gord, unless perhaps one had the glide ski in the inside track, I can’t see that even with a single skate technique that the back of that ski wouldn’t cross at least one. I could be wrong.

  36. Skied Canmore Nordic Center today. Lots of trail debris on Bow Trail even with the fresh grooming. Most of Banff and Meadowview was ok but still some debris near the ends. Tracks were fast with the warm weather but most of my wax wore off with all the pine needles. Still a great ski trip.

  37. Icy in West Bragg Creek today. Lots of people and the parking lot was full of cars. Went up West Crystal Line and down into East Crystal Line. Trackset done on Thursday was getting thin in some places and some hills were a bit icy. Not much debris however and most of the trackset is still intact. Made for some fast but a bit scary hills.

  38. SHADOW LAKE
    Making use of the newly track set trail up Redearth Creek, we decided to continue up to Shadow Lake today. Unfortunately, my camera failed but the blue sky conditions allowed me to get a few acceptable photos with my cell phone to entice you up the hill!
    Make sure you zoom in (+) on this Everytrail report and check out the statistics mode as well as the slideshow mode for full impact:
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2596496&code=379831d5877737f0a0ccf23ee315ee33
    Refer to our January 14 report for the starting Redearth portion, which now has more needles, but is well worth the early annoyance.

  39. Skied Mt Shark. Watridge Lake trail. It was an awesome day with beautiful views and conditions.

  40. Was wary of conditions closer to home today due to the wind and warm weather, so decided to make the drive from Calgary to Lake Louise. The Village was swarming with people due to the Ice Magic event, but I made it to the visitor centre where they told me the best conditions were at Pipestone which had been trackset last night. Skied Pipestone to Drummond to Merlin and out on Pipestone again. Air temp was -5, snow -11 in Parking lot, Blue wax worked well on all trails aside from some tracks icing up a bit when the sun sank behind the mountains. Lots of debris on the trails lower down from the wind, but the tracks were firm and fast and fantastic (hasn’t been as warm at Louise, thankfully).

  41. Great day at Elk Pass! Snow was awesome, grooming perfect. A bit of wind in open areas but great in the trees. Skied up to Blueberry Hill. Temperatures -8 at the top -3 at the parking lot. Blue Swix worked like a charm. Parking lot was packed with cars all the way out to the highway but the trials weren’t too crowded. Best classic ski in ages.

    • Shane, I absolutely concur with your observations (I probably passed you somewhere on Blueberry). Its interesting to note the temperatures on our drive back to Calgary: PLPP (2pm) -3C; Fortress Junction 0C; Nakiska area +3C; Morley flats +8C; Scott Lk Hill +12C; Calgary +13C. Quite the temperature gradient!

  42. Amazing PLPP

    Richard and I arrived at Pocaterra Hut close to 9:30 AM – temp was -10C. Skied up newly groomed/trackset Pocaterra (divine) – to Packers. Skier tracked – with a few cms of powder around – we made our way up to the Lookout. Nary a person around and absolutely fantastic snow and scenery – as always. And then, the bonus newly and wonderfully trackset Tyrwhitt up to the meadows for the most glorious view in PLPP. And then, if that wasn’t already fantastic – the return (especially on the newly track set) was breathtaking – kms of effortless downhill. Back in the Hut by 1 PM – temp was -5C. And home we went. Spring in Calgary and winter in K Country. Amazing…

  43. Just back from doing the Bow-Banff loop at CNC. Great conditions at the Nordic Centre end. There are a lot of needles and branches the further west on both trails. There must have been some incredible winds however as there is evidence of many trees down near were the two trails meet. Looks like a bomb went off. Thanks to the Nordic Centre for cleaning it up.

  44. More grooming in PLPP last night. This should help rid the trails of the worst of the tree debris that Adrienne was referring to. Pocaterra, Come-Along, Lynx, and Amos were done. See details on the Live Grooming Report. http://skitrails.info/report/plpp

  45. Friday Jan 17 PLPP Amos and Wheeler tracks full of debris. Similar to Banff ,pine needles, twigs, and pinecones. Such a shame as the track setting was great. We need more snow!!!!!

  46. 1A / GREAT DIVIDE
    We were the first to ski the full distance (10 km each way) after yesterday’s track setting, and conditions are excellent.
    Nothing has melted since the last snowfall, so once the groomer goes through, it just sends needles down and fresh snow up. What more do you want?
    Don’t believe me? Well… judge for yourself at:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/accesschuck/1AGreatDivideJan172014?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCI7S3uXm8NSccQ&feat=directlink
    I should agree with John T that the track is still a little soft, as you might not see that in the pictures!
    Drove back along Sunday’s Loppet route, and it looks much better than I expected… See you there.

  47. Lake Louise – Skied Moraine Lake Road again today, with temps between -8 and -3. The tracks were still a bit soft, and the skaters who went by said that the skating lane was a bit soft too. But, the tracks were firmer than yesterday, and all in all I would say that Lake Louise provides some very nice “blue wax” conditions. I was on SkiGo HF Blue (-2 to -20) again today, and like yesterday I picked up no pine needles.
    I forgot to mention yesterday the efforts to which the trackers have gone to in order to give us good conditions. There were many places on MLR where they stopped to remove major debris from the road. And, on the Fairview Trail, where the north end was just a mess from the wind, they had to use saws to get big branches off the trail. So, guys, thanks for all your efforts!

  48. Skied WBC-Telephone Loop,Moose Connector and North leg of Crystal West Line on a gorgeous Thursday Afternoon. +5C at start, -1C at end with very little wind. After the 12″ dump on Monday snow coverage is excellent with very little debris on the majority of the trail.Pleasantly surprised by the good ski conditions considering the meltdown occurring in Calgary. As usual the first part of the trail is packed down by hikers and snowshoers,thereafter it was skier trackset (maybe 2or 3 skiers) thru 8 to12″ of new snow which varied from slightly wet and heavy to dry powder. The Moose Connector and Crystal Line were groomed and trackset in the morning and were in very good condition.No tree debris with the sun exposed areas getting hard and fast but not yet icy.I would assume all the other trails would also be groomed and trackset and be in the same good condition. Encountered a first in my 35+ years of skiing in the wilderness-Smoke-I guess from the burning of slash from the logging operations-very tough on the lungs especially after a bout of bronchitis.

  49. Went for a skate ski at lunch today at CNC. Did Lynx to Banff Ave to meadow and back. Nicely groomed and great skate ski conditions. Some needles in ski tracks. And I got in my first mtn. bike ride of the season to and from the CNC with my studded tires – sweet!

  50. Started at the Chateau parking lot and skied down Peyto to the Great Divide trail. Snow on Peyto was soft with some debris.The soft snow, reported by others, isn’t supporting the grooming machines, so expect some rough tracks at junctions and in tight spots. The NW loop of Lower Telemark had lots of debris and again was also chopped up at the junctions and tight spots. We set our own track going out on the Great Divide trail, but met the groomers coming back who set a nice track – albeit soft as it wasn’t set yet. Such a nice trail for getting into your rhythm. Lower Tramline was groomed Wednesday night and was great down to the river. Across the river there was TONS of debris to be skied over to the Village. We started at 10:30 with a temp of -6 C and special blue wax which worked for me all day.

  51. Took a chance going out to Peter Lougheed today. The conditions on Elk Pass to Tyrwhitt (up to Lookout) were absolutely superb. It had been, as you noted, track set on Wednesday. We were the first ones on the trail once we passed a group on that first hill on their way to the Elk Lakes. We did not pass or see anyone else on the trail. It was a gorgeous day, +2 when we arrived and the Swix V40 Extra worked very well. We continued past the Lookout junction on skier tracked trail and down Whiskey Jack, which was a bumpy ride, but so much fun. Moraine was tracked but this is where we found a lot of debris in the tracks. We were back at the parking lot in three and a half hours with great big grins on our faces. Super day!!

  52. MORAINE LAKE ROAD
    3 machines had just finished grooming and track setting the Moraine Lake Road as we arrived today. Conditions were excellent. The grooming seems to have removed the few needles, and the snow has never melted here, so waxing is easy.
    See for yourself at:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/accesschuck/MLRJan162014?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCJ284sjAg8SVwAE&feat=directlink
    ps Great report John T. You just have to go further or stay longer!

  53. Moraine Lake Road – Temperatures at Lake Louise were quite nice today, from -5 at 10:30 to -2 at 13:00. I arrived probably about 30 minutes after the tracksetting crew headed up Moraine Lake Road, so the tracks in both directions were fresh. But, the tracks were not set up yet, so on the way up I was crunching the track with each stride, as were several other people. Only the lightweight skiers were gliding nicely on the new tracks. However, by the time I turned around and skied down, the tracks were beginning to firm up. So I expect that by Friday they should be firm, fast and glide should be good.
    The tracks were relatively clean, particularly on the sections of the road that run north-south. However, “the hill” and the last section before the turnaround run more east-west, and these areas had plenty of debris on the snow and mixed in with the tracking/packing. That said, my SkiGo HF Blue (-2 to -20) picked up no pine needles and only a minor amount of fine debris.
    The crew was headed out the Great Divide (1A) trail, and Fairview/Tramline had new tracking/packing.
    Skating would not have been fun this morning. But by mid-day it seemed to have set up much better. So, I suspect that by Friday the skating lane should also be firm and fun. But, I’m not a skater so …
    Given the temperatures I encountered in Canmore/Banff, I am inclined to head back out to Lake Louise for my skiing this weekend. And, good skiing to all of you participating in the LL-Banff loppet!

  54. Went to Lake Louise yesterday to check out Moraine Lake Road. The tracks were totally blown or snowed in and there were needles … perhaps not quite as many as I’m hearing in other places. The 1A was the same.

    On to Field and the Natural Bridge. There is a new track on the Connector up to the lake. It was good (getting hit hard by snow bombs) and it would have been really good if I had better wax. The snowmobile track across the lake was pretty soft. I walked it to avoid icing complications. The horse trail was very dirty with tree debris and there wasn’t a track. I intended to shuffle around the Alluvial Fan even though I knew there’d be no track, but when I got there I was tired from my failing wax.

    The parking lot at Natural Bridge has been cleared. It was mostly closed off due to people working in it, but I was able to get my car off the road.

  55. What are the odds that Cascade or CNC might have good enough conditions for a skate ski?… or waxless classic setup?

    The wonderful folks at Lifesport just sold me some new Fischer skate boots that I dearly wish to zip around on (replacing my comfy-but-too-flexy combi boots which now will be exclusively classic).

    • As I reported earlier, skating would be OK on Cascade/Bankhead but not even waxless classic is doable once up the big hill on Cascade – tracks completely filled with debris

  56. PLPP Today. Not many people out.

    Skied Moraine to Wooley and then did the Wooley >> Amos >> Wheeler loop clockwise for the first time in our 17 years of skiing out here. Hey, you have to live a little.

    MASSIVE amounts of debris. In fact, there’s a stretch of Amos just south of the Lynx junction where it would be fair to say that the trail is groomed and trackset pine needles.

    Natalie’s waxless skis were wonderful. My waxed ones, well, not so much. For the record, Special Purple was used that degenerated into pine needle mash.

  57. Cascade Valley/Bankhead today – well as Bob predicted, conditions have really gone down hill with the wind. The tracks up the big long hill were OK with only a little debris, no problem on waxless skis, BUT once up to the high point and on the undulating part of the trail to the bridge, the tracks were so covered in wind-blown debris as to be unskiable! I made it to the bridge but only by skiing out of the tracks, and several other folks turned back. Skating looked OK though, and on the plus side, the Bankhead trail has escaped most of the damage with fairly clean tracks. Temperature +5, winds moderate.

  58. The wind howled all night in Canmore and it’s still blowing. My deck is covered with pine needles, so I don’t hold out much hope for the ski trails. If we needed any more bad news, it’s +6. One of the Canmore Nordic Centre weather stations shows it’s +9. Somehow they managed to groom the man-made snow last night at CNC.

    It is colder as you go west. Lake Louise is -2 this morning. The PLPP webcam shows +5 but we know it is inaccurate, so it could be colder there. The Live Grooming Report for PLPP doesn’t show any grooming activity overnight. Get out the waxless skis.

    • So heart-breaking after all that lovely snow fell 🙁

      • Oh, and we were at Confederation Park yesterday where the city was trying to remove snow from some streets around the area – seriously!! (Unbelievable in Calgary, I know). Unfortunately too many skiers had parked in spots clearly marked “No Parking”. Please don’t give us all a bad name, people!

    • Wind howled so much in Canmore, we have pine needles and roof shingles all over our yard! Love our new Fischer Superlite Waxless skis from Trail Sports, and they were kind enough to let us test several skis and lengths before we made our decision.

  59. Skied West Bragg today. Very impressed with the amount of snow! A grader was plowing the parking lots as I arrived, and had his work cut out for him. With all the snow and sunshine it was hard to be grumpy about the chinook, but waxing was definitely challenging. I skied Moose Loop counterclockwise. Started with V60 red silver which worked fine till about halfway along the Moose Connector, when the caking started, I think because the snow in the trees was cooler and fluffier than in the open where the chinook had started to melt it. With much scraping and foot-stamping I struggled to the north half of the loop, past Telephone junction, where the V60 suddenly became excellent (again, exposed to the chinook wind) all the way to the west end of the loop, where I had lunch at the picnic table. Air temp. at this point was +3. Sadly, the great wax was gone after lunch. Stopping periodically to scrape and buff my bases seemed to be the only remedy, and only temporarily. At one point I commiserated with a woman skier who was struggling as much as I was; I suggested these would probably be good conditions for waxless skis, but she replied, “these ARE waxless skis!”
    All in all a good workout. If it ever gets cold again, West Bragg will be heavenly.

  60. REDEARTH CREEK
    Today we skied up Redearth Creek to the Warden Cabin, and then to the first washed out bridge on Pharaoh Creek. At lower elevations there were a lot of needles on the snow, but at higher elevations it was beautiful breaking trail through the new 20 cm of fresh snow on a track which was set 7 days earlier.
    Catch a glimpse at:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/accesschuck/RedearthCreekJan142014?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCNi5_9bkxf_pcQ&feat=directlink
    VR45 wax worked well.

  61. We had a great day skiing from Elkwood Parking Lot (-4C.), first up Lodgepole to Meadow and past the Visitor Centre on tracks that had a bit of snow which I found a little sticky. We then went south on Meadow, Wooley, and Wheeler to Boulton Campground – these were all on new track set and were wonderful. We had lunch al fresco at Boulton before heading back on Wheeler, Amos, Wooley and Meadow to Elkwood parking. (0C.) The park was very quiet, with only a dozen or so people that we came across (several times, in some cases!).

    • Thanks for the report. Were you out really early? I’m trying to get an idea if it got as warm as forecasted. I’m not sure where the reading is taken, for that matter.

  62. The Live Grooming Report shows that Jeff did a ton of grooming today on the Ribbon creek – Kananaskis village – Skogan pass trails. I think he just got off the trail a few minutes ago(or else the Pisten-Bully finally ran out of gas!). Everything in green was done today http://skitrails.info/report/ribboncreek

  63. Just in case you’re thinking of making a trip…Trans Canada Highway has been closed from Lake Louise to Field due to high winds, blowing snow and poor visibility. Snowfall warning is in effect for Canmore, Banff and Kananaskis. “Amount 2 to 4 cm except 15 cm over northern sections.” It’s snowing and windy in Canmore right now.

  64. You know it’s a great snow year in Bragg Creek when you get to ski Telephone Loop two weekends in a row even under widely divergent weather conditions. Yesterday Telephone Loop was in great shape other than the first few kms of The East side where tracks had been obliterated by walkers & snowshoers. It would be great if the latter stayed off to the side of the tracks or used many of the other options for trails. Moose Loop was also fantastic after the afternoon snow squall on Saturday. Am praising my new Atomic Skintec waxless skis as I didn’t experience any of the snow clumping issues that most on waxable skis did on the weekend.

  65. Skied Cascade and Upped Bankhead on Sunday afternoon. 15-20 cm of fresh snow, with skier set tracks in it. Air temp -4C to -2C, sunny with some clouds; a bit of blowing snow on the Bankhead part. Swix V45 worked adequately well, with minor icing.
    On the big hill descent I saw a marten, for the first time in my life – what a beauty! I spotted it from afar, veered into trees and froze there, to see how close it’d come; after evaluating the danger level for a few seconds from about 5 meters, it decided to move in the forest.
    While driving back, saw a bizarre scene by the lake – a flock of bighorns licking salt off [very slowly] moving cars. I wish martens were as brave :o)

  66. Skogan soft and fluffy powder plus today! Much skier set after the snowfall.

  67. Just as Jody predicted in the groomer’s report, PLPP Packers/Pocaterra had a couple of centimetres of new snow on top of the fresh tracks, and waxing was easy with V40. It was a great day, about -7, and not windy at all in the trees.

  68. Had terrible sticking issues at PLPP yesterday so I decided to do some wax experimentation. With VR40 I had a lot of buildup while climbing and the glide wasn’t good. I almost went over head first a few times due to sticking. I stripped that off and tried Rode Blue Super Weiss (-1 to -4), which behaved similar to the VR40. Just for fun I tried one ski with Rode Green (-4 to -10). While the sticking issue was resolved, I was left with nearly no kick.

  69. Skied from Baker Creek to Castle Mountain ( including the loppet trail from Protection Mountain Campground) yesterday with about 15 cm new snow covering track setting and continuing to fall as the blizzard passed through. Had to do some trailbreaking but for the most part earlier skiers than us had worked hard to provide a skkable track. Except for the person in our group who had wax less skis all of us experienced issues with sticking and clumping as the new snow kept falling. We were all quite glad to see the Castle Mountain cabins after slogging on the trail! On the other hand we experienced some gorgeous scenery in this special area.

  70. Skied PLPP Pocaterra up to Tywhitt this morning. Slow and tough going with 10-15 cm of warm new snow . Used -1°C wax and the snow was sticking to the bottoms. Maybe colder wax or no wax might have worked better.

  71. A wonderful afternoon of training on the Lake Louise area trails as our special tracksetting team has set trails since Thursday then again after the new snow. A special place to ski just pick one of many trials they have built again for all nordic fans.
    Its still snowing out here tonight please drive safe on Sunday.

  72. I mimic much of Darcy’s comments of frustration. Was so excited to do the Skogan Loop in fresh powder atop great Jeff-tracks. Appreciated that a couple broke trail much earlier than when I got started at 11. Thought VR45 would be perfect-wrong. Added some 0 to -4 blue-no better. Since was on my Asnes, thought skins would at least get me uphill. To a point. With my skins, decided to ski the loop clockwise but as I got almost to the top elevation, didn’t the gale winds and huge snow squall move in. Goggles would have been great. Turned around in the blizzard and tried skiing down with my half skins but eventually even they started to major clump. It was still great to be in all that snow but wish today I’d had my snowshoes.

  73. Wild day at West Bragg Creek. -7C and calm in Bragg Ck at 9am, +4C and strong gusty winds 5 min. later at the WBC parking lot. We skied Moose Loop and Crystal Line – in exposed areas the tracks were obliterated, in treed areas they were often pretty good, though with lots of pine needles and other debris. Waxing was tricky, with red working the best. It calmed down and the sun came out for awhile at Noon, then at 1:30pm as we left it was snowing heavily – big wet flakes. Really crowded today – parking lot full and lots of cars parked on the side of the road.

    • Yes, it was a lesson in how variable our weather can be today. I skied Telephone loop-Moose loop-Loggers-Sundog.
      I Started out under gloomy skies and strong winds, then it calmed and turned sunny, just in time for my favorite section of Telephone, in the aspens of the east side-
      https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/vKdXl-dKPR9dNN7PKu14XtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink
      By the time I hit Loggers, a full on blizzard was in progress, giving me a set of high heels until I scraped the purple off, and making the descent of Sundog a slow cruise instead of the usual fast ride. Good thing though as my foggy glasses were giving near zero visibility at times :0 .
      At the parking lot, my truck had accumulated 5 cm of damp snow in only a half hour! Hopefully this will fill the pitted trail surface on the first half of the east leg of Telephone, left there courtesy of that scourge of West Bragg- the ski trail walker 🙁
      Overall though, just a great day out!

  74. This was going to be a report saying that as of today the skiing in Fish Creek Park in Calgary is still amazingly good. From Voiter’s Flats upstream to the 37th St bridge was rather trampled in spots, but still great snow despite the chinooks (still snow diamonds sparkling in the sun – no melting at all). Upstream from 37th the skier set track continues way into the reserve, and was great. No idea how far the track goes – I probably went 45 minutes west of 37th, and turned back because because lunch was calling.

    Unfortunately, just as I was finishing a rather brutal squall hit. Couple of minutes of driving rain, followed by 15 minutes of heavy wet goop. If we get a dry flurry conditions will be great again (there’s still loads of snow), but until then I’m not so sure.

  75. Bragg Creek was holding up very well despite the warm temperatures (probably thanks to the good freeze overnight). It was a wild weather day, though: -7 in Calgary when I left, +7 and sunshine for most of the time skiing, +1 and heavy snow 1/2 hr later when I was leaving the parking lot.

  76. Adventures in waxing at Ribbon Creek today (at least for me). With at least 5-10 cm of fresh, wet snow covering tracksetting (all of Jeff’s great work last night was for naught) and warm temps, V40 didn’t work, V45 didn’t work, and and thin layer of V50 “sort of” worked. Skied Terrace and Kovach, with lots of voluntary stopping on the way up to scrape off snow and try a different kind of wax, and lots of involuntary stopping on the way down because I’m just not a very good downhiller. Probably my most frustrating day on skis in the past two years, and I dd the Birkie last year, so that’s saying a lot. Was still snowing hard when I left. I hope others had better times today than I did!

  77. Skied West Bragg Creek yesterday. The world of West Bragg Creek is changing forever. Intensive clearcut logging is starting NOW and will have massive impacts forever on the places you know and love. Please make your voice heard any way you can. Signage is not clear going towards the east side of the Sundog Loop about the end of the trail becasue of the logging road- when you get to the logging road, there is nowhere to go. Heard frustration from others on the trail. Saying travel is not recommended is not strong enough. It would be a good idea to have trail closure signs marked more clearly especially at the parking lot. On a lighter note – sking is very good but may not last if the weather warms up.

    • Maurah, good that you are concerned, but you are a year and a half too late. The logging is not just starting, it ended a year ago. Currently Spray Lake Sawmills are hauling logs that were cut and stacked last winter. Also , if you subscribe to the GBCTA, which you should because they groom the trails, they have indicated in recent emails that the East side trails have been plowed and are not suitable for skiing.

    • Hi Maurah,

      While logging operations are indeed already underway in Bragg Creek, I totally agree that it is still valuable and useful to let the Alberta government and ESRD know your thoughts about the logging and the disappointing seemingly lacking public input process on the proposed logging. If clear cut logging and degredation of our wilderness areas is something you are concerned about (and everyone on this blog should be because they obviously value Alberta’s wilderness and the awesome recreation opportunities it affords!) you have the chance NOW to effect change for other parts of Southern Alberta’s wilderness. The Alberta government is currently developing a long-range land use plan for Southern Alberta, called the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. The public comment period on the plan closes January 15th. CPAWS (The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society) has a good run down of some of the conservation measures lacking in the plan…notable, a lack of protection of the Castle Special Area, continued clear cut logging in our forested headwaters (as opposed to forest management that prioritizes healthy ecosystems and natural flood/water regulation) and a lack of focus on eco-tourism (and heavy focus instead on motorized recreation…not that it’s all bad but it cannot just happen willy-nilly all over the landscape). Check outhttp://cpaws-southernalberta.org/campaigns/the-south-saskatchewan-regional-plan-ssrp, for a thoughtful look at the ‘environment’ side of the plan and make your voice heard while you still can!!

  78. I skied Telephone Loop at West Bragg this afternoon, first time in a few years. I skied counter clock-wise. The first third – up to about the Snowshoe Hare trail crossing – was quite chewed up with foot traffic, but it was good skier set after that. There is now a logging road cutting across the North-West part of the trail. The conditions on Moose Connector and Crystal Line heading back to the parking lot were really great , good grip and fast. There was very little debris on the trails but the wind was starting to shake the tree tops as I was leaving just before dark.

  79. First in parking lot at Mt Shark today starting at 9:45 with minus 7 and ending with a minus 3. Skied yellow recreational loop once (a more ambitious couple were going to do it twice!). Take my hat off to them! We enjoyed the new tracksetting down to Watridge Lake Junction and it offered a nice break from the yellow loops of hills, resuming at #10 for the back half. 9 cars in total when we left. The road was in excellent shape also. Blustery winds were sure blowing as we passed Goat Creek parking lot….wondered how it is? Off to Emerald Lake Lodge for two nights and look forward to meet-up with Kicking Horse Ski Club this Sunday @ Natural Bridge. Please support this club if you haven’t already.

  80. For those looking for info about skiing within the Calgary city limits I went for a quick ski around the Maple Ridge Golf course. Conditions were less than optimal with plenty of foot traffic on the track-set and lots of debris knocked down by chinook winds. The skiing was best along the western most fairway with less trees, sunny skies and a nice view of the Bow valley. The temperature was about 0º and I used a V60 red kick wax to good effect.

  81. Skied the Canmore Nordic Centre this evening. Great snow coverage and excellent tracks on all the blue and green trails.

  82. West Bragg conditions continue to be excellent! Winds were moderate and the snow stayed dry this afternoon. I skied Sundog-Elbow down to Fullerton -returning via Iron Springs-Elbow-Loggers-Crystal Line west. The tracksetting on Iron Springs extends north from the middle junction to the groomers access trail at the hairpin bend. From there a good, well used ski track carries on along Iron Springs towards the plowed section where log hauling is underway. I however cut over to Elbow using Boundary Ridge all season trail at the big “meadow”, which is easy enough, rather than share the north end of Iron Springs with 50 ton logging trucks. Lots of skiers have gone that way though, so maybe it’s not that bad.

  83. Wonderful conditions at Pipestone today. Minus 7, new snow (4-6 cms) in new tracksetting of Jan 4th. Skied blue loop, Mud Lake, Merlin circuit and down the blue. Sun popping in and out, and less than a dozen people and a lovely dog.

  84. Skied Bill Milne today on perfect grooming and track-set trail.
    Fox tracks and poop.

  85. Cascade Valley and Bankhead – Conditions on these trails today were excellent. Temperatures were around -4 to -1 (air), and skiing was easy on VR40. The track is a bit shallow, and the snow is still a bit soft. If was “crunching” the snow in many places. The hill is OK. There was one rock beginning to show in the uphill tracks, but no problems in the downhill tracks. The center skating lane appears to be soft, but there were no complaints from the one skater who came by. If you haven’t been over to the Bankhead picnic area take the time to ski over there. The tracks are great and the views are quite nice. It is also pretty user friendly for novice skiers! It is about 5 km (return) from the trailhead out and back. Enjoy!

  86. FOUND ON CASCADE VALLEY TRAIL – There was a thermos and pair of wrap-around dark glasses left by the trail near the top of the climb of the Cascade Valley Trail. I moved them back to the gate at the start of the trail, leaving them behind the sandwich board trail map. If these are yours, hopefully they will be there when you go back, and you won’t have to climb the hill again! As there were no other cars in the parking lot when we started, we assumed that these must have been left by mistake and not left to be picked up later.

  87. I found a black hat on the Lynx trail in PLPP. If you want it back go to pocaterra hut and look for orange counter.
    New Pocaterra trail has been track set recently but dirt shows every 10 meters so avoid it and use Come Along instead. Better yet go across the street and ski on Lodgepole it has new grooves. The old pocaterra trail is in very good shape nice and fast. Lynx, Amos, Wheeler and Woolley have skier tracks but are in poor condition. Packers was excellent except 2 spots where the ice forms. Pocaterra hut thermometer showed -8 @ 12 and – 5 @ 16. Snow was old everywhere so you should use warmer wax Skigo red worked for me.

  88. West Bragg Creek was still fantastic today, I do hope it lasts through this warm spell! The parking lot was nearly full this afternoon, on a Wednesday. I shudder to think what it will be like on the weekend.

    We saw a strange sight as we were leaving — a logging truck, fully loaded with logs, was going *UP* the Mountain Road! Does that seem a bit bizarre?

    • Yes Diana this also seemed bizarre to me having skied West Bragg Creek on Tuesday. However, I have been informed that hauling from South of the parking lot started Jan 6 & will last 3 to 4 weeks. Timber will be hauled out using the N part of Iron Springs, SE Sundog, Crystal Line E and Mountain Road. The haul road then crosses Telephone Loop at the NW corner and connects to the North Homestead Road and Highway 68. Spray Lakes do not plan to haul on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Commencing on Monday, Jan 13, 2014 & continuing until late Feb, slash piles left over from the logging will be ignited and burnt Mon through Thur. So everyone happy skiing West Bragg Creek the rest of the ski season with all the truck noise and smoke in the area.

      • Thank you, Walter, that is very interesting. Sounds like a very long haul road, but perhaps better and easier than going through Bragg Creek.

  89. PLPP – very good skiing today, if you picked the right trails. We started from Elk Pass parking, and went up the big hill. Tracks under the powerlines at the top were totally eradicated by scouring winds. Down in the trees, it was better, but we suspected Elk Pass / Blueberry would be windy, so we headed north on Fox Creek. Tracks here were pretty beat up, with minor debris. Once we reached Moraine, we found recent tracksetting – excellent conditions. We then skied Wheeler and Amos (good skier tracksets), and Braille and Lodgepole (excellent recent tracksets). Temps were -9C at 10:30am, and -5C at 2pm. Snow gave us excellent glide. Winds were evident up high, but it was pretty calm in the trees. Great day!

  90. The New Pocaterra
    Went out with The Much Younger Wife today and we decided to ski Pocaterra for the first time since The Flood. I had heard various reports about it and was anxious to see for myself. I’m afraid that it is no longer my favourite trail for when I have been a slug too long and am out of shape. Also, it will not be the place I take beginners any more. The old easy trail along the creek bottom has been rerouted to the west and it scampers up and down the benchlands, so there are many ups and downs… and it seemed to me there were a lot fewer of the latter. Sigh!
    Conditions today? There were freshly set tracks up to Lynx, and from there the old set tracks were covered with an inch or so of new snow. That made it even better in my mind as it was silky, yet the tracks were still incised enough for easy skiing. Temperature seemed to top out at about -5 and blue worked well.
    Despite my complaints, it felt really good to get out. It may not feel quite so good tomorrow morning. 🙂

  91. Great fresh tracks at Redearth Creek today, and there’s now good coverage all the way to the cabin, including the first kilometre of hills from the parking lot.

  92. Okotoks – Crystal Ridge Golf Course
    Got a chance to ski the complete complement of freshly groomed and tracked trails this afternoon and it was fantastic. Skate lanes were also freshly done and awaiting some energetic skiers. Mule deer were being well behaved and a bonus was the sighting of not one but two weasels up close enough for pictures – duh – no camera. Great place for a ski without the crowds (or dogs) and a short drive. Check out the map on Trail Reports.

  93. We played hookey from work today to ski at Mount Shark. It was -12 at Pocaterra as we turned North onto Spray Lakes road, but -9 when we got to the parking lot. We did the whole 10km loop(s) (including biathlon). By my count there had been 4 people on the fresh grooming from the 5th… there were more Elk, Deer and Wolf prints than ski tracks. There was only 1 other car in the lot when we arrived, and only 4 when we left.

    Extra blue wax worked fine, and the air temp made it up to -6.

    The sun came out around Barrier lake, so the whole experience was just about perfect.

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106684749541795236603/albums/5966316469189177121

  94. Skied West Bragg Creek today (Jan. 7). Trails in very good conditions (freshly track set), but avoid the east leg of the Sundog Loop, Iron Springs and East Crystal trails. The logging roads had been freshly plowed and were busy with logging trucks.

  95. STONEY CREEK
    There is a skier set track to Stoney Creek… and it is glorious!
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2554234&code=af6addabc88790f88aeea685068aa51c

    • Thanks for putting this onto Everytrail!

      • Glad to get some feedback on Everytrail… Thanks!
        If anyone is having difficulty with it, try using a laptop instead of a smartphone. This seems to be a glitch because I prefer to keep the link private as opposed to Public (where it would be searchable by non skiers!) You should see pictures with captions as the dot follows the track. You can also switch between the trips elevation profile mode or the slideshow mode. Do zoom in with the + key to get full detail.
        Any more feedback would be appreciated.
        Chuck

        • Very cool! Like it, so I take my iPhone with me and load the app…?

          • You buy the app, log into Everytrail.com on your computer, click on Chuck’s link, add trip to your favorites, open the app on your iPhone, find trip under Saved | Favorites. If you add the trip to My Map within the app, you can show your current location in relation to the waypoints of the trip (handy for example to find the trial head or to make sure you are still on the right trail).

            • Wow… I didn’t know that!
              I do not own a smartphone, so have never pursued this.
              People should know that if you simply click the link on a regular computer, there is no need to buy an app. Note that you can also export my GPS file for your own use. Lots of fun… I love the site.
              Thanks for helping us all to use Everytrail.com

        • Nothing really to add, except it is very cool and a great way to “experience” a trip 🙂
          Thank you for doing all this!

  96. Whiskey Jack >> Pocaterra >> Packers

    Most of the trails seem to have had 1-2 cm of snow since Jody groomed them. Upper Whiskey Jack / Pocaterra Junction were covered in drifted / wind blown snow as were the lower exposed portions on our return.

    This was a real test of the knee, and while it was a bit cranky after the gorgeous downhill on Pocaterra it held up okay on the left turns with Packers.

    Wonderful day. Wonderful adult beverage awaiting.

    By the way, Madeleine, the temporary park staff at PLPP Lodge is really a delight to deal with.

  97. -13 at Nakiska parking at 8:45 waxed with, well, nothing, for 10 (count ’em) quick runs after using these gravity defying things call “chairlifts” . . . but I digress. From the chair I think I saw Helen Read heading up Centennial Ridge in her bare feet, but I digress again.

    -8 at Ribbon Creek parking at 12:15, where after a triathalon(sp?) type equipment change (pre-waxed) I headed up Terrace with sore quads. Lots of fresh snow, but the track is poor, wobbly, and pretty chewed up. Very little debris though! VR40 felt like it would have let me climb a tree, and I stepped right up north Kovatch for a nice loop around the Village trails. Not great grooming, but this is me NOT complaining.
    Where else can one do all this, AND be home for a reward beer by, well, (glug, glug), right now.

  98. Spent January 5th in PLPP skiing the cookie race route. Skied Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, Moraine, Packers, Poceterra, Come Along, Lynxx, Wooley, Meadow, and Wheeler. The snow was slow, most trails were not groomed (skier set) with the exception of Packers, Whiskey Jack, and the long hill of Pocattera. Waxing was a breeze with a low of -25C and a high of -18C. Pretty cold out there, thankfully the hills kept us warm.

  99. Okay, so it was a little cool and the glide could have been better but it was still a great day for a long loop around PPLP and if you lost a sports watch around the Pocaterra Wiskey junction, give me a shout, it is your lucky day!!

  100. Elk Pass.
    Decided that since it was equally cold everywhere, I might as well have some nice scenery whilst shivering. Started out at 10:30 with the temperature from my car saying -25. Broke out the arctic white wax for the first time ever. Tracks were okay, about 10cms of fresh snow on top of the previous grooming, but the skies were clear, blue and gorgeous. Only made it up to the picnic table at the blueberry hill junction and returned via fox creek which was in fairly snow covered shape with very loose skier set tracks. Later in the day the wind was picking up, sending loose powder snow down off the trees where it caught the afternoon golden light in the most spectacular way. Downside though, you should now watch for tree bombs. Temperature was -15 when I left mid afternoon.

  101. Trip Reports, a bid over the top for city leupe’s, but….. Confederation Park, today Sunday, awesome. Man what a goods track setting job by Foothills, thank you guys…….!

    • Thomas – it’s not over the top IMO – you can’t go to the mountains every day (at least I can’t) – it’s good to know about city ski conditions – thanks!
      West Bragg was a winter wonderland today – the snow covered trees and bright blue sky made up for the cool temps – it was -25 at the parking lot at 11am. There has been quite a bit of new snow over the last grooming but there are good skier-set tracks..

  102. Johnny made a beautiful track on the Emerald connector yesterday , and the KH Fire road , and out to the Info… He’s so wonderful !

  103. Fantastic conditions at West Bragg today; chaotic tracks all over on the busier trails but nice consistent skier set track on the quieter upper trails. Such beautiful soft snow! Feels more like the Laurentians than the foothills… Will be awesome when groomed.

  104. Lake Louise has at least 30cm new snow. The groomers have done a terrific job trying to keep up. Yesterday Fairview, Moraine Lake Road, full Tramline and lower Telemark Loops done but about 3-5 cm new snow overnight. Very good skiing as all debris covered. A great joy was to discover this am at about 11 that the groomer had just finished Hector and Pipestone full loop……we had been organizing to take turns breaking trail so it was great. Lightly snowing all day and temperatures dropping but the trail was excellent.

  105. Confed & Shag
    Well, I skied both yesterday and today respectively. Confed was great. The groomer’s previous efforts had been covered by the fresh snow, but the tracks were still traceable and fun.
    Today I almost succumbed to the rumour that it was too cold to ski, but reflecting on the fact that I broke track in a big ol’ field in inner Manitoba at -40 less than two weeks ago, I decided to give it a go. Boy, am I glad I went! The snow at Shaganappi seems a little thinner than Confed in that the pole hits concrete fairly frequently, but there’s still enough snow for a really great run. As for the weather, nothing that snow pants, hand warmers and a good toque won’t fix. Not to mention the glass of red wine and hot bath chaser…
    Until tomorrow, Calgary snow…

  106. Jan 4-Spray Loop both sides. Track set yesterday, 5 cams fresh on top today. West side is good shape, east side a bite more challenging. Thanks to parks for getting the bridge in!

  107. The Live Grooming Report from PLPP indicates the following trails were groomed this morning: Whiskey jack, Packers, Pocaterra(from Lynx to Lookout).

    Yesterday, Jeff did the Kananaskis village trails along with Hidden and Skogan(to the top of the Screamer).

    What an amazing feature, these Live Grooming Reports. This timely information is what we skiers have always wanted. Thanks, K-Country! -Bob

    • We skied all those trails today – Whiskey jack, Packers, Pocaterra (from Lynx to Lookout) – and all were in great shape, just a few mm of (cold slow!) fresh snow in the tracks. Thanks tracksetters! We took a look at Tyrwhitt (groomed yesterday) but decided to pass on what looked like heavy trail breaking. Presumably Elk Pass and Hydroline would be similar, and likely all will be skier set in deep snow by now. The new Pocaterra trail was a bit of a rodeo with quite a lot of traffic in deep fresh snow.

      Love the live grooming reports!

      • Saw this update just as we were heading out the door to PLPP – thanks! based on the report we decided on Boulton parking lot instead of Pocaterra and had great great grooming all the way up Whiskey Jack. Spent a few km in the deep snow along Tyrwhitt (good skier track but very soft and powdery – but fun!). Totally agree – live grooming reports are awesome! Thanks

  108. Always a fan of City XC skiing in Confederation Park – For anybody on a low budget, this is the time to pack up the kids and have fun right here. Today Friday, great snow and good man made tracks. A bid of blue in the wax zone and off you go. Just leave the dogs at home.

  109. A study in contrasts at West Bragg-
    On Thursday afternoon I was grinding uphill on the hardpacked, often icy Ranger Summit-Strange Brew loop on my bike, wishing that I had brought a t-shirt for the +8 temperatures. The riding was great on studded tires, but the skiing looked a bit rugged (there were lots of skiers out, nonetheless).
    Today- excellent skiing conditions with soft fast snow everywhere, thanks to the 10-15 that fell overnight 🙂
    Too bad about this weekend’s arctic invasion.

  110. My former neighbour and good friend in Lac Des Arcs and I decided to try Redearth today instead of our original plan to drive to Baker Creek. We broke trail up to Redearth warden cabin and it took us almost three hours to get up there in a large amount of fresh powder (we could not see our skis once past the campground). On our fun and glorious ski down we met only one other couple who confirmed the tracks we’d see all over the trail were wolves’ prints. Minus 3 at 10 am start and minus 2 at warden’s cabin (although as Bob has hinted, it always feels a whole lot colder when you stop there for lunch!)

  111. Decided to stay close to home today because the road conditions looked a little iffy. It was a great idea! The CNC was awesome. We were on classic skis and hoped off the main trails to play in the snow on Rundle, Chipmunk and Bruin. Not really groomed and we weren’t moving fast but it was big puffy snow and just like being in the backcountry without the driving. Didn’t see a single person for about an hour. SWIX extra violet worked well.

    If you don’t have time for a trip to PLPP or Louise this weekend highly recommend people explore some of the ‘roads less travelled’ at the CNC.

  112. Tunnel Mountain Campground

    With only a few minutes to spare in Banff today, we decided to check out the new grooming at Tunnel Mountain. Never having ventured into that campground before, we had no idea what to expect. We discovered that the section groomed for skiing consists of very straight roads! The long ones parallel to the wind direction were of quite variable quality, with a few bare patches, while the short cross-wise bits had more snow but not terribly smooth. It seems the chinook has blown away the “good” conditions listed by Banff Park, still decent skiing but not terribly exciting.

    Also, a herd of elk seem to think the campground belongs to them, and most inconsiderately poop in the middle of the ski tracks. Someone should really have a chat with them about ski trail etiquette!

  113. I think Yvon and I met discussing wax in the parking lot at Mt. Shark!

    We had a blast there, and met a young family on the red loop that reminded me of our family a long long time ago. Our two big galoots are heading off to school again tomorrow, but 13 years ago they were with us on our first excursion to Shark and dubbed the Red loop “Daddy Face Plants trail”.

    I didn’t face plant today, but the right knee (meniscus) wasn’t as strong as I liked and on tight corners needing digging with the right leg it was a tad grumpy.

    As Yvon said, the conditions were okay, a bit worn in some places, and past the red/purple they weren’t as well travelled.

  114. Mount Shark is in great condition for both classic and skate, next to zero debris on the trail , maybe because there is a lot of spruce which don’t seam to loose their needles as much as pine trees. Should be good tomorrow but unsure for the weekend, the forecast is for much cooler temperatures.

    Happy skiing 😉

  115. CNC report for today… about 1/2 the number of folks there but as always the trails spread everyone around reasonably well. A number of racers there warming up for this weekends chill-fest of events.

    Although air temp was about the same as Tuesday (see my report end of Dec), there was cloud cover and more wind resulting in cooler snow temps (just below 0, instead of a couple above) so much better skiing on my VR55. Banff Trail pretty heavily used the first couple km’s out of the stadium. At the meadow we diverted up to Meadowview which was excellent. At the end of Banff Trail we took the lower trail (Bow) back and it was quite worn, a fair amount of needles and glazing… waxes not working so well here, needed a few less needles in the wax and perhaps something stickier. Definitely a re-tracksetting is also in order.

    After the above 13.5km loop I grabbed my skate skiis and zipped around the Banff Trail to Meadow and back loop (~5km). Exact same glide wax as Tuesday when I suffered, except was amazed at the difference a few degrees colder made – I had my glide back! Again, what a difference the right choice in glide wax makes.

  116. Confederation again!
    I was expecting the balmy +8.5 weather to have produced great puddles and bald spots, but I was very wrong. It was gorgeous today.
    And kudos to the groomer who proved me wrong and groomed the trails! There are still many flattened sections and sometimes I had to create my own road, but the groomed sections were fantastic!
    Looking forward to tomorrow’s ski…

  117. Skied the Cascade Valley trail at Minnewanka yesterday. The parks trail report calls it good, but I would say it’s OK for skate skis. the skate lane is pretty cut up and has lots of foot prints from hikers.

    Skied the Whiteway in Invermere a couple days ago. I’ve wanted to check this out for a while – they track set about 30km of trail on the frozen lake. there is also a skate skiing lane that is very chewed up from the foot traffic and an ice skating lane. It’s pretty fun to cruise around on the lake – no hills obviously. Lots of people out but most were on ice skates – only a few of us on skis

    • You can find XC trail reports and guides online here for all trails in the area including Panorama, Invermere, etc… : http://www.tobycreeknordic.ca/

      I also did a portion of the Whiteway last week when staying in Fairmont. Skiied from Windermere on some ok’ish tracks. Really interesting experience skiing there… plus the sound of the ice settling/groaning was rather unnerving! Not to worry, it’s safe enough for large 4×4’s to rip around over the snow, ice, skating and ski lanes. From the Kinsmen beach in Invermere there were lots of ice skaters and ice fisherman heading out to their shacks.

  118. We skied from the Pocaterra Parking up the new Pocaterra trail and did a loop around K-country trails that we love so much. The new design of the trail is great except not very beginner friendly thanks to the flood and I have knick-named one corner “broken equipment corner” for the start of the cookie race (Not the same corner my husband broke a pole on!). The new trail however is not one you want to take any good skis on at this time as it is a toboggan run and lots of dirt and debris. Hope for lots more new snow before the cookie race. PS. I here they are planning on hiking up the price for the cookie race again this year.

    • Cookie Ski race entry fee was about $75 last year I think… rather steep for a two hour outing. Much as I love the event and club I can’t justify the expense this year. Hard fathom the steep entry fee. (go ahead, disagree if you must).

      Foothills hasn’t yet posted the 2014 info, but here’s the link to 2013’s: http://cookierace.com/#race-information

      • I would have to disagree that $75 is expensive when you compare it to other marathon races in Alberta, Canada and Europe. There are many costs associated with presenting a race in this remote mountain location. Anyone that wants to learn about this rather than being negative should volunteer to help out on the Friday before the race to get an understanding of where your entry fee’s are going. At the end of the day the money the club makes goes to offsetting the cost of the volunteer grooming they perform at Confederation Golf Course. I have been a past Chief of Course for this race.

        This year will be very tricky with the damage to the trail system, but James and the other groomers take great pride in ensuring the best quality of the track.

        It is your choice not to ski because of cost, but you will miss one of the most beautiful ski courses in the entire world.

        • Well stated Bruce. Foothills Nordic has always been a great supporter of X-C skiing in the Calgary and Bow Valley areas. We sometimes forget how fortunate we are to ski in this area at little or no cost because of the collective of many individuals, clubs and organizations.

          I would encourage anyone who skis at Confederation Park to consider paying the $75 fee and ski the Cookie Race, volunteer to help out at the race or join the club. I believe the same applies to the Calgary Ski Club and grooming at the Shaganappi Golf Course.

        • Thanks for your reply Bruce et al. I am not questioning the quality of the race, grooming, volunteer efforts, etc… merely the cost.

          Knowing that the $75 “for the race” actually goes much further than just race-day certainly helps to justify the cost, particularly since I do enjoy Confed (as does my wife). Without a doubt both the 24km and the longer ski race routes have provided me challenges over several years where scores have been settled or reinforced and laughed at over hot bevvies and excess chocolate cookies.

          Still the reality is that $75 for the 24km / 2hr race is considered “not cheap” by quite a few XC skier friends. This is on top of the driving and other race-day costs. Our frames of reference include mountain bike and road racing events. So regardless of whether you agree or not, a hot-link on Foothills Cookie website explaining where the entry fee goes might make it more palatable to a greater audience.

          • The best way to find out the costs of events is to be involved in hosting one. I’m sure if you contacted them they would be happy to have you as a sweep or forerunner, that way you can enjoy the day and still be part of the Great Cookie Race.

            I would also agree that many xc skiers would find the race pricey, but you have to agree that a certain percentage of skiers are a bit on the frugal side. In the end it is everyones choice if they want to participate or not.

            • You are absolutely right Bruce races are expensive in terms of money and manpower. Just thought I would throw the comment out there. Not agreeing or disagreeing. Foothills I believe in the past and still has (if I remember correctly) a donation section on their club registration to ensure your money goes in the direction you would like it to go. And Doug you are right, as Bruce and Tim well know it is alot of manpower and time put into tracksetting at the golf course and we love having the in town opportunity. And RichieRich you are right…..not everybody in Calgary is fortunate enough to be able to afford, especially families the cost of races. Sport is expensive but so worth it!!

          • Not sure where you’re finding these ‘bargain’ MTB or road races. AB Cup MTB races run $35-40 entry and the Enduro races are typically $70+. Road races are getting just as pricey.

            In addition, neither MTB or road races require a $300K groomer.

            The Cookie Race is a bargain when the logistics, trail prep and manpower are factored in. Unlike a MTB race that is run on loops,there is minimal crossover on the PLPP racecourse. Would you still ski the Cookie Race if it was $50 and at COP on the 2km loop?

            • Last year the entry fee for the three-stage Tour de Bowness road race was $100.00. In addition to the entry fee, all racers have to be members of the Alberta Bicycle Association (or hold a UCI license from another jurisdiction) so that’s another $135.00 for the year. In addition to that, to be a member of the ABA one needs to be a member of a local club or pay an additional $50.00 to the ABA to ride as an independent, so that’s another yearly fee. And don’t forget clothing: a racer must wear their club jersey in an ABA race. So, to enter the Tour de Bowness the min. total cost is $285.00. Don’t care to race ABA races? Well, the Banff GranFondo is $250.00 and the Highwood GranFondo is $200.00-$230.00, and neither of those events are even full centuries (160 km). The Transrockies Singletrack 6 is close to $1500.00 per person. Makes the Cookie Race look like a steal.

            • Granted I haven’t done any road or mtb racing in about 10 years (Corp. challenge aside) so the scene may have changed a bit. Having organized and helped at some races myself I certainly respect the efforts for ANY activity out there. That said, back in the day for $30-40 entry I also got a T-shirt or other swag and some drinks/gels. Now I’m the breadwinner of a single-income family. Just sayin…

  119. Ditto on Thorsten’s comment about Boulton Creek trail. We did it yesterday as the last link back to the Elk Pass parking lot after Tyrwhit and Whiskeyjack. I was pretty tired at that point and didn’t need that struggle. I think Parks could go a step further with the “Flood Damage” sign and add “Not Recommended”.

  120. YOHO – LAKE O’HARA

    Five of us skied up to Lake O’Hara today. LOTS of fresh snow, so the snow was fantastic without a hint of ice or debris. We started at 10:20am in -8C, and finished at 4:00 when temperature had risen to 0C. Blue wax worked really well all day. The trail was very quiet – we passed one family returning from Elizabeth Parker Hut and three other individuals. Much to our surprise, Le Relais was closed. It is supposed to be open on weekends (we weren’t sure if the holiday would count), but the chalkboard at the shelter alluded that it’s been closed since September 30. Does anyone know if Le Relais will no longer be open on weekends now, or does it just open at the same time as Lake O’Hara Lodge? In any case, we had a great ski, and nice fast ski out.

    • P.S. – Had skier set tracks going up and down. They were pretty good on the way up, but by the time we skied down had been widened by AT skis. Lots of little twists and turns, so at times it can be challenging to stay in the ‘tracks’. At one point AT tracks were herringboning right over the XC up track (grrr). Also saw one skier skijoring (being pulled by a dog). Not sure if that’s allowed in the parks; I think Mount Shark has official trails for that. I feel bad for the dogs, though that dog looked like he was having a blast.

  121. Confederation

    I slipped over for a jaunt around the park today and Confederation was great. There isn’t enough snow for grooming, but it was well-tracked by previous skiers. And the sunshine was marvellous. Loving the local snow.

  122. Bragg Creek did not get the same generous serving (i.e. 5-10 cm) of snow that we received in Calgary. In fact they did get almost nothing, maybe a dusting. Trails are hard packed with a little debris and some icy spots that can make snow-plowing challenging. Found the best conditions on Elbow.

  123. Our first ski of 2014 was on our favorite loop – Tyrwhitt. We started at Elk Parking lot (-4C. at 10:30 a.m.) and skied up Fox Creek, which had some debris on the tracks, to Blue-Elk picnic table where we stopped for a snack, having to dissuade a couple of whisky jacks from begging. The Elk Pass Trail was good and mostly clean on older tracks. Tyrwhitt had good track set and fabulous scenery. We descended Whiskyjack on hard, fast tracks that left us wishing for more! Moraine was packed and over-skied with not a lot of track set left. We ended the day around 2 p.m.. with a temperature of -2C. and a bit of breeze starting up. The trails were not busy at all before lunch, but fairly busy afterwards. A great way to start the new year; hoping for a 10-15 c. snowfall soon!

  124. YOHO – KICKING HORSE TRAIL
    New Year’s Day was the first day in ages that it didn’t snow here, and also an opportunity for first tracks on freshly groomed trails by the Kicking Horse Ski Club. Time to enjoy… and donate!

  125. Last evening’s snow freshened up Shaganappi nicely however be warned. The parking lot has not been plowed recently and several vehicles were having issues, mine included.

  126. Skied Whiskey Jack ,Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass Dec 31 in blissful conditions BUT to my horror once we got to Elk Pass someone has ridden a super fat tired bicycle up the trail from Elk Pass trail head, in places crossing the set tracks damaging them. This is the second time I have seen these bikes on this trail, one fellow when politely informed about the damage it was causing said he didn’t need to be told and to mind my own business. Interestingly Paul Karchat CBC Real Ski reporter had a program on these bikes just last Thursday, perhaps a mention about not riding on set tracks was in order. We reported the incident at the park information, they said they would try to keep an eye on the situation and would like to have any more occurrences reported. Now, I’ve had my rant and I feel much better. Happy skiing and thanks Bob for the wonderful website

    That’s unfortunate, because the day before, the bikers I met were very polite, courteous, and were not riding in the tracks. The ones you met will give them all a bad name, and make it difficult for the nice ones. I wish you had a photo. -Bob

    • I skied the Elk Pass trail on Dec 31 as well. Most of the damage to the groomed tracks was done by skis…wide touring skis. I did not notice any significant damage done by the bikes. There were some small number of times where the bikes moved out of the middle of the trail, likely to avoid other trail users. I would state that greater than 99% of any damage to the tracks was done either by skiers with very wide skis or people snowplowing, herring boning or skating the track out of existence. It is always a puzzle to me why people ski trails far beyond their ability and manage to trash the tracks for others…both on the up hill and the down hill.

      Enough grumpiness…..we had a great ski on the last day of the year!!

      • Are there any official rules on whether fat bikes can use XC ski trails? Other than requests not to ruin set tracks are there any ‘official’ rules (e.g. can a CO issue a fine). I agree with Lyle that fat bikes are not much of a problem at the moment but given there rapid increase in numbers it would be good to know the official status of their use on XC ski trails.

  127. Tyrwhitt loop in PLPP was mainly as advertised by Skier Bob, i.e. excellent. Elk Pass tracks are a bit worn out and could use some fresh track-setting. Fox Creek has some debris on it now, which will slow you down. Temps stayed around 0 deg C this afternoon, so tomorrow should still be great.
    Just in case you (as I was) are not aware: Boulton Creek trail sustained some flood damage and is not in its best shape. There are about 4-5 spots where you will need to remove your skis to climb over downed trees or step up or down a steep bank. The trail doesn’t appear to be closed, but unless you are in the mood for some back-country scramble, I would avoid it.
    Happy New Year to Skier Bob and all you blog readers. Wishing you many happy trails in 2014!

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