Trip Reports – Jan 2015

Last month, the trip reports were viewed over 13,000 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.

Click on “add one” to leave a comment.


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  1. I skied Pipestone for the first time ever. Beautiful trails. Perfect snow. Fresh tracks. Pretty much perfect. I used one thin coat of VR45, as it was all I had. It worked well enough.

    After 17k classic, I decided to give skating on Moraine Lake Road a try for the first time. It was almost 5pm, but I figured I could get at least a few km in. 😀 After about 2km of huffing and puffing, I came upon a couple of snow shoers in distress. One was suffering from extreme exhaustion, and the other one was on the way down to go get the truck! ? Luckily, I was able to talk them out of that plan. Instead, I called Banff Parks dispatch and they quickly came to rescue them on a snow mobile.

    The skiing itself was OK. The trail was well groomed, but quite soft. There had been quite a few walkers on the first few km, so sometimes the poles went a bit too much into the snow. It was hard enough to skate 7km back and forth on the first few km, I’m both dreading and looking forward to attempting the whole thing.

    • Oops, posted under the wrong year

    • I’ll second Risto’s comments on the great skiing at Pipestone today. And I can add that you can expect immaculate track there tomorrow (Monday) morning, at least on the Drummond-Merlin-Pipestone-Hector sections. They must have been track set this afternoon: late today I could see that only one other skier had been on them. When I finished my ski at 5:20 there was only one other car in the lot, and that party finished shortly after me, coming out in the other (clockwise) direction. So in the morning, those trails should be just the way I left them.

  2. Hi Hugh, looks like you posted in the correct month but wrong year!

  3. Bragg Creek was ok this afternoon with about 5-10 cm on top of an icy base. Poles hitting the ice mad it sound like MLR in early season. Volunteers were out setting tacks, There are still some thin spots with dirt and rocks poking through. Also, be careful when getting out of your car in the parking lot – it’s very icy and slippery below the fresh layer of snow.

  4. Round Lake Parking lot to Baker Creek Parking Lot

    Glad there was about 1.5″ of fresh snow otherwise it would have been a real challenge. Underneath fresh snow quite icy in a lot of places in particular east of Lookout. After that it started to improve and was good west of Protection campground. Only a couple of other groups on way out but the trails were very busy between Castle Lookout and Round Lake parking lot.
    Used VR40 worked well on way out snow was sticky in the sun from Lookout to parking lot.

  5. Sweet day in PLPP! Skied from Elk Pass parking lot –> Moraine –> Whiskey Jack –> Tyrwhitt –> Elk Pass –> Elk Pass parking lot. Moraine was a beautiful roll in the trees with the fresh snow, and the ascent up Whiskey Jack was easy due to the nice grip. Much to my surprise, I didn’t see a soul for the first 10.9km. A few stragglers on Tyrwhitt, and not a single person at Elk Pass at 2:45pm, so I just sat there and enjoyed the solitude. It was magical up to that point and those first trails were in very good condition. Beyond Elk Pass I encountered 6 AT skiers who were heading to Elk Lakes Cabin and who were skiing in both tracks, widening them considerably. Grrr. Then at the Blueberry Junction everything turned to a mess, so I take it most people skied from Elk Pass parking lot to Blueberry Junction, but not further. By 3pm the tracks there were completely worn. No ice, but just a mess all over. I wouldn’t imagine that Elk Pass is very enjoyable until the next trackset, but definitely head up towards Tyrwhitt. Oh, and beautiful sun! Started in -11C and finished in -10C, so consistent all day. Green wax worked like a charm.

  6. Lake Louise had about 10 cm of fresh snow last night. The crews were great getting out there and putting in new tracks up lower tramline. Also had a great skate at the campground loop! Excellent grooming. Just a great ski day.

  7. Would greatly appreciate an update on skiing out from Lake O’Hara. Hope Bruce was able to groom the new snow on top of the icy parts. Also pray they get another dump tonight.

  8. PLPP – Smooth as satin; soft as silk. At least that’s the way it was in the morning, especially on some of the steeper downhills, until myriads of other skiers joined the fun. We skied from Elk Pass parking – Elk Pass – Tyrwhitt – Lookout – N. Hydroline – Fox Creek – back to parking. Wonderful fresh snow, 7-10cm in depth, had pretty well buried the previous day’s tracksetting, so the uphill and flatter sections were a bit slow. A few skiers ahead of us had started breaking trail, so at times we skied in the left tracks to break trail there too. Coming down from Lookout was great fun, with the use of all that snow to slow our descent on normally scary sections. Fox Creek was the only weak area – lots of ice lurks just under the surface of the often thin fresh snow there.
    Temperature around -10C all day. If the forecast of more snow Sunday/Monday comes to pass, the next round of tracksetting should yield great conditions.

  9. Wanted to check out Lake O’Hara Fire Rd at 2pm Friday and in talking to a few AT guys who had just come out, decided to investigate what looked like nicer conditions on Great Divide. Started at O’Hara end of Divide in -3 and still courting a relationship with my new waxless Fischers. Two groomers were out working hard to re-engineer the entire trail, by going back and forth over it several times. They managed to magically transform the entire trail into an oasis of white corduroy SNOW!!! The did put a brand new track in which should set beautifully by morning. Saw the skating tracks also but no one except the groomers and 4 sets of dog sledders. It was heavenly to feel snow under one’s skis again. You did an exceptional job groomers. T-Y

  10. Just in, an email from Peter re: Lake Louise

    Hi Bob
    Just returned from Lake Louise, skied up Moraine Lake Road in very good conditions. Beautifully groomed for both classic and skating. I spoke to the head groomer, who mentioned that they would work on the 1A this afternoon. It seemed that the website was not really updated very accurately.
    It was a nice change from the CNC which is also quite good but only on the man made snow, ie short, and big climbs.
    Peter Donitz

    • I was on the 1A today when the trail crew came by. They were rejuvenating the skate lane, which looks to be OK. You can skate on it now, whereas on Wednesday it was just too icy (or so I was told by a couple from Canmore who were trying to skate it). However, the crew also told me that they would NOT be resetting the classic tracks until they got new snow! Perhaps I misheard, but at least when I left the 1A at about 2PM, there was definitely no new tracksetting, and in fact the right hand track was cut up like the skating lane, leaving only the left hand track.

  11. Skiing PLPP today – Elk Pass >> Blueberry. Passed Bob on the way down so expect he’ll have a report/photos later. Freshly groomed last night made for pretty decent conditions. Track was “variable” – glassy, then needles, then some fresh blown snow, then ice – etc. Higher you got the better track got. But I found skiing outside the track to be more consistent, and since there had only been about 3 people ahead of me — it was overall pretty nice day.

    -7C and windy at parking lot, -5 at Blueberry – but wind had died somewhat.

  12. Wanting to know how things are in Peter Lougheed- the north part. Is it worth travelling out there or is it still really icy?

    • Pocaterra is a sheet of ice with pine needles. The snow which is in the forecast for tonight might mitigate some of those poor conditions. I have a photo which I’ll post later tonight, along with a report on some great skiing which I had today.

  13. Hi Everyone,

    Has anyone been to West Bragg this week? I’m guessing conditions were/are terrible for skiing, but I’m looking for any info I can find on trail condition since I’m planning a trail run (might as well embrace the lack of near Calgary ski options!) there tomorrow. I see on their grooming site that nothing has been done for at least a week, which doesn’t surprise me at all.

    Any info at all would be very much appreciated!

    Commence the snow dancing!!!

    • The XC trails are either icy or with bare patches on sunny south and west aspects. The all-season trails which face south and west or on ridge top are dry. Shaded areas may have hard packed snow or ice.
      Yesterday I hiked a loop that included Snowshoe Hare snowshoe trail (hard packed snow, with icy patches), Demi-Tel (hard packed snow and dry patches), Lond Distance and Braggin Rights (dry).
      The forecast snow for tonight and Saturday may change all that.

  14. Hi,
    Has anyone skied at the Dawn Mountain trails in Golden this week. Wondering what condition they’re in.

  15. OK, so I see we are into exotic tropical drinks. How about pina colada snow at Canmore Nordic today? With the temperatures hovering around -1 all day under a sunny sky, the snow in front of the lodge was indeed a bit mulchy and the nice fresh tracks were quickly skied away by a class of beginners. Farther from the lodge, the tracks were somewhat firmer. We skied Banff Trail to the 3 km. turnaround since trails beyond this point had not been track set in some time and signs advised icy conditions. We managed to get in 22 kms by doing the loop a couple of times and down Bow Trail a ways to a similar situation as with Banff Trail, and then skiing the hills south of the lodge which were nicely groomed and track set. What we could see of some of the side trail such as Bruin, was pathetic! But for a bit of sun and exercise, Canmore Nordic fit the bill today. Now, all I need is one of those little umbrellas in my drink!

  16. James the Wolverine Tracking Skier

    Redearth Creek to RE 21

    Afternoon of Jan.28
    This is metal edge skiing terrain right now.

    Icy fast conditions to about RE 6. You will need a lot of arm muscle power or red wax which won’t last long. Conditions improve beyond this RE 6 with a skiff of newer snow. Excellent snow cover base.

    The trail up to Shadow Lake Lodge was snowmobile packed by people who don’t understand skiing. It is primarily an icy single deep “snowmobile trench”. Very narrow and very difficult to ski down. I have never seen it this bad. If the operators of Shadow Lake Lodge would like to attract more skiers, they should pack a wide trail to make it more pleasant to ski rather than leaving a steep walled icy trench that is hell for the average skier. If someone could inform them, it may just help out their business while making for more a pleasurable skiing experience.

    Form Shadow Lake Lodge to RE 21 the skiing is very good. Ski penetration averaged about ankle deep. Old wolverine tracks can be found in the area. Great moonlight skiing to be had up there. Full moon za comin’. Get out and enjoy it.

  17. Finally got to Baker Creek today, taking advice from Keith Bagnall to avoid the icy descents around Lk Louise. The last grooming of Jan 25th looks like new for much of the route towards Castle L/O. Met several Norsemen Ski Club members on trail and they were enjoying the stunning day and cooler temperatures. The tracks were still quite hard packed and very few soft places to slow one down. At campground I found snow temperature to be -5. After the first rise up above the railway tracks and river, some mud slid down bringing lots of rocks with it onto the grooming so that became others and our turn around place. We tried to remove some of the rocks but some were frozen into the grooming. Still an enjoyable outing and especially enjoyed the loops around the campground. We also skied across the road behind the Baker Creek Chalets in the west direction of groomed trail for 2-3 kms. and it too was satisfactory all options or lack thereof considered. Baker Creek Chalets has an excellent winter local’s rate currently Sun-Thurs.


    Picture to accompany my Jan 27 post of Lake Louise.



    Time to check out this scenic easy ski route… before the end of winter!
    The photo captions tell it all:

  20. Pipestone Loop Lake Louise:
    Arrived trailhead around 11:00. Groomer out on trail packing with a drag,
    We went for lunch in town and came back around 12:00 hoping for some tracks. No such luck. We skied anyways on soft groomed/packed trail as far as Mud Lake. VR 55 sort of worked but not really. Lots of armstrong skiing and on the return some skating.. Mach speed on downhills. Great day, crappy wax! Groomer still out when we left.
    He is doing a great job of widening and smoothing the track. Hope he doesn’t put in a track today as it’s too soft to setup and it would glaze up badly and then it would be klister conditions.

  21. Dear Skiers and Bob ,
    I have read between the lines and see you may be sad about the less than ideal conditions for skiing. However this gives us an opportunity to review what been done and share plans for more adventure to different locations. I love seeing many different types of skiers with all levels of ability showing photos and describing with excitement their latest best days.
    Skier Bob does so many great things to promote skiing for all so it’s hard to see him lament the weather. So this story may cheer him up.
    I lamented a bit when I watched the reports of fantastic grooming and prep work on the Lake Louise trials for the race and the building excitement for the Lake Louise loppet. As I had to work and would miss both events. So last Monday I headed to Lake Louise to recreate what I missed .I saw the no Crowds of cars or people and had the clear run of the whole place .Perfect weather about 8cm of fresh snow and newly grommed trails. I skied just about every groomed trail there some classic the rest skate. It was so much fun , and the only rest stop was at Wilson’s Sport’s to feed my smart wool addiction and buy a new ski jacket. It’s the best ever and so much more nice ski gear there, I had to carry on with my quest to get as much in as I could and this when my day was made complete.
    As I skied along Fairview trail the view was amazing then I heard laughing and shouts of true joy ahead .The next turn revealed a group of students with their teachers on an outdoor adventure. I asked if I may take their picture and make them more famous by posting them on skierbob. I know a bit of a bribe but they all said yes.So I will attempt to attach the photos. I knew Bob would be very happy to see young kids discovering the love of xc skiing in this magical place.
    A side note .I heard many very positive words about the fantastic grooming and people were hoping to see that red groomer back soon.

    Still many more trails to find! John.

    • So Moraine lake road still has good conditions? I’m needing a ski fix and trying to figure out where to go this weekend.

  22. Tuesday, 27 January: Skied at Lake Louise today on the Moraine Lake road.
    In summary everything was icy, Moraine Lake road was in good shape with clean snow, except near the turn around, and the Tram Line was excellent at day end when the snow softened. Anyone who opted to stay home missed a good, although strenuous, day!
    Started from the Chateau parking lot and checked Fairview – much too icy at 10:00 am – so down Upper Tramline. The air temperature in Moraine Lake road’s track was 0 C, so I upped the stick factor to a special violet (0 C to -1 C). This worked well on the gradual uphill to start. As it steepened I needed to step out of the track and plod along. Back and forth, in and out, looking for the answer to the easiest path. The snow warmed about 11:30 and I switched to Rode violet (0 C). This was my best wax of the day. Finally the turn around appeared and, after lunch, I set off for one of my fastest ever runs down Moraine Lake road. I finished the day skiing to the Village on Lower Tramline. The Bow River trails are needle-mania and the snow is thin in a few places.

    • Ed and I were also at LL with Keith. At the Chateau parking lot it was obvious that the snow had melted and froze again which is the condition for klister. I applied purple klister on both our skis. The purple klister that I have has what appears to be aluminum filings which allows the klister to have some use in fresh snow as well as re-frozen snow and also gives it some defense against debris. We had good kick going up and good control going down. I really believe that when you are using klister that tip and tails of the skis should have parafin or glider wax applied to aid the klister. Klister is a hydrophilic substance (water loving) and the wax causes the snow to melt somewhat so that the klister can get some bite. The only problem we had was going up the Upper Tramline. The snow there was a little more powdery due either to the unique climate there or the track-setter churning up some snow from underneath or perhaps a combination of both. In any event we had sessions on that trail where the snow was sticking and we either tramped our skis down or rubbed the ski bottoms on our poles. Going back down was no problem and good control was had . We had a great day.

  23. Jan 25 Spray River
    The precipitation that fell as snow west side of Sulphur Mtn fell as freezing rain on the east. I was reduced to walking up some of the hills due to the slick conditions. I had a goal in mind hence my willingness to put up with these conditions. See my backcountry entry for the rest of the story.

  24. Skied Chickadee Valley in Kootenay National Park on Saturday, January 24th. Conditions were first rate. It was the first time I’d done the trail; next time I’ll plan to climb to treeline. The full trip is detailed here along with photos if that’s okay Bob – It’s one of the prettiest trails I’ve done in the Rockies.

    • Leigh wrote: “Skied Chickadee Valley in Kootenay National Park on Saturday, January 24th. Conditions were first rate.”

      Just a heads-up for Leigh and others – Chickadee Valley is notorious for big avalanches (and fatalities) – especially this year when we’ve have such variable early season weather. I would be very conservative right now in Chickadee Valley.

      • Also, note that the trail up to Chickadee Valley is nice but certainly not easy. If you are not a good cross-country skier, consider using snowshoes instead.

  25. Sunday Jan 25 – skied Cascade fire road to Stoney Creek on waxless. All things considered, it was a nice day of skiing. The tracks were quite slushy on the way out, and there was a short bout through the woods after the bridge that had a lot of dirt and fallen debris, plus an ice flow. After a long lunch break at Stoney the temp dropped a few degrees, so the trip back was icy and fast. At the end of the day, after we turned off Cascade back on to the main road toward the parking lot, there was hardly any snow left – literally 1-2 cm. We had to ski on the snow bank on the side of the road. If you head out this way before we get more snow, be prepared to walk this short section.

  26. I don’t like to burst anyone’s bubble to ski today, but mine just got burst when hubby called @ 9am from Lk Louise Ski Hill parking lot saying it had been raining ever since Castle Junction and parking lot “zamboni’d” with ice so he is heading to Laggin’s for a NO SKI day and I am glad he called as I was heading to Baker Creek. Might go pickup my new waxless Fischer skis at Lifesport instead.

  27. I dropped Skier Bob off at the Goat Creek Trail head this afternoon. Despite the +11 temperature at the trailhead, the wet snow, the occasional “gale” force wind gusts and being rather skeptical Bob decided to attempt the trip. Tessa and I went for a walk on the snowshoe trail while waiting for Skier Bob to test out the conditions to decide if it was worth continuing. I received a voice mail and text from him stating his zero skis, albeit slow, were working well. I picked up Bob in Banff a few hours later with a big grin on his face. (I think he was just happy to see me????!!). We are now having dinner in Banff. Skier Bob will provide a more detailed report with awesome pictures later!!

  28. I’m certainly getting a lot of value out of my new no-wax skis this season! +7C when I arrived at PLPP Boulton at 10am this morning. Sunny most of the day. Skied Moraine – Fox Creek – Elk Pass – Blueberry Hill – Tyrwhitt – Lookout – Whiskey Jack. The no-wax skis gripped great, although the glide was a bit reduced due to the debris in the tracks, and some snow suction in few sunny spots. Thanks to the excellent track-setting, the run down Whiskey Jack was brilliant!

    • I can second that, my Fisher waxless grip was awesome hardly a herringbone all day I skied the same route but extended to lynx before heading back to boulton, it’s also needle mania out there and fast in the shade, slow in the sun but to my surprise although the conditions were so variable my loop time was quite good!

  29. Pipestone Trails

    Had an enjoyable ski on the Pipestone Trails today. Temps were warm +3 to start and probably warmer as the ski went on. The tracks were skier track set through the new snow on old tracks. The wind was blowing but we were protected in the trees, thus some debris on the tracks with snow bombs coming down here and there. Those using wax struggled a bit with grip but red and yellow hard wax worked for the most part. For me, my new waxless skis worked well: no slipping and no pine needles, only a bit slow on the downhills.

    We stopped at the Visitors Centre afterwards to see a massive line up of people waiting to catch buses up to the lake for the ice festival. Made me appreciate even more the peace, quiet and wonderful layout of the Pipestone Trail system.

    Had to drive a little further for the white stuff today. Kicking Horse Pass was caked with new snow nicely protected by fog and cooler temperatures. While everyone seemed to be joining Rick Mercer for Yoho Blow Daze in Field, we seemed to have Emerald Lake to ourselves. Even the wind doesn’t seem to find the lake, and just blows through the pass. Temperatures stayed between 0 and 2, so waxing wasn’t a problem.
    The peace and tranquility at the back of the lake made the views all the more awe inspiring:–yJ4bT6_QE&feat=directlink

  31. Decided to head to LL since temperatures were so warm so early this morning. parking lot at Moraine Lk. trailhead was pretty busy but not too many skiers heading up. It was about 4 degrees at the trailhead just after 11:00. I didn’t want to mess with Klister so I gave the red wax a try. Sunny spots were a bit of a challenge but otherwise it held out fine. I was also lucky enough to get fresh tracks since the groomer passed by and laid 2 fresh tracks which was great timing since the tracks were pretty chewed up in spots. High wind was blowing debris on the tracks – so some sections of needles, branches, and even lichen. Even got sprinkled on a bit with some very light rain for a quick few minutes. At about 1.5 km to the lake it warmed up about 2 degrees, the snow was wet and the wax was successful no more. Ended up turning around, having a great ski down the new track. Checked out the start of Fairview. Snow is melting off of some of the trees forming some slushy spots. Fingers crossed for some fresh snow this week and cooler temps!

  32. PLPP – Weekend of Jan 24 & 25: Ecstasy and Agony.
    Saturday Jan 24 was a fabulous day at PLPP. It rained a bit Friday evening, but that then turned to snow, and at -4C, skiing Saturday morning was very enjoyable on 1-2cm of fresh white stuff around Elkwood – probably a bit more snow around Elk Pass. By noon it was sunny and 0C, and by 3pm it was +3C and the snow was still giving good grip on V50 (violet) wax. Winds were light, and the parking lots were full of happy skiers. But there ended the good times. It warmed up over night, the winds arrived, and it was +5C at 8am Sunday. We opted to snowshoe (from Elk Pass parking to the Lookout junction on Hydroline). Winds were very strong; the temperature rising. We talked to a few skiers – some on skins; some using klister; some struggling with red wax; a few giving up. By 1pm it was 8C, the snow was mushy, lots of debris. The agony of a big January Chinook is now upon us!

  33. Lake Louise perfection

    Conditions at Lake Louise Saturday were beyond belief. 15-20 cm of fresh snow, breaking trail or following the first skier of the day, and no melting with wonderful glide and great grip with violet (VR45). The kids rescued countless trees from their cocoons of snow, while also trying to trigger tree bombs onto our heads. Hopefully the coming melt doesn’t do too much damage.

    This was a really special day.

    Felt like we had escaped to heaven!
    Driving west from Banff, we chose the Bow Valley Parkway (1A) to escape the mayhem on the highway and soak up the new winter wonderland.
    20 cm of fresh snow greeted us, and easy waxing took us up Moraine Lake Road and into Paradise Valley. Cold snow and stunning views were the order of the day:
    At the fourth bridge (6 km) we chose to climb the 0.5 km up to Lake Annette, and put on climbing skins, but conditions were so good that you could have used track skis ‘till there. Be aware that going beyond this point would lead into avalanche country.

  35. Checked out CNC before lunch today. Air temperature was about 4 degrees so I decided to take my skate skies. Wasn’t too optimistic after the 2 hours of rain showers last night. Parking lots nearly full. Main stadium was very icy so I headed up and stuck to the shady trails and was pleasantly surprised by the ice turning to a fresh and lovely layer of snow. Best skate ski of the year! Descent back into the stadium was a nail-biter and very slick. Looked like it would have been good for the classic skis as well if one had arrived early and stayed high. The afternoon got very warm (8 above) so not sure how the trails will be tomorrow.

    • I did a 2.5 hour classic ski there today. It was fantastic! By the time we got all klistered up, it was 11:15, and sunny. We stayed out of the icy stadium for the most part, and the trails were in great shape, especially on the man-made snow. It was nice on the natural snow as well if you stayed on the main drags. The little side trails had new snow, and didn’t look like they had been groomed lately, but some of them were fun anyway! We also went down Linx, which was super fast and icy. Most of those lower trails seemed to be pretty slick and hard. The universal klistered worked great for the most part, but was a little grippy on some of the fluffier new snow. It was truly a beautiful day-didn’t want to go in!

      • That is great you had a awesome ski. I was wondering how the trails were in/around Lynx. It was for sure a gem of a day out there!

  36. Cascade valley, Jan 24

    Lovely sunny, bright day.
    Trail had some fresh snow over some icy and rutty base. Generally quite fast for skating, but had to be careful about getting stuck in those ruts.
    Double poling in the classic tracks was fine

  37. We skied Pipestone #20 trail today. Temperature was -2 and purple (0 to -4) wax worked excellent. It was snowing heavy as we finished mid afternoon. Trail was in good condition and with the new snow it will cover the few needles.

  38. Cascade Valley

    Had a great ski today to Bankhead and the Cascade Valley. Good conditions as the tracks are holding up well. Used a 0 to -2 wax and it worked fine. Started the ski at -3, however by the end the wind had whipped up moving in pockets of warm air. The temp was +3 in the parking lot ….. and a bit of light rain. Looks like waxless skis for the next outing.

  39. Knew my waxable skis would have few opportunities with incoming Chinook so followed those awesome pics of Chuck’s (Jan 20th) up Redearth today in great grooming (even machine tracks all the way to Warden’s Cabin!!!). Saw three couples in total and sorry Bob, did snowplow 80% of way down. Minus 3 at start and +1 at end with a query rain or snow falling. Hubby just ret’d from downhill at Louise and reported -2 west of Castle Junction and snowing heavily so perhaps there is hope for tomorrow! Redearth should hold up nicely for the w/e especially if you have waxless skis. It was superb today; the best part is beyond the campground to Redearth Warden’s cabin.

  40. Skied CNC just after lunch today. Air temperature was about +2. Started out with red wax and had zero kick so bee-lined it back to the car to get the violet wax which made an improvement. Banff Ave in nice shape and took Meadow back to Banff Ave to make a loop. Some debris on Meadow but decent enough and who can complain with these lovely temperatures and beautiful skies. Supposed to warm up even more this weekend, so we’ll see how things hold out at CNC.

  41. Skied the cookie race figure 8 today. Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt, Woolley and Lynx were excellent. As fallsalot said, there was tree debris on Whiskey Jack, Fox Creek and Moraine, and to that I’d add Meadow approaching Elkwood and a small, but thick, section on Pocaterra. I stopped four times to scrape the needles out of my VR45. Not ideal, and the wind was blowing.

  42. Cascade Fireroad to bridge and 2-3 kms. beyond today. As weatherman promised, -3 and finished at zero. VR 50 (0 to -4) worked great. It was wonderful to get back on that glorious stretch on other side of the bridge but watch for the one ice flow evident and marked by red plastic tape. While we are only too aware of bridge washouts due to the flooding, it is amazing how much other damage occurred in and around the campground and original trail. The road has snowmobile tracks due to the workers trying to rebuild the original bridge. So I’d classify my attempt at slowing down on the return as a “snowplow staccato”…..would be a bit trickier for a beginner skier.

  43. Does anyone know what the latest conditions are like on Goat Creek?
    Plan to ski it on Saturday Jan 24th so would appreciate any help you can give me.

    • Goat Creek was skier tracked on the Canmore side and set-tracked on the Banff side a week this Friday. Temperatures will hit plus 3 C on Saturday with perhaps a little bit of fresh snow. This could make waxing difficult if you are waxing. Lake Louise will be cooler then anywhere else . Conditions there were fabulous last Tuesday.

  44. It was a sunny day with blue sky and crystal clear air today at PLPP. I have started from Pocaterra at 11 am and temperature was -11C. The recently groomed trails Lynx, Amos, Wheeler, Woolley, Lodgepole are in excellent shape, fast and no tree debris. The extra crispy air made the mountains look particularly sharp and beautiful today. Tyrwhitt was windy and cold, trail was spotted with tree cookies, decent skier set tracks. Elk Pass had wobbly tracks at some places and at others almost non existent but since I was going down did not bother me much. There are tree debris on Moraine, Fox and Whisky Jack trails.
    My grip wax Start blue synthetic worked well whole day but attracted some pine needles. I finished at 4pm with a smile.

  45. MLR and a question
    Skied the Moraine Lake Road today and conditions were very good. Temp about -5C. Snow was a bit sharp but skied okay. The road has three set tracks: two on the uphill side and one on the downhill side with a skating section in the middle. On the return, I tried the “right” one but found it slow as it seemed soft. The best glide was on the inside track on the uphill side. Fortunately, there were few skiers so I managed to spend most of the downhill there
    Question: there were a few animal tracks, but one has me wondering. It bounded across the snow and left a good imprint on the packed part of the trail. The footprint is too big for a squirrel but too small and well defined for a lynx. Not a rabbit. I know wabbit tracks. (Just call me Fudsy) My guess is a pine martin, but I have only ever seen one in the wild. Any opinions out there?

  46. PLPP
    The south end trails were great today. The air temp was -7c at Boulton at 11am, with sunshine and no wind. Skied 25km on Whiskey > Tyrwitt > Elk > Blueberry > Fox > Moraine. The 5cm of new snow from Jan. 17 has now been skier packed into the tracks, and generally skied very well. V45 worked fine all day. A few needles on Fox, but I still love that flowy little trail. Nice views from Elk Pass, and amazingly it was sunny and calm at the top of Blueberry.

    Today was a great day to go up to Shadow Lake (read the photo captions):
    … let the season begin!

    • Thank you Chuck for your timely capturing of Redearth groomers out perfecting their craft before those predicted 40 kph winds wreak havoc. A group of us heading into that lodge for first time early March so especially appreciate your photos showing left route into meadow vs right on summer trail in woods. Glad to read you made it down the hill to the lodge with metal edges but I am taking my mini snowshoes as a back-up. Just means I can’t carry as much beer.

  48. With good reports about the condition of the loppet trail from last weekend’s race, Ray and I decided to ski from Castle Junction to Protection Mtn. Campground and back (23 km. distance). At the start the temperature was -8C and -3C at the finish. There was no wind, and when the sun came out, the day was perfect. Snow was excellent and trails were mostly decent and clean, but a bit skied out on the downhills. One swift downhill on the way out that ends at a road crossing gave Ray a few moments of anxiety, but he did stop in time to avoid skiing onto the 1A Hwy. by doing a bit of a face plant. No harm done!

  49. rabid grouse-zombie

    Well, it’s obvious now the Pocaterra Defender has staked his claim. Here’s clear video (and sound!) of him in action last spring…

    Just following up on Diana’s request for a lost & found box at West Bragg Creek, here are some photos of the new box. Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association volunteer David C made this sturdy, rodent proof lost & found box out of re-purposed out-dated metal trail map signs. As you can see, the box is already starting to gather a collection of lost and found items.

  51. Pipe Dreams….. I mean Pipestone!

    We did the Pipestone Loop this afternoon, #20 all the way around, and it was a dream! It was almost like a pleasant little backcountry tour, with good skier tracks in the weekend’s fresh snow. About halfway up I measured the snow temperature and was surprised to find it about -3C. Swix blue on top of a bit of random gunk from last week worked pretty well!
    The downhills were particularly sweet, I even enjoyed a little “cruising through whipped cream” in a couple of spots 🙂
    As we reached the end of the loop, we saw that grooming had recently begun, so base will be well preserved, but whipped cream much harder to find.

  52. Skied Confederation Park golf course this afternoon. The skiing was surprisingly good on freshly set tracks (thanks!) given that the air temperature was 5C. Where is the winter weather?

  53. It was a perfect day at PLPP today,,, for waxless skis, although the glide wasn’t great the grip was excellent. Just in case any ‘dreaded zero’ posters are in any doubt, no offence meant 🙂

  54. Stephen Vermeulen

    On Saturday I skied the Pocaterra and then up onto Tyrwhitt. Snow conditions were quite cold in the Morning (about -11C at the hut), The Pocaterra was in quite good shape, especially as it has not been groomed in about a week, but Tyrwhitt needed some work – looks like it did get groomed last night, so it should be great now.

    We came across the Killer Grouse part way up the Pocaterra hill south of the Lynx junction. Here’s a somewhat shaky video of the beast in action:

  55. aaaah yes… the dreaded ZERO DEGREES upon arrival at Kananaskis Lodge area today too… I pulled up expecting ~minus 5’ish, but the car said zero. AND there was about 1″ of fresh powder. Oh-oh indeed. After much slippage w/ VR45 I eventually settled on VR55 along with sporadic grip frustrations, slippage, chunks ahoy under kick zones, ski slapping, and lots of arm-power. Even so nice to be out first time in 2wks. Chatted with quite a few on backcountry, waxable, waxless, and normal skiis and everyone was having challenges. From what I saw and heard I might have been lucky have less than average issues. About 11’ish wind gusts picked up speed and frequency and by 12 there were needles, cones, and other greenery. Finishing my ~20km loop-de-loops (including 2 viewing point visits, going opposite directions) it was +5C. Area definitely needs 10+cm of new and cooler temps.

  56. Mt Shark 11 am was at the dreaded zero! Happy looking dogs but not so happy people with waxing issues like me. I started with a blue 0 to -7 and total slippage on first loop (was hoping to do 10 kms Yellow loop). Noticed a few very fit looking skate skiers whizzing by me. Changed to a very thin layer of VR 50 (0 to -4) and started major clumping. Got to third loop and put on skins but even they clumped at the back so was side-stepping down the hills. Finally got out to Watridge and had an OK ski to the lake junction and back to the parking lot. Today was a costly ski for me because I now am committed to buying a pair of waxless skis (with edges) for these ZERO conditions. I have been reluctant to give in to waxless skis for these darn Chinooks but today made my mind up. Temp was +2 back at the car.

  57. Saturday January 17 11:15am-1:00pm. Spray River Loop counter clockwise loop (west out, east back). Much improved from December 28. Used classic skis and tracks were okay – doesn’t appear to have been trackset on either side for a while. Many more pine needles about half way back on the east side. Was a beautiful day to be out!

  58. Skied Cascade Fire Road on Saturday Jan. 17 from parking lot to a few km past the Cascade Bridge. I figured since it had stayed colder in Banff throughout the week, it would be relatively unaffected by the warmer weather. The area could use more snow and fresh tracksetting, but hadn’t deteriorated too much aside from the wind depositing minor tree debris here and there. At the start, the snow was a bit like really fine, wet sand, but was OK once you got used to it. Started at 1:10pm, and the 1 parking lot was close to full, with only about 5 cars in the second lot (I think half the cars were there to walk on the frozen lake rather than ski, as the trail didn’t seem that busy). Snow temp. was -6.8 C, so I used blue wax and it worked fairly well, with minor slipping in the sunnier spots. Old tracks were wide, uneven and a bit washed out in places, but still pretty good for the most part (heavy use was obvious). The bridge was a bit sketchy – really lumpy with bare spots, but no tracks over the snow covered parts of the creek suggested the temporary bridge was still the safest bet. The smell of the generator helping to cure the concrete of the permanent bridge structure still actively under construction was a little offputting, but I put the headphones on to block out the noise and it was beautiful and peaceful again once clearing the campground. Lots of smiling faces and silver haired speedy seniors who left me in awe (and eating their snow dust) as they sped past me and didn’t even look winded…..I truly admire (and am rather jealous) of their fitness level, and hope to be there someday (maybe when I hit 40 in a few years? ha ha). For now I’ll just be hoping for a big dump of snow in all our favourite areas soon, and temperatures below zero to preserve it.

  59. Pretty much perfect skiing and weather on the way to Blueberry Hill, yesterday-

  60. Redearth Creek – pretty good ski today on week old tracksetting. The parking lot was quite full when we pulled in, but the trail didn’t seem too busy. A moderate amount of needles were evident for the first 3km, but from that point to the campground (6.5Km), the track was mostly clean. Unusually, from the campground to the warden’s cabin, there was a modest amount of needles, cones, and old-man’s beard bits on the trail – must have got a bit windy there in the past few days. Also, it looked like about 4 people had walked into Shadow Lake lodge from the highway – there were footprints all the way, sometimes on the tracks. However, the snow was great, temperature pleasant (-8C near the start, -2C near the end), so the needles and foot tracks didn’t bother us too much. A good ski day!

  61. One of the great things about taking up a new sport is that you get to explore new trails in your back yard. Started out at the Rockbound Lake lot around 9AM this morning. It was -2 when I left Banff and -13 when I got to the parking lot. Good thing I hadn’t waxed before I left! What a fun roller coaster ride from Castle Junction to Castle Lookout! The trail was in very good shape, with the tracks only washed out in a few spots.

    After crossing the 1A and getting out of the trees the trail conditions were amazing all the way to Baker Creek. Didn’t see another skier until just before Protection Mountain. The trail got a bit busier heading towards Baker and warmed up substantially. Switched from my Skigo HF Blue to Swix Blue and it worked well almost all of the way back. Was too lazy (and tired) to put more wax on for the last 2 k.

    Good luck to all of the skiers in the Loppet tomorrow, enjoy the motivational words in the snow in the big field just past the CP road crossing!

    • Castle lookout to Baker Creek was spectacular. I’m skiing the first leg tomorrow, so wanted to see this portion of the loppet course today. Might be the best I ‘ve ever seen it. Pine needles were noticeable by their absence. Saw quite a few other skiers late this afternoon. Good luck to all the participants. Can’t drink too much wine tonight if I’m going to beat Chuck to Baker Creek. Amazing to think I’ll have skied 21k before 11 a.m.!!

  62. Skied Elk Pass, Blueberry, Hydroline, Patterson and Fox Creek today. Trails are in good condition with almost no needles even though it was a little breezy.

  63. Confederation Golf Course, Saturday, 17 Jan 15. Had a good spin around the course this morning. The track was a bit slick and bare in spots, but it was still great to be out. There were probably two hours early this afternoon where it was absolutely fantastic.

  64. West Bragg Creek – Friday afternoon, January 16. Driving out to Bragg Creek, we realized that we had stupidly forgotten all our wax and managed to purchase the last remaining stick of kick wax in the Bragg Creek General Store – V60 Red Silver. It actually provided pretty good grip going up all those climbs on Sundog and Elbow. The return on Iron Springs was a bit icier and harder work with our selection of one wax but enjoyable all the same! Back at the parking lot, we were met by the young skiers of the West Bragg Creek ski club – fantastic to see the enthusiastic kids out there after school on a stellar afternoon. Thanks to the volunteers who keep the trails in such great condition!

  65. Mt. Shark on Friday had 1 – 2cm on top of freshly groomed tracks, so slow-ish but otherwise beautiful. Like PLPP, it was warm but those strong winds stayed aloft and the sun didn’t get at it. Modest crowd of happy people and some super happy dogs.

  66. To all xc skiers planning their weekend at PLPP: If skiing Packers from Pocaterra, be aware of an ice flow completely across the Packers trail at the usual location. It’s about 1/3 of the way down from Pocaterra trail.

  67. West Bragg, Friday afternoon-
    Biking the Ranger Summit-Strange Brew loop, which was in excellent shape with packed snow and some scattered ice patches, was first on my agenda.
    Sorry Bob 🙂
    After that, a skate ski of E and W Crystal Line and Sundog. Firmly packed fast conditions with some glazing on more exposed sections made for exciting downhills and very good conditions for skating. Wish I could say the same about my lapsed skating technique though, as I have only rarely skated in the last 5 years, and mostly at Shag at that.
    Despite some warmth recently, the snow surface was still dry- if I had been on the classic skis, Rode violet would have been my call.

  68. Tramline-Moraine Lake Road-Fairview-Peyto-1A-Upper Telemark-Peyto

    MLR was trackset today (unfortunately I was ahead of it.) All the other trails had quite a bit of fresh snow in the tracks, but might be OK if more people skied them in. It’s a winter wonderland at Lake Louise!

  69. I agree with John, conditions at the north end of PLPP were great today. We skied Pocaterra and Come Along as far as the Packers junction. The only problem was a very belligerent grouse that attacked each one of us as we skied by it. It was a funny sight to see this determined creature running down the hill after us as fast as its little legs could go.

  70. Yesterday (Jan 15) skied Elk pass – Boulton “connector” – Fox Creek – Elk Pass to the Blueberry junction. Almost all parts of Elk are desperate for grooming and tracksetting. Fox was variable, some sections had a fair amount of pine needles, other parts were lovely. Still a fun ski, but we could use some fresh snow and cool temps to allow the guys to “do their grooming magic”.

  71. PLPP – the trails in the north end of PLPP remain in very good condition. I was worried that the high winds would reach PLPP and the trails would become filled with pine needles. I was also worried about a meltdown. But to my relief, neither scenario came to pass. Today we skied on Pocaterra (& ComeAlong) to Lynx, Wooley, Meadow, and Wheeler and then back on Amos, Lynx & Pocaterra. There were few if any pine needles, the tracks were firm, with just a skiff of snow from overnight (now skied in), and temperatures remained just above freezing.

    So, unless things change dramatically overnight, I would expect PLPP to be a wonderful destination for weekend skiing – ENJOY!

  72. West Bragg Creek — Thursday 15th

    Hi Bob! We were out at Bragg Creek yesterday and very pleasantly surprised. We skied Crystal Line East – Sundog – Loggers – Crystal Line West, all of which had been very recently groomed and in very good shape. There were a few thin spots and well scraped hills, especially the last descent on Loggers down to Crystal Line West, but no real problems and we had a great time! Also the parking lot was less than half full, to our great surprise.
    It looks like it should last pretty well if it doesn’t get too hot and sunny 🙂
    (or too windy, I suppose……)

  73. Did a quick lap around Maple Ridge golf course last night. Track still in good shape, albeit thin in some sections and icy all around. The golf course crew has driven over the track in a number of spots on the East side and have cleared walkways close to the club house, effectively removing large chunks of skiable terrain. Much of the damage done to the track almost seems intentional, as the truck tire tracks have flattened the track setting for long sections. Go figure.

  74. Lake Louise Trails

    Had a great Skier Bob type ski (later in the day) today on the trails around Lake Louise after the Nor Am race was completed and cleaned up. The grooming and tracksetting is in great shape – thank you Groomers. Temps around -7 so V 40 with a touch of Rode Weiss for some extra grip worked great. Skied Upper and Lower Telemark, Peyto, Great Divide to the border, part of tramline and the trail along the lake. There was a wind along the great divide so some snow blowing into the tracks and some debris heading down to the border. Overall, another day in paradise, we really have it great here with these trails, conditions and scenery.

  75. Confederation on Wednesday – had a great ski in the gorgeous sunshine. The trail is still pretty good, in spite of the destruction caused by the truck, as mentioned by David M. I watched the guys who were taking down the Christmas lights merrily stomp on the groomed trails as they moved from site to site however, I also noticed a few walkers conscientiously dodging the trails, for which I am always grateful…

  76. Jan. 14 – Had a beautiful day on the north trails of Peter Lougheed Park. It was +4 when we left Calgary but -12 as well pulled into the Pocaterra Ski Hut lot. We were the first car there at 10:05 am and the trails were fairly quiet all day. Most of the trails had been recently track set and were in great shape with only a few needles. Skied to the Visitor Info Centre via Pocaterra, Lynx, Wooley & Meadow; returned via Meadow, Wheeler, Amos, Lynx, Come Along and Rolly Road. It was still only around -7 when we finished our ski.

  77. It was a pleasant, mild day at West Bragg Creek, but the temperature stayed just cool enough to avoid any deterioration of the ski quality. Swix V45 worked great. Very good conditions on all the trails west of the parking lot. The parking lot was nearly full again at mid-day. Lots of smiling faces and happy dogs!

    • Hi Alf!
      We were there on Monday, and I noticed that the little box where I had put a found glove last week was empty. Do you know of any “official” lost and found at West Bragg Creek?

      We skied the Sundog-IronSprings-Elbow loop for the first time in a few years because of the logging. It was hard packed and fast!!!!! Especially Sundog – good thing it was nice and smooth!

      • Just following up on Diana’s question about an “official” lost-and-found box at West Bragg Creek. The little plastic box was not really meant as a lost and found, so it has been taken down. A larger lost and found box is being made today and will be installed at the info kiosk by the little “hut”, across from the toilets.
        You’ll also notice that a waxing thermometer has been installed at the trailhead kiosk.

  78. Pipestone – great tracks at Pipestone today, showing very little sign of traffic since last groomed, solid with no washouts on the bends, very few pine needles and almost no tree bombs. Swix Extra Blue and VR40 worked well.

  79. PLPP – skied the Pocaterra trail from Pocaterra hut to the junction with Tyrwhitt/Lookout, and returned the same way with a quick trip on Rolly Road at the end. Very good tracks, especially south of the Lynx junction. Within a few km of the hut, there are trail sections with a lot of needles – more in the tracks than on them – but not too much of a problem. Started at 10am at -14C; finished a bit after 1pm at -8C. V40 (blue) worked fine under the mostly sunny skies. Tracks coming back were delightfully fast….

  80. Barely a pine needle on any of the trails up at Emerald Lake. I would say grooming is even better than what we found at Lk Louise a few days prior. The volunteer groomers certainly deserved their cookie drop off!’ Alluvial Fan -we were the only ones out there this morning at 10am (VR45). Then hit Kicking Horse Trail to the formal end of track-setting and took Connector from Natural Bridge back to the lake. That trail continues to be a challenging workout and could use one more dump and a third grooming. Snowshoers were respectful to stay on outside of ski tracks. Aiming for O’Hara tomorrow en route home. The $13 Mushroom Omelette they serve at the lodge kept me totally full until 3 pm. Tomorrow will go for the Eggs Benedict. Love the Mt Begbie Tall Timber draft on tap up here. Hate to leave this wondrous place.

  81. Just back from Confed. Nice skiing except for the section where someone (parks and rec?) thought it would be a good idea to drive their truck or front end loader or something back and forth across and on the grooming. Thanks a lot.

  82. As Bob correctly speculated, everyone from Calgary seems to have been at West Bragg. I was lazy and slept in, hence no heading out to PLPP. Now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get up early for the drive. As I approached the West Bragg Creek trailhead I saw it as I had never seen it before. Arriving at 12:50pm, cars were parked on both sides 1.2km up the road. Lots of larger vehicles seemed to get gutsy and didn’t worry about parking in the snow on the sides, so AMA, other towers, and yet others towing each other out made for a slow drive through … same on the return. I started counting cars, then gave up, but estimate there must have been 500 vehicles parked there at that time.

    I’m still recovering from an injury, so this was my first ski trip out in some time. I only did Crystal Line West and East and they were in pretty good shape. Wouldn’t say excellent as the tracks were pretty beat up by that time (again, drooling over all those photos from PLPP today), but a nice outing. And as has been said before, there’s just that one patch of ice on the downhill that can come up pretty good, but the colour is distinctive enough that you can actually spot it from a good distance. And once I was more than 300m out of the parking lot, skiers on the trails were surprisingly sparse. I wonder if everyone went for the longer outer loops.

    Still, a pleasant day out. The sun was beautiful and I soon ditched my jacket and mitts. It was -5C when I arrived and -3C when I left. Blue Extra worked like a charm.

    Now, can anyone imagine if we had lit trails and could go skiing after work? I think I’ll start watching the moon and then head out to West Bragg for evening skis.

    • You would be surprised just how effective a cheap headlamp is…I’ve been using one to ski at night for a few years. You may not get the views, but you never have to worry about crowds.

  83. Groomed Confed GC again today for both skate and classic, Skate loop on west side of creek in golf course plus in driving range. Classic double trackset mostly throughout GC. Great to see so many out today enjoying the sunshine and new snow.

    A little reminder to all that the snow needs to time to set up after it is groomed, if one can avoid jumping in the track immediately after it is groomed it will firm up nice, and tracks will not fall part – thereby letting the corduroy last that much longer for you skiing enjoyment. I endeavour to get out early or late if possible to give it the time but there are days when it is not possible

    Note the grooming equipment has gone to Lake Louise for the week to assist with the race so there will be no further grooming at Confed this week 🙁

    Day trip to this amazing location, and back.
    With a track to follow, how could I resist!
    Strange to find a down track beyond the track I set on January 1, but that made it all the more intriguing. I ascended the track to its origin at the Sundance Warden Cabin, where the trail breaker had obviously been dropped by helicopter (the put down point was obvious).
    Thanks to Parks Canada staff for putting in this trail, otherwise I might not have gotten in my 52 km today!
    Better yet… book in at Sundance Lodge, enjoy the hospitality, and make this an easy day trip from there.

    • Oops, I should have mentioned that Brewster Creek was trackset by Mike on January 9. He does it regularly for the Lodge business. The Parks Canada website is not necessarily updated when the Lodge resets the track. He does a very good job.
      I would rate Brewster Creek to be VERY GOOD lower down, and EXCELLENT up top.
      By the way, when looking at the everytrail link, make sure to click on the blue “See all pictures…” internal link, and use the next/prev to view them in full size. Also, if you click on “View Map Fullscreen” below the map, you will see a graph of the trip profile.

    • Great detective work in finding the source of the tracks, Mr. Eveready Bunny! It looks real nice back up in there.

    • James the Wolf Tracking Skier

      Amazing ski trip dude! That is very impressive country up there. The further you go up the nicer it gets. Too bad the lodge further up valley is not open during the winter. In the summer when it is dry, this country is real nice backpacking country. Great wolf and griz country back there. Your wardens cabin picture brings back great backpacking memories.

      Anyone who likes long ski days should go back there now while the trail is not snow covered. This is a rare opportunity. Bring a head lamp in case you want to enjoy the sunset up there.

      • Hey James,
        Glad you appreciate this stuff!
        I note that you seem to have a preference for staying out for the sunset and come back later by headlamp. I had my headlamp, but was back before dark… maybe that’s my old age!
        I don’t know if you noticed my comment on your Upper Spray trip back in December, when I asked: “Was the Spray frozen enough to use the horse trail, or did you have to cross White Man’s Creek?”. That was another amazing trip, Dude, that I expect to work on soon.
        Hope to meet up with you someday,

    • Hey Chuck – To clarify, was the trail trackset by machine or by skier (i.e. do you recommend this trail with or without metal edges)? I haven’t done this trail and am considering it for this weekend. Also, did you start from Healy Creek? Is the bridge construction complete? Thank you so much!

      • Hi Sally,
        Mike has trackset Brewster Creek (with his machine) as far as his lodge. He has also taken his machine a few kilometres beyond (not setting a track, but packing the snow), to where I turned around on my January 1 trip. When I returned to this point on January 11, I was astounded to find a skier’s downtrack (skier-set) which came down to that point. I proceeded up (setting a skier up-track) as far as Sundance Warden Cabin.
        If you want more current information about the machine track, I would encourage you to contact Sundance Lodge.
        If you choose to follow a skier set trail, you might want to use skis with metal edges and skins. I did not, favouring light equipment to facilitate speed in these days of short light, and because I commit to a reasonable turn-around time. There is no bridge over Healy Creek… you must start in Banff at the Cave and Basin. Travel is at your own risk. If you are determined to do this full trip, don’t forget the option to stay at Sundance Lodge.

        • It’s a long ski to and from Sundance warden cabin with a number of steep narrow hills on the way out.(I crossed Healy creek on fallen trees near where the bridge used to be. Not recommended unless you are experienced with such things!) I’d also recommend metal edge skis for this tour. Sundance lodge is a cozy place to stay! I recommend it! Good homemade food and company in a beautiful setting! It also makes touring further up the Brewster creek valley more enjoyable.

        • Thank you, Chuck – very helpful (and thank you Pete below)!

  85. Had a lovely afternoon out at K-Country. Pocaterra trailhead was buzzing with activity and it was great to see people out and about enjoying the nice day. We skied Pocaterra and descended a chilly and shady Whiskey Jack. We we very lucky to see a moose just off of Whiskey Jack grazing on vegetation. Violet wax was perfect for today. Just a kind heads up to those descending Pocaterra to keep in control and stay to the down track side of the trail on your descent. Had a few out of control missiles nearly hit me on the way up. Should be a great rest of the week for skiing out there.

  86. It was a wonderful Mt Shark Day! As Bill mentioned, the sun came out and it was absolutely brilliant. Grooming and tracks were excellent. Intermediate skiers who like a little ‘call of the wild’ with their groomed tracks will catch some good skier-set tracks on the west 5k loop (not groomed) of the 15k trail for the next few days. Close to the beginning of that loop, one needs to maneuver over a tree that has fallen across the track. Following the trail blazers, I sat side-saddle on the trunk and managed to execute a kick turn over it. With that obstacle conquered there is about 20 cm of powder to herringbone through on the ascents and float through on the descents. Lovely!

  87. Mt. Shark family outing this afternoon, just an out and back to Watridge Lake on the main trail. Conditions were fantastic on the still-fresh tracks. Used blue wax overtop of whatever green-blue combo was left from my last outing, found it a little slippy but workable. As a very welcome bonus, the clouds gave way to bright blue skies and awesome sunshine which made it our best day of the season so far. Half dozen cars in the lot when we left around 4 and not very crowded on the trails thru the day so the tracks should be
    good for a while yet, a good option for those who can sneak out for mid-week trips.

  88. Spray River Loop with extension to Goat Junction

    Great day trail was good poles were hitting ground surface near parking lot but no other issue. Used VR 40 worked well -8 at start -6 end saw no one on trail surprising since fair number of cars in lot when return. One patch of ice on east side but could ski around.

  89. Fairview, Moraine Lake Road and Tramline.

    Had a quick ski on Fairview, Moraine Lake Road and Tramline today. Basically The Nor Am race scheduled for Thursday in reverse. Great track conditions, temp about -8 and V40 wax, perfect. And hardly anyone on the trails considering it is Sunday.

  90. Telephone Loop, West Bragg, 01/11/15.
    We spent an enjoyable day skiing the Telephone Loop (counter-clockwise) in pleasant temperatures and sunny skies. I would rate the trail fair to good with areas of poor. Generally the west side is better than the east as the snow is a bit deeper. The worst part is the the last 2 km on the east side before you reach the northernmost point. There’s a lot of downhill in this section and places where you need to stop and carefully step over rocky areas. Also near the north end there are sections where the alders are growing across the trail so you have to swish through them. Oddly the 5 cm that fell in Calgary overnight did not materialize at West Bragg so although it’s skiable, the snowpack is very thin. Oh…and none of this is groomed, probably too thin to groom.

  91. West Bragg Creek.
    Fantastic conditions… On the south side. I put blue extra on in the morning and forgot about it all day.
    Loggers loop was just set, but only on the outside so if you go, hit it counter-clockwise. I went the other way and it was narrow, rough and thin, with all the worst bits being on the downhills. I’d suggest giving it a pass until more snow arrives.
    Rest of the trails are excellent, crystal line west and mountain view were great. The far west end of mountain road was a fast double pole in perfect conditions, deteriorating progressively as you get closer to the parking lot. East crystaline, sundog, and loggers were all also fantastic.
    Only warning is for one large patch of rather mean ice on west crystal line just past the middle crystal line turnoff, its just after a steep hill on the way down so you can come upon it pretty unexpectedly.
    Strangely didn’t see that many people on the 19k of trail I hit, yet the parking lot was a madhouse with people parked in all sorts of creative spots for 1k down the road.
    -1 when I got back to the car so get out and enjoy it while it lasts.

  92. Sandy McNabb — mixed reviews

    I like these trails. They are very pleasant, different from other areas, and usually much less crowded. Yesterday we skied the trails on the south side of the main road, which had been very freshly groomed. Saw a few cars, but met no one else on the ski trails. Conditions ranged from very good to rather poor, being mostly fair to good. Coverage is a bit thin in places, with some tree debris, and too many muddy patches to be truly enjoyable. The higher the trail, the better the snow, so stay high for good skiing. Another 15 cm would help a lot!

  93. Skied Confederation Golf Course yesterday. It’s groomed but snow is soft, so trails were a bit shmooshed. The driving range, the path less-traveled, was in great shape. Still fantastic to be out, and my usual thank you to those with implements of trail destruction (sleds, footprints, snowshoes, etc) who bypass the beautifully groomed ruts. And a greater thank you to our gracious groomers.

  94. We skied Cascade Valley today and found good conditions all the way. Perfect temps but mediocre results on swix V40 blue extra. Or maybe is was our mediocre technique. Jury’s out. We also had a very similar experience to Bob today involving a large group of skiers stopped on the trail, a big hill, high speed track yelling, smiling, etc. Anyway it was good to see so many people out for a busy day. I suspect a bit of warm weather will quickly degrade the road portion so be wary if it warms up. The rest of the way was well used but overall good condition. Don’t forget to smile and say hello out there!

  95. Wheeler Apology & Wolf on Pocaterra

    First, deep, sincere and profound apologies to the poor guy heading east on Wheeler – who was skiing on the correct side of the trail. No idea what happened inside my head, brain fart, space out, senior moment but I had no idea I was on the wrong side. In fact, didn’t realize it until about 30 seconds after you had to jump out the way. I was wondering what you were doing on the wrong side of the trail until it suddenly dawned on me that, no, I was on the wrong side. Been skiing for ten years and never done that, or at least I don’t think I’ve ever done it before. But wow, sorry. If we ever…run into each other again I owe you an apology in person, a beer or coffee and I should shovel out your driveway next snow fall. Know it sounds hard to believe, and I wouldn’t believe it, but, yeah, wow. Sorry.

    On Pocaterra, about an hour later about 1/2 click from Packers had a wolf saunter onto the trail. She or he, looked me up and down, I stopped and he/she sat down on her/his rear and continued to look me up and down from about 20 metres. So we had a conversation, more like a monologue, “how’s winter treating you, think I saw a rabbit down in the meadow, etc., etc., guy wasn’t moving. Asked if he knew how to wolf whistle, and gave her a wolf whistle at which point he or she had enough, shot me a look of utter contempt for the bad joke and trotted down the trail and off the side. I’ve seen a few dozen coyote over the years, including big ones back east in Cape Breton, I’ve also seen wolves at a wolf centre. And this was a wolf, with a bit of attitude. Maybe he had seen me skiing on the wrong side of trail? Anyway, stopped in at the visitor centre and the ranger said there is a wolf den near the trail about where I saw the wolf. He also said there were about seven wolves in the area. Wasn’t worried, I know wolves don’t bother people. Think if I had been with someone else the wolf would have moved on faster.

    One other note, I descended whiskey jack; bad idea. The loose snow made it a menace, two bad falls, the normal bail on the second steep down hill and a trip over crossed skis further along thanks to too many tracks in the loose snow.


    • Seen lot’s of tracks in that area,. I believe it was Jody says he hears them howling at night often as well. So envious Carlo! One day, one….day….

    • I’m glad to hear this wolf wasn’t hanging around the Packers / Pocaterra junction where people have their lunch. As you can infer from Carlo’s report, you don’t have to be afraid of wolves, but for God’s sake, do not feed them! Carlo, you need to carry a camera.

  96. As mentioned below, Baker Creek was beautifully track set and we skied to Castle Junction, seeing very few people until the stretch between Lookout and Junction. VR40 was perfect, starting at -10 and ending at -6, back at Baker Creek. Wanted to try the stretch west of Baker Creek but will save for perhaps tomorrow morning. We are blest having such terrific grooming of this delightfully varied trail, much of which could be handled by beginners. Off tomorrow to Emerald Lake Lodge for their Kicking Horse Ski Club special rate of $109/night, doing Pipestone Loop en route.

    This is the special rate which Helen is referring to: -Bob

  97. Sat jan 10: pocatera. Mostly rough tracks with fresh snow in between. Could do with a refreshing groom. Just did an out and back so no info on other trails. Busy day on the trails and at the hut.

  98. Another great day at West Bragg with fine weather and lots of mid-day sun.
    Conditions were consistently very good-excellent on our tour of Crystal-Mountain View-Mountain Road- Moose-Crystal-Loggers-Sundog. Some of the steeper downhills are scraped down to the hard base, which is not surprising given what looked like record breaking crowds, with cars parked along the road for a good 1/2 km east of the trailhead. Swix VR45 worked like a charm.

  99. Cascade Valley – we skied there today without having seen Bob’s feature blog on this trail. Yes, it was really good! Excellent clean snow giving good grip with V40 (blue) wax in temperatures ranging from -11C at the start to -6C at the end. The tracks are a bit worn from heavy use, but that was no problem. Lots of people there today, including some good sized groups. Just a very pleasant day for a 30k ski.

  100. Lake O’Hara to Elizabeth Parker Hut

    Great ski today to the hut the tracks were in good condition with 1 to 2 cm of fresh snow. Temperature good and wax was almost as good as you could ask for.
    We were up early so able to smell fresh bacon cooking in hut when we arrived and had our early lunch. The only that would make the day better if the sun was shinig but that will be for another day.

    Thank you to the Lodge for setting the track.

  101. Had a great ski at West Bragg today and started out doing the Telephone Loop which is now quite ski-able after the latest snow and grooming. There are still a few rocks showing through between Disconnect and Long Distance but if you let the skis run, they are easily avoided. Eric says that they will be doing some trimming of the alders on the narrow spots on Monday so here is hoping we get a few more centimeters of snow!

    When Don says conditions are “Excellent”, we know it will be “Excellent”… and it was:
    …and fast!

    • Hi Chuck, I’m planning on skiing to Shadow Lake Sunday. Did you notice if the turn off from Redearth trail to Shadow Lake Lodge was well skier tracked? I’ll have skins for the steep hill but not everybody with me will have skins.
      Concussion fast sounds superb coming back to the car!

      • Hi Dan Z,
        Sorry that I had not noticed this post earlier.
        I did look up at the trail that climbs up to Shadow Lake. I had even thought of going up myself, but could see that no one has been up there since Russell went up there on January 1. I hope you noticed his report on the Backcountry Page:
        Yes, most people would need skins to climb that first hill. Otherwise some people might give up and try to walk (post hole) up, which is another problem. Until Brian takes his snowmobile up (which he traditionally does pretty soon), track skis would be a real challenge.
        Do let us know what you do, and stay in control on the way down (at least for the sake of those ascending!).

        • Hi Dan and Chuck,
          I was there today. It’s skier tracked, but still looks like a difficult slog through deep snow. I’ll be posting a photo later. Redearth creek was fantastic.

  103. Stephen Vermeulen

    Skied Shaganappi golf course on Saturday (10-Jan) before sunrise, not a bad way to get more ski time than driving time. There are tracks, probably for about 70% of the distance, at times they fade out and fade back in. There are a couple of thin and/or icy spots under some of the big trees but nothing particularly hazardous.

  104. Want to add that Baker Creek section of the LL – Banff Loppet is in terrific shape. Freshly trackset today.

  105. Skied west Bragg creek this Friday afternoon and found east crystal line, iron springs, elbow and loggers to be in great shape. Except for a section at the south end of iron springs which could definitely benefit from some grooming, the trails were in good shape for an enjoyable ski. I should have taken the short cut between iron and elbow. Does anyone know -Is this new? I don’t remember it from previous years. The odd thin icy or needle filled sections can be easily avoided. Check the grooming report and follow the more recent grooming. Thanks to the crews who clearly upgraded the logger / west crystal line junction! Lots of kids out on Friday afternoon. I was chased by speedy 7 year olds to finish the afternoon. WBC looks good for the weekend!

    • That short-cut has been there for quite some time. It is a little more visible now with the work of the trail crews last summer.

  106. VIC-Meadow-Wheeler-Packers-Pocaterra-Lynx-Woolley-Meadow

    The freshly groomed trails were immaculate. Packers has a LOT of snow and was skier set, as was Pocaterra. After a short distance along Pocaterra, those who had gone before had given up breaking trail on the down track so we skied in the up track. Might not try that on a weekend, but we didn’t run into anyone going up today.

  107. Had an amazing ski up at the william watson lodge area on brand new track set runs. We did lodgepole, meadow and braille. It was perfect for a friday off work.
    Enjoy tomorrow!

  108. LAKE O’HARA
    Seeing the beautiful new track set fire road, we just had to go check it out:
    Yes it’s perfect. But it won’t stay that way, so get there soon!

  109. Trackset about 5km at Maple Ridge Golf Course last night. Courtesy of Foothills Nordic Ski Club.

  110. Skied Shaganappi this sunny Thursday afternoon. Temp. -10to-13C. Swix green worked OK. Area Rec’d 2 ” snow overnite with about 6to 8″ inches overall on the ground. Trails have not been groomed or trackset recently.The west side loops have good skier tracks but the east side loops do not. Snow coverage is fairly good resulting in an enjoyable ski.

  111. Finished our trip at Emerald Lake by skiing the fresh tracks that were set in the morning. Mostly sunshine and clear skies and superb snow conditions with an air temp of -3. Lots of snow avalanches up high that could be viewed from the trail through the alluvial fan. Spoke to rental shop and some of the other local trails were also being trackset today. Emerald Lake lodge has to be one of the most romantic winter retreats in the region – highly recommend it for a piece of heaven to be experienced in the rockies. The skiers special rate rocked – a person couldn’t ask for a better location, lodgings and service!

  112. Lots of fresh grooming going on at the Nordic Centre today. Skied Banff trail to Bow until it met back up with Banff. Then back to the scar, up Meadowview and back to the Stadium. Interesting mix between man made and natural snow. Meadowview was by far the best. Get out there and enjoy it.

  113. After the warm weather and then ferocious winds in Calgary last night, we were pleasantly surprised to find the skiing at West Bragg Creek to be great. Not a needle in sight, and with a fresh couple inches of snow, we found the skiing (on VR40) to be fast and easy. Since we had not skied Iron Springs (going south) and Elbow (returning north) in a couple of years, that’s what we did, with a jaunt up Logger’s to West Crystalline added on to the end, for a total of 15 kms. Temp. was -12 to start and -10 at end, sunny and calm.. The tracks were a bit soft and there were a few icy patches under the new snow, mostly under big trees. Also, the Iron Springs trail has a number of alders that hang over the trail and give you a good slap if you are not wary. Not nice when it happens on the lovely downhill section! I’ll bring some loppers next time!

  114. I notice that a lot of grooming has happen at CNC today, with fresh tracks set on Banff Trail, Bow, Meadowview, and Grey Wolf. Great news! Does anyone know if tracks have been re-set on trails like Silvertip, Coyote, Wolverine, and King of Sweden? The Live Grooming report and the CNC Trail Reports page don’t always match up.

  115. Hi there. Does anyone know what the status is on conditions/grooming at Shaganappi? The ski club website hasn’t updated since November. Was hoping to hit the trail after work Thursday.

  116. Wow! It was a great combination of conditions today at West Bragg Creek. New snow, fresh grooming, sunshine, above 0C temps and cold snow. One thin coat of Swix V45 worked well all day. As Diana noted, there were lots of people out. I counted over 120 cars in the parking lot… mid day, mid week!

  117. Does anyone have any info on the trail conditions on the access road to Lake O’Hara? I have 4 spots of the Elizabeth Parker Hut, had 2 friends cancel, so am wondering about skiing in with a couple of (strong) kids.
    Alternatively, I’d have 2 spots available for Friday Jan 09, at 50 bucks each!

  118. Enjoying a couple fabulous days at Emerald Lake because of the
    Wonderful skiers special rate! At least 15cm of fresh snow since last trackset. Fresh cougar tracks East of the lodge. Spoke to rental shop and tracksettinng should occur tomorrow morning. Skied lake loop and alluvial fan. Lake not recomnended due to some surface water on top of the ice. We appreciated the skier special rate! This place is spectacular!

  119. West Bragg Creek — too popular??!

    Now that school is back in, I had not expected to find the parking lot overflowing on a Wednesday afternoon, but it certainly was today! Fortunately, once I got a few hundred metres away, it was surprisingly quiet.
    The snow was lovely, the grooming very good, just a few minor hazards here and there, and lots of lovely new signs all over the place! Thank you, Alf!! (and others) 🙂
    I skied up West Sundog, around Loggers, out West Crystal Line, and then tried out the new Mountainview trail for the first time. Nice trail! But it doesn’t quite live up to its name…… Returning on the Mountain Road was mostly fast and fun.
    On the Mountainview trail I found a very nice, warm glove, MEC, left hand, which I deposited at the trail head in the trail brochure dispenser, which seems to be functioning as a very small lost and found container.

    It has been blamed on miscommunication, but all is back to normal now.
    Yesterday, the contractor went and retrieved one of their trailers from the construction site, but today Don told them clearly that they are not allowed past the gate. Don has repaired the damage (you would not know anything untoward had happened), and has now double trackset (with skating lane) the road all the way to Bankhead and to the Cascade River Bridge. He has also single trackset (with skating lane) to Stoney Creek. Parks Canada was quick to respond when they heard that a vehicle had been on the road. They are committed to providing quality cross country skiing in the valley this winter, and thank the local skiing community for our patience.
    Thanks Bob for telling everyone to go to Goat Creek… we had the Cascade Valley to ourselves!
    It was beautiful…
    … and should stay that way.
    One other great thing is that walkers don’t seem to know about the Cascade Valley… Hush.

    • So the new snow has covered up any debris that was on the first 6k (ie I can use good skis)?

      • Hey Charlie.
        Yes, you can put away your rock skis!
        Not only has the new snow covered the previous debris, but Don has even buried those strange cable loops. I hoped the pictures would show that conditions are Very Good. Even the Parks Canada site now says it is all “Good”, which is always an understatement.

        • Thanks! It does look good in your pictures. I was just being cautious as I got a scratch today trying to find the loop part from Spray River East.

    • Chuck, thanks for the report. I was surmising that Cascade valley might be next. I was surprised to only meet one other skier on the Goat creek section of the trail today, but it got busy when I reached the Spray loop junction.

    • James the Wolf Tracking Skier

      Only a Fox to follow as your picture suggests?
      No, my nice straight snow covered tracks on the left side of the trail could have been followed also towards Flints Park!
      Nice to see someone else skiing beyond Stoney Creek. The scenery gets nicer and nicer as you go up the Cascade River. Nice place to watch sunsets.
      I hope you enjoyed the “beach deck” at the Warden’s cabin or the benches I cleared off previously at the Stoney Creek campsite.

  121. PLPP Wednesday
    Skied Braile from Visitor Centre junction to W’m Watson. Track is set and skis very well. It looked like it was set all the way down to the Pocaterra area too.

    Came back via Meadow which is not track set but still very enjoyable. The last bit to the VC parking lot is always such a pleasure.

    Lessons learned today:
    1. I should stifle my inner Scot and buy a small thermometer as it became very apparent that I highly overrate my ability to judge the temperature and choose the appropriate wax.
    2. I was forced to slow down and slug along, and that was a blessing as I had time to look at the gorgeous scenery that I too often blast thru.
    3. Thanks to the seniors from W’m Watson Lodge who also taught me that one can enjoy the outing immensely, even if one’s body reduces one to trudging.
    4. Finally, kudos to the young woman skiing just south of the VC as her obvious joy at just being out was contagious.

  122. Does anyone have any info about whether any grooming has been done on either confederation or shaganappi golf courses since the dump of snow yesterday in Calgary? I looked around the suggested websites to check and couldn’t see anything. Thanks!

  123. West Bragg Creek
    The recent snowfalls have transformed the West Bragg Creek into a winter wonderland. Lots of snow in the trees and plenty of snow to cover any early season thin spots. Volunteer trail groomers promise to be out throughout the week to re-groom the entire XC trail network. It looked like they were working on the south-east part of the trail network today.
    It was also nice to see many snowshoers out on the new snowshoe trails!

  124. Quick lunch ski at CNC today. Conditions have changed dramatically in a day. Gone were the deep well groomed tracks on Banff trail and now there are nice tracks on Meadowview coming back from the mine scar. Have to admit we only stayed on Meadowview for a short distance because the untracked snow on Freddie’s Flip was calling! Fresh tracks on any sort of skis are fun! My ski partner told me that I must be the only person that gets excited for fresh tracks at the CNC!

    So nice not to have to go on the highway today.
    The new snow has hidden the tracksetting which was only done the day before yesterday (Jan 4), but the base is there, underneath this fabulous snow.
    No excuses for not skiing!

    • Based on a previous post by Chuck, indicating there is very little wind on the Spray Road, I ventured there on this blustery day. And he is right!
      Vey little wind, and both the East and West side had been track set.
      Very good snow conditions.

    • Thanks Chuck. Will check these out later this week.

  126. I was out snowshoeing today at Karst Spring. You XC dudes need to go there and enjoy the obviously perfect conditions on the Mt Shark trails. 5-15 cm fresh and no one there. Perfect temps, OK track setting (last done in mid-December) but very good underfoot.

    Check out my reports here and here

    Having noticed that Yoho Joe had just trackset this trail the day before yesterday, and that they had 8 cm of snow fall yesterday, we had to check it out today.
    Pure Magic:
    This trail does not seem to be well known. It is just at the beginning of the Emerald Lake access road. We were the only people there today. The Parks Canada site only refers to the Dec 24 tracksetting, but the Kicking Horse Ski Club site also mentions the tracksetting done on Jan 3 (Saturday).

  128. Agree with Paul’s comments on the CNC trails. It was a pleasant -10oC today (V40) and the trails beyond the Banff Loop were the best I’ve skied this year. Meadowview was great – skier track set with soft snow in the skate lane. Get out before it gets above zero – if it does Wednesday.

  129. Confederation Golf Course

    After a long absence, I had a very pleasant ski around the golf course this afternoon. With temps up to about -12 C and winds relatively light, conditions were pretty good. The snow is not deep! But the grass is well frozen making for a good solid base, and lots of good skier tracks to follow.

    Four months after the big snowstorm, I still see lots of broken branches hung up in trees, which could be dangerous. The most puzzling thing is that many of them still have leaves attached, though the rest of the tree is bare. I wonder why that should be?

  130. Two thumbs up for the trail work done at west Bragg trails!! Conditions and grooming is great – groomed on Saturday. We have skied there the last 4 days and have covered all of the trails with the exception of the Telephones loop which looks very rough.

  131. On January 4th our Rocky Mountain Jackrabbit Ski Club had our first ski day of the season at Canmore Nordic Centre. The CNC groomers had been out since 5 a.m. and the trails were in good condition. Even though it was cold we had over 50 kids from 4 yrs old and up show up. With a few breaks to warm up and lots of hot chocolate we had a good ski day. If anyone with young children is looking for a family orientated ski club to join we still have room for a few more members.

  132. Greeted by a family of Lynx at Ribbon Creek Sunday (Jan 4th) morning! Started skiing from the Ribbon Creek parking lot at 9:45am (-24C). I favoured the hills early on to get warm. As I started up the big hill (first tracks) I started noticing a series of fresh animal tracks in the new snow. They looked to be from a cat, and there were lots of them. I saw evidence of a rabbit kill, but no sign of the culprit. I dropped down the hill following the outer perimeter of trails, then looped back up the big hill from the other side. As I crested the hill I looked up at the mountain in the distance (one of my favourite spots at Ribbon) then down the trail where a large animal was sitting in the ski tracks. I thought dog, then wolf, then it turned its head and looked at me. The ear tufts gave it away, a Lynx. The animal walked into the woods. I went to get a closer look of where it sat, then looked into the woods where the tracks lead. I didn’t expect to see anything, but two eyes met mine. It lay on the snow and looked straight at me, I fumbled for my phone for a photo, but my phone was frozen. I stuffed the phone into my armpit to warm it, and watched in silence. The cat remained motionless, then TWO more cats started moving on its right! One of two juveniles was staring me down. The mother walked into plain sight, let out a yelp, rounded up the kids, then the three of them walked away from me through the woods along side the trail. My phone finally unthawed in the car. What a day!

    • Cool story Adam.

    • Several years ago I witnessed a Lynx family – adult and 2 kittens – run across the ski trail underneath the Silver Chair at Nakiska, while riding the chair. Seems there is a healthy Lynx population in the Kananaskis Valley.

    • I guess you can say there are fresh tracks at Ribbon. Lots of people have been seeing this family over the last couple of weeks it looks like they are going to hang around for awhile.

    • What a memorable and rare experience! Consider yourself extremely lucky to see these rarely seen animals. There must be a healthy population of snowshoe hares in the vicinity.

  133. Catch up post: SYNCLINE cross country ski area, near Castle Mountain Resort. Dec 31 and Jan 1. It was our first time skiing these trails in the southwest corner of our Province between Pincher Creek and Castle Mountain Resort. They are snowmobile groomed, not track set. Great skiing was had. Coverage was quite good, with few thin spots. Racers loop had some great fast sections, and combined with Chinook Loop, these trails made for a great day. If you are in the area, the Syncline Criss Country Trails are worth a visit.

  134. West Bragg Creek, West Crystal to Mountain View. Great skiing in the cold today. Trails were beautifully groomed. -15 to -30 wax seemed to do the trick. It was my first time on Mountain View, and it was quite enjoyable. Hilly enough to earn the Blue difficulty rating, with great vistas as the reward.

  135. Pipestone Jan. 4th: icicles on beards and eyelashes were the norm today. Again, Pipestone’s snow (2.5 feet deep), single-track groomed trail and tree cover made an exceptional afternoon.

    Great conditions again with the recent snowfall.
    Tracks have held up particularly well on the Spray River section, but coverage is good everywhere.
    -22 C at 10 am when I started at the Banff Springs, and a balmy -16 C when I returned. No wind.
    My beard still froze solid, so I had a hard time stuffing in a sandwich at the Goat Creek trailhead. I ended up cutting my lip when breaking the ice to open my mouth, but the blood froze, sealing the gash quickly!

    • Sure glad you didn’t take a selfie of the blood freezing and sealing the gash! I can hear even the wolves howling!

  137. West Bragg Creek. Jan. 3. -19C at 9 AM; first car in the lot. Polar was the call and worked great. Glorious conditions over all. Crystal freshly groomed and trackset. East Iron springs not groomed, but west side was so I suspect it is all done now. Only on couple thin sections under the trees. 30 or so cars by noon with people doing everything: walking, snowshoes, bikes and skis. Only actually met 3 people on the trail.

    • Similar conditions Sunday at Bragg. It’s not often that the polar (V 05) gets used, but as Tom noted, it was the call for today also. With no breeze the skiing was very pleasant except for the longer downhills, which gave a quick lesson in wind chill. We skied Crystal W-Mountain Road-Mountain View-Loggers-Sundog and Crystal E, finding very good skiing throughout with a cm or two on top of the recent grooming.
      The snow plastered aspens made for some enchanting winter scenes-

  138. More BC reports

    Catching up, plus a report from today. On the way to Creston to visit the in-laws, we stopped at the Kimberley Nordic club trails. Snow cover was thin (as it is everywhere) but fine, and conditions were spectacular with fresh snow and-11 or so. This is a great facility, and well worth supporting (they charge very reasonable trail fees). Trails for every level – make sure to try Cardiac Arrest.

    Next was my father-in-law’s back field in New Year’s Eve, by moonlight, with a pack of coyotes howling from the mountain behind us.

    Today we skied the Fernie Nordic Society’s trails at the Elk Valley Nordic Centre. Unlike Alberta, it was -12, calm, with a few cm of fresh dry snow. This not a huge facility, but the trails are amazing. Sno-cat groomed, double track-set with a wide skating lane, nicely rolling (no dogs – sorry Bob). Maybe 10k or so (the new section mentioned on their web site is open), perfect for a couple of laps if you want more distance, and I think that they also connect to the trails at the ski hill if you want to explore. Another site that charges trail fees, and rightly so – well worth supporting.

  139. Pocaterra-Lynx-Amos-Wheeler-Packers-Pocaterra

    Pocaterra was a bit thin, but no dirt showing and the needles were of no consequence. Lots of snow on Lynx, Amos, and Wheeler, and the tracks were skied in and holding up well. Packers had pretty good cover. There were a couple of sections not trackset, but there were no bare patches anywhere. Pocaterra back was decent albeit a bit slow at -20.

    Finally… Fresh Snow!
    With 4 to 5 cm of new snow, it was a delight to be back here.
    I had forgotten how soft and quiet, travel can be!
    We met a couple who had just broken trail all the way from the Goat Creek trailhead, so I think I know where I’ll be tomorrow!
    While it is cold, there is little wind on this route.

  141. Skied Emerald Lake and Natural Bridge (to Otterhead trail junction) trails today (Jan 3), all freshly groomed /trackset as I was skiing them; felt like a VIP to have the Natural Bridge trail set for myself :o) big thanks to the tracksetter for the work well done.
    It was snowing lightly in the area, air temp around -12C. VR30 worked well everywhere. Blowing snow in Field.

  142. Stephen Vermeulen

    Yesterday (2-Jan) I skied up Whiskey Jack and along Tyrwhitt, Pocaterra, Lynx, Meadow and Wheeler. This was all before the storm moved in – the conditions were very good and the little snow that had fallen in the previous two days had helped cover most of the needles and made climbing Whiskey Jack easier.

    There is one hazard to note: if you are contemplating skiing down Whiskey Jack watch out for the culvert crossing that is about 500m west of the Pocaterra junction. This area is very hard packed, almost to the point of being icy and to make matters worse (more exciting?) there was exposed gravel at the culvert, so get your braking in early before you hit that turn! The new snow should nicely hide this…

  143. Blackjack, Rossland B.C.

    Along with a dozen intrepid Ramblers, I skied Blackjack for the first time. It was amazing! With appox. 45 km of track-set trails, it’s an XC paradise. We skied from the entrance kiosk (fees) to the Bialthalon Range, gaining elevation almost the entire way out. Near the end, the trail got quite steep and made for a very fast descent. We even got a chance to practice target shooting at the Biathalon area! VR-45 worked well all day.

    If you come out, bring all of your gear. We did 2 days in the backcountry and, even though snow cover was thin, the routes were wonderful and we found great powder. Some folks skied Red Mountain and raved about it. Rossland is a very cool little mountain town. The Casa Alpina has decent, spacious rooms with kitchenettes and the owner (Avtar) cooks eggs for breakfast.

  144. Skied from Visitor Centre today, leaving the parking lot about 3pm. Did Meadow/Wooley/Amos/Wheeler/Lodgepole. Decided on my waxless skis, as there was a bit of snow coming down, and snowpack is still thin. This was a good decision, as I did see a lot of pine needles, particularly on Meadow and Wooley. Conditions were pretty consistent – downhill sections were fun, with no icy sections.

  145. Went with a group out to Shark Mountain Trails around noon today. 3 Classic, 3 skate, 3 dogs, one chariot. All were happy on the main trail to the top of the biiiig hill near Watridge Lake. It was snowing the whole time and windy. Will likely need the help of grooming once this storm passes to re-establish things out there!

  146. Skiing at West Bragg today was worth the 2 hour drive that it is for me. Arrived early and was surprised how full the parking lot was when I got back! Some stretches of trail were in great condition (Loggers Loop) and others were old snow but still reasonable (Iron Spring/Elbow) the connectors, crystal main, and the bit of sun dog I seen were pretty thin and there were spots throughout with dirty snow and a bit of debris. Some of the downhills were a little thin, but still safe. I happened to get the wax just right, so, that alone made the trip worthwhile 🙂 Blue is best!

  147. Skied the terrace loop at Kananaskis Village with my kids. Tracks were in good condition. Some pine needles and debris in places but otherwise great. Used blue wax and didn’t have any concerns all day.

  148. Lower Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (PLPP) Traverse

    Skied Elk Pass parking lot to Bolton Creek junction and then to the Moraine/Fox Creek juction. Good snow, previous packing and no tracksetting on Bolton Creek .Similarly, along Moraine there was old tracksetting. Wheeler tracksetting was old and new tracksetting on Amos. Trails are essentially hard-packed but good snow texture. Old tracksetting to William Watson Lodge. Old tracksetting on Lodgepole and Sinclair. Take care going down Suicide Hill as vegetation is protruding. Debris is everywhere but manageable. Weather Network was predicting 80% , 5- 10cm for today and snow was falling moderately at 2:pm, improving ski control.

  149. A little out of the way, but my husband and I had a great ski on Lake Windermere in Invermere B.C. today and thought we’d write in. 20 km distance in total (there are several more km of track set, but we were pretty exhausted doing this distance). Temp was only -7 degrees C., but brisk winds kept it chilly! Conditions were superb for classic skiing, and when we were out there they were grooming the track for skate skiing. Probably for the Whiteway Winter Fest celebrations that are going on there tomorrow. See the following links for more information:

    The ski-skate track was a bit soft, so I kept sinking while trying to ski. It pretty much snowed all day, so conditions will only get better! The lake also has several rinks set up for skating and hockey, and they hold the world record for the longest skating track on Lake Windermere. The ski track parallels this magical Whiteway skate track. Remember to pay your $5 to use these trails, to help offset costs for the grooming! There were also several people snowmobiling and ice fishing on the lake. Definitely something the whole family can take part in (dogs included). Quite the quintessential Canadian winter experience.

  150. Skied everything on the south side of Ribbon Creek, good track set everywhere some needles in several places but overall a nice ski.-1 in the lot on arrival 12am , snow temp also – 1,so took my waxless, good decision as it was – 10 when I left at 3, roads were starting to get sketchy on the way back to Calgary

  151. Friday jan 2: elk pass and hydroline. Windy day. Made the mistake of coming back along hydroline for something different. All blown in and wind affected. A sastrugi nightmare even on light touring gear. All other tracks were decent. A few open spots were blown in a bit, but nowhere near as bad as hydroline.

  152. Moose Loop at WBC is in good condition with one or two short sections with marginal coverage. Tons of people out at Bragg Creek today, so parking was at a premium. Does anyone know if there are plans to extend the parking area? The trail association has done a fabulous job this summer to improve the trail network. The downside for us skiers appears to be the fact that these upgrades attract many new users, especially snowshoers and fat bikers.

  153. Thanks Jim for the report. I had been wondering how skiable Telephone was, however we opted for the well groomed trails to the south of the West Bragg trailhead for our first ski of 2015. Sundog East, Iron Springs, Elbow, Loggers, Crystal Line West were in good to very good shape overall with a few hazards here and there. The only real notable rocks are found at a nearly bare 5m long section on the downhill corner at the far south end of Iron Springs, and on the hill at the far west end of Loggers. We walked the former because we were on good skis, and were able to easily maneuver around the latter. Weather that was almost springlike brought out the hordes at the parking lot, but the trails did not seem busy at all. A couple of thin layers of SWIX VR 45 worked great.
    The south Iron Springs loop is now trackset for the first time this season-

  154. Peter Laugheed – Jan. 1

    Skied from Bolton parking lot today. The trail over to Elk Pass is a mess – fallen trees over the trail, lots of debris, little coverage. Elk Pass around to Whisky Jack was fabulous. Freshly track set and lots of snow.

    • Thanks for the report, Jeff. We may have crossed paths at some point, as I was out there today, too, but going the other direction. I guess we should let people know that Boulton creek trail from Boulton parking lot is actually closed. I know people have been skiing on it, and I see the yellow tape has been removed. Is there still a “Flooding Damage” sign at the Boulton parking lot? There is one at the other end. The PLPP trail report states, “Boulton Creek trail is not accessible between the day use and Fox Creek due to damage sustained in the 2013 flood.”

      • Boulton Creek trails should be avoided for sure. I tried it last week and it is actually a bit dangerous in sections if you try to ski it. OK if you walk those sections. At least 10 spots where you have to walk it. The parks people should put up a permanent barrier or a bigger sign.

    Trackset December 30, providing great conditions once you get high.
    Unfortunately, the access from the Cave & Basin is gnarly. The wind has knocked down a lot of tree debris and exposed rocks on the trail. Take care on this icy section… your reward awaits!–DZ1ZqCqAE&feat=directlink
    There were at least 4 wolves in the pack that made this kill on Monday night. Major wolf activity up here… tracks all over the place. Kept checking over my shoulder as I wolfed down my lunch!

  156. After a great ski at West Bragg yesterday we decided to check out Telephone Loop today. Not the best decision as the trail is in very poor condition for x-country from the Snowshoe Hare junction to the Long Trail junction. Outside of that area it is not bad but you have to be on your toes for rocks protruding through the snow. Wouldn’t recommend that route until we have more snow unless you want to pack your skis for a couple of kilometers which still leaves some decent time away from almost everyone. Was a great day though and we are blessed to have such a great trail system so nearby. Don’t hesitate to donate!

  157. New Year’s Day 2015
    Our family skied on Cascade Fireroad today. The tracks from the parking lot are thin and show some pavement. The big hill is fine with the occasional small rock. After the hill the snow and tracks look nice, but due to the construction small gravel has been tilled into the tracks. It gets very rough close to the temporary bridge. After the bridge snow conditions improve. If you ski there, bring your very old skis!

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