Trip Reports – Jan 2016

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  1. Had a few too many chores to do today, So went to CNC in the later afternoon. Temperature on the sign at 3:30 was 0 and it dropped to -2 by the time we left. Skate,skied the lighted Banff loop trails and they were still in great shape with minimal foliage considering the temperatures and winds of the last week and the heavy weekend usage. Tracks were in great shape as well although I only spoke to someone on waxless , A lot of fun skiing tonight as a a group of skiers from Kazakhstan cruised by. The World cup biathlon event this week should be a great event this week.

  2. O’Hara – decided to do something completely different today and miss the great tracks at Lake Louise. Goal was lunch at lodge. It was a track free shuffle for the first 2-3 km, then it had been set a few days ago. All the ‘farmer’ and touring skis plus some new snow had a widening effect on the track. Still good enuf. Good up hill workout.
    Turns out its cash only at lunch – and last seating is 1:45. Only weekends.
    High point was skiing down in 35 min. With max speed of 38 kph!
    I’m just behind you Bob- got to 960 km today. Plan to go over the top at PLPP tomorrow.

  3. Pipestone was amazing today! Soft snow & fresh tracksetting made for fantastic conditions. 21 & 22 were trackset today, 20 was trackset yesterday. We started out skiing in -9 and ended up at -3 in the afternoon so the blue wax was starting to stick and slow down a bit, but it was still a lot of fun. I think tomorrow will be even better once the new tracks have had a chance to set. 🙂 Definitely pop down to Mud Lake for an amazing view on your way back!!

    • I’ll second Risto’s and Karen’s comments on the great skiing at Pipestone today. And 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.

  4. Banff Spray River Loop
    This is like poured concrete. Don’t know if it gets better near Canmore/Goat Creek, but you will break equipment or your hip on the Banff half. Abort! Abort!

    It probably gets worse on Goat creek because it’s narrower and you have the “ridge” to contend with. I’m glad I told Aldona to stay away. Thanks for the report, it will prevent lots of misadventures. -Bob

  5. We headed for likeliest good snow – Lake Louise area. Decided to try Pipestone. Pipestone parking lot was half full at 1000 but trails did not get too busy. Tracks were fine and parks guys were setting track as we zoomed down 20 and 21 . -11 when we arrived and our blue green glide and vr40 was very fast with good grip. What a fabulous trail when conditions are so good… Lots of animal tracks but we didn’t slow down to figure them out!

  6. Pipestone was in excellent shape on Jan 30! Beautiful snow, despite not having been trackset in the last days.

  7. Peter Lougheed PP: Started at Boulton Creek with an air temperature of -5 C to make the circuit of Whiskeyjack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek and Moraine back to Boulton. Whiskejack tracks were holding up well to Lookout junction – Rode Blue worked well for climbing. Tyrwhitt from Lookout to Elk Pass had 7 cm new snow and a great skier set track. Elk Pass trail to the Hydroline junction was a mess – too many snowshoers going to Elk Lakes cabin (although they were good and stayed off the ski tracks) and skiers were all over the trail doing their own thing leaving no continuous downhill track. Fox Creek was as good as I have seen it this season. Now the new snow was thinning on Moraine but still very good ski tracks. We yoyoed the hill from north end Moraine to Boulton parking and managed to record a speed of 41 km/hr. With new grooming the south end trails will be perfect, so watch PLPP grooming reports.

    • Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.
      I did pretty much the same loop as Keith, but threw in a side trip to Blueberry Hill. Lots of new snow there too, with a variable skier-set track. It was quite enjoyable on the way back down… but I like powder skiing.
      I took a photo of the official Elk Pass Snowshoe trail from Elk Pass. There is not a single snowshoe print along the entire length of the “hydro-line” section. Why is that? Why do the hordes of snowshoers insist on stomping right up the ski trail instead? Is it because none of the junction trail maps show any snowshoe trails? Is it because the snowshoe trail is sometimes on the ski trail and sometimes not… without any signage to explain the difference? Is it because the Hydroline portion of the Elk Pass Snowshoe trail is mind-numbingly boring and tedious? Or is it because nobody has packed down the snowshoe trail and actual snowshoeing is too much work?
      At the north Elk Pass-Hydro Line junction, a little girl pointed at the snowshoe trail coming out of the woods from Fox Creek and asked her mother “where does that trail go?”. Her mom said “that’s not a real trail, it’s just something that snowshoers broke on their own”. There is no signage around to dispute that observation.

      • “…asked her mother “where does that trail go?”. Her mom said “that’s not a real trail, it’s just something that snowshoers broke on their own”.

        That’s a hoot.

        It reminds me of the anecdote given by canoeing legend Bill Mason.
        Bill was going to give canoeing lessons to a professor and his wife. Before Bill could say anything, the professor steps in behind the stern seat, facing the wrong way and snarks that they “Don’t give you much room for your legs”, while his wife then gets into the bow seat facing the wrong way and replies, “and it’s odd how much room they’ve given me here”.

        Anyway, sounds like a Alf has nicely thrown down the gauntlet to the Parks folks.

  8. PLPP Sunday arrived @ noon, snow temp was -7, thought VR40 would be good, wrong, quickly switched to 45, skied Whisky, Tyrwhitt to Hydroline, then U turned down to Pocaterra, Lynx, Amos, Wheeler.
    As other have said quite a contrast between south (lots of day old snow) and north (hard’n’fast), but good tracks and grip all the way.

  9. Lake Louise!!! Went to the other side of the valley today (Pipestone yesterday) for an early morning start. It was -14 in the Grear Divide parking lot at 8:45. Went up Tramline-Fairview Loop-Across the Lake-Upper Telemark-Peyto-Great Divide. All were in great shape!!! Snow was a bit slow, but was speeding up as I finished at 10:30 when the temperature had warmed up to -9.

    My wife went for a ski on Tunnel Mountain this morning and said it was also in very good shape. Only a couple of icey spots from last weeks rain. Also the track setter was out as she was leaving.

    Have fun out there wherever you go!

  10. Kimberley Nordic Centre

    Kimberley has lots of snow, but has also suffered from the freeze-thaw cycle this week. The town is very icy, and the snow has an icy crust, but frequent grooming at the nordic centre has kept the trails in good to excellent condition, except for a few sections of chipped ice on Snowbird. We particularly enjoyed K1, K2, Highlander, Landsem and Roller Coaster yesterday, and seeing the sun for the first time in a week was a big bonus too!

    Friday we tried the Paulson trails, run by the Castlegar Nordic Club. What a terrific network of trails! Tons of snow up there, also very well groomed, but the wet snow falling as we were skiing made progress rather slow and tedious. Would love to go back on a cooler, drier day!

    • Hi Diane: We just got back from Kimberley and the only place we did not try to ski was at the Nordic centre (Bob the dog was with us). Golf courses were scary as was Forest Crown. Very hard packed and I believe they must have had a bit of rain before we arrived (Friday) as an icy crust was on top. Gave up skiing and went walking instead. Maybe Bob will have to stay home next time and we will head to where there is guaranteed grooming.

  11. Fairview, Tramline and Moraine Lake road were all outstanding this afternoon- tracksetting is perfect, thanks guys!!

    Everybody from West Bragg Creek must have decided to head to Lake Louise today!
    Nice to see Doug Connery and so many others out there.
    Excellent conditions, and it was being trackset as we left. So tomorrow will be amazing.
    You’ve read about it, now you can see it:
    Best Option Hands Down!

    • Did you notice wheat her Ohara had been set? Thanks

      • We skied to picnic tables and back yesterday. First couple k saw indistinct tracks with fresh snow. Km 3 to 5 had good skied-in, but clearly set tracks. Wish we’d had time to go further, based on anecdotal trailside reports, it would have bern worth it.

        • Al and I skied into O’Hara on Saturday. There was about 20 cm of new snow in the parking lot but much less about 2 km in and for the rest of the way into the lodge. The track setting of last week was still somewhat visible towards the lodge end. Conditions were quite good with about 5 cm of fresh snow on the track most of the way. It took us about 2:15 to get in and 1:15 to get back down. A couple of ladies from Canmore got to Le Relais a little before us and had started a fire in the stove. What a treat.

  13. Lake Louise – to add on to K’s report, Lower Telemark also had silky snow with 1-2 cms new overnight on yesterdays grooming, and Fairview was freshly trackset today (thanks for the update on planned grooming last night Bob/groomers!). -6 at start, used Swix Extra Blue -7/-1 like yesterday. Upper Tramline had not been groomed when we left around 2 pm. Lots of folks out, and a heads-up on parking – the parking lot at the lake/chateau was full when we left with people hovering to take our spot! Another great day at the Lake!

  14. Mount Shark is AMAZING!!! Go now. We skied to Watridge Lake and back and I skied part of the red/black loop. NO ICE IN SIGHT. Happy skiing.

    • I second Tanya’s remarks – Shark was in excellent shape yesterday, the Watridge Lake trail was well trackset, and the Red/Black and Blue loops were in very good shape. The few cm of new snow over the grooming done late in the week made for great classic and skate skiing. The drive up from Canmore was scenic – it’s been too long since we’ve been in that area, we’ll be doing it again this season if conditions hold out for a while.

  15. We are in from Regina and hoping to ski Goat Creek from Canmore to Banff tomorrow Sunday January 31. Parks Canada says it was last groomed January 22 and is in “poor” condition. Has anyone skied this in the last few days and can give us a brief trail description? Many thanks for any information!

  16. Excellent day out in Lake Louise. They trackset one lane of the Great Divide today and the other lane was done yesterday with about 1 or 2cm of new snow on top of yesterday’s tracks. Same for Upper Telemark and Peyto with 1 or 2cm on top. Looks like the tracksetter either did Moraine Lake or was going to do it since the machine was in the parking lot. The trackset on the lake was not as great and some sections a bit icy due to a lack of snow. All in all a decent day.

  17. Good timing today! Enjoyed freshly done trackset Connector trail from Yoho’s Natural Bridge to Emerald Lake. VR45 was the perfect wax for today. First time on trail, especially loved the variety of trees and scenery along the route. Thank you to the Ski Club for the track setting.

  18. PLPP – Skied the Cookie Race (Kananaskis Ski Marathon) course this morning, with a few diversions and detours: Pocaterra, Come Along, Lynx, Amos, Wheeler, Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, Moraine, Packers, Pocaterra, Rolly Road. Pocaterra parking was -4 at 8:15, -2 at 12:45. It was like skiing in three different trail systems.

    1 – North end trails: Pocaterra to Lynx Jct, Come Along, Amos, Wheeler and Rolly Road were mostly a fresh skiff of snow over a hard crust underneath with remnants of track from old grooming. Reasonable skiing and more or less needle free but not great. By the time I was back to Pocaterra at lunchtime several sections were really scraped down.
    2 – “Middle” trails: Lynx, Packers, Whiskey Jack, Pocaterra south of Lynx all groomed in last 24hrs and in good (Lynx a bit dirty) to excellent (Whiskey Jack) shape.
    3 – South trails: Tyrwhitt and Elk Pass had tons of ungroomed snow but were in great shape with skier set track until I ran into the snowshoeing horde heading in from the Elk Pass parking. Why can’t more people be like the first snowshoers I saw heading up the middle of the trail? Fox and Moraine were both a bit thinner but pleasant skiing in the morning.

    Recommendations for tomorrow – barring any new snow/grooming, Packers/Whiskey Jack loop from Boulton offers the best trail conditions, Tyrwhitt/Elk Pass the best scenery and deepest snow (but I didn’t need to tell you that…)

  19. Pipestone heaven! Beauty day out on the Pipestone loop! Busiest I have ever seen it (saw upwards of 50 people), lots of smiling faces young and old. -5 when we started, forgot to check the temp when we finished. 0 on my back deck in Banff right now. Might just have to go back tomorrow!

  20. Skied Cascade Fire road today which had only 1 cm fresh snow over bullet proof ice. Skiable to the downhill right before the new Cascade River Bridge but horrible after that with tons of debris and no fresh snow, so super icy. Definitely needs a good fresh snowfall!

  21. Pipestone – Jan 29

    Sunny with blue sky no wind great temperature (-5/6 or so) and wonderful skier track set conditions on silky snow. We were on waxless and zipped along effortlessly. Really don’t like the OMG thing but OMG it was great!!! saw 11 other lucky ones, all smiling like us.

  22. CNC Friday night – great skate ski conditions. Fast and icy. But plenty of trail foliage to fight with off the main tracks. May be a good weekend to pull out the skate skis!

  23. West bragg is all ice, most unskiiable conditions i have seen in ages.
    Saved the day by hiking on mtn road and let the kids zoom down the hills on the ice!

  24. Lake Louise 1A – we were the friends of Bev & Rob who skied there today – I skied on freshly groomed tracks all the way out to the Lake O’Hara end. Swix Extra Blue, -7/-1C, worked well. On the way back in, it looked like Upper and Lower Telemark, and Peyto had also been freshly track-set.

  25. Jan 29 PLP was amazing today ….unbelievable snow and bright sunny skies We had to break trail for most of the way . We started at Boulton parking lot and skied moraine to elk pass over tyrwhitt to whiskey jack. Only a couple of others on the trail. We used vr45 the whole time and it worked pretty good for the most part. We really needed that snow. Yahoo!!

  26. Moraine Lake Road – sorry I reported in Groomer’s report window – go there.

  27. Lovely conditions on the Pipestone today. Sunny, warm – but not too warm (VR45 was perfect) — and soft new snow. Appreciated Bob’s tracks from yesterday, as they still held after the new snow fell on the trackset tracks previously made.

  28. Surprisingly nice conditions at CNC tonight, skate skiing on corn snow was soft and fast! Mind you, I stuck to the lighted trails, having encountered VERY needlesome conditions on Bow the last couple of days and also a very large downed tree. Yesterday, the tracks looked like eavestroughs that haven’t been cleaned… ever. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of snow in our future but let’s cross our collective fingers in the hope that the prediction of cooler temps proves accurate.

  29. Gale storm warm winds in WBC today and mostly sunny. Some people where classic skiing but they did not looked comfortable or happy. All trails looked like hockey ring. Some trails were filled with pine needles, twigs, cones and poop. Except Sundog trail which was groomed recently and was good for skates. Skate skiing possible but I would wait until afternoon when snow gets soft. I will go there again once the conditions improve.

  30. Just returned from a nice ski on MLR. Started at 10 am just as the groomers finished. Perfect conditions for both skating and classic. Snowing lightly -2 C
    approx. 1cm /hour. Could be a little deep for skating tomorrow morning, depending on amount of snow and when they will re-groom.
    Peter Donitz

    • Fairview loop then down Tramline to village

      Rain until about 10 km east of Lake Louise. Snowing from 11:15 to 2:15 during the ski and still snowing after hot chocolate. +1oC. Waxless skiers in the Meanderthal group had no problem. Some clumping on the slower uphill portions of Fairview for wax skiers but the rest was good. Nice glide to the village. Expect excellent conditions as the temperatures cool and the groomers get out.

      Looking forward to Emerald Lake Monday. Can anyone comment on conditions??

      • Hi Paul and Nancy, I skied yesterday for second time in a week from Field to Emerald Lake on the Connector. It was nicer snow last week due to colder temps but if new snow and colder temps resume, should be sweet. Took a look at where the refurbished Monarch trail starts and it goes right to start of Yoho Valley Road. Start of trail is directly across the driveway from entering the Info Centre at Field. Look for plastic white signage and flagging (orange). Waxless would have worked better for me yesterday but VR 50 was OK.

  31. Jan 27 Pipestone in great condition with new grooming/track setting of both inner and outer loops( thanks groomers), snow holding up very well., some debris but nothing serious. Jan 26 Great Divide and Lower Telemark Loops excellent shape.

  32. PLPP – I just talked with a skier who has a cabin in PLPP and she reports wet snow, strong winds, needlemania, lichenmania, twigmania, and cone-ucopia on the trails around Elkwood and the PLPP Discovery Centre. That would include Wheeler, Amos, Wolley, Meadow. Wax would have been impossible to use. Fish-scale waxless gave good results(relatively speaking).

    Ideal conditions for this trail today. It was trackset yesterday and Bruce (the manager) says it will be trackset again tomorrow for the weekend. With temperatures below zero all day, the weather is not wreaking havoc here!
    These pictures tell the story best:

  34. Fairview Loop was surprisingly pleasant this afternoon. Temperature hovered around zero, but with fresh tracks on the Fairview and Upper tramline, it was a lovely ski!

  35. Fairly good conditions at Pipestone yesterday. A bit windy and snowy with some needles and debris – the bit of fresh snow helped with grip. Looks like the loop will be groomed again today.

  36. CNC
    Skied today but yikes! The Man made snow trails are in great shape. However the trails beyond the snowmaking are …., to be polite! Pine needle and cone covered with a rain crust. Skating works but, If you are classic, only waxless works. Ran into a guy on Klister who turned around after leaving the Man made. He had 1/2 the forest under his feet! We talked to Bob (not S.B.) and his wife at the end of the mine scar on waxless who came down Meadowview from the Stadium. They found it icy from the light rain we had last night. We venutred out Meadowview past the mine scar and turned around after 500m as debris filled the tracks. We returned up the rock face trail onto Meadowview and then back to Olympic.

  37. West Bragg Creek – Tuesday Evening

    The trails are still in really good shape for skate skiing. I made the mistake of classic skiing which was still pretty good but the conditions were highly variable so it was difficult to maintain a rhythm. I used the skinteks. Only klister would have worked and even that would have been difficult in the slush spots. I did Moose Loop, Moose Connector, Loggers Loop, and Sundog. The shady trails were in the best condition. The skate skiers were going very fast and it looked like tons of fun. Get out there before the evil Chinook completely destroys the grooming and trackset. Hopefully some more snow and cooler temps are on the way!

    Check out my route here:

    This was a Chinook transition day at West Bragg Creek. I arrived mid-morning to a parking lot that was not yet full and fresh grooming on some of my favourite trails. With new track setting on Hostel Loop and Telephone Loop, I really didn’t even think about other options. The snow was still cold enough on Hostel Loop for V45 to work very nicely, but by the time we reached the Snowshoe Hare junction on east Telephone Loop, the grip was starting to fade. After fighting up a few more hills, we added a layer of VR60, which provided enough grip on all but the sunniest hills and reasonable glide. By the time we started the descent on west Telephone Loop, the snow was getting soft in the sunny areas and icy-glazed in the shaded spots. After completing the loop, I did another spin on the Crystal Line trails, and the conditions were getting icier on the shaded areas.
    I’m guessing the trails will be hard and fast in the morning, and will become softer by mid-day. It may be a good afternoon for wax less skis!

    Lots of people were enjoying this leg today:
    No wind, and more fresh snow since the Loppet made for great conditions.

    • Not sure exactly which section of the trail is Leg #2, but we skied from Castle Lookout to Baker Creek and back, so we may have covered most of it. As Chuck suggests, the conditions were great, with only the spruce / pine forested sections just west of Castle Lookout and just west of Protection Mtn campground showing some cones/needles on the trail. Yes, no wind!!! 10am temp was -9C, and at 2pm it was -4C. If the chinook winds stay high here and at Lake Louise, the skiing should remain excellent.

      • Lake Louise campground to Baker Creek was still in good shape this morning. Lots of animal tracks – met Chuck at Baker Creek parking lot when we finished. Snowing in Lake Louise when we returned to get our car.

  40. REDEARTH – trackset on 23rd, about par for Redearth this year. Bit of snow on icy base. Pretty rough until 2nd significant hill ( not counting ski from parking lot,) and walkers. But gets a lot better and past the campground – it’s wonderful. VR 45 with 50 worked okay. -2. Some light snow. Saw 2 other skiers!

  41. West Bragg again today. I skied Hostel which was icy and wet for most of the way. +3 just adequate. Totally different story on the south side of the road. Crystal Line, Mountain View, Mountain Road, Moose Connecter, Loggers Loop, Sundog all great but a bit sticky. Especially with that +3 wax.

    • A morning appointment made for an after-noon start at WBC today. Crystal Line was still cool, but by the time we hit Moose Connector, warm breezes were wafting through the treetops, and the sun was out in full force. After working our way up the waxing scale searching in vain for grip- I reluctantly dragged out my seldom used old can of Swix red V60. Slathered on generously, it did the job, and our ski around Moose and the Mountain Views in beautiful springlike weather went reasonably well, with decent enough grip and glide, usually, although the most sun exposed descents were quite sluggish, and partly shaded downhill glazed tracks a bit nerve-wracking at times.
      A great afternoon for a trailside picnic!
      Returning on some of the more shaded trails, the snow was icing up as the sun began to drop.
      I’m thinking that conditions will be quite challenging most everywhere, until we get some new snow 🙁

  42. West Bragg fantastic this morning. Skated Mountain Road to end and back then Sundog – East Crystal. Snow and grooming excellent. 0c in parking lot and overcast at 12:30pm.

  43. Skate skiing in Confed last night was still pretty good, though I found the new snow made for some slow going. Classic grooming looked quite good. Shame about the coming Chinook.

  44. West Bragg Creek
    The West Bragg Creek parking lot was full at mid-day on Monday… doesn’t anyone work any more? With mild temperatures, cold new snow, sunny skies and superb grooming, the conditions were outstanding. Swix V45 wax worked perfectly all day, so I just kept skiing until past sunset.

  45. Fantastic afternoon ski at West Bragg today. Temperature in the parking lot at 1 PM was -1C. VR50 kicker was close to perfect. Hardly any need to herringbone any uphill but a good glide overall. The new snow over the weekend was much appreciated. Chinooks are not my friend, particularly at W.Bragg.
    My thanks to the groomers for making the trails a pleasure.

  46. Skied the Watridge Trail at Mount Shark today. What a fabulous time we had, blue skies and perfect snow. I was testing my new equipment that I just purchased yesterday from Lifesport under the guidance of Darcy. I was anxious as I’ve never skied on skinnies like Fisher carbonlite. But the conditions were ideal and the skis worked like a wonder.

    However, the area hasn’t been trackset so many areas were worn out. But, it didn’t take away from the fun of being outdoors! What a panoramic area for skiing.

  47. West Bragg.
    Near perfect today. Skied the fresh tracksetting – Mtn View West, Iron Springs, Elbow, E Crystal – no pine needles, the odd cone, no ice or tree cookies, not even any rocks on MVW in the formerly marginal zone between the snow fences.
    At 4 p.m., air -1C, snow -3C. Some light overcast in the afternoon minimized solar effect. Should be fantastic again tomorrow a.m. at least.

    Fresh snow and fresh grooming yesterday made this a great choice today.
    Tomorrow is looking good!

  49. Canmore Nordic Centre Challenge:
    Well we completed the Challenge today! Power grip red today as it was 0 C Trails were in fantastic shape. Rundle could use some work up top. Knocked off the rest of Olympic and Rundle Best to do the end loop of Rundle bottom to top as it has only had a single pass of a groomer and is very narrow.
    We ended up down in Biathlon where I always get turned around by all the little loops and connectors. Nagano, Sarajevo, Albertville..
    Lots of skiers out on these back trails today. Nice to see.
    We’ve talked to a few skiers who are doing the Challenge on their own without reporting here or on the FB page. Works for me as the Challenge was to get skiers to ski the trails less travelled.
    Now to get ready for the Feb challenge ………..
    After doing the challenge we found the hardest part isn’t the skiing but trying to be efficient in knocking off trials without duplication. Attached is my Polar HR monitor’s take on what we skied today to finish off the Challenge, It was convoluted to say the least. Ignore the hype for Polar.

    • Congratulations, Hugh!

      I’m not officially doing the Challenge but I have been out there and thought “um, ..I’ve never been on that section of Wolverine but I will, inspired by Hugh”. I think it’s the double-backing that keeps me from fully committing; I usually like to go out, get in a meditative groove and go straight out one of the longer trails.

  50. Confed and Shaganappi Golf Courses today.

    Visited Confed mid-morning. Fresh tracksetting in a lot of places! Looks like it was done overnight. Very nice. The driving range was trackset and groomed. A ski class was being held. Skating lane on golf course not groomed but looked okay. Pretty good conditions all around. It was maybe -2C air temp and I used special red (-1 to +2) and did pretty well although I had a little clumping when venturing off the tracks into fresher snow..

    Shaganappi mid-afternoon. Just skied a couple of big loops around the upper part of the course. Skier tracked in old grooming. Tracks are washed out in a number of spots and some glazing. Some slipping with the special red but still it was pretty skiable. Nice to see a number of folks out enjoying an afternoon ski in the city under sunny skies.

  51. Bev and I skied from the gate by Trans Canada Hwy. back through Backswamp this morning. -11C at the start with a brisk wind from the west. Observed fresh wolf tracks + scat on the ski trail. George was just coming off the river to pick up a shovel and flagging (Thanks race volunteers). The wolf tracks had come from the railway crossing area as they were on the trail all the way – nice to see! We then checked out the trail from Healy parking and met four fat bikes and the riders who were doing a one way ride – Banff to Healy. They stayed off the tracksetting.

  52. Canmore Nordic Center

    Huge improvement over Saturday. Thanks to all the groomers. Skied Banff-Banff Mid-Meadow-Meadowview-Banff-Banff Lower Loop. Pretty hard and fast (no ice) on the Meadowview hill towards Banff trail. Pine needles/spruce cones are hidden under the track-setting – no pickup at all.

  53. Redearth Creek, Banff

    Very enjoyable conditions yesterday. 3cm of fresh dry snow on top of snowmobile packed base. Temp. stayed mostly below freezing and trail is treed most of the way so yesterday’s sunny afternoon shouldn’t have an impact on snow quality.

  54. We went up to Boom Lake yesterday, great snow and very doable on the cross country skis right now, although there were people on AT gear,
    just watch for the last bend before the parking lot! Very scenic with huge snow mushrooms in the forest.

  55. Lake Louise received lovely fresh snow on Saturday night. Skied the Great Divide and Lower Telemark trails this afternoon with the kiddos. Thanks to the suggestions from readers on this blog. This was a great choice. We had abundant snow and sunshine and temperatures at about -5°C. We couldn’t have asked for a better day!

  56. I went to CNC this evening. Trails like Olympic and Banff but in the woods it’s Conemania and needlemania, too. Lovely sunset from the meadow. The trails in the meadow were superb especially the one under the coal cut.

  57. I read a very minutes ago about how owners of some unleashed dogs were either getting warnings or “awards” out in West Bragg today. This was on a mountain bike Facebook page. Not sure of the facts, but nevertheless worth sharing.

    Secondly – for the most part I haven’t had many negative interactions with dogs or their owners out there, but Saturday I encountered at least 6 instances of “poo-wax”… folks please either clean up after or kick it to the bush. Don’t leave that stuff mid trail or in the tracks.

    • Here is the copy/paste:
      “Two of the Province’s Finest were at the West Bragg parking lot today ticketing off-leash dogs. I lucked out with a warning, but the other guy was tickets only. I guess a dog was badly mauled by some other dogs, so there’s that. Be aware. The fine is either 115 or 150 dollars, I didn’t want to push my luck to clarify. My dog still needs to learn that we both have to go on the same side of the tree when on leash.”

  58. Whistler – Lost Lake ski trails. Last Friday Jan. 22nd
    After 4 days of ripping up Whistler Blackcomb on my powder fatty’s (UNREAL snow up there) my friends thought I was bat-s### crazy to forego another day on the slopes for a solo day of X-country skiing around Lost Lake. I explained to them how they couldn’t be more wrong, walked 200 meters from our rental condo, and rented some Fischer waxless. There had been at least 5 FEET of snow over the previous few days and I wanted to head out into the magical snow-laden forest, get away from the crowds, and get hit by a few tree bombs. They do a nice job up there. The trails are beautiful and well maintained. I had an absolutely splendid day, and had no regrets whatsoever of getting away from the (ahem) snowboarding 20 some-things.
    Except for all the tree bombs. It was like I was being droned.
    Orange toque.
    Missile away.
    Flight time 3 seconds.
    Good Kill.
    It was magical.

  59. Today in CNC mostly very good skiing except the Bow trail. It was pine needle and cones galore. Some fresh snow fell but not enough to cover hazards on it. For the first time I’ve used swix VR50 without experiencing any icing. I think this wax is meant to be used on the plus side. Over all very good day with warm temperatures.

  60. Another rave for the Sunday skiing at West Bragg. In what has already been a superlative ski season there- today was one of our best yet. We arrived around noon to the usual crowds, and the tail end of a burst of snow that left around 10 cm of new.
    With the big flakes falling at -2, it looked like waxing might be an issue, but we found that a thin buffed layer of VR 45 worked great all day with no issues. The skiing was excellent whether in skier tracked powder, or the virgin grooming that we followed down Iron Springs after talking to Bill and …….. , two of the very dedicated grooming crew who had already been out since well before first light.
    To top it all off- the sun came out in mid-afternoon, but did not have any effect on the great snow conditions.
    Pretty much a perfect day of skiing-

  61. WBC this afternoon, repeated last week’s ski of Moose, Mountain road / view, Loggers, Sundog, East Crystal, a good 10cms of new heavy snow throughout, lots of fresh track opportunities! Took my waxless, not sure it was a good choice but maybe it just takes a little getting used to after all the great wax skiing we’ve had.
    The snow was firming up pretty good towards late afternoon, if I was skiing Monday I’d stick to the groomers ?

  62. Goat Creek upstream to Goat Pond return. This trail that Snowy Owl uses for it’s dog team tours, has become our go to close to home, tour. 13km round trip from the Goat creek parking lot. Fresh snow on top of a bit of a crusty surface. Rode Purple Multigrade (VR50 swix) was perfect. With the new snow we skied down from the parking lot along the creek deeking the willows as we made our way down to the bridge. We ran into 5 dog teams who as always are courteous to us as we step off the trail to allow the them to pass. We ran into two walkers and two snowshoers quite a ways along the trail. Other than that we had the track to ourselves. Once back on the parking lot side of Goat Creek. Traffic increased with walkers and snowshoers. Skied up to the Park boundary on the Goat Creek trail and saw zero evidence of any grooming but lots of ski tracks.

  63. ‘South’ Bragg Creek – Elbow-Sundog-Iron Springs. At 10:30 a.m. it was snowing so hard you could barely see the road to the trailhead. It dumped about 3-4″ of great white POWDER. Someone was out before us so we had a track to follow, and follow it we did, all around our favourite loop. The groomers were out early afternoon on Iron Springs but veered off at ‘the killer corner’. A nice fast ski out, with a bit of pull from the various snow snakes as the temp warmed up, but a lovely day. Oh, and………Best. Snow. Ever. 🙂

  64. Jan 23 Boulton Creek Area Trail Report ?#?kananaskis? ?#?xcskiing? ?#?trailreport?
    Fox Creek and Boulton Creek need more snow. There was a thin layer of fresh stuff on top of a crunchy crust from last week’s melting and freezing. Dig in those edges so you don’t slide around!

    Moraine, Elk Pass, and Blueberry Hill, however were fantastic! Lots of soft snow, track (last set 1/20) in decent shape considering the high volume of skiers (this is the most/best snow in the park right now), and not too fast or slow so zipping downhill was super fun!! Be on the lookout for random bumps on the trails caused by snow that fell from the trees. We got some air going over these, then played around dodging them and lifting up a ski.

    I was on racing skis with red wax, my friend had classic skis with blue plus, and my other friend was testing out her new Skintec skis. The red wax was best for climbing, but not too sticky for the descent – any snow accumulated quickly rubbed off whipping down Blueberry Hill. Lots of fun!

    Photos on Google Plus at

  65. Got out this morning at West Bragg for a rip on Moose Loop. Beautiful conditions with an empty parking lot. Moose Loop looked like it had been groomed earlier in the morning ~6am maybe? Which is fantastic. The other trails got a bit of accumulation so they are slow going but we did see groomers up in the woods on the south trails as we were leaving shortly after 9am. Should be good soft skiing today.

  66. Consistent excellence: that would describe the Golden Nordic Trails at Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre this winter. While weather warmed, the trails have been little affected. Excellent again all this week. You can rent skis and snowshoes on site, get lessons and just enjoy doing laps on those scenic trails.
    Our 20th Annual Huckleberry Loppet goes February 6 (classic) and Feb 7 (skate and chariot). We are pushing up the level of celebrations this year due to our 20th. Lots of great draw prizes and fun. The Chariot event is a poker run which is not timed, but the best hand wins. Enter it all on

  67. I will never take for granted the wonderful trails we have at our disposal here in Alberta! Kudos to the track setters at West Brqgg Creek, who are doing a fantastic job! So excited to ski all the new trails – Friday and Saturday, did Telephone Loop; that hasn’t been this good in years, both directions were super fun (although I fared better on Saturday with my waxless skis than my husband)
    I HIGHLY recommend people stick at least a twoonie in the donation box every time they go out – I dropped $74 at Callaghan for a day of skiing (3 people), and trails were not maintained to the degree I’ve found in Bragg Creek. Great job, groomers!!

  68. West Bragg Creek
    I was out at West Bragg Creek for a mid-day ski. Every conceivable spot in the parking lot was already taken and vehicles were parked along both sides of the road for 400m east of the parking lot entrance. There were people of every age and every ability level heading off in every direction to XC ski, snowshoe, fat bike, trail run or walk and lots of dogs too. Temperatures got below -2C overnight, so the more sun exposed trails were likely icy in the morning. By mid-day, with a high temp of +4C, the snow had softened up and skiing was surprisingly good. I stuck to the shadier trails south of Mountain Road and had good skiing on all of the trails. The track setting was sometimes a bit glazed, but there was always soft enough snow for grip in the centre strip. I used V45 and had good grip and glide all afternoon.
    The collembola (snow-fleas, springtails) were hopping about on the surface of the snow in some areas. In several spots, the tracks were quite blackened by the hordes of little hoppers. It’s a sure sign that there have been a few days of warm weather.

  69. Skied Pipestone loop today – beautiful day and great conditions.

  70. Redearth? Stopped at Redearth today enroute to check out Leg 2.
    There was a recent – yesterday- skidoo track on trail. Appeared that it might have been trackset?? Just a thought for non- loppeters.

    • Leg 2 was being track set when I went through around 3 pm. More snow in the forecast for tonight.

      • Trail report has Redearth set today!

        • I skied Redearth to Shadow Lake today. The trail wasn’t great on the first 2-3 kms but it improved after that. A snowmobile went by but he wasn’t track setting yet, just flattening it out. Not too much melt going on. I had to walk about 500M past the Shadow Lake junction. BC skis would have been useful, struggled to get to Shadow Lake Lodge but the views at the lake were great. The temp was perfect too. Long day, I was out for over 5 hours, about 24 kms. You may want to take your skis off when you see the Caution sign on the way back from the lake. I used a Blue wax -1 to -5, worked well. Great day!

  71. Skied in PLPP today from Elk Pass parking lot to the visitor center. We tried the new Boulton Creek trail, not the cute little green trail anymore, and then skied Wheeler and Meadow for a 10km one-way trip. The lower trails definitely need more snow and took a hit with yesterday’s warm temps. Recommend choosing higher trails in the park (Elk Pass for example.) All hills on lower trails are starting to get icy. Tons of tree droppings as well on all lower trails.

  72. WBC today – did Telephone Loop. A bit of a $#!t show with all the ice. Hopefully the overnight snow in the forecast will alleviate the skating rink conditions. I would stay away from this trail until then. Other trails (part of Moose Loop and Mountain Road) were in a better shape.

  73. Ribbon Creek: Despite the chinook, I decided to stick with my plan from earlier in the week and skate Bill Milne Trail. 2.5 degrees in the parking lot at noon. Trail was icy but fast for skating. Tracks holding up well but very slow. Lots of needles in the trees and gravel coming to the surface near the many road crossings on this trail. After returning to the parking lot I switched to classic skis (skins definitely the choice of the day) and skied a short loop of Hidden-Ribbon-Link-Terrace. Yikes! Pine needles, dirt and cones everywhere with exposed rocks in several spots, including large ones rolled across the trail on the descent to Ribbon Creek. The Terrace side was much better and, from the junctions, Aspen and Kovach looked quite decent, just lots of needles and plant debris. Certainly skiable on that side of the creek but probably better to drive further if you have the time.

    Photos here: and here:

    Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to head to the waxing bench and apologize to my skis.

  74. Spray River West to the Spray Bridge today – the track was icy, the pine needles medium-tolerable but with some universal klister on I gripped perfectly and the glide path was unstoppable. Highly recommended. Fishscale skier sister had a trickier time with the ice but got a good tricep workout.

  75. Canmore Nordic Centre

    We had a good run – now we need the predicted overnight snow. It’s pretty iffy now past the well groomed Banff Loop to the end of the Meadow. Lots of tree debris/needles on Grey Wolf and Bow. Quite icy on parts of Bow making snowplowing in the middle a little challenging. Purple and pine needles worked well together.

  76. I checked out part of legs 5 and 6 of the Lake Loiuse to Banff course today with skintecs. Starting from the Healy Creek parking lot first east along the Healy Creek trail past the Brewster Creek turn off. Then back to the parking lot and west over to the backswamp.

    The warm temps from Friday affected the grooming on these trails. The Healy creek trail has since frozen and is icy and fast with some debris. Double poling is all that is needed for anything flat. Grip is a challenge for anything uphill, even needed to do some hearring boning with the skintecs on some of the hills. Anything down hill, especially past the Brewster Creek junction is lightning fast. Skating this leg would be fast, choosing grip wax for classic skis could be interesting; perhaps waxless skis would be an option.

    The last part of leg five (backswamp) is quite rough in places, with barely a track at times. It too is icy and fast in places, a challenge on some of the twists and turns. There are sections of loose snow in the open areas. The views along the open flats are spectacular transitioning from the sawback to front ranges. The last view back to Castle Mountain is at the top of the climb to the Sunshine road. This next bit involves a run along the road, over the Trans-Canada highway, complete with a cattle guard crossing to the Healy Creek Parking lot.

    Here are some pictures:

    Good luck to all those doing the loppet on Sunday.

  77. Skied part of the loppet course today from Baker Creek west towards Lake Louise to the TCH underpass. Overall the trail was in very good shape. A bit soft in spots and a short walk/ski on the 1A is required near Outlet Creek. It was snowing when we arrived and around 0 when we finished which made for some sticky skis, however it was still fun to get out on another new section of trail I haven’t skied before.

    Good luck to everyone in the loppet this weekend!

  78. What a difference a day (or three) makes! Probably should have gone to Lake Louise, but we decided to try the Brewster Creek trail today. It was windy and raining lightly when we arrived at the parking lot, not the most auspicious start, and it certainly did not improve.
    It was very interesting to see the new trail beginning, and the very impressive new bridge over Healy Creek! After the first km or so, tree debris was surprisingly sparse, and the snow not too bad. The Brewster Creek trail itself was snowmobile packed and groomed while we were skiing on it! Not terribly smooth, though, and the snow was rather soft and a bit slushy. We did have a lot of trouble with wax not working, progress was slow and the rain continued intermittently.
    Summary: it could have been worse!!
    Actually, if it freezes, it probably will be worse……….

  79. My husband & I enjoyed an afternoon ski doing the loop of Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek & Moraine. Temperatures were alarmingly warm when we got to the parking lot +7 C & threatening light rain (yikes!). With these temps I decided to use my waxless skis & my husband, skintecs. Turned out to be a good choice as a few passing skiers were complaining about their wax not performing well. Lots of snow bombs, broken branches & needles on the trails made for a bit of an obstacle course at times. Despite the warm weather, snow conditions were still reasonable until Fox Creek which was glazed & pretty beaten up & Moraine was getting soft & pretty slow. Keeping our fingers crossed for some colder temps & some new snow to freshen things up 🙂

  80. POW @ Lake Louise today but warming up to 0C at the end of the day. Also, a few trees had fallen and I was looking upwards at the end of the day to avoid SNOW BOMBS… I was using wax less skis but others with wax skis seemed to be gripping okay. It was snowing heavily when we left at 3:15 pm. It should hold for a super Saturday ski. Happy trails!

  81. Time to get out the warmer wax and waxless skis. It was +7 at the CNC at noon today. Skied Silvertip, Meadowview, Rundle and Bow. Great conditions despite being warm and slow snow. Should be fast tomorrow once it freezes up overnight.

    • I did a similar CNC loop later on in the evening and posted my fastest average speed this year. I was very impressed with my skintecs: I only needed to get out of a tracks on the steep Rundle uphills, otherwise they gripped right up. The skintecs paid for themselves yesterday in saving me tons of frustration and extending my ski-bliss.

  82. PLPP Elk Pass
    Snow bombs everywhere! Fox Cr tracksetting has been obliterated, not recommended, definitely not in the downhill direction. Some BIG bombs coming down – lots of them 24 inches diameter; they are bringing down some good sized branches not just twigs and have triggered some micro avalanches across the tracksetting in spots where the adjacent slopes are steep.
    1 cm of fresh has partly filled in the tracks on Elk Pass. Joanna and I were glad to have picked the waxless skis – many folks were having waxing woes. So were we until applying some fluoro glider to the fishscales.
    Spitting rain at the south end of the park on the drive in and out. On departure at 3 p.m. it was +4C in Elk Pass parking lot, -2C snow temp, truck said +7C driving by Nakiska. Warm enough that the snow fleas were out.

  83. Today, Friday, a superb day on Jody’s excellent grooming at Mt. Shark. Temp at 10:30 am was +4 and 2 hours later also +4. I used my skintec skis today and they worked incredibly well, even in the track on the steep uphills. Rob used toko yellow hard wax for classic kick and it was good except on the steepest ups. He has better technique than me so there is no way this would have given me any grip at all. It was easy to stay in the tracks on the downhills because of Jody’s track setting expertise. We also skied out past Watridge into Banff park where the old growth trees were shedding a few snow bombs onto the fresh tracks.

  84. Skogan Pass. It was around 0 in the parking lot – a bit of fresh snow and gorgeous skiing up Skogan Pass. The lower parts looked a bit “worn” but higher up it was a winter wonderland with fantastic skiing.

  85. Great conditions this afternoon in PLPP. Basically all of the trails at the South end of the part were trackset or groomed last night, or at least all of the ones that we were on. Started at the Elk Pass parking lot up Boulton Creek Connector, Fox Creek, Elk Pass, Blueberry Hill, Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt, Lookout, Hydroline and Elk Pass back out. Snow a bit soft on Fox Creek, and Tyrwhitt already has minor pine cones and needles from the wind, but overall an excellent ski. Met the only person that went up Lookout from Hydroline back at Blueberry Hill and we were the only ones that went down from Tyrwhitt since there weren’t any herringbones going our way yet. Haven’t been on it for a while but it’s crazy fast and fun. Temperature gauge at Lookout building was -8.

  86. Field Info Centre to Emerald Lake: -5 at 10am starting out on new grooming on Tally Ho Trail right beside the parking lot. This trail was also heading east so assume it would take you to the newly groomed Monarch Trail that will connect Field with the start of Yoho Valley Road, making it a nicer, longer ski. We skied The Connector to the lake and it was in beautiful powder shape. Excellent signage has this Connector trail marked for skiers only (no dogs, no boots, no snowshoes). Took us 2 hours to reach my favorite little store which was just opening at noon. Conditions were so divine with fresh powder, we tried out the Tree Hugger trail to Alluvial Fan. This Tree Hugger offers a much gentler way for new skiers to reach the Fan since the Horse Trail has more of a roller coaster feel to it. Skiing The Connector back was even more enjoyable since it was now -1 and we were getting better response on uphills with VR50. Kicking Horse Ski Club deserves a great deal of credit for much improved signage, more trails being created, and donating countless volunteer hours to grooming them.

  87. Skied Loppet course from the Lake to Castle junction. Very fresh tracksetting, therefore a bit soft and slow, from lake down Tramline, along Riverside and beyond. Lots of road crossings & Very rocky on track under Highway bridge. Track to near Morants curve. Nothing for next km, walked road. Picked up again to Baker. Older track & faster to Castle Lookout. No sign of recent grooming to Castle. Very bumpy old skied in tracks. Guess it will be done for Loppet. Fun never the less. VR 40 with some old 45 worked well enough.

  88. Lake Louise – Fairview and Lower Telemark Loops

    Super conditions – one of the best ski days this year. Light snow falling. Great grip and glide. Both loops in great shape after the snowfall yesterday. Track set and good with V40 (-6oC to -3oC).

  89. West Bragg Creek is in great shape today. No icy spots were found anywhere. We left the parking lot at 10:00, it was -5. Blue wax today. We skied Middle Crystal-Loggers Loop-Elbow-Iron Springs-Sundog-East Crystal Line. A couple of small sunny spots on Iron Springs were slightly slushy. +1 back at the parking lot at 14:10. Thanks groomers!

  90. Wed Jan 20 Canmore Nordic Centre Ski Challenge. Great skiing at CNC the last two days. Conditions are the best I’ve ever skied at the Nordic Centre! Fresh snow. Power grip covered with VR45 makes for slower skis but good grip.
    We’ve skied nearly all the trails . Today, skied up, out of stadium, on Centennial (finally race trails are pushed out) hooked up onto Olympic and jumped over onto Rundle at the very top. Out Rundle, Meadowview and then onto Wolverine. Wolverine climbs right away off Meadowview/Bruin and then it’s DOWNHILL,sweeping corners, step turns, a couple of parallel turns and out onto Meadowview. What a rush! Out to Coyote and Climbed back up onto Rundle. Up at the top where Bruin,Rundle come together (Junction #67), there is an unmarked trail angling off. On old maps it’s called Wapiti. It’s groomed but no tracks we skied it back down to Bruin (#54)and cut back onto the big hill on Meadowview above the mine scar. Downhill and a hard right hand corner onto another unmarked trail but groomed and trackset passing under the rock band back up to the top of the meadow. We skied back towards the Stadium skiing on Rundle and Centennial. We are nearly done. Just a few cleanup loops up on the race trails and a couple of Biathlon area trails. Caution some Biathlon trails will be closed for the IBU World Cup Feb 4-7. Today the were moving in Waxing cabins (Atco trailers) into the parking lot between Trails Sports and Bill. Warren Training Centre.

  91. Drop what you are doing and get out to the Canmore Nordic Centre right now!

    We had fresh snow yesterday, the majority of trails have been groomed and the conditions are amazing!

  92. Castle Junction to about half way to Protection Mtn

    Skied about 18 km return at -5oC to -3oC (V40). Fresh snow so the two of us skier set the trail to Castle Lookout. The trail was more recently track set towards Baker Creek and was quite good. Skied to the end of the open (old road??) with great views of the Bow Valley. Would recommend starting at Castle Lookout Parking Lot and heading west.

  93. Got an unusually late start @ 3:30 on GOAT CREEK. Hardly anyone around, 2-3 cms new snow, not a snowshoe marking anywhere to be seen. -5 at start and -3 at end two hours later. Wonderful to enjoy the fresh snow at that end for a change even though the tracks need refreshing. Moon was high above the saddle of Ha Ling and coaxed me gently back to my car. Think my moonlight ski this month might be to ski just above the meadow at CNC.

  94. Jan 20: pocaterra to whiskey jack junction and return.
    1cm of fresh in the lot and -6 at 11 am. Made for a soft but easy ski. 2cm at the junction. Light snow most of day, isolated areas got a bit more. A bit slow on descent and had to scrape some ice off the skis twice, but that was it. Mild temps/breeze and quite a few folks out enjoying it for a weekday. About -2 back in the lot at 4. Still no fireplace fix at the hut unfortunately. )-:

  95. Skate skied in Confed last night and conditions were surprisingly good. Coverage remains excellent and the track was in good enough shape even for my beginner skills. Some stretches are a little choppy from the warm weather and there are the inevitable dog walker boot prints. And one set of fat tire tracks, which I found amusing/mystifying. Someone’s commute? Test ride? New toy? Maybe someone out with a friend or spouse on skis? As a long time mountain biker, riding around a golf course wouldn’t get me too excited but different strokes I guess.

  96. Another great ski at West Bragg Creek today. Did most of the south trails under warm, sunny skies. Kudos to the never tiring volunteer trail crews. Keep those donations coming in. On another note why not stop by the village of Bragg Creek after your ski or bike and enjoy the local restaurants and services. The town needs our business and has some great shops and places to eat. I recharged with some very tasty slow cooked brisket at The Wild Texas BBQ company.

  97. Three of us skied the Cascade Valley Trail today all the way to the Warden’s cabin the long way around. Although the tracks were only skier set the conditions were great. Blue VR40 worked well today. I also skied the final km or so to Stoney Creek, it is a single track and probably not worth it unless you just want to make it to the creek. The run down the hill was fast and exhilarating.

  98. Skogan Pass was a delight today. We started at Ribbon Creek parking and skied up Hidden Trail (which we had never done before) to Nakiska base and over to Skogan Pass Trail. This is a great little trail with some up and down, but it got us around the nasty ice flow on lower Skogan. The Skogan Pass Trail was quite worn and covered with a dusting of tree debris, but as we went higher, conditions improved dramatically. I finally got my warm weather I’ve been wishing for, but found it almost too warm for going up! Temp was -4C. to start, -5 at the Pass and +2 back at the parking lot at 1:30. We had a nice fast downhill ride and came out along Skogan all the way, so we got a look at the ice flow, where we took off our skis and trudged through the forest to get around the devilish blue ice. Lovely day!

  99. I beat you to it, Sheila.
    Today I went to Sandy Mcnabb. As I arrived the tracksetter was coming off a ski trail, so there were fresh tracks everywhere. Very good in most places with a few thin or rocky bits. Overall as good as it gets at Sandy Mcnabb. The tracksetter is perhaps a bit overkill when it comes to removing tracks on hills. Arctic Hill, Macabee Connector in super condition, Pine Ridge excellent in spots and thin in others.

    • Good for you, GMJ! My husband was out yesterday (I was at work) so I really should be getting him to write the trip report for Sandy but it is difficult for him to be objective and any ski day is a good ski day as far as he is concerned. Seems like they have really stepped thing up this year at Sandy! Like to think it was due to all my whining and complaining but who cares what the catalyst was, it is being done much to the enjoyment of people who ski there. My next rant will be to encourage more signage to help individuals who are unaware of the damage caused by walking, etc., on groomed tracks. Do not want the tracksetter feeling discouraged that his/her hard work is being taken for granted.

      • So he was at there…there was only one other car in the parking lot when we got there and a different one when we left…and we never saw a soul except the tracksetter and various squirrels. Very quiet.

  100. Beautiful day everywhere I am sure but special at WBC. Did Telephone, Moose , Moose Connector, Sundog and East Crystal for 27+ km. VR40 good all day and conditions while a little worn were great! Met the Bragg Creek Trail team (Alf, Bob, and ?) doing some brushing on the upper reaches of Telephone in preparation for the weekly grooming by Parks (here’s hoping). Hats off once again to these volunteers – don’t forget your donation which makes it all possible! Easiest yet is an on-line donation and get a personal grooming up-date. $100 can’t hurt too much when it is tax deductible and compared to the cost of driving to PLPP, CNC or even further afield.

  101. At Peter Lougheed Provincial Park today. Skied Whiskey Jack to Tyrwhitt, then down Elk Pass, Fox Creek and Moraine. Conditions were excellent. It was -4°C at the trail head upon arrival at the trail head, and 0°C when I returned from my ski. It started cloudy and then the sky cleared and it was glorious. I hadn’t skied along Tyrwhitt before and had no idea just how lovely it is until now. I met several people en route and all had great big smiles on their faces :).

  102. Very good conditions at West Bragg this afternoon even with the warmer temperatures. Following the ‘conservation of elevation’ rule, I shortcut up West Crystal #4 from Lower Crystal to ski Loggers and East Crystal. Parking lot was pretty full for a Monday.

  103. Magic on Pipestone
    What a beautiful day today with amazing tracks and tons of snow! Thanks to Andrew and Cherie for wonderful track setting, who we met in the trails working hard this afternoon. . Pipestone -perfection, Merlin- marvellous, Drummond- divine, Hector- heavenly! Nice to see you Bob!

  104. Cheryl B. congratulations on reaching your goal on that amazing Cascade Fire Road. If you’d started earlier you would have likely carried on to the historic Elk Paddocks that Chuck described a few months back. Today we 7 “fit” seniors, who each day celebrate just being alive, skied to Sundance Lodge. -5 at start and +2 at finish. I added a puff of Ventolin and some VR50 to help with the elevation and thankfully the “cone-ucopia” alluded to by SkierBob had been mostly covered over on Healy Creek portion of trail with a little bit of snow over last few days. The gracious hosts, John and Stephen were not there (days off), nor that frisky pine marten Chuck got great photos of previously. Another foursome from Canmore joined us over lunch and the ski can be easily done in 4-5 hours. Having some brochures hanging protected in a plexiglass container might help advertise this terrific winter ski lodge.

    • Someday I will go further for sure (and get an earlier start – haha 🙂 In the meantime, I am in awe of you guys and look forward to your trip reports. You are inspiration to push a little harder to see new trails and places I keep hearing about, but haven’t always had the time or stamina to reach in past seasons – thank you for your wonderful reports!

      • Cheryl, I second your comments, and I would like to add that this website has not only been a great source of information, but also a great source of inspiration! A big thank you to all my new heroes 🙂

  105. West Bragg Creek : Did everyone get the day off work today, or were they all playing hookey?? Couldn’t believe how full the parking lot was at 1 pm on a Monday!
    Short loop of Sundog, West Crystal, exploring some of those Crystal connectors for fun, all in fantastic shape under a beautiful blue sky! Pretty sure we crossed paths with the venerable Alf along the way 🙂

    • Yes that was me, heading up Middle Crystal Line, as you were zooming down. Great conditions all the way around Mountain View, Mountain Road, Mountain View West and Moose Loop.
      It looks like Hostel Loop and Hostel Meadow got track set today!

      • What is Hostel Meadow?

        • Hostel Meadow is a new practice loop that parallels the southeast leg of Hostel Loop. The east end of Hostel Meadow is a large training grid in the meadow where a youth hostel stood in the late 1970’s. A picnic table now sits on the old foundation. The loop is flat, wide and is ideal for practicing skate-skiing or classic XC skills.
          I often use Hostel Meadow in combination with Hostel Loop and East Telephone to make a variety of figure-8 combinations.

  106. Confederation Golf Course – did a quick ski here this afternoon. About 2/3 of the tracks are decent, with the other 1/3 being somewhat or mostly washed out. Used my waxless skis, so the temperature of +3C was not a problem. A few spots may be a bit icy tomorrow, but overall the snow was holding up well.

  107. WBC $100 Challenge

    Checked out Mountain View West for the 1st Time. Brilliant. Talk about making lemonade (an awesome ski trail) from lemons (logging).

    Which brings me to donations. Putting some money in the trail side box is all fine and good, but the GBCTA website has an easy to use, online donation link and you get a tax receipt.

    I figure that most folks using the trail network – ie Calgarians like me – can easily afford a $100 for a season of great skiing. So donate today. I just did.

  108. Pocaterra!

    We had a terrific day at Pocaterra yesterday. We did 20 km loop on Pocaterra, Packers and Meadow back. The trails closer to Boulton were freshly groomed and the others had a bit of fresh snow on them but were still in really good shape.

  109. We skied Terrace/Aspen counterclockwise from Kananaskis Village on Sunday. -13 when we left the city, -6 at the village when we arrived and 0 when we left! Wow, was it ever worth the drive just to escape the cold!

    A few cm of fresh snow overtop of tracks. The kids love this trail for the slow climb, rolling hills and the long (fun but not scary) downhill switchback at the end.

    Has anyone been to Shaganappi in the past week? Hoping to get out one evening before the t-shirt weather hits this weekend

  110. Skied classic from the Chateau Lake Louise today. Headed out about 11:30 and it was about -5; lovely ski weather. It snowed ~6cm last night and all trails were just skier set. I headed out on Fairview (stunning, never done this trail before), to Moraine lake road (where I broke trail heading back down) and then up tramline to the chateau. 7.6km is what I read somewhere; had hoped it might have been a little more. Beautiful day!!

  111. Skied to Boom Lake today and found some beautiful frozen waterfalls at the end of the lake. Great ski touring day. Shared the trail with many snowshoers and hikers. Apparently it’s not a popular trail with xcountry skiers but it’s my favourite.

    • Tanya, it used to be quite popular with skiers until the snowshoers and hikers took over. They don’t improve the trail 🙁

      • The bane of ski tourers, alas….

        • I hear you both Diana and GMJ. Every time we met snowshoers we were like, “noooooo.” They made the track less slippery and smooth for the way down. Fortunately “most” of them got out of the way when we were coming down. I think one wise man realized he’d get a pole to the face if he didn’t because there was no way I could stop on the steep hill and I “may” have looked rather out of control, lol.
          Regardless, it’s a great ski tour and the hikers didn’t really interfere with our enjoyment of the trail. And none of them made it to the waterfalls at the end of the lake. Had that to ourselves. 🙂

          • At Sandy Mcnabb where the trails are actually trackset, people walk in the tracks like they spontaneously appear every twenty minutes. I wonder if they realize how much money and work goes into making those tracks.

  112. Lots of smiling faces on the Cascade Fire road today – Bob’s pics from yesterday made me yearn for those beautiful views and the very fun downhill coming out. I’ve never actually made it to the warden’s cabin before (either by skiing or biking), so today I was bound and determined to reach that goal no matter what. I got my usual late start (which is actually early for me) at 12:30pm on the trail. There was fresh snow last night, air temp. was only minus 5 and snow temp minus 10, so I used VR30 blue and it worked beautifully – walked up every hill with no slippage until nearing the cabin as the snow did seem to take some wax off. After the bridge, the tracks were definitely more skier set, and good on one side only. I saw lots of large groups coming out, including a few skaters as I plodded forward, and noticed on my way back how much the heavy traffic really did impact the soft skier set tracks – they were pretty washed out in many places and in bad need of some new grooming. After a very brief break at the cabin, including a bit of re-waxing, the light was fast disappearing, so I decided I needed to get going right away to avoid skiing in total darkness. Under the light of the half moon, I went as fast as I could, all the way envious of you super fit senior trip reporters who do this trip regularly like it’s stroll in the park 🙂 (You guys are way more fit than this still a couple-of-years-away-from-40 slowpoke who was really feeling the burn with every stride – I hope to catch up with you all someday!!). I finally accepted my headlamp was needed by the time I reached the top of the big long hill after the bridge. I must say that speeding along the fast downhill by headlamp added a new dimension to the ‘exhilaration factor’, and was exceptionally fun! (and my visions of a moose suddenly and casually sauntering out into my path as I sped towards it didn’t happen), so all in all, and huge success and a fantastic ski – great day to be alive and enjoying the mountains!

  113. Four fantastic folk skied PLPP Sunday from Pocaterra Hut to the picnic table on Tyrwhitt. It was a stellar day, with much warmer temps than in the city, sunshine almost all day long and little wind to speak of. VR 40 worked in all conditions and the tracks were in great shape, though with a cm or two of new snow. Lots of smiling faces along the way and it was encouraging to see a few newbies taking classes near the hut. It’s always heart-warming to encounter folks who are learning just how much fun the winter holds. Ray, how was the roast?

  114. Surprising warm @ WBC this afternoon, -6 @ 2pm, skied Moose, Mountain road / view, Loggers, Sundog, East Crystal all in great shape a really nice ski, snow temp also -6 half way Mountain, VR40 on the limit of my VR40.

    Dropped some credits into the donation bin. Thanks GBCTA for making it possible 🙂

    • West Bragg Creek-Hwy #66 end
      I too was pleasantly surprised by the warm weather at the West Bragg Creek trails this afternoon. You could see the tell-tale signs of a building Chinook arch overhead on the drive to Bragg Creek, but the 10 degree temperature rise from between Redwood Meadows and the trailhead was really amazing!
      After all the reports of the overflowing parking lot at West Bragg Creek, I took Highway #66 to the Allen Bill trailhead. Several cars were leaving as I arrived, but there were only about a dozen cars at the new Allen Bill Parking area on the north side of Highway #66. The new post-flood section of Elbow Trail starts right at this parking lot.
      The first kilometre of Elbow Trail is a multi-user access trail and it gets pretty infrequent grooming by Alberta Parks staff. There had been 6-8cm of new snow overnight, but by mid-day this had been packed pretty smooth by all the users.
      The track-setting starts at the Snagmore/Elbow junction. A few snowshoers and a fat-biker had continued on a bit further, but they had stayed out of the old track setting. Before long, it was just nice skied-in track setting. The best grooming was on the portions of my loop that get groomed by Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association volunteers. My loop included Elbow, Loggers, West Crystal, Sundog and Iron Springs. It had warmed up to -3C at dusk, when I finished.

  115. Thanks to Parks Canada, Bow Valley Stewards and wonderful volunteers, the Avalanche Open House at Burstall parking lot was very well done. The Chester parking lot was where many people parked and hot chocolate, hot dogs, opportunity to win door prizes and even a SPOT. Bravo to all who worked this great event. I skied up to Burstall Flats to where the trail hits the steep uphill into the forest, then skied down the lake and back onto the main trail. While it was quite windy on the flats, the snow was terrific and temp started at -7, ended at -2. Found a cell phone of a person with name: Dong Wonqi (spelling?) and handed it in to Parks Canada who were officially in charge today. He said they will likely take it to lost and found at Barrier Info Centre. So if this “rings a bell”, give Barrier a call in morning.

  116. Just back from a ski at West Bragg, much warmer out there than in Calgary. Conditions continue to be excellent, everything I skied – Moose – Mountain View West – Mountain View – Loggers – Crystal Line -was freshly track set , thanks once again to the grooming crew who were out this morning. I ascended Mountain View West from the North, coverage seems much better than a few weeks ago, although you would still need to be careful if descending.

  117. Skied PLPP trails starting at Pocaterra yesterday. I was surprised there weren’t more peeps on the trails. We did Pocaterra to Whiskey Jack turn off and back the same way.
    The sun was trying so hard to make an appearance but didn’t quite make it. -14 when we started at 10:15 and -7 when we finished at 1pm. A gorgeous day out!

  118. Epic awesome ski loop at Lake Louise today on totally deserted trails! We arrived at the chateau shortly before 10am and were the first car in the parking lot! We skied the Fairview trail to the junction with Paradise Valley and then skied up the Paradise Valley trail to the first bridge and junction with the snowshoe trail from Louise. From there we followed ski tracks up the creek to a second bridge. Following the creek was was much easier than skiing the normal trail through the trees to the second bridge. More scenic too!! We skied back down the creek, down Fairview to the Moraine Lake Road, and then skied down the Tramline trail to the village. Fortunately we had a second vehicle at the village and we enjoyed our well-earned beers at the Post Hotel Pub.

  119. Cindy, Alan and GH

    Like an earlier report in the week this is a report that perhaps should be split.
    We skied to Takakkaw falls today. Great day -5 at start, -4 at end 26k. The ski guy was rated a 10 today. VR40 was the choice and it was great on the way in and reapplied at turnaround and work perfect on way out as well. Snow gently falling after lunch but pretty steady. Rating was green today only saw 5 or 6 others on the trail on way out. Glad to be able to get this one in some years things don’t come together.

    The track set was pretty broken down but did not cause issues.

  120. My 8 month old puppy saved my life today. Well, almost. Skied WBC with beloved husband, Bob (the dog) and Cooper, the puppy. All was well until my beloved, who skies a good km or so ahead of me, came to a fork in the trail and, assuming erroneously that I have any sense of direction, made an executive decision and veered right. When I eventually reached this same fork, panting, tongue hanging out one side of my mouth and eyes bulging, I tried to ski left. Puppy would not let me. He refused to budge. Sat down, whined then tried to pull me in the opposite direction. What is a girl to do?? I might add that in order for this to be considered a trip report, both trails were in pristine condition! If a girl is smart (and directionally challenged) she will listen to the puppy. Sure enough, a km or so down the opposite trail that I would have chosen, we were reunited and a happy ending was enjoyed by all. Great day skiing at WBC!

    • Forget “the beloved” and stick with “puppy-love”. Great story!

      • I enjoyed that, too. When Tessa was younger, we took her to tracking classes and I was astounded at how easily she could find me in downtown Calgary when I was two blocks away.

        • Years ago, when I was skiing in the Morin Heights, Quebec area, with a buddy and my dog, my buddy and I became separated. We eventually rejoined but my buddy reported that my dog had joined him several times in the interval!

  121. Skied Skogan Pass Loop and Sunburst Loop from Ribbon Creek Parking on Saturday morning. Wonderful conditions everywhere except the 200-300 metres of Skogan immediately south of the Ruthie’s junction – not recently groomed due to large ice flow. Popped the skis off, walked around in the trees, continued with a lovely morning ski! Good old Blue Extra wax working fine but very abrasive snow and long climb made for a couple of reapplications – use a base binder if you’re prepping at home.

    David posted this amazing photo on Twitter, but I thought it was worth sharing on here, too. -Bob

    Photo at Sunburst viewpoint

  122. PLPP
    Elkwood lot to Meadow, Woolly, Amos and Wheeler and back at Elkwood
    Temp at start -8C Same at end.
    Wax- Swix Blue (I never can remember the numbers)
    Conditions were cloudy but wind free.
    Tracks were good- well incised and not badly used at all. Snow was fast on thin blue wax. There was a small amount of tree litter in the tracks, but it really caused no problems. Also, few people, so I expect tracks will still be good tomorrow (Sunday)
    Most delightful part was a family with two cute little girls who were “trucking” along Amos and were elated. I love to see families out there!

  123. PLPP today – Elk Pass parking to Blueberry Hill via Fox Creek and Elk Pass Trail. What a fantastic ski in -10 to -5 temperatures, great tracks and bounteous snow. The snow hung in the trees and gave an other-worldliness feel to Blueberry Hill. The forest exerted a luring magnetism trying to pull us into its depths and inviting us to lose ourselves in its cold, trackless whiteness. We resisted, barely! After a quick lunch at the picnic table overlooking the lakes, we flew back down the trail and then skied up to Elk Pass and down Hydroline and back to Elk Pass Trail. Hydroline was nicely tracked and the snow was a bit slow; the steep hill at the end was somewhat plowed out, but still had enough snow to slow our descent. The best hill of the day was lower Elk Pass Trail to the parking lot – fast and furious! Whew!

  124. Montane trails in Fernie

    The main Nordic skiing only trail in Fernie is groomed for skating. No track for classic at the moment. In pretty good shape except for a few/elk deer tracks.

    For those of you unfamiliar with this area I’ve attach a map below. There’s a network of X-country ski trails along with multi-use trails for snowshoeing, fat biking and walking. I often take my wider metal edged skis so that I’m not restricted to the main Nordic only trails and can explore the multi-use trails. Nnn-bc gear (ie rossignol bc70 or salomon xadv 69) are perfect here. It’s also a good area to use fatter skis with 3 pin or telemark bindings (Fischer s-bound, madshus annum, G3 stinger, voile vector bc, etc).

  125. West Bragg was rather chilly first thing Sat morning but overall terrific fresh conditions. Was a great 22km ski outing, but tired after. Parking lot and road as full as “normal” these days given the tremendous accessibility and range of users which continues to impress.

    On another note… Any updates for Shag or Confed golf courses? from both a classic and skate perspective. Would be nice to know if skate is a realistic option at either/both. I know classic would be reasonable as long as one is ok with loose-goody track setting.

    • A friend was there yesterday and said the tracks were skier set and washed out here and there. He wasn’t skating but said the skate lane looked okay. With the forecast for the coming week I would be (pleasantly) surprised if Confed gets a refresh.

      • For short intown ski outings it would be great if folks and groomers could please provide a short update. As someone with a busy family and kids often this is the only choice… and with kids they tend to remember the good and not-so-good experiences, so if I can be more sure of a great experience I will encourage them to come out and they will be more interested.

  126. Sandy McNabb — Sheila where are you??
    Chilly, gloomy day today, but pretty trees, and recent grooming on north side trails looked promising. There was only a couple cm of fresh snow at the start, increasing a little higher up, but it did help a lot.
    Basically, we did the Pine Ridge Loop, which would be a great loop if it ever got enough snow. I wonder if it ever does?? The lower portion was mostly good with a few thin spots, mainly under trees, and one very significant ice flow. At least one skier had been there before us. The upper portion of the loop was mostly not good, with long very thin sections ( I mean *very* thin!!) that were really not skiable. There we only followed the boot tracks of someone with small feet, and their dog, who went all the way around the loop. I guess the other skier knew better!
    The lower, less steep trails might be much better right now. The last 2.5 km of our descent were quite fun.

    • Hi Diane: My beloved husband and his beloved dog, Bob, have been heading out to WBC for the past week so trail posting by me would have been totally fictional. Ross (husband) has really enjoyed the trails and, of course, the beautiful grooming at WBC so tomorrow I believe the plan is again to head out in that same direction. If weather report is to be believed then 2 to 4 cm is supposed to blanket the area which would mean Sandy might be in our thoughts. Of course, we would then be talking about Sunday which would be NFL playoffs at 11:00. Seattle Seahawks trumps everything including our marriage. Will post a trip report no matter which direction we head. Sandy, WBC, or divorce court depending on Seahawks.

  127. Fri Jan 15: elk/west of London and back.
    A trace of fresh over the grooming at pkg lot. A bit more higher up. Tracks in good shape along fox creek and elk pass. A bit less cushion on fox, small amounts of debri, no issues. Blueberry looked like it was good. Quite a few cars in the lot at noon. The snow pack at west elk still lacks some support in the upper layers off track despite recent snow. About 8 inches has fallen back there since I dug the couch out last. A new set of quinzees and a kitchen has shown up nearby the border. Me thinks it’s hobbits.

  128. West Bragg-I went there this afternoon for a short ski. First round Hostel and then Sundog. Remarkably good conditions with amazing mist and light snow. There were a lot of colours in the sky.
    Hostel loop is good with good tracks under some fresh snow. Sundog (with the exception of the big hill) was freshly trackset as was Crystal Line. I used blue wax which worked great.

  129. As reported on, grooming is in progress on the Lake Louise to Banff course. Wednesday, we checked out the section from Castle Junction towards Johnston Campground. It had been snowmobile packed. No tracks, so we broke trail in a few cm new snow, very pleasant. Moving on, we skied up the 1A from the Lake O’Hara end. 5 cm new snow gave smooth, quiet classic skiing on VR45 wax, and heavy but satisfying skating. No evidence of recent grooming.

  130. West Bragg Cr.

    Morning shift on Friday. Mtn Rd, Moose Loop, Mtn View West.

    Wonderful fresh tracksetting everywhere.

    A few exposed rocks (couldn’t pick them all up) and minor gravel on MVW between the two snow fences. Centre part of the corduroy was safe.

    Priceless conditions today, worth waaaay more than a tooney, thank you tracksetters, dunno how you managed to get this all done overnight.

    • We took the mid-day shift. Crystal West-Moose North-Mtnview West-Mtn Road-Mtnview-Loggers-Crystal East. 20 km of fabulous skiing in silky snow! All freshly groomed and set, except Loggers which was nonetheless very good. Excellent conditions with pristine tracks were found on most of Mtnview West, but I would still favour going N to S, as the one really nasty thin area on the NW side of the hill about 1 km N from the Mtn Road junction is still very much a hazard. Unless you know exactly where it is, and can then slow down to a crawl well in advance! It’s short though and can be tiptoed through easily enough now.
      Best value for a toonie that I can think of- thanks Bill, Jeff and all of the GBCTA!

  131. Fresh fluffy powder @ Cascade! Started out in grey skies @ 11:00 am temp -4 with a skiff of 1-2 cm fresh snow in parking lot. By the time we reached the bridge, rewarded with approx. 4-5 cm fluffy new snow. Helen Reed and group were ahead of us and nicely cleared skier tracks to Stoney Creek. Blue skies and sunshine @ Wardens cabin -1 temp. Wax worked beautifully; love my SKI GO HF -1 to – 20. We only saw 4 other people all day…including 1 adventuresome skate skier who ploughed up mid road almost to Stoney in ankle deep snow. All in all, another spectacular ski @ Cascade!

  132. Hit the trails in Allison Creek last weekend and it was as good as everywhere else this snowy winter. Skied up Hikers to Deadman’s Pass and down Bullmoose to Cutoff and back down to the lot. 1:15 in time with some good climbs and exhilarating downs. Trails are well covered though there were some needles on the lower parts but it was snowing when we left.

  133. Confederation Golf Course. Started today at 3:30pm, Air temp about 9C. Today’s couple of cm of new snow freshened up the tracks. There is glazing underneath though. Skied 3 circuits of the north and east parts of the golf course and a couple of rounds of the driving range area. Did reasonably well with special red (-1 to +2).for grip.

  134. We skied further afield today at Golden. Dawn Mountain Nordic trails. What a treat! First time there and we’ll be back! Fresh snow overnight on top of great grooming. Snow pack is soft -3C and our Skinstechs work perfectly. We skied out Beaver,Hawk Owl down onto Raven ( and I mean DOWN 🙂 Nothing screamer but trending down. Raven has great views of Kickinghorse Ski hill. Back on up Caribou and then Marmot, Chickadee back to the Chalet.about 13 km The Chalet is a very nice facility . Log construction, durable flooring, flush toilets ,rentals . According to their website they groom after every snowfall.
    Everyone we met was super friendly.

  135. “I told you so” reporting in after skiing the 24 kms Cookie Race route in PLPP. No time trial for me and no aspirations for speed. Had never skied that particular loop before in that order and had forgotten what a lovely trail Woolley is. Think the VR 50 was doing a better job of cleaning up the tracks than gripping the snow. Pocaterra thermometer was on zero @ 11 & 2 pm, as was the snow temp on top of Packers. Was humming the Gord Lightfoot song, “the snow (bombs) were gently falling” and wondered how all the registrants actually carry on and race the full 48 kms. They must love speed and skinny skis.

  136. Pipestone Loop, Jan. 13. We decided to drive a little further today and do the Pipestone Loop & it was certainly worth it. It was -6 at the start and the trail was superb with 4 or 5 cm of new snow on top of fairly recent tracksetting. We skied counter-clockwise around the Pipestone Loop and then did the last section via Hector. We could tell someone else had been around earlier but we didn’t see any other skiers all day. Hardly a needle or cone on the trail; well maybe a few that came down with the occasional snow bomb but that was it.Temperature was -1 at the end and the snow was still great.

  137. PLPP: It’s a good omen when the clouds are hanging over Elk Pass! We had a great day for skiing! Our group of seniors started at Elk Pass parking today and skied to Elk Pass via Fox Greek. Conditions were as reported by Ray. From Elk Pass we skied Hydroline together to Patterson junction where two skied the remainder of Hydroline with others returning via Patterson. Hydroline was drifted with tracks non-existent over half the length. We returned down Fox Creek and skied along Moraine. Now the skis were flying on the downgrade and warmer snow. We skied Wheeler, Amos and Wooley and back to Elkwood parking on used but good tracks. Four split off from me and skied Lodgepole and Sinclair on the newly groomed trails to Pocaterra Hut. We started on VR40 but needed good weight transfers for kick. At 1:00 pm we added VR45 which worked well on the new track set. All trails we skied today except Hydroline were in good condition with a minimum amount of tree debris and snow bombs.

  138. -1 C 2:00 pm Atomic Skintecs. We got these waxless skis and try them out whenever it warms up. Tracks are in great shape. Skied out Bow Trail. Went up and back on Wooded Bliss skied out to the end of the trails up onto Cold Shoulder, out to the BNP boundary. We returned via Banff Trail and Banff Loop.
    Some skaters are getting to be a bit of a pain in that they don’t care if they cross onto tracks.

    • Hi Hugh,
      What do you think of the Atomic Skintecs? Are they worth the extra cost over waxless?
      I classic on waxable skis and skate ski and was thinking of trying the skintecs next time I’m in Lake Louise.

      • Rhonda; In short , yes we like them a lot We made the switch from Fishcer crown SCS to the Redster Skintecs this year. Both are skinny skis with stiff cambers. We ski at CNC a lot.
        The long version:
        I used to be a ski Rep so I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to equipment.
        I find their usability range is broader than the Crowns. the positive pattern vs the crowns negative pattern appears to make the difference . We have only used the narrow Skintecs inserts although the skis came with broader strips held in place with magnets. Having waxed poetic about them (sorry had to say that ), like any waxless ski one does have to be careful stepping on snow cookies as the pattern does grab a bit. Going down hill I’m looking for undulations which could grab the pattern. This is no different than my Crowns. Lots of choice in the waxless (skin) market. Fischer has a new skin type ski. Salomon and of course Atomic. Lots of choice from narrow to wider skis Anecdotally, we were at a party over Christams with a bunch of Canmore skiers all of whom I would call senior racers (60+) with lots of KMs under them. 3-4 of them had switched to Skintecs for warmer ski conditions.

        • I just bought a pair of Salomon Aero 9 skins from Trailsports and really like them, especially when going uphill in slippery conditions. They are a bit slower than waxable skis on the downhills and tend to grab on humps and bits of vegetation but I’ve been told they’ll get faster as the skins wear in. They rented me a pair of Salomon Equipe Skins to try and then took the rental price off my purchase price, which I thought was great. The Equipes are a narrow, straight ski while the Aeros are wider and have a bit of a sidecut which makes them better on trails where the grooming is less than perfect. The directional pattern of the skin also helps the skis track straighter when there is no trackset. Both types come in 3 different stiffnesses so it’s really important to get the right one for your weight and skiing style. The guy who sold me the skis was a big help with this and got it right on.

          • Hugh and Darrell
            Thanks so much for that info on the skintec type skis. I’ll try renting them first and see where it goes.

            Happy skiing!

  139. PLPP – skied south end trails today. Starting at Boulton parking, we skied a loop: Moraine, Fox, Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt, Whiskey Jack (Bob’s favorited loop backward). Moraine and Fox were decent, though recent winds have added some debris here. Elk Pass trail was well used with the tracks holding OK. Tyrwhitt, for the most part, had 3-4 cm of new snow since the last tracksetting, but the tracks were nicely skied in, if a touch slow. Occasional wind blown areas occur in the open meadows of Tyrwhitt. Whiskey Jack, with the most recent tracksetting, was very good, though a few pine needles are showing up. Start -6C; End 2pm at -3C. Great ski!

  140. CNC this evening was in great shape. Skied Rundle out and Meadowview back and even the twirling turns at the very end of Rundle were a breeze in these conditions. There are a few pine cones but not many.

    There were also lots of tracks damaged by skate skiers and I’m wondering if other classic skiers have noticed what to me seems like an increase in skaters skiing over the classic tracks at the CNC. I love that I live in a town where people go out after work with friends for a ski and chat, but skating side by side on the trails often leads to one of the pair skiing over the tracks. With the warm temperatures, this will cause even more problems. I’ve experienced two occasions recently where a club group has been out, skating multiple people side by side and they have barely moved off the tracks as I came storming down a hill. I was terrified in both instances. Again, I think socializing and skiing is fabulous but everyone needs to be vigilant about trail etiquette.

    • Ditto! happened today two skaters side by side coming uphill as we came down. They moved over onto tracks instead of staggering a bit. Happens a lot with Club groups where they tend to gather Enmass .

  141. West Bragg- Again!
    Very nice skiing on the south trails this afternoon. Crystal Lines E and W, Loggers, Elbow, Iron Springs, Sundog. Conditions are getting firmer with not much of last weeks powdery snow remaining, tracks getting a bit washed out in spots but generally still well defined, new tracksetting on Iron and Elbow.
    Steeper hills are mostly scraped down to the hard base- many developing a bobsled track like profile! I would rate conditions as good-very good.
    Scattered cones and needles here and there on the trails were easily avoided.
    With the older “well loved” snow conditions, and a temp of plus 3, something stickier (but not too sticky) on the skis was called for- a thin layer of Start Purple did the job perfectly without picking up much in the way of debris.

  142. Okotoks – got out on the Crystal Ridge Golf Course this morning and did two circuits – 15K. Trails are in pretty good condition considering the lack of snow and tracks are only showing grass in a couple of spots which is quite manageable. Only two other skiers and with 7+ Km of groomed and tracked trails this is a bargain for the $5 daily stipend. Lots of mule deer around to round out a beautiful place to get some exercise!

  143. Mt Shark on Jan 11. -9C at 1pm. V40 worked well. Tracks and skating lanes still in great shape. Some exposed tracks out to Watridge Lake were receiving blowing snow. Awesome afternoon.

  144. Chester Lake on Monday. skied on AT gear getting legs ready for a trip into Purcell Lodge. No tracks to speak of as the up track and down track are well used. Evidence of snow shoe traffic on the ski trail in spite of the dedicated snowshoe track. I would suggest a minimum of metal edged touring skis due to the lack of fresh snow. One could ski on non metal edges but the steep bits are quad burners. -10 in the parking lot and probably -4 by the time we returned. Great lunch in the sun at Elephant rocks.

  145. Fairview to Paradise…….

    Not quite sure where to put this report, maybe split it up?
    We parked at the lower-upper parking lot (Chateau), and skied the Fairview trail to the Paradise Valley junction. Fairview was absolutely lovely, great snow and grooming, and the trees were bedecked with glittering jewels 🙂
    Paradise was not so much, as there is a large amount of deadfall on that trail, especially beyond the horse trail.
    Snow temp at parking lot was -16 C at 12:30 pm! But at least there wasn’t much wind.

  146. PLPP
    Info Centre- Meadow-Wooley-Amos-Wheeler-Meadow loop.
    Wonderful day! Only saw four other people in the 10 1/2 km loop.
    Sunny with little wind. No wind in trees.
    Temp at start -13; Temp at end uncertain as my wee thermometer lied and said it was -6. (Well, it was a freebie) My green wax said it was colder.
    Meadow is in good enough shape. Amos is a bit roughed up for the first bit past Wooley, but then okay. Wheeler is similar until one gets nearer the parking lot and then it varies from okay to a real mess.
    I was surprised by the lack of crud on the tracks as there obviously has been a stiff enough wind to blow the snow pillows off the tops of the pines.
    This is my favourite trail for advanced beginners and average skiers as it is a lovely trail that ends with a glorious downhill run to the parking lot. Exhilaration is the perfect ending to a ski outing.

  147. Baker Creek to Castle L/O has great snow, not a soul did we see entire trip 9-1pm. A chilly start but warmed to likely -8. Nice to have all that earthy bulldozed section covered over with white powder again at Baker Creek end. Saw one pine cone in 18 kms. Great coverage still in forest sections. A great suggestion was made to put two Red Parks Chairs up at one of those scenic elevated sections high above the railway tracks. Also thought how wonderful Protection Mountain Campground circuits and beyond would be for a family Moonlight Ski (7-9 to accommodate the young ones).

  148. Arrived at WBC parking lot at 9:30 on Sunday, plenty of parking available. By the time we left at noon, the cars stretched on both sides of the road past the K country gate.

    The weather and trail conditions were beautiful, the people though were not consistent with the outdoor community that we’re used to. Why were there so many grumpy & impatient people? It’s a public park and appreciation goes out to the GBCTA for all their hard work making it a multi-season playground for all of us (even those who do not donate).

    Let’s respect each other; whether your out for a workout or a family ski. In such a busy place extra effort has to be put into being patient and kind. Young people go slow, beginners are erratic, and we’ve all made driving/parking mistakes on the road.

    • Well said clgv.
      The parking lot at WBC can sometimes feel, as Scott P. said below, like Christmas Eve at Chinook mall.

      However, those of us who live in Calgary or nearby are extremely lucky to have such a fantastic mountain trail network in close proximity. Keep it enjoyable for everyone.

    • clgv offers some good thoughts on WBC, a multi-use area with with wide skill ranges of skiers, along with small children, pulkes, and dogs. This is the definition of the area — what it was designed for (in my understanding). My experience yesterday (Sunday) … arrived at 12:15 and parking was more crowded than the couple days I skied there over the holidays. Bottlenecks at the bridge are caused by parkers squeezing in too close to the bridge, causing single lane traffic in, and out. The drivers we encountered were patient and respectful. We were lucky to get a spot in the lot (“lucky” since it would have taken another 15 minutes to exit the lot) but the feeling is Black Friday at Chinook Mall. And here, I feel somewhat an outsider in offering this experience on WBC, since “ownership” of the area, its management, and strength of opinion seems to vary by contribution of volunteers, and a positivism that I fail to comprehend. Air: -2C, VR40, some minor slipping. Anyway, as clgv mentions, on Moose Loop, we waited at the tops of some hills for skiers to descend, and ascend, slowed for dogs, children, etc. No worries, not frustrated, just being descriptive. We skied up Mountain Road to the Mountain Trail loop as well. Less traffic there, but yes, one skate skier on the little loop who blew by us (who knows if he was on a skate ski trail). I hope we were respectful users of this multi-use area. All that being said, WBC seems at times victim of its own fantastic success — proximity to the city, multi-use, and limited parking compared to the demand for the area. Although great for many, WBC is not my first choice for the skiing I like to do — no disrespect to other users or other skiers.

    • We encountered nothing but happy smiling people at WBC yesterday 🙂
      The only issue was with a driver reversing out of the lot as we walked across the road at days end- who nearly backed over our on leash dog and I, as well as two other skiers. We literally had to jump out of the way! He then sped off, apparently not even noticing. Could happen anywhere, I know.
      As far as trail usage goes- My observation is that Crystal Line, Sundog and Moose Loop are by far the most popular, Elbow, Iron Springs, Loggers and Mountainview usually much less so. And then there is Telephone- conditions are great there right now, although the east side downhills going CCW will be getting very scraped down after the weekend.
      What we have going on right now at WBC is a “perfect storm” of sorts- fine weather, great ski conditions, an expanded ski and all season trail network, and a boom in winter biking, along with the usual snowshoers and walkers.
      Who could be grumpy about that?

      • Interesting discussion re West Bragg congestion. I’ve taken to arriving before 9:00am on weekends to avoid the crush. I wonder if Alberta Parks has any plans to develop additional skiing-hiking-biking zones in close proximity to Calgary. I feel for the people who live in the area and have to endure all the traffic. It would be good to split the demand over 2 or even 3 recreation sites.

        • We sleep in, go late, snag a prime parking spot and ski mostly empty trails and finish at twilight in an empty parking lot. Hmmm…maybe I should be keeping my mouth shut…

          • I hear ya. I have never seen more than a dozen cars in the lot. I always wondered why the lot was so big 😀

            • West Bragg has been like this for a long time. Last time I was there, I beleive the lineup of cars down the road was growing at one kilometre every fifteen minutes! Funny thing is once you get away from Crystal Line and Sundog, there is hardly anybody out there. I guess that is why they have a named two hundred metre long loop.
              Good thing I like looking at cars.

  149. Skied Goat Creek from Canmore to Banff early Saturday morning. Got to the parking lot around 8am and the temp was -16 Skied with green wax all day, the fresh snow was welcome as it slowed me down on some interesting descents.

    Lots of wildlife tracks once I was past the Goat Creek Bridge, Tracksetting was old but in very good shape past the 3.8k mark as Bob noted.

    Returned to my car yesterday and explained to some skiers in the parking lot that it does get better and there are tracks if you just keep going.

  150. Annalee, Bob, Liz and I skied Ribbon Creek today. The trail conditions were good and the temperature was apparently only -7 but for some reason felt colder.
    All the trails are in good condition with only an occasional pine cone sitting in the track. The downhills were fast but the trail wasn’t icy.

  151. LARCH HILLS – Salmon Arm
    With 150 km of trails, including more than 50 km trackset, there is plenty to explore here.
    And this is one friendly place, a cheerful greeting from absolutely every skier we met today!
    With enticing choices at every junction we ended up skiing 27 km in ideal conditions (-5 to -2 degrees) and got a good feel for the place today.
    And they are holding a Loppet this coming weekend! Check out their website (including webcam for current conditions) at:

    • UniFatBiking! Must be the next big thing:)

      • Who would have thought Salmon Arm would offer this kind of heavenly x-c skiing? Loved your maps Chuck and visuals inside the cabins. They even have the doggie-doo-doo trails covered, complete with shovel! You are truly both X-C Ski Explorers.

    • Nice work out there. Thanks for posting the pics. I was wondering what it looked like in winter. I rode the Larch Hills Traverse a couple of years back in the summer and it too was pretty spectacular.

  152. Cascade fire road to stoney creek bridge, back via the stoney cabin. Fresh grooming from the parking lot to the first bridge (thank you!). Beyond that there is a few cm’s of fresh snow. The tracks are in great shape, although it wouldn’t be much fun for skating past the first bridge.

    The conditions are soooooooooooooo good right now, too bad I have to work!

  153. PLPP today. Cool at the start at – 19 and topped out at – 8. Green was the wax of choice though we did add a bit of blue at lunch. Ski conditions were excellent. Did loops from the visitor centre so that we had a warm place for lunch.
    Long live Bob’s blog….

    • Mike, I agree with both yours and Bobs assessment PLPP was great today. whiskey jack had immaculate tracksetting and Pocaterra was fast a fast and smooth downhill. Nice seeing you again Bob as you flew past us on the way down Pocaterra. Tyrwhitt had a few sections where the cold south wind was filling in the tracks but overall Tyrwhitt, as always was a wonderful place to be today.

  154. Skied Tunnel Mountain trails in Banff this afternoon . -8C windy at the start but got better once we were in the trees on the campground loops.
    We skied 8+ km by skiing H,J,K loops 2x once clockwise and then counter clockwise. Grooming is excellent! Great skating lanes and good tracks sometimes on either side of skating lane and at times on one side.
    Trails are flat. Reminds me of MB trails . Met a few people on the trails .

  155. Cold morning at West Bragg Creek today. About 8 cars at 830am, with -16 at the sign board. Too many vehicles to count when I departed at 11 – felt like Christmas Eve at Chinook Mall.

    Mix of conditions – sections of Crystal Line that I did were in good to great shape, Mountain Road (between Moose Loop and parking lot) on the return was a post-holed mess on the right side from walkers.

    Tried the Mountain View West trail today, had just enough snow (and recently groomed) to be worth the effort. Soft in many places, but quite enjoyable. Could tell even this morning that the sunshine will take a toll on the snow cover within a few days, but only a few inconsequential patches of dirt detectable on my clockwise trip.

    Only issue was the skate skier who had passed earlier, slicing through both of the classic tracks. Didn’t realize until I returned home today to look at the new map in more detail that this is not a designated skate trail, and makes sense as there isn’t quite enough width in the grooming everywhere to accommodate. Perhaps when there’s more snow a wider track can be set so everyone can share without wrecking the grooming.

    Returning via Moose Loop, had to wait for more than a dozen skiers to descend at the Moose Loop / Moose Connector junction before I could climb the hill; another dozen at the top waiting to go next. Nice to see so many people out, but I was surprised more people weren’t choosing to go in the opposite circulation to even out the trail use.

    Let’s hope it stays cool enough to preserve the great base at WBC, and thanks to the hard-working trail builders and groomers.

    • Curious if anyone has been to Sandy McNabb lately?

      • Yes, just got back from my first trip there ever. We mostly stuck to the Sandy McNabb loop. It was nicely groomed and there were some truly pristine spots on the trail. There were also a few exposed spots with grass poking through the tracks and occasional rock. Just be on the lookout.

    • Despite thoughts of skiing elsewhere- we joined the throngs at West Bragg yesterday afternoon. And why not? It’s close to home, with superb conditions on the sunniest trails around, and totally dog friendly.
      We found a spot easily enough, but by the time we skied by at about noon- roadside parking stretched almost to the far corner of Crystalline east, and apparently eventually extended out past the k-country boundary!
      Not to worry though- once south of Sundog, the trails were much less populated. The skiing was very good-excellent throughout our excursion, which took in much of the network south of the trailhead. VR 45 gave the perfect balance between grip and glide.

  156. The past six weeks at Dawn Mt Nordic Centre in Golden BC, has been very consistent with all trails groomed, -7C ave temps, new snow freshening up the trails every few days. This will continue according to those long range weather maps. Combined with visits to our awesome neighbours: Emerald Lake and Nipika, Golden is a pretty ideal jumping off point for a road trip!

  157. A group of ladies who are keen skiers and good friends skied from Field ( staying at Fireweed Hostel) ,up the connector trail to Emerald Lake. From there we skied around the alluvial fan, had some soup at the Lodge and enjoyed a great ski back down to Field. Good conditions and a great 29 km ski. Thanks to Kicking Horse Ski Club for all your great trail work.

  158. We skied a loop starting at Boulton at PLPP that included Boulton, Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt, and descending back down Whiskey Jack in counter clockwise direction. Soft, new snow, air temp -13C on the wax clock at visitor centre, tracks were good though not rock hard (no corderoy down south). So we used VR30 which has a very wide temp range and it worked for the most part. That being said, snow felt slow. I usually ski from the mid-park visitor centre, so this was a great change and had been meaning to get to for a while. Met some nice folks along the way, most coming the other direction, but two heading our way took a right to find their (respective, separate, individual) thrill … on Blueberry Hill (apologies). Most surprising were a number of skiers going UP Whiskey Jack at 3:30 — maybe an up-and-back? A good day, cloudless, beautiful 360 sunset skies driving home. Tomorrow, west Bragg.

  159. Another fine day at PLPP. We began at William Watson Lodge so we’d have a warm place to eat lunch, but the weather was actually quite reasonable today (-17C to start and -9 at the finish at 2:30 pm). We skied Wheeler to Amos, then back north to Wooley and Meadow, back to WWL. After lunch we skied Lodgepole, North Meadow, back up Lodgepole and down Sinclair for a finish at Pocaterra Hut. All tracks were quite good, skies were sunny and wind was calm. It was great to see so many people out enjoying the trails. There were several groups of beginners taking lessons at Pocaterra Hut, including a whole flock of teeny people who could barely stand on their skis. Lots of smiles all around today!

  160. Skied Confederation Golf Course late this afternoon. Looks like there has been a fair bit of grooming since the recent snowfall. However, the tracks are already in a ‘much loved’ state in a number of places. (I guess that means lots of people have been out enjoying the in-town skiing.) But surprisingly still very ski-able and enjoyable.

    Also, a set of youth’s skis and poles (tied together with shoe strings) were leaning against the fence along the road west of the entrance when I arrived at 4:00 and still there when I left an hour later. Skis are white with red and blue graphics and 3 pin bindings. Brand is Medalist.

    • I must have been there the same time as you Audrey, a wonderful ski. Even though the tracks have been loved, they were great to ski on. In fact the conditions were so great I kept skiing saying to myself just one more loop, just one more loop. Before I knew it the sun had set and it was time to go home.Here are some pictures:

  161. Followed Steve’s recommendation and skied Telephone loop the wrong way, didn’t set out till 2pm meet several oncoming skiers till halfway around then none. Looked like a lot of skiers are making the most of this trail whilst its in such great shape, my late start was an unintentionally wise decision for a clockwise rotation.

    I do a love / hate feelings for Telephone but not today\, it was a really great ski. still nice and cold @ WBG, snow -12, VR40 worked great, the recent grroming is hard to spot now.

    • Interesting. I was on that trail exactly at the same time, also counter clockwise. Also started 2 pm, then extended the session doing also the Hostel Loop. Great conditions, do it while they last!

      • I was skiing solo, were you the solo skier that let me past on a small down hill about half way around ? If so thanks and you were the last skier I saw.:)

  162. Hi Bob – not sure if this is the best place for this. Every trip has been great.
    Hats off and a big thanks to the cross country ski trail groomers. All trails for cross country skiing were groomed with the arrival of the early season snow and are in even better shape now in the New Year. This year we have so many choices of where to ski it is hard to decide where to go. The Canmore Nordic Centre parking lot is full to overflowing even on some weekdays as are many lots in Kananaskis country and Banff National park.
    Thanks cross country ski trail groomers, it must be satisfying to have early snow for you to work your grooming magic.

  163. Skied Mt Shark today. Recently groomed all the way down Watridge Lake Trail as well as all maintained loop trails. Perfect conditions.

  164. Skied Bow and Meadowview at CNC today. Beautiful snow and not as busy as expected. A bit chilly with a breeze but overall stellar conditions.

  165. Skied Telephone loop today at WBC, Snow was fantastic, trail was quiet despite the packed parking lot.

  166. Skied Island Lake lodge trail at Fernie today. Turns out the cat today has left a pretty chunky hard trail, not smooth, not track set. Wasn’t really a problem for the Rossignol bc70 skis I was using, but could be an issue with lighter classic or skate skis.

    I actually ended up taking lazy lizard up from Project 9. I think for the top half we are the only cross country skiers to take this route – in fact there was a mostly covered snowshoe trail, not much traffic. Trail and scenery are absolutely gorgeous, if you’re ok herringboning your own trail in about 6 inches of powder with a 446m elevation gain. We at least had fun with our gear. Wouldn’t have hurt to have a slightly fatter setup (i.e. a 3 pin setup with leather or plastic boots) but the bc70s did ok today.

    Route down was the island lake lodge trail. Sections are groomed for cross country but not fully track set. Most of it was along the cat track which could have been challenging with lighter gear or for less experienced skiers. Total distance was 14 km with 446m elevation gain/loss. The scenery is incredible – comparable to some of the best parts of Peter Lougheed. Wish I had a photo sharing site for you. We did see some people on traditional classic gear on the main island lake trail who who seemed to be skiing fine, despite the current status of the cat track. I have been on this trail many times with the cat track in smoother conditions.

    This is an awesome route for those looking for a challenge +/- a bit heavier gear than traditional classic/skating gear.

  167. Skating Etiquette in WBC – OK, so Sundog and parts of Crystal are designated for skate skiing, but does that mean skating is prohibited on other trails? Or is it a matter of common sense and courtesy, i.e. skating is okay where there is sufficient room. Anyone?

    • Thanks for asking David. Sundog, Crystal Lines, Hostel Meadow and Mountain Road are all skate trails owing to their adequate width to accommodate both classic and skate lanes. Skate skiing is not disallowed on the other ski trails, all that we would ask is that you avoid skating over classic tracks. Narrower trails such as Hostel Loop are not conducive to skate skiing.
      Hope that helps…

  168. Thursday : Castle Lookout to Baker Ck trail. We broke trail in fresh light snow and got a few kms west of the Protection Mtn campground. Beautiful views! Personally, we think they should pave a cycling pathway on this route from Banff to Lake Louise rather than widening the 1A. It would truly be a legacy and a tremendous tourist attraction. And with sufficient snow and grooming, it would be excellent for xc skiing. Let’s rally for this!

    Friday: Red Earth Creek to Shadow Lake Lodge. -17C start @10:30 and colder along the creek above the campground. Warning: first few kms start of this trail aren’t inspiring; pine needles and no new grooming. However; if you persist 30 min; fresh new snow makes this rather boring trail scenic. Lunch @ 1:00pm @ junction to Shadow Lake then we kickstepped up the steep portion for 10 minutes before putting skis back on again. At this point, we were rewarded with another 5-6 cm of new snow on a previous skier- track. Arrived at Shadow Lake Lodge before 2 PM and the sunshine was brilliant! After a shot of tawny port and tea to celebrate our engagement anniversary 4 years ago, we did a short trek into the meadow for panoramic vista views before we headed back down. Total trek was 6 hours – but it takes half the time down!Given the cold temps, low sun , and fair-only grooming, I would have to say this trip was about the destination. Maybe it will be trackset again soon? Use wider metal edge skis (thanks’ Bobs suggestion).
    Pictures at

  169. I did 2 night skiing trips this week along the new montane trail system in Fernie. Took the dogs – no dog restrictions that I’m aware of, unlike our Nordic center and the golf course. Snow conditions are ideal – it’s been consistently cold since our last significant snow, which is now a couple of weeks ago with a few cm here and there. Pretty much perfect for X-country. The main xcountry loop (that they are keeping walkers, snowshoers and fatbikers off) isn’t track set for skinny skis but groomed pretty well for skate skis. Good conditions of you are confident skiing outside a track.

    I actually skied montane with my Fischer s-bound 112s, 3 pin binding and leather boots. This setup was ideal for this terrain – I actually managed to explore quite a bit of he snowshoe trails off the groomed xcountry trails and even did a bit of bush walking to take advantage of some light powdery slopes in the area. Perfect terrain for that sort of skiing.

  170. I skied Telephone and Hostel loops on Friday afternoon. Glorious crisp sunny weather and great skiing conditions on two of the few trails that didn’t get groomed after the 8 cm snowfall. That didn’t matter though, as the good skier set track over old grooming only added to the wilder feel that Telephone has. I skied it clockwise which would be my recommendation right now, as the east side still has some thin spots- which occur on steepish downhills if going CCW.
    Nearing the trailhead at the end of Telephone- the great conditions and -10 in the afternoon sun were too good to call it a day just yet, so I threw in a lap of Hostel loop as well and found the same great ungroomed soft snow conditions!
    A bit of a photo trip report here:

    • Hello! How did we miss you?
      After Alf’s rave reviews, we decided to revisit the Telephone Loop today too, but we did it our usual anticlockwise direction. The fresh powder was enough to make those exciting downhills more enjoyable than terrifying!
      It was a great day to be out playing in the snow, and I would describe conditions as “creamy delight” 🙂
      We also started shortly before noon, so must have passed you somewhere??
      Pity the weekend will quickly remove all the lovely powder, but thrilled we got out to taste it!
      We slightly extended the trip with Moose Connector and Lower Crystal line, which had both just been groomed.

      • I was skiing solo, and met about a dozen others going the opposite direction.
        Given that you started around the same time, maybe you were one of the couple that pulled over to let me by on one of the downhills about halfway around, on the north end? If so- thanks 🙂
        Or the two that I talked to, as I was taking a tea break in the sun at the west corner?

        • Most likely the former – we did step aside to let a couple of solo skiers pass at the north end. You’re welcome 🙂

  171. The One Who Knocks

    West Bragg Creek Friday afternoon: elbow, iron springs, loggers and moose loop on green wax. Fantastic new track setting made for a great trip and it should be great for Saturday and Sunday. The new snow is cold, powdery and soft and I was surprised they could even make a track of it. But it sure did make the hills fun, up and down. No speed records were set. I passed the snowmobile tracksetters and it made me think, we should pitch in and get these guys a Pisten Bulley!!

  172. Boom Lake: -15 and 3 hours later -12. Green wax worked fine, especially since I was trying so hard to keep my fingers warm. That incredible view at lake side, well worth the effort. One fallen tree, easy to get around. Not as much snow as on Divide yesterday but was nice to enjoy the 3-5 cms. before anyone else. Parking lot had been totally plowed during our ski.

  173. Canmore Nordic Centre Challenge: Fresh snow dusting over groomed tracks made for some great skiing. -10C still using Rex Power grip blue.Fresh groomed tracks especially on snow made trails are hard. Further off the beaten track is much softer. If you are skiing this weekend now would be the time to ski the screamer downhills like Cougar, Wolverine,Flying Squirel and Rundle. We skied Lynx, up onto Snowshoe Hare and then skied all of Silvertip, ignoring Flying Squirrel, out to the end. We returned via Rundle, grunting up the long hills. We got as far as Chipmunk met one guy as we came down the S turns on Chipmunk and finished off back on Olympic. Rundle isn’t groomed nor is Chipmunk. It’s really a mental test trying not to double back on trails and laying out the most efficient route. Nearly 14 km.

  174. In Maui Hawaii right now and dreaming of the great skiing conditions in the Canadian Rockies!!….back next week and can hardly wait. Aloha

  175. West Bragg Creek
    There was 5-7cm of fresh snow at West Bragg Creek, which refreshed the trails and returned a Christmas Card look to the forest. Todays loop included Sundog, Loggers Loop, West Crystal Line, Mountain View, Moose Loop and Mountain Road. I missed most of todays fresh grooming with this loop, but it was very pleasant skiing on soft, new snow and perfect blue wax conditions. I expect all of the trails will get groomed and track set in time for the weekend.

  176. They don’t call it the GREAT Divide for nothing especially with fresh 5 cms of light powder on top of what looked like fairly recent grooming (or did I read that on this blog?) Skied to the Divide then thoroughly enjoyed the Lower Telemark which an earlier group had nicely skier set. Fairview Loop including MLR and Upper Tramline had been freshly groomed and trackset. Cookie drop off @ Info Centre to give my humble thanks to the groomers. -8 entire day and very little wind. Was snowing on drive home but not a lot accumulating. Had a similar “tree come down” across the Kicking Horse trail in Yoho a few years ago but it did not happen before our eyes. Must have been very freaky to witness this recent tree event at Pipestone. Reminds me of the young boy being in the wrong place at the wrong time on Johnston Canyon Trail this past summer.

  177. Skied the North end trails at Pocaterra today: Pocaterra, Lynx, Amos, Wheeler, Meadow, Lodgepole. Started at noon in -9 with about 3-4 cm of new snow on the tracks and little evidence of the recent tracksetting. Thus, it was slow going. Embarassingly, it was my first time on the ‘new’ Pocaterra section and it still takes my breath away to see how the flood changed our geography.

  178. I just did a quick lunch hour loop of Confederation and it’s pretty nice. It’s skier set and there is lots of new snow so the old tracks are fairly covered up. It will be great once it is groomed and track set

    • Following up on Matt’s comment, Confederation was in pretty nice shape, but we could certainly use some snow. There was a little girl from Eritrea playing in the snow with her dad. She doesn’t understand much English, but was sure enjoying our winter wonderland.

  179. West Bragg Creek-Telephone Loop
    Telephone Loop is becoming my “Goat Creek”. At this rate, I may ski it as often as Bob skis the Goat Creek trail. Telephone Loop got fresh grooming, so I did another loop on Jan 6. Great conditions all the way around!
    The east half of Telephone Loop is a multi-use trail. It is track-set for XC skiing on the right side (heading north) and groomed for snowshoeing & fat-biking on the left side. This seems to be working well.

  180. Skied pipestone – great shape. Must have been set recently ?
    -4 at noon. Also did 1A and upper- lower Telemark. Up to -2. Lower holding up well. The 1a was being groomed and track set. The skating corduroy was perfect!!

  181. PLPP – Left town at -10C, and arrived at Elkwood at -1C! It was one of those days where the city was colder and windier than the mountains. There was fresh, beautiful tracksetting on the middle elevation trails – Wheeler, Amos, Meadow, Wooley. The warmer temperatures moved my waxing up to VR50, but I suspect that VR45 might have done the trick. So nice to have brand new tracks to ski in.

    We were also treated to two sets of wolf tracks along most of Wheeler between Elkwood and Bolton. They must have been right behind the groomer, as their paws were making deep impressions in the corduroy! Quite a delight.

  182. Took Bob’s advice (thanks Bob!) and played hookey from work to do Castle Lookout to (almost) Baker Creek. -6 at the trailhead when we started out, -3 when we got back. Very slidey snow, track still in great shape with very little debris. Lots of other skiers on the trail. A perfect day, which we would not have otherwise done without SkierBob!

    • We did that too! Very nice, but we found the east campground loop at Protection Mountain somewhat distressed by a “big digger” which was parked at the east entrance (for skiers). I wonder what they are doing there now??

      • We spoke to one of the workers and he told us that they are doing soil testing in the area. A worker skied down & met us to indicate that the loop was not really worth skiing while the work was going on – neat that he was on skiis.

  183. PLPP – VIC to Elk Pass via Whiskey Jack and back via Packers
    One thing I can add to yesterday’s reports is on Elk Pass around where there are some fun, windy corners that can be quite fast, a lot of snow bombs have come down into the tracks and some of them are pretty big and pretty solid. I had to pick up a foot on short notice a few times.
    Also, was surprised how well the tracks are holding up on Packers despite old grooming and same with Pocaterra to the Lynx junction.

  184. January 5, late afternoon at West Bragg.
    Moose-Mountainview W-Mountain Road-Mountainview-Crystal W etc…
    Tracks and hills getting worn on most trails but still good coverage overall and very enjoyable fast skiing conditions. The same VR40 with occasional touchups that I put on my Fischers about 2 weeks and over 100 km ago was still working fine. The north 2 km of MV West featured the best conditions of the loop with very good tracks and grooming. Continuing south there were a few thin spots but going N to S they are easily spotted and avoided. Would not recommend MV West going S to N as the downhill approach to the really bad spot is getting icy and now has rocks showing just where one would need to be braking pretty hard to a stop. Mountain Road had me thinking of Pocaterra- just stay in the track and double pole for all you are worth to take advantage of the fast conditions!
    Cruising back to the trailhead at dusk on Crystal Line- I spotted a figure in the gathering dark walking about on the trail ahead of me- time for a tongue lashing! 😮
    Well, wouldn’t you know- it turned out to be Alf, shoveling snow to build up an off camber corner. 🙂

  185. Skied Ribbon Creek area trails late yesterday afternoon. Started at the village and skied across Terrace, up Aspen, down lower Kovach and Terrace to the village again, then across Terrace and down to the Ribbon Creek parking lot. Grooming and tracks were pretty good with some pine cones here and there; still enough snow to slow down on downhills and turns.

    For those who are ready for a little solitude, this ungroomed trail has what it takes… nobody else! During the holidays some intrepid skiers broke a trail past the meadow above the creek, so we extended it, to about the 8 km mark, shortcutting the meandering creek as shown on this interactive map:
    To enjoy the beauty of this trail, you have to ski it yourself and enjoy the birdsong along the creek, but if you want to see a few pictures, check out:
    And to top it all off, who would we meet back at the parking lot but Bob & Cheryl!

  187. Peter Lougheed Provincial Park – Elk Pass Parking lot – Bolton Creek – Moraine-Wheeler – Amos – William Watson – Braille – Lodgepole – Pocaterra Hut.
    Excellent conditions, good snow texture – some tree debris.

  188. Peter Lougheed

    Helen’s report on PLPP today was sufficiently detailed that I don’t need to add much, but I’ve been told that I need to send in more reports so…here goes.

    The trails that Ray, David and I did today were all in very good shape and VR 40 worked well for the entire circuit. We started at Boulton parking area, climbed Whiskey Jack and then went up and down Lookout from the north end, which was in reasonably good condition. After doing all that work, we enjoyed surprisingly mild temperatures and little wind all the way across Tyrwhitt to Elk Pass, down Hydroline to Patterson, then Elk Pass, Fox Creek and Boulton to the car.

    Total time was about 4 hrs, which seemed a bit slow for the distance (I think about 22 km) but the elevation gain was pretty considerable. A great day out!

  189. PLPP: 7 of we youthful seniors from Canmore skied the famous Skier Bob Special Loop at PLPP (which he recently posted on New Year’s Day.) It did not take long for us to be overtaken by Chip and Calgary friends who were heading up to Lookout from Tyrwhitt. Waxing was a bit tricky after being spoiled for so long with VR 40 Blue, so more herringbone was necessary. VR45 was marginally better but we all did our share of minor slipping. Temp was -8 in am and around 1 C. when we finished. Surprisingly more pine cones to avoid on the wider trails than in the Fox/Moraine section. Praying that the 3 cms or more of new snow materializes later this week.

  190. CNC Ski Challenge today. -5C Atomic Redster Skintec skis. We thought we were going out for an easy ski…. Somehow it got harder. Snow making detoured us up onto Meadowview from right in front of the Stadium. up onto Olympic and then along Meadowview to Mine Scar. At this point the Navigator (me) took us down through the mine scar instead of skirting it. We ran into Barb who posts here. Ended back on Meadowview and skied out to the end. Returned via Banff Trail but had to go up Olympic to get back to the stadium. Two big climbs which we hadn’t planned on.
    To keep track of all our skiing, we are using Polar HR monitors M400. It’s kind of interesting for the geek in me so see where we ski and how hard we ski.
    You can see the work we did here:

  191. West Bragg Creek – skied Crystal Line east, Iron Springs, Elbow, Loggers, Crystal Line west, and a few other bits. Considering the recent heavy usage and lack of snow, most trails were decent, with both good sections and rough sections. Some of the downhills on Iron Springs and Elbow, especially those with sharp corners near the bottom, required defensive skiing, as they were hard packed and a bit rutted. Several spruce trees on Elbow had dumped significant volumes of cones, almost impossible to avoid. Most of Crystal Line was quite good, often with decent tracks. 9:00am start -10C; 11:30am finish -7C.
    Saw no mountain bikers. Dodged one unleashed dog on a downhill section Saw 5 sleds pulled by various sizes of dogs, including one pulled by two very small dogs (wish I’d had a camera for that one).

  192. Mt Shark

    Skated the 10k loop on Monday late afternoon and I have rarely seen the conditions so great 5 days after the last grooming. The corduroy was still in excellent shape, as were the tracks and the downhill sections. Crossing over Watridge trail, it looked the walker and snowshoe impact was minimal, so Watridge is probably also in great shape. I have lost my thermometer, but the air temperature was perfect, just a few degrees below zero, and the snow seemed a little colder. The skiing was so much fun I am sure I will be back to Shark with Koda the dog later on today. Happy Trails…

  193. Castle Junction-Castle Lookout-Baker Creek: We skied in this area on January 3rd and found that conditions were variable. The snow coverage was generally good, aside from some localized areas, but there were no skier or machine set tracks in the Castle Junction area (trails 1 and 3). However, the newly trackset section from Castle Lookout to Baker Creek was in great shape. I’d recommend starting at Castle Lookout or Baker Creek and not Castle junction. Lesson learned!

  194. West Bragg Creek-Hostel Loop
    I was checking out some of the West Bragg Creek trails, when I met WBC groomer Jeff on his way back from grooming Hostel Loop. What perfect timing! I love to ski Hostel Loop. This year I’ve made a point of alternating between skiing the loop clockwise and counter-clockwise…and I still can’t decide which direction I like better. It’s great either way. And with the addition of Hostel Meadow Loop and more regular grooming of Telephone Loop, it is possible to make any number of loop and figure-8 combinations. For some reason, Hostel Loop remains a bit of a secret trail at West Bragg Creek, typically getting only a fraction of the ski traffic of many of the other trails.
    Despite the heroic efforts of the WBC volunteer groomers and the huge numbers of skiers using the WBC ski trails this year, donations have only been trickling in, so far this winter. I don’t get it! Don’t XC skiers appreciate the trail maintenance and grooming?

    • That is disappointing news that the donations do not reflect the substantial use of this facility made possible by the efforts of a lot of volunteers and in particular the groomers during the winter months. I hope that the users understand that without the volunteers the grooming would not be happening with the exception of Telephone Loop which is done by Parks. By contrast PLPP is maintained by Parks and our tax dollars. Conservatively a trip to PLPP or CNC from the city will cost you an additional $20 in gas so a donation on line or into the donation box in the parking lot should be a no brainer!

    • Hi Alf – I agree 150% with your statement “heroic efforts of the WBG volunteer groomers”, they are a tireless force to be reckoned with and they work all four seasons with those trials. With the constant and enthusiastic use of their facilities I’m dismayed to hear that their fund raising falls short, perhaps like myself people arrive without cash in hand or the wherewithal to bring some $ for the grooming donation “bucket”. I find that it is easier to use their on-line donation site operated under CanadaHelps, you get a tax receipt and a nice thank you message and personal grooming reports from the grateful volunteers.

      • Hello Alf- I suspect that the simple answer to the low donation rate is that most people using the WBC trails do not realize that it is all done by volunteers and donations. Most people have just heard that there is an excellent trail system west of Bragg Creek and show up in the parking lot assuming that it is all maintained by the Albert government. I donate yearly to WBC and know the area fairly well but have never noticed (or ever looked for it) any detailed signage in the parking regarding donations. Yes there is the small donation post as you ski to Mountain Road on the west end of the parking lot, but I suspect you are giving people too much credit in terms of logic and deduction. If you want more donations, make it BLATANTLY obvious with a huge sign on the road before you turn into the parking lot.

    The December 31st tracksetting above the Lost Horse Campground (which was the first track setting of the season on that section) is holding up nicely. The lower section is “bumpy” as described by Barb earlier.
    The new signage (regarding sharing the trail) has frosted up and is not easy to read, because it is under plexi-glass.

  196. Excellent day skiing at PLPP on wheeler and amos. An easy run on a fast track can’t wait to get out again.

  197. Good Morning,

    On Saturday January 2, found a black plastic ?? on Lynx in PLPP and it has been turned into the PLPP VIC

  198. On Sunday I watched a fat tire cyclist ride out of the trees and on to the Moose Mtn xc ski trail right in front of a skier. The skier pulled on the emergency brakes resulting in a nasty fall. The cyclist merely looked at the skier and then pedalled away without a word. Obviously not very cool. I thought that would be the end of it until I too had to perform a very ungraceful crash landing when three fat tire cyclist came up the Moose Mtn xc ski trail. Again, not a word from the cyclist except for the last rider who said ‘I’m the last… no more behind me’. Really?!? There shouldn’t have been any fat tire cyclist on this part of the Moose Mtn xc ski trail according to the trail maps. When the riders were questioned why they were on this trail they flipped the bird and rode off.

    I’m pretty sure the CMBA does not support this sort of behaviour. Yes, we all need to get along and share all that nature has to offer us including the West Bragg recreation area, however, I am seeing what I believe to be accelerated trail damage by the fat tire bikes. These are trails used by xc skiers and where fat tire bikes should not. That damage I speak of is deep rutting in the middle of the trail which makes for extremely difficult herringbone ascents and snow plow descents. This leads to more grooming of the trail which costs more money.

    In light of this, I had a thought that perhaps the CBMA and West Bragg Creek Trail Association might consider.

    The CMBA and WBCTA has donation boxes around the parking lot of the West Bragg recreational area leading me to believe that the organizations are looking for funding. Why not find a source of funding by asking all fat tire cyclists to become licensed for the use of the K-country trails. Annual registration includes the issue of a licence, like those used in all Alberta Cycling races, that must be displayed on their bike while using the trails. Registered users must sign a document stating that they understand the use of the area including which areas are designated for fat tire cycling. Infringement of the use of the area will be easily noted by park users and reported thanks to the license attached to the bike.

    There may be question as to why the xc skiers should not be subject to the same licensing. My thought, and perhaps bias, would be because xc skiers do not impact the trails in nearly such capacity as the fat tire bikes and therefore the amount of grooming required is minimal if the fat tire bikes were not present to begin with.

    Just a thought but when is this fat tire fad going to end?? XC skiing has been around for more than a hundred years. I’m figuring it will outlast fat tire bikes but until then… yeeeeeesscccchhhhhh.

    • Colin, I’m wondering if you could clarify a bit more precisely where this event took place at the WBC trail system. There is no Moose Mountain XC ski trail, so I’m wondering if you mean Mountain Road, Moose Connector or Moose Loop. There are snowshoe and all-season trails adjacent or crossing each of these trails. Also, did cyclists cross the XC trail or ride on the ski trail. I can follow up, if I have a better idea of the location. Thanks.

      • My bad. Yes you are correct there is no moose mountain. These incidents took place on the moose loop. Specifically the first took place on the north side of moose loop about 1 km past the moose connector and the second on the way down the hill towards the moose connector just after where the moose loop connects. The first incident involved the cyclist riding perpendicular to the trail. He proceeded to ride across the track and then turn down the middle of the ski path. The second incident had all three riders riding up the middle of the path. They did not attempt to move to the side of the trail while I was descending. Hope this helps and sorry for the confusion.

        • Sorry to hear of your encounter with a few inconsiderate boors, who of course can be found in any sport. As a cyclist and skier, I am certain of a couple of things-that this type of behaviour is in the minority, and that fatbiking is still growing and is not going away anytime soon.
          Licensing of course is way too cumbersome, educating fatbikers on when and where riding is appropriate is the way to go. I suspect that many fatbikers are newbies to winter sport in general, and simply have no idea that they may be adversely affecting the ski trails by riding when conditions are soft.
          My observation though, is that skiers often have as much an adverse affect to grooming and tracksetting by herringboning over the tracks up EVERY hill, big or small, and snowplowing down any incline, no matter how slight.
          A bit of education in waxing and technique would go a long way there too.

          • While I have not gotten onto the bike out there yet I have spent a lot of time on skis and have to agree that the impact on trails and grooming by bikes is insignificant in comparison to that inflicted by skiers who need to hone their technique as Steve so politely indicates. The volunteers doing the grooming are doing a superb job! We should all be appreciative of their commitment to the excellent conditions we have enjoyed this season and support those efforts through donations to the cause.

        • Thanks, Colin.
          That helps. I can follow-up with some ideas on signage placement and a possible trail connector to reduce the potential for non-skiers to get onto Moose Loop ski trail.
          I’m quite sure Fat-biking isn’t going away, any more than skate skiing or snowshoeing is likely to fade away. We just need to manage our trail designs, signage and etiquette education to get the best possible result for most people, most of the time.

          • Hear hear. If you must snowplow or herringbone, there is corduroy in the middle. Learning to tuck is not all that difficult. I notice this is not a problem on racing trails.

          • Alf,
            I wonder if these issues have arisen as there is no multi use trail connecting Tom Snow or Mountain Road to Merlin View. I suspect cyclists may be using Moose Connector to make this link (which is what I did frequently this fall to connect Snakes and Ladders and Merlin View into a loop), perhaps GBCTA might want to consider making Moose Connector multi use as it seems to be plenty side enough.

    • I’ve had more issues with hikers and dog walkers on WBC trails the last couple years than fat bikers, not to mention seen more trail damage from the former. The bikers are generally there to ride singletrack, not ski trails except in a couple of places where it is necessary to use the groomed trails for access. I suspect that the riders that gave Colin grief are newbies, which doesn’t excuse their rudeness but I would say does not represent the majority of the riders out there. I have also seen rude and clueless behaviour from other skiers over the years.

  199. Brilliant weather and tracks at Kananaskis Lodge area today! Took the kidlets on a 5.5km loop from the lodge and they did excellent (and welcomed the change from always doing the Meadow-loop at CNC) although that area doesn’t have a whole lot for beginners… as long as you can herringbone and snowplow you can manage most of the trails provided there is snow to be had.

    So many people love this place… and rightly so:
    and if you want to rent the right gear for visiting family, Snow Tips in Banff provides excellent equipment and service at an excellent price.

  201. Jan 3rd: Under a clear blue sky I classic skied Cascade Valley today and I was over the moon the entire time skiing on the best conditions I’ve seen in 15 yrs of skiing there. I turned around just shy of the warden’s cabin. Once I passed the bridge I only saw a handful of people and only one other than myself going as far the cabin. I’ll be back and I’d like to post a few pics but not sure how on trip reports.

  202. Well, after all my complaining about the lack of grooming at Sandy McNabb, I now have to thank the individual(s) who did an excellent job within the last few days of fixing up the trails. It was (for a few minutes anyways) double wide, debris was either taken off the trail or deeply buried in the snow, tracking…you name it. Sadly, I cannot blame them for feeling very unappreciated for all the hard work that was done. Trails were heavily damaged by people walking 4 or 5 abreast of one another. Groups of them. By the end of the day the hard work that was put into this area was all but unrecognizable. Hopefully, better signage will be considered to educate those that are unaware, and the grooming fairies will once again return to our neck of the woods. Thanks again to those involved for the effort that was made.

    • Hi Sheila!
      So did you go skiing at Sandy? If so, where??
      When we were there on Friday, we saw lots of happy walkers, picnickers, etc., who were mostly not destroying the ski trails. We did not see another skier, but as I posted we were only on a little bit of the south side.
      How was Kimberley??

      • Hi Diana: We were on Arctic Hill and surrounding area on Saturday and Sunday. As I have no sense of direction, I blindly (and trustingly) follow behind my husband and Bob (the dog) without really noticing which trails I am on. That, of course, leads to a really good story of me getting lost in PLPP. I shall save that for another day. Kimberley was GREAT! Wonderful snow coverage. We branched out and covered the trails around Forest Crown, Nature Park, and Bootleg as these areas allow for Bob to join us. Only did Nordic trails once which was New Year’s Eve for the torch light ski. Great event. Lots of hard work for the volunteers which I hope paid off as it seemed very well attended although those in the know said it was less than previous years. It was then followed by a social in the warming hut and fireworks afterwards. Great way to start 2016!

        • Just to clarify (and make it look like I know what I am talking about), Saturday was Long Prairie and Loggers and Sunday was Macabbe and Pine Ridge. 22 years of skiing there and I still had to ask where we were! I don’t think guiding is in my future.

  203. Skied at Panorama Mountain Resort yesterday, Jan. 2nd
    Disappointed that the Hale Hut currently has no heat. Propane heater is broken. If you are planning to ski there, check at the Nordic Centre before heading out! It wouldn’t be much fun to ski all the way up to the hut and find out there’s no way to warm up. (Especially when it’s -20 and you have 3 young kids with you – thank god we turned around early on cause there were no warnings at the golf course trailhead where we started or on the Panorama website.)

    Other news for this area: new trails are being groomed and tracked this winter. We did one called Prospector one way from the golf course down to the Nordic centre (all downhill in an easy 4km ski.) it was a blast.
    Also, there is an electronic ticket kiosk at the golf course now so you can avoid parking at the crowded base area. There was tons of parking at the golf course and it’s the closest access point to the Hale Hut trail.

    Trails were very well groomed and tracked.

  204. Skogan Pass today. Only a few other people on the trail – which was last groomed Dec 30 but was still in very good condition – albeit with a few pine needles in the lower sections. -10ºC at parking lot, and near zero at the top. Our group was able to wax successfully on a variety of waxes in the -2 to +2 range.

    Decending was pretty fast – some heavy duty snow plowing all the way down.

  205. Evan-Thomas Fire Road — not recommended for skiing!

    We had not set foot on this trail since the flood, and I was curious to see how it was coming along. Encouraged by positive comments from the gentleman behind the counter at the Barrier Lake info centre, we parked at Evan-Thomas and proceeded to ski up the road. At first it was just hard and bumpy from all the foot traffic, but soon we ran into deadfall. Of the three trees down, I crawled under one, detoured around the second, and stepped over the third.
    Then came two major washouts, with new diversions cut through the trees. These proved to be rough, rocky, and with serious bare patches. My more sensible husband took his skis off and walked quite a bit of this section. Eventually we were back to the hard and bumpy road, up to the junction with Wedge Connector, which started off reasonably skiable. However, when it came to the descent to the new bridge over Evan-Thomas Creek, even I took my skis off and walked down. It is very narrow, steep, hard-packed, and with a bit of hidden deadfall right at the bottom!
    Crossing the new bridge, we were back in “civilization”! Wedge Connector and Bill Milne trails were recently groomed with tree debris, and very quiet. Then there was that marvellous episode of enchanted forest, with magical frosty trees and lovely views, which was definitely the highlight of the day.
    The return on Bill Milne was pleasant enough, but all those road crossings are a bit of a pain!


    • I feel for you I did the same last week, thought I’d retrace my tracks along Evan-Thomas from years ago, its simple no longer possible and definitely not skiable, the ‘Trail not Maintained’ parks sign is an understatement..

      • My wife and I “skied” out from the Evans Thomas parking lot yesterday. The trail is definitely NOT skiable!! Between the fat tire cyclists, snowshoes and walkers, there was NO trace of ski tracks – anywhere. We dropped the skiis and walked the rest of the way to the river where, just as stated above, it was unsafe for any descent on skiis. The groomed ski trail started on the south side of the first river crossing but we were so turned off and frustrated by that time, we turned around and enjoyed the walk back.

  206. Snow temp was -17 @ Pocaterra Hut just after 11am, started up Pocaterra on VR30 lost some grip on the newly groomed Tyrwhitt but still good enough to enjoy the glorious meadows, snow was -13 @ Tyrwhitt picnic table, continued to Elk pass and down to Fox, topped up with VR40 (snow temp -10) for Fox, Moraine,Amos, Wooley, Meadow & Lodgepole, awesome tracks sure make for a really great day!

  207. I checked live grooming this morning- Lookout was done overnight.
    It should be great today!

  208. Kananaskis Fire Lookout. We skied it north to south via Whiskeyjack, Hydroline, Fox and Moraine. Starting in -18 at Boulton, we ran into warmer air on the first hill up Lookout, and picnicked in calm at the top, with minus 4 in the brilliant sun. Despite the changing temps, VR 40 worked great all day. Ski conditions were mainly very good, but the steep descent of the south side was more challenging than usual- thanks partly to walkers but mostly due to a horde of skiers (over 20!) that we met at the top going the opposite way who had herringboned the entire way up, leaving a very chopped up surface in the ungroomed snow that was hard to control the skis in at times. That might be changing as I write this as Lookout seems to be about the only trail at PLPP that has not seen recent grooming. Hydroline, Fox and Moraine were in delightful fast condition making for a nice finish to a fine day out.

  209. Cascade Valley – Another fantastic day of skiing! But what is with the cold starts? Enough already! It was -18C at the start, -22C at Cascade bridge, -7(felt warmer) at the warden’s cabin and -13 back at Cascade bridge with a finish at -7. The day was gloriously sunny with little wind. There must have been a whole whack of people out yesterday as the new grooming and tracksetting were not evident until after Cascade Bridge. The downhill track on the big hill in particular was dangerously drunken, wobbling and weaving all over the place. Tracks between Cascade and Stoney were good to very good. We found the short cut to the cabin to be in excellent shape and no one wiped out going down. We spent extra time lunching in front of the old cabin in the sunshine imagining what it must have been like to live there in the 1920s and 30s with little outside contact for months on end. And raising a family?! It’s a different world we live in now, when we can ski-fly there and back in 4-5 hours. A sparkling, invigorating day!

    • The Banff trail report changed their wording regarding Cascade valley and it appears that only the skating lane was groomed. Most skiers only go to the Cascade bridge and that’s probably why the tracks were better thereafter. I know what you mean about the tracks on the big hill coming down.

  210. Skied the three night loops at CNC tonight. Nice and quiet and only saw four other people skiing. -14. Great night for stargazing too!

  211. CNC tonight was in great condition. The Olympic trail up to Meadowview has finally reopened. The hills on Rundle are in great condition. Apologies to the person, coming from the opposite direction, who got out of the tracks for me as we were both going downhill into a gully; I’m pretty sure that was my bad (Rundle is only single trackset in the incoming direction and I was heading out). With Hugh’s project in mind, I almost took the turnoff to Roller Coaster but thought best to do it when there was more light.

  212. Banff along Spray River to Goat Creek and back; yes, we did it!
    We skied from Banff intending to one day go all the way to Goat Creek and back some time in the future. We got to the first bridge at km 10 or so, then the second bridge, then we continued a few more km. By that time, I figured that we could make it to the Goat Creek parking lot and return to Banff. I agree with Chuck that the east end of the trail is well-worn and damaged. Overall, the outing was a good one. The temperature remained fairly cold at -15C or so as we spent most of the time in the shade. The conditions are fairly fast; not quite icy but worn in spots. Thanks to those two ladies who gave me encouragement!

    Guessed it right… our Banff Tracksetter had groomed the Spray (packed the skating lane) before we set off from Banff. So the Banff end was pristine, but the Canmore end was heavily damaged by hikers.
    Great new signage at the Banff end.

    • Huh? What’s with the 2 ski symbols ? If that’s someone’s idea of skating, they missed the mark. I saw the same on Redearth. Where it’s not groomed for skating- and it’s not wide enuf to skate.
      And – if you were a skater- the last thing you want to do is ski on a hiker- biker- walker trail.
      All that matters is The message – everyone can be HAPPY here. YAY!

  214. Mt Shark: no chinook or wind there. -14 at start and -12 at finish. Thank you whoever skier tracked that last big recreational loop at junction 9. Besides the two fallen trees to ski around early, it was delicious snow back there. We are grateful to people who break trail in such places. Lots of lunch eaters at Watridge Lake and skiers going across the lake. As reported yesterday, conditions are excellent at Shark. Met a young couple from Edmonton who AT skied and snowshoe’d all the way out from Assiniboine Lodge today. That distance has to be close to 30 kms. and bravo to the young lady trekking out on SNOWSHOES!!!

  215. Skied Telephone / Moose / Mountain view west and east today. The grooming is getting a bit worn as another report on the West Bragg Creek area indicates but the skiing is still pretty good, particularly on the Mountain View loop which sees very little traffic. The “marginal” area on the west leg of Mountain View is on a fairly long hill near the farthest end of the this trail from the rest of the network. If you ski it counter clockwise you will be going up here so there would not be any problems. It is not really bad if you are coming down either. Telephone is better than I have seen it in some time as it was actually groomed and track set many days ago. It is pretty fast in places.

  216. Skied Spring Creek trail in Cypress Hils PP today. Beautiful weather but trails need snow, though skiing was good. Trails are skier set and lots of multi-use compromise.

  217. The Bill Milne and wedge connector trails were great today. Cool at the Ribbon Creek PL at about -10 but cold at wedge pond. It was like going to Antarctica in the wedge pond area! I did not stop to check the temp but it felt about 10 degrees colder. Lots of people out skiing, some snowshoers and and some walkers. Overall a great blue sky winter day.

  218. Nice ski with the kids at PLPP today. Started at Pocaterra hut, temp round -18. Up Pocaterra, Come along, Pocaterra, Lynx, Woolley, Meadow to the visitor center for lunch. After lunch we crossed the road on Meadow and Sinclair back to Pocaterra Hut. Very busy day on the trails! Great to see so many people out enjoying the wonderful ski conditions!

  219. Confederation Park was great today, good snow and tracks holding up in most places. -6 when we arrived at around noon, -2 when we left an hour later. V45 worked very well for me. A BIG thank you to all the groomers.

  220. I was one of hundreds of people at West Bragg today. I was (am) coming down with a bug so skiing wasn’t exactly energetic for me.
    A very pronounced temperature inversion meant about -15 at the parking lot and about +3 at the top of the first hill on Elbow and -15 again when I went back down. Snow is very fast, in cooler temps blue wax was good up high purple wax was so-so. Tracks are very worn, gone in spots, corduroy has vanished mostly. Best conditions I encountered were on the first 100 metres or so of Mountain View, I didn’t go farther. In dire need of fresh grooming. Lots of happy dogs!

  221. Mt Shark – Bryant Cr (Jan 1)
    The grooming at Mt Shark is excellent. It is even groomed and trackset down the hill to Spray River. This was new to me. (It had been some years since I had been there.) The track from there on was skier set. It was well used – and then some. There was minimal center ridge until you got passed Bryant Cr cabin. After that the track was good to very good. I made it to about 1.5 km before Assiniboine Pass. It was cold. -22C at the parking lot when I arrived and -15C when I left. It was calm enough at lunch that the sun felt warm. This lasted until the shadow of Gibraltar Rock crept over my position. Then it was time to get moving again.

  222. Jan 1st. PLPP, early start at Boulton Parking, a fresh -23. Moraine, Fox Creek, Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt, Pocaterra Hut, Lodgepole, Braille and Wheeler, a good New Year Day workout of around 35k. Conditions superb throughout, Fox Creek is such a pretty trail, watched an American Dipper busy feeding in the Creek. Met a number of happy skiers coming out of Elk Hut, party balloons attached. Tyrwhitt and Pocaterra nice and fast descent. Is there a better way of spending the first day of 2016 ?
    Happy New Year to you all.

    I saw the Dipper too. -Bob

  223. Best conditions I ever skied at Mt. Shark yesterday. Glad we didn’t know it would be a frosty -20C or we would have backed away. Clear skies and no wind made it bearable. Get out there today if you can.

  224. Thu 31st up to Boom Lake and across to west end under Mt. Bident. Consolidated but not trackset trail up, shared with snowshoers and even hikers in boots. Some uneven bits and large fallen tree across the trail 20-30 mins before the lake. Tracks across the lake 2/3 way across to little bay and beautiful icefall under Mt. Bell, none after but glide was easy.

    Some photos on Club Tread:

  225. Hit up Confed early this afternoon. Despite a ~+4C wind temp, there was a slight wind and chill in the air. With the sideways sunshine and the slight valley the tracks stayed in pretty good condition and I didn’t even notice any icing or melting. Not all the tracks are “crisp”, straight, level, or equal elevation but I sure felt lucky to be able to drive only 10mins and pack in an 11km ski on short notice. Hard to beat this type of convenience for a great outdoor ski workout. Will be back tomorrow with the kids to ski and have a sledding outing on the far NE corner – btw please lookout for other users in this area as it was congested each time I skiid through that area.

    On another note I picked up the Skintec Sport waxless “hairy” skis (Christmas gift to myself) in a 200cm pair suitable for 70-95kg (or 155-210’ish lbs). At 170lbs myself I still found that technique is VERY important to have consistent grip/kick. These arguably worked better than my usually-exceptional waxless Xiums in these conditions (ie hard pack tracks). Can’t wait to try the Skintecs out at CNC and WBC! (and yes, I do also have waxables but sometimes the prep time is a put-off).

  226. Redearth – no Chinook or inversion there today. Minus 14 noon at parking lot, -18 at warden cabin.. Some sun between campground and warden cabin, thankfully.
    First couple km. are “bumpy”, shallow, slightly canted track, hard to get purchase on. Especially annoying on descent. Some pine needles. Tracks much better higher up. Single track to Shadow junction.
    Fast down last big hill- watch out for lower bridge on hill- or enjoy the ‘airtime’.

    Skiing here makes me realize that I have been spoiled -and gotten lazy-with the awesome trail work at Lake Louise, Banff area, 1A-baker and elsewhere!
    A fun ski however best when it’s a tad warmer.
    Redearth creek photo

  227. Nice skiing at CNC today! Did an afternoon ski to the end of banff trail and also a night ski on banff loop. Busy during the day and quiet at night. Most enjoyable! Off to Pocaterra tomorrow for more of my favorite activity!

  228. It was a frosty day in PLPP. Air temperature was -9C at 11am at the Pocaterra parking lot. The best skiing can be found on the other side of the road where the latest grooming have been done. There are couple trees down on the Fox creek trail. Elkpass has old worn tracks and are wobbly. All other trails have nice tracks. It was a good start to the 2016.

    I only went one direction, mostly downhill, on Elk pass and didn’t notice the wobbly tracks. Maybe I was going too fast. 🙂 -Bob

  229. Nipika Mountain Resort, BC
    -20 at the day lodge. (-30 with wind chill.)
    Cold one but it was sunny and the trails were generally in good condition. Some sections still need a lot more snow and there were many early season natural hazards (pine cones, grass, twigs, etc.)
    Hills were polished and slick but we’re not icy.
    One good dump of snow and it would be perfection here.
    As usual, trail staff have done a fabulous job with their trails and this is one place I am always happy to travel to for ski weekend.

    • Ditto. Got out around 2:00pm and it was chilly. Skied the north side trails. These would be a blast with another dump.

      Saw a couple of wolves on the drive home, definitely the highlight of the day.

  230. Fernie – Elk Valley Nordic Center. Trails track set for classic and skating. In great condition today, beautiful corduroy for skating and tracks for classic freshly set – crisp. Few crowds. No need for rock skis. In great condition!

  231. Confederation Park was nice for a few laps today for a quick day out. The weather was reasonably warm. Good cover, tracks were a bit worn in places, but were just fine.

  232. Sandy McNabb

    Well, someone had to do it! Unfortunately we had very little time today, and only checked out a few trails on the south side. Grooming and tracksetting has been done very recently!! Now we just need another 30 cm of snow……
    There are some stretches of very lovely snow, in fact more of those than of the other sort, but the other sort does tend to colour one’s experience. Best snow is found on campground roads; hills in the trees can be very treacherous, so it is strongly recommended not to get up any speed going down lest you come to grief on the rocks, roots, etc. which lurk to amuse the unwary :-/

  233. Any recommendations for skiing tomorrow with the recent arrival of the chinook?

  234. Always need to psyche myself up for Skogan Loop/Pass and reading the Perrott’s report last week got me committed to do it today. I love climbing (6500 ft on my watch altimeter) and did not see anyone on my clockwise loop until I got down those three rollercoaster hills at the junction to the Pass. Wasn’t the only one trying to conquer the highest x-c ski trail and haven’t felt such burning thighs yet this year. Started out at -13 and it was ten degrees warmer 4 hours later, at Nakiska parking lot. Fun seeing those adorable 2 and 3 year olds out on downhill equipment; their mothers expressing gleeful pride watching them.

  235. Happy New Year,

    Picked Kananaskis Village for my first ski of 2016, skied pretty much all of the village trails which were in very good to excellent condition. snow temp was -15 at /Ribbon Creek parking lot just after 11am, Thought I try the new Ribbon Creek trail for my return leg, wish I hadn’t taken my brand new skis, caught a rock in the track took me down and left a gouge almost the whole length of the ski 🙁

    Its fine really I probable won’t notice the lost of performance but I definitely prefer the old trail !

  236. CNC We went skiing looking for the less traveled trails as the parking lots were full. 8km Classic on Rex Powergrip blue.-10C at start. The snow is the best I’ve ever seen it on Jan 1. Even the Man made stuff was soft (for the Nordic Centre) Lots of new grooming on the trails less travelled. Skied out Olympic onto Coyote which has a great downhill on it once you reach the top after the long climb. We went across the mine scar stopping to take a picture of the new Meadow Hut. We went down onto Banff Tr and hooked up onto Bruin (old 10K) up onto Meadowview and finished off screaming down King of Sweden and back into the stadium on Olympic.

  237. Dec 31 chose West Bragg Creek due to a late’ish start. A late-morning Calgary departure still allows ample time for a 10-20 k ski at West Bragg. When time is short, West Bragg is a good option from Calgary. The parking and start area is choked with multiusers times I’ve been there, including Dec 31. The crowds dissipate as you gain trails further from the parking. We skied west Crystal to Moose Connector, Moose Loop, then an up-and-back on Mountain Road, and back. Mountain Road tracks and snow were best, by far, but that trail was also the highest and most recently track set. There are only one set of tracks on Mountain Road, heading up from the junction of Moose Connector/Loop. Any comments why? (Just curious why not two tracks set?) IMHO the other WBC tracks are knocked about, given their use, guessing different width skies etc., but the snow is hanging in there.

    • West Bragg Creek-Mountain Road
      Mountain Road is designated as BOTH an XC ski trail and as an all-season, multi-user trail. It is groomed full-width. The North side, (right side, heading west) is trackset for Classic XC skiing. The middle is groomed for skate skiing. The south edge (left side, heading west) is for snowshoers, hikers, dog walkers, dog sledders, fat-bikers and horseback riders. There is simply no room for a second Classic XC ski lane.
      Lower West Crystal Line, which parallels Mountain Road is an exclusive XC ski trail and is groomed with two classic tracks.

  238. Ribbon Creek.

    Thurs 31st. Warm wind never got into the trees or the Ribbon valley so the trails around K Village were nice and firm, free of debris and almost unused. Bill Milne through the golf course and Mt Kidd also had pristine tracks.

    The new trail along Ribbon Creek (‘Ribbon Shriek’?) is quite manageable if done clockwise. There are some rocks exposed on the steeps – too many to pick them all up.

    The Swix thermometer and trail scoreboard at the Ribbon Cr parking lot are a nice touch.

    I am a big fan of West Bragg Creek but the tracks there seem to get skied out so quickly that I will be going to Ribbon more often – from NW Calgary, WBC is 45 mins, Ribbon is only 15 mins longer. The better tracks at Ribbon are much easier on an ailing knee.

  239. Canmore Nordic Centre PP Cross Country Ski Challenge! Just in time for the New Year! There are 65km of groomed ski trails at CNC. Most of us have our favourites. This unofficial challenge is to get skiers to ski the more obscure trails and connectors.
    Challenge #1 is Jan 1-31,2016
    Ski all the trails and connectors at the Canmore Nordic Centre PP. Grab a trail map from the CNC. We use an highlighter to keep track of our progress.
    Post on the CNC Challenge Facebook page (link below). You’ll have to ask to join and i’ll accept you.
    Post things like: (Skied Classic, Bruin and Rundle today -10C VR 40 wax) add grooming comments or whatever. Reporting is on the honour system. Report what you ski.
    Please don’t poach trails which are closed for races or grooming. Save them for another day.
    Prizes: there are no prizes just for the fun of it the accomplishment.
    Categories: Classic, Skate, Combined.
    Have fun!


  240. Sandy McNabb (west of Turner Valley)
    When: Dec 31, mid-day; where: the whole south loops section. Rather thin, yielding conditions often poor/fair, but surprisingly good in some stretches. My advice: bring your rock skis or wait for more snow. It was quiet and peaceful, which is a nice change from WBC.

  241. Yesterday afternoon Shaganappi golf course was quite crowded, but tolerable. Only somewhat messy skier tracks in sight, but the snow cover was reasonable and it was good for a short workout.

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