Trip Reports – Jan 2017

Let’s help each other have a great ski trip by sharing information on trail conditions. If you have photos, upload them to a photo-sharing site such as Flickr or OneDrive and leave a link with your comment. Last month, the Dec Trip Reports were viewed 17,400 times.


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  1. PLPP – Father-son ski day through south end on fresh 1/2″ covering deep well defined older tracks and some freshly groomed reaches where corn/modified snow slicked up-hills a bit. Rolly Road-Pocaterra-Lynx scattered needles but not an issue when cold. Amos, Whooley and Meadow View NEWLY trackset today despite update. Excellent conditions throughout.

  2. Parked at O’Hara end of Great Divide in -17 C.@ 11am. Brand new track-setting and skating lane had a few walkers en route to the shelter. Lower Telemark from west to east provided a nice change and more uphills! Went up Peyto Green, then #5 to check out the ice sculptures-Wooley Mammoth (sp) our favorite. I walked down the last hill so that I would see another day! Skied back down to Peyto Blue and found some skate skiers had discovered the terrific conditions on the Divide. A spending splurge at Wilson’s following a long and fast ski, with a great friend, made for a perfect day. -9 at end.

    • You’re referring to the Divide having new tracksetting, right? Did you happen to look at the Lake O’Hara road?

      • I did take a drive by look at O’Hara Fire Road and it looked like it had been packed down but that was all I could tell. I did not see any tracks set, but shouldn’t be long.

  3. We gave PLPP a try today, hoping that the new snow would cover needles and debris. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. The trails were a real mixed bag with some very good sections and some quite poor, and overall just OK. We parked at Boulton and skied up Packers, along Pocaterra to Tyrwhitt, then down Elk Pass Trail and back on Fox and Moraine. Most of the trails were slow with the new snow (1 to 2cm), but by the time we got to Fox-Moraine, they had been skier packed and a bit icy, so our pace picked up. Cold start at -18C. and a finish at -12C.

    • The Seniors Outdoor Club of Calgary were also at PLPP today.
      It was -18C also and we used VR30 wax, a green wax and one on skintechs. Waxes worked well for the day. The four of us skied from William Watson Lodge, along Wheeler/Moraine/Fox to reach the Elk Pass trail. We encountered the same pine straw that Ray and Mary did along the first half of Wheeler. Elk Pass trail was clean but slow in the skier set tracks. Tyrwhitt to the top of Whiskey Jack was clean but still slow and cold skiing into the forecast NE wind. Time was running short for getting back to the bus so we descended Whiskeyjack in a rush. Now the new snow was welcomed! Wheeler back to Elkwood parking had much improved glide over the outbound ski, so we also encountered freezing on the skier set tracks.
      More snow required – but how many days have I thought this now.

  4. Kicking Horse Trail

    Skied on Jan 30th at -2oC. Dusting of new snow from early in the day. Great tracks and snow was still quite soft. Excellent. Cold this morning at Emerald Lake, -20oC!!

  5. Skied to Boom Lake yesterday. There was only 1-2 cm of new snow in the area. Temp was just below freezing, but in the afternoon a strong north wind kicked in.
    I tried skiing up the creekbed trail that follows the old blazes on the left bank of the creek. This is a much more scenic route than the summer hiking trail. The trail initially started out nice and straight and following a logical and efficient route, but then devolved into a snowshoe track that went through treewells, up and over deadfall, and through stands of dense alder. I tried setting track in the creekbed but ended up wallowing in depth hoar. I recommend cross-country skiers stick to the summer trail.
    The summer trail is hard-packed but not icy, and generally in good shape. The lake is well frozen over, and it’s worth skiing to the north end of the lake where blue ice frozen onto the headwall provides some pretty scenery.

  6. Correction: yesterday was the 30th. Just because I skipped Monday at work doesn’t mean the date disappeared from the calendar I’ve been told. Well worth it!

  7. Our family enjoyed a great weekend at Nipika , watching the Loppet then getting out for a few skis ourselves. Yesterday (January 29th) we woke up to a couple centimetres of fresh snow covering the previous day’s skate tracks. I saw Steven track setting as we made our way back from the Natural Bridge. As always Lyle and family help create a wonderful ski experience.

  8. PLPP
    Skied a loop this afternoon going up Whiskey Jack, up and over Lookout (whew!!), bit of Hydroline and Elk Pass, and back along Boulton Creek. Fantastic fresh 5cm up at the top of Whiskey and Lookout – Had to scrape off my violet and try to cover with blue in order to glide because I was making fresh tracks coming down south end of Lookout and Hydroline. Even Boulton had enough of a fresh cover (3cm?) to make it quite clean and beautiful.

  9. PLPP: New snowfall; yippee! ??
    Monday Jan 30: Started at elkwood parking lot -2 at 11:30am.
    Very light covering 1 cm fresh snow overnight on tracks .
    As we climbed up Lynx/Pocaterra snow depth gradually inpmroved and. I pine needles visible by Whiskey Jack table. Approx 3 -4 cm covered tracks on Trywhitt and Elk Pass trails. Occasional light flurries throughout the day, As much as it was wonderful to enjoy some NEW Snow , it was slow going in places. ( using Ski Go HF wax -2 to -15 new snow ) Trails lower had pine needles , Go high to enjoy best snow. (or Go West To Field; Trail on Road into Takakkaw Falls was spectacular Fresh soft snow, SundayHelen’s report. ??)

  10. CASCADE VALLEY – Jan 30

    With a few cms of snow last night… the needles are gone!
    Freshly rolled to the Cascade Bridge. Velvety fresh tracks to the Warden Cabin.
    Ice Flows are no longer a problem.
    Lots of sheep… but not quite as close as the Lynx:!AhVZXBE7vMV7hA7H9yz0o-xbNzWg

  11. Lake Louise — Fairview Loop — fun but not fabulous

    The ski hill website claimed 11 cm of fresh snow, but on the Lake side of the valley, there did not seem to be anywhere near that amount. Parked at Moraine Lake Road, which was fairly quiet, just as Parks were packing up and leaving, having just groomed the road. Going up Tramline, I was surprised and disappointed by the amount of needles and other debris on the trail. Neither Tramline nor Fairview were freshly groomed, and although both had some fresh snow, it wasn’t much and there was fresh debris on top. It wasn’t terrible, but I did wish I had my waxless skis. I guess my expectations were too high!
    Most of the loop was in pretty good shape, and the downhills on Fairview were quite fast and fun 🙂

  12. In a quest for snow and new trails we decided to check out the trails near Castle Junction (parked at Rockbound Lake parking). I was displeased with the icy, uneven, debris covered trail and I dramatically vowed to my husband to never return! The ice flows, while inconvenient, were admittedly cool to see.
    Luckily, once we reached Castle Lookout parking, we decided to continue and were rewarded with beautifully groomed trails and such soft smooth snow! Even with the small amount of debris the glide was great. I’m glad we tried something new!

  13. Planned to ski Redearth today but reading Normand’s backcountry report of all the boot marks on the fresh grooming of Jan 29th soon changed my mind. Boom Lake: 2 cms in parking lot and 2 cars when I arrived, -5 temp. Caught up to two snow-shoers and another skier within the hour, so got to ski the thin new snow cover on the descent down to the lake. Snowplowed a fair share of the trip back but it was still a nice ski. Seems the trail has more appeal for walkers currently and one dog (off lease). -3 at 12:30 with then 11 cars in the lot. Bathrooms appear to need some serious work.

  14. I had the pleasure of skiing in my first Nipika Loppet weekend and ‘Wow!” It was a total blast. With hard kicking up hills and rocketing downs, the trails were in fine shape for the record number of registrants that showed up. Word must be getting out about this little Nordic gem because I think I counted at least 8 current and former National Team racers!!! Lyle and the gang know how to stage a great event that can cater to pretty much every level of skier. Can’t wait to go back and experience the laid back charm of one of the many track side cabins!

  15. Skied PLPP – Moraine/Fox Creek/Boulton Creek with the kiddos today. It was nice to see so many people out. These trails were holding up surprisingly well. Some of the downhills were getting glazed by late afternoon and needed a bit of extra care going down. LOTS of pine needles and debris on the tracks, but they didn’t stick too much. Alas, no moose car-wash for us either.

  16. BRYANT CREEK – Br 14

    Track set from Mount Shark parking lot to Spray River is generally excellent. Some pine needs. Snowing after sunset. Windy with blowing snow. Bryant Creek is also in excellent shape. Generally fairly fast conditions with good grip.

  17. Went out to Lake Louise today with hopes that the recent track setting and cooler temps would be better than Banff where we had some big winds on Saturday.

    At 10:30 it was -6 in the Great Divide parking lot. I cross the road and skied:
    Tramline-Fairview-down MLR, Tramlime, walked in front of the ice magic (which they now charge $10 for!), Upper Telemark, Peyto, Lower Telemark, 1A to the Divide and back to the parking lot.

    Overall the trails were in good shape, although the 1A was getting pretty soft by the end of the ski (it was -2 when I got back) and there were quite a few needles in the trees, but they didn’t stick much.

    Let’s hope we get some snow and cooler temps this week.

  18. Skied mt shark area today, great to see so many people out! Pretty decent conditions with areas of pine needles on the tracks but otherwise smooth sailing

  19. In a quest to find Castle Lookout, we ended up starting our ski at Castle Junction. The first few minutes heading west were mostly good… A couple of areas where the tracks were washed out…. And then we encountered the most beautiful, but most unfriendly massive ice flow. Thankfully we met two other women skiing back who warned us that after the hill the trail deteriorated to more ice flows and it wasn’t fun anymore. They also let us know that Castle Lookout was about 5K further down the road… So off we went!

    Skiing towards Baker Creek was quite lovely. The “death hill” down from the parking lot is quite packed and it’s tough to get a decent snowplow in before 1A. It was getting late in the afternoon, so we went for a short ski, not quite making it to the rail crossing. Overall, the tracks were in decent condition, the weather held steady just below zero, and the scenery was spectacular. It was a nice change of pace from the hills of Peter!

  20. Read earth creek.

    It was -1c about 2pm when we pulled into the parking lot.
    Hoped my violet wax was going to stick. It didn’t.
    Slopped on some red to much better effect.

    The trail is well trod. Lots of hikers and snowshoers enjoying the fair weather.
    We came upon the hiker responsible for hiking up the trackset, and kindly reminded him that the trackset is for skiers. He obliged, and to his credit, didn’t grab a log to drag down the tracks once we turned up hill and he continued down.

    Snow was old but soft, not too scary flying down. We turned back around 5km up. Some needles here and there, but they mostly stayed on the trail and out of my wax.

    This is a busy parking lot if only for the pit toilets. They are in foul condition. Mind where you set your pack down. Many people have opted to use the snowbanks around the parking area instead of the outhouse.

    No sign of that lynx, alas.

  21. Yoho Info Centre on Monarch Trail to Yoho Valley Road switchbacks return. -5 to start -4 to end. Monarch Trail leads from the A-frame Teahouse/Gift Shop and leads to Monarch Campground and Yoho Valley Road. Don’t know how long it is, maybe 4 kms. because one takes skis off to negotiate the first hill right at the start, to cross T-C, and to get up/down a few more tricky sections. If it took us an hour to ski it, I am guessing it took the track-setting volunteers Joe, Pierre and Bruce likely 4-5 hours to set a track in it. It must have been a huge effort clipping tree branches and other back-breaking work. While it is an easy trail and has glorious tracks through the open meadows, it is still early season with many willows sticking up, but nothing that a big dump of snow and one more grooming wouldn’t fix. The ski up Yoho Valley Road is one of my favorites. If one needs a “fix” for fabulous snow and scenery, go there-it never disappoints. It is double track-set all the way to just below the switchbacks. Kudos to Chuck and Jeanette who SO DESERVE to witness such an intimate and respectful encounter with the lynx. I loved the photo of the lynx looking at you behind the bush-that photo is worthy to be entered into the Alberta Watchable Wildlife calendar.

  22. Having read good reports about ski trails near the Kananaskis Village from earlier in the week, I took my 6 year old out for a nice morning ski. We skied Terrace and Terrace Link. The ski tracks would have been in really good condition……if it weren’t for ALL the pine needles, pine cones, pine branches and the tree that were all over the trail. I removed the dead tree, but unless you are taking small children for a ski and therefore not really looking for glide, I can’t really recommend these trails unless we get more snow! Still a lovely day out.

  23. Received this email from a skier who did Goat Creek to Banff yesterday:


    Thanks for your notes and information about the ski trails.

    We skied Goat Creek yesterday and the trail from the trailhead at Spray lakes reservoir was in good condition the downhills were not icy and the tracked trail allowed for some decent kick. The trail was good until about 1.5 km from the trail end at the Banff parking lot where it became icy and debris littered ….but for these prairie visitors ..a great day.

    Having skied this trail every year for last thirteen years as our tradition demands we gave it 7/10!

    Thank you


  24. Pipestone was very good yesterday. Great glide. Loads and loads of pine needles. on the trail. The parking lot was so full, people had to park on the road. We ran into 50 scouts at one point having lunch on the trail. It’s nice to see kids out in the outdoors instead of always being infront of the computer. Highly recommend getting out today if you didn’t get a chance yesterday.

  25. Classic Skied Mt Shark yesterday. Great conditions as per usual. I was hoping for a Moose car wash but no such luck.

  26. Chester-Sawmill, Jan 28, 2017
    It was a fine day to enjoy a tour of the Chester-Sawmill trails. We did a loop that included the Graupel, High Rockies and Snowdrift trails, linked with the ridge section of the former “Green Loop” XC ski trail. We had to break a track on the Graupel trail, since it has not seen any other ski/snowshoe traffic all season. It was slow trail breaking, with a barely supportive, facetted snowpack… but the track set up very quickly. There was a ski track on the upper High Rockies Trail and part of the old “Green” XC ski trail, and then we had to break more trail to connect over to the Snowdrift trail. Snowdrift was well packed by snowshoers.
    I think this means that there are now ski and/or snowshoe tracks on all of the Chester-Sawmill trail network.

    • Great photos Alf, it looks lovely! Would these trails be doable on light touring gear?

      • The portions of trails that have seen a lot of Snowshoe traffic are good for light touring skis and are packed wide enough to provide solid pole plants. The ones that have seen just a bit of ski traffic will have a good enough ski track, but the pole plants would be in bottomless snow.

  27. CNC – Did a classic lesson then skied Banff Trail out and back on Nagano. Snow felt very fast today, and tracks were holding up well at 1pm with temperatures at a balmy +3 and rising. It was my first time using some universal klister and managed not to get it everywhere or ruin my clothes!

    As a side note: if you were ever debating taking a lesson at the Nordic Center, I highly recommend it! We learned a lot at our drop-in lesson, and our ski afterwards felt great! Thanks Dave at CNC!

  28. SHADOW LAKE and much more – Jan 28

    With news of a packed trail to the lodge, this had to be the destination for today. And it allowed for continued exploration down the lake… thanks James.
    But the highlight of the day was on the return:!AhVZXBE7vMV7hAUvWKEhvuTlGcH9
    ps Hope you are reading the captions

    • Bob… of all people…. I can’t believe it:
      After Picasa… all websites (One Drive, Flickr, Google etc) require the user to click on the Info Icon (“I” in a circle) to read the caption and other info.
      Try it: select the first photo in the Album… click the Info Icon… and then keep clicking Next to read the Caption while seeing the Picture.
      Happy Seeing and Reading!

      • By the way, did you have to yell “track” to get it to move out of the ski trail?

        • Having scared her off the trail into the bushes on my descent, I stopped and talked softly to her. She actually “meowed” so I waited longer, because I had also seen kitten tracks. In no time she climbed back on the trail in front of me and was totally relaxed.
          There were many snowshoe hare tracks in the area.

          • Looks beautiful. And Wow on the Lynx. I’m surprised she stayed so close. Did you really see her or is that superimposed?

    • Chuck thanks for sharing the photos, what a great looking day! How long did it take to get in to the cabins?

    • What a bonus to your day. I lifted your lynx picture to show my snowshoe group as we keep discussing the tracks we see. Thanks for sharing.

    • Congrats on your wonderful encounter and super photos. The ‘Share the Trail’ sign is so apropos!

  29. First time on the trail from Baker Creek to Castle Lookout. The grooming looked like it had just been done recently. It was perfect! There was some debris on the trail from the construction but it was easy to get over and the tracks were no longer chewed up by vehicles as reported earlier. There was no wind and we saw only two other people. VR40 worked well for the afternoon. We timed it perfectly to stop at Baker Creek Cafe for some hot chocolate and poutine. Delicious and the service was wonderful. Great day:)

  30. Has anyone been on Bill Milne trail in Kananaskis this weekend? Looks like it hasn’t been groomed in a while and I wonder if the tracks have become pure ice…?

    Thanks for the info!

    • … or for that matter anywhere near Kananaskis Village?
      Wondering how or if the chinook affected the trails. Might just head there for an hour Sunday followed by a couple hours Tele at Nakiska

  31. PLPP – Jan 28
    Happy (Chinese) New Year!!! No roosters sighted but resident Whisky Jacks picking up the slack.
    Variable conditions in PLPP today. -10c snow temp at Boulton @ 9:30am; tracks a bit icy/glazed heading up Whiskey Jack, V40 wax slipping a bit, so added a dab of Purple underfoot. Grip got better, especially with pine needles sticking to bases; judging by the condition of our bases we did a good job vacuuming up debris for those who followed,
    Much better conditions up Tyrwhitt to Elk Pass where it hit 0c, then down Hydroline; fast clean tracks, as good as it has been all year. Fox Creek fast but getting a bit washed out on curves……fast travelling. Moraine slick in early afternoon, debris increased as elevation decreased, but still good overall.
    Warm and blowy all day but snow is holding up well.

    • Next time try a flouro grip wax. I find the needles do not stick to grip zone as readily as with regular grip wax. Also higher camber in your skis helps too. I did today Cookie 42k minus new Pocaterra and found the conditions and grooming to be excellent. I used Start purple synthetic. The Elkwood parking lot was full and somebody got a ticket for double parking.. ouch.

  32. Cascade Valley
    Skate skiing was pleasant. Erika’s and Barb’s reports on Jan 22 (see below) precisely describe the trail conditions I found today.

  33. Looking for a place to ski this weekend why not try Emerald Lake. See how the conditions look by checking the link below.

  34. Skated today on Great Divide from Louise to O’Hara parking. Trail was a little chewed up and slow for the first few kms until the final junction with Telemark, but excellent from there on. A few animal tracks and more windswept for the last km or so before O’Hara lot. Brisk headwind heading down, which of course didn’t feel as strong when it was at my back (though it probably was). Classic tracks looked good; a little shallower closer to the divide, but almost no debris.

  35. Ribbon Creek was surprisingly good today! Terrace, Kovach, Aspen were all recently trackset and in great shape. Some debris on the lower trails but the upper part of Kovach was fantastic. Arrived at 1:30 pm and V40 worked for the entire afternoon.

  36. There is skiing available at West Bragg thanks to the valiant efforts of the volunteers who are out there trying to salvage the season on our behalf. Conditions are not stellar on West and East Crystal for classic as it was still pretty hard/icy at 2 pm but made for a good work out. Skating would have been much better. Ice flows are a becoming a real challenge despite efforts by the groomers to open culverts etc.. Disappointing the the graffiti artists have seen fit to add comments on the Snow-Shoe/Fat Bike trail signage.

  37. Pipestone: we skied almost every trail there today. As Bob mentioned in his blog yesterday, the now 4-day old tracksetting is generally very good. A couple of caveats, though: 1) Wind last night brought down pine needles, most prevalent on the east aspect of Pipestone #20, where it parallels the Pipestone river. Not a real problem, but visually disheartening. The west side of the trail system is much cleaner. 2) Where the trackset takes a sharp-ish turn at the bottom of small hills, the tracks are getting quite washed out, so don’t count on the tracks carrying you around those corners.

  38. Stephen Vermeulen

    Skied PLPP on Friday 27th, starting at 1000 from Elkwood. Snow temp about -13C, no wind, partially cloudy. Skied Wheeler to Packers (wonderful tracks), then up Packers which still hasn’t been groomed. The tracks are still fine, if you’re going in the reverse (downhill) direction most of the downhills look fine, but there’s a bit of ice and dirt starting to show on the steepest hills near Pocaterra.

    From Packers I took Pocaterra back to Lynx, great tracks for the fast downhill. Then Lynx to Amos. The tracks on Lynx are very good, but there’s a bit of needles in places (there were a bit on Wheeler and Packers too) but not enough to cause any problems. Then Amos to Woolley. Woolley was groomed recently, so is much nicer than it was last weekend. Then Meadow back to Elkwood which was very good except for a couple of spots with needles – still not enough to be an issue.

    Was about -10C when I got back.

    It looks like the Great Melt didn’t get much further south than Nakiska, there even appears to be snow on Bill Milne trail (the bits you can see from the highway).

    Looks like it will be a super ski weekend in PLPP!

    Very good skiing. Track set good except where snowmobile ran over tracks. -7 to -15 green wax worked well. Trail to Shadow Lake Lodge is snowmobile packed and very good. Trail broken 3/4 the way up the lake and a few hundred meters towards Ball Pass up the creek. -10 after sunset.

    • Hi James,
      Did you start at Red Earth Creek? I haven’t skied this trail. How many kms until you get to where it’s snowmobile packed vs groomed?
      Thx, Rhonda

      • Yes, you start at Redearth Creek. At 10.3K, there is a turn-off to Shadow Lake. It’s a further 2.8K on the snowmobile packed narrow trail to the Lodge, and a further 1K to the lake. Soon after you turn, there is a short but very steep section which you have to walk up(and down, on the way back). The link below has numerous updates about the trail to Shadow Lake.

      • Yes, I started at Red Earth Creek parking lot along the Trans Canada Highway located west of the Sunshine Village Ski Area turn off and east of Highway 93. This single lane track set trail is for advanced or strong skiers as there are some hills with corners and the trail is not as wide as most others. It is an undulating route meaning there is a little up hill on the way home as well.

        The snowmobile trail up to Shadow Lake is even more narrow for the most part. I ski up and down it with my metal edge x-c skis as I am a good skier and have suitable equipment for such terrain. Most people walk up and down with their edgeless skis.

        There is not a lot of scenery until you get up to the lake, where it is spectacular, particularly at sunset in spring.

        Enjoy more with metal edge skis and a headlamp!

  40. Had a nice ski at PLPP today – up Whiskey Jack which was freshly trackset then down Pocaterra to Packers. The snow is thin on Pocaterra so cautious on the downhills. Snowploughed down many hills on Packers which was a a bit agonizing, but otherwise it would have been suicidal. Caution advised. The ice flow is manageable. Climbing the bill hills on Packers was hard too as the snow was very thin in places and hard to dig in. Still a great day out.

  41. Skied Castle Lookout to Baker Creek this afternoon. -11C when we started, -5C when we got back. The tracks are still in great shape for most of the way. There are some pine needles in the tracks just west of Castle Lookout until it opens up. An ice flow and some ice in tracks beside the railroad just before crossing the road and lots of debris on the trail for a short distance just after crossing the road. Aside from those minor issues, it was a perfect, blue sky day in Banff!

  42. Nice ski today from Castle lookout towards Baker Creek (didn’t go the whole way due to late afternoon start). Views from the camel humps (as Mary called them) were superb.

  43. Dawn Mountain, Golden (just past the Kicking Horse Mtn Resort)
    Excellent skiing at Dawn Mountain – no sign of melting during the recent warm spell so the snow was good and wintery, with immaculate grooming, for both classic and skate. Yesterday classic skied, temps -8 to -5, and it was so good, we stayed an extra day and skate skied today, temps about the same. Good mix of green, blue and black rated trails, meandering through the woods with views of the mountains in open sections, lots of rolling terrain. Highly recommended!

  44. PLPP low elevation trails are in great shape.
    Beauty day on Wheeler, Moraine, Fox Cr, Amos, Woolley, Meadow, Moraine, all with excellent tracks. Boulton Cr is a little rough but quite skiable. The older tracksetting on Lodgepole and Braille is still in great shape and very enjoyable. Few needles and twigs, couple of stones – all trivial. I second Doug’s report from yesterday.
    Either conditions are a bit harder than normal or my glide wax was working better than usual: the skis were running fast and I had to lift out of the tracks to decelerate on 3 or 4 down hills. It was quite unusual not to be able to trust the tracksetting today.
    Stayed cool and should remain very good for the weekend. -4C air -9C snow temp at Elkwood at 4 p.m.

  45. Calgary: Canmore and Confederation Parks

    Too sick to venture out this week, but got as far as the local courses this afternoon. There is still snow, though getting very thin in places. We decided to check out the new trails in Canmore Park first. According to the grooming report, they were very good two weeks ago. Well, that was two weeks ago. Everywhere we skied today the snow was surprisingly hard and icy. In Canmore Park, the flat tracks by 19th St. are still quite decent, but the hills are icy and dangerous, with bare patches and a water-skiing patch, and up top there is more debris.
    Confederation – not much new to report, tracks rather icy, bridges very icy with bare patches, but one can have an enjoyable ski around the course still. No evidence of snow-making yet that I could see.
    Photos from Canmore Park:

    • Skating conditions at Confederation were generally very good last night, coverage was good and most of the loops had some new grooming.

      According to Foothills’ posts, snow-making is planned for the next stretch of cold weather. Maybe next week?

  46. Lake Louise: Telemark and Peyto before lunch. Great fast run down Telemark to Great Divide. Lower Telemark is always fun and very lovely today with all the snow on the trees. On our way back to upper parking lot we stopped by the hotel to take a look at the ice sculptures. By then the sun had gone down behind Mt. Fairview and what had been a pleasant -11C. was a cold -16. After lunch in the van, we skied Fairview Loop returning up Tram line (Ray). I took him up on his offer to pick me up by the river at the bottom of Tram line. A super ski and all tracks were good.

    • Great Divide/Lower Telemark

      You are so right about the areas without sun. About 3-4 km of the Great Divide was quite cold with frost on the trees. Great Divide excellent and firm in the middle for skaters. Going east to west on the Lower Telemark – the downhill portions are becoming pretty firm compared to a couple of days ago. Fingers crossed for fresh snow Sunday.

  47. Has anyone been to Nipika recently?
    What are the snow conditions out there?

    • I was at Nipika early this week and conditions were excellent with good coverage with very little debris in the tracks. Both the north and the south trails were in good shape.

  48. WBC- Jan 25, 2017
    The work of volunteer groomers at West Bragg Creek is bringing some of the trails back to life. A few days of grooming is breaking up the Chinook crust and smoothing the trails in the Crystal Line area. The trails are mostly flat-groomed and good for skate skiing, with only a few segments of classic track-setting. The snow is quite abrasive, so wax doesn’t last too long. Expect to find some icy spots on steeper hills and thin spots around large conifers. The short Hostel Meadow loop is in good condition.
    Don’t bother with sun/wind exposed trails like Mountain Road, Moose Loop, south Elbow or south Iron Springs. Trails that have not seen recent grooming are best avoided.
    It was mild (-2 to 0C) this afternoon, sunny and calm.

  49. Jan. 25 – PLPP
    After reading the grooming report, we decided to ski the middle section of PLPP. It was a cool -13 when we headed south from Elkwood parking lot on the freshly groomed Wheeler trail to Boulton. The Boulton Creek trail was a little chopped up but still in decent condition. Then we went up and over the hill on Elk Pass trail, turning around and heading north at Fox Creek which was fast and fun. We took Moraine, Amos (you can easily avoid the ice flow), Woolley and Meadow back to the car. All trails on the return trip were in terrific shape. It was amazingly quiet out there today – saw fewer than 10 people all day.

  50. Lured out by the bright sun and relatively cool temps and not wanting to do a long drive – again – I decided to take the skis down to Confederation Park this afternoon. Contrary to expectations I had a nice 2 hour ski, there’s good coverage and the set tracks are firm with a few icy, thin spots but definitely worth doing. The skating lanes looked in good shape.

  51. Wed Jan 25: elk pass/hydroline/lookout/tyrwitt.
    -15 at 9am, -5 at the couch (thanks to donater of thermometer to the couch cause), -7 on return at 4.
    Good tracks throughout, nothing changed really from last time out there, fox newly groomed. A half dozen or more twigs at inopportune locations on the south side of lookout, descenders beware. The machine groomer had started from elk pass parking already when I returned. Fire lookout had reversed its role, a couple of slash fires burning and smoking away in vicinity. Winds were such that I could enjoy the picnic table and blue skies. Descent down the north side was a bit detracted by the snowmobile driving down the snow plow side so chattered my way down the herringbone track. Should be smooth now!
    Couch update: A new single seat throne has been added, fit for an internet webmaster king, positioned perfectly for 3-4pm sun. The guest book is filling up. Couch comfort factor this aft was a solid 9.

  52. Mt Shark: what an improvement from a ski there Dec 19th. In -15 we skied down to the bridge in an hour. Track-setting was in great shape and hill down was not icy but still a workout for older hips/knees. Met several people we knew and enjoyed the sun’s warmth when it was out. Skied back to do the #3-9 loops and then hit the #22-26 Biathlon loops, which offers a wonder last descent to the parking lot. There was talk of perhaps the last big, currently unmaintained loop, starting at Junction 9, of getting track-set this season. Can anyone comment on that? It would be great to see grooming/packing on it. Also we stopped into Mt Engadine and they have set a track of approx. 5 kms that one can see on other side of the road going to Shark. It gets groomed by Engadine staff as needed, after a big snowfall. It looked very inviting but we passed on it today.

    • I believe the loop you mean is the last 5 km of the 15 km trail that has been ungroomed and untracked for the past few or more years. I skied that loop this past Sat on good skier-set tracks for about 2/3 of the way when I met 4 snowshoers going the opposite direction, so the track was obliterated or ‘snowshoe groomed’ for about 1/2 km and then the skiers in front of me passed them and set a good track again that met the Watridge Lake Rd. If this 5 km was groomed it would be a narrow trail akin to Moraine/Fox in PLPP. If it was also tracked that would be great! There are some hills that would benefit from grooming wide enough to herringbone up and snowplow down.

      • On second thought, that loop has narrow sections like Moraine/Fox, but also sections that are more open. If groomed I don’t think it would be wide enough for skating, but would be lovely for classic. It would probably be rated ‘difficult’ as it is an extension of the 10km route, which has that designation.

  53. Maple ridge golf course was still quite skiable today, very fast on firm tracks. I was disappointed that the city did not complete the usual Tuesday grooming there. Only a few bare spots which are easily skirted around. I am wondering how Confederation / Canmore park is holding up.

  54. Skied the Pipestone Loops today on trails freshly groomed last night. Minus 17C with no wind for a cold start on VR30. Good grip going out and okay glide. Turning the top and starting down under sunny blue skies the snow was warmer and the sliding / gliding first class. So good it was repeated after climbing Merlin from Drummond. Exited via Hector trail and skied back to the Village on the Townsite trail. Minus 7C in the Village at 3:00 pm.
    All Pipestone trails are in excellent shape with minor traffic today. A must place to ski!

    • Pipestone and pretty much all Lake Louise trails really amazing right now, albeit with the chilly start today at -18 as well warming up to -11. Our group saw an adult moose dash across the trail very close to the junction of Pipestone and Merlin.
      Ps: another group saw a yearling moose down near campground loops and were warned by the Parks people to give it a wide berth.

  55. My trip report is a bit different. Hope you all enjoy it! A tree for you!

    Forest of Sound

    go the skis
    thunk-scree go the poles
    on the shivery Blueberry Trail
    chick-a-dee-dee says the small chickadee
    and swoosh go the crafty grey jays past our feet
    as they harvest the crumbs that fall from the picnic table
    a sigh in the trees sways the black strands of old-man’s-beard
    “Let’s go!” cries my man in the flaming red tuque.

    Here’s what I think Mary had in mind Forest of Sound -Bob

    • After all my careful positioning of letters, the poem did not upload the way I typed it!! Oh well, just imagine the words spreading out from the top like a tree, with the trunk at the bottom right in the middle. I guess half a tree is better than none at all.


    Natural Bridge trailhead Parking Lot cleared and Trail trackset on Jan 21… Yipee!
    Sun shining today… and minus 15 degrees starting downhill.
    Several cleared picnic tables and benches along the way… and Moose Tracks.
    Soft pole plants on the double trackset portion down to Emerald River, and solid edges on the single trackset thereafter.!AhVZXBE7vMV7g2mlHEHjSVfEaPpa
    And a great excuse to stop in at The Siding Cafe in Field afterwards.

  57. PLPP: Blueberry and Elk Pass – started at Elk Pass parking (10am, -11C). We avoided the big hill by heading up Fox Creek (decent tracks, minor debris), and then the Elk Pass trail to the Blueberry junction. Up and down Blueberry in near record time for us (very nice conditions, and amazingly calm at the top), then on to MaSid’s couch for lunch. Great spot! Comfortable, good views, just needs a hot chocolate dispenser. After a nap (just kidding, but the couch is that good), it was on up to Elk Pass, and we returned by Hydroline, Patterson, and Elk Pass to parking (1:30pm, -5C). Trails near the parking lot are well used, but still in nice shape. Quite a few people out for a Tuesday.

    • Glad you found it, as well as enjoyed it! Might just do the same circuit tomorrow, especially now my binding issue has been fixed with a remounting. Or up the lookout and around tyrwitt and then on to the couch. Excellent service at Norseman on 37 st sw, highly recommended.

    • I was out there yesterday as well. Extremely fast track. I made it down in a record time of 30 minutes from the top of Blueberry Hill to Elk Pass parking via Fox Creek!

  58. Diverted plans from skiing a pot pourri of trails out at Emerald Lk back to Lk. Louise due to Avalanche Control maintenance closing T-C hwy for 60+ min. As Karen stated, groomers were very busy at LL and we were first to ski on the best grooming of Lower Telemark I have ever witnessed. Lunch at the Divide and back to Peyto skiing up to Deer Lodge to round out our Meanderthal ski trip. Skate skiers-you would be in heaven and very few people as Karen also pointed out. -7 to start -5 to finish. Love you BLUE!

  59. Great conditions on Moraine Lake road today. Fresh grooming….lonely skiing…few fellow skiers. Monday!!

  60. CNC Mon Jan 23; It’s premature to write off the natural snow trails. In spite of the Thaw and lack of new snow, skiing was great.
    Man made snow is in great shape with fresh grooming and tracks. Tracks are hard -6C We used Skintecs but VR45 would have worked as would Rode super blue or Rex power grip (flubber) .
    Off the manmade out on the Banff trail the tracks are still good and even cleaner than a week ago. We skied 2/3 of the way out to the end of Banff trail and took a seldom used connector up onto Silvertip. ST had been groomed no tracks and has great skiing. The trail is not smooth with little dips and undulations. We met one AWCA racer out doing LSD. New wolf tracks were everywhere. Skied back towards Nordic Centre and rejoined the manmade snow. My suggestion would be to ski out past the man made or up above the meadow to find quiet skiing. Especially if you have to ski on the weekends.

  61. Skied Tyrwhitt on Sunday and saw wolf tracks- very fortunate. Sad the hunting, trapping and poisoning of these animals elsewhere.

  62. We went to the CNC Saturday and Sunday and had some great conditions for skate skiing on the man-made snow. Spent most of the time on Banff trail, and the Upper and Lower Competition Trails, where the corduroy was a real pleasure to glide on. Fresh blue wax on the skis seemed to work really well in the late morning. Many people were out enjoying the great weather and the parking lots were full, but that did not negatively affect the experience at all. All in all, a great weekend for nordic skiing. As we drove west this morning the cloud cover cleared up and beautiful blue skies took over. Perfect.

  63. PLPP-Jan 22, 2017
    It was an excellent day for the classic Whiskey Jack-Tyrwhitt-Elk Pass-Fox Creek-Moraine loop. A clear sky, -4C and no wind made for perfect conditions. The grooming on Whiskey Jack was good. Tyrwhitt, Hydroline, Blueberry Hill appeared to be groomed last night or early today. Perfect, firm track setting and pristine corduroy. Fox Creek was very good… fun and fast. Moraine was in the best condition that I have seen for some time. Every single person I saw along the trails had a big grin and a comment along the lines of “amazing conditions”!
    I did note that there was not a single snowshoe track on the official snowshoe trail along Hydroline at Elk Pass… but what else is new.

    • Blueberry Hill was also excellent; tracks in great shape, snow soft and forgiving on the downhills. We finished our day on Boulton where tracks and hills were getting a touch icy/glazed. with a bit more debris on the tracks than the trails farther in/higher up. Still fun, fast cruising……zoom, zoom! Wolf tracks along the creek; good to see them back in the area; hopefully they figure out to stay on the Alberta side of the border where they will have a better chance of survival.

  64. Spray Loop and beyond – Spray loop west was icy and littered with debris today. We persevered and pushed on and the trail got better just before the end of the loop. I decided to to push on further up the Spray to the second bridge. It got much better quick (no more needles) but was still pretty firm. This made for a quick return trip back down to the first bridge.

    I decided to chance it and try the east spray on the way back. The tracks have held up pretty good since being groomed last week and there were far fewer needles than the west side, however it was still icy and pretty much a double poll fest.

    The parks site has the spray west rated as good, I would rate it as poor and won’t be back until we get a substantial snow fall and it is groomed again.

  65. Cascade Valley
    Amazingly enough I skied to Stony- end of trackset trail- today with WAX!
    I was surprised. Started at 11:30 with vr 45. It was -8. Worked at the way.
    Solid track. Past the bridge, and on the reroute , pine needles were a bit of an issue, a km later after some uphill, all was clear. The 2nd ice flow close to Cabin turnoff is a bit of a pain. The short bush route is the best.
    Few skiers, lots of wolf, cougar tracks, but not recent.

  66. Its been ages since I’ve had a chance to ski Cascade Valley, so despite last week’s melt-fest, went anyways. The track is still there from the last Parks grooming, and no rocks sticking out. There’s a thin layer of snow covering hard snow – not quite ice, but compacted – until you get up the big hill then fantastic conditions until you come down the big hill to the new bridge.

    At this point, there’s off-and-on pine needles until after the new -post-flood – stretch through the tree, with the worst being in that mew section. It clears up nicely after that, with only two ice flow stetches – worth rembering them for the way back so you slow dow before them. One is worth taking skis off & walking around. Didn’t visit the warden’s cabin, but went on to the broken bridge at the 14.4km marker sign. Didn’t realize the flooding had mangled the last couple hundred metres. Enough skiers have tracked it to meander your way to the old broken bridge.

    12pm start. Back by 4pm. A couple dozen on the trail – skating not awful, but not stellar. Blue wax seemed fine. Could use another dump of snow soon!

  67. We drove all the way from Calgary to Lake Louise today in search of snow, and found lots of it on the Pipestone Loop. Despite not having been groomed for a few days, the tracks were in very good condition, and our blue wax worked well. The weather was beautiful with blue skies, no wind, and temperatures between -12° and -6° for the day. One skier we met in one of the sunny meadow areas described it as, “almost tropical!” The only down side to the day was the number of dogs we saw, five in all, some on leashes. One couple had two that were running all over the tracks making a mess of them. Are dogs allowed on ski trails in the National Parks?

    • Pipestone is one of the few xc destination in Banff that is dog-friendly. To find out more, look for the ‘no dog’ logo on Banff’s trail listings: Or see Bob’s ‘Dog-Friendly’ link.

    • On a few trails- but only on a LEASH! Amazing isn’t it, as it is difficult to ski a hilly, busy trail with a leash.
      In Lake Louise area they are permitted on the Pipestone, the Riverside trail, Campground loop and on the Lake I think. Yes, the damage to the tracks can be significant.
      Feel free to report dogs off leash to the visitor center. There can be lots of wildlife on the Pipestone. (Hare, Lynx, foxes and wolves.)

  68. Stephen Vermeulen

    Skied PLPP morning of Jan 22. Started from Elkwood parking at about 0930, temperature was about -16C, no wind, clear sunny sky.

    Wheeler was very good to excellent conditions, just a few spots where there were some needles. Went up Packers which hasn’t been set for a while now. Tracks were still fine. Looked to me like the downhill run would be fairly easy to do as there was still snow cover everywhere and even some loose snow to brake with. On the final steep hill (as you approach the top) there were a couple of ice chunks poking up, so if you caught one of those while braking you might have a fall. The tracks were in very good condition on Pocaterra from Packers back to Lynx. Nice fast descent. Met the first skiers of the day, they were going up the long Pocaterra hill using both tracks… Track!

    Lynx was in very good condition too. The short section from Lynx to Amos was very good, but the groomer turned onto Amos and I turned onto Wooley which hadn’t been groomed in a while. The tracks along it were still pretty good though, with the occasional bump as you went over a tree bomb. Meadow back to Elkwood was also fine, perhaps a bit better than Wooley but also hasn’t been groomed in some time. This has some more debris in the tracks, but nothing to really affect your glide.

    It was still cold when I got back, about 6 cars were parked then.

  69. Skied Mt. Shark yesterday on what were the best conditions I can remember ever skiing there. Chilly start of -15C but no wind, blue skies and a perfect day overall.

  70. PLPP – January 21

    We decided to do something different this time around, so five of us decided to go for a night time ski in PLPP. We started from Elk Pass parking lot at 4:25pm and were surprised to find great tracks – firm, fast, and not icy. I was expecting them to be chewed up after crowds being on them for an entire Saturday, and to be in poorer shape given out big ‘meltdown’. But, they were amongst the best we’ve had in PLPP and V40 blue extra worked wonderfully. We made it to Elk Pass just as it was getting dark and had a candlelit dinner there at 6:00pm. The stars just started to come out, so we skied down Hydroline, where the real magic was. With our headlamps in the night, the snow was the sparkliest I’ve ever seen – like fields of crystals, just magical!!! We skied down Patterson, Elk Pass trail, and made our way back via Fox Creek, which was also in very good shape. We’re now sold on night skiing, especially without the crowds!

    Some of us hadn’t had enough, so we drove a few minutes and then skied the loop of Elkwood – Wheeler – Amos. Again, very good tracks, nice & fast.

    It was incredible to be out there at night, so will be back for more of that.

    • Wonderful trip report! Now we’re going to need an evening reservation system for the Elk Pass picnic table. Or overflow dining at MaSid’s couch?

  71. Sawmill Trails-Jan 21, 2017
    I did a tour of some of the Sawmill (Smith-Dcrrien trails today). Snow depth ranged from 60-80cm…so there is plenty of snow, if these trails were being groomed. Travel was easy, where the trails had been “groomed” by snowshoers, but trail breaking was slow going on any undisturbed segments. I quite enjoyed the High Rockies Trail segment that takes parallels the middle part of “Grapple” trail… and I noticed that the bridges along Graupel/High Rockies trail are all wide enough for a snow-cat!

  72. Norseman ski club group skied Pipestone today. Perfect day, blue sky, -8c by afternoon, blue wax worked well, a few pine needles in the first few km then clean tracks.

    Thanks Bob for your great advice on avoiding skiing Goat Creek today, Pipestone was the perfect place to be skiing.

  73. SUNDANCE CABIN – Jan 21

    Trackset today! But John, the Sundance Lodge tracksetter, won’t be offended if you do not notice. While conditions have improved, the trail is too hardpacked for the machine to make much of a dint. I should have accepted Ingrid’s invitation to coffee… but I had plans.
    Consider this report as an extension to my Jan 16 trip to Turtle Tom’s Cabin. The trip to Sundance Cabin is longer, but the route was skier tracked all the way.
    Skate skiers would enjoy the hardpack as far as Sundance Lodge, but then you will want your classic skis to continue. Extra Blue wax worked well for me all the way.
    Check out the details at:!AhVZXBE7vMV7g15ZWoZn7BtSgE4k

  74. Joined several other Loppetter Wanna-Be’s today, starting from Lk Louise Railway Station restaurant in -17 to follow Chuck’s trail to those elusive railway tracks on towards Morant’s Curve. Thought we were on the right “track” (no pun intended) skiing over the picturesque Bow River Bridge east of the campground only to find other skierbob fans searching for Chuck’s loppet tracks of a few days ago. A CP railway worker had no idea what we were looking for, nor did we. Ret’d to car for lunch en route to Baker Creek Chalets to ski in the westerly direction towards Morant’s Curve. Made it to km 4.5 where two huge wood piles coincided with our turn-around point. Sipping tea and indulging in a huge almond cookie in that glorious sun in -9 made us OK with not finding “the hidden treasure”. Ditto to Doug Connery for applauding the Loppet organizers-what a feat to put on such an event! Anxious to hear how you make out in the race. Bigger baskets a great idea but passing someone via that unsupported snow might require calling Standish Towing 1-800-701-7410 to get hauled out. Cars were already getting stuck on the soft shoulders of the 1-A so caution to spectators who might also need that 1-800 #. Look for anyone with an AMA membership if you do park an inch too far over.

    • Helen; I don’t feel as bad now that I see others had the same trail finding issue. As we skied the double track through the campground on the left side of the Bow R., we missed an innocuous single groomed track angling off towards the the RR tracks which is approx 50-70M from the end of the dble track. If one is skiing on the right side of the river, the race trail crosses the narrow bridge over the Bow and you arrive at the double track trail. Turn left and ski the 50-70M back towards town and you’ll see the loppet trail angling off to the right. For reference the trail crosses the tracks on the access road that goes up to the TCH and then follows along the wildlife fence until you get to the Bridges over the TCH.

      • Thanks Hugh, then we were standing on the correct railway crossing access road. But that was where a big CP truck was and its driver who had no idea of where the loppet course crosses the tracks. Five of us (3 + 2) were right there at that access road and since the man did not know that was the very crossing, we all turned back and drove to the 1-A. We should follow Bob’s good example and volunteer next year at that very crossing! Loppet-on! Couldn’t ask for better temperatures!

  75. Tried to ski from Lake Louise campground to Baker Creek today. We had to give up when we could not find a way from the Bow River loop to the trail towards Corral Creek. There were a few other confused souls (including at least one veteran poster to this blog) on the Bow River loop as well. In the end we drove back to Baker Creek and skied back to Corral Creek so we ended up doing pretty much what we wanted to. The trail has lots of willows poking through in the vicinity of Baker Creek Lodge but a km or so north west of there conditions improve. The track setting for tomorrow’s loppet made it possible to ski this route when normally it would not be viable. There is a section that is just over 1 km long at Morant’s Curve where one has to walk or perhaps ski on the side of the road. The route stays fairly close to the train tracks. There a few places that are open enough for some decent views up and down the Bow Valley but I would say that the Baker Creek to Castle Lookout section is more scenic. Green wax worked well for me. It was -16 when we started and -8 when we finished.

  76. Mount Shark
    Took your advice today Bob and skied Mount Shark – did the yellow 10 K loop. The snow temperature was -12 but the air felt much warmer. No wind and plenty of sun. Used green wax which worked perfectly. It was a glorious day as we had never really skied Mount Shark and what a treat it was on the rolling varied and for us, challenging terrain. The panoramic mountain views were stunning. We saw a beautiful partridge on the trail – black and white with lovely design. Thanks for your ski advice Bob. You save us a lot of grief and lost time on these wonderful ski days with your tips and observations. Hope you feel better soon!

  77. PLPP – Skied Whiskeyjack, Tyrwitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek & Boulton Creek loop today, with a 1pm start, and a very busy parking lot. Air temperature about -6 in parking lot, but snow was way colder at -14.5C according to my snow thermometer in the shade. Blue V30 worked great on all trails, but a bit slippy at the end due to tree debris scraping it off on Fox and Boulton. Whiskey Jack still had good tracks, only slightly worn in places, and crunchy in the exposed bits. The big hill is only starting to get a little scraped and icy near the top, but there’s still powder to hit to make it down safely. Saw a couple people ski down, but evidence that many walked down instead. I saw big kitty tracks almost all the way along Tyrwitt until right before Elk pass / Hydroline junction, ocasional digging too. I couldn’t help but wonder if it might have been the Lynx I saw last weekend, but couldn’t definitively say it was a lynx. (however, the tracks were quite round, so I suspect it was one – definitely feline in nature, at least). The ski tracks on Tyrwitt were divine – firm and fast and clean. Elk pass was fairly decent too with a few cm of fresh snow covering the corduroy, but Fox creek, not so much. Washed out tracks and a lot of tree debris tested my stabilizer muscles, but it was totally skiable and still fun – my skis crunched over a couple of things, but I’m hoping it was ice chunks and not rocks. It had a few nice clean sections with good tracks, Boulton creek was similar, but had more sections of nice tracks and cleaner snow. It was the first time I’ve done it in daylight and what a fun little trail! I like the rolling hills and winding downhills. I’d keep beginners away from those 2 trails for now until conditions are a bit better though. I looked for evidence of ski tracks leading to MaSid’s couch when I passed Blueberry, but I was losing light and didn’t really have time to go up looking for it…. next time, for sure. I’d like to see it at some point in person, but will need to get earlier starts…. last car in the lot as usual when I came out at 4:35pm, but the crowds sure thin out when you go late, so you can go faster downhill 🙂

  78. Castle Lookout parking to Baker Creek parking. We started at a chilly -18 but calm. First section in the forest was a bit crusty with needles littering the track. Once we came out into the alley between trees the snow and tracks were great. We quickly warmed up on the gentle uphills, and the views from the two “camel humps” were fantastic with nary a cloud. On our way along the train track section there was a short area under water, as an ice flow had taken over the trail. We diverted a few meters over and got through the gully without wetting our skis (although on the way back, more of the gully had liquified). The section of trail along the power lines where work is being done removing trees from the right-of-way is rather rough. The return trip was much warmer especially in the sunny meadows. By the time we got back to our van, the temp was -7. While in the parking lot, a snow mobile arrived and workers headed out to ready the trail for the Lake Louise to Banff lopped tomorrow. I’m sure everything I have written will have changed after the grooming and track-setting for the race takes place.

  79. Decided to try Lake O’Hara today. -18 at start , cold at Lake and -12 at end.
    Redid glide was last night and used cold which worked well. VR30 for grip which was good until halfway point on return. 3 ice flow areas between 5 and 6 km need to be aware on way down. No skier tracks due to snow shoes taking a wide birth on trail. At lake they even skied over our ski tracks on the lake. Enjoyed beautiful scenery and good workout.

  80. Lovely ski from Elkwood parking lot this morning. Thanks to a generous guy from Edmonton I waxed my skies and off I went. Forgot the right waxes..;.again. Great conditions. Lots of sunshine.

    Lots of Wolf tracks on Packers.
    Have fun out there.

  81. Quick ski on Leg #1 of LL-BANFF relay. On Fri Jan 20.
    We started at the (closed)campgrpound entrance and skied along the left side of the Bow R. Through the campground along a single track which morphed into a wide double track which extends to the end of the campground. Tracks were quite new but soft. Not realizing leg one is on the other side of the river, we missed the cutoff to go across the tracks and ended up going out off the end of the campground and followed someone else’s tracks along the right side of the tracks until we came to the highway bridges. We finally hooked onto the trail after the TCH bridges. Skied out to Morrant’s curve and back along the correct route. Old time skiing. Soft tracks, softer poling tracks, willows, occasional buried tree across the trail . My suggestion if you are racing tomorrow use poles with bigger baskets. My racing style baskets punched through unless I poled right beside my feet. We used Skintecs but there are icy sections from tree bombs so I’m not sure what wax will work. The hydro line is twisty and fun to ski. Two crappy sections are under the road bridges where the plows have left gravel and very dirty snow. The other is after you leave the tracks and go up the short stretch along the fence,to get onto a flatter section. The steep short pitch there is icy, dirty, and narrow. I spent a few minutes side stepping up and down picking rocks on the right side to widen the pitch. Hopefully the race organizers have volunteers with shovels on race day.

  82. Better late than never? Short ski tour of SE BC

    We started Wednesday 11th Jan., drove to Emerald Lake and had a glorious if frosty ski around the Alluvial Fan trail. Might have seen Helen without knowing?? Big plans for Thursday were thwarted when our car wouldn’t start, and we waited hours for a tow truck which never came. Finally, after hours in the sun, the car started and off we went to the upper Slocan Valley. We stayed with friends who can ski from their front door!
    Three short ski excursions there: (1) a very brief circuit from their front door to the gravel pit, homemade tracks great in open, lots of tree debris in the woods. (2) moonlit circuit of Summit Lake (on way to Nakusp), which was very cool until we sank into the slush patch and got skis and bindings thoroughly iced up! Our host swore that had never happened before, but I suspect most lakes have their slush patches. (3) mostly “wilderness” ski down from Summit Lake to Hills on old railway line, breaking trail and encountering a variety of obstacles. It was cold in the valley!
    It is worth noting that much of the old railway line in the Slocan Valley is actually trackset and very pleasant skiing, and sadly we didn’t have time to do much of that this year.


    Next, last Sunday we had a glorious, if chilly, day skiing at the Paulson xc trails, west of Castlegar, and maintained by the Castlegar Nordic Club. It is a wonderful place with a variety of well groomed trails, some through old growth forest, others through logged areas with views. Snow conditions were perfect!! Fees are $10 per day for adults. There is a senior’s rate, but you have to be over 80!

    From there, we visited someone near Creston, who could also ski from his front door. I need this!!
    And finally, our friends in Kimberley, who are only 10 minutes away from the Nordic Centre. This is another great place with regular grooming of an extensive trail network, and a very active club. We skied Monday, still cold but getting warmer, and Wednesday when it got above freezing.

    Not many photos there, due to low clouds and snow. I took lots last year!

  83. After the angst of the major meltdown, we decided to test the possibly mediocre conditions in Kananaskis Country and were rewarded with our best XC ski of the season. The south end of PLPP trails were mostly newly set with others having a nice skiff of snow to smooth our way. Single tracks were outstanding – Boulton Crk, Fox Crk, Moraine. Whiskey Jack was a bit crunchy but so much fun. We made a 22 km loop via Elk Pass.

  84. PLPP – A glorious sunny day

    Started at Elkwood with a snow temp of -6 and Rode Weiss kick wax. Did a counter clock wise circuit of Elk Pass by going along wheeler and up the Elk Pass trail then over Tyrwhitt and down Pocaterra all the way to the Lynx junction. Conditions were great with only a bit of debris as reported by MaSid; a bit more on the lower trails but little concern.

    I stopped in at the couch for the first time and met MaSid. We just sat down for a wee spot of tea when as he described, a group of skiers headed for the Elk Lakes cabin arrived. One of them fell off the trail and he sunk down through the weak base and spent what seemed like forever but I am sure it was 5 minutes floundering around in the snow. I did not feel bad about not offering to help watching the entertainment from the comfort of the couch as his 8-10 trip mates just stood there pointing, laughing and making comments. The snow bunny survived in good spirits and they eventually skied off. Thank you MaSid for arranging the entertainment! If you go to the couch, make sure to sign the guest book.

    The ski down from the trywhitt high spot along pocaterra to the lynx junction was fast and fortunately there was nobody standing in the middle of the trail at the packers jct as I blew by. Only saw a about five people on the Trywhitt side of Elk Pass all the way back to Elkwood.

    Lake Louise to Banff Loppet – thank you volunteers
    The race is not until Sunday but I know a lot of work has been done already and will continue throughout the weekend and beyond. I have volunteered for 15+ years at races from loppets to world cups so I know the hard work and dedication that a race organization and their volunteers do. For me I always know that volunteering for a race was the right thing to do when a young athlete or one of their parents or a world cup athlete, Canadian or from abroad, would take a moment and say to me “thank you for volunteering”.

    I will be skiing in the LL to Banff Loppet again this year, so to all of the volunteers and sponsors, I would like to say a few kind words now as I maybe out of breath when I see you on Sunday. Thank you for volunteering as the race could not happen without you.

    And to all my race mates including Janice P., Ben M. and Evelyn, I will try to be visible in your rear-view mirror for as long as I can!

    • Good luck in the race, Doug. This will be the first year since 2002 that I’m not participating as a racer, but I will be there as a volunteer snapping photos of you as you pass the slower skiers 🙂

  85. Hello Weekend Warriors!

    I skied at Mt. Shark today with fresh track setting and about 5 cm of fresh snow today January 20th. It was about -6C with little wind and a few bursts of sun. Nothing like skiing the downhills on fresh corduroy. My Fischer waxless skis worked like a charm. Others had trouble getting wax to work well. I am sure the tracks will all hold up for tomorrow.
    Happy Trails,

  86. Fri Jan 20: elk pass/west elk/hydroline/Patterson.
    -6 to start at 9, same on return at 4.. nice mild day for skiing. Wolf tracks along fox and elk and pass trails. No sightings. Bit of debri on fox but only minor. All other tracks in good shape. Cloudy at the couch early so Busted through the meadows of west elk to the hydroline and returned to sunny skies at noon. Meadows travel well now. But don’t step off! The earlier visitors missed out on the rays. Trip reporter Doug showed up for the sun. As did a larg group of hut goers. Waiting for the day the wolf pack walks through the meadows. Had to settle for the entertainment supplied by the hutters, impersonating snow turtles. They went through the meadow to the hut (well packed for willies outing). It was so nice, I did it twice (back down the meadow). Up bc side of hydroline skier set). Good tracks on AB side of hydroline, single track set, and on Patterson. People seem to be finding the couch now.

  87. YOHO ROAD – Jan 20

    Originally, we planned to ski the Kicking Horse Fire Road today, but the parking lot at the Natural Bridge has not been cleared and the trail has not been touched since the December 29 trackset.
    Yoho Road was a good choice as it has been recently packed and obviously popular with a variety of skier tracks. Temperature moved from minus 5 to minus 2 during the day… perfect.
    See details at:!AhVZXBE7vMV7g1Amn-Z7lGGOciDR

  88. Anyone been to lake Ohara this week wondering condition of trail

  89. Lake Louise Pipestone trails – although it doesn’t show (yet) on the Banff Trail report, all Pipestone trails were track set this am so we got first tracks! All trails in great shape, -6 at 11 am, -2 at 2 pm, but for some reason, we needed VR55 or Swix Purple 0 degrees for grip but still had great glide. Very little debris, and all the tree bombs must have fallen yesterday and got groomed into the track this am so very few “speed bumps” to worry about.

    • Second your report. Pipestone, Merlin, Drummond and Hector. All freshly track set – met the crew. Super snow, blue extra worked well all day. Best snow and less debris on the west (Highway 1) side.

  90. Forgot to share a couple photos of Dawn Mt from the last bit of cold weather. Expected temps for this weekend: -8C to -2C.

  91. Mt. Shark: we arrived there at 10am this morning (-5C), the 8th vehicle in the parking lot. We first skied the pristine, fabulous new grooming on the Watridge trail out to the Spray River bridge (great fun on the last km downhill to the river; could use a T-bar to get back up!), and then returned to the parking lot (passing a busload of some 40 snowshoers and 20 skiers near Watridge lake) . After lunch we skied the Blue Loop and some other nearby trails, all in excellent shape. Quite a few people enjoying the great conditions (several with leashed dogs). Temperature was -2C at 1:30pm when we left. As Skier Bob suggested in his blog this morning, conditions will be great there tomorrow!

  92. Families are going to be the focus for our Dawn Mt. Huckleberry Loppet in Golden, February 4 (classic) and February 5 (skating). The conditions have been ideal with consistent grooming especially on weekends. This year we are cutting off registration at 150/ day to ensure a quality event for all. Register on Zone4.

  93. Thurs Jan 19 Chester Lake trail and Burstall Pass Beacon basin.
    In preparation for back country skiing we practiced beacon searches at the Burstall pass beacon basin site. We then went over to Chester on our AT gear for quick up and back to the junction of the two ski trails before the climb through the trees to Chester L proper. New snow made for great uptracking and downhilling. Parks has eliminated the one way trail allowing for two way skiing on both trails. Not sure of this as the Steeper trail, which is the summer hiking trail, is narrower than the more northern trail and as we descended on it there is more potential for getting out of control especially in icy conditions. I also liked the fact one could ski down a one way trail and not worry about oncoming traffic. Interesting that all of the ski traffic (up and down) was on the northern route and we were the only ones to use the traditional trail.

    • You have to remember that the northern trail (left, when going uphill) is now the alignment of the High Rockies portion of the Trans-Canada Trail. As a result it needs to be both a 2-way trail and a multi-user trail. If you want to avoid a lot of traffic, while skiing downhill, I suggest using the south branch.
      Besides, the really dangerous part of the Chester Lake trail has always been the narrow single-track portion in the trees, just uphill of the junction with the Loop trail.

      • Alf; Thanks for the info. I didn’t realize that the High Rockies tr was there. So are we going to expect Fat bikers to be on the trail? We did go up and back on the S branch however it is a narrower steeper trail than the N one and was a total thigh burner!

        • Yes, expect to see fat-bikes on the portion of HRT portion of Chester Lake Trail. The HRT from the Chester ski trail to Rummel and Buller creeks appears to have been designed primarily for bikes…lots of berms, turns and rollers under a narrow tree canopy.

  94. We had a fun ski on Spray River West trail. The first km is pine needles and icy. If you persist, you will be treated to better conditions and easy gliding. Lots of people out enjoying the nice weather.

  95. Kimberley Nordic Centre, Wed. Jan. 18th

    When we finally got there just before noon, the temperature was around +1 C. It snowed on and off all day, but skiing conditions were surprisingly good. Bart and I both have waxless skis now, which helped a lot! It was sticky going uphill, but easy gliding on the flats and downhills, and we had a great time.
    The trails are groomed frequently, and the fees have gone up to $12 per day for adults, no senior rates. There is a 3km loop lit for night skiing, and you only pay $5 after 5 pm. There is also a great shelter with fire and kitchen!
    I expect conditions will remain good, and get better as temperatures drop 🙂

    Pictures to follow when I have time!

  96. PLPP
    It was good skiing on excellent grooming. Best conditions are on the south side of the park, colder snow and fresh tracks. North side had challenging waxing conditions, fresh snow over icy base. Many seniors enjoying spring like weather. Air temperatures were above 0C and graupel snow falling lightly, a typical Chinook weather at PLPP. Also I saw a coyote around Rolly Road trail. It had light colored winter fur, it looked pretty.

  97. Lake Louise Loppet course – skied from Campground to Morant’s corner and back, and along Bow River to base of Tramline. Campground and Bow River freshly trackset this am, rest of trail trackset yesterday with may 2-3 cms new. Warm day in the sun (around +3C) – 2 of us on waxless (fish scales), no problem; 2 on wax, one on VR55 by the end. Lots of tree bombs anywhere in the trees, especially along the river.

  98. Elk Pass Parking lot to Pocaterra Hut via Tyrwhitt and Pocaterra Trails
    Despite temperatures around zero Celsius, snow conditions were very good at PLPP but with some snow clumping. Fresh grooming and tracksetting from the parking lot all the way to Elk Pass on freshly dropped snow. At Elk Pass, tracking gave way to skier tracked on old machine tracking which moderated the long downhill stretches. Good snow during warm conditions; it doesn’t get better than that!

    • We parted ways with Frank on Elk Pass trail, to climb Blueberry Hill on the fresh grooming over 1 cm of new snow. The run down was a slower than usual but we were able to just let the skis run. We followed Frank over Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt to Packers junction. We explored Packers setting our own track in 1 cm of new snow. It was slow and a treacherous with snow covered bumps. We finished at Boulton parking with air temperature of about plus 2C. VR50 worked perfectly on the new grooming but was grabbing in the warm ungroomed snow. The new snow however covered the needle debris.
      A pack of wolves made first tracks over all the trails in the south end of the park before we arrived and after the groomers went home.

  99. LL –
    got to Pipestone at 12:00 – groomer just finished his first pass – he said “track likely by end of day”. Skied Telemark race course. 1A, Fairview and lower telemark under 3-4 cm, but had been skied in. UpperTelemark a deep skied in track.
    Tramline set today, and 1A was being trackset as I left.
    Very nice, soft snow. VR 45 worked fine. no wind, beautiful snow laden trees.

  100. M.L.R.- 9:30am and swung up to Moraine parking (-4) but could not get in as major snow clearing was underway and the grader had left a huge windrow. Up to L.L parking and then as I walked over to Tramline, saw brand new trackset! Did the first tracks boot-scootin’-double-pole-single-leg-boogie (so much fun) down Tramline to M.L.R. (VR45 worked fantastic all day) all the while wishing (and hoping, and praying) that the tracksetter was going to turn up M.L.R. I forgot to mention there was 5-7cm of fresh light pow overnight. Alas the tracksetter carried on to do the Village trails, and I started up over virgin snow just being able to see my ski tips dorsal finning like Great Whites (cue music) in still quite definable tracks. Two skaters passed me up (very respective of the classic tracks), but I still had my (somewhat lonely looking) ski track to myself. Ski’s had great grip and glide and the fresh snow was very enjoyable and easy to ski. On the way back, I saw a few more people, so my run down was on decent skier set and wonderful. My horse got a little tired on the climb back up Tramline to my car at 2:00pm and temps 0/-1. (+5 however, back here in Canmore). Fresh snow really spruced up the L.L. area. Check the grooming and head there if you can for better/best conditions I think.

  101. West Bragg Creek – contrary to the official website trails actually did freeze last night – all of them. Hard ice cover. Absolutely unskiable neither classic nor skate. Definitely not yellow light (“marginal condition in some spots”).

  102. Confederation GC-You know having skied here for 20 years, the expectation was for it to have been stripped down and icy and only desperately skiable but still holding up well!! There are bare spots and waxing could be difficult-klister worked really well- and skating may be the order of the day. Good on you FNSC the packing has preserved the snow and with the cold on the way, one good rolling with revive the trails!!!

    • Agree! We spent 1.5 hrs there last night with the kids on the terrain park that Foothills built! Icy in spots but I was surprised how good the conditions were.

  103. Looking for a Goat Creek ski report from yesterday or today, thanks.

  104. Much to our surprise, skiing was great today on the Elk Pass trail in PLPP. It was -1 in the parking lot when we hit the trail just before noon, and +1 when we returned around 3:00. Blue wax worked well all day, good grip and good glide. There had been maybe 2 cm of snow overnight. There had been a few other people on the trail ahead of us, so we had good tracks to follow. We saw almost nobody, though, except one relatively large group of students. There was some wind in the parking lot, and at the picnic table where we had lunch at the top of the trail, but otherwise there was no wind to speak of. Not much sun, but that may be just as well. It started snowing towards the end, and it looked like it might continue, although it wasn’t long on the drive home before the sky cleared. My guess is that skiing conditions will be great again there tomorrow. All in all a good day, and presumably much better conditions than the rest of K Country, definitely worth the drive.

  105. LAKE LOUISE to BANFF LOPPET – New Leg #2A

    Today we skied the section of this weekend’s loppet from Lake Louise Village to Morant’s Curve.
    The New configuration for this year’s loppet means that my yesterday’s report could have been called New Leg #2B.
    We started on the Bow River Loop with 7 cms of new snow on a double trackset trail at a temperature of minus 3 degrees. VR45 was excellent, and the views along the river are beautiful.
    Less fresh snow once we crossed the Lake Louise Railway Crossing, which will be the transition zone from Leg 1 to 2.
    The highway underpass was better than I have ever seen it, with a lots of machine packed snow.
    Corral Creek area is lovely as always, and then a few ups and downs through the trees along the river to Morant’s Curve. The track is packed, but not set yet.
    We returned essentially the same way, except that we also took in the nice tracksetting in the Campground Loop.!AhVZXBE7vMV7g0S2fC7Vje34gWtK
    There is no construction activity in this area. Altalink is just busy east of Morant’s Curve. We only met 2 other skiers all day, and they were scoping out the course for their race. Good Luck.

  106. Canmore Nordic Centre – lots of people out today. Great skate skiing on the manmade trails. +3 around 1 pm when we left.

  107. Pipestone today, thanks to Chuck’s recommendation that we “Go West”. We skied the Pipestone Loop (-4C and snowing lightly off and on all morning) finishing at noon (-2C) on waxless skis, which worked perfectly in the fresh snow over old track set. We followed four skiers who broke trail for us, passed three, and continued to follow one skier, needing to break trail in his tracks as the snow continued to build up. (We measured about 6 to 9 cm. of fresh snow). No wind, no needles, just a few pretty impressive snow-bomb craters on the trail margins.
    After lunch, we drove to Moraine Lake Road, where a fresh track set enticed us to go another 3+ kms. up the road, a little easier going when you don’t have to break trail. Both trails we skied were quiet with a ‘dreamy’ quality, as the forest was silent, and people few.

    • I think you would have been following me, since I broke trail on most of the Pipestone loop today. I actually skied all the Pipestone trails today, breaking trail on about half, then did a second lap of Pipestone loop to get going faster than a shuffle. Lots of fresh snow as Mary noted, although by the time I left at around 3 it was snowing hard again, just below freezing, and my skis were icing up pretty badly. I agree about the snow bombs- I was feeling a little nervous seeing some of the craters. We’ll be out there this weekend as a family, and my kids will inevitably be trying to drop them on each others heads.

      As I left it was snowing pretty hard, and was at least lightly snowing all the way to Banff. Should be good conditions for the Loppet. We are doing shovel duty at the Baker Creek road crossing again this year – good luck to all the competitors, and see you there.

  108. Kimberley Nordic Centre — the skiing was fantastic here on Monday! We did other things yesterday, alas, and this morning it is snowing fairly heavily and minus 2 degrees Celsius. Forecast high for tomorrow is plus 2 :-(. We will try again on our way home today and file further reports!

  109. Playing in PLPP today with the SEnior’s Outdoor Club of Calgary. It was minus 1 at WWL 9:45 am, plus 5 at WWL 12:00 noon and minus 2 at Pocaterra Hut at 3:00 pm. I skied from Boulton parking up Whiskeyjack then down Pocaterra on VR40 to Lynx. Whiskeyjack had skiff of new snow and lots of pine needles – no mania yet. Pocaterra was soft but still fast with only a little debris. Then the work started! With a new layer of VR45 I crossed Lynx to Wooley and south Meadow to Elkwood parking. The older the grooming the more needles and the snow was quickly warming. After upping the wax quotient to VR55, I looked to the new grooming on Braille, Lodgepole, Sinclair,, and lower Meadow. All trails had needle debris, but were still holding up particularly in the shady spots. Suicide Hill was easy with the new grooming soften by the warm air but not so easy up the small rise to the road. From Pocaterra Hut, I went up Pocaterra trail to find Rolly Road. By then the snow and wax were done and so was I. All in all a good day, but the snow took a beating. Others were up to Elk Pass, via Whiskeyjack and Tyrwhitt and reported the snow was colder up high but still a lot of debris through forested areas.

    • Thank you Keith for a most timely report on WWL (+5 AARRGGHH!)and area. A group of us are heading there within a few hours. The socialization and food and games extravaganza will have to take over the snow conditions. Might pack an extra pr of snowshoes and grippers, along with the waxless Fishers. Can’t think of too many people who learn to detest Chinooks more than the hard working Groomers! Sorry to miss chatting with you at the party. Hope the Couch has not suffered from the dreadful meltdown.

      • The couch should survive ok I think. Maybe some surface glazing, some wall movement/leaning. But then it will freeze up again at night. Let me know what you encounter.

        • It was zero at the couch today. The trail is not very supportive so take care. The couch is in great shape.

          • Did we luck out with any new snow up that way?

            • I would say about 3-5 cm on a melting snow pack. No sign of the last track setting. A small avalanche came acrosd the down track between Fox ck. and Patersob. The meadow past the couch is NOT recomended. It is very wet and bottomless. Hip deep in places. Not good once you are commited. Trail to couch is a little scetchy but not a big commitment.

              Go have fun.

  110. It was such a lovely day in the Calgary area that a reconnaissance trip to Sandy McNabb seemed in order, as I have never skied there. What a beautiful area! Too bad to have missed the recent good conditions by at least a few days. As others have reported today on other trails, tracks ranged from ice to crust to soft and everything in-between making for a challenging ski experience. Lots of debris, cones, needles, dirt and snow fleas on the trails. The old tracksetting on the dedicated ski trails was still mostly intact. The Skintecs with full mohair insert were the only option today. Skied a couple of the trails north of the road, starting at 1 pm at +7C and ending around 3 pm at +8C with a wonderful sunny lunch stop en route. Until that area gets more snow, I don’t recommend skiing there.

  111. Redearth Jan 17- 11am,
    -1 at parking lot.. tried Vr 45, then 50. A bit of snow over recent track setting. Lousy grip – herringbone and ‘armstrong’ up first couple hills. No ice, not very fast but No wind!
    Some Pineneedles but just to the second steep hill and not enuf to stick. Definitely skiable with a good track. Some tree bombs all the way but no issues.


    Today we checked out the section of this coming weekend’s loppet from Morant’s Curve to Baker Creek.
    While Baker Creek staff members Brandon and Tom were levelling the packed trail, we thought we would put in a skier set track! Good to go… as you can see at:!AhVZXBE7vMV7gzjlrk9Hb7y9GM5o
    It was minus 2 and snowing all afternoon, which is a lot better than the rain Banff was getting!
    No rocks and no ice flows… what are you waiting for?
    As they say… Go West Young Man!
    Timing is everything.

  113. I started up towards Skogan Pass, but soon realized that I had missed the best opportunity a few days ago. We went to Coal Mine instead, using no-wax skis. Grip was good, but the snow was too wet and sticky for much glide. We kept ourselves busy by removing branches and the odd downed tree from the trail, but couldn’t do much about the needles and cones that were everywhere. Temperature was +8C to start, peaking at +13C…along with 80 kph winds.
    We did see one interesting thing. The coal mine reclamation slope had avalanched, piling debris into the trees below the end of the trail.
    The snowpack is so shallow that even a few days of this will be devastating for the more easterly trail systems.

  114. Skogan Pass Trip Report.
    Summary – Avoid this trail until we get more snow.
    We made it to the pass and did the Skogan Loop at the top – and had a fabulous day with the spring weather BUT conditions were challenging to say the least. I fell three times and I never fall with my metal edges.
    Trail conditions:
    – Trail completely covered with needles, twigs, branches, tree droppings and cones. No glide on the flat sections and I can’t imagine if you did this with wax skis. We had waxless skis and it was doable.
    – Trail starting to get sticky as we climbed up. With wax skis it would have been very challenging. Waxless skis were a salvation today.
    – Trail getting quite icy on the way down alternating with warm spring snow that would cause you to come to a complete halt on your skis. We had to exercise extreme caution on the steep parts. Metal edges pretty much necessary today.
    – The Skogan Loop was actually the best part and the snow on it was great. No ice and nice grooming. Less tree droppings.

    Final notes: We started and ended at Nakiska to avoid the ice flows on Lower Skogan and we didn’t see a single other party the entire day.

  115. Cascade Valley. 12 minute drive (sa-weet) from the condo and parked in +2 temps at 9:15am. VR 50 sucked, so at the Bankhead junction I stopped and put some VR 55 underfoot (Hate the stuff) while the Pretty Wife trucked on with her Skintecs. Tracks are shallow and wobbly until the top of the “big hill” where they improve slightly. I was surprised at the little amount of debris considering the wind of the last few days . . . until about a km short of the bridge where the debris was horrible. The hill down to the bridge was more needles than snow, and my VR55 was capturing every one of them. Past the bridge, conditions were not much better. I’m sure there are much better places to ski. +6 back at the car while I tried to scrape off all the crud stuck on the bottom of my skis. I think I will us VR55 to capture mice in my garage this spring.

  116. Not a trip but an observation. While running today I saw track setting in Bowness Park (west end).

  117. Great day in PLPP yesterday. Our 14 km route started at the Elkwood parking lot. We skied along Wheeler (great views!), on to Moraine, and returned via the Boulton Creek trail. Temperature ranged from about -10 C to -6 C. V30 ski wax worked well. Tracks were in good shape, although quite a bit of debris (needles, a few branches) on Moraine and Boulton Creek trails. Learning for the day – even when it is warm in Calgary (~ 8 C), perfect skiing temperatures can still be had in PLPP.

  118. A quiet Monday at Lake Louise. We only saw 5 other skiers on our whole circuit, although there were more cars around. We skied a circuit – Hwy 1A to lower Telemark and back to Peyto, across to Fairview, to Moraine and Tramline back to the car. Temperatures were still around -10 and VR40 worked well. The tracks were of varying ages, but all were pretty good. The only thing to watch is the corners of lower Telemark. They were frequently skied through, and didn’t provide much guidance around the curve.

  119. Cascade Valley: excellent classic conditions today. Good skating (not great due to all the boot prints up to bridge at 6 km. No boots thereafter, but as snow gets less packed, often easier to double pole in tracks. First ice floe easily navigable, second one has grown considerably since last week (how does that happen, given the frigid temperatures ?) Only way to get around large ice floe now is to literally bushwhack.

    Photo of ice flow

  120. As of Monday evening, trail conditions are still fair to good at Confederation Golf Course. All trails are snow covered with very few spots where the track hits grass. It was nice to see well over 50 people skiing at 7 pm.
    Let’s hope the snow survives the next three days.

  121. BREWSTER CREEK to Turtle Tom’s Cabin – Jan 16

    Having learned that guests had been at Sundance Lodge on the weekend, it was worth checking out this trail.
    Brewster Creek has not been trackset yet this year (despite what the Parks Canada Trail Conditions Report says) as it is only used by a supply snowmobile when guests have made reservations. They hope to trackset it, but most of their guests seem to Fat Bike or Hike!
    Lots of rocks on the first hill, but they are easy to avoid. Can’t believe how that rutted horse trail filled in so nicely.
    Great temperatures, easy waxing, and lots to enjoy:!AhVZXBE7vMV7gy9rVrhivtRdFPSQ

  122. North Half of PLPP

    Thanks again Bob for an excellent social at Stoney Nakoda Lodge. Skied Monday afternoon after a Staycation under the Skierbob rate at Stoney Nakoda Lodge Sunday night. Very nice king mountain view room and dinner. ($79 including breakfast). Skied from the Visitor Center , Lodgepole, Braille, Spruce Road to William Watson Lodge for lunch. After lunch Wheeler (great!!), Amos, Lynx, Pocaterra to Hut and then to Visitor Center by Lodgepole. -9oC to start just after noon and -7oC at 4pm. Excellent tracksetting Jeff. Starting to get a bit fast by 4pm. Should still be great Tuesday.

    • Hi Paul and Nancy,
      I’m glad you had a good ski but the credit goes to tracksetters James, Jody or Phil. Those three look after all your skiing needs in that neck of the woods.

    • We were thinking of staying at Stoney Nakoda Lodge but when I checked all their rooms say they are smoking. Is that the case? Can you smell smoke in the rooms or from the casino?

  123. Downhill skiing today, but yesterday was a beautiful day hiking around Canmore, followed by Bob’s wonderful get-together. How nice to finally meet so many wonderful people who’s trip reports I have been reading for years. Helen Read (Sorry Pretty Wife) has stolen my heart.

  124. West Bragg: Arrived early this am for a classic ‘dog-sk’i ahead of the fair-weather rush & completed Moose View-MountainView West loops. Reporting significant ice flows at ephemeral creeks on Moose and from exposed south slopes and significant snowpack thinning (as expected) to the point of ADVISING rock ski’s (crystal & loggers network still quite good though). Do not recommend Mountain View WEST due to exposed road on mid section downhill and massive melt-off of what was undoubtedly an already wind sept thin base -cannot ski around this section at all. Need more snow their b4 I return. Cheers.

  125. Ribbon Creek – Inspired by trip reports yesterday, both live at Bob’s party and online, we decided to check out Ribbon Creek trails today before the warm-up hits. -5 at 10 am, -3 at 1 pm, completely sheltered from the wind and no wind-blown debris so great skiing and great tracks. Nothing to add to Alf’s comments from yesterday, other than to recommend caution on all steep downhills – they’re getting scraped pretty thin in places!

    Thanks again, Bob, for the fun party!

  126. Had a wonderful outing at Allison Wonderlands on the 15th. Grooming was excellent and the trails were near perfect; there were a few needles on the lower trails but the upper were pristine. Sunny -5 and only a light breeze.

  127. Spent the weekend at Emerald Lake with excellent snow conditions and track setting. On the way out to Emerald lake skied the trail along the 1A from Castle Lookout to Baker Creek and back again. The first 6 km are in amazing shape with only a few big boulders on some of the road cuts above the railway track. Easily avoidable though. Crossing the highway and into the construction area was challenging with tracks shallow or washed out by construction vehicles Emerald lake trails were superb as we skied on the horse trail and Alluvial Fan as well as the Kicking horse trail out to the Ottertail River. Joined the KHSC for their moonlight ski for a magical evening along the Kicking Horse River Trail . The KHSC really does a terrific job on their trails and highly recommend anyone head out for some great skiing, Chinook was nowhere to be found with temperatures between -11 and -16. Decided to ski Fairview on the way home and it was in excellent shape as well with only a few tree bombs. Temp at Moraine Lake trailhead at 5 pm was minus 11. Sorry to miss the party yesterday Bob but it was hard to stop skiing yesterday. Thanks again for hosting and hope to see you on the trails soon.

  128. Absolute perfection at Ribbon Creek. I was tad nervous on the drive out with hurricane force winds on the TC but once we arrived at the Ribbon Creek carpark the wind was almost non-existent. We began on the new Ribbon Creek trail with the cray cray roller-coaster downhill. Crossed the bridge and then Kovach to the top and then Aspen and Terrace zig-zag action. The snow was utterly sublime and had good kick and glide despite going overboard with VR50 based on the forecast temps. Because much of the trail system is in the shadow, the temp is probably a bit lower that what is forecast at the village.

    Thanks Bob for all your trip reports and ski info!

  129. Spray River West, January 15th.

    Lovely afternoon in good slippy tracks along Spray River West with my daughter. Started out late-ish (1 PM) behind the Banff Springs at -6C. Track still in decent shape after fairly heavy use (what a popular trail!). The “Snow eater” hasn’t made an appearance yet and wind wasn’t a factor at all. Wrapped up our day at Bob’s Trip Reporter party. Met some wonderful folks and had a great time. Thanks again Bob!

  130. Ribbon Creek – Jan 15, 2017
    Conditions were just about perfect today at the Ribbon Creek trails. Even though it was ever so enticing to go to Skogan Pass, we decided to ski mostly on the “village” half of the trails. The loop included: Terrace-Terrace Link-Kovach-Aspen-Kovach Link-new Ribbon Creek and Hidden trails. Ski conditions were excellent, with just a few spots with some dirty snow. Tracks were firm and fast. Corduroy was smooth and silky. Clear skies, no wind and -4C temps… ideal in my opinion. SWIX VR40, with a bit of VR45 worked perfectly. We were glad to ski new Ribbon Creek trail in the clockwise direction. Climbing up from the west was OK… skiing down in the other direction would have been too exciting for most in my group.

    Thanks, Bob, for a great opportunity to meet fellow SkierBob contributors. What a wonderful group of people and an amazing community of XC skiers!

  131. Cascade Valley was wonderful today: -13 to start, -11 at the Stony Creek bridge. The grooming and tracks are in very good shape, thank you Parks Canada. There are a couple of ice flows to watch for: small one at about km 10 that you can easily go around. The second one at about km 11.5 is unavoidable, most people take off their skis and walk around it. I left mine in an attempt to ski around it but got tangled up in the bushes. This one is at the bottom of a hill out bound so make note of it on the way up so you know when to hit the brakes on the way down, I don’t think it would be pretty if you were try to ski it, especially at full speed.

  132. Beautiful sunny day at Peter Lougheed Provinical Park, with the kiddos. Skied the middle, starting from the visitor centre. Freshly-groomed trails were great. A few spots had roots poking through but they were no problem. The location was nicely sheltered from the wind too. As we left PLPP at the end of the day, the temperature on my dash registered -9°C. By the time we reached Barrier Lake, the temperature was 0°C. What a difference!

  133. Destined for The Couch: chose to climb windblown Hydroline all way up to Elk Pass. Nippy wind so wasted no time at Pass, skiing down to MaSid’s tracks, in much worse style than SkierBob’s video. Couldn’t wait to get into those beautiful meadows of West Elk and who should be sprawled out on his massive creation, but Ma Sid. This area would be a much nicer place to eat lunch than at Blueberry Junction Picnic table, especially if it’s sunny and you have a sit-upon. I fell skiing across the bottomless meadow and thankfully my host pulled me out. A quick ski out via Fox Creek since a cold Corona was calling. Accidentally got the wrong skier with the tree bomb, but he was most gracious. A stupendous day! Thank you Skier Bob for cultivating this X-C community camaraderie, and for your hosting this wonderful party.

    Photo of Helen on couch

    The couch is a lot bigger than I imagined. -Bob

    • Sun jan 15: elk/west elk pass.
      One last day into the couch for building purposes, couldn’t resist for a short day with a party to attend. Time to switch it up though. Enough work done to go elsewhere. But yes, some needles and other debri at the start. Better up along the higher creek flow coming up towards hydroline. Fox is still reasonable though (was less). The meadows of west elk were glorious. Winds calmed down after lunch and it felt like a nice warm day for once. So quiet, lots of surface hoar on the trees and in the tracks, melting off the trees and floating down in the afternoon around the couch, tinkling and twinkling. And then the yodelling Helen arrived, and with a multitude of gifts. Did some more commpression of the tracks south throughout the the meadow for 500 m until the “incident”, then returned. Sorry willie. I’ll bust next time. Sliding back along the meadow with wind and sun at back was very nice, quoting Helen “skiing on advocadoes”. No tasting to confirm, until I bailed later at hydroline junction. It’s not a stupid wipeout unless somebody else sees it. A very wonderful day in the meadow with special guests, plus the party bonus. Couch update: some minor renovation today. Bathroom with privacy wall now. Go check it out, it’s a magical place, and even better with good company.

  134. Skied Packers, Tyrwhitt, Elk, Fox and Moraine, still cold @ PLPP, decided to go with the VR30 I already had, Packers was nice and freshly groomed as per the live grooming a few twigs here and there but not enough to spoil. Considered a warmer wax top of Packers, sunny snow temp was -11 so stayed with the 30 which did improved as the climb continued. Tyrwhitt was magical, great track, no wind, ice crystals sparkling against the sun, unbeatable.
    After watching Bob’s video descending Elk I was planning on visiting ‘the couch’, hopelessly failed to spot the track, apparently I needed to start looking earlier. Fox was nice, the track is solid, concrete like, caught up with a few skiers the second of which ‘accidentally’ snow bombed me as I passed, non-other than Helen Read! All this came to light at Skier Bobs party later that which shows we meet the nicest people both on and off the snow.
    Thanks Bob, great party, more power to you!

  135. Afternoon ski at WBC. Arrived around 2 pm to gridlock at the cattleguard, but after a search for the Iron Springs cutoff (no parking allowed there) managed to get to the main lot. Saw some very creative parking.

    Trails and grooming (CLeast-IS-E-LL-CLwest) were holding up reasonably well, some glazing where the sun had been at work and some wind debris blown down, but nice conditions considering.

  136. Skied a loop at the Nordic Centre today. Per usual Banff Trail, Banff Loop and Lynx were all flawlessly groomed. Not icy and freshly groomed. From the meadow hut we skied above and across the meadow on a trail that was groomed but not tracked. We merged onto Meadow View and skied it for perhaps a kilometer. It was skiable and enjoyable but had a few patches of gravel in the middle. Skate skiing would have been tricky in spots. The tracks are fine though. We did a short section of Rundle (natural early season conditions) and exited down Olympic and Centennial. They were in great shape and the steep hills were not icy at all. They were very well groomed. All in all a great day.

  137. Bill Milne / Evan Thomas Fire road / Wedge Connector

    Skied these trails from the almost empty Ribbon Creek parking lot starting at -7C, finishing at -1C. Bill Milne is in very good condition; it is amazing how much the tracksetter could do with so little snow. The tracks are windblown and shallow in open areas, but are well defined most of the trail. Turned off to the ETFR (1.8km to the creek), which is surprisingly good, despite heavy foot traffic (all to the side of the tracks, none in the tracks) and occasional twigs and roots sticking out of snow. Wedge Connector is excellent. No wind-caused debris anywhere.

    With gentle breeze, blue sky, and good tracks, this was one of the best skis for me this year.

    For those not in the loop, ETFR is “Evan-Thomas Fire Road.” The portion of the trail with occasional twigs is the 500-metre section that was rebuilt after the floods. -Bob

  138. Michael and Annalee

    Fabulous at CNC!
    Started at noon -4 C in the warm sunshine. Skated today on Lynx loops and rest of biathlon area.
    Great groomed trails as usual and not super busy. Good spot to work on technique and skill development with a good variety of terrain for practice.

  139. PLPP South Trails: Five of us started at Boulton parking, -15C at 10:30am. We headed down past Boulton Bridge, and skied south on the Boulton Creek trail. Debris beyond measure! Pine needles, small branches, and old-man’s-beard everywhere. We cleaned up a lot of the bigger stuff, but its going to take a good snowfall to clean up this trail!. Then Fox Creek – some debris, but much less than Boulton. Tracks were OK in most places, washed out in others.. Then south on the Elk Pass trail – good tracks, mostly clean. Almost no wind at Elk Pass. Then north on Tyrwhitt – good condition through the meadows, but some debris and a couple of small ice flows as you head down to the Lookout junction. We flew down Whiskey Jack – some needles on the top 500m, but pretty clean after that. The steep S bend in the upper middle of the trail was scraped pretty clean – scary at any kind of speed. Back at Boulton parking, temp was -10C at 2pm.

  140. Michael & Annalee

    Saturday, Jan 14th. West Bragg Creek

    We skied Iron Springs and Elbow back. For the first time turned left to take Loggers loop back to the parking lot and it was in excellent shape with great downhills. Note the parking lot was -14 but the temperature quickly warmed up as we ascended Iron Springs and then cold as we descended towards Allen Bill.

    The parking was a disaster – I recommend getting to WBC early on the week-end. By noon the parking was out to the gates into K Country.

    • Did Moose loop, mountain view, loggers, sundog and east crystal line and had great a ski considering how much snow there is. Cheers to the trails association. I had an early departure on Saturday and left the parking lot at 11:15 to go home. The parking lot and road reminded me of going to the mall on a Saturday, yikes.

  141. Goat Creek to Banff and back
    Rocks on the downhill to Goat bridge. I counted each on them while snowplowing and there were quite a few of them (:
    From Spray River bridge to Banff the trail is amazing: single/double trackset with wide well-packed median for skating/multi-use.
    Overall the trail seems in its best for fast skiing.

  142. WBC – Jan 15
    Spring skiing in January!
    Skied Moose Loop / Mountain View / West Crystal Spring. Coolish early in the am (-7c) but warm and sunny (+3c) by noon, with some damp “corn snow” areas developing in early afternoon. Had the usual spring skiing wax challenges; blue in am, transitioning to purple as things heated up. Folks on waxless skis seemed to be doing well.
    Tracks holding up well despite yesterdays’ +1c temps. Some tracks a bit icy/glazed, a few ice flows along the high sections of Mountain View (easily avoided), and some spicy downhills where yesterdays soft snow re-froze overnight. However, a few more days of Pineapple Express weather and it may be time for crampons and/or (ugh) Klister (the horror, the horror…….)

  143. Another beautiful ski at CNC! -7C Vauhti orange worked well.
    Check out CNC grooming report to see what’s been tracked.
    We skied out Olympic and cut off onto Coyote Tr. This used to be the way almost every race used to start with a long hard uphill. We skied up onto Meadowview and hooked up onto Rundle. Rundle has been packed/groomed but no tracks. Lots of little dips and ridges.Skied out Rundle until Junction 31 and then skied back to the Meadow on MV. We then cut across the middle of the meadow and back onto Banff Tr. None of the meadow has been tracked only groomed. Tracks are starting to get glazed and are quite hard so typical nordic centre waxing conditions. We almost alway wax up one warmer or 1/2 wax, than the actual Temp.
    Started at around 10:00 and finished around 11:30. Parking lot was filling up rapidly as we left.

  144. CNC Jan 14: Skied out Bow Trail to Grey wolf and up onto Meadowview returned into stadium via Olympic.
    Lots of skiers at 1:00 pm on manmade out of the stadium but once we go onto Bow Trail next to no one. Manmade in great shape. Once we got onto natural however Tracks were in great shape but watch out for dirt patches and the odd rock. Not hard to miss but we need more snow. Once we got onto Olympic and skied down to the stadium be careful out of the tracks as the corduroy was pretty smoothed out and hard.

  145. Waited until noon for the weather to warm up in Banff (around -15). Couldn’t wait any longer, as I had a plan in mind with the fresh track setting on the Spray and Bob’s favourite trail (Goat Creek).

    Started out on West Spray, then down to the bridge and hiked back up to the East Spray. It was the first time skiing the East Spray towards the Spray bridge and it was awesome. Sun, fresh tracks and lots of courteous fat bikers. At the bridge I continued on further up the Spray. With only one trackset, one has to keep theirs wits about them!

    At the Spray bridge I had a feeling I was in for the long haul and kept on going up, up and more up (while stopping to pull out a few big rocks) to where the tracks ended at the Goat Creek sign. After a quick snack it was back down (I did walk the big hill as I noticed a few rocks going up) and home on the West Spray (which still has a few thin spots in the return track).

    Green wax all the way today.
    Total distance: 36.3 kms
    Elapsed time: 4:53
    Moving time: 4:03

  146. Goat Creek/Spray West, -5 degrees with just a light breeze today from 2-5pm
    VR45 was a little too sticky for the descent but nice for coming back up, VR 40 would have been perfect.
    I almost hesitate to leave a report because there are SO many! JK, it’s wonderful to have all this info. Great conditions all the way along – very rare rocks that are easy to avoid, nice recently set tracks, beautiful soft snow, blue skies, what more could we want?!!

  147. Redearth Cr to Shadow Lk
    Despite a cold start (-17C) it was a great day. The trail has yet to be groomed / set but it is well skier-packed – at least up to Redearth cabin. A few people have been up the hill and to the lodge. It was about -11C for lunch but was warmer in the sunshine. One person had recently re-opened the trail to the lake. I extended this a bit along the south shore. I walked up the hill but was able to plow down. The person I talked to in the parking lot had been to the cabin but had not ventured up Pharaoh Cr.

  148. Absolutely amazing day on Skogan Pass and area. The trails trackset last night were in great condition. Trackset was hard and fast, no snow bombs yet and free of needles. The Skogan screamer is a bit thin in places but definitely okay to come down on. Snow cover is great above Marmot junction as per Jeff’s gromming report which is correct. Went up Sunburst and there is a bit of damage to the trackset from someone coming down today. High Level has some branches poking through near the Sunburst junction. Only saw a large group near the Sunburst junction and 3 people up near Skogan Loop.

  149. SKOGAN PASS & LOOP – Jan 14
    Glad Alaric pointed out the enticing news from Skier Bob that this will hopefully be just the start for this trail this year. Groomer Jeff had reminded us that last year, the season ended early here, just after he set it on Jan 8, due to lack of snow!
    Beware of rocks on the trail near the resort, but no problems further up. Alaric wrestled, what turned out to be a huge rock, right out of the track lower down… Thanks.
    We saw Lynx tracks above the High Level Lookout junction. Glorious day… glorious temperatures!
    If you need more encouragement, check out the details at:!AhVZXBE7vMV7gx6v2LZt2nOOaLVK
    By the way, the Live Grooming Report is AMAZING.

  150. I WON THE XC LOTTERY!! Departure from Bolton Creek 4pm -11c. I met 8 people coming down Whiskey Jack. Then I had all of The Tyrwhitt Elk pass Fox Creek loop to myself in the beautiful evening light .Tracks in very good condition with all few needles and small snow bombs.It took me two hours because I stopped to take so many pictures of the scenery in the changing light. I love this place in the winter. -13c when I returned to Bolton Creek parking lot. I did use my head light for the Fox Creek Bolton Creek trails .They were in good condition a fun fast return.
    Heading toNipaka and the IceWay in Invermere tomorrow. So many great choice

  151. Jean-Francois Richy

    Went to Skogan pass today through Sunburst, High Level and came back through Skogan Loop. The trails were groomed all the way and in good condition – The trackset started just after the junction with the Nakiska snowmobile service road. From the trail’s head to the junction I mentioned before they was a bit of dirt and the snow cover can be quite thin sometimes in these areas. From Sunburst the snow cover is great and the trails in pristine condition. This is by far the best conditions I have experienced going to the pass.

  152. West Bragg
    Skied with Kim from XC Ski nation
    Wow what a great ski: Moose, MVW- amazing conditions and some skiing tips to boot.
    Stopped in at The Heart Coffee and Yoga in the hamlet for a brilliant coffee and a “hippie bar” – this place is absolutely fantastic.
    In all a great day for skiing and food in WBC!

  153. Elk Pass
    Fabulous day skiing here. Beautiful blu sky day, excellent snow. Windy at the start. About -11 C. Moose, deer, Pine Marten tracks. Warmed up by the stone fireplace at Visitors Centre. Grateful for a wonderful day!!

  154. Pocaterra Hut
    The washrooms in the hut are currently out of order. Outhouses close to the hut are available. Our family with a child skied along Pocaterra and Come Along trails. The track-set trails are in excellent condition. The fine powdery snow was so wonderful. The temperature was around -11C. The sun shone brightly. We had a most wonderful time skiing.
    I noticed two women who brought their 2 dogs to the trails even though there was a clear sign not to do this. I didn’t know how to deal with the situation. I later heard a gentleman report the situation to a park ranger. Ladies, if you are reading this, let’s please follow park rules. Our family has a dog as well, but we leave her at home so that everyone can have a great time on the ski trails.

  155. MT. Shark
    Watridge Trail to Bryant Creek Cabin.
    Started with -22 an VR 30 on skis. -8 at end.
    Well track set (double to top of hill) from there single with some debris in track from wind. After first bridge we broke trail all the way to cabin between 10 and 15 cm of fresh snow.
    Lots of moose tracks from bridge all the way to cabin. Speculating mama and calf Grouse at bridge at campsite.

    Added vr45 to skis at bottom of climb on way back out.

    Great day of skiing.

    Hope the 4 traveling to cabin made it in.

  156. Mt. Shark – Jan 14
    Ditto to Bev’s comments below…….super conditions at Mt. Shark today! Excellent track set skiing on Red, Green, Purple, Biathlon, Yellow loops…….a few sections (junction #6 to #7, others farther along off the Watridge Road) not machine trackset but skier set tracks were fine in nice soft snow.
    Western end of Green loop didn’t appear to have had any recent skier traffic; one set of old tracks barely showing through a layer of new snow.
    Main road/trail to Watridge Lake in great shape with dual tracks. Single tracks and grooming onwards to Spray River/Bryant Creek.
    Some wind effect along the road, but still lots of snow plastered trees along the various loops….very scenic! A bit chilly all day; maybe some hope that trails will survive the upcoming warm weather?
    No sharks sighted but other carnivore tracks in evidence.

  157. Burrrr! It was a cold one today because of the wind chill at PLPP. The ambient temp was between -17 and -14C all day but the wind made it feel much colder. Nevertheless, the ten of us Norseman had a great day of skiing on excellent snow conditions (other than a few needles on the trails) and sunny skies. We skied up Whiskey Jack along Tyrwhitt then down elk Pass to Fox creek and Moraine. Tyrwhitt had been freshly trackset so the skiing along there was pretty fast.

  158. A fantastic ski at Sandy McNabb today. Conditions were excellent with perfect snow, superb tracks and optimum weather. There’s the occasional object in the snow but overall very few and definitely the best I’ve ever seen at Sandy McNabb.
    We did all of Macabee Loop, then Pine Ridge, Balsam Link, some of Long Prairie Loop, then south through the equestrian parking lot and onto Logger’s Loop. Then we returned to the ranger station parking lot via a bit of Meadow. I used Swix blue wax (-2 – -8) which worked perfectly.

    • Agreed! I skied Long Prairie Link, Long Prairie, Pine ridge and Meadow. -11 when I started and -9 when I left. As Alf mentioned, narrow trails, single trackset, and “lightly” skied. I found a sunny spot with a nice view for lunch in a spongy tree well. First time skiing at Sandy McNabb but it won’t be the last.

  159. What a perfect winter day we had out on Elk Pass! Though it was windy and there were some areas of drift, the tracks were in good shape and Kananaskis was looking her best. Blue skies, sparkling snow and so many breathtaking spots.

    Thanks for the report! I’d love to see the photo(s) but the link isn’t working. -Bob

  160. Redearth, just now
    Skiers’ track over fresh snow over last week grooming and tracksetting. Tracks are okay, enjoyed by alpine skiers… Snow on trees, motionless air, -20 C, sunny morning.
    We met a person from Parks Canada; he said to expect tracksetting later this week.

  161. Just got back from a great ski at Sandy McNabb. Conditions superb with recent tracksetting. Temperatures started at 10am at -10 and got up to a pleasant sunny -5. VR40 extra blue wax worked well.
    Starting from the Sheep River Information Centre/Wardens parking area(about 18km west of Turner Valley on Hwy 546) , which has ample parking and an outdoor biffy, we picked up Loggers Loop(crossed the highway) gliding through forested trails (reminiscent of the Merlin Trail at Pipestone or Fox Creek/Elk Pass), then Meadow and Sandy McNabb Loop then back on Meadow to the parking lot for a total of 11 km. Lots of happy faces in our Norseman Ski Club group.
    Very few people on the trails. Locals we spoke to said it had not been this good for some years here.
    This was the first time skiing here for many in our group and conditions permitting we will be back for sure. What a treasure of an area. Give it a try before the snow conditions deteriorate.

  162. Mt. Shark: Perfect grooming and track setting to Watridge and beyond as well as all the biathlon trails. Some portions of red/black and red/purple below the Watridge trail were also groomed and tracked.

  163. Ski week in Canmore with the Pretty Wife this week so only had to endure half of the L.L.500 this morning! What a bunch of freaking idiots doing 130 in the icy and snowy left lane. Probably the same people who downhill ski with complete disregard of all of those around them . . . but I digress.
    Sunrise found us at the Great Divide trail and -24. Sheesh. Waxed withVR40 the night before (in the warmth of the condo parkade) after seeing forecasts of -8. Epic Fail on that . . . but my hands were warm while waxing. (Except the left hand got a little chilly holding an icy cold frozen copper mug of Grizzly Paw Session Ale.) G.D. is in great condition for the first 4km or so, and then the tracks get a little drifted over in spots. Minor debris on lower Telemark, but nothing to worry about. Quite a few tree bombs on Telemark. Gobs of snow through there. My VR40 actually ended up working decent, and the Pretty Wife’s Atomic Skintecs were outstanding. Still only at -15 when we got back to the (with my trunk still up . . . sigh) car.
    Skiing Cascade Valley tomorrow. Downhill at Sunshine Monday. Moraine Lake Road Tuesday. Sunshine again Wednesday. Ribbon Creek area Thursday. Nakiska Friday. Gotta love the ski weeks.


    Yesterday via Redearth Creek the skiing was generally very good. Re-broke trail from just before the bridge that crosses Redearth Creek to Shadow Lake.
    The trackset trail has 6 cm to about 12 cm of snow on it. The turn off up to Shadow Lake required up to boot top trail cutting. The hill is well skier packed now for snowmobile access (hint)!!! -15 to -25 white polar wax worked well all the way up from the highway. Still cold up high at -17 during the day. Nice moonlight skiing.

  165. Confederation Park

    Had a great ski at Confed this evening. The tracks are holding up well, V40 also worked well. The groomer was working on the grid in the driving range. Heard a strange who .. who … sound from a stand of spruce trees near the club house. When I stopped and listened I realized it was probably an owl or two in the trees. I thought maybe they were calling to the moon to rise. When I turned to the east, there it was, a wonderful moon rise.

  166. WBC – Jan 13, 2017
    It was a spectacular day at West Bragg Creek on Friday the 13th! Blue skies, -3C and great snow conditions. The parking lot was full, with some cars parked along the access road… but the first shift or two of skiers, snowshoers, fat-bikers and hikers were leaving at noon, so a few spaces quickly became available. After a quick ski around Sundog, I returned to the parking lot to get my camera and then did a loop to the west. West Crystal Line-Mountain View-Mountain Road-Mountain View West-Moose Loop-Moose Connector and back on Mountain Road. Grooming/tracksetting conditions were already very good, but they got even better once we got to Moose Loop. Volunteer groomer Bill was just coming around Moose Loop for a second track-setting pass, so the tracks were excellent for the rest of the tour.
    Near the parking lot, as the sun was setting, we ran into about 40 kids from the XCBC club getting ready to start skiing. Great to see the next generation of skiers heading off, full of enthusiasm! That’s probably the 4th or 5th shift of people enjoying the WBC trails today.

  167. Had a great day skiing the West to East Loop on the Spray River Trails from the Banff Springs. The East Loop has just been single track set and groomed. The signs say it is for fat bikes and snow shoes but who is going to argue with a fresh groove. See pictures and full report on the link below

  168. PLPP Info-Meadow-Wooly-Amos-Meadow-Info.
    Short ski in very cold conditions- at least for my ancient bones. Trails were freshly trackset and tracks were sharply incised. Almost no litter on tracks. From temperature in the parking lot, I chose V-20. When the skis go ‘scritch, scritch, scritch’ on the snow, you know you have it wrong, and I should have known that temp in sunny parking lot is not the same as temp in forest shade. V05- Polar would have been a much better choice.
    Still, it was great to be out, and the pine marten that wandered up to us for a look was an added bonus.

  169. PLPP south snow conditions are excellent. Skied from Elk Pass parking lot to Elk Pass- onwards to the picnic table on Tyrrwhitt (Whiskey Jack was friendly as always!). Returned Tyrrwhitt to Hydroline – Patterson – Elk Pass trail to Fox Creek.
    It was quite cold at -18C in the parking lot plus a very stiff blustery breeze from the west.It did not warm up except standing in the sun in protected areas – about -15C at Tyrrwhitt picnic table.
    Some snow bombs and some tree litter – especially on Fox Creek- but did not impact the skiing.
    Beautiful sight leaving Hydroline and entering Patterson. It looked like a snow gun had be used coating the north faces of trees top to bottom!
    Mother Nature at her best!

  170. Had a great, albeit cold and sometimes breezy, ski circuit from Elk Pass lot up Fox, Moraine, Whiskey Jack, Tyrrwhitt etc back to lot. Wonderful conditions on VR30 (my only wax for the last few weeks) freshly groomed with fresh lynx and wolf tracks on the upper sections.

  171. WBC, what a difference a day or two makes to warm for VR40 could have used a lick of 45, Skied Hostel and Telephone, fast snow and yes I also had ‘wipe out of the year’ and more than once on the first few clicks of roller coasters ! One day I’ll master Telephone, today wasn’t the day although the grooming is the best I’ve ever seen on that loop.

  172. Castle Lookout to Protection Mountain today. Thanks SkierBob for the post and the recommendation. The trail is in very good shape. A few twigs sticking out in the trees and a couple of rocks to keep an eye open for near the top of the “bumps”, all avoidable though. -18 when we started around noon, blue bird day and beautiful! Thanks to the Baker Creek track setter for doing this (how come Parks Canada doesn’t groom it?).

  173. What an awesome day. Perfect morning ride to work, -15 so just comfortable, roads and paths all pretty good. Then what happens? Both my afternoon meetings get cancelled. As soon as I got the second cancellation, I walked out of my office and explained to the world at large that I was taking a ski day.

    Headed for WBC, where the conditions are spectacular. Skied Hostel, Telephone, Moose, West Crystal Line, Loggers, Sundog. Almost perfect conditions, very fast (too fast to be controllable on parts of Telephone – wipe-out of the year).

  174. PLPP North End – Conditions are VERY GOOD. Did most of the north end trails – New Pocaterra/ComeAlong, Lynx, Wooley, Meadow, Wheeler and Amos. Among these a week ago, only Wheeler was trackset. Today they all were. On Pocaterra/ComeAlong there were a few places with “dirty” snow (only one looks like you should step around it), and few places where the willows are poking through the snow. But otherwise the tracks are excellent, including the Lynx hill. My thermometer read -16 to -8, but I am disinclined to believe it, because it still felt very cold. And, the glide (or lack thereof) seemed more indicative of very cold snow.

    For those headed over towards Elk Pass, take note. From the Wheeler picnic table you could see plumes of snow being blown off the trees, indicative of some pretty good wind. That wind did not reach the Boulton/Elkwood/VIC/Pocaterra area, and the snow remains coating the trees. There were no snow bombs (but a few grenades). Only one section of trail had any pine needles, so no problems on that side of things yet.

    Thanks to the groomers – a great job!

    With slightly warmer temperatures expected, the weekend should be delightful in PLPP.

  175. Beautiful sunny day to ski at Bragg Creek today. Blue wax worked very well. Did all of Telephone Loop. Sometimes you see the tracks/sometimes you don’t/quite bumpy certain places. Regardless if the parking lot was full, only saw a few people here/there through out the day.

  176. WBC – Moose Loop, West Crystal Spring
    All good, tracks holding up well. The only ice flow still visible on Moose Loop (just west of Telegraph junction) is easily crossed/circumvented. Sunny and warm by the afternoon; may need to get out the fishscales if the forecast holds up.

  177. Sandy McNabb: trackset with 2″ of fresh powder. VERY sparsely skied as yet so get out there B4 dredded snow-eater devours what will likely be the best xc ski conditions the serenely scenic Sheep Valley will see this winter …and escape the crowds (you know where!). Loggers, Meadow and Sandy McNabb loop trails good for a morning outing (~12km) while conditions are still cool.

    • Thanks for the update Jeremy. Heading there tomorrow morning.
      By the way where is the best place to park at Sandy McNabb?

      • I park either at entrance to equestrian campground loop just off Hwy so as to have easy access to south trail network (west or east) and its plowed very wide there. Can also park at Sheep Ranger Stn as north network is ‘out the back door’ or you can just hop over the Hwy and access the Meadows/Loggers loops too and there is always ample parking and sunshine! Enjoy?

    • We are heading there tomorrow morning for a family ski. It’s a spot that would seriously challenge PLPP in terms of trail quailty if only we could ditch these stupid chinooks. If you are skiing the trails north of the road (my anti-social preference since I think they are even less used) you can just park at the gate, or turn right just before the gate to go a few hundred metres to another trailhead.

  178. Skied to Watridge Lake for the full moon last night. Met the track setter just before the junction to Watridge. Looks like he was track setting some of the lower loops as well. The snow is beginning to accumulate up there.

    Get Out & Enjoy

    The Live Grooming Report mentions the snowcat had a mechanical failure after you saw him and didn’t finish the 10K loop. I hope it isn’t long-term. I’m sure we’ll get an update soon. -Bob

  179. Skied Maple Ridge Golf course by the full moon. Skied holes 7-9 and then 10, 11, 12 and 15. Skied partway down 14, the hole paralleling Southland Dr access ramp to SB Deerfoot, but some heavy equipment wiped out the tracksetting on most of that hole and on the up hill to 13. So we skied back on great machine groomed tracks the way we came for about a 6-7 KM .out and back trip. One pretty good track and a skating lane on most of these holes. Looks like 1-6 have at least grooming done but didn’t go down that way today to see if it was also trackset. If you can’t get out to the mountains this should be a great alternative for the next couple of days if it doesn’t get too warm.

    • Sl\kied Maple Ridge completely around course. To bad that heavy equipment chewed up the area around hole 13. Trackset and conditions were fantastic.

  180. The winds of change were wafting through the treetops of West Bragg on my afterwork ski today, caressing my cheek with tantalizing breaths of warm air at the higher elevations of Iron Springs and Elbow. Cold air was still lurking in the valleys though as I descended E Crystal into the chill at dusk. While it’s good to see the arctic air sent packing- let’s hope that the excellent ski conditions at WBC don’t get hammered.
    A bonus for late afternoon skiers such as Bob and I- the days are getting noticeably longer!

    • Excellent conditions at WBC, as noted by Steve and Arie. It was -12C when I arrived and got up to -5C on parts of Moose Loop. The Chinook wind was starting to blow the light snow out of the tree tops, but not enough to impact the trails. Moose Loop was last groomed Jan 9 and the track-setting is getting a bit worn in a few spots, and there is an ice-flow to watch out for about 1/2 way between Telephone Loop and Tom Snow junctions. Mountain View West still looked good. Telephone Loop was groomed today, so it should be in nice shape. I ran into a group that was ecstatic about the great conditions on Hostel Loop.

  181. Did a Bob… or part of, Goat creek to a few clicks beyond the Spray river bridge, cold snow -15C @ 1pm made for a slow ski on both directions, good job too, I could sense I was approaching the bridge but did not anticipate the sharp right turn onto it, with no chance of slowing down all I could think of was ‘that bridge rail looks awfully solid, this isn’t going to end well’! Then a miracle occurred and I was on the bridge unscathed, not sure what happened I closed my eyes as a safety precaution. Track certainly isn’t fresh but isn’t that bad either, good cover and a couple of cms fresh, just a few very obvious big rocks at the very start, what a nice trail, easy to see the attraction Bob.

  182. Emerald Lake Lodge @ skier special rate as on this blog. -31 as we skied Tree Hugger to Alluvial Fan and back on Horse Trail (all beautiful new tracks compliments of Joe) this frosty am. I followed skier set tracks (thank-you skiers) on The Connector to Natural Bridge, when I hitched a ride back to ELL (thank-you gals for picking me up!). Joe had already track-set Tally Ho and was working on Kicking Horse Fire Road. I took a few good tumbles coming down the NEVER-ENDING hill down to junction with Tally-Ho. Nothing that a Full Boar Scotch Ale and a hot tub later won’t fix.. Come on out and support Kicking Horse Ski Club for their 30th finale banquet being held mid February at ELL. Congratulations to Sheila on winning 2 nights here!


      Thanks, Helen! So looking forward to this trip. Love reading your trip reports on this area as it is just getting me more excited to get there. Mid February should see me back on my skies so maybe booking something around the KHSC’s 30th banquet would be fun. Are you planning to attend?

  183. Thu Jan 12: elk pass/west elk.
    -20 to start @ 1030, -17 on return @330, moderate to strong winds.
    New tracks are good, bit of wind sift in them. Scattered tree bomb lumps and debris on the way back. The meadow track through west elk is all blown in again and wasn’t worth the venture skiing into the blustery wind. My track was filled in on return and the meadow snow getting wind pressed. Big winds up high with various plumes coming off ridges and summits. Would have been a cold one up on blueberry, lookout or hydroline even. No Bob sightings, despite the freSH grooming on blueberry.
    Couch: Full on now, ready for pre-Sunday appreciation party festivities. (-: Especially if it’s a sunny day.

    Photo of couch and environs

    • What constitutes appropriate BLING for your Couch Open House this Sunday pre-skier Bob party @ Nakoda?

      • Nothing is off limits really. Chocolate, cookies, beverages, hot and cold, some good company, snow angel equipment, foam pad…..and any snow carving equipment if you want to add some sculptural art to the living room.

  184. CNC is in excellent shape and hardly a soul there today between 3:20 and 4:30. -12C at 3:20 and green wax worked perfect on the man made and the fresh snow on Bow. Took Bow to Grey Wolf before connecting on Banff Trail to return, and conditions were fine – just a few twigs sticking up in the lanes in a few spots and only a couple of spots in the skating lane on Bow where there is dirt/pebbles.

  185. Skied WBC today, starting at Allen Bill Pond. Conditions are good to excellent. The trees are plastered with snow, and the snow has a surface hoar on it which sparkled in the sunshine. -21C in the morning, -11C mid-afternoon. Skied Iron Springs, East and West Crystal Line, Loggers, and Elbow. A perfect winter’s day.

  186. Skied Castle Lookout to Baker Creek late last night. Castle Lookout to Protection was in good shape (including the Castle Lookout hill/crossing). Some of the turns were a little too tight for tracksetting, but still manageable. The first kilometer or so from Protection to Baker Creek was quite unpleasant with very shallow tracks and many bushes/sticks in the tracks. We ended up skiing the return from Baker Creek to Protection along the road. Lots of fresh wolf tracks between Protection/Baker as well.

  187. Shaganappi Golf course tracks were still in good shape yesterday evening. Loved the big moon showing up above the City skyline as I returned to my car.

  188. Confed and Canmore parks completed groomed and double trackset. Checkout FNSC webpage to access trail report

  189. WBC, Jan 11, 2017
    Another fabulous day at WBC. It was still a bit chilly to start, but warmed up later on. The parking lot was full, with hundreds of people enjoying the great conditions. Hostel Meadow and Hostel Loop were groomed today.

    • Thanks for the report, Alf. About what time in does the parking lot start to get full? (I love my morning sleep-ins) TIA

      • Most people ski, bike, snowshoe or hike for 1-3 hours at WBC. As a result, there are usually spaces available, even when the lot looks full. I have arrived any time between 9am and 4pm (when there is good moonlight), and have always managed to find a spot within the parking lot. At really busy times, you may have to park along the south side of the access road and start skiing on the adjacent East Crystal Line or Sundog trails.

  190. Confederation GC — Had a very nice hour of skiing at Confed on Tuesday. Very good snow conditions and very good tracksetting job! I wish the skiing was always as good as this in Calgary. Get out there before the chinook comes!

  191. Healy Creek including mini Sundance Canyon Loop: -20 but en route to Emerald Lake. If my last report of 2 wks ago was awful to fair, today was fair to good. But some person walked directly in the skier set tracks 95% of the way to Sundance Lodge cut off.. Big snowmobile taking big loads up to Sundance Lodge from that point on, churning up some of the earth/gravel underneath. The powder remaining on one side, untouched by the huge snowmobile made for a fairly rock-free pleasant ski. Loads of wolf tracks and only saw the two on snowmobile as they whizzed by. Looking forward to gazing at the Full Moon tonight and tomorrow from the hot tub here at ELL.

  192. This morning 15 members of the Norseman Ski Club skiied at Shaganappi Golf Course,
    It was cold skiing into the wind but much warmer with the wind behind us!
    The conditions remain very good, lots of snow. Skier set tracks.
    Get there before the warm weather comes on the weekend .

  193. Pleasant afternoon ski on the newly groomed Maple Ridge golf course. I found some hills on the East side. I am hoping that the warm weather that’s coming doesn’t end the skiing in the city!

    • Agreed! I was extremely & pleasantly surprised to find beautiful grooming and track setting (double tracks in some parts) almost the entire perimeter loop when I went for an after-work ski in the moonlight around 6pm last night. Only a couple of spots where a walker and an excited critter of the 4 legged variety danced on top of the tracks and wrecked them, but mostly they were untouched (especially down the hill on the East side next to Deerfoot where that’s too far away from access points for walkers to venture into – the SE end’s tracks had not been skied on yet when I went through). I think the cold temperatures overnight will have set them nicely. I’ll find out tonight when I go again after work. You city dwellers had better get out there and enjoy it while it lasts – we never seem to get great conditions like this in the city 🙂

  194. West Bragg Creek, Jan 10, 2017
    Conditions were outstanding at West Bragg Creek on Tuesday. Most of the ski trails had been groomed and trackset on Jan 9. Those trails had a dusting of 2 cm of light powder on top, which was easily packed in by the first few skiers. The rest of the trails, including East Telephone, Mountain Road, Mountain View, Mountain View West and Iron Springs were groomed and trackset today (Jan 10).
    There is great snow coverage everywhere. However, there are a number of ice flows developing at a number of spots… on Elbow, West Crystal Line, Sundog and Moose Loop. Use caution, as there may be water flowing over the ice!
    With warmer weather in the forecast, skiing should be amazing at WBC!

    • The snow and track conditions were still very good at West Bragg today ! Maybe the best conditions in a couple of years??

  195. We decided to see if it was any warmer to the west today, so we drove up the Icefields Parkway to xc ski up the Mosquito Creek trail. It was a balmy -18C vs the -24C at Lake Louise, with plenty of blue sky and approx 7 or so cm of new snow over a hard trail. The snowpack off trail is still pretty shallow and weak. We were the only ones enjoying the trail today; there wasn’t even any sign of recent animal activity except for the snowshoe hare hopping down the parkway on the return home!

  196. Banff Spray West to Goat Creek today in -20. 4 hours, no wind, saw 3 people. Don’t wait for warmer temps too long! Exchanged car keys and had lunch with ski friend close to lower Spray River Bridge. Snow more plentiful at Banff side, but measured 4 cms. on Goat side. 2 pr of Asnes skis set a fairly decent skier track. Hill immediately down from Goat Creek parking NOT recommended for skiing. Nice to see no ridge in middle of trail and some snow-shoers decently stayed off our tracks for the most part. Bob would not have liked it today because it was no fast. I never got out of the tracks once to snow-plow or herringbone-it was that grippy with old green.

  197. WBC arrived @ 2pm -18, my vehicle showed -13 between Bragg and Hwy1, just a hand full of vehicles in the lot. Skied mountain road, Moose Loop, West Crystal, Loggers Loop and Sundog. Excellent conditions, a very nice ski.
    I skied through an ice flow on Moose and both my skis instantly put on a few pounds of ice top and bottom, I spent the next 10 mins scrapping it all of before I could continue, lesson learnt!

    Hoping the forecast chinook doesn’t ruin our fun @ WBC

  198. Not out skiing, but was doing volunteer work today, Jan 10, down the Spray Valley. Was in the area of Driftwood, West Wind Pass, Sparrowhawk and Buller, all within 800 m of 742, so down low in the below treeline area.

    You’ll find a minimum of 10 cm new under the forest canopy, and up to 25 cm in more open sections. Light, dry and dusty stuff that means snowshoes not required on previously pack trails, but I’m betting places like Shark would be just awesome.

    No wind of consequence today. Temps -20° to -22°, which felt chilly in the shade of the forest canopy, but lovely when you were in the sun this bluebird day.

    Canmore Hill NOT plowed, but 742 was freshly plowed today from the top of the dam at the Gap to at least Buller.

  199. Canmore Nordic Center

    Still pretty cold, -18oC, but had to see how much the new snow benefited the CNC natural trails. Skied the length of the Banff Trail returning on Meadowview and Banff Loop after entering the meadow. Powdery and closer to good than fair – like skiing the Cascade Fireroad last week. Small number of twigs sticking up through the snow (not like before the snowfall).

  200. Braved the cold temperatures yesterday (-23 C with a minus bazillion C wind chill) and skied Confederation Golf Course. The volunteer groomer was track setting while I skied. The conditions were great. Thanks Foothills Nordic Club!

  201. Sandy McNabb-Jan 9, 2017
    Since Sheila, isn’t reporting on the Sandy McNabb trails, I thought I’d go there for a quick tour. The trails were last groomed on Jan 6 and have received about 6cm since then. The Sandy McNabb trails get very little traffic, so quite a few trails had no tracks or just a few ski tracks since last nights snowfall.
    There are two halves to the Sandy McNabb network… the gentle trails south of the road and the more rolling trails north of the Sheep Valley road. I skied a selection of the north-side trails. The area has a very appealing mix of open meadows, interspersed with groves of aspen, spruce and pine. Many of the trail follow the south or west facing side of valley bottoms, where there is more aspen/grassy meadow, with wind/sun sheltering spruce trees nearby on the north and east aspects. The main exception if the Pine Ridge trail, which cuts through a pine forest. The narrower trails are not regularly maintained, so expect low hanging branches and face washes from encroaching alders. Grooming is mostly of the “old school” variety, with a single track-set in the middle of a 5′ wide groomer. It’s a lot like Fox Creek at PLPP.
    It was getting close to dark as I finished my loop, but I thought I’d try the Long Prairie Ridge trail. It’s not a groomed ski trail and it is often snow-free, so I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to be on it with good snow cover. It’s been well packed by snowshoers and a few skiers, so it actually skied quite well. It offers the best views in the Sandy McNabb trail system.

  202. ELK TRAP – Jan 9

    Consider this as an extension to our report from Dec 27.
    Thanks to the two Park Wardens returning home from Stoney Creek Cabin, I got a good start breaking trail in the new snow. Past Stoney Creek, I can thank James for his good work extending the trail… but then it was up to me!
    The interesting part is past Stoney Creek… lots of wildlife.
    And if you persevere… the reward is… the Elk Trap:!AhVZXBE7vMV7gw9U-yYdV5Ty073A
    but watch your turn around time!

  203. My dog and I skied the Bill Milne trail today. 5-10cm of fresh fluffy snow so I broke trail and just enjoyed the fluffy white stuff falling all around. I’m hoping there’s enough to groom by end of today but we’ll have to wait and see.

  204. Spray west- trackset & groomed early this am. Past 1st bridge. I went out near dark so don’t know if he went all the way to goat creek. Improved coverage, decent track. Cold!

  205. Could not resist hitting the 9 cms. of fluffy snow that fell last night and skied Baker Creek towards Castle L/O. The parking lot had been perfectly cleared and area around toilets totally shovelled. Started at 1pm and -18. We broke trail over the new track-setting and skied to first scenic “hump” overlooking the RR tracks and river. I often refer to this trail as the camel with two humps. I adore this trail; parts of it are still magical but all the work going on before and in and around Protection Campground have made it less enjoyable for me. I kept wondering how the favorite stage of the loppet will look like with all the current construction work going on. We noticed the trail parallels the railway tracks for a much greater distance now because of the work at the Campground. Thought of the groomer as it is a much bigger challenge for him to do his job with all the vehicles around. It got very blustery driving home and looks like more snow on the way.

  206. Cold but enjoyable sunny ski outing around L. Louise Village. Since it was so cold, we skied only short loops with lunch at Laggan’s in the middle of it all. Townsite, the W end of Bow River Loop & Campground Loop were groomed & trackset. The post-lunch loop from Chateau parking down Peyto to the Great Divide & back up Peyto/Upper Telemark went down well with the group as did the view & dining at Iron Goat Pub in Canmore afterward.

  207. I feel like we’ve been skiing on marginal conditions, always skiing close to home, for so long that we’d forgotten what powder and real snow looked like. Well, this past weekend we made the drive and went to Emerald Lake. We stayed for the weekend and enjoyed fabulous skiing and snowshoeing. The Alluvial Fan trail just might be the most beautiful ski trail I’ve found in the Can. Rockies. And super easy for those with kids. My 7 year old had no problems with the 8 km outing. We were able to ski across the lake as well with perfect bluebird skies above us. Thank goodness the cold is good for something!

  208. PLPP – Fox Creek, Elk Pass, Hydroline
    Super conditions!
    After years of avoiding it, finally skied the short (0.9km) connector trail from Upper Kananaskis Lake back up to the Elk Pass parking lot. Surprisingly rolly terrain, nice way to extend the usual Elk Pass/ Fox Creek/ Blueberry/ Hydroline circuit. Parking at the Elk Pass trailhead wasn’t a problem on a -20c morning, but on busy days taking the connector would be a good option.
    Excellent, fast conditions throughout; tracks in great shape. Best conditions ever on the long run down Hydroline from the pass. Good to see a group of young folks heading into Elk Lakes for an overnight trip on skinny skis instead of the usual fat boards and heavy plastic boots.
    Nice to meet Norman and his Mount Royal U group on the trail; put a serious dent in our surplus Christmas Brandy Bean supply. None of the usual Whisky Jacks mooching food at the Blueberry junction picnic table; maybe they were all down the trail checking out MaSid’s couch?
    Gusty winds in the pm starting bringing down the snow bombs; interesting to see a small avalanche on a steep slope below the Patterson junction, triggered by a large chunk of snow falling off a tree. A shallow slab (6″ crown) slid most of the way down to the trail (~25m run); not enough to do any damage but a bit deeper snowpack could have seen debris reaching across the trail.

    • The whiskey jacks have not discovered the couch yet either. Maybe they have all flown south for the season given the temperature trends this year.

      • The Whiskey Jacks may not have discovered your couch MaSid, but I have, and it looks like it is going to be another masterpiece. Was through there Christmas day but it was not started yet. Well under construction when I passed through on Saturday. The snow was quite deep and sugary in the meadows. A guy could drown out there. I will stop and give you a hand with it someday when I have more time.


        • So those must have been your tracks through the meadow I took advantage of Sunday. Nice to travel through there after shovelling for a couple hours and not have to swim through snow on top of that. Stop by the couch and enjoy the perch any time, that’s what it’s there for, whether you help out or not (bring a foam pad). And feel free to add anything you want if you are there and I’m not (shovel and saw if you have it) , or just relax and work on the tan. Just don’t add height to the closer wind wall at this time (will shade the feet). I might be there Thursday to finish the back of the couch. It’s taken 5 visits worth of construction so far. One more should do it up nice. Then it’s just snowfall maintenance and adding bling (hard to resist).

  209. From Boulton Creek, skied up Packers, Tyrwhitt, Hydroline, up Lookout and down W Jack. Excellent conditions throughout; Lookout S and N have never been so good as all the years I skied it since 1990.

  210. The Whiteway Lake Windermere (Invermere) Started at Kinmen Beach today on the West side. Lots of skaters of the ice variety. We skied south along the West side and had to find a decent track due to Truck tracks slush and wind blown snow. We carried along to Windermere and crossed over to the East side where the tracks we much improved . The skating lane was in and out but the ice skating lane was in good shape. Turned north and returned to Kinsmne beach crossing over dodging frozen slush and skidoo/truck tracks. Flat ski but next to no wind. Thanks to the Toby Creek XC club. for your effort.

  211. Skogan Pass, Sunday Jan 8, with the Ramblers:

    It was -25C at the Nakiska Day Lodge at 10am when we headed out for Skogan Pass. After about an hour, the temperature rose to -16C and stayed there the rest of the day. No wind most of the way with just a light breeze for the last 2km to Skogan Pass. The sun and clear skies helped keep us warm.

    From the Day Lodge to the Marmot Basin trail, the snow was pretty thin with the occasional rock lurking just beneath the surface. Beyond there the snow coverage was excellent with 5-10 cm of powder on top of a firm base. It was skier trackset all the way to the pass with the steeper sections well packed down by snowplowing skiers. I did the Sunburst / High Level loop on the way up. It looked like just 2 or 3 skiers had done the loop since the last major snowfall. It also had a firm base with 5-10 cm of powder on top. We took the Skogan Loop on the way down and it too had seen virtually no traffic since the last snowfall. Overall, it was a great day out despite the cold!

  212. Cascade Valley – Jan 8, 2016
    Based on the weather forecasts, it appeared that Cascade Valley might be a good bet for avoiding the cold weather today. I don’t think it ever got to the 13C that was forecast, probably more like -16C. Still conditions were quite good, with reasonably fast snow and good coverage (except where the track setting is squeezed right up agains the encroaching spruce trees). No rocks, anyhow. The track-setting is getting “wobbly” in many places, because they have seen a lot of use since the last grooming.

  213. Sandy McNabb (McMagic ?) today, 1 pm start, -18.
    North side perimeter, counter-clockwise. Some stretches hadn’t been touched on 2-day old grooming! If you like solitude, this is your place. Before starting, I noted 20ish vehicles in the combined lots but did not encounter ANYone ‘on trail’! Loads of deer tracks & one athletic specimen sprung across the trail whilst I was descending a moderate grade. Thrilling!
    Track set was good and green wax did the job.

  214. Sun jan 8: elkpass/west elk.
    -26 @ 1030, -12 on return at 330. Moderate winds. Elk pass newly track set to hydroline junction. “Gritty” in the new cold tracks. Fox creek still decent enough to bypass the wind exposure of the hill and power line. Old tracks of rest of elk in fine shape. Not much travel lately. Now a fresh skier set track all the way south through west elk meadows to the power line from another party yesterday or coming out from hut this morning. Boot top mostly, shin deep where they couldnt follow the old track. Not much pole support along this trail until more travel. Beautiful in the meadow despite the breeze. On my way back to couch a sled puller had passed by, presumably the first quinzee builder of the season. Two coyotes on Hwy 40 on return.
    Couch: Now seats 6-8. Be wary of the new addition, not that stable yet (it’s the side with the lower wall, other side is fine). Might finish it this week.

    • I was knee deep getting through on the first pass but the tracks set up rather well for the return trip after lunch and appears to be boot top but don’t be fooled. Venture off that track and it could be troublesome without snow shoes or fat skis if you were to get into one of the many hidden creeks. It is beautiful out there though. That is why I go there.

      See you at the couch some day.

  215. CNC
    Skied yesterday along Banff trail/loop to the far end and my husband skied Bow. The man made snow is, as always, pretty near perfect, the portion of Banff beyond the meadow was totally fine until the last 300 metres where it got very thin. Bow trail was not good at all with lots of grass and bushes poking through.

    Spray West Trail, Banff
    Skied today, going out from the Banff Springs about 10km to the Spray Reservoir trail junction and although it is listed as Fair/Good it was much better than the natural snow sections at CNC. There were only a few thin patches under trees on one of the two tracks and where any rocks were exposed they were easily avoidable. It was very pleasant skiing – definitely “good” in my books!

  216. Had a fantastic day at PLPP today with the Calgary Outdoor Club. Eleven of us met at Shouldice to organize car pooling out to the Visitor Centre. It was -23 when we arrived, brrrr. In the warmth we figured out some pace groups and plans for lunch or departure time. If I’d known it was going to be that cold I would have cancelled, but I’m so glad I didn’t! Having a friendly group to ski with makes all the difference. The sun came out when we were on Wheeler and we had spectacular views across the valley. It didn’t hurt that there was a warm Centre with a fire going as a place to sit and have lunch. Conditions were fast.

    Different groups went on different trails but here’s what I gathered: most of the trails close to the Centre are not trackset. Frequently we saw bushes poking through telling us there’s more snow in WBC! Packers has decent snow cover still, it hasn’t been scraped clean by snow-plowers. Pocaterra is trackset and solid. Sinclair had un-touched tracksetting which was interrupted for about 2-300m by a driven-on road in the campground.

    • We also skied in PLPP today, starting at Elkwood to Amos over to Moraine, then Fox, returning on Wheeler, which is now beautifully trackset. The promise of a -13C high never materialized where we skied and it remained very cold for the duration. As Caren noted the views across to the west in the sun were spectacular. A touch of special green was the wax today. Very few skiers out today.

  217. I did a quick chilly ski with my wife today at CNC. We stayed on the man made snow (Banff loop) as the natural stuff was still looking thin. The tracks were pretty good and lots of people were out despite the cold. I looked a couple of decades older by the time we got back to the start (aka frozen beard syndrome). Happy to get a ski in before heading back to cowgary.

  218. Quiet Sunday at Pipestone-maybe 5 people and one dog. Skied up #20 to junction, side trip to Mud Lake (no interest in skiing on ice but thanks for head’s up from previous reporter!), did flat Drummond to east side of Pipestone Pond (great tracks), up Hermit to next junction, down #20 and noted some competition for MaSid of a snow couch nearing the final junction of blue and green runs. It did not look like anyone had sat on it so who knows with unsupported snow? Enjoyed skiing down Hector on the most recent grooming. Another nice 13 kms circuit in tranquility and warming trend, starting temp -22, finishing temp -12. Yeah!!!

    • One of those rare days when starting on “Skier Bob Time” (aka after 2:30 pm) meant warmer temperatures. When I started up Pipestone it was minus 12 and ended with the same. I made it to the Temple views for twilight. The witching hour….my favourite time to ski. Helen’s right in noting the new track-setting on the west side as well as the quiet. One car in the lot on my return.

  219. I skiied at Sandy McNabb yesterday for the first time. Thanks to the trip reporter, I knew the trails were trackset, not just groomed as the official trail report indicated. I wonder if there is a glitch in the reporting mechanism but the trails were definitely trackset. So gorgeous out there. Skiing on a single track winding through mixed forests is a little bit of heaven! It was cold (-16) but not bad if you kept moving. Saw only 5 other skiers in the hour loop we did.
    And then stopped at the Eau Claire Distillery in Turner Valley on the way home. A most excellent apres ski experience!

  220. On Saturday afternoon, I skied Telephone-Moose-MountainviewWest-Mountain Road-Mountainview-Crystal West. Starting up east Tele- it would have been easy to get discouraged by the wall to wall trampling of the multi-use trail (next time I’ll take Hostel to avoid some of that) but thankfully, things started to get better after the Snowshoe Hare junction. North of Disconnect- the skiers ruled once again, with a nicely set track and quick easy travel. The longer downhills going in that direction had an easily dodged rock or two, and were surprisingly packed down, fast and bumpy- some caution required if on skittish narrow classic skis! (usually I prefer my wider light touring boards for telephone).
    Reaching Moose with adequate daylight left, and gas in the tank after tea and cookies- I continued on around Moose to the Mountain Views, etc as mentioned above. The only things of note on the last half of my loop were the 100m long ice flow that is threatening MV West about halfway along (easily avoided) and a couple of rocks still lurking on the N side of the “hump” on MV West. A temperature of around -15 and no winds other than when skiing downhill, made for pleasant skiing on what were great conditions pretty much throughout. A thin buffed layer of Swix V20, aka “green”, worked like a charm.

    • The Alberta Parks trail crew groom Telephone Loop. For some unknown reason, they only corduroy groomed the section from Hostel to Disconnect junction. North of Disconnect, the trackset along the east half of the tread, as expected. So…because the south portion of East Telephone had no Tracksetting, there were no ski tracks for them to avoid.
      Hopefully that is corrected with the next grooming, probably next week.

  221. Nipika Mountain Resort:
    We made the trip over to Nipika Sat AM. Roads were in good shape.
    Nipika’ trails were in even better shape.! – 20C sunny no wind. Special green kind of a day. We skied the north part and some of the south side of the trails over the Natural Bridge and returned via the lower metal bridge. Steve’s grooming has the tracks and the skating lanes in great shape. The dedicated fat tire and snow shoe trails have had a lot of traffic. It’s always great to come back to the barn and warmup by the wood stove.

  222. WBC-Jan 7, 2016
    The Crystal Line-Sundog trails were in great shape today at WBC, despite the colder temperatures. It was around -16C most of the afternoon… but no wind.
    After a stop at the Trail Centre warming hut, I went back out for an unusual double-loop. First I went around Hostel Meadow/Hostel Loop, then up East Telephone to Snowshoe Hare. The west half of Snowshoe Hare is popular with snowshoers and fat-bikers, so it is well packed and actually pretty easy to ski, in the counter-clockwise direction. The trail has two options at one point. The gentle “Meadow” option is preferred by snowshoers and works well as a ski trail. The “Ridge” option is hillier, with more twists and turns is favoured by fat-bikers and hikers. The final descent on Hostel Loop is so much fun, I did it twice!

  223. Another report from PLPP. Awesome day started from Elkwood with the temperature showing balmy -10C at 1pm. No wind, sunshine and blue sky. I went up to Lynx ( no tracks but nicely groomed ) then south to Pocattera (perfect) to Tyrwhitt (meh.. skier set tracks) then Elk pass (fast), Fox Creek( excellent), Moraine ( it’s a work of art ) and Wheeler ( greasy tracks – good glide ). I finished after 4pm at -15C. I used Start synthetic green for grip. It worked well – very tough wax stays on even when snow plowing. If I could, I would go again tomorrow but I think I will be too tender for that.

  224. Canmore Nordic – the tracks with man made snow are in great shape, though glide is a bit slow in the -16C temps. Where we skied in natural snow (west Banff trail, upper east section of Meadowview), the tracks were mostly reasonable (occasional twigs, grass, small pebbles), but the skate lane in the middle often had long sections of gravel bits on the snow, stirred up by the passing of the groomers. This would be very nasty for skate skiers. Very busy place today!

    I’ll bet the fireplace in the daylodge was a popular spot! All kidding aside, on a cold day, it’s nice to have the warm daylodge with food, fireplace, and indoor bathrooms, especially for families with small kids. -Bob

  225. Skied from Elkwood in PLPP today. We went to Elk Pass and looped back around on Hydroline. Elk Pass tracks are in great shape, with a few bits of debris from the trees here and there. Hydroline tracks were thin and parts of it were filled with light snowfall. Beautiful day out in the mountains!

  226. Skied PLPP today. From Elkwood, took Lodgepole, Sinclair and Meadow with a break at the visitor center. Lodgepole and Sinclair have been trackset and are in good condition with only an occasional twig poking through. Meadow (and Woolley) have only been packed and with little new snow there are not even skier set tracks. A crisp start to the day but with little wind it was a pleasant ski.

  227. Looks like a lot of us followed Chuck’s recommendation to do the Pipestone today. We did and it was lovely, even went out on Chuck’s trail (we called it that even before I went back and read his entry from yesterday) onto the river to get some sun as it was -19 in the shade! Hardly saw a soul considering the full lot at 1 pm. My “ice blue” VR30 wax was perfect for the day.

  228. We skied in PLPP from Boulton parking to Moraine, Fox, Elk, Tyrwhitt down Whiskey Jack. Elk Pass to the top of Outlook wasn’t groomed everything else was groomed and in good shape. Tyrwhitt had some fresh snow. A great ski down Whiskey Jack, perfectly groomed. Green wax was the flavour of the day, high of -14c, it was cold but a wonderful ski.

  229. Mt Shark
    Watridge Lake trail in bomber condition today with very little evidence of having been skied much since track setting. Also NO sign of dog sleds (in fact, we saw their tracks on the Spray Reservoir at Driftwood so it looks like for now they have enough snow to operate there so don’t need to go to Shark). -18C at 11 am, a few twiggy bits in the stadium area and one small patch on the return trail but otherwise good all the way out to the top of the hill down to the Spray River

  230. Bill Milne Trail from south of Golf Course was good but even better snow once we crossed hwy 40. Lunch in car (-14) then skied the Terrace/Kovach loop counter-clockwise, starting behind Woody’s. I am sure Jeff is doing all in his power to groom the trails with inadequate snow to do the job according to his high standards, but we appreciate all your effort and in writing us accurate reports to go by. We did not ski the Aspen trails. It felt colder today with the wind. Kovach snow very nice.

  231. Brrrrr! Cold ski on goat creek trail today from Canmore end. A few rocks right off the start and a few more along the way. The track was a bit washed out but otherwise ok. My daughter was having a hard time keeping warm so we only made it to the first major bridge. On the way back I was wondering if we would run into Bob along the way and then there he was! Said a quick “hi Bob” and reintroduced myself and we were on our way. Were greeted at the parking lot by an icy cold wind so packed up quick and we were off to the Nordic center for lunch.

  232. WBC this morning… perhaps 5th or 6th vehicle into lot about 815’ish. Before leaving home I made sure to check the Weather link above right to get idea of temps… it said -17C, but yet Bragg showed as -26. mmmmm anyways, according to my car WBC was -25C by the time we started. So not sure if others have noted this discrepancy?

    Thanks to recent talk about wearing overbooties I remembered to bring my slim-fit ones and had zero cold feet issues. Also had over-mitts which did the trick. Bingo for the buff & balaclava combo. The temps noticeably varied as we explored the Crystal trails, out on Mountain View West (warm at top of hills, COOOOLD by Moose loop), then did clockwise Moose Loop (actually saw one cow moose), then back by Moose Connector, Loggers, East Crystal Line, and back to a surprisingly full parking lot. Surprising because it was still about -20C. Overall I was very impressed with the trails – coverage and tracksetting. Sure a few spots w/ “stuff”, a couple ice flows (easy enough to see and avoid), and a few short parts had no tracksetting. Still it was excellent to be out during sunrise and enjoying the winter wonderland. Once we got to the cars though one sure cools down fast. Also that cold-snow is slow-snow. I am already looking forward to my next WBC outing… which might be a night ski thanks to a nice 200lumen headlight (no need for those eye-searing 1000++ lumen lights folks… blinds everyone… so please turn your head AWAY from oncomers when wearing ANY headlight. I got blinded a few times at Confed earlier this week. Perhaps this needs to be added to the night-skiing etiquette eh Bob?).

    Saw several dogs towards the end of our loop… both dogs and owners were well mannered, polite, and knew how to behave appropriately. No issues in parking lot either.

    Oh… and there were quite a few spottings of “nose-sicles” and beards totally frozen over.

  233. Bragg Creek South

    Only our third time there since the flood, but the first stretch was the best we have seen it, with the initial hill actually skiable for the first time. There was a confusing profusion of large vehicle (cat?) tracks between 0.5 and 2 km, which was a rude intrusion, and I have no idea what its purpose was. Beyond that, skier tracks in several cm of fresh snow over old grooming was very pleasant, took Iron Springs up the hill to the upper junction with Elbow, where we picked up soft corduroy grooming.
    Returning on Elbow Trail, we saw lots of trees with bark stripped off, and wondered what sort of critter was doing that. I’m sure I should know these things……

    • Without seeing what you saw – I would say these are the browsing marks of moose. We see a lot of this in the Sandy McNabb area.

      • Thank you Keith, that seems quite possible. The stripping is between my knees and shoulder levels, as I recall, should have taken more careful notes!

  234. Kai & I skied Elk Pass to Blueberry Hill yesterday to beautiful clear blue skies & brilliant sunshine on the surrounding mountains. The track setting was great all the way (thank you Groomers!). A slight bit of fresh snow made for slower going in the glide department. Great conditions for any downhill action – Nice & controlled, just the way we like it 🙂 Crisp cold air (-18ºC. before windchill) was bracing at times as we headed back down Blueberry Hill. Thank god for “hot shots” & muffs!!!
    It was wonderful to cruise through the trees down Fox Creek & Moraine.
    Destination: William Watson Lodge via Wheeler which now has enough snow for a set of good groomed tracks.

  235. West Bragg Creek
    is a very popular destination this season thanks to snow levels, the versatile trail system and volunteers’ efforts in making the area neat and friendly.
    Going clockwise:
    Crystal East – groomed, trackset, wide
    Iron Springs – excellent escape from crowds. Beware of huge ice flow on the western section, pay attention to signs.
    Logger Loop – fresh snow, immaculate.
    Moose Loop – thin on hills, snowplowing okay. The outer track is of much better shape. Making the loop in counterclockwise direction is preferable therefore.
    -16 C felt like -10 C this morning.

  236. Had a great Friday night ski at Confederation Park. The light display was still on so it was magical skiing past the displays complete with music and lights projected onto the snow. The conditions are good and thanks to the Foothills volunteers for their snow farming efforts. V20 wax worked great.

  237. Great ski today at Bragg Creek with some friends. Lovely conditions and even got sunshine on Moose Loop. After went for a hot drink at The Heart cafe in Bragg Creek. What a great find that needs to be shared. The Heart is a yoga studio that also serves as a cafe with yummy , healthy , home baked goodies . You can even stretch in the studio after rehydrating. The Heart is situated across the street from the gas station. Address is # 12 Balsam Ave. Check it out.

    • I Agree. This new place is fantastic!. Think Bragg creek’s version of “Communitea” – awesome addition to the community.

  238. This report was emailed in from Christine Pham:

    -skied yesterday Fairview, Tramline, Moraine Lake then Lower Telemark, Peyto all in great conditions with very light flakes falling down the whole afternoon.

    Today skied Elk pass , Patterson, Hydroline also excellent conditions with lots of snow so downhill was very well controllable.
    Things are looking great for the weekend!


  239. Went to Sandy McNabb trails today for the first time. Absolutely spectacular snow. Winter wonderland out there right now. There was about 10 -15 cm of Fresh Powder on the trails north of the highway, and when we started on the south side by 1:30pm they were all track set by then. It was -12 with no wind. I was in awe of how fun and beautiful that area was skiing.

  240. WBC: “But that is not my dog!” – Jan 6, 2017
    I took part in a lost dog recovery today at WBC… although I’m pretty sure the dog had no idea that he was lost. I was skiing along Moose Connector, with Conrad, who was taking his neighbours yellow lab “Max” for some exercise. A couple passed us, going south, followed by a very happy looking shepherd/husky cross. We soon realized that the other dog had turned around to join us and play with Max. We stopped and tried to encourage the dog go the other direction to catch up to his human companions. Just as we were about to turn around to take the dog back south, one of the two skiers returned. We thanked him for coming back for his dog. Quoting Inspector Clouseau from the “Pink Panther”, he said “But that is NOT my dog!” Apparently the dog belonged to a mom, who was skiing with a child in a chariot, and the dog just ran off with the next group of skiers he saw. The guy was just going to take him back to the mom. However, the dog had no interest in following that guy… he was having too much fun playing with Max. So, we offered to take the dog back to the parking lot, assuming that he would just follow Max. We had to turn around a couple of times on Mountain Road, to collect the dog from a couple of other groups with dogs that were clearly more interesting to him than Max. As I neared the parking lot, I noticed a frazzled looking mom, towing a crying child in a chariot, heading towards her car. I asked her if she was missing a dog, and she replied “YES”!
    At this point we had to get the dog back from yet another group of people who’s dog was potentially more entertaining than Max. In case you’re wondering, the dog was “on-leash” the whole time… it’s just that the other end of the leash wasn’t attached to anyone. Once the mom, child and dog were reunited in the parking lot, we continued our ski.
    This time we did the East Crystal Line – Iron Springs – Elbow – Loggers Loop, finishing with a combination of Crystal Link #4, #3, #2, #1 and Middle Crystal Line. All trails are in great shape, thanks to 4-6cm new snow in the past 24 hrs and another round of grooming by GBCTA volunteers.
    There are a couple of notable ice-flows to watch out for. There is a big ice-flow at the bottom of a hill on Elbow Trail, a new one starting on the final Sundog (west) hill and the one on lower West Crystal Line is starting to creep across “Chickadee Meadow”.
    It was -10 to -11C most of the day at WBC, dropping to -15C as the sun descended. Parking lot was pretty full again today!

    One of the best trip reports ever! That dog knows how to have fun. I can picture it all. -Bob

  241. Confederation/Canmore Park
    How lucky we are to have Confederation ( and Shaganappi) Golf Courses available to ski on when you can’t get out of town for one reason or another. The overnight and early morning snow covered in some of the track setting but it was still very pleasurably skiable using green wax. Confederation and Canmore Park as of mid day were in about the best shape they have been so far this season, with thanks to those who added snow to the sketchy zones and trackset/groomed. We saw skiers( skate and classic), walkers and snowshoes enjoying the trails.
    As a sidebar to the saga about the open armed “contacter”. One of our ski group is a nearby resident. He indicated that late day local walkers had been hit by the poles of skate skiers who were whizzing by at top speeds without concerns for walkers. The person who held arms out was apparently trying to protect himself from being thus injured. Regardless of what the real story is it points out the need for us all to be respectful of each other in using this popular special area.

    • Almost hesitate to keep mentioning it for fear that it will become crowded, but Maple Ridge is a still great alternative in Calgary, and I think far less busy so the snow is not worn down. Late evening (after biking home, supper, dishes, etc) I have only been seeing a couple of other people or groups, and by the time I do a couple of laps I have the place to myself. Not as well trackset as Confed perhaps, but very well groomed, loads of room to skate if you want, no conflicts with walkers and showshoers. Perfect if you want an evening training loop to yourself. There is also a great sledding hill if you want to bring the kids then ditch them.

      • Agreed Will. I’m lucky that I live a 7 min. drive from Maple Ridge. I also discovered yesterday that the city has groomed and track set a loop in South Glenmore park from the 24th street access (near the tennis courts) to the west access near Weaslehead. Fish Creek has some very good skier set track along the creek from the Elbow drive access East past McLeod Trail towards Bow Valley Ranch. At present I can ski from my back yard along the CP/CT right of way to the Southwood dry pond. Not the most scenic, but I’ll never complain about being able to ski from my back yard!

  242. skied Redearth today jan 6- still amazingly decent tracks.
    except last bit before shadow junction where not set, or washed out.

  243. PIPESTONE – Jan 6

    Our Friday report would suggest the Pipestone for the weekend. Temperatures are reasonable and of course there are no rocks!
    It appears that even the Parks Canada groomers are facilitating the suggested anti-clockwise circuit with nicely levelled landing areas for those who might lose control on those fast tight turns on the west side!
    We extended the day with a pleasant tour following a wolverine up the frozen river:!AhVZXBE7vMV7gnxXq35qkRzBt0T-

  244. Fri Jan 6: elk pass/west elk.

    -16 @ 11 in lot, -13 on return @ 3. Light to moderate winds, but another sunny day. Start of fox has been improved. Good tracks on elk pass trail for now. Some tree bomb snow lumps in the track here and there. Localized debri in a section of fox on return. Still knee deep trail breaking off trail in west elk pass. Bathrooms at pocaterra hut are closed, “water maintenance advisory”, no tap water available. Outhouse in parking lot open. Slippery going up Scott lake hill this morning.
    The Couch: Is open. Full reclining available for 3 or 4 currently. Low windwall (any higher and it’ll shade your feet this time of year). Expansion plans for next visit. Seems it had visitors yesterday, stomping more snow for blocks? Thanks!

  245. Jan 6 – Hands were wet on the wheel on a slippery highway until S.L. hill where the snow completely stopped. 9:00:12am had me on the third chair up Nakiska, for 10 (count em’) Hot Laps on the fresh cord.

    I left for Ribbon parking at 10:40 (when it got busy . . . suckers), and a quick boot change later I was heading up (chickened on Skogan) Terrace (feeling somewhat silly in my downhill ski pants) on terrible tracks. (I should have parked at the village . . .duh). After a half km, the conditions improve slightly, and are quite decent on the upper Terrace link/Terrace loop. 3 (count em’) hot laps later, and then I walked the last half km back to Ribbon parking. They need some snow through there pretty bad. -15ish all day.

    Off for a skate on Arbour Lake tonight to complete the winter trifecta. It’s wonderful there if you can ever go.

    The Aussie group “Men at Work” had it all wrong . . . I think WE come from the land of plenty.

  246. Great ski today Friday Jan 6 at PLPP from Bolton Creek. Six Canmore Meanderthals did the Skier Bob Special. I am sure Skier Bob will agree that the conditions were good as he was on his way to check out the trails. A picture is worth a thousand words so check out the link below.

  247. Sketchy conditions on Mud Lake, Pipestone
    This past Wed (Jan 4th) I and 3 others enjoyed great ski @ Pipestone (-20 brr)
    Caution Advisory re; Mud Lake. As we approached Mud Lake we saw skier tracks going straight across the lake and we chose to follow their tracks. Not so wise!
    Approx midway across the lake, the tracks changed from hard packed snow to “sketchy” with cracked multilayers of ice. Depth hoar?
    Fortunately it was stable and we 4 crossed safely but it didn’t feel good. We suspect the lake isn’t deep but prospect of icy/wet skiis isn’t fun.
    Suggest caution before anyone else follows those tracks on lake .
    The signed groomed trails were in great shape; & that’s where we’ll be skiing !

  248. Cascade River, BNP

    Free BNP Park Passes- eeeehawww!!!!!!!!!

    Yesterday the Cascade River trail was generally good skiing up to about CR 18 or about 3 km past Stoney Creek where views of eastern Flints Park are available. My poles did hit pavement and rocks due to a thin snow pack. I probably hit 4 rocks with the skis. At Stoney Creek, there is about a foot of snow or so on the ground. Cutting trail up to about CR 18 was not bad. There was ankle to mid boot snow penetration. Temperature high of -8C. Used white -15 to -25 polar wax which generally worked well. Some variability in snow speed conditions between north and south faces on the groomed trail.

    • As an addendum the tracks are getting quite rattley. Especially both uptrack and down track on the the big hill. The trail is well loved but could use a refresh. Lots of skiers on the trail today.

  249. Skate skied at Confederation Park last night after the crowds had left. The grooming was excellent and coverage was quite good. Only a few spots where you could see some grass. I was volunteering the night before to shovel/rake snow onto the tracks where the snow pack was thin so I had a look at those spots even though I was skating. I was impressed with how good the tracks looked so the snow harvesting made a big difference! We parked at Canmore Park as we would be skiing after 9pm and the main parking lot would be closed and skied over on the trail through Canmore Park. The grooming and trackset in Canmore Park is surprisingly good and snow coverage is really good. My wife was classic skiing earlier in the evening and she said the tracks were great and the trails were busy with lots of jackrabbits, ski groups and people out enjoying the great snow and trails in the city! Nice to see so many people out mid week. Thanks to Foothills Nordic and the many volunteers for making this happen!

  250. Elk Pass (Banff) – Jan 5
    Having read Chuck’s reports about Banff’s Elk Pass the passed several years, I decided to give it a go. There was 1-2 inches of fresh snow. As indicated in his Dec report, the snow is a little thin for the first while after crossing the bridge. After the amphitheater junction it is largely okay. It appears that two people on wide skis got within 2km of the pass. With that I made it to the pass in good time. I was cautious coming down and even walked down the part with stones protruding as my skis are less than a year old.

  251. Elk Pass – Fox – Moraine

    Yesterday, out and back to Elk Pass via Fox/Moraine; all in fabulous shape. Recent tracking setting divine. Fox Creek at its height of winter-wonders. Snowing lightly at the pass and rather windy so did not search out half-couch. Have yet to enjoy its comforts.

  252. Lake Louise village was -15 @ 1pm, it had been -38 early morning, glad the weather forecast prediction warming trend came true. Skied Pipestone counter clockwise, good coverage and recent track set made for a very nice ski despite a sprinkle of pine needles for the first half of the loop. The latter half of the loop has some exhilarating downhill sections not that fast but narrow enough to take me by surprise. Overall a really nice ski worth the extra drive from Calgary, topped the afternoon of by climbing Tramline to the Chateau to meet up with SO for supper and drove back in a snow storm, what a day!

  253. Canmore Nordic Centre

    Went out on Banff Trail (excellent shape) to the Mine Scar (aka Meadow) and climbed up Meadowview. Decided to come down Coyote as tracks and skating lane were really thin on Meadowview. Coyote was a bit of an adventure coming down but I managed to make it back to Banff Trail without hitting any rocks.

    We need a good dump of snow in Canmore before any of the natural covered trails are truly good to go.

  254. WBC Telephone Loop, Jan 5, 2017
    On my way around Hostel Loop, I noticed that the east half of Telephone Loop had been groomed. It was -5C and with the promise of fresh grooming, it was decided to go around Telephone Loop. The first several kilometres to Disconnect trail junction was only groomed, not track-set. North of there, the trail was groomed and track-set, with a single classic track on the right side and grooming for snowshoers, fat-bikers and hikers on the left side. This was the first grooming since the New Years snowfall, so the grooming and tracks were still pretty soft. This will improve with subsequent grooming passes.
    After the north Long Distance trail junction, the grooming narrowed to a single snowmobile width with a single classic track. I’m guessing this is because it would have been hard work to pack and groom the new snow any wider on the first attempt.
    There were only a few rocks, thin spots and minimal ice-flows on the whole route, so it was a wonderful ski around the Telephone Loop!
    Near the WBC parking lot, you’ll notice that and ice-dam has caused Bragg Creek to breach it’s banks and create a large ice-flow/lake on “Chickadee Meadow”, compromising access to the lower West Crystal Line bridge. It is still possible to get to the bridge through the trees on the south edge of the ice-flow, but it is probably better to detour onto Sundog (west) and then take the short link back to lower West Crystal Line. It only adds a couple hundred metres to your ski and avoids getting your ski bases wet.
    Lots of people out at WBC today, but very quiet on the Telephone Loop.

    • “Lots of people out at WBC today”
      Doesn’t anyone work anymore? I arrived yesterday at 3:30 for an afterwork ski, to a 3/4 full lot, with cars still parked along the road as well. A testament to the area’s amazing success as a multi use mecca. One of the great things about the more recently added trails is the opportunity that they give to customize an outing to fit the time or energy available. I skied Lower West Crystal-Moose Connector-Mountain Road-Mountain View-Upper W Crystal-Loggers-East Crystal- East Sundog-West Sundog. A fun ski of about 13-14 km, which given the fast conditions, was easily done before dark. Conditions are very good and just keep getting better!

  255. Thankful for a break in the cold snap (Thursday); we headed up to Shadow Lake Lodge via Red Earth Creek. Pretty easy wax selection – it was about -15C to start and SkiGo Blue HF was going to work all day on our BC 65’skiis. Only one other car in the parking lot @10:30, so we knew it wouldn’t be too busy (one couple came down as we passed RE6). Trail is trackset just fine, albeit with scattered forest debris until you climb into the hanging valley. From there, it was great ski conditions.( thanks to previous rock pickers, Bob et al )

    Past the campground at RE6, trackset continued about halfway to our intersection, and then was mostly just snowmachine packed. At the Shadow Lake turnoff, where it turns to singletrack, we bootpacked up the first steep pitch (same on the way down), and found ourselves on fat alpine touring ski tracks, which was just fine (considering some of trail-breaking of previous ventures into SLL). The snow beside the trail is unsupportive due to the pine beetle-killing cold we’ve had, so your poles often hit ground 25-40cm down (alpine touring lately has encountered lots of depth hoar).

    The Lodge isn’t opened yet for winter season, so we enjoyed our own cookies and washed them down with tea and maple whiskey. Five years ago we got engaged on this deck, so we celebrated that & the fact we can still enjoy the same adventure ski. Sun warmed deck(-8) even though it was low in the sky.

    Heading back was quick and easy: 5.5 hours & 28km return.
    Car temp read -9 at 4:12 pm.
    Pictures can be viewed at:

  256. Had a fun day xskiing at Bragg Creek today. Full parking lot, though trails were not busy. Groomers did a good job track setting. It’s nice to see a donation box right when you start off and nice to see alot of people including myself giving a donation to support all the hard work that the volunteers do on the trails. We left Bragg Creek at 6pm and it was snowing hard. The only thing that I think I should point out is that although there are signs indicating that dogs need to be on leash, the majority of dogs that we saw today were off leash. I love dogs, however, I think the owners should be thoughtful of those other skiers on the trail that are not comfortable or scared of dogs.

    • Although I whole-heartedly agree with you regarding control of dogs – dogs are allowed off leash with the exception of the parking lot. Unfortunately a lot of dog owners choose to ignore this restriction also.

    • Oh, I thought the rules only applied to other peoples dogs. “My” dog is really well behaved, so it is free to run around the busy parking lot. Besides, I have a leash here, somewhere… if I see a white truck with lights on top.

      • It may be time for Alberta Parks to divert some manpower resources from CNC to WBC – another example of bureaucratic action sadly trailing the public’s understanding, need and expectations…

    • I greatly appreciate the one and only opportunity we have to ski with my dog off leash! It is a great work out for both of us.

      • We have enjoyed skiing off-leash with our dog for many years at WBC, and I would hate to see this freedom restricted. The onus is on dog people to ensure that their dog is not a nuisance or hazard- one tactic we use is to leash up when ascending steeper or longer hills where skiers may be approaching unexpectedly or at speed, so that the mutt can be reeled in, if a downhill skier appears. This is also a good plan at congested areas such as busy intersections.

        • I agree – it would be terrible to see dogs restricted at WBC. The onus really is on the owners though to be responsible and keep the experience of dogs on the trail enjoyable for all.
          Personally I trained my dog a command to move to the right of the track out of the groomed area. I give the command to go to the side and she moves over. Just because the dog is off leash shouldn’t mean they are not “under control”. Works well for skiing and for biking – gets them out of the line of fire. Something for dog owners to think about and can be worked on all year.
          At any rate – my two cents

  257. We checked out the trails in the middle and north sections of PLPP today by starting at William Watson Lodge and skiing towards Elkwood, then Wheeler to Boulton campground and back for lunch at WWL. We were surprised to find that the south end of Wheeler, where you have to cross the road to get to Whiskyjack, ends abruptly in a pile of snow, which we easily walked around to get to the other side. Wheeler itself was nicely track-set. After lunch, we headed north on Lodgepole (a few twigs poking out) and Sinclair (very twiggy) before turning back and ending our ski on Braille (pretty good). A word of caution: about 200 m. down Sinclair from the high end where the campground road and ski trail merge, trucks have driven over the ski trail and almost completely obliterated the set tracks. The area is quite rough for about 100 m. A cold day (around -12 all day), but great to get out and enjoy the handiwork of the tracksetters.

  258. West Bragg Creek-Jan 4, 2017
    It was a beautiful day at West Bragg Creek, with a clear, sunny sky and a mid-day temperature of -8. There were lots of people out, including Calgary-Mountain View MLA Dr. David Swann. The parking lot was full most of the day and cars were parked along the access road. I did a quick warm-up on Hostel Loop (one of my favourites) and stopped for lunch at the Trail Centre warming hut. Then I did a circuit of Moose Loop-Mountain View West-Mountain Road-Mountain View-West Crystal and Middle Crystal Line. Very good ski conditions on all trails, with the best skiing on Mountain View West and the portion of Mountain Road west to Moose Connector. The wet summer-warm fall-frigid December has created conditions that result in unusual ice-flows and ice dams. A new one appeared today, with an ice dam causing Bragg Creek to overflow it’s banks to create a small lake and ice-flow on the east side of the lower West Crystal Line bridge.
    Several people have mentioned that there is a wonderful mix of users at WBC, including XC skiers, snowshoers, fat-bikers, winter hikers, dog walkers, trail runners, and even the occasional dog sledders, yet everyone seems to get along.
    One reason for this is that there is a full network of trails for all the different users. There are XC ski trails, including a few like Telephone Loop and Mountain Road that are groomed both for XC skiers and for other users, there are all-season trails that get packed and tread-set for fat-biking and other non-skiers and there are snowshoe and Winter Multi-User trails that allow non-skiers to do similar loops as the ski trails, but on separate alignments. And there is lots of signage to guide people.

    • Mostly we get along. I see signs that indicate dogs must be on leash in the Provincial Recreation Area (map is on billboard by the warming trailer). Most dogs in the parking lot are running loose, and I was almost bowled over by a large off-leash dog at the start of Mountain Road, which I believe is in the PRA. I wish people would leash their dogs in these highly congested areas, as per the PRA rules.

  259. I skied at Canmore Park and Confederation Park on Monday. I live within walking distance so I’m excited about the effort by Foothill’s Nordic to make Confederation Park their centre of operation in Calgary. Hopefully some snowmaking will happen this year?

    The track at Confederation Park was quite choppy. I suspect that was due to lots of users and snow cover that wasn’t quite deep enough to set a really solid track. The track at Canmore Park had seen a lot less use and was pretty good. Anyone that’s thinking of skiing in Canmore Park should be aware that you will need to cross an asphalt walking path a couple of times every lap. (Next time I’m out I might shovel a bit of snow onto the path to make it easier to cross.)

    So I would rate conditions as fair but it’s still great to have an option to ski so close to home.


  260. Bohart Ranch
    Blue sky! So much blue sky.
    Today was a special treat with blue sky, perfect tracks and temperatures that actually were above -20C (barely). I am in Bozeman visiting but managed to sneak away to check out the Bohart Ranch nordic ski area 25 km north of town.
    The area is actually just a couple hundred meters north of the Bridger Bowl downhill ski hill turnoff. Well marked and welcoming with a ski shop that you can change your boots in and warm up. The local people in the shop were very friendly and talkative. Cost for a day pass was $15.
    I skied the perimeter loop, a 12.5 km mix of every kind of skiing that the area has to offer. It was generally well marked. Each trail is set with one classic track and a skate lane. Many of the trails are one way, generally going around the area in a counter clockwise direction. Everywhere I went the skate lane had been refreshed in the past 24 hours. There were actually more wildlife tracks on the fresh grooming than skier tracks. Not all the classic track had been reset but they certainly were not in need of work. Perfectly cut but with a dusting of cold, fresh and very slow snow, where I was the first skier of the day it was tough growing with very little glide.
    It was my first experience here but I will be back, perhaps as part of a hot springs and nordic ski tour of Montana.

  261. Wed Jan 4: elk pass/west elk.
    -25 at pkg 11 am, -19 on return at 330. Light north wind and sunny. Very nice and comfortable heat from the sun in the meadows of west elk pass. Good day for some casual afternoon couch building. First 100 m of fox creek have been newly track set, but lumpy chunks in and out of tracks. Should get smoothed over with more traffic or snow. Rest of fox was the older trackset. Walkers (1 in each lane) had been at the elk pass track setting, not too bad though. Anoying on principal. Couch update: the bench now has a partial back. Not enough to allow full reclining yet (and calling it a couch). But enough to increase the sun trap affect in that spot. Had the down jacket and hat off for a bit, but I was working the shovel and saw. No wind wall yet. Limited harvesting of snow blocks. Didn’t see anyone all day except a couple on the way back and then the groomer coming up from the lot, roller packing the trail (not sure where he was headed). Think I might have seen bobs car at pocaterra? Otherwise, nowhere to be seen, despite the anticipated high Bob sighting probabilities (BSP).

    My car was in the vicinity, but not at Pocaterra. Did 23K loop from PLPP Discovery Centre. Report to come. -Bob

  262. Cascade Fire Road

    The snow is still in good shape for the downhill. The tracks could use refreshing and renovating after holiday traffic. It was 6 degrees warmer at the trailhead than what it was in Canmore. Exquisite twilight ski in -14 temperatures and mine was the only car in the parking lot upon return.

  263. Maple Ridge Golf Course in S.W. Calgary was beautiful today, not too busy and the tracks were still great. Whereas the tracksetting is inconsistent, and sometimes ends unexpectedly, the whole area is groomed so skate skiers would love it. The east side, which parallels Deerfoot Trail, has a long stretch of fresh tracks still in great shape, and of course, there are a lot of skier set tracks going in all directions. If you can’t get out to ski, this is also a great place to snowshoe.

    • You summed it up really nicely Deirdre! Couldn’t help but think it was a skate skier’s paradise (in the city) when I was there this evening. The skier set tracks were fantastic tonight too!

  264. West Bragg Creek – having checked the weather forecasts, WBC seemed like a place to avoid the -20C type temperatures of deeper in the mountains. We arrived at the parking lot at Noon to -12C, and it was -8C two hours later. We skied under bluebird skies, going west on Crystal line, around Moose Loop, and checked out Hostel Loop at the end. In most places the tracks were in good shape; the skiing very good. Lots of people there – parking lot full when we arrived. Thanks to the hard working trail crews.

    • Echoing Ray’s ski at WBC, Hostel was great as was Moose Connector, Crystal West, Middle and north part of East. Scraped off the old blue kick wax, added a fresh layer of glide wax for great climb and glide. Lots of snowshoers, walkers, fat bikers as well as skiers. The Greater Bragg Creek Trail Assoc (GBCTA) has created a wonderful multi-user trail network that is superbly maintained and that works! Their dedication has earned my donor support for several years now. How fortunate we are!

      • Just so people are aware, Moose connector didn’t have any tracks set Jan 4 afternoon. Moose loop had 1 track and room for skating. Solid, squeaky tracks for the most part. Rarely dirt, bare, shrubs sticking through or ice flows. Great to see so many people out!

  265. A group of us from the Norseman Ski Club skiied from the Ribbon Creek parking lot to Kananaskis Village today.
    The hill,up from the parking lot had a few bare spots as did Link. But very few. Once we hit Kovach the trail was great. It is skier set.
    It was -23 when we started but the climbing up the hill from the parking lot warmed us up, it was a balmy minus 11 when we returned at 2:30.

  266. Stephen Vermeulen

    After seeing the CNC temperatures still around -20C at noon today I decided to give Confederation Golf Course a try. Temperature was about -10C and sunny, though there was a bit of wind.

    As Audrey has noted the tracks were worn and washed out in some places and there were a few patches with a bit of grass showing through. But there’s still acceptable tracking on about 80-85% of the course (though for some sections you need to use the opposite tracks to get the best run).

    Let’s hope that Calgary Nordic can get the snow making going soon!

    • I got a tweat from Foothills Nordic today stating that they just got a grant from MEC to help with enhancing cross country skiing at the Confederation Park Golf course. Go Foothills go, and thank you MEC and the City of Calgary.

  267. Did a quick ski around parts of Confed this morning. Tracks are a little washed out here and there but seem to be holding up well given the amount of snow. There was pretty good coverage everywhere I skied with a bit of grass showing only in a few places. An added bonus was the bald eagle we saw swooping down to the creek near the wooden bridge in the middle! Probably trying to snag a duck for lunch.

  268. I went with a friend to Dawn Mountain Nordic Center by Golden BC yesterday. It was minus 26 in the town at 10:30, but a balmy minus 21 up at the mountain. It never got any warmer, but the sun was shining, and there was no wind, so we enjoyed a nice ski anyway. A little green grip wax was all we needed on the cold, new snow. The trails there are very beautiful with fantastic grooming! The lodge they have built there is quaint and comfortable, and the staff are welcoming and friendly. It was very quiet there yesterday, so we had the place to ourselves for most of the afternoon. I hope to get back there again!

  269. Good XC skiing at Panorama Resort. Now there’s skiing on packed, multi-use trail along Toby Creek from the Nordic Centre at the bottom of the village gondola. The grooming & tracksetting begins about 2 km out as in the past but skiing the multi-use trail along the creek & then across the dips & dives of their golf course is quite enjoyable. It’s quite a treat to have the Hale Hut at the W end of their trail system. It’s a good place to warm up & then to speed down from to return to Panorama.

  270. Crowsnest Nordic
    Today I was headed south so made a detour to ski in the Crowsnest Pass. I have wanted to check out this area for a while but the last few years have not been kind to the snow there.
    After checking out their grooming report it was a definite go:
    I found this report very informative and bang on once I hit the trails. I really like the format they use.
    The grooming was excellent and the snow conditions very good although a bit slow in the -23C morning. Most of the trails are well sheltered by trees but the the Mainline Trail is wide enough to have a classic track on each side and a generous skate lane up the middle.
    I skied in a counter clockwise direction which probably is not the recommended way based on the single other (local) skier I met going the other direction. I went out Mainline and onto Hiking. On the return trip I skied Cutline, Haul, Skidder and Marten. It was here the direction of travel became obvious. Sections of the route in that direction would be treacherous if conditions were faster.
    I had intended to ski out to Chinook Lake but my very cold toes told me it would be wiser to call it a day.
    The trails are extremely well marked and signed with maps and directional signs at each intersection.
    If you have a hankering for new terrain you couldn’t go wrong driving the 2.5 hours south to this gem while snow conditions are good.

  271. Skied in freshly set tracks this afternoon at Maple Ridge. Everything was freshly groomed though only trackset in certain areas. Gave the groomer a wave as he passed by! Was cold out but without wind I warmed up quickly. Thanks to the city for the grooming!

  272. Bill Milne Trail Conditions?

    If anyone has classic skied the Bill Milne trail in K country from Ribbon creek to the end in the past few days I’d love to know how it is.

    Thanks, Rhonda W

    • Hi Rhonda,
      Bill Milne between Ribbon Creek and Mount Kidd was blown right down to pavement during the last Chinook. From Mt Kidd RV south there is an inch base with about 10cm of new snow on top. I will be rolling it this week once the thermometer climbs above -20.

      • Thanks Jeff that helps. It’s so open in that area I imagine the wind blows the snow away quite often. Sounds like it’ll be groomed this week sometime.

  273. After seeing the thermometer on my bike hit -25 riding home from work I wasn’t sure a ski tonight was a great idea, but I’m glad I went out. Maple Ridge golf course in Calgary has been nicely groomed (close to 6k of trails), with something less than half track set plus lots of skier set track. The grooming is wide and the track set is off to the side, so if you are of the skating persuasion it would work really well.

  274. West Bragg Creek
    I only had time for a short ski today. I did Hostel Loop and East Crystal-Sundog-Loggers-Middle/West Crystals, using some ancient Swix Special Green, which worked perfectly at around -20C. Trails were nicely groomed and in excellent condition.

  275. Sandy McNabb

    With no reports from Sheila, I felt it my duty to check out the conditions here 🙂
    Well, after our big snow on the weekend, I wanted to anyway. Not quite as snowy as WBC, but they obviously got a pretty big dump at Sandy, and coverage was about as good as it gets there!
    We parked at the Interpretive Trailhead, and found fresh grooming heading east. We only skied trails south of the highway today, found them all freshly groomed ( soft corduroy, no tracks), and rather chilly in the shady areas. Very few hazards today, including big piles of dog pooh in the middle of the trail. Also, it was fun to meet a dog sled on Meadow Loop, but the human left a few very deep boot prints where the snow was rather soft!
    Live grooming report shows all trails groomed yesterday, both north and south, so this might be the time to get out there. It was very quiet today, and did I mention chilly? Very pretty though 🙂

    • Hi Diana: I should be fired from my self appointed position of unofficial trail reporter for Sandy. My household has been hit by vicious flu bug since before Christmas. Then the septic went. You have no idea how painful it is to watch the much anticipated snow softly falling and be locked inside. With no running water or toilets. Did I mention we were sick? And babysitting? A one year old? Surgery this Friday means another six weeks of incarceration but boy oh boy, I am going to be ready to bust loose in February. Until then I will live vicariously thorough all of your wonderful trip reports. And, of course, my beloved. Who will tell me it is his husbandly duty to check out the trails in order to give me a first hand report!

      • Oh Sheila, I am so sorry to hear of all your tribulations. That does sound like misery, and I can only hope for a speedy recovery from all your afflictions!

        • Well, on the bright side, the septic is fixed, toilets are fully operational, and the one year old has been returned to his parents. May even try to squeeze in a ski before Friday now that we are somewhat on the road to recovery. Thanks for you well wishes!

  276. WBC arrived @ 2pm -20 and about 20 vehicles in the lot, a light breeze from the east convinced me to start west along mountain road, VR30 offered more grip than needed, I’m sure my glide wax was also contributing, only need to herringbone 3 times and then only very briefly. Skied part of Moose intending to complete the loop but could not resist Mountain View West which had been freshly groomed, the track was quite soft, I’m thinking snow does not setup when temps are so low. Rejoined Mountain road and took Mountain View, West Crystal, Loggers Loop, Elbow, Iron Springs and Sundog. All groomed and in excellent condition, -25 back at the parking lot, only meet 3 skiers en-route and 1 fat bike on track and to close for my liking on a downhill section 🙁
    Many thanks to WBC volunteers for an awesome job, you have my donation 🙂

    • My kids and I might be the 3 skiers you encountered, as we were on trail at around the same time on Loggers, Crystal Line and Sundog.

  277. With three injections from Travel Clinic this morning in Canmore under my four layers of Icebreaker and an Aleve to get me through the sore arms, 3 of us arrived at Boulton Parking lot at 11:30 to be the only ones in the lot (all day!) Minus 26 was our starting temp and we skied the energizing Skier Bob Special: up W/J, Tyrwhitt, down Elk Pass, Fox/Moraine. Snow was delightfully ample and ancient old green provided fair ascents but slow descents (which is fine by me!) Lots of his moose prints evident, but no moose to greet us @ Hydroline Junction: guess he was scared off amply by the mention of Chocolate Mousse. Speaking of footprints on Elk Pass Trail, am guessing these “might” have come from splitboard users who we saw returning from Elk Lakes after a few nights back in there. Warmest temp of the day was -19 at Tyrwhitt picnic table in the sun.

  278. Did a quick couple of blasts around Shaganappi today and I was pleasantly surprised by how much snow there was! I usually prefer Confederation for snow volume but it was really good today. Trails are slightly trampled by dog (they left their mark) walkers on the west end but all in all, it was excellent (and cold!). As usual, thank you to the groomers…

  279. Confederation Park Golf Course
    Had a great ski lesson with Space Dogs Ski Club (Dasha Gaiazova and Chris Butler) yesterday and really enjoyed it. I learned more in one hour than in the past few years of skiing! Trail conditions at the Confederations are good: snow, tracks, and hills – it’s all there.

  280. I braved the cold yesterday at the Canmore Nordic Center and was determined to test some of the natural snow trails. On classic ski’s I started out on Bow but quickly diverted to Banff trail skiing out to the boundary. Lot’s of twigs still sticking out in the trails but no rocks to damage my ski’s. For the Classic tracks, Banff was better than Bow, and Meadowview better than Banff however I would wait for more snow before heading out that way again. The Waxing Thermometer indicated -18C when I left at 11:45 am and -15C when I returned at 1:30. The saving grace was that the sun was shining and there was no wind despite the Weather man’s calling for a wind chill factor. A pleasant day overall but more snow is needed on the natural snow trails.

  281. Blueberry Hill January 2
    Started late to enjoy the heat of the day. -21 when we left, – 20 when we returned. The snow was cold and polar with a special green kicker gave more than enough stick on the snow covered tracks to Blueberry Hill. The tracks to Elk Pass would be in great shape except that a walker had enjoyed the up track for much of the way. Blueberry Hill had 1 cm of new snow on top of the last ski tracks and 5 cm of new snow on top of the grooming. On the ski out a cow moose having a snack on the trail 500 m above the lower Elk Pass – Hydroline junction. She wouldn’t move until my husband Bob started singing to her about chocolate mousse!

  282. My son and I had a lovely afternoon brisk loop at Kananaskis Villiage. Kovach, Aspen, Terrace link and Terrace back to the parking lot next to Woody’s. They weren’t open! We were hoping for a pint after. Oh well, temps were -17 to -19 depending on elevation. Generally good conditions with a few thin spots but easily avoidable. Pretty quiet out there in this cool weather.

  283. Just got back from an awesome week of skiing with family and friends at Nipika. Trails were in great shape with only a few patches of dirty snow here and there. The scenery and solitude quickly made up for any thin bits on the trails however. Skied all the north and south trails during the week. Also squeezed in a snowshoe. Kids had a blast playing ringette on the pond every night with their friends and board games and hot chocolate afterwords in our cozy cabin. A highlight was the New Year’s Eve night ski (thanks Lyle!). Nipika is still the best x-country ski straight from your cozy cabin destination around!

  284. Redearth Creek tracks were in decent shape. The downhills were good with no rocks or ridges.

  285. Headed out to WBC for an afternoon ski. What a difference a day can make. Basically did the same tour as Dianna. West Crystal Line, Moose connector, Mountain View for the return with little side trips of the crystal connectors. Everything groomed, corduroyed, and track set. Lovely cool crisp snow and not a breath of wind. Got to use my fancy wax that I picked up last year at Wilsons in Lake Louise the skigo hi fluor kickwax. -1 – – 20 worked like a charm. Was impressed that xc skiers,snowshoers, fat tire bikers, and doggies all being respectful of each others space. Glad we can all enjoy this winter wonderland together.

    • Couldn’t agree more Lanny, the trails were excellent and it seemed like the trail etiquette was amazing today. We used an old Green Swix -10–30 and it worked great as well out there. We did Moose loop and it was freshly trackset this afternoon and in terrific shape. Track setting seemed set for counter clockwise which I prefer. Only a couple of places where twigs and or some dirt was sticking out. As well as one icy patch One of our group even saw a Moose cross the aptly named Moose Loop trail today.

  286. Just had a skate at CNC…

    Massive temperature swing from the day-lodge to the Meadow and then Banff Park boundary. -22ish in stadium, -8ish out at the boundary.

    Stadium area trails are super-cold and crispy, hardly take an edge and are pretty sticky.

    The Banff Loop section was a nice balance of temperature and snow quality and was a lot of fun.

    Beyond the meadow things are thin and soft, with lots of free base structuring available in places, along with free pine brushing in the tracks! Snow coverage on Banff is better than on Meadowview and Bow. Snow is sugary transformed, and not very fun for a skate.

    • p.s. should add the guns are firing on the rest of the upper stadium trails… should see them in play by the end of this week. 🙂

    • Ha that’s funny- I was thinking asking Bob if one of the stations wasn’t working- could believe there could be -8 and -20 temps that close!
      Hope it lasts tomorrow. Thanks for solving the mystery.

      • Yeah, it was brutal coming back into the Biathlon trails…. sudden temp drop near the Lynx lit-loop… got to love mountain weather!

  287. Urban ski from my backyard today, only -15 warm by comparison, VR30 on the rock skis worked fine. Laid down a loop around our community lakes and did 7 laps, started to get some decent glide after 5 laps, hoping my fellow residence respect the hard earned tracks by not walking on them … we shall see.

    As I did not use any fossil fuels for this afternoons activity do I get a carbon credit redeemable at the gas station?

  288. Pipestone Parking Lot at 10 am. Our two cars could not even agree on temperature: minus 31 or minus 29. We did Pipestone Loop Blue and while it did not have the fresh powder of last Friday’s ski, there was no wind, no people, and sunshine to embrace us at every meadow opportunity. Those hardy Manitobans led the five of us and not a single complaint was heard; and we all agreed lunch in the car following would be much enjoyed. We met one group of 3 who were coming up in the clockwise direction, as we were flying uncontrollably around those two sharp right hand corners on the blue descent. It is only recommended in small print on the back of the Lk Louise maps to ski it counter-clockwise but they had never been there before. It warmed to -18 and did not feel as cold as it was, whatever it was.

  289. Sunrise at Shaganappi G.C. with the Pretty Wife (who has a new pair of Atomic Skintecs . . . how nice) had us out of the car in pink morning skies and minus 23. 4 seconds later it was still minus 23 when I got BACK IN the car to head home. Haha. VR30 on my ski’s, and blue glide wax on the Pretty Wife’s Skintecs (how weird was that?) and we were off. She is rather new at this, so I stayed a bit behind her and shouted words of encouragement like “I’m hungry!” and “I’m cold!”. As Cheryl B mentioned, the wobbly tracks are thin in places, but overall it’s very nice. Do not expect tracks like a Piston Bulley(sp?) machine lays down in Kananaskis. Big thank you to all the volunteers.
    F.Y.I.- The Atomic Skintecs had good grip (and better glide) in the cold conditions than my Rossi classics waxed with VR30.
    F.Y.I #2 – The Pretty Wife loved them, and after 32 years, I think I finally got her a good birthday (Dec 31st) present.

  290. Jan 1 – did a late afternoon ski at the Shagnappi Point Golf course in Calgary on New Year’s Day, opting for a shorter, less scary drive….although I REALLY wanted to go to the mountains instead 🙁 It was actually the best ski of the season so far – arrived around 3:45pm, used VR40 blue with good success. My first loop followed wobbly, but decent skier set tracks around the course, with the occasional soft and thin spot (poles hit pavement constantly, but skis did not). Got great glide around the driving range, as the snow seemed a little firmer there. As dark started to fall, the crowds thinned out, and I debated a second loop. I then saw the snowmobile with tracksetting plate heading off in the distance, which made it an easy choice. I followed it, and the tracksetting made for a fantastic second loop with fast glide and a lot of fun in the wintry wonderland. Thanks to the Nordic ski club volunteer I chatted with for a minute for his great work! I hope the snow lasts a while and the walkers stay off the tracks!! I really hope to get some after-work skiing in for the next while – it’s so rare to have good conditions in the city. Happy New Year everyone.

    • Glad you are enjoying Shaganappi. Calgary Ski Club volunteers do the grooming and tracksetting there. This season’s grooming has actually been done by one person – a 72-year-old with 2 replacement hips.

      • Whoops! Helen, you are correct – it is the Calgary Ski Club – sorry about that 🙂 I met that lovely gentleman responsible for the grooming last night – kudos to him and all of the volunteers who give us the chance to ski in the city!

  291. I love the idea of an urban ski tour from home, and with 10 cm of new over an existing base most everywhere- my first ski of 2017 was very worthwhile…
    After clicking into the skis at my backdoor in Silver Springs, I headed down the alley, through Birthplace Forest, looped about in Silver Springs golf course and then down into Bowmont Park. On the return I poked around further in the golf course ravines, following a network of well set skier tracks that made for quick easy striding. Surprisingly, as mostly I only meet dog walkers on these occasional city ski excursions- I saw around ten other like minded skiers out enjoying the fine winter afternoon.

    • What a lovely report. I always liked the idea of the birthplace forest. Back in the day when I had a real job, I remember having clients who bought a house near the forest in Silver Springs. Those trees must be getting pretty tall by now.

    • Excellent urban report Steve. I drove by Silver Springs G.C. looking for some tracks at daybreak yesterday but the light was difficult, and I couldn’t see tracks from the road. I live in Dalhousie, and on days like yesterday, I have always wanted an urban ski through there. (But I never have.) Where is the best place for me to park/ enter? Where the 9th hole ends perhaps? I’ve been apprehensive to enter and ski. Are the no trespassing signs (like . . . everywhere) more of a (ahem) guideline, and one should just stay away from the greens?

      • I skied into the course at the big bend in Silver Springs Gate- the main access into Silver Springs off Crowchild. At that point there is an ancient decrepit fence that has gaps everywhere, and no signage. Others were accessing from near 53 st. in Varsity, which is where I used to enter when I lived in Dalhousie, after skiing down through the ravine park area in Varsity. I suspect most skiers are locals who simply ski in via numerous entrances from the surrounding neighbourhoods
        I have no idea of the golf course’s official stance on XC ski use in the off season (it is private) but skiers have been going there for many years with no issues as far as I know. I have skied by the maintenance area at times and encountered staff who simply went about their business. If I recall correctly- about 20 years ago when I was involved with Jackrabbits, there was a fellow coach who was a Varsity Estates resident and was trying to get official sanction for a winter xc ski route in the golf course.

        • And just a reminder that our biggest no-no is to ski on the greens. Hopefully they are well marked.

          • Thanks Steve. I might try it tonight!
            Thanks Henry. I know to stay off the greens, and I believe they are roped off. But if I ever get home in two on the par 5’s this winter, I’m skiing right up to make that putt!! 🙂

  292. CNC – Meadowview – Banff

    Took advantage of the first tracksetting on Meadowview this evening, but only to the meadow. Used the incoming side to ski out because it had fewer twigs and dirt. The trail had been well-loved by skate skiers today and it was a rare time when classic had better conditions than skate. It could use more snow even after the past 24 hours. Still, a delight to be up there and have a few more trails opening uo at CNC.

  293. Skied Shark today, cold temp close to -18. Fresh snow that has been really needed. Looks like they may finally have enough to track set all of Shark.

  294. Winter wonderland in PLPP. Nearly deserted visitor info centre, 4 cars at Boulton at 11:30 am. -14 air temp, so VR40 or any old cold green wax worked perfectly. New snow partly covered tracksetting, but Whiskey Jack in fine shape. Handful of skiers on Tyrwhitt & Elk Pass found tracks under new snow, which made for a pleasantly fast but not scary descent. Fox Creek and Moraine beautiful, quiet, skier set. Cold… -16 at info centre late afternoon.

  295. Highway 66 – we took Alf’s advice from some time ago and took advantage of the fresh snow to put our touring skis to use on highway 66 past the Elbow Falls gate. Almost made it to the top but for our cooperative two-month old, who we did not want to put to the test. Broke trail all the way, I would say we set a track for you to ski tomorrow save for the small army of walkers and an exhausted fat biker who followed our tracks up.

    Green was the colour but skiing was the game today 🙂

  296. Was out this evening around 6:30pm at the WBC parking lot, just to have a look at conditions and noticed one of the team was out with the tracked truck, roller packing the trails. As I understand it, they expect to finish track setting the trails by tomorrow (Monday). Have fun!

  297. Spray West

    Went for a late afternoon ski on the Spray West with hopes of finding fresh tacks after last nights snowfall (granted we only received a few cm’s). Sadly no fresh tracks, but overall it was in good shape. A few thin spots under the trees and the tracks were a little thin, but really nothing new for this trail. The downhills were fine, no rocks spotted on these.

    I went over the Spray bridge to the east side and skied a couple of hundred meters up the trail. There were no skier tracks to be seen so I turned around and returned on the west side.

  298. Elk Pass in PLPP is in superb condition. 5cm soft new snow really made a difference for our return via Fox Creek. Only 15 cars in the Pocaterra parking lot as we passed by at 2 PM. Likely the -15C temperature scared a few people away.
    A beautiful day on green wax – so easy!

  299. Skied sunset ridge in Sparwood (big truck on the way to fernie for Calgarians). Trails are in great shape, groomed yesterday with a skiff (about 1-2 cm) of very light powder over the tracks.

  300. WBC: had a quick ski this afternoon. Kickin’ and stickin’ in powder is not the most fun, but better than rocks. Still a bare patch and ice flow on middle crystal line. I didn’t see any bare patches on Logger’s loop or the east part of Sundog loop. Sundog hill was lots of fun to go down with deep-ish powder!


    Packed and packing going on mid-day…all the trails, though not trackset, skiable and extra effort being expended on the driving range perhaps for a teaching grid and for families/kids!

    Looks like it will replace COP as the place to x-c in Calgary.

    Big thanks to Foothills

    • They were track setting late afternoon and the track were actually setting up nice. The 10-15cm of new snow was just what was needed. Grass showing in some areas of the tracks but since it is mostly on nice golf course grass then it is now problem. Skating lanes are in great shape for Calgary! When we left at 4:30 they were grooming in Canmore Park across 19th street.

      • There is also some skier set tracks in the park north of the golf course leading up to the schools on Northmount Drive for some extra distance. I did a 12 kilometre ski without much repeat in this park and the golf course on Sunday.

  302. West Bragg Creek — floofy!!!!

    Beating the crowds today, we arrived at 10 am to find only 10 vehicles in the parking lot, and a grader plowing it out. We weren’t early enough to beat the super-keen trail groomers, though! Heading west on Crystal Line, it was soft-packed and sweet. We then broke trail through perhaps 15cm of fluffy fresh powder on Mountain View, until snowmobiles appeared coming towards us. They stopped, and cheerfully explained that there was too much snow for one machine to handle 🙂
    We returned via Mountain Road, Moose Connector, and a combination of Crystal connectors with upper and middle. It was all soft-packed and sweeeeeeet, and starting to get busy with families and dogs.
    Back at the trailhead, the parking lot was almost full at noon, and the road in nicely plowed.
    Couple of photos:

    I hope that link works!

  303. SUNDANCE & HEALY CREEK – Jan 1, 2017

    What better place to start the year than at the birthplace of Canada’s national parks!
    Starting at the Cave & Basin, the paved Sundance Canyon trail is double trackset and in fair condition with the new snow. Turning off on the Healy Creek trail, coverage is a little thin on a single trackset trail, meaning conditions are poor. Beyond the Brewster Creek turnoff conditions improve again all the way to the parking lot on the Sunshine Road.
    Check the trip details at:!AhVZXBE7vMV7gm9ctJ7fQfAU_N7i
    Happy 150 Canada!

    • Haha, you beat me to it! Photos take me forever…..

      I always enjoy yours, especially the wildlife 🙂

    • I’m happy that you have all gotten snow to mark the New Year!
      Bob alluded to your truck. The high wheel base must be helpful in winter conditions, so now we know your secret. Great photos. I love the dipper and the previous murder of snow buntings.

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