Trip Reports – Jan 2021

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  1. PLPP-East Elk Pass
    For this adventure, we parked at Boulton Bridge… busy but not full. We followed the fresh grooming up to the Wheeler-Packers junction and then took Packers (in perfect condition) up to Pocaterra. The new track setting was amazing on Pocaterra, but it ended at the Lookout/Tyrwhitt junction. Tyrwhitt was as scenic as ever, but it hasn’t been groomed for a while, so the tracks were wibbly-wobbly-wandery. Leaving the groomed trails, we followed MaSid’s tracks across the lovely series of meadows along upper Boulton Creek to East Elk Pass. There we enjoyed a sunny break at the latest snow couch. From there, we roughly followed the Alberta-BC boundary back to the Elk Pass archway. We flew down Elk Pass and took Fox Creek and Moraine back to the parking lot. By the end of the day, Fox Creek and Moraine were looking well used, but still very much fun.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/J8EqGnVG1nGHcm1q7

    • Interesting. How was travel over the north end of the hump?

      • No need to go over the hump. Just start from the Outfitters campsite and contour north around the bump at about the same elevation as East Elk Pass until you hit the boundary cut-line. Then either follow the boundary, or take a series of meadows to the base of the final short hill on Tyrwhitt, east of the HydroLine. Travel was easy, even with skinny XC skis and wax.

  2. Pete (the 13th Troll)

    West Elk Pass – Another great Blue day for the Mountain Trolls. Only 3 cars in the Upper Lake overflow parking lot. The connector trail to Elk parking lot was in excellent shape having been recently track-set. Lower Fox Creek trail was well skier-set with plenty of snow to fill all the dips and flatten the hills. Upper Fox Creek trail had been recently track-set and was surprisingly not very busy? Followed drifted-in skier set tracks from the Blueberry junction across West Elk Pass to the new logged area on the Powerline to Elk Lakes PP – did not encounter another person the entire way across West Elk Pass (given the crowds elsewhere it was very special to have this place all to ourselves).

  3. Terrace/Kovach/Ribbon Creek/ short but sweet clockwise loop with some meanderings near the Village to add distance to the workout. Overall the area was looking “well-used”, but the tracks were compact and solid. Some hills seemed a bit scraped and slippery with a few icy sections – particularly the big hill on the “new” Ribbon Creek trail. There was also minor debris here and there.

    I arrived around 9:40 am, with the temperature hovering just above zero, a stiff wind blowing, and the sun poking up above the peaks to the east. The lot was already filling up quickly. By the time I finished, it was a real zoo. I should add that the pavement was very icy. On my route, I passed several groups of snowshoers, hikers and a few people on fat bikes – but everyone was being mindful not to trample on the ski tracks (much appreciated!).

  4. WBC most of the Crystal Lines and Links / Moose connector and south portion of loop / Mountain View west / Mountain Road upper (above Moose Connector) / Sundog / Iron Springs – Elbow north and south loops. I was skiing on waxless metal edged skis.

    Trails that were groomed yesterday are in decent shape in most places. Shady areas are better than sunny ones. Walkers have been all over the trail system (perhaps thinking that skiing is done for the season or just feeling particularly entitled). Fortunately, the grooming has compacted the snow enough that there is less damage due to walkers than one would usually expect. Some of the downhills on Moose south were icy. Be especially careful on the “s” turn descending to the bridge over Bragg Creek if one is skiing CW on the south leg. That one is very icy.

    Mountain View west is rated as “marginal”. I would certainly concur. There are a few good sections but lots of icy sections. I skied CCW. The hill coming down southbound from the col was very challenging even with metal edges. Going the other way would not be any better.

    Iron Springs – Elbow both loops. This one is also rated “marginal” but I was pleasantly surprised. I was not going to ski it but as I passed by the entrance as I was skiing up east Sundog a couple of guys were skiing down and they indicated that it was pretty good. I would concur. There are certainly a few icy sections in the usual places with lots of sun exposure but all of the steep downhill sections with the exception of the southern most descent on Iron Springs towards Elbow were actually fine, better than the harder hills on Moose Loop. I skied a figure 8 and ended up going up the one bad hill (which does get a lot of afternoon sun).

  5. Lake Louise campground 10:15am -7C, 1 other vehicle. Headed up from Field where we spent 3 nights at Truffle Pigs Lodge & Bistro, highly recommend it! Snowing and blowing as we left but clear and calm in Lk Louise. Did the Bow River and campground loops and saw only a handful of people and a couple of dogs. Tracks were quite good, a little wobbly and somewhat dog tramped in spots but nothing horrendous. A great finish to a 3 day weekend.

  6. CASTLE LOOKOUT TO BAKER CREEK: As reported below, conditions are excellent, looks like trail was recently groomed. Sunny railway side not melted out yet, new fluff of snow was excellent. About 5 cars in parking lot when we arrived at 10 am, but Castle Lookout parking lot full by 1 pm. Some skiers commented that they had to drive to Baker to get parking. About 12 dogs on leash, only one dog left off leash. Quite an improvement over the usual. Lots of wildlife activity in this area.

  7. Cascade Valley: a later start today with a pleasant temperature of -3C, lots of people were climbing up the hill with us, tracks were fast and in great shape. Mountain views, pristine snow and some sun rays beyond the end of tracksetting at the old wooden bridge. Enjoyed a nice break at the warden cabin by the river and were surprised to meet up with old time friends there. The return ski was fast, as we mostly could stay in the single track and double pole. Tracks were a bit washed out and wavy on the last part of the downhill, but good control on dry snow. Such a beautiful place to ski.

  8. Beautiful day of skiing from Baker Creek towards Castle Lookout. Lovely single track with a fresh dusting of powder made for a glorious day with some sun and light winds in temps around -5 to -2. Light traffic picked up as the morning went on but it was smiles all around including on the faces of the many dogs on trail, all well mannered. All of us were on classic waxless and the grip and glide were excellent.

  9. Thanks to the groomers at Shaganappi for tracksetting what’s left of the snow in Calgary. Tracks were fast and hard this morning and lots of people out. Overall decent coverage except there are areas that are exposed or have twigs or rocks. But great ski on an above 0 degree day in Calgary.

  10. Has anyone skied Healy Creek lately? The Banff trail report hasn’t been changed since their “poor” comment in mid December.

  11. Cascade Valley to Stoney Creek-Saturday. Beautiful day of skiing. Blue skies, excellent grooming conditions, perfect snow temp for V30 wax. Started from the parking lot at 9am, about -7. Only a handful of skiers all the way to Stoney creek. On the way back a huge bull elk blocked the trail and caused a small traffic jam. He was HUGE! Everyone gave him lots of space and after about 15 minutes he slowly wandered into the woods and down the hill. Quite a sight! Back at about 2 PM to very full parking lots but the trail never felt busy.

  12. Its -6 at the peter lougheed discovery centre and partially cloudy.

  13. The Lookout Trail at PLPP was very choppy yesterday on the downhill, heading towards the Hydroline because of the new snowfall. However the view from the top was beautiful!

  14. MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

    CASCADE RIVER- ELK TRAP +

    Saturday

    Elk photographers take note below.

    Excellent ski conditions on the Cascade River trail right to the end of the trackset. Lots of people skiing. The most I have ever seen.

    From Stoney Creek I rebroke and broke trail to roughly 2 kilometers beyond Elk Trap. I would imagine I fell maybe 3 km short of Cuthead Warden Cabin. There is on average boot top ski penetration while breaking trail on 205cm BC59 XC skis with about 170 lb gross weigh on the skis. A few spots I sank to the knees. Moderate trail breaking difficulty on average with just a few spots that were moderately difficult. Snow speed was moderate at best while trail breaking.

    Photographers who are looking for a unique photo of an elk will find one about 750 meters before the Elk Trap. This elk is not moving anywhere. From about 200 meters before the elk, I noticed antlers sticking sideways out of the snow along with some rib bones. It was a scene reminiscent of an eerie Western Movie the way the bones and antler stuck out. The elk was a recent kill and it was well consumed. Not a hair left just a whole lot of bones.

    This elk had a big battle before it finally fell judging by the snow marks. Every scavenger in the valley had been feeding on it. It was partly buried from the last 2 snow falls. I wish I had my camera to capture the eerie sight of bones and a 110cm antler sticking out of the snow. It looked even more eerie on the ski back at night with the boney shadows of my headlamp.

    On the ski back the trackset was a little damaged by a few skate skiers who had no skier etiquette or skill to to skate only on the narrow skating lane.

    The snow was moderate to fast coming out at night using Swix 30 wax as usual. The temperature at night at Stoney was a very pleasent-5c and cloudy. Winds were light to light moderate speed.

    • No need for a camera, when you can write such a vivid description like that!
      Thanks

      • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

        The dead elk skeleton could be the photo of the year or decade Chuck!!!!

        The ribs sticking out of the snow just add so much to the scene. It is a show stopper.

        I have seen a number of dead animals in the bush over the decades, but never any with so much of the skeleton still intact. Usually the bones tend to get dragged around the country side. Most of the skeleton appeared to be buried under recent snows. The animal was being fed upon until sometime just before the last snowfall.

        I am kind of glad I did not ski up further the last time I was in the area otherwise I may have disrupted the dinner of the local wolf pack which was so kind to break or “pack” much of the “ski” trail. That would have been highly impolite and uncultured without having Grey Poupon to offer.

        PS – there is no need to take skis off at any of the little creeks that cross the old Cascade River Fire Road beyond Stoney, as long as you can do leg stretches.

    • Nice report. I just can’t imagine skiing alone in the dark, by large mammal remains far away from my car.

      • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

        Well it did freak me out somewhat when I first noticed the antlers from about 200 meters away in the daylight, particularly when there were semi fresh cat tracks in the area that were less than 24 hours old. But once I noticed the bare elk ribs, I got hungry, I mean more curious and felt better about approaching. As I approached the skeleton I noticed a lack of fresh tracks and knew no animal was in the immediate area. When I got right up to the elk skeleton, I noticed some sort of thin red tissue on the bones which temporarily freaked me out again until I realize it was likely something the animals probably are not interested in eating otherwise they would not have left it. I guess that must have been some sort of ligament material.

        I have backpacked and skied through these mountains at night going way back into the last century. I have had the pleasure over the years of having Grizzlies and Wolves hang out around me, up to 3 days, with no troubles. Having taken a bear awareness course 26 years ago really helped increase my knowledge and reduced my fear of the animals. It was like taking an avalanche course. It helps increase your knowledge of hazards to make travel more safe. Plus I probably watched to much Grizzly Adams when I was a kid.

        Looking at things from a statistical perspective always helps too. Very few people are mauled by animals in Banff. Far more people get hurt by elk than predators. The last time a skier was killed by a predator at night on the Cascade River trail was in the 1990’s.

        Stats aside, everyone who goes into the bush should expect a potential attack by an animal. Generally predators go after the sick or injured animals as they can smell them out. As I age, I become a greater statistical risk and I have to except that. I would much prefer my bones to be spread through the Great Canadian Rockies rather than being dumped into a 6 foot hole behind some COVID old folks home.

        I have also been practicing marshal arts with xc skis on!

        PS- do you know where a guy can buy bear spray for xc skiers with antifreeze in it?

        The dark skiing humor will hopefully continue.

  15. SKOGAN PASS
    The bottom part of the trail is hard and well scraped, so some may experience a few difficult moments on the descent, if you are planning a trip to the area. Good conditions above Marmot creek.

  16. Peter Lougheed PP
    -13C at 9:00 AM / -3 at 4:00 PM at Pocaterra Hut. Five of us volunteered with Nordiq Alberta to monitor PLPP parking lots from 9:00 Am to 1:00 PM. All parking lots from Pocaterra to Elk Pass were full by noon and we were directing folks to the Upper Lakes lots.
    After work we skied Pocaterra to Packers junction and returned same trail. Pocaterra and Come Along tracks are still in good condition considering the traffic since January 14 grooming. Pocaterra from the Hut to Come Along is well loved but okay. VR45 and VR50 worked for this afternoon ski.

  17. Fairview, Moraine Lake Road, and Pipestone really don’t get any better than they were today. -7C everywhere all day, tracksetting perfection, it was even sunny at Pipestone, and smiling faces abounded at every corner and junction. Swix V40 worked well for grip, and glide was slightly better than outstanding. Skiing these trails right now is HIGHLY recommended. 🙂

  18. Well we did Pipestone and it was busy! We tried to replicate a MASID bench at the top – reasonable – but not as sophisticated. We had the help of our grandchildren who contributed snow angels too. Not sure how I can post a picture.
    I love Pipestone and know it is a canine friendly ski loop but it does seem a bit much to have a guy skijoring the trail with three dogs…It is not exactly a wide trail and one track.
    Anyway lovely day and so good to see lots of people out and cross country skiing.

  19. Adding to the other Blueberry reports of excellent conditions…a photo trail report below, and an encounter with the two errant snowshoers on middle Elk Pass. They were on their way out at that point when we mentioned in a nice way that they shouldn’t be on that section of trail, to which they replied, pleasantly- “yes, we have been told that many times already”. So it sounds like maybe an honest mistake, but there were a few short areas where they had dug in a bit and created some divots. No damage to the set tracks though, and I thanked them for that.
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/Blueberry-January16/

    • The snowshoe trail all along hydroline was nicely compacted post storm when we were there Thursday. Perhaps it had blown in. If I recall correctly, dont think the trail maps at intersections show snowshoe trails? Not easy to even find the right start at the parking lot as snowshoe trails (multiple options) appear to go off in different directions than expected, with no map details handy to orient oneself from the get go. Probably time to do better. Until then, I can’t even point them in the right direction adequately. It’s almost comical.

    • The Elk Pass trail is shared with snowshoers from top of Big Hill to junction of Fox Creek. They have a signed SS trail linking them to bottom of Hydroline Hill. Shared trail again to top of Hydroline Hill. There is marked trail along the power line ROW (right of way) to Elk Pass. My theory is, by the time most get to top of Hydroline Hill they are tired and select the not so busy ski grooming to reach Elk Pass.
      The start of the SS trail from Elk Pass parking is not clear, but we rarely see them on the grooming up the Big Hill.

  20. Pipestone has been such a joy this year to many people: families and canines alike. Good to hit the parking lot before 9:30 and today there had to be a km of cars trying to exit at Lk Louise, so forget the civilized bathroom break, and get into the left hand lane to bypass all the downhill skiers trying to get into the lineups. While Mud Lk is only 0.4 down a short trail, it has one of the most majestic pics of Mt Temple. If you did not stop for the civilized BR break, then it offers some privacy. We had a fairly early start up #20 Blue, but one has to be aware that this trail, while recommended to be skied counterclockwise, many prefer to ski it in the opposite direction so “head’s up for skiers and dogs”. The grooming was amazing as was the snow and even the last hill on blue was relatively easy to descend. Couch provided a sunny enjoyable seating and we were surprised we did not need a reservation. Please note: last year at this time, Pipestone had not even opened, and today was my 6th time there already this year. Thank you Parks and groomers for it skiing like ripe avocados!!

  21. PLPP. Started from Boulton bridge and skied up Whisky Jack, over the Lookout, then to Elk Pass and back on Fox Creek and Boulton Creek. Very nice snow. Trails north of Hydroline did not have grooming since it last snowed, and Lookout was especially choppy and a bit slow to descend as a result. Whisky Jack also has a tree down across the trail near the bottom of the s bends. Superlative fresh grooming on Hydroline, Patterson’s and Elk Pass, as good as I’ve ever seen them. Fox Creek and Boulton Creek were very nice and fast to ski. View from Lookout with the elk pass cloud below and sunshine above was very nice. Funny to think that a certain current politician referred these trails as underused; every parking lot was full and there were people everywhere. Thanks groomers!

  22. Lovely Lake Louise

    Jamie and I skied many kilometres today, starting at the 1A parking lot. I was the first skier on the fresh grooming on the first part of lower Tramline. The lower Tramline was fun and so pretty. We continued down to the Continental Divide. Our return was along the 1A to blue Peyto, up along the Upper Tramline. It had just been groomed and track set, so we had to zoom down the Upper Tramline. We skied Peyto to Deer Lodge, crossed over and did the Fairview loop counterclockwise. MaSid, we were happy to have lunch on your bench, in the sun! Fairview was amazing too! We skied over to Lake Louise, and on the lake (following the groomer right in front of us), where hundreds of people were skating. We went back up to upper Tramline, down blue Peyto and took the lower Tramline, back to the 1A. It was a super great snow condition day!

  23. Evan Thomas – Wedge loop CW / Bill Milne up and back to the hotels. Conditions were pretty good out there today with temperatures a degree or two above zero most of the day. I skied up Evan Thomas. There are lot of people that walk that way so the middle is getting pretty bumpy. If you can stay in the track going down it is fine. Other than that there have been few walkers on the route so damage to the grooming not very extensive. There is a some tree debris here and there in the forest sections but not a lot of stuff on the trail.

  24. Shadow Lake,
    After reading the recent trip reports (thanks Normand & Chris S) regarding the removing of the fallen tree and the recent grooming, it was a perfect blue day for a nice ski. Just after the steep climb after the warden cabin, the roller coaster trail was “interesting” on the way back on skinny skis as sometimes you get “stuck” in the tracks where you would love to snow plow… As Normand mentioned the last 4km back to the parking lot were quite fast but still controllable. I never saw so many people on the trail (counted 30 folks) and most people stepped to the side of the tracks as we were cruising down.

    • Nice Jean-François you got to enjoy some blue sky up there. Got to return with skinny skis for once, as opposed to light touring gears, to take full advantage of a great ski out especially from km 14 to 4.

  25. Bluebird day with a dusting of fresh snow in the track on the Bow River loop at Lake Louise. I finally found where to park in the campground.. https://photos.app.goo.gl/tu7rfH8mSStn2Sj8A

  26. Had a great day on Great Divide and Lower Telemark today. Started at the Lake O’Hara parking lot. The tracks were good although a bit blown in at spots – certainly not an issue. The trail on the east side of the great divide arch was great and Lower Telemark was absolutely awesome. The round trip was 21 km, so we got our half marathon in.

  27. Skied the Goat Creek Trail to the Banff Springs hotel today. A very enjoyable 26.4 km but some of the downhill sections were bordering on too icy to be completely safe. I would not try it again myself until we get some new snow. Pretty deserted until the Spray Loop junction, and even then very few folks out. The Goat Creek parking lot however was full when we were dropped off at 1130…

  28. PLPP

    Boulton Parking- Wheeler-Amos-Woolley-Meadow-Wheeler back to Boulton

    -5 deg at 11:30 under sunny blue skies. VR45 was good. Meadow and Amos north/west of the Lynx junction trackset and in immaculate condition.Wheeler, Woolley and Amos (south of Lynx) covered with 3-5 cm new snow on older grooming, but there was a very serviceable skier track that provided very enjoyable skiing. No sign of temps above freezing doing any damage to the trails.

    Pocaterra, Elkwood and Boulton parking all close to full by noontime, but no cars parked out the road at 1130, or as we left at 130.

  29. Did Tramline today. It was lovely and not busy until you get closer to the Lake of course. It’s track set but someone has recently walked all over the first and last km of the trail- bummer!

  30. MORAINE LAKE ROAD – Jan 16

    Great conditions today at this iconic location.
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/s4L7mewitv3KNbyA8
    The best part of the trip were the people we met!

  31. Started out at PLPP this morning at the Elk Pass parking lot at 9:30. Most trails freshly groomed and perfectly track set Elk pass – Blueberry – Patterson – Hydroline – Fox creek – Moraine.

    Had my skate skis in the truck so stopped by Bill Milne for a cruise on the flats. Super fast and crusty snow and still in decent shape despite that rain they got. Went from Mount Kidd to Ribbon and back and it was pretty similar conditions throughout.

  32. Elk-Pass —> Blueberry.

    Arrived to no cars at 9, and fresh trackset/corduroy. A little chilly and windy at -16, but warmed up to -7 at noon.

    Lot full at noon.

    Trackset was in really good condition with minimal shrapnel in the tracks from the wind.

    Just an all around nice ski. Amazing sunrise over the mountains and a super cool fog cascade down the valley from Elk pass in late morning.

    Couple of errant snowshoers decided to go on corduroy where they shouldn’t. Won’t get into that debate. But just makes me feel bad for all the hard work the tracksetters did the night before to get it ready for today.

    Not sure how we can let them know how much we appreciate their effort. The tracksetters not the snowshoers 😉

    • Forgot to mention. Fox Creek had been set as well. Nice little alternate route through the trees to by pass first big hill on Elk Pass.

  33. Ernie & Shad, Irene & Shadey

    WBC:

    Got there early to avoid the masses – no problem parking – did the Crystal Line Sun Dog Loggers loop cw then turned around and did it ccw. Tracks were as advertised by Boomer cold crisp and fast. A little crusty on the snowplow sections but we are half way through the season so we had our snow plow on when needed but given the masses were yet to arrive it was mostly point them and push and let it go. What a great time is was given what the Groomers had to work with. DONATE FOLKS these guys work magic for us so DONATE

  34. CNC 9:00. -4C parking lot empty but filling fast 11:00 full
    Used Skin skis again today.
    Trails are hard Natural snow tracks are glazed and Klister would work. Saw a few waxed skiers armstronging it. The skate lanes have been groomed but were hard. Later in the day they should soften up somewhat.
    The man made snow trails were groomed, trackset and in great shape. We skied Lynx For the first time from Biathlon Stadium up to Banff Trail Also skied the 200m Riversdge trail extension to BNP boundary.

    Check on the CNCPP trail report page for which trails have been groomed.
    https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/kananaskis/canmore-nordic-centre-pp/trail-report/trail-report-cnc/

  35. Good Morning,
    It is -10 degrees and sunny with some scattered clouds in Peter Lougheed PP at the discovery Centre.
    Happy Trails!

  36. PLPP on Friday – Elk Pass via Morraine/Fox Creek and Tyrwhitt/Whiskey Jack. Skier tracked on most of them which made for some fun powder skiing on the downhill. Lovely solitude on a single skier tracked trail through the meadows on Tyrwhitt. Sounds like major grooming/track setting happened last night. Get out and enjoy!

    • Forgot to mention there was a tree down on Whisky Jack – its along a flat section (as you come down) not sure if the groomers are able to clear that out of the way!

  37. PLPP on Friday. Started at Pocaterra, temperature around -4, V40 wax worked well. It doesn’t get much better. Pocaterra (as far as Packers), Come Along, Amos, Meadow, Lynx all beautifully groomed. For most of the drive the temperature was well above 0 and there was no new snow on the ground, but PLPP had lots of snow and winter wonderland scenery.
    Don

  38. SHADOW LAKE LODGE

    For this section, I will only refer to the ski track setting all the way to the lodge. Look into the backcountry section for the ski touring I did beyond the lodge today. About 2 km skiing into the Red Earth Creek trail, I was passed by two skidoos with 3 people; they were going to “rescue” (their word) a skidoo in the meadows before the lodge. Until I met them back passed RE6 campground, the track setting was pretty poor. BUT, they were laying out brand new track setting going down from the meadows before the lodge. What a treat to get that for an easy approach to the lodge, for already my 5th visit this winter to the area, before a long tour up the upper reach of Haiduk Creek (see backcountry section, as well as photos). The return from the lodge was great on the new track setting. I was on light touring skis with metal edges. I can see the lowermost 4 km being challenging on skinny skis, especially where the snow is starting to be a bit scrapped off. Just need to adjust your speed accordingly. More fresh snow would not hurt lower down.

  39. Pipestone-What a great xski day. Great glide. So much snow. Only saw a few ppl. So peaceful.

    Friendly reminder:
    It would be nice that anyone who brings their dogs, as this couple did, that they follow the trail rules-that dogs Must be leashed. The snow was soft, and this very cute dog was following in the back and making non stop paw tracks in the middle of the track set trails. Thx

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/a5yVGp5qHuW2jjz26

    https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/randonee-hiking/etat-sentiers-trail-conditions

  40. CNCPP. I skied the alpenglow Friday night. Tracks are icy, glazed and fast but not yet deadly. Parks staff have revived sun exposed and dirt prone areas. Many needles and debreeze in wind prone places. Skate lanes were also fast. Needles abound but overall, it’s okay. It will be fast and icy Saturday morning. Crown skis had weak grip, but wax to your own peril.

  41. WBC at sunset:
    I did a quick ski on the various West Crystal options, and onwards out Mountain Road west. The skiing was fairly good throughout, with nice tracks, and a thin layer of softer snow over a smooth icy base out of the grooves. Fast skiing! It’s amazing to me that there is much enjoyable skiing at all at WBC- considering the bad hands that have been dealt by the weather recently! Skied classic, with Start Purple, my go-to wax for these conditions, performing perfectly.

  42. Nakiska to Skogan Pass to Dead Mans Flat return.
    Enough has been written about Skogan, I’ll just add icy and fast on the descent. Light trail breaking on the descent from Skogan to Dead Mans. About halfway down where the traffic picks up from that side, it became very icy and the descent was fast and sketchy. Used skins for the ascent back up to Skogan. Great day out!

  43. STONEY CREEK – Jan 15

    Perfect timing, with excellent tracksetting on the Cascade Valley.
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZZosqRCZmuETUzVQ9
    Bob, we might need a reminder that trail etiquette is that the downhill skier has right of way when there is only a single track… especially on their escape!

    • Hey Chuck, Bob and track setters. Where there is only a single track, such as Cascade Valley beyond the campground, why isn’t the track set on the LEFT side going up? That would indicate to the uphill users that it belongs to the downhill skiers, but uphillers can still use it when safe to do so. Problem solved?

    • Maybe more a good practice rather than etiquette, it would be nice to remind uphill skiers to look up from time to time to see if anyone is coming downhill…. specially on steep hills and / or approaching blind corners.

  44. Baker Creek with my dog Bajoue today. Perfect tracks and a temperature of -5 at 1:30 pm. One of those perfect days. We ran into Bob; his face really lights up when he sees a dog on a trail! Attached pictures of perfect tracks and pooch. https://photos.app.goo.gl/uqt8CrKMeQZJqhy76

  45. Castle Junction (CJ) to end of Railway Track grooming towards Baker Creek. Started at 9am on the fresh track setting at CJ. Stayed cold -9 most of day. Started seeing alot more people and their dogs closer to our turnaround at 11 am. Cars on 1-A appeared to have spotted moose as they kept stopping across from Protection Mtn. It has been years since I skied that stretch of 5 kms from CJ to Castle Lookout. Grooming was sweet and I felt like I might be in a different province, it had been SO long since I’d skied that stretch. Decided if there was to be a Lk Louise Loppet, that stretch could prove rather interesting. Not sure which direction best to ski it in, but we did both. Skis came on and off a few times. A great but humbling 24 kms day.

  46. PLPP
    Windy drive with temps around +6C around Nakiska turnoff, but by the time I reached Elkwood parking lot is was -3C at 10:30. Perfect wax for the day with VR40 as a base and VR45 on top. Started out on Amos which was freshly trackset. Wheeler and Amos, past the Lynx Junction, were skier set tracks on 10cm of snow. Went on to Moraine and Fox which were freshly track set and in perfect condition. It is probably the best I have seen these two trails. Up to Elk Pass on wobbly skier set tracks. Same with Tyrwhitt but it was such as nice day it didn’t matter. Continued on Pocatera which was skier set tracks until you got to the Packer junction when excellent fresh track setting resumed. Nice and fast trip down Pocaterra to Lynx which is also fast and has fresh track setting, and then back to the truck. Great day out. No pine needles or debris on trail. Some old snowbombs on the north side of Tyrwhitt. +1c at 2:30 at the truck.

  47. Mount Shark – Minus 2 upon arrival at 10:30 – Greeted by a very friendly Ken Hewitt who was out volunteering / collecting parking fees. Fresh overnight grooming and track setting throughout the entire area. We skied the Watridge Lake trail and carried on down to the Spray River Bridge. Some degree of needles and tree beard in the area near the Banff border, but otherwise it was a spectacular day.
    The 5, 10 and 15 kms. loops looked fantastic. Just 20 cars in the parking lot at 1:30 pm – temp. minus 1.
    I would also concur that the grooming throughout K-country has been outstanding this winter. Thank you! We are so lucky!

  48. Skied Cascade to about 5 Km past the bridge, we got there at about 10 and the temp was -1, and were met by fresh track setting. Not very busy in the parking lot and the temp stayed constant all day. Great conditions and lots of smiling faces.

  49. PLPP South Yesterday (Thrusday Jan 14) – Fox Creek and Elk Pass; OT (offtrack) in East Elk Pass and Patterson Meadows
    About -13 to start with brilliant sun all day. Fox Creek was freshly groomed and a nice bookend to the near boot-top trail-breaking on Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt. There’s a most impressive tree bomb crater on Elk Pass. Not much hang-fire left in the trees anymore, thankfully. Meadow travel was easy enough for track skis.

    https://1drv.ms/u/s!AmEN_pg-34FehD7SLqebP8lxwICx?e=h6L0re

  50. Fri Jan 15: castle lookout to baker ck and back.
    Crunchy, chunky and a bit rough in the base of the track to start early in the morning, improving further west. By the time I got back, enough travel to smooth out the chunky bits, so even better tomorrow. Busy parking lot on return, but nobody there before 9 in the morning. To finish I skied down the south ditch to the parking lot. A good alternative to the hill so close to the lot.

  51. Castle Junction to Protection Mtn road crossing.
    This web site is wonderful, first thing this morning 3 destinations were considered from previous reports, the new track setting along the 1A won out. We parked at the Rockbound Lake lot just south of the junction – the washroom is open here. The track setting was excellent from the work done yesterday. The section to the Lookout parking lot is double track set except where the trail is narrow. VR40 was good but a hint of VR45 made it even better. The kick and glide all the way to our north turn around was a delight. After turning we spotted two moose browsing in the forest. The next interesting sighting was skier Bob near the bottom one of the faster hills, thanks for standing to the side to let us pass! Many people and dogs were enjoying the trail, all hills are passable by all abilities, and it will still be good tomorrow.

  52. Redearth Creek, snow temp @ 10:30 am was -6 C.
    Just before starting up the trail, Bill and the Alpine Club crew came down to the parking lot on 3 snow machines after having cleared away the fallen tree and groomed & trackset the trail, thank you!
    Definitely not a beginner trail unless you’re comfortable with the downhill runs, in particular the final drop to the parking lot.
    But a pleasant ski once you’ve climbed up into the valley beyond the roar of the highway.

  53. CASTLE JUNCTION TO CASTLE LOOKOUT: had never skied this section before so tried it today. Nice fresh grooming and snow quality, more steep hills than we were expecting but they were fun and fast. One section in trees is too narrow for double tracking (going back to Junction) so be careful you don’t get a ski stuck in the down track!! Some nice views and lots of wildlife tracks.

  54. Castle Lookout to Baker Creek yesterday: -16 at 10 am, -8/-10 snow temperature, warming up nicely in bright sun. Swix VR40 worked well all day, fellow skiers on skin skis. Slight icy crunchiness covered with new snow. Smooth snow last 3 km towards Baker Creek, but snow covered skier set tracks. Note: washrooms at Castle Junction gas station NOT available. Baker Creek trailhead outhouse open, no outhouse at Castle Lookout. https://www.flickr.com/photos/152288647@N08/albums/72157717906927227/with/50838419518/

  55. PLPP – Whiskey Jack-Pocaterra-Packers
    Conditions were very nice for skiier-set tracks when setting out at 9am, another reminder that about 150m before the large hill heading CCW there’s a fallen tree across the whole path. Warmed up while we trekked, plenty of skiiers later in the morning. Hope it’s an enjoyable trip for all!

  56. Jan 14 – Redearth Creek to Shadow Lake. The trail had both a fresh snowmobile-packed trail and a skier-set uptrack at the side. One fallen tree blocked the trail near the bottom, but otherwise the going was easy. I enjoyed the nice sunny weather at the lake.
    http://arievandervelden.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/8006ShadowLake.jpg
    Maybe this is why it’s called Shadow Lake?
    http://arievandervelden.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/8006ShadowLake.jpg

  57. Skied Cascade fire road today. Skier set tracks were well established to the 7 km bridge and campground. We continued on for another 5 km, breaking trail for most of that distance, so slow going but very pretty. We had wanted to make it to the warden cabin porch for a break, but turned back as it was getting late in the day. Fresh powder and blue skies – a slice of heaven!

  58. -15 when I left Boulton Bridge at 10:25. Lovely track set run up Boulton Creek and Fox, then skier set tracks from The Elk Pass jctn over the pass and down Tywitt and Whisky Jack back to the car. A beautiful, sunny and crisp day. Blue wax all the way!

  59. Wedge Connector to Bill Milne (crossed River on foot to make loop to Wedge Pond parking). Thin skiff of snow on crusty hard snow with some debris. Was doing some reconnaissance for skate skiing. Wedge Connector is not wide enough for skates about 1.5 km in. Bill Milne is better. My first time here. Lovely just to be out even without ideal grooming or snow! https://photos.app.goo.gl/1nBeXnZjrdvqqdyM8

  60. Ribbon Creek-Skogan Trails
    Yesterday it rained at lower elevations at Ribbon Creek but snowed at slightly higher elevations. And the trails report said there was fresh grooming on most of the Skogan part of the trail network. Add clear skies, pleasant temperatures and no wind, and it’s a recipe for a great day of skiing.
    The rain crust at the Troll Falls parking lot suggested the potential for difficult conditions to start out. But one second on the Hay Meadow trail laid those fears to rest. The snowcat tiller had worked it’s magic on the ice crust an Hay Meadow was impeccably groomed. The snow was firm and fast, but the corduroy was still “edge able”. There was no problem with grip on Ruthies and the Skogan Screamer, and then things just got better above the old Marmot Creek junction. The new snow depth increased from a few cm at the top of the Screamer to around 15cm at the higher elevations.
    We went up Skogan Pass trail to Sunburst and stopped at Hummingbird Plume Lookout. Then across on High Level to Skogan and counterclockwise around Skogan Loop. The snow on Skogan Loop was actually a bit soft-packed, so you had to be careful not to edge too hard on the crazy-steep south side hill.
    I’m sure Bob would have loved spending the day with the Samoyeds. They loved the loop too.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/eeszQi7RGcHGV5gD8
    Thanks to the Ribbon Creek crew for the superb grooming!

    Thanks, Alf. What a fantastic set of photos. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Hay Meadow without a boot print! Those beautiful dogs look right at home in the snow. -Bob

  61. Boom Lake ski tour. Soft beautiful powder on the way up. Chewed up snow full of boot holes from winter hikers who refuse to wear snowshoes on the way down. The trail definitely warranted skis or snowshoes today but I guess it’s easier to leave the snowshoes in the car (as one group reported.)

    I remember the good ol’ days when this was an official ski trail. A groomed one in fact. Wish we could get grooming and tracks on it again.

    Detest for winter hikers in running shoes aside, it was a gorgeous day and a fun ski. Only one tree down too. Climbing was easy, we had good control coming down, and no evidence of rain or ice.

  62. Pocaterra

    Lovely fresh grooming on Pocaterra. A short run from the Pocaterra Trailhead to about 1 km past the meadow and the Lynx junction. About -5, no wind, sunny. The fresh snow is covering the debris that was there a couple of days ago. Tracks are hard and fast, and grooming is superb. Again. Soooooo lucky to have such great skiing so easily accessible.

  63. LAKE LOUISE – Tramline from near Railway Station to meet Fairview and then out Lake Louise to the Lake for a quick stop. Back down Fairview (best I have seen it) on fresh grooming!! to Moraine Lake Road. Went to the sunny spot just past Paradise Picnic Area (at the curve in the road) for a quick lunch. Back down Moraine Lake Road and the Lower Tramline to Railway Station parking. A cold day to start at 10AM -13C with grippy snow. 16.4 km, 440m ascent on a glorious blue sky day!

  64. PLPP New Grooming:
    Our group of three skied all the new North-end grooming at PLPP today. Pocaterra (hut to Packers), Lynx, Come-Along and Rolly Road are all in excellent condition. We also skied some other trails (Pocaterra south of Packers, Amos, Lodgepole, Braille, north Meadow) which were generally skier trackset in some 10cm of new snow. Mostly decent skiing on these trails, though bit wobbly at times, and certainly slower than the new grooming. Overall, a pleasant day under sunny skies and calm conditions. -12C at our 9:30am start; -5C at 2pm.

  65. PIPESTONE- nice fluffy new snow was cold and slow at minus 14 degrees at 10am. Great skiing conditions!! Skied the outer loop all the way around, and to Mud Lake. About 18 cars in parking lot at 130pm. Parking lot has at least 6 in, our little car juuuuuust made it in and out. Blue swix wax worked well. Met Skier Bob on the trail too!!

  66. CNC -4C 9:00AM parking lots quite empty. Skintecs rule! Snow reports show Banff Tr to Meadow groomed and TS. The rest of the trails were just groomed especially the natural snow trails. This means the tracks are decent but not fresh VS the skating lanes were groomed but not in tip top shape. I’m thinking the lack of natural snow base isn’t allowing the groomers to put in full tracks for fear of hitting the ground. We found one spot on Snowshoe Hare where the renovator hit dirt and there is barely 3CM of base. Skied out Banff all the way to the North end then up Rundle and connected back onto Meadowview. Snow on man made is hard! Past the meadow maybe 1CM new snow at Meadow and 3CM at far end. Banff trail got progressively dirtier the further out we skied. Good skiing regardless. If we were waxing layers of VR 50 corked in really well covered by VR 45 or a -2C wax covered by a blue extra or purple multigrade.

  67. Jan 13, Moraine Lake Road. Got to the parking lot (open again!) at 9:30 and was the only car. Tracksetting had just been done but the middle of the road had not been smoothed so wasn’t suitable for skating. I was on classic skis with 1 layer of Vaughti violet (+1 to -2) and one layer of Swix V40).

    Grip was okay, but virtually no glide since the tracks were so soft. About 1/3 of the way up it started snowing, and by the time I neared the top, the tracks were filled in with powder.
    Lovely day, not the speediest but better than no skiing. And lots of work when you have to stride downhill because you can’t even double pole. (I scraped all the wax off with my More rewards card, but it didn’t make much difference, there was no glide to be had).

  68. Red Earth Creek. We started at 9:30 this morning in about 5 cm of new wet snow. I used my fish scales as the wet snow scared me away from using my metal-edge wax skis. My friends both waxed, and we all did very well. The snow dried up and the temperature cooled as we ascended beyond the first 2 km. There were about 10 cm of new snow up top, and it was snowing quite heavily. Our turn-around and lunch spot was the warden’s cabin a few hundred meters beyond the Shadow Lake junction. It was just glorious up there. The descent was good the whole way, except that some walkers had really made a mess of our newly-made tracks. Also, there were some downed trees, one of which had fallen after we ascended. We were able to move that one off the trail. Managing the hill in the bottom third was no problem at all. Overall, it was a magnificent ski!

    • Hi, where did you park to start this trail?
      Is it the 10.5km one way from Redearth to Shadow Lake? Or how far?
      Thanks!

      • Park at Redearth Creek parking marked on Highway 1 between Sunshine Turnoff and Castle Junction.
        10.5 km (one way) of grooming to Warden Cabin. After that is a very steep hill. Additional 3.6 km one way to Shadow Lake. This is a trail for experienced intermediate skiers – not for beginners. Have fun!

  69. Confederation Golf Course
    Ice, ice, and more ice. Oh, and debris. I was there early this morning and suspect it might have been slightly better in the afternoon. Let it snow…

    • Groomed a bunch of skate lanes tonight so conditions will be much better tomorrow for skating. Snow softened up nicely after grooming.

      • Thank you Jamie! I’m not a skate skier, only classic, but if the snow is less treacherous, I’m there! Appreciate you.

  70. Minnewanka Loop Road/Upper Bankhead area. Zero to start at noon and on fish scales. Snow squall came through for about an hour, before blue skies appeared by time I was finished. Varied stride between slight glide, then kicking off excess snow, scissor-scraping and eventually decided on the white universal glide for waxless skis. Much better after that. Played around in the little wooded trail from Upper Bankhead to Cascade Meadow. -1 at finish.

  71. Did Kovach and Terrace loop at Ribbon Creek. It was very slow going. Icy underneath a few centimeters of fresh snow. Snowing heavy, wet flakes as we left at 2pm ish. Hard to wax for, little to no kick, yet snow was sticking to skiis. Bit of an arm workout!

  72. The temperature is -2 at Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre this morning. Approximately 9cm of snow accumulated at the PLDC overnight.

  73. Terrific ski on the trails in central and south PLPP. We arrived at Elkwood at about 9:45 to a temperature of -2C. VR45 gave good grip as long as I was paying attention to my technique. Wheeler, then Amos and Lynx had good tracks with a some debris and a few snow bombs. Just after we started up the perfect tracks on Pocaterra it started to snow, adding a dusting in the tracks that gave a bit of extra grip but didn’t affect our glide. There was heavier snow on Tyrwitt with up to about 2cm in the track. We were first skiers on parts so the skiing was a bit slower but still great. At Elk Pass, the tracks were partially blown in but they packed down easily. There was some wind but nothing close to the gales further north. The run down from Elk Pass to Fox Ck. was a speedy cruise that ended too quickly. Fox Ck. had older track so there were lots of skied out turns, debris and snow bombs. Moraine was better, particularly as you got further north. The track had not softened on Wheeler, back to Elkwood so my wax still held, but just barely. As always, thanks to the groomers for their great work.

  74. WBC late afternoon skate outing report:
    It’s gonna be ice ice BB!!
    Had a good skate there from 330-5’ish today. They did an amazing job refurbishing and tracks look great but two days near 10C have them heavily glazed as was the grooming for skate when we finished it was sure crusty and getting slick and fast. Not good for beginners right now. Spiked tires needed for FB I’m sure.

    Just under 13km. SUPER windy and gusty and so even on flats going into that wind was tough. However the tailwind back on Mountain was pretty awesome. Will see evidence of the wind by way of more debris. They might get snow tomorrow… hopefully not rain. Will need a major refurbishment IMO before it’ll be worth going again (or just above zero to soften things).

    I’m curious if Confed conditions are about the same now? (Minus debris)

  75. Baker Creek
    I went to check out the “other” Baker Creek that Chuck reported on a couple days ago but quickly decided it wasn’t a trail for me. It’s alot more hilly and winding than I was expecting and I foolishly took my skinny skis, so all speed and no control! Fortunately, the main Baker Creek trail was being trackset today so I did that instead. It was getting a bit late in the day so I only went as far as the campground at Protection Mt. and enjoyed a nice loop around there on a lovely, skier-set track. I stopped at the Castle Lookout parking lot on the drive home and it looks like the tracksetting goes at least that far. Depending on how much snow falls overnight, it should be a great ski tomorrow.

  76. ELK LAKE SUMMIT – Jan 12

    Some exposed rocks at lower elevations near Forty Mile Creek, but a good broken trail all the way.
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/zphrp1FB1kvNvNgn8
    This trail in BNP used to be called Elk Pass, but the new name attempts to avoid confusion with the Elk Pass in Kananaskis.

  77. PLPP Central Trails – Wonderful day on fresh tracks with a skiff of new snow (it flurried on and off most of the day). -1C – +1C. Wheeler was great with minor debris.
    Boulton was fair with lots of big debris (twigs, old man’s beard) which didn’t bother us much. Moraine had very good tracks with small debris (needles, cones) while Amos was quite needley. Lodgepole and Braille had excellent tracks, with a few needles on Lodgepole. We used fish scale and skin skis and had excellent traction. There was very little wind most of the day, with a few big gusts in early afternoon.

  78. Jan 12 – Redearth Creek and Ball Pass Junction
    I was inspired by Mike W’s backcountry report amd decided to head out that way. It started snowing shortly after I started skiing, and it snowed off and on for the whole day. I skied along the edge of Shadow Lake to Hiaduk Creek (as per Normand), then followed it up to where Mike’s tracks on the summer trail met the creek. Mike’s tracks were covered by wind-blown snow in many places, but it was nice to be able to follow them. I broke trail for the last 1.5km to the campground. I was on track skis but the supportive layer ~15cm down held me up most of the time and it wasn’t too tough. On the way back, I followed Mike’s tracks on the summer trail. Now that there’s a bit of a track set, this was better than sticking to the creek, although that might change with the coming snow. Fresh grooming on the trail on the way back down!

    • Hi Sara – Glad to hear you got some use out of my track before the coming storm. Did you have to break trail along Shadow Lake and up Haiduk Creek before you met up with my trail?

      • There was a hint of a track along Shadow Lake for the first 100m or so, but it was mostly covered. After that, I was breaking trail for a little over a kilometer before hitting your trail.

    • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

      Howdy Sara,

      Did you happen to come across my old ski tracks going up Haiduk Creek roughly 2 km from Shadow Lake? Or were they snow covered over?

      Impressive ski. The women this year are showing superior endurance in the back country of these Great Canadian Rockies. Thanks for breaking the last of the trail to the Ball Pass campground.

      Have you ever broken trail to the Cuthead Warden Cabin up the Cascade River- hint hint?

      • Thanks! No, there was no sign of your tracks up Hiaduk Creek. The wind was moving a lot of snow around today – there were some spots where my 45-minute-old tracks were already disappearing as I skied back!
        Cuthead Cabin sounds like a fun challenge. I don’t have LT skis, so I’d have to pick a day with supportive snow… I’ll keep an eye on the weather!

  79. PLPP
    Parked at Boulton Creek parking lot (-1C at 9:30am) and skied Whiskey Jack – Lookout – Hydroline – Tyrwhitt – Pocaterra – Lynx – Amos – Wheeler
    The conditions were fabulous with a skiff of snow over recent tracks. The lookout descent on the South side was one on the best I ever done, fast and safe. As mentioned by Ray Young, there was a bit of pine needles on the lower part of Pocaterra and Lynx but Wheeler was in superb conditions (I had forgotten how pleasant this trail is).
    We had the pleasure to meet the. Ever Green gang on Tyrwhitt (Amongst which Greg, the leader, Anne the writer, Michael the trail breaker).
    Another great day out

  80. Tue Jan 12: upper blueberry meadows
    And beyond, towards the turret, looking for an efficient route. Didn’t find the best line, only found tightly gladed trees. Know where to look next though. An inch or two fell latter part of morning back there, with wind. Above ankle ski pen off the track (AT). 1.2 m of snow just below treeline. Blueberry grooming was a bit slappy on return with tree bomb debri. You didn’t want to sit under a tree today if it was loaded. Fresh grooming in the morning on initial part of elk pass to north end of hydroline (groomer turned up hydroline). Mostly irrelevant grooming info after tonight and tomorrow’s snow, unless they keep grooming. Just above zero on return to the car at 1.

  81. Pocaterra-Come Along-Pocaterra-Lynx-Amos-Wheeler-Whisky Jack – Pocaterra

    Got to the Pocaterra parking lot at 0815, just as the groomer was finishing up. It looks like Meadow was done, but I’m not sure what else. The conditions on the route I took were just perfect. Recent tracksetting everywhere; about 1 – 2 cm of snow fell while I was on Whisky, but only a trace of that was at the Pocaterra trailhead. Debris is a bit of an issue on the wind-exposed parts of Lynx, Amos, Wheeler, and parts of Pocaterra, but I’ve seen worse, and the coming snow (fingers crossed) should take care of that.

    I have to admit, as I was skiing along, I couldn’t believe what a privilege it is to be able to ski in such a great location on such exceptional grooming. I’d swear the grooming is the best I’ve seen in years, but maybe that’s just my impression based on lucky timing. Still, the groomers are doing a fantastic job. Full kudos to them!

  82. MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

    REDEARTH CREEK- Pharaoh Creek Trails

    Generally excellent skiing on Redearth Creek trail with 59mm wide metal edge XC skis. Mid winter conditions. Moderate to fast trackset snow conditions on VR30 Swix wax (last applied 87 km ago). The wax worked much better once I skied on top of the first few hills.

    I decided to ski up Pharaoh Creek beyond the warden cabin, I followed an older skinned fat ski trail on my wax skis. It was a bit of a challenge with small snow basket poles to ski climb. I skied or side stepped somewhere around 2km beyond the Redearth Creek Warden Cabin. My old muscles prevented me from side stepping up the last little steep portion of the hill before the trail began to mellow. It was not even dark out at that time.

    I kick backed and enjoyed lunch-dinner and headed back after the sun set. At dusk the temperature at the warden cabin was -5c. The snow slowed as it got darker to moderate speed on much of the trail going back.

    The steep hills on Redearth Creek trail were in nice carving shape and the snow was moderately fast. coming down them. It is well worth skiing Redearth Creek trail but with 5 cm of new snow, the trackset could get rather shallow and a bit sloppy as it is getting a bit worn now.

    The ACC snowmobile tracksetter should consider widening the trail more where ever possible, particularly on the downhill sections as the trackset has been getting partly snow plowed out by skiers. I skied off the snowmobile track in some areas to demonstrate where the trail can be widened up on a number of hills. A 20 -50 cm wider trail in areas can make a real big difference and make the skiing easier for less advanced skiers. It could also allow for a skating lane on much of the trail which would be greatly appreciated by those with combo skating/classic skis or those with metal edges and big honking legs.

    Wider trails are wonderful ski trails!

  83. Mt Shark

    A quick ski out to the end of Spray and back along the Watridge trail (and a couple of quick trips to some side trails). Watridge tracks in good shape, but are getting windfilled in the openings. Trails in the trees are in great shape, but the winds are causing a fair amount of debris. No impact on skin/waxless skis, but a couple of people I met on wax skis remarked about debris pickup.

  84. PLPP Bolton parking to couch via Bolton / Elk Pass / over Elk Pass/ Trywhitt / Pocattera / Lynx / Amos. It was warm out today with temperatures around freezing. There was fresh grooming / track setting on upper Pocattera / Whiskey Jack (which I did not ski) and Lynx / Amos so conditions were great in those places. Otherwise the tracks were pretty good. It was windy enough that there were quite a few tree bombs hitting the trail and there are a fair number of pine needles on the trail in places. It was not windy at all up at the pass / couch. A couple of walkers made it up all the way to Elk Pass from Bolton. As usual, the impact of the damage is on gentler hills were skiers may wish to snow plow outside of the track. The ride will be a bit bumpy where that is the case.

    • To echo gh’s observations, we skied the freshly trackset Wheeler, Meadow, Wooley, Amos, Wheeler loop this afternoon, and the tracks were in great shape from the groomers’ great efforts Sunday night. Temps were cooler at Boulton 0C @ 1pm than at Ribbon Creek 5C at 12:30pm – cloud cover helped most of which was snow blowing off the surrounding summits. VR45 worked best – a small cap of VR50 seemed a bit sluggish. Tree debris was limited – surprisingly Wheeler was pretty clean while Amos had more than we expected. A few small tree bombs were in play already but only a few. Finally, when we pulled into Ribbon Creek there was plenty of room, and Boulton Creek only had half-a-dozen cars in it so it seems that we’re back into the normal weekday pattern after the holidays.

  85. JAN 10 REDEARTH CREEK, GIBBON PASS, TOWARD BALL PASS
    See Trip Reports > Backcountry 2020-2021

  86. EMERALD LAKE and the ALLUVIAL FAN – Jan 11

    Lovely quiet snow with great views.
    Details in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/z9JkT3Q4xG21F2vA7
    It’s been a while since any tracksetting has been done.

  87. Field: Tally Ho from Natural Bridge then Kicking Horse Trail to beautiful spot at Ottertail River. 20 kms with both trails. Met only two skiers. -7 warming to -2. Grooming excellent on both. After, checked out Yoho Valley Rd and while ascending saw two Parks snowmobiles descending. Track was not in good shape perhaps due to heavy use on weekend. Volunteer Joe will get it beautiful again: please support KHSC as these machines need more than a volunteer groomer to run.

  88. Chuckley and Karl

    Shadow Lake via Redearth Creek 27.4km 647m total ascent. The snow gets better the higher and further you are from the TransCanada Highway. Single track is good (a little weary in places) throughout. Good snow coverage on the steep hill at the Shadow Lake turnoff . Made it up the hill but I walked on the return downhill for safety. V45 special violet in the kick zone worked all day starting at -5C and ending at 0C. Strong winds in the afternoon were causing snow bombs which may interrupt the track in places for future travelers. Downhill was delightful and fast with just a skiff of snow for control.

  89. Pipestone. 10;15 -7C two other cars in lot. Waxed VR45 which proved to be fast but slippy. Upped the ante to VR 50 and Rode Multigrade. Stickier wax worked but picked up debris. Tracks are well used, in good shape, but hard due to the traffic.
    Skied Pipestone CCW and returned via Hector. The downhills on the west side were quick and we used caution snowplowing and bailed a few times.
    Returned to 12 cars in parking lot. -5C .

  90. A beautiful springlike morning ski at WBC. Stepping into my skis around 10:30, the air temp was plus 1 and VR45 was working just fine as I looped around West Crystal-Loggers-Elbow-Iron Springs-East Crystal, with a side trip out Iron Creek. No surprise at the plus 7 as I left at 12:30, after armstronging my way in bright sun up the final long south facing hill to the Iron Springs highpoint. Ski conditions were good-very good overall, with some imbedded vegetation in the well defined tracks. Hills were firm and fast, but “edgeable” for control. Walkers have put divots along all of Elbow, but miraculously stayed out of the tracks. Same goes for the multi-use Iron Creek trail- chewed up on one side- great untouched single trackset on the other. Maybe there’s hope in education after all! If contemplating a ski later today, or tomorrow- south facing hills will be in melt-freeze condition, but the sheltered core trails should still be really nice.
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/SkiPix2021/i-ZMJNWsT/A

  91. Confederation Golf Course
    The south-west side is freshly groomed and quite nice today. The north-east side is very icy, so classic skiers beware. Skate skiers appeared to be more graceful, even on the icy side. We could use another good dump as the groomers probably have a tough job in maintaining these trails and I’m always grateful.

  92. Its -3 this morning at the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre.

  93. Hey Folks,
    Here’s a weird one. West Bragg was great today if somewhat icy in spots on Mountain View.
    Biggest item I noticed was a steady trail of…yellow snow along the edge of the trail and most thoughtfully patches of the trail markings in front and surrounding the trail signs.
    At the picnic table on Mountain View when looking at the view of the valley there is a veritable field of Pee markings perhaps a foot away from the table…Really guys?

    There was a post a few days ago about signage an it’s effectiveness. Perhaps we should be putting up sings that indicate how disgusting it is that humans feel so compelled to urinate right beside the trail we are skiing on.
    I propose a 5 meter minimum distance from the trail into the woods. People shall have full right to yell deprecating and ” belittling” comments at the people/men creating these offensive blights.
    Cmon guys we can do better than this.

    • Perhaps it’s the pooches.

    • Agreed, this is pure laziness and shows a lack of respect for groomers and other skiers. Almost every ski trail has some element of this behavior.

    • I am thinking it is the dogs,too. Especially around the trail signs. One dog goes there and then the others mark their territory. Still not nice, but I cannot see a man using a trail sign as urinal. In all the years I have been skiing I have actually never caught anyone “in the act”. I will take better notice around PLPP which does not allow dogs. If all trail signs are in pristine (pisstine?) condition, and only the signs at Sandy or West Bragg marked, I would say it is definitely the dogs. Male dogs, but dogs.

    • K, thank you for raising this. I tend to avoid dog-friendly trails, not because I don’t like dogs, but as a runner, I have spent years dodging and being mowed down/bitten by excited pups. I have noticed yellow snow beside non-dog-friendly trails and actually came upon an offender on the Lake Ohara trail last year. This behaviour is disrespectful and repulsive to me however, I don’t have a solution. Perhaps those who are inclined to relieve themselves wherever they stand should stick to dog-friendly trails so the rest of us can also enjoy the winter wonderland?

  94. PLPP-North trails
    I knew it was going to be a fantastic ski day, when I started up Rolly Road from Pocaterra parking lot. The trail had absolutely perfect, pristine grooming. Many of the north-end trails at PLPP had been groomed overnight and had set up superbly. Nice, crisp tracks, which had set up firmly. The great conditions continued for our entire figure-8 tour. We skied Rolly Road, Come-Along, Pocaterra, Lynx-Amos-Wheeler and Packers. Packers is now good to go in both the uphill and downhill direction. We then took Pocaterra down to Lynx junction… maybe my fastest descent on that part of Pocaterra. Then once again on Lynx to Amos and Elkwood parking lot. We crossed the road and returned via Lodgepole, Braille, and Sinclair.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/UzPgfGhiZKBi3Y9M7
    The parking lot was about half full when we arrived and about 2/3 full when we finished, but it probably filled up in between.

  95. West Bragg Creek-skate skied West Crystal Line, Mountain Road, Sundog, East Crystal Line-We opted for a close, quick morning ski today having not ventured over to West Bragg since long before the holidays (mostly to avoid crowds). 1st car in the South parking lot at 8am!….but had to wait 15 minutes for it to be light enough to ski 🙂 . The grooming was very good considering the lack of snow and warm temps in the last couple weeks-excellent job groomers! Very few, if any, icy spots; trails were smooth and fast. There was a lot of small tree debris along all the trails (to be expected) but as we were skating it did not affect us at all. Trails were quiet for the first bit and as we headed back to the parking lot we saw about a dozen people total in small groupings. Got back to the lot at about 930-the place was packed!! With more cars heading in…great early morning ski though

  96. Lake O’Hara Fire Road to just beyond the steeper grind at km 8. Rode blue -2 to -6 worked fine all day and temp around -8. Saw one couple who’d been at the Hut and decided to ski out a day early. I am giving up hope that the road will ever get groomed this season. If I loved the men’s downhill at Lk Louise, I’d be in my element. Perfect width for snowplowing down. Staying two nights at Truffled Pigs Hotel/Bistro in Field. 10%off for Kicking Horse Ski Club members. Terrific in house dining for guests: take out otherwise! Only 3 of 12 rooms bkd. Great inexpensive getaway!

  97. Sun Jan 10: pocaterra meadow hunting.
    Adventure light with cheeky and Simona, scoping out a meadow route north of packers and west of pocaterra. While we found open(ish) terrain to play in and stay away from the crowds, thin snow cover in these north meadows. Doesn’t compare to higher meadows further south with better views, and perhaps only worthwhile when the cloud is present at elk pass, winds are strong and snow is deeper later in the season, or you are into early morning moose photography. Something new and different to entertain ourselves at least. Came back on lynx and a clockwise loop around marl lake (including venturing onto the lake for some tea in the sun), crossing the road to Braille, lodgepole and suicide hill to finish. All track set in pretty good shape despite the traffic. A bit more debri on the other side of the road, but not under the power line. Great snow conditions down suicide hill. Good times. Traffic volume issues coming back on the TCH about 6pm.

    • MaSid, do you remember the old Lynx trail which avoided the big hill, and was a shorter route to Amos? They re-routed the trail beacause the old trail always had a big ice flow. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some skier tracks through there. The traffic issues have me avoiding skiing on the weekends.

      • Not sure I ever did it in its prior form. Of note though, witnessed what could have been a nasty accident on that hill part way along lynx going south. A multi-family group was ascending and descending, with kids all over the trail left and right. Looked like dad came down to meet back up with some members and got out of control weaving around others, only to fully take out one of his kids at the knees. Lucky. Now they know what human ski bowling is, and maybe wont stand around on a hill like pins ready for knocking.

      • Hi Bob, I remember that one. I used to ski that connector regularly in the early 90’s. It’s probably covered in fallen trees nowadays.

  98. Bill Milne/Evan Thomas/Wedge Connector
    Great day trotting along with my humans, even if I did have to wear this new-fangled Halti harness which I hate so that I don’t pull too hard nor go off to the sides. Lots of happy families with kids out though not many other pupsters. Fresh grooming so great tracks for the humans (I stay out of them!), except for short sections of wind sift in the open meadows. -2C at start, +5C at finish (around 1.30pm), Peter used VR45 which was getting a bit slippery by the end, Chris used twin skins which worked really well. Now back to my well-earned bone, yum!

  99. Redearth Creek, BNP
    Went for a ski on Redearth to the Shadow Lake junction. Turned around there and headed back. Temp was 9C at the parking lot at 11:Am. Blue VR 40 worked well. We were on skinny skis which managed fine. Still able to get a good snowplow in. Track was in reasonable shape. Skied out on some of the steep descents. Trail was hard packed like concrete- wouldn’t want to fall. Trail wasn’t too busy and didn’t see any walkers. Could certainly use another snowfall to refresh it.

    • Ha! I skied out on a few of them as well. I think I may have to go back with my fat bike. I would have more control with the big studded tires then my pesky misery sticks!

      Can someone remind me if fat bikes are allowed past the Shadow Lake Junction to Shadow Lake Lodge in the winter?

      • Greg,

        Definite no no. No bikes past the junction of the shadow lake trail in summer or winter. With a refresh of snow coming Tue/Wed this week, I expect the trail to be groomed again.

  100. CASTLE LOOKOUT TO BAKER CREEK: snow is still very good quality but high use has made the tracks wobbly in places, still a great ski day tho. Took the recent tracks through the campground, nice. Recent cloudy skies have conserved the snow really well as the tracks near the railway do not appear to have melted in any way yet. Used cold blue swix wax, minus 13 degrees when we got to the mostly full parking lot at 10:30 am.

  101. Pipestone (LL): Parking lot was full by 11:30 AM. Beautiful conditions out there. Temp. Was about -10 when we started and warmed up to about -5 into the afternoon. Lots of groups on the trails enjoying the conditions. One set of snow-shoers that we observed were staying off the ski tracks. In general, a low amount of needles and debris on the trails, just a bit in the more densely forested areas. Been noticing ample human urination locations on the trails today. I get it – if it’s yellow go mellow but it only takes a second to cover it up with snow using your ski or pole or at least try to go off the trail/rest areas a bit. I drink as much coffee as you do and I can find a way!!! Otherwise great day out there and lots of folks getting after it!

  102. BAKER CREEK (incl. Scout Cabin) – Jan 10

    Only locals seem to know about this adventure!
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/nXBr7m9FwSWK4pG96
    Don’t tell anyone.

    • Hey Chuck! I’m glad to see that old cabin is still standing! It’s probably been a decade since I was there last.

    • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

      Howdy Chuck,

      I use to backpack up Baker Creek to go to the Pulsatilla Pass area and beyond. I thought the trail was closed many years ago.

      Did tracks look like they continued towards Pulsatilla Pass junction ?

      I would think it would be a rough ski route.

    • It was a fun day and good to meet you Chuck.

    • Very interesting, I will have to check it out one day. Thanks for sharing your trip and photos.

  103. Went to Mt Shark for an easy trip into Watridge Lake and Karst Springs on light touring gear. Lovely day out, albeit a little on the windy side. Kind of wished we had been on regular track skis (skate or classic) – every trail looked to be in perfect shape with solid tracks and cord visible from every junction. The Watridge Lake trail was double trackset the whole way, with a lane for snowshoers and other users which everyone was doing a great job of sticking to. Maybe we can just all get along 😉

  104. PLPP- Whiskeyjack, Pocaterra, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, and Moraine.

    We had a wonderful ski at PLPP this afternoon. The temperature was around -4c so waxing was easy. It was also a lot quieter then I thought it would be. Whiskeyjack had new tracksetting, and also Pocaterra up to the Lookout junction. Tyrwhitt was on old tracksetting but it was fine, and also beautiful (like it always is!). Elk Pass trail was recently trackset and the busiest but even then less busy then what I’m used to. Fox creek was in great shape and also Moraine. Only a few debris in the tracks throughout so overall conditions were excellent! Thank you Alberta parks groomers for such amazing trails!

  105. CNC start 9:10 -3C Iron in VR 30, 2 layers of VR 50 and covered with VR 45. The snow at CNC is getting old,hard, and abrasive. We always wax up one wax warmer due to the snow at CNC. Hoping to prolong our wax, we heated in our first layer, added a warmer wax then covered it with a harder wax. Did it work?, Really well for 30 minutes and once we got onto the natural snow and gone down some steep hills the wax was gone. Switched skis left to right 1/2 way through and came home with barely enough wax.

    CNC website showed minimal grooming and Track setting. Mainly Banff Trail up to meadow and Bow junction 18-25 which appears to be the lower lit loop. The rest has older grooming. Tracks are holding up well. The skate lanes are smooth IE corduroy gone. The natural snow base further out is maybe 20CM deep.
    We skied Bruin full length, which was a chore going from the lowest point on the system to nearly the upper elevation. Skied onto Meadowview and back into the Meadow on Coyote. Lots of team skiers out this early so keep an eye out behind and ahead for these young rockets.

    • Hugh, VG35 ironed or heat gunned/corked was a minimum binder today on a sanded ski base. I think the snow also changed around 11 am as my skis went from being great to not so great. If I was skiing tomorrow would actually go to Vauhti Super Base to prevent loss of kick wax. Hope this helps.

      WE NEED SNOW!!!!

    • What do you think of R-skins hugh?

  106. Kovach-link-Ribbon-Milne loop starting and ending at Village.

    Trackset is still in pretty good condition. A little bit of debris here and there from big wind last night. But very manageable.

    Downhills were still in good condition on Kovach.

    Getting a little thin in spots on Ribbon, with the odd rock visible, so if you are headed downhill on the big decline, best to use caution going down.

    Milne from Ribbon to Village was excellent.

  107. Its -13 degrees at Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre this morning

  108. PLPP North End

    Skied a counter-clockwise loop yesterday starting at the Visitor Info Center. Meadow looked recently track set but had a lot of needles and other debris, Wheeler was in good shape, Packers also in good shape, the downhill skiers seemed to be snow plowing ok since it was not icy, Pocaterra was a fun steady downhill and the tracks were decent if a bit wobbly, Lynx tracks were getting quite wobbly and worn, Wooley was in good shape. Overall a great blue sky day with quite a few people out having fun.

  109. Tunnel Mountain Campground is in pretty decent shape, just watch out for the occasional elk droppings in the tracks as they tend to grab the skin skis quite well!

    Kudo’s to the volunteer track setters who have been working hard at keeping the skiing close to town looking good. I really like the “outer adventure loop” just outside of the campground. There are no tracks, but it is a fun groomed addition to the regular skiing at TMC. I am not sure if they plan to pop a track in it after the next snow fall, but I would be okay with that!

    If you are looking to ski in the sun, your best bet is likely the afternoon, as 10am-11am was pretty much full shade.

  110. Yoho today including Kicking Horse, Emerald Connector, and Alluvial Fan. Starting at -9C, the KH track setting was sublime and with a couple centimeters of new snow, the glide was exceptional. The downed trees on EC have been removed, and this trail has not been skied much this year. Snow coverage is good, and views from the trail are inviting. Halfway along EC the sun partially appeared and there was a teenie bit of warmth on AF in the late afternoon. There was about 8 cm of new snow at the alluvial fan and the setting is simply wonderful there. This most enjoyable day ended too early and darkness made the final, steep run down to Tally Ho invisible. A superb day on the skis. 🙂

  111. Mt Shark. Skied the 15km loop. Heaven. Beautifully groomed all the way along. And the various steep hills were in excellent conditions for my legs (+ dog-in-training…) to stay under control.

  112. PLPP: Whiskey Jack-Lookout-Pocaterra-Packers

    Stunning day on the trails! Grooming report said that Lookout was last trackset on the 4th of January but the wind has swept any sign of it away (or there’s been snow but it seemed more wind than that!). It’s quite soft, especially at the bottom, then has icy patches between the hairpin turns and the viewpoint. Pocaterra and Packers were FAST today!! So much fun

  113. Goat Creek Canmore to Banff
    Conditions were surprisingly awesome once we reached that first park boundary sign where track setting begins. (Before that it was like skating on skis, and not the good kind of skate skiing!)
    Tracks were fast and very well preserved.
    Hills weren’t exactly icy but they were fast and polished. I appreciated my metal edges!
    I was with another family and all 6 of us (including three children) made it successfully down every hill without having to walk at all. And we all made it over the “death bridge” without having to stop at the bottom of the hill – always a victory. Just had to take it really really slow!
    We took Spray East to the golf course which also had decent tracks, easy to ski.
    The bottom steep part had several exposed (and unavoidable rocks.) if you have new skis I’d walk this part.

    And best of all, the trail was gloriously quiet today! We saw very few people until the second bridge. And even after that it was still quite peaceful compared to the busy trails in Kananaskis.

  114. Ribbon Creek – Skogan Pass
    It was pretty much a perfect day for a ski to Skogan Pass. A sunny, blue sky day. Cold enough for easy waxing and warm enough to be comfortable. No wind. And absolutely text-book perfect grooming on the Skogan Pass and Skogan Loop trails. Firm, crisp track setting… spaced about a metre in from the edge… and nicely edge-able corduroy. All on clean, debris-free snow. It is so worth the Nordiq Alberta parking pass to enjoy this great skiing and wonderful trail. https://photos.app.goo.gl/orMNnM8bZt427rNB9

  115. If you are skiing the Bill Milne trail, to avoid the congestion at Ribbon Creek, there’s now lots of parking at the golf course for about 25 cars adjacent to where the ski trail crosses the access road. It’s been plowed.

  116. Skied Baker creek to Castle junction. Great conditions and views from end to end. Only came across a dozen or so skiers all day.

  117. Sundance Lodge and campground beyond from Healy Creek parking. It was cool day (-12 on the lodge thermometer at 1430) but the snow conditions were quite good. The lodge is closed this winter. There is no grooming beyond the Healy / Sundance junction. This route does not see a lot of traffic (thankfully nearly no walkers) so the skier set trail and the downhill sections are holding up nicely. The Healy creek section sees a lot of walker traffic (Share the trail) and has not been groomed for a couple weeks but the ski track is still reasonable.

  118. Tyrwhitt Loop, plus. January 9
    A cool minus 20 encouraged a fast pace up the freshly groomed Whiskeyjack this morning, and onwards around Tyrwhitt in the face of a southerly breeze. After a brief lunch under the damp feeling Elk Pass cloud and a quick descent on fast tracks, we were delighted to find Fox and Moraine recently trackset and in great shape. All too soon we were basking in the early afternoon sun on the final stretch of Moraine- too early to go home. Okay- how about a bonus loop over to Elkwood on Amos and Wheeler! This was in the same superb condition as everything else we skied- fine snow, great tracks, and easy waxing with VR30. Despite the cold start and lack of the usual views on Tyrwhitt and Elk Pass- one of the better days on what has already been a very good xc season.

  119. PLPP was pretty busy today (but not as crazy as Ribbon Creek). Most lots nearly full, and lots of people on ski trails. And why not? It was a gorgeous day with fresh tracks on several trails.

    Parking volunteers reported between 60% and 90% of cars with passes

    • Thanks to the volunteers! I must confess, I forgot to put my pass on the dash (it was in the glove box), so they can add another one to the count! ?

  120. Well, I hate to be a Debbie downer, but we skied Sandy today and, well, maybe best to stay home. I saw that some trails had been groomed and some track set so threw skies, dog, and my beloved of 41 years into the car for our 20 minute drive to Sandy. Because of dog, we stuck to Logger’s and I can say without exaggeration that it was pretty bad. Oh, there were a few nice spots that reminded us of why we enjoy skiing, but not many. The rest, even after the valiant attempt to groom, was hard, icy, and filled with debris from wind storm only now pressed a little deeper into the snow making it even more treacherous. I took off my skies at one point to walk down a “hill” (did I mention we were on Logger’s) due to ice and no ability to snow plow as nothing for my skies to grab onto. Can’t even imagine what north side behind ranger station would be like. Only a death wish would motivate anyone to do Pine Ridge until we receive a substantial amount of snow. On the bright side, we were out in beautiful sunshine, got some fresh air, and exercised Bob (the dog) who never complains about the conditions!

    • We were out there, too, and tried Pine Ridge Loop first. Track-setting on slush froze to marbles, and boot-tracks (horse tracks at the bottom) made for a clattery, death-defying descent. You had a choice of inching down, going through the deeper snow on the side, or risking an icy rocket ride. Some of the boot tracks were stuck skiers. Tried Loggers next, and although the snow was better, it was skied off, boot-tracked and full of debris in parts. As we were leaving, hoards of multi-users were unloading. At Sandy McNabb there are not enough trails for them, so they tend not to stick to multi-use trails. Just sayin’. But a bad day of skiing is still better than a lot of things.

  121. Cascade Valley to Stony Creek (just past the end of the tracksetting) – great conditions. Tracks mostly in very good shape. Cold snow in the shade, especially on the way back. Lots of people out.

  122. Lake Louise Pipestone Loops:
    -15 C at 9:30 am / -9C at 3:00 pm. VR40 wax worked well all day. Early morning valley cloud lifted by 11:00 am to give warm sun in the meadows of West Pipestone. We skied all Pipestone trails today, Hector and Merlin twice both directions. Early track set of East Pipestone was worn by the many skiers but not washed out. Beware of a large snow bomb with wood on the trail to Mud Lake. Beyond Drummond, Pipestone tracks improved all around to Pipestone Pond. In the sun, Ma Sid’s couch at the Pond was the big draw making physical distancing a wee bit tricky. The chutes of Pipestone are well scraped but were not icy. Merlin tracks and hills are in great condition. Hector tracks were great except on two tight curves were they were washed out over very short distances. Lots of skiers today and the parking lot was filled but only one vehicle remained on access road at 3:30 pm. Overall a fantastic day and a super place to ski.
    Post Script: The line of vehicles leaving the TCH at Hwy 40 this morning was fantastic! Small wonder Ribbon Creek was busy.

  123. Confederation Golf Course is in great shape – maybe the best I have ever seen it. The classic tracks are good and the skate lane is flat and firm. The snow cover isn’t that deep so I hope it holds up to the warm weather in the Calgary forecast.

    Skied Canmore Nordic Centre yesterday and it is also in very good shape.

    Don

  124. SHADOW LAKE – Jan 9

    To Begin… Thanks Normand!
    Many were inspired by your report, but I chose this more traditional destination up Redearth Creek.
    Details in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/9gZsYrQm37wyR7nr6
    No parking issues, but this valley feels cold until you get up into the sun.

    • Great photos Chuck, as usual. Mount Ball seen from the bridge is always the ultimate shot to capture, especially with a blue sky.

    • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

      Lets hope the illegal fat head bikepirate gets busted by Parks Canada with the cameras along the trail. Pictures should be taken by skiers of such illegal bikepirates when possible and given to the wardens for evidence purposes.

      I wonder what happened to the no bike signs at the Shadow Lake trail junction. Even with no sign it is the responsibility of bikers to know where they can ride and where they can not ride. No bikes means no bikes period. No other interpretation period. No one should Trump the bike laws in Banff. Fines can reach $25,000 which just does not seem to be enough for some people to deter them. So mandatory community service working on fixing trails should be part of the law for law breakers. 30 days of hard labour working on trails and living in a tent with no bug dope should be suitable to deter these law breakers- although that would be an enjoyable good time vacation for any old hard core backpacker like me.

    • Thanks for the great pictures, Chuck! Great meeting you and hope to run into you again out on the trails!

  125. First ski for us at PLPP this season. -15C at Elk Pass trailhead and a stiff breeze, but we warmed up fast climbing the hill. Excellent tracksetting on the trails. Blueberry Hill was wonderful with hoar frost trees, the view of the lakes in the sun, yet a strong wind blowing. Descent was chilly and not that fast with the cold snow. Elk Pass was enveloped in the cloud, so we didn’t linger and double poled down Hydroline. Turning off at Fox Creek was a great choice. Good tracks on that fun narrow trail along the creek. Have to come back for more.

  126. Afternoon Ski Peter Lougheed from the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre.

    Crossed Road to Meadow – skied downhill (some pine needle debris but nothing sticked) …. Skied Up Lodgepole; Sunny and no debris. Excellent Trackset, good beginner/intermediate ~3km loop.

    Loop could have been made longer by doing Braille and the rest of Lodgepole towards William Watson Lodge.

  127. Early ski at Ribbon Creek
    Jamie and I skied early at Ribbon Creek, with three cars in the parking lot at 8 a.m. We went up Coal Mine. The descent was fast but controllable; I was pretty cautious and not too brave today. When I came around the corner near the old cabin, a big lynx ran across my path. I stopped. It stopped and looked at me. Jamie got to see it in the trees. What an awesome sight! I did not get a picture of it. We went down Ribbon Creek; a bit of soft snow helped the control issue but once again, I was not extremely brave. We both skied down the winding trail. We looped around Kovach, did an extra middle loop and along Terrace. I met many skiers going up the last hill as I descended. The track setting is beautiful! The parking lot was very full by 10:45 a.m. when we finished skiing! Some volunteers were checking people in as we left. We forgot to put out our pass this morning.

  128. Volunteering at Ribbon today. Stop in and say hello.
    Temperature is -16 with no wind, feels brisk out.

    • For those interested. We counted a little over 240 cars at Ribbon today. Many not counted as lot was full.

      Lot was full by about 11. Parking was bananas.

      If you want to do a late ski, spots start to open up past 2pm. Leaves you lots of time for a nice ski.

      Would say it was 4:1 multi user vs XC.

      Most XC had a pass or knew of program.

      Lots of happy people and furry friends out enjoying a beautiful day in the mountains.

  129. RED EARTH CREEK & GIBBON PASS, January 8

    Since I had to ski to the Shadow Lake lodge first, before the grind up Gibbon Pass, might as well talk about the GREAT conditions on Red Earth Creek. VR40 wax worked fine on the way up. Single track setting all the way to pretty much the front porch of the lodge! The ski track setting above the short hill past the lodge turn off is very good and fun to cruise along going in and out; the best I have seen in many years. As for the last 1 km to the lodge in the meadows: AWESOME. Overall, one of the absolute best skiing I had to the lodge from TCH1 in over 30 years. Get there, to see majestic Mount Ball dominating the skyline.

    Now the climb to Gibbon Pass from Red Earth Creek may have been too early for this time of the year, to take advantage of as much daylight. Once you get to the lodge, half of the 900 m elevation gain remain to be done in only 3 km. I normally wait till late January to attempt it. The trail breaking was mostly with 20-30 cm ski penetration; smooth at first on the summer hiking trail, which I lost about one third of the way up; fell pretty bad about it. But I persevered upward on a steep treed ridge, too far to the SE of the drainage where the summer trail merge with. Finally emerging in the alpine meadows of Gibbon Pass was satisfying. Blue sky and windless; so peaceful. Trail breaking in the meadows was about boot top. I could have spent an extra hour up there, but I was not keen to ski out in the dark so early in the year. See photos and comments.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/piURNPjDuizm1Ybu8

    • Hi Norm, what kind of skis were you using for the climb up gibbon? Purchased a pair of BC65 this year and have been wanting to give them a good test.

      Awesome report.

      • Thanks. Atomic BC, 57-54-57 mm wide and 205 Cm long. Too long for a steep descent through trees, but very good for long distance approach on machine or skier track setting, as well as off track touring.

  130. WBC at Sunset today.
    After getting my granddaughter set up at her XCBC jackrabbits class, I had time for a short loop of West Crystal-Loggers-East Crystal. Skiing conditions were quick and enjoyable, on smooth firm recent and older grooming, with very well defined tracks – except on Loggers, where they are a bit worn but still decent. VR45 grip wax performed well, and as expected picked up a small amount of “lumber” here and there in the tracks. Upper East Crystal was a highlight, with perfect tracksetting and clean fast snow!

  131. LAKE OHARA ROAD- Minus 13 at the parking lot this morning but minus 20 at the lake, yikes it was cold! Slow cold snow today, no grooming, thus not much for classic tracks. Mostly AT skiers since the last big snowfall, it appears. Great location if you are looking for a quieter wilderness trip and don’t mind following wobbly AT tracks but attention needed (if using classic skis) on the steep hills down since the AT trail is only about 1m wide. Anyone know if any future grooming is planned since both the lodge and Acc hut are now closed?

  132. Skogan Pass and Loop. Fast skiing on a freshly groomed track on a bluebird day. It was good.

  133. Mt Shark

    A short ski day on Mt Shark to Watridge, around part of the lake, and then a bit beyond. It looks like the whole network was done yesterday as MAAD pointed out. The grooming and tracksetting is very hard, and so made for pretty fast conditions. Temperature was -15 at 1400, humid, and no wind, so the tracks should maintain their consistency really nicely. Anyone heading out on them over the next few days should have a great time. The handful of people walking the trail were taking care to avoid the tracks, which was nice.

  134. Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Kananaskis Fire Lookout via Whiskey Jack. Was met this morning by very friendly parking volunteers at the Boulton Creek Parking Lot. Temperature was -11°C at around 11:30 am. Up Whiskey Jack, turned right at Pocaterra and plodded up to the Kananaskis Fire Lookout. What a view!! White-frosted evergreens and frozen Lower Kananaskis Lake in the background. Upper Kananaskis Lake was covered in low-hanging cloud. Due to the cold, my phone camera went back to sleep after attempting two measly little photos. I signed the guest log, and found my name from Jan 27 2013. Back down the north side to Pocaterra – then returned via Tyrwhitt-Elk Pass-Fox Creek and Moraine. Good track-set conditions for most of the way. Lookout trail (north side) was getting windswept and icy near the top. I didn’t even attempt the southern side. Fox Creek has single tracks and is in good shape (only minor pine needle debris); Moraine is mostly track-set, except for some small tricky areas. Mine was the last car in the parking lot upon returning. Temperature was -10°C but was dropping quickly.

  135. Skied Cascade Valley Jan 8. Arrived ~9:30; two lovely young wardens were checking for park passes. Three improvements to excellent Jan 8 report: 1) here is a 1k ski to the the signage for the division between Cascade & Bankhead. 2) the description of a “hill at the beginning is 1.7K with 110 metres of elevation. You might climb it okay, but it’s pretty adventuresome coming down.” is a bit of a misstatement. It is a steady incline rather than a hill. That e-gain over distance is fairly doable for most unless icy conditions. 3) Oppportunity for a nice sunny lunch spot w good views of peaks is ~1/4 k past the turnaround for the initial loop 6k (just past bridge).

    A different perspective is always welcome. I’m not sure if you are aware that I was referring to beginner skiers when I was talking about the hill at the beginning of the actual Cascade Valley trail. I use the criteria for when I was a beginner skier to give my advice to other beginner skiers, and there is no way I could have successfully come down that hill when I was a beginner. I don’t want to encourage beginners to get themselves into a situation that could result in an accident or injury. Perhaps the beginner skiers you know are much better skiers than I was. 🙂 1) It’s 750 metres to the Bankhead sign. -Bob

  136. PLPP – South
    Elk Pass parking lot was -18 at 9:30 and -10 at 3:30; wind blowing fairly strong all day. The persistent cloud in the Elk Valley side of Elk Pass stayed roughly in place all day, shading the southern reaches of Tyrwhitt and Elk Pass. The Blueberry side was still seeing sun, so we followed the couch-builder into the “upper Blueberry meadows”, which spur left a km or so before the viewpoint. A couple nice spots in there to get out of the wind and gather some rays until 12:30, 1-ish, before the cold shadow of Mt Fox encroaches. So back we scurried to the sunlit “lower Blueberry meadows”, where the latest track now meanders further south along in the west side glades before crossing and connecting the two meadow forks, and looping back to the Fork’N Meadow Lunching Log. Meadow travel is generally supportive, with a nice wind-sift / hoar-frost mixture that satisfyingly goes zzrunch zzrunch zzzrunch at these temps. Tracksetting, if that’s your thing, on Elk Pass and Fox Creek, is skookum.

  137. Banff Cascade fire road – excellent conditions right to the end of grooming (14.4 km out). There were not a lot of people out there today so it should be pretty good tomorrow.

  138. Skied Goat Creek today in great conditions. Starting from the top, there is no track setting until you reach the park sign – and some rocks on the first hill. But then the tracks are great. Today was really fast, but still some snow to control the crazy descent down to the creek. As I got closer to Banff, the tracks became less firm and many sections could use a re-set.
    Re the conversation about signs. I encountered a group with 2 skate skiers in PLPP last week. They pointed out that the common signs say ‘Cross country skiing only’. A few signs do say that the area is for classic skiers, but these aren’t common. The narrow trails aren’t fun on skate skis, and if the tracks are soft, just one skate skier can cause a lot of damage. Fortunately, the tracks were very firm that day. But there does seem to be a need for better signage.

  139. BILL MILNE

    -3 deg at noon, -1 at 2:00 pm. Grooming done on Jan 4 still in good shape. Skate lane from Ribbon to Golf Course getting a bit beat up, trackset is a bit worn but in good shape. South of the Golf Course conditions are better ( due to less traffic, or shadier trails?). It has obviously been above a little above freezing since the last trackset, but the trails are not icy – firm and a bit glazed in the track in places, but very enjoyable. VR 50 with a touch of VR55 was good.

  140. PLPP – Middle trails (Wheeler, Amos, Meadow, Wooley) – Trails in excellent condition. A skiff of snow after the last grooming has been well skied in, leaving very good tracks. The hills are firm but not overly so. There is some debris in the tracks, but with cold temperatures it shouldn’t be a problem with your kick wax. Temps were -13 at 11:00 warming to -8 at 1:30, amazingly close to what the Boulton Creek weather station was reporting (not always the case!). With a clear sky, it made for a wonderful sunny day of skiing.

    Thanks goes to the parking volunteers for being out there on a cool morning (yes, that’s you, John R)!

  141. Ribbon Creek

    This morning skied a loop from Ribbon Creek parking lot: Hidden, Ribbon Cr, Link, Aspen, Aspen/Kovach connector, Kovach, and Terrace. All in excellent recently groomed shape with good coverage but slow due to cold temperature. Nice corduroy for snow plowing the hills. -13C in 1/3 full parking lot at 9:30 AM, -10C at 12:30 PM in 80% full parking lot; however Ribbon Cr, Link and Aspen were around -20C and no sun.

  142. A BLUE bird day! -15C to start and -11C at 12:30PM. Blue wax and beautiful Alberta Blue sky.
    Peter Lougheed Provincial Park NORTH LOOP 15.2km. About 200m of ascent.
    Start at Pocaterra Parking
    Cross road on Lodgepole
    Right onto Sinclair
    Right when meets Lodgepole
    Follow Lodgepole to right
    Stay on Lodgepole to Elkwood Parking (including road crossing)
    South to connect onto Wheeler
    Turn left onto Amos (1.0 km from Boulton parking lot areas)
    Right onto Lynx
    Turn left onto Pocaterra
    Ski ComeAlong and RollyRoad to Pocaterra Parking Lot.
    Trackset in good used condition except for Rolly Road which has skier set track.
    Fun and thoroughly enjoyable. Lynx is my favourite.

    • Hi Buck, Did the some of the same and saw you on Lynx. Yes it was a beautiful day albeit a tad chilly. The thermometer at the Pocaterra Hut read -17 at 10. Did Packers and had a swift descent on Pocaterra.

  143. Bragg Creek @ 10am was -16C and green wax worked well. We did East Crystal to Sundog, conditions were pretty good considering the chinook. Not icey, definitely some pine needles though. Wasn’t very busy while we were there.

  144. Good Morning,

    It is -19 degrees Celsius in Peter Lougheed Provincial park.
    Looks like its going to be a blue bird day.

    MK

  145. MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

    WATRIDGE LAKE – SPRAY LAKES WEST TRAIL

    Skate Skiers Take Note

    The grooming/ tracksetting crew was out today laying sweet corduroy and tracks throughout the Mount Shark trails and the Watridge Lake Trail system. Excellent ski conditions to the Spray River Bridge. Such nice straight tracks to enjoy.

    From the Spray River Bridge to the Spray Lakes West trail system it is excellent skier tracked skiing. I took the second exit and broke trail towards the mid Spray River. I decided to check out various trails on the west side of the Spray River and ended up in several old burn blow downs. Eventually I took a light bush whacking route near the shore of Spray River and the reservoir to the bridge with the impressive canyon upstream. Off trail travel was generally easy to moderate difficulty with generally less than boot top ski penetration. I never did hit the mid Spray River as planned. On the way back I followed the road up valley of the bridge. After about 500 meters I came across 3 fallen trees that I decided not to go over, fearing more after. I reversed course and followed my track back along the reservoir and river shores, enjoying pinkish snow after the sun went down.

    The routes I took where rather impressive blue sky scenery. In one particular area along Spray Reservoir, there were very nice 360 degree views of a number of mountains. This was a great trail breaking ski with great views. Skied out at night to twinkling hoar frost on the snow which was reflecting off of my head lamp.

  146. Lake O’Hara fire road, not track set. Cold -15 with a fresh layer of snow, made for a wobbly slow ski up and slow ski down. Wait for the much needed tracksetting.

  147. Cascade Valley
    Got there a little after 2, just as the groomer was finishing up. What a treat! Brand new double trackset to the river and single trackset beyond that. I only went as far as the campground so I don’t know how far the tracksetting went beyond that. Minus 6 at the parking lot and -14 at the campground.

  148. Pipestone parking lot was jammed packed (still not ploughed) @ 12 noon with overflow on Slate Rd, skied the perimeter trails counter clockwise to Mud Lake, visited with Kassy and humans a couple of times, second time at the couch photo opp where Jip shared her lunch, what a good dog! Awesome tails on a really beautiful day, walked over the highway and skied back to LL village for refreshments, my ride home and time to reflect on our good fortune 🙂

  149. Redearth Creek – very nice fresh grooming (although a little wobbly in places). It’s groomed all the way to Shadow Lake lodge, although past the warden cabin the track is fairly rough and very narrow. Met the groomers on snowmobiles coming down from the lodge. There was a skier set track going to shadow lake but I only followed it to the end of the meadow by the lodge. Mt Ball and Copper Mountain stole the show today. Fresh wolf tracks. Beautiful but cold bluebird day, especially in the shady valley.

  150. Castle Lookout towards Baker Creek: Gorgeous day out there and warmed to -6 as stated on Weather Network. Snow abundant; no sign of groomers. Saw 6 happy people all day and one even happier dog. Anyone know why they are not grooming through the usual loops in Protection Mountain-it is one of the prettiest parts of the whole ski, besides the top of the two “humps”? No sign of the moose’s.

  151. Ribbon Creek south towards the hotels – entire network plus Ribbon trail CW and Hidden to Nakiska. Snow conditions are pretty good and grooming is recent. Unfortunately there is a fair bit of damage due to walkers in places. Mostly the damage is in the middle between the set tracks (as mentioned by Jean-Francois. It would only be an issue on the gentle downhills for skiers that want to use the middle to slow down. This was most pronounced on the little hills above the big one heading south from Ribbon parking. The ride down the middle would be pretty bumpy. Signage for appropriate use is a little better than last year but still ambiguous in places where the stated usage is sometimes a function of which end of the trail one enters. Still, in a couple of cases the signage was really clear but the sense of entitlement that some walkers have won out anyway. I skied by one of my old time favourites, Coal Mine and saw that it had a little bit of grooming (looked like 2 passes of the narrow grooming for fat bike trails). It would sure be nice if that one could get regular grooming. It has the best viewpoint in this part of the trail network.

  152. CNC 10:00 -9 VR 45 over top of VR 50. We always wax up one level of wax at CNC due to the number of skiers and the hardness of the track setting. Skied out Banff Trail onto Olympic and up Coyote and King of Sweden We worked our way down from Rundle, Wolverine and out on Silvertip to the North end of the system Grooming was either new or a day or two old, the whole width of the trails were groomed. We returned via Banff Trail with lots of arm strong skiing due to the downhill snow plowing we had done coming off Rundle and skiing Silvertip, stripping off our wax. Need to iron in our base wax next time. Trails weren’t busy but were being used even further out. Met quite a few skiers, parents with pulks on the return from the meadow.
    Parking lots were 1/2 full when we left at noon.

    • Skied the same as you today but I switched skis for the way home. Wax wears off on inside edge so rather than rewax, switch.

  153. Today we did, from the Ribbon Creek Parking lot, Bill Milne to Evan-Thomas parking lot, continuing on Evan Thomas to Wedge Connector and back to Bill Milne and the Ribbon Creek parking lot, starting at 11 AM it was about -4C, on some section of Wedge connector got down to -10C, and back and the Ribbon Creek parking lot was ~2C. Snow/tracks were excellent on the Bill Milne trails, some needles on the Evan Thomas, and a bit less on the Wedge Connector, overall excellent day with blue skies, used Swix V40, worked well.

  154. PLPP South Trails
    Encouraged by the lure of fresh tracksetting, we parked at Boulton, and skied to Elk Pass via Moraine, Fox, and the Elk Pass trail. Fabulous conditions! From Elk Pass we skied nearly 4Km north on Tyrwhitt, to the high point of that trail. Tyrwhitt was decently skier trackset in some 5-10cm of fresh snow. We returned by the same route, enjoying some fast downhill gliding, especially on sections of the Elk Pass trail. Fox and Moraine were as nice as they ever get! Total bluebird day, no wind, -15C to start at 9:45am; -5C when we finished 4.5 hrs later. Quite a few happy skiers out there.

    • Nice to see you and your group today Ray. Forgot to say happy new year!
      Fox creek: a moose had stumbled along a portion at the north end, in and out of the track, but no significant issue. Doesn’t seem to like bridges, but got himself a soaker as a result, then right back into the track!

  155. FAIRVIEW – Jan 7

    Beautiful conditions on a beautiful day in a beautiful place!
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/d3bAWAaqYjnpobTK6
    Temperatures of around minus 10 required a change from my favourite kick wax!

  156. Skogan Pass Area / Kananaskis Village
    We parked at Nakiska (-9C at 9:00am) and skied Sunburst, High Level, Skogan Loop (CCW), Hidden, Kovach (CCW), Terrace and back on Hidden.
    All these trails have been groomed recently and the tracks are in great shape. There are a few areas with a bit of dirt but nothing too serious.
    While on Kovach I noticed many tracks from walkers (tracks untouched) and met a group of 6 on the downhill towards Aspen spread over the width of the trail. I stopped to let them know that they should not be on Kovach as it’s a skier only trail, thanking them for not trashing the tracks but still creating many deep divots that can be hazards for skiers. I suggested they should buy a day pass to help with the grooming but they did not seem too keen to do so…May be there should be more yellow signs “skier only” at some junctions.

  157. I can second the comments on Confederation Golf Course. It’s in good shape, and snow farmers were moving a lot of snow last night. I like the atmosphere at Confed at night. The reduced festival of lights is still festive and the east end of the park is not as crowded as it has been in other years. Lots of skiers with headlamps were out. A fast line of skate skiers with headlamps in the dark is an impressive and beautiful sight (who knew?).
    Don

    • Agreed. Best conditions I’ve ever seen over all the years I’ve been Xc skiing there. Classic tracks looked decent today and seemed to be holding up well. I skated every segment (both ways, sometimes a few times) mid afternoon in the glorious sunshine. Much much quieter on weekday afternoons.
      Kudos and thanks again to everyone involved with the trails there from the city, to golf course folks, to volunteers, parking lot snow removal, and everyone else!
      Lastly… please park respectfully of others! No big vehicle distancing required especially during the busier hours and days. Thanks!

      • Confed is 100% run and funded by Foothills Nordic including plowing the lot, potties and of course grooming. Trail fees from Foothills, other clubs and trail fee donations from everyone as well as hundreds of Volunteer hours is what makes it possible. It has been crazy busy there and glad that everyone is enjoying the trails. Visit foothillsnordic.ca if you like to contribute.

  158. Confederation Golf Course

    Still great conditions on my ski yesterday afternoon. The tracks are still in great shape, and some snow farming has maintained the snow cover. Thanks to the volunteers for creating this great facility in the city.

  159. Skogan Pass , Sunburst, High Line trails.
    Snow temp @ 10:30 am -4 C
    Great grooming and track setting!
    Get on it while the goings good.

    • Do you think its possible to go in the trackset with 80mm (telemark) ski’s, Thanks for the report!

      • Absolutely not! The track width at the base of the track is 70mm, so your 80mm skis are 10mm too wide assuming the 80mm refers to the maximum width of the skis. But since you call them “telemark” skis, the 80mm may refer to the width of the skis’ waist, which is the narrowest part of the ski. If so, the widest part of the ski could be 100mm or more. In practice, a maximum ski width of 65mm or less is required for skis to run properly in the tracks and particularly around curves. Using skis too wide for a track not only slows you down, it also ruins the track by gouging out the sidewalls of the track. If your skis are too wide for the track, it’s best for you and other users to ski next to the tracks. I often enjoyably ski Skogan Pass (and other trails) skiing next to the tracks on my 89mm maximum width light touring skis.

      • Track width is 60-70 mm at base. I’ve measured tracks set by Pisten Bullys at both the Nordic Centre and PLPP, and it is closer to 60 than 70 mm. So I second everything Mike W wrote below. Heavy usage widens the tracks and makes then “wobblier”, not good when descending at higher speeds. Good example of this are the long downhill stretches on Moraine Lake Road.

  160. WBC groomed trail tour. East Crystal / Sundog / West Crystal / Moose Connector / Mountain Road. These places with grooming were okay to ski on (with waxless metal edged skis). There is still a fair bit of tree debris in places which wax ski users would find annoying. West Crystal and Moose Connector were also trackset and in much better shape. It is amazing what the grooming crew is able to accomplish. There were lots of walkers out on the ski trails today. On fresh grooming the divots were 5 to 10 cm deep. Perhaps the blue ski trail signs need to be replaced with the more obvious yellow “skier only” signs. I would certainly volunteer to put those up. I tried a couple of not yet groomed trails, Mountain View West up the big hill from the south and Moose Loop. Mountain View West (hill) was decent with no debris but a bit of softening in the sun exposed places. Moose Loop was not great. I gave up there pretty quick.

  161. BOULTON-FOX-ELK PASS-TYRWHITT-WHISKEY: Lots of wonderful snow out there. Fox in excellent condition. A bit of sticking with purple/blue swix wax near Elk Pass, but Tyrwhitt had drier snow so not so sticky. We saw a fox jogging down the trail towards us on Tyrwhitt, we stepped aside and she passed us. We took a look at the tracks. Lots of snow when we skied down Whiskey. Some skiers were stopped in the middle of the trail chatting — please beware as the downhill skier may not be able to stop very well when you are not visible around the corner!! Boulton parking lot was mostly plowed out when we returned to the parking lot about 230pm. Saw a female moose on the side of the road, she was in excellent condition likely due to no calf at side this winter.

    • I know you guys are experienced skiers. You may recall that Bob has written several times the past years that it is better to ski that circuit clockwise: By ascending Whiskey Jack you avoid snowplowing and pushing snow down the steep S bends. You also avoid losing control and plowing into the uphill skiers you can’t see around the corner. I’ve often seen “human divots” at the S bend … By going up Whiskey jack and Tyrwhitt to Elk Pass you gradually gain altitude which you can then more enjoyably lose completing the circuit. Both the 24 and 42 km Cookie races go up Packers and Whiskey Jack rather than down. Bob, maybe you could dig up and repost that article from years ago.

  162. PIPESTONE and a little beyond – Jan 6

    Tracksetting occurred while we were there… but parking lot remains unplowed!
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/MJfzcf6XSpGkucNi7
    Happy Ukrainian Christmas Eve

    • Re: couch. I added to the existing one last time there, instead of putting a new one on the river. Not enough time, snow was not so cooperative.

  163. Mt Shark @ 9:30 am -2 and warmed to -1. Occasional new snow in mini squalls hampered the waxing job, but we switched to different waxes (Ski Go -1 to +3) with some success. Managed to ski to top of the big hill down to Spray Bridge. Tempted to do 5 km Rec Loop but would have been a workout breaking trail. Picked up loops at #13 to #26 back to car. Upper parking lot of impeccably cleared just before our arrival.

  164. Shaganappi

    Icy debris filled tracks at Shag this morning.

    I managed some kick with V60 Red Silver Swix.

    Good for some fresh air. Lots of parking available.

  165. Its -4 degrees at the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre this morning.

    • Is there any way to know what lots are plowed when, what isn’t plowed, or what the normal order of lot plowing is, to assist deciding where and when to go?

      • Great Question! I wonder the same!

      • All plowing is done on a priority basis so the lots get done as soon they can. There is no consistent order that the lots get done in, as far as I’m aware, and no way to get updates on what’s been plowed.

        • Excellent. Sounds like a simple communication issue, similar to grooming info. Road conditions are reported via 511 Alberta. Kananaskis he ooming reported by grooming staff on line. Parking is the missing piece, in the context of a user fee parking pass system to fund grooming in lieu of general tax revenue funding. Who do I talk to so snow plow shift report info gets shared with grooming staff who provide the updates (one possible solution)?

  166. Ribbon Creek: Skied up the Ribbon creek ski trail and then Ribbon creek proper, down link and Kovach yesterday with my dog. The fresh grooming was lovely. Snow conditions were good early season with thin spots in places. The only problematic spot was a rock right in the middle of the hill going down to the bridge over the creek where you essentially turn from Ribbon to Link. Glorious day to be skiing!

  167. Confederation Golf Course, 5 Jan 21 & East Village
    I have been skiing at Confederation for the last few days and especially with the fantastic recent grooming, it is great for those who don’t have time to go further afield. Small benefit to not having the Christmas lights up there this year – the trails are nowhere near as tramped down as in previous years. Thank you to groomers and all those who respect the trails. I also took a crack at the East Village trail at Fort Calgary a few days back. It is also groomed and only 1k round-trip, but great for a quick whip-around if you live close by or want to practice on flatland.

  168. JAN 5 GOAT CREEK & SPRAY EAST RETURN, GOAT CREEK & SPRAY WEST RETURN

    I started at about 9am from the Goat Creek trailhead, along Goat Creek, Spray East and back. The temperature was in the -4C to -1C range for the trip. I was on skin skis. There were some strong wind gusts in the open area and the usual 3 or so rocks to avoid on the steep downhill at the start, and then boilerplate until you get to the Banff National Park boundary. Beyond the boundary the trackset is in great shape, but the descent to the “death bridge” is getting hard-packed and “dished”, so beware! There was just a skiff of fresh snow in the tracks. The good trackset continued all the way to the Spray East/West junction, where I saw the first person of the day at the shelter. As expected, the grooming and trackset on Spray East wasn’t as good, but was still better than usual. I passed 2 groups totalling about 10 people heading up the trail in the opposite direction. The uphill return trip to the Goat Creek trailhead was uneventful, and as usual a lot slower, taking about half again as much time compared to the outbound leg.

    After lunch and reapplying glide wax, I headed out again, but this time connecting to Spray West. The temperature was in the 0C to -4C range for the trip. Along Spray West the trackset was shallow and getting worn out, and tree debris on the trail for the last couple of km. Arrived back at my car just as it was getting dark. Another great ski day!

  169. PLPP 24k Cookie Race Route.

    Isabel and I had a marvellous ski under sunny skies and great conditions. Lynx, Amos, Wheeler all in pristine condition with fresh snow and fresh tracks. We were even treated to a great view of a magnificent male Moose with a huge rack of antlers in the woods near the bottom of Pocaterra on our return . Feel so lucky to be skiing in this beautiful place.

  170. It was a pleasure to meet Bob in person on Evan Thomas and my son, being as astute as he is said, “He just loves to ski”. Today was the best day of skiing I have had this season and one of the best in recent memory. Excellent conditions, great company, and a beautiful setting.

  171. Arrived at Boulton Creek parking lot circa 0950, first car in lot with one more arriving before I departed. Temperature in lot was -3C with 5cm overnight snow in the parking lot and a bit more up higher. Skied Whiskey Jack > Tyrwhitt > Elk Pass > Fox Creek > Moraine. Caught the best powder of the season coming down from Elk Pass, where the fresh corduroy and track set from December 31 were nothing but a distant memory (probably 30 cm has fallen since then?). Fox Creek and Moraine were a delightful way to end the day. 10 cars in the lot, -2C on departure. Wonderful day to be in the mountains.

  172. PLPP I skied from Elk Pass parking up the Elk Pass trail to the couch. My son was with me for his first trip in 17 years. It was good to have some help breaking trail (15 cm penetration when we were on it and about double that when we could not see it). We broke trail all the way to the hydro line having lunch at the the alternate couch. There was a good trail coming up from the Elk Lakes cabin so we took that back up to Elk Pass then down via Patterson. Logging on the BC side may have stopped for the time being. Grooming had only been done on lower Elk Pass and Hydro line. There was about 5 – 10 cm of fresh snow on that grooming so a lot more where it had not been groomed but the skier set trail up to Elk Pass was pretty good. The parking lot had not yet been plowed out so it would be a good idea to only enter it with a high clearance vehicle and winter tires.

  173. Conditions at Ribbon Creek were lovely today! Started off on the actual Ribbon Creek trail for the first time since before the 2013 flood. Holy COW, has that changed!! So thankful for the conditions, as that series of downhill S turns was pretty intimidating! Especially endeavouring to negotiate the last right turn and coming across four skiers across the width of the trail. Yikes!
    It’s been awhile since we have skied that area, the last couple of years being so amazing at Bragg. Lots of changes and also lots of signage for fat bike trails and snowshoe trails (some of which had not been touched it would appear) but the fat bikes made the decision to ride right in the middle of the two ski tracks on Terrace. While it IS a shared trail, there was so much room for them to be riding to the right.
    THANKS volunteers!

  174. Ribbon Creek: all the Skogan trails. I skied up Hidden and then to Skogan Pass, and did Skogan Loop on the way down as well as going over to the Hummingbird Plume lookout. Snow was sticky at first (+1) but got better after it clouded over. There’s a few cm of ungroomed snow on all the trails I skied after the first junction out of the Ribbon Creek parking lot.

  175. Fairview Circuit: early birds got the first tracks down Upper Tramline today. -11 at 10am. Saw no one on MLR or Fairview until we were comfortably on time for our outdoor lunch reservation at Ma Sid’s couch. Gorgeous spot with amazing views. Parking lots seemed half empty at Great Divide and MLR. No sign of the groomers on Fairview but evidence they had done #4 to the Lake. Lots of people enjoying skating on the lake. -5 back at the car. Would have been a perfect day to ski Townsite groomed on the 4th!

  176. Meadow and Wheeler trails were a delight this morning. Fresh snow and track set. Minus 6 or so when I started and minus 2 on the return two hours later.

  177. Pocaterra -> Whiskey Jack

    Arrived at the Pocaterra trailhead at about 0845 and there were 2 other cars in the parking lot. There was about 4 cm of fresh snow on the ground. Took Pocaterra to Lynx to Amos to Whisky Jack, and back by Pocaterra. The Pocaterra tracks are holding up well, but are slowly getting beaten down. Most of that loop hasn’t been groomed/trackset recently, so there’s anywhere from 10-15 cm of fresh snow to contend with. Whiskey was “interesting” to climb, as the fresh snow made for somewhat slick conditions on skin skies. All in all, though, great conditions, no wind, and temperatures just below 0C. About 30 cars in the lot when I left at 1300.

  178. Thanks Bob, for the track setting report early this morning. We parked at Ribbon Creek – parking volunteers already in position – and thoroughly enjoyed the perfect snow along Bill Milne to Wedge Pond. We then took the Connector to Evan-Thomas Creek, pausing to bask in the sun for a snack. The path up to the E-T fire road was in good shape and as we pushed off to glide down to the highway we passed Bob himself. The return to Ribbon was enjoyable with a following wind. The trail should still be great tomorrow. No idea what wax worked as temps were around and slightly above zero and we chose to use skin skis.

  179. Castle Junction to Baker Creek, plus the other Castle Junction trails.
    There was a few centimeters of fresh snow over skier-set tracks. I started early-ish at Castle Junction and got the first tracks of the day until the final kilometer before Baker Creek, where a couple skiers had began the trail in the opppsite direction. My return to Castle Junction was much quicker as more skiers packed down the fresh snow. The creek crossing at the Castle Lookout parking lot is getting a bit narrow and should probably be approached slowly. Other than the whole trail system being in need of some fresh grooming, conditions were great!

    • 3:30 – We were just finishing our ski and passed the groomer on his way out onto the trail heading west from Castle junction.

  180. Spray River west side to high point before Spray River bridge and return – What a delight to ski this route today. Warm temperatures(-3C. to 0C.) and cold snow made for some fast skiing on the downhills. The dusting of fresh snow on new track set was welcome, and only a few hundred meters near the parking lot had any needles to speak of. Most of us used fish scale skis, but two were on V45 wax. No one had any problems with their choice of ski. Not many people on the way out, but by the time we reached the junction with Spray East on our return, we saw many more folks out enjoying the perfect conditions.

  181. Jan4- Kananaskis Village pioneer tour- 50km covers a bit of ground suffice to say KVillage trails are superbly trackset. Go there & find out about the Kovach claim-to-fame. Don Gardner’s Hummingbird Plume was skier trackset in 15cm light powder which though slow up, safe for the screamer descent. Good fitness tester and just fine tracks above Ruthie’s. Upper Skogan is burried so don’t bother unless on 60mm+. Who/what was Skogan? Mr.Bill Milne & Sir Hugh Eva-Thomas trails weren’t (but are now!) trackset and -befitting the former gentleman, the BEST trail for beginners, leashed k9’s and skate skiers. Try Hidden Trail connecting 2 areas via the upper Ribbon Crk trail for some lively ‘Nakiska’ traversing.

    • Tue Jan 5: main ribbon creek trails
      Hidden/ribbon/kovak(lookout)/terrace. A handful of thin spots on the steep S turns of ribbon heading to the bridge to be mindful of, but easily managed along with a couple sticks. Snow seemed to stay cold even in the sun with the breeze despite being just above zero back at the car at 1pm. A couple of other thin spots lower down on terrace and link, but mostly good throughout. Most walkers, joggers, snow showers and fat bikers stayed out of the tracks, except 1 Walker heading to centennial ridge, but minimal damage (until they return?).

    • When I first starting working for Parks back in 1980 there was a water researcher named Denis Fisera. He was a really cool old Czech guy full of character. I met him one day on his old Alpine skidoo with no brakes way up on Skogan. I asked him where the name Skogan came from and of course he told me it was an ancient Czechoslovakian mythical beast half man half Troll.
      Years later I learned it was named by Don Gardner and is really just the wood in Norwegian (Skogen) . Some still say that word means a magical forest full of elves and trolls. Either way it’s still magical.

      • Jeff winner winner you get chicken dinner; Don Gardiner lived down the block from me in Elbow Park i thought he was a hippy a cool guy who together with Charlie Lock, not a cool guy, would do stuff in the mountains that no one else was doin including puttin the manuscript together for all that Skogen area trail system and Denis Fisera, at least to me was an interesting tough foreigner who talked the talk and probly walked the walk, Fisera Ridge is named after him I have skied in that area before Nakiska even got started so lots of memories.

        • I’ll add a little here Chupster . I think you just might be Charlie. Right about Skogan . Gardner spent a winter in Norway hence the norse skogan . Hummingbird plume is Mayan of the Yucatan. Gardner has done many things for sure.

          • O.T. good one ha ha i’m Charlie well i’ve been called a lota names but not that one anyway you want to talk local skiing history cause i started 6 decades ago on elbow park hill

  182. Maple Ridge Golf Course: We skied last night after work and the tracks are still only skier track set. We used VR60 and grip was reasonably good around the majority of the typical loop but there were definitely a number of places where the tracks were glazed over. The west leg and west side in general were full of pine needles, leaves and twigs. While the east side, along the ridge over Deerfoot, was reasonably good – grip was best along here. The tracks are getting a bit worn in places – I hope the city will start grooming and track setting on Tuesdays as per their website and previous years! Does anyone know for sure?

    • On the city of Calgary website, they state that they will start grooming and tracking mid January ??? Sigh….I’m still perplexed that they would have opened the gates, plowed the parking lot, put in porta potties (which they’ve never done since we have been skiing it the last four years) and then to not do anything re the trails???

      • If any Calgary skiers have a shovel and extra energy, please consider shovelling the snowed in parking areas on the north side of Shag golf course across from the Extendicare Nursing home. People from the apartment towers park there and prevent the grader from getting all the snow. The nursing home needs those street parking spots for staff, especially tomorrow (Jan 6) when they have extras there to give all residents the vaccine! And while you are skiing, stop and wave to the residents. They are watching you through their windows. My Mom says “look, look” when she sees a skier as I visit with her through the window/telephone.

  183. MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

    SPRAY RIVER TRACKSET TO SUNDANCE JUNCTION

    Parks Canada was out with the trackset equipment and grooming the skating lane today. Generally excellent skiing up to Goat Creek junction.

    Beyond the Goat Creek junction up to the Sundance trail junction it is well skier packed with a couple of centimeters of new snow in the skier track. The skier track was pretty nice and straight and wide. My ski trip up the upper Spray River was cut short at the creek beyond the junction. It was not crossable on skis due to high water. This is the first time in decades that I could not cross this creek with my skis on. I headed up the Sundance trail but was blocked a few hundred meters up by fallen trees.

    I turned back and decided to go part way up Goat Creek to ski some hills. The snow was moderate speed and excellent skiing for a couple of kilometers past the bridge.

    Coming back to the Banff Springs Hotel area at night the skate skiing was nice and soft and the snow speed was moderate. I have now skied 14 days using the same Swix 30 -5 to -15c old snow wax without using anything else and it performed well again today. The snow consistency has been superb this season.

  184. Castle Lookout to Baker Creek return: – 10 at 10:40 am. Saw hardly anyone until top of first “camel hump”. One area of water open on a little dip after the “tree tunnel” which I marked with orange flagging. Was hoping to encounter the groomer which often happens when wanting to unload cookies in my pack! Was trying out new booties so was glad tracks were well worn with lovely soft snow. I find the new longer stretch along the railway tracks no where near as nice as the trail through Protection Mountain Campground, so skied it on the way back. Two moose were spotted in there (from the railway tracks trail) but no sighting for me skiing through. Generally it seems people like to start at Baker Creek, but I find the most scenic part is starting from Castle L/O. Anyone know why the trail is not following thru the campground this year? No sign of any work trucks.

    • Thanks for the tip about starting at Castle L/O. We skied the trail for the first time on Sunday, starting out from Baker Creek, and only went as far as just past campground as we started out later in the day. Easy going but not much to look at. We did detour into campground on return trip but didn’t venture too far on that side for fear of losing light before we got back to the car.

  185. Kananaskis village -Terrace to Bill Milne to wedge pond and back. Wind blown and a bit wobbly tracks, but still an enjoyable day out.

  186. Mon Jan 4: elk pass.
    Ah, nothing beats a weekday non-holiday ski. Parking lot unplowed in morning, and still unplowed at end of day. Got stuck on the way in and on the way out (slushy junk). Nothing a bit of back and forth couldn’t solve, and didn’t have to break out the metal folding traction devices. But glad I wasn’t the last car in the lot. Wobbly Skier set track throughout. The best “ungroomed” grooming of the day was fox creek on return with an excellent track compared to elk. But not to worry, when I popped back out to elk pass trail, fresh corduroy for the final stretch!

  187. HEALY & BREWSTER CREEK to Bw10 campground past SUNDANCE LODGE – Jan 4

    Thanks to all those who have previously broken trail up here, I could just take pictures!
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/PWftJbyawgGaVFEH7
    Nice to see Frank & Leslie who were smokin’ fast on the way back!

  188. Skied CNC late morning and early afternoon. Conditions on Banff and Meadow View trails were sublime. I returned on Bow trail, which was softer and slower and had more debris (needles and twigs) to contend with. All and all a great outing!

  189. Chuckley aand Karl

    Goat Creek Trail from Goat Creek to 10 km top of hill and back. Other than the first kilometre in the Provincial Park the snow was excellent and is completely groomed with a single trackset as of Noon today (Thank you Parks Canada). Only met one skier all morning! Temperature -6C at trailhead when -3C in Canmore at 8:45AM. Temperature held below -2C .

  190. For those that don’t want to travel to the mountains, or just have an hour to ski, Confederation Park is a great alternative. All the trails were trackset last night and thanks to some snow farming and grooming, they are in very good condition. A big THANK YOU to all the volunteers that have worked so hard to keep this facility in shape over the holidays.

  191. -10 degrees at the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre this morning.

  192. Lookout-Tyrwhitt- Sunday January 3

    Thanks to some suggestions here on Skier Bob- we were very happy with our route 🙂

    Skier Bob asked me to share my thoughts / experiences so here it is:

    I decided to try a new route and head out for a bigger ski with our 9 year old son. I should say though that he’s been cross country skiing since he was 2 and has already put 320+ km in this season with our family and training with the Nordic Ski team – so I probably wouldn’t recommend this trip typically for a child that young 🙂

    We had a bit of problems finding the parking lot for the trail head. I heard some others in the parking lot say the same thing- but when we did we were greeted by a friendly volunteer checking for parking passes ( we purchased ours last month).

    Although I have winter tires on our van- we sometimes have problems in the parking lots when there is a large fresh dump of snow like there was Saturday night/Sunday am. PLPP apparently got 15-20cm and I can say that it was even more in the higher elevations! After talking to other skiers I am going to carry kitty litter in my van and traction aids. I love the ski community 🙂

    We headed out up Whiskey Jack and found it to be fairly gradual with a few parts that needed herringbone. Once we hit the lookout trail the tough slog began.

    I had fish scales and it was mom’s ski’s for the win today!!! My son had waxed with blue in the parking lot- but the deep, deep powder combined with the wax less skis had him slipping and sliding everywhere. We put 2 generous layers of purple on and that helped a lot. It looked like there was some snowed in tracks of someone ascending when we went up around 1pm. Encountered a few skiers coming down from the other direction and they were struggling with the powder on the downhill as well as us on the up. It was far to deep to snow plow- and one commented we all needed back country skis!

    The Lookout was BEAUTIFUL! definitely worth the climb. We layered up and enjoyed a surprise hot chocolate with marshmallows for a treat!

    On the advice of others we went BACK down the North side of Lookout ( the way we came up) and it was a crazy ( from all the powder) but fun ski down in the powder. My son wiped out and it’s the first time I’ve ever “lost” a ski. LOL!!!! After digging in the buried powder we found it (phew). Encountered few frozen binding issues and frozen water bottles- but all was good. The tracks coming up were ruined by all the downhillers trying to save their lives by staying upright in the deep powder 🙂

    Once at the junction we headed South on Tyrwhitt and it was beauuuuuutiful. A welcome flat compared to the black uphill of the lookout! Had another hot chocolate break at Elk pass and then started our fun descent. Hydroline was not groomed at all so the only option was Elk Pass that had some skiier set tracks on the flat and then it was a free for all on the down hills with tracks in the powder everywhere.

    We took Elk Pass all the way down to Fox Creek, then Boulton Creek. Boulton was done in headlamps as we started late but it was totally fine. Ironically Fox Creek and Boulton were some of our favorite trails because they were nestled in the trees and the trail was so narrow you felt like you were in another world.

    Made it back to the parking lot the only vehicle-and never got stuck.Phew!

    My apple watch said 22km, and it was about 5 hours with lot’s of hot chocolate stops, pack adjustments, finding ski’s in powder etc.

    Overall I’d say the fresh powder would have made the ski ( down especially) MUCH more difficult for beginner skiers and would not recommend this loop if it’s a lot of fresh powder and you are not comfortable on skis.

    Love this page- this community is the best!

    • Hi, I met you coming down from the lookout. (The first of 3 skiers. You asked me how much further it was and I told you it was maybe 10 min?) It was certainly a day to remember. My only regret was not bringing my backcounty nordic skis. Haha!

      • Hi Ken- yes we remember you guys! You had good news to tell us 🙂 LOL! Yep- I agree it was completely a back country ski day! But we lived to tell the story on skinnies- Phew!

        You guys were one of the only 2 out of 3 groups we saw ALL day up there!

        See you guys on the trails!

    • Wally MacNaughton

      Brilliant trip report! We talked to you (I think somewhere on Pocaterra) and were wondering how your trip was. Sounds like an adventure!

  193. CASCADE to past STONEY CREEK

    Quite sticky snow when I started at 9:30 am. Ended up scrapping all grip wax and it worked fine over freshly machine trackset to the Cascade River bridge. Then skier track only to Stoney Creek, with up to 15 cm of fresh snow over previous tracks. Skied another 2.5 km past the old bridge wreckage at Stoney Creek. Good thing there was an older ski track past Stoney Creek, as my light touring skis were sinking almost to the ground in places with some whoofing collapse. The crux of the day was a 2 hours long drive from Canmore to Calgary; stalled traffic starting a few km west of the exit for K-Country.

    • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

      Wow Normand.

      I broke trail up there in the last week and the whoooomfs in the snow pack were amazing. The sink-age of the snow during the whooomfs made it somewhat difficult to keep a straight trail when I decided to get off the wolf pack packed trail.

      To have lots of whoomfs occur after the trail is broken, even with 15 cm of new snow on top, is something else and a somewhat rare event in may experience.

      Sinking almost to the ground on your skis on my old trail blew me away. I would have figured the snow would have sintered better than that. I assume being a XC skier you don’t have a weight problem but perhaps a floatation problem!

      I used Rossignol BC 59 metal edge skis (total gross ski weight load about 175 lbs) and travel was good with an average of near boot top penetration on the hills but deeper on the flats. The further I skied the less the ski penetration.

      Thanks for rebreaking trail again up there as those who like to ski to the Cuthead warden cabin or Elk Trap need all the help they can get.

  194. Shaganappi Golf Course-2 skate spins around the complete golf course today to have a day of no car and walking to the trails. Still generally in good condition despite the mild temps and lack of snow in the city. There are definitely some bare spots in the usual areas-near parking lot by the club, along the condos on the west side and near tree covered areas. Easily avoidable though. Some of the steeper hills are getting pretty slick. All in all though still good snow coverage and the classic tracks look like they are holding up well. Thanks SNO team!

  195. Ribbon Creek-Skogan trails
    After seeing the report of fresh grooming on the Ribbon Creek-Skogan trails, I headed out there expecting pristine corduroy and clean, crisp tracks. Boy, was I ever disappointed. Everything was covered by 15 cm of fresh, soft powder. Despite those conditions, I persisted and did the Hidden-Skogan-HighLevel-Sunburst loop. There was lots of evidence of damage from skiers leaving deep tracks in the snow, especially on hills. Still, it turned out to be a great ski, despite the conditions.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/xojPiFpQkPdLZWmQ7

  196. Skogan Pass plus loop and Sunburst / Highlevel from Nakiska. There was about 15 cm of fresh snow in the parking lot but less higher up 5 – 10 I would guess. The conditions were quite good but by this afternoon it was getting pretty chewed up particularly lower down on the “screamer”. Up higher there was enough fresh snow that descending without snow plowing was feasible most of the time. Fortunately there were only a couple of walkers that got up as high as the Sunburst / Skogan junction.

  197. Another great day at PLPP!

    Headed out early and hit the Pocaterra Hut parking lot at 9:15 – might be a record for us! There was a lovely dump of fresh snow which totally filled in the tracks that were groomed last night. We skied Pocaterra to Whiskey Jack and while Pocaterra was a bit of a slog with the sticky snow, the downhill on Whiskey Jack was a ton of fun. Returned via Wheeler/Amos/Lynx/Pocaterra on much faster trails. Wasn’t as crowded as we expected and everyone seemed to be really enjoying the lovely conditions. We even had blue sky to really enhance the Narnia effect. Overall, a wonderful outing!

  198. CNC – soft and clean.

    Outer Ba-Bo-MV. Little congestion, not perfect, a bit slow with the fresh, but it was so nice to ski on soft snow after the too-hard-too-fast conditions recently at low elevation, and especially nice to ski on clean snow after seeing pics of the debacle at WBC and reading the caveats on Ribbon and PLPP websites.

  199. Redearth Creek to Shadow Lake Lodge. A fantastic ski in beautiful new snow, 5cm at trailhead, more like 15cm at the lodge. Quiet winter wonderland today with lots of snow goblins. We opted for light touring skis which worked very well with Rode light blue wax and followed a good skier track. Met the young trailbreakers at the lodge. The snow was deep and soft and made the steep hill descent manageable with skis on. Amazing!

  200. SPRAY RIVER to PARK BOUNDARY on GOAT CREEK and back – Jan 3

    Excellent conditions today on yesterday’s tracksetting, with beautiful temperatures.
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/3psyb5fyu1Wygj1dA
    Must have missed Carole, but met lots of other interesting people!

    • Hello Chuck,
      I might have been coming back between the first and second bridges as you were talking to the group of 5 from Canmore. It’s my guess, but I don’t know what you look like!

      • Yes Carole, that would have been me… chatting away with the delightful group of five.
        Now that you know what I look like (which I try to avoid), I hope you interrupt me the next time.

  201. CASCADE TO MEADOW: Snowing at 10 am until noon, groomer was out all morning smoothing out the 5cm or so of overnight snow. Lots of skiers out this morning which probably reduced the probability of snow sticking. Warm blue wax worked well. Stopped for snacks at the meadow past the campground, then turned home. Tracks back were surprisingly fast. Overall excellent conditions – so get out there!

  202. Spray River
    This was our choice for today and it turned out beautifully. We entered a bit of a blizzard at 9 a.m. at the Banff turnoff but the sky opened up as we started skiing. There were 3 – 4 cm of fresh snow on top of track setting from yesterday. I skied out from Banff to Goat Creek & back, breaking trail after the first bridge. The snow is snowy white with no debris on it. There was no wind. The trail is not as pristine as when I started skiing this morning, but it’s wonderful!

  203. Kananaskis Village.
    Parked at Nakiska and we broke trail on Hidden, Coal mine, Ribbon Creek, Link and Kovach in approximately 15cm of fresh snow. Back on Terrace there was a lot of foot traffic and we even met a few folks with dogs on leash (pretty sure they read Skier Bob’s update regarding dogs in Kananaskis Village). Skied back on Lower Skogan to reach Nakiska’s Bronze chair lift.
    Overall a great slow day, conditions will be amazing as soon as it will be groomed. Coal mine as not been groomed this year I think and the descent was a bit tricky when your track skis get stuck in 30cm + of snow.
    From Coal Mine we could see the effect of wind gusts in the valley with clouds of blowing snow.
    Swix V45 Violet was the best choice today with air temperature around -2C

  204. Did the Great Divide today starting at about 10. Had to break trail to start but they had everything track set by 11. Left at 1:30 and there was still room in the parking lot. Snow was slightly sticky, so be mindful of that when choosing your wax.

  205. Broke trail through 6-10cm of fresh snow up to the top of the lookout on the sunburst loop at Ribbon Creek. We started from Nakiska and skied up High Level, down Sunburst. Beautiful fluffy powder! Lots of people going up as we were descending. Trail will be a mess if it goes through a freeze melt cycle or the powder gets crunchy. For now it was glorious and we loved getting first tracks.

  206. CNC 9:30 -11:30 0C Parking lot was filling at 9:30 and overfull by 11:30. Skin skis.
    Skied out Banff Trail and hooked up onto Snowshoe Hare ,climbing up on Coyote and onto Meadowview. Noodled up onto Bruin and onto Wapiti. Out Wapiti to Rundle. Out Rundle to junction 31 returned via Meadowview through the middle of the meadow and back down Banff trail. Base is soft and good for skating and classic. We had a great ski. However, the Nordic centre trail info has become like downhill resorts where a 2cm dump is recorded as 10Cm The CNC calls a trail groomed but it only is 1/2 groomed IE on one side with the other side left alone. Meadow view at least has been groomed and trackset full width . The rest of the trails we skied, even Banff trail appear only to be either groomed or groomed and trackset, on one side only. Not sure of the policy here but we talked to a few of the regulars we know and they noticed this as well. Not a biggy but it cuts a trail’s width down and on downhill corners there is much more chance of conflict with other skiers. Think the CNC is going for quantity not quality.

  207. Highway 40. South Lane partially covered (but ploughed) and North Lane snow covered to Kananaskis Village. Beyond Kananaskis Village both lanes covered (ploughed once probably). The Parking lot in the Discovery Centre has not yet been ploughed (as of 10am) – will update when it is.

    • The real time and specific info that you and others at the discovery centre provide is excellent and immensely helpful, so thank you for helping us all to plan and prepare ourselves accordingly. Have fun skiing from the office!

  208. -5 degrees at the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre this morning. Lots of fresh snow, approximately 15-20cm.

  209. Sawmill Trails
    The Sawmill Trails in the Smith-Dcrrien Valley have not been groomed for XC skiing for decades, but they are well packed by snowshoers and are currently quite good for ski touring. These trails are well signed, easy to follow and avoid any avalanche terrain. While an intense Chinook was blowing in the foothills, it was just snowing lightly in the Sawmill area. Our tour included Snowdrift and Mt. Murray Viewpoint, portions of Frost Heave, the High Rockies Trail, Whiteout and Sawmill Loop. We connected those with the new Sinter trail (a bit tight and twisty in places) and Sun Cups. Lots of space in this parking lot!
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/xaox8yBKMPq3tf7b8

    • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

      In the “right” years there is good mountaineer skiing to be had from Sawmill in spring. It is a windy area up high so the snow must be plentiful and have enough moisture to stick. Look for the lows depressions to ski.

      All the Ski Nation chatter today has me pumped for the next sunny day of skiing or clear night.

  210. Emerald Lake: Started on a snow shoe recon around 10am, in hopes of finding Emerald River Trail. It started OK just off Hamilton Lake Trail but after a little over 1.5 km. the snowshoe track we followed was heading downhill towards the road. Plan B: Had a nice ski around the Alluvial Fan using the Tree Hugger for access. Snow was sticky but for a short flat ski, it did not matter too much. No wind all day. Light snow and even a peek of sunlight mid day, as Keith noted. Ma Sid mentioned “don’t leave home without the windshield washer in abundance”. Our Honda went directly to the Canmore Car Wash on route home. +3 at 3pm.

    • Cathy and Wally MacNaughton

      Sorry Helen, your snowshoe trail was forged by us Dec 29th with no obvious trail to follow. When we lost the trail near the lodge guest parking lot we jumped in our car and headed to the other end at the Kicking Horse River. We managed to make it about 2km up the trail from that end before turning around. Again no one had been up it for some time and although the trail was easier to discern the amount of snow and number of trees down made for slow going. We had a beautiful day and saw no one at either end but hope to attempt it again some time.

  211. I skate skied Bill Milne trail in Kananaskis today with 2 friends who were classic skiing. We arrived at 9:30am. Had the trail to ourselves on the way out towards Wedge Pond. The skate lane was slick from the wind and lots of debris on both the classic and skate section in places. Still enjoyable despite the windy conditions. Bill milne could use a touch up from the groomer but it’s thin in places so more snow first would be good. More snow dancing needed.

  212. Cascade Valley: great skiing with 3-4cm new, soft and clean snow, good tracks and sheltered from the wind. Lots of people enjoying the trail. Descending the hill was slow due to the warm temperatures (+2C) and snow sticking a bit to the skis, but still fun. Tracks down to Bankhead were blown in.

  213. PLPP Elkwood Parking: (-3C@09:50 / +2C@14:15) Three on waxless One on waxless & then waxable. Good conditions today for waxless skis. PLPP received 3 to 5 cm new snow overnight on north end trails. By days end all will be skier tracked judging from the number of people met today. Good trackset was found under the fresh snow on all trails skied. One pass by a skier and the game was on. Hills were very controllable with the fresh. First, skied Lodgepole, Sinclair, up Lodgepole and Meadow to K-Lakes trail. Some lost soul (or an idiot) tried to drive a truck down Meadow. Tracks were destroyed to the top of Meadow hill. From Discovery Centre skied Meadow, Amos, Wheeler and Lower Lake. Returned to Elkwood parking on Wheeler. I do prefer colder days and snow, but it was a very pleasant day after some of those -15C morning starts.

  214. 10 trip reports and related comments on the Home page – check it out for a full picture of the day

  215. Sat jan 2: lake Louise (Fairview/ lakeshore/telemark/Peyto/lower telemark and return). Wasn’t windy in the louise area, as is often the case close to divide when a warm pulse of snow comes through. Started out in -4 early in the morning and a hair below zero on return.

    There is now a couch on the Fairview trail at a nice meadow/viewpoint. When reasonably clear you can see Fairview, saddleback, temple and little temple, all from the safety of the couch. And as Aqua Toque pointed out, now with internet service! (Same for the pipestone pond couch too. Couch HQ, not so much). It will need bums in seats though to compact the expected new snow.

    Fairview got groomed and track set while I was there. I can’t recommend the lake shore trail toward end of lake, combination of shallow tracks with ice chunks, slush or solid ice and frozen boot prints. Fine for just buzzing across to the chateau to pick up the telemark trail, but perhaps not in the track, and definately not further down the lake. Leave that one for the hotel guests. Telemark, Peyto and lower telemark were not freshly groomed but very nice with the powder for descents. Didn’t see a soul on that side except at the Great divide trail. Crazy mayhem at the parking lot on return. Had to wait a while just to to back out! Dirty wet driving from Louise to Banff. Fill up your washer fluid first! And then the winds further east made for some challenges on the road with high traffic. Hopefully some normalcy next week. Scott lake hill was icy from the wind and blowing snow.

  216. Beautiful day but marginal to downright bad Chinook conditions at Sandy McNabb on both sides of the road. Insane wind on Pine Ridge so I didn’t stay up there for long. Decent conditions but lots of tree debris on Pine Ridge trail. I went up the north leg of Long Prairie loop, which is either snowdrifts or ice, and then along Death Valley (north of the loop) which was pleasant enough but too icy to ski properly (also some rocks). I also skied Loggers south of the road which had a lot of tree debris and collembolas. It’s hard to make a day at Sandy McNabb not enjoyable but I would wait for some more snow. Still very busy despite the crazy wind.

  217. Short lunch loop. Discovery Centre (Info Centre) down meadow and up lodgepole back to the info centre. VERY sticky and slow on lodgepole, meadow was a bit faster. Temp was -2 at the time of ski. Light flurries around 12pm. Trail was in good shape. One track on meadow had a dusting of snow, other track was skier packed.

  218. Let’s try this again since I posted this under December.

    Saturday: WBC – Iron Springs/Elbow loop north + south

    Conditions:
    – extremely windy!!
    – tree debris everywhere! Tracks are full of pine branches, cones, sticks, etc.
    – tracks were fast but the grooming is getting very icy and polished on the hills. Ski with care!
    – the loop has become full on multi-use. We saw a group of fat bikers, many hikers, and two trail runners (leaving divots down the centre of the grooming.)

    Unfortunately the blue ski signs are being interpreted as “skiers can use this trail” and not “only skiers should use this trail.”
    This loop would benefit from signage like they have at Kananaskis Village where they have placards at every junction right on the trail saying “no hiking, no biking, skiing only”

  219. Jan 1 Sunshine Road Healy Creek trailhead to Sundance Lodge and a bit beyond.
    There were only 3 other vehicles in the parking lot when we arrived at 10am, and we didn’t see anyone all day until we returned at about 4pm. The Healy Creek section had decent shallow tracksetting. We were on light touring skis and wanted to test out our kicker skins, so we took the shortcut horse trail on the way up. (It starts 1.3km from the trailhead, and has a sign warning you not to take it!) There are still many exposed rocks and boulders on the steeper sections. I didn’t have a problem with my full-width kicker skins, but my friend had “skinny” kicker skins that didn’t provide sufficient grip, resulting in backsliding and the skins periodically peeling off. The trail is narrow and herringboning or sidestepping is difficult, especially when you’re trying to manoeuvre around rocks at the same time. It’s 2.5km versus 4.7km on the regular trail. So you save about 2km, but the shortcut is probably no faster because of the difficulty of the trail and the time taken to put on and remove skins. But if you have skins, I’d recommend it as a nice alternative to the regular trail on the way up. Descending the trail would be dangerous.
    Once the shortcut rejoined the main trail, it was well-packed double skier-trackset with one cross-country / light touring track and one alpine touring track. There were periodic strong wind gusts bringing down needles and other tree debris onto the trail. The two creek crossings in the last 2.5km before Sundance Lodge were in good shape. The sun came out a bit during our lunch at Sundance Lodge. We continued beyond the Lodge following a single skier track, presumably “Make Alberta a Democracy” from Dec 24. There were also what looked like recent cougar tracks along the trail. About 1km beyond the Lodge the skier trackset headed toward the creek and abruptly stopped with what looked like an expertly executed kick turn back toward the Lodge. We followed the cougar tracks another 400m to the BW10 campground at the Fatigue Pass / Allenby Pass junction. We started toward Fatigue Pass, but the trail breaking was unpleasant due to a buried breakable crust layer, so we went toward Allenby Pass instead. After about 300m we decided to turn around and head back for second lunch at the Lodge. We returned to the parking lot via the “normal” trail. It was a great day reminiscent of the “good old days” of parking lots with lots of room and empty trails!

    • Mike great trip report however as you say It was a great day reminiscent of the “good old days” of parking lots with lots of room and empty trails, unfortunatley now you have opened the door for the Gorbys who will descend upon this trail like the plague that has arrived on every trail in Bob’s empire

      • One could debate the pros and cons of posting a report on a “secret” parking lot and trail, but that doesn’t apply in this case. My friend said the parking lot was packed a few days ago, so the lack of people yesterday was just an aberration, just as others have reported from time to time at other parking lots. The Brewster Creek trail has been reported several times here over the past couple of weeks which didn’t result in hordes of people descending (and ascending!) on it. It’s also listed on the Parks Canada trail reports. It’s rarely trackset, so I think that discourages a lot of people. If you head out there, I can’t vouch for how empty the parking lot will be, but I doubt there will be many people beyond a few km in on the trail. I think most people stick to the Healy Creek trail, which is not accessible from Banff this winter – https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/bulletins/F0395DDF-4FEA-4087-97E7-5CFDFC1AAB28.

        • Thanks for the report Mike, I am planning to go there tomorrow. I have been going to Sundance lodge every year since 2009 when I bought Chic Scott’s book and never saw a lots of traffic. You just saved me to write a trip report tomorrow evening!

    • Thank you Mike, enjoyed your post.

    • those were my tracks that headed towards the creek. thank you for acknowledging my expert kick turn skills 🙂

  220. Good Morning,

    It is -3 at the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre.

    MK

  221. MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

    REDEARTH CREEK – BEYOND SHADOW LAKE

    Friday afternoon/ night

    Excellent trackset skiing conditions up to the Shadow Lake turnoff. Coming back at night the right track going downhill was gone. Just a single trackset now. Skier Bob should dig that. Moderate speed snow with Swix -5c to -15c old snow blue wax and good grip. I have not changed my wax all season so far and I have had generally excellent results.

    I skied a few hundred meters beyond the warden cabin on the way in. Once I got to the new part of the trail that switch backs up the hill, I decided to turn around due to potential avalanche conditions. I heard a few whummps skiing in which is not a good sign. Excellent travel conditions beyond the warden cabin. Less than boot top ski penetration while breaking trail. Moderate speed and moderate trail breaking difficulty. I met a young lady on fat skis who was cruising up to Egypt Cabin and she was planning on returning at night. She seemed pretty pumped up and was moving rather quickly. Great to see such a hard core woman skier. Egypt seems to attract a number of them. The most hard core skiers I have seen over the years in the Egypt region have been women.

    I widened the trail going up to Shadow Lake Lodge in critical areas. Excellent snow base. Snowmobile packed to the Lodge. Moderate speed snow.

    From the Lodge to Shadow Lake there is a skier tracked trail. The temperature was about +1c with Chinook winds gusting up to 30 km.

    I broke trail and skied on the shore of Shadow Lake and then took the winter route up toward Ball Pass campground. I skied up roughly 1 km until it started to get somewhat dark. Trail breaking was easy to moderate difficulty with less than boot top ski penetration. Moderate speed trail breaking. Fantastic off trail skiing travel conditions for this time of year. Get up there and ski it up. It is fantastic scenery.

    • That’s strange. I was under the impression that the route from Redearth Creek to Egypt Lake has been impassible since the 2013 flood due to bridges being washed away and lots of deadfall.

      • Mike,
        After the 2013 flood, the original upper route on the east side of Pharaoh Creek was reinstituted… a very pleasant route.

        • Thanks, Chuck. A couple of weeks ago Parks told me the trail was very hard to find and follow unless a track was already in place. Many (pre-flood) years ago I did a loop starting at the Healy Pass Trailhead, over Healy Pass, to Egypt Lake, and out via Redearth Creek. I think I’ll first do an out-and-back exploratory trip toward Egypt from Redearth Creek before committing to a loop.

          • Mike,
            I can send you a GPS track of the Pharaoh East route if you provide a readable email address.
            Always a good idea to “do an out-and-back exploratory trip toward Egypt from Redearth Creek before committing to a loop”, especially as you will be breaking trail.

            • Thanks, Chuck. I’ve got a 4-year-old email address of yours that I’ll try. If I don’t hear back from you, I’ll post my email address here.

            • Hey Chuck,

              If you still have the GPS track for Healy, Egypt, Redearth, I’d love to have it.

              Thanks in advance and Happy 2021.

              Chip

          • MAKE ALBERTA A DEMOCRACY

            Howdy Mike,

            This is the time to ski up Pharaoh. The tracks the hard core lady laid should still be visible. That will be easier than following a GPS that may not work so well under snow covered trees.

            If the track gets buried, it is pretty hard to find a route up the new section of the trail. There are a number of switch backs.

            Part of the new trail is also very steep and potentially could slide a short distance- just enough to slam you into a tree full of punji sticks that could make your heart leak a bit. I heard a few whooomps on the main Redearth trail near the Shadow Lake junction when I skied off of it to widen it for snowmobilers. So I decided not to ski further up the Pharaoh trail in order to ensure I ski another day in the Great Canadian Rockies. If the trail was broken in, I would be been more tempted to ski it as it would have been easier and faster to move which reduces avalanche exposure. I really don’t like breaking trail on a potential avalanche slope when I fall through a supporting crust and sink up to my thighs in faceted snow or depth hoar.

            I asked the hard core young lady what she thought the avalanche conditions were and she said “low” without analyzing the snow conditions in the specific area. That does not meet avalanche safety standards. I hope she made it home with a smile on her face.

            • Thanks, MAAD. Although your report of someone skiing to Egypt and back was encouraging, I wasn’t going to rely on it, so Chuck’s GPS track will be helpful. For safety reasons, I’m unwilling to go that far into the backcountry on my own, and I’m looking for another sucker/masochist to join me.

  222. New Year’s Day Ski at West Bragg Creek. I arrived around 2 pm. The parking lot was busy, but not the circus that I’d expected. I had no trouble finding a good spot. Temperature was 0°C. Starting at Mountain Road, I skied counter-clockwise around Moose Loop – Mountain View – and West Crystal Line. The tracks were holding up very well most places. Some of the exposed hills on Mountain View had a few icy spots. I’d made a good decision to go counter-clockwise, which is to say going uphill on the steepest slopes rather than screaming down. Overall conditions were still good by the time I finished – despite the warmer temperatures. Happy New Year, everyone!

  223. Ribbon Creek-Wedge
    We started from the Evan-Thomas parking lot, where there was plenty of space. We started out on Evan-Thomas trail, which may have been roller-packed previously, but it was certainly well packed by snowshoers and hikers. The narrow trail-missing bridge bit to Wedge Connector was do-able on skis, but much safer just to walk. Wedge Connector was in great condition. Very nice grooming! Then we headed up Bill Milne to the Nakiska/Village road and doubled back to Evan-Thomas parking lot. The sheltered parts of Bill Milne were still in good shape, but the open meadow areas and the long straight corridor were alternatively scoured and drifted by the strong Chinook winds. https://photos.app.goo.gl/FPRcJ97zFWu8Jp9MA

  224. CASCADE FIRE ROAD – Parking lot about half full at 10:30 this morning. Winds picking up as we started out, with snow bombs coming off the trees on our way up the initial climb. Snow conditions quite good, a little bit “skier scraped” on the way down to the first bridge. Out to Stoney Creek the conditions were excellent. On our way back a few pine needles littered the trail, but not enough to affect our glide. Parking lot was bananas at 2 pm, even with Parks staff directing traffic. Most were there to skate on Minnewanka apparently.

  225. Pete (the 13th Troll)

    Mountain Trolls First Urban Ski Tour of 2021
    It being New Years Day got a very late start (blaming the “Reindeer Games” from the night before)… but made up for it with no commute. Skied out the back door at 10am and through North Glenmore Park into The Weaslehead. Skier-set tracks most of the way but got to cut a couple kilometers of new trail through the deep sugar powder… magical. Lots of people enjoying the park… but basically just us and the deer in the Weaslehead. A perfect blue wax day even when the sun came out mid-afternoon on the south facing slopes of the Black Bear escarpment. Saved the gas money for another day. We are truly blessed to live in such a wonderful area.

  226. Hi Bob, Sounds like you are looking for a report on Emerald Lake. We skied there on new years eve. Starting by the washrooms near the parking lot, it is a bit of a do-it-yourself proposition as you head clockwise towards the avalanche area. The trail is then good through the forest, but when you get to the beginning if the alluvial fan, things get messy for 750 meters or so from walkers and snowshoers. Eventually it improves, but could use a refresh. We then skied kicking horse trail (by Natural Bridge). It seemed recently trackset and was quite pleasant through to Otterhead where we turned back.

  227. Mt Shark. Jan 1, 11:00am – 2:30pm. Yellow loop – 10km, difficult.
    Trackset was crisp and clean with a few moose tracks and some snowfall from the trees. Companions were classic and skate skiing, and conditions for both were terrific. As Helen mentioned (she lapped us a few times) the winds were strong and the trees creaking nearby were worrisome. Parking lot had plenty of room, but the Spray Lake Road was in the worst condition I’ve ever driven on. Icy, rutted and rough with sparse and insufficient gravel. Even in my heavy Volvo with winter tires, there was slipping and snaking as we drove up in the morning. The return drive was smoother.
    Happy New Year!

  228. Mt Shark: first time ever parking in bigger parking lot. Skied loops with exception of 5 kms. Recreation Loop. That first initial loop is getter tougher every year. Had to add some warmer wax as Rode blue -2 to -6 was not working on all those climbs. Strong winds on arrival and once into trees, wondered if needed a helmet? Very few people skiing out to Watridge Lk. Saw lots of dogs having a fun day; how does one control two dogs on lease I will never know? Returned 3 hours later to the parking lot only to discover I had never closed my trunk. Nothing was taken, not even my Parking Pass or Asnes skis. Thank you, HONEST outdoor recreationists. You have redeemed my faith in human kind!!!! Stopped on route home, parking at little lot by one way bridge and skied the Spray Canal to the end. Have always wondered about that trail. Totally flat, skier and snowshoe tracked to end where there is a big red DANGER sign at 2.3 kms.

    One of the neatest sights I ever saw was at that canal. A cow moose and her calf were swimming across it. -Bob

  229. CASTLE LOOKOUT TO BAKER CREEK : Excellent snow all the way to Baker Creek, we even snowplowed down the hill near the road with ease. Nice cloudy day protected the snow. Only saw about 10 other skiers out. Lovely winter wonderland.

  230. Today at Peter lougheed I lost my sunglasses around top of whiskey jack or tyrwhitt. If anyone found them could you please leave a comment? Thanks!

  231. Fairview Loop-Lake Louise

    Happy New Year! We had a beautiful quiet ski on the Fairview loop today. The parking lot at the chateau was full when we arrived but luckily we got a spot at the Moraine lake parking lot just as someone was leaving. Moraine lake road was in excellent shape, and Fairview was skier set but fine. We were surprised just how quiet it was. We only met a handful of people along the way. Lake Louise was very busy. Lots of people wandering around the lake, and families with kids playing on the avalanche runouts under Mount Fairview. Yikes! They really need more signs warning of the avalanche danger along there. The ski back down to the parking lot on Tramline was quick.

  232. CNC. +1C 10:30 VR 55 Parking lots were nearly full.
    Skied out Banff and turned down onto Bow Trail (snow piles have been pushed out leaving a rolling descent ) Turned up onto Grey Wolf and returned via Banff Trail across the meadow on Coyote and back down on Banff Trail. The skating lanes are in need of grooming. The tracks are starting to get glazed and depending on how warm it got today and how much traffic, waxing may become trickier. The beauty of the Nordic Centre is that they groom the main trails often. It’s the lesser used trails further out that don’t get the same attention.

  233. LAKE O’HARA – January 1, 2021

    Nice cold snow, and very few skiers… but they were all very excited.
    Details available in the photo descriptions here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/6W6xsj6ycQGD7bvm6
    A nice way to complete my 12 days of Christmas… Skiing!

    • Thanks Chuck. Saw a picture of a cabin on inside, where is that? My son and I did this December 20 and everything was closed at the lake and after 7 k marker we had to set track.

      Roger

  234. PETER LOUGHEED PARK – started the year right with the ‘Skier Bob Special’*. It’s all in great shape, as long as you’re good with skier track set on Moraine. It also wasn’t very busy, even arriving at 11am on New Year’s Day. Highly recommended! End of trip report 😉

    (*For those not in the know, Skier Bob Special is parking at Boulton Creek and skiing Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, and Moraine)

  235. WBC (-7C at 9:30am)
    Skied East Crystal, Iron Spring / Creek , Iron Spring South (Groomed by Alberta Parks), Elbow, Loggers, Moose Connector, Mountain.
    Soft snow and overall good conditions even though more snow would be nice – Happy New Year / Bonne année everyone!

    PS: Crossed path with Skier Bob coming up on Iron Springs South!

    • Hey J-F, My friend Boomer Groomer Jeff groomed S Iron Springs- Elbow as a New Years present to all.

      Happy New Year! Groomer DNA

      • Hi Jeff,
        Indeed it was a great new year’s present, I love skiing this part of the trails and many thanks again for the fantastic job performed by all the groomers.
        Happy New Year to you and your family

  236. Happy New Year to all!
    Pipestone Blue Loop in Lake Louise area was superb this morning with air temperatures -8C to -4C. Snow coverage is now excellent with no rocks that we found. Can only get better with more snow coming tonight!

  237. Good Morning! Happy 2021 . It is -6 degrees C at the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre.

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