Trip Reports – Mar 2014

Last month, the trip reports were viewed over 9500 times. Skiers are anxious to know what you found on your skiing adventure.

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

Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

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  1. April 02. Skied Pipestone trail #20. Very mixed snow conditions and weather but overall quite enjoyable. -4C snow temp at 12:00 in parking lot. Started with -1/-5C blue, good grip/glide until started to warm towards 0C, then applied V45 violet and regained good grip. Later, changed up to red to obtain grip, 0C, icy track with falling snow. No clumping or icing occurred. Tracks still well structured and vary between fresh fine grained snow in shaded areas to glazed to icy in sun-exposed locations. Very fast on downhills, if stay in tracks you might struggle for balance due to changing glide, better to have one ski out for speed control and balance. In places the sun crust makes it challenging to maintain a controlled snowplow on descent. The conditions required constant adjustment of technique, but if you enjoy this sort of skiing, and we do, a fun time. Views were great, constantly changing light, cloud, blue ski, snow flurries and sunshine, different every time you looked up.

  2. Monday, three of us skied Castle Junction to Castle Lookout. Had to track through 6-8″ snow in open parts and less effort in the woods where a hard frozen crust had developed underneath. Bright beautiful day (not to forget sunglasses!) and barely anyone else around. Lots of animal tracks across the trail. This could be one of the last opportunities to enjoy this trail (and beyond to Baker Creek) as it is so open to the sun. First parking lot always better plowed than second.

  3. It is still March where I am — some people are way ahead of me! 🙂

    WBC (not)

    Having heard that there is a new trailhead near Allen Bill for the south end of the Elbow Trail, I thought I should check it out, especially with reports of new snow, etc. As it turned out, today was not the day to do this……..
    As so often of late, we left a cold, cloudy, wintery Calgary with our skis and high hopes, only to discover that as soon as we leave the city, the sun comes out and it gets quite warm. We found the new trailhead, which looked more like a construction zone, the only other vehicles in the muddy parking area being large earth-moving species. It was not very inviting, but still there was snow in the trees. We put our skis on, only to take them off after about 50 metres to climb a muddy hill. Snow resumed at the top of the hill, but did not last. The muddy patches ended shortly before the Fullerton Loop junction. It was very interesting to see the new landscape, at least.
    Above the junction, it was more like typical spring conditions in that area, and once properly in the trees we did encounter some delightful snow conditions, alternating with the icy/slushy sunny areas. Much of the Elbow Trail above the southernmost junction with Iron Pond was pretty good, with some lovely powdery sections, and we did have some quite enjoyable downhill runs.
    The return was okay until we got back to the new section, which had melted appreciably in the meantime. The worst was the last hill, where we had to remove our skis and squelch down the hill in ankle deep, disgustingly sticky mud, and then hike back to the very muddy parking area. Never have I seen so much mud on either ski trails or ski boots. Getting into the car was another adventure – blech!
    Unless it gets really cold and snows a *lot* more, the south end is seriously to be avoided!! For my unfortunate choice this afternoon, I will now spend the evening cleaning all the mud off my boots!! 😛

  4. Skied the Wedge connector the evening of March 30th. Lots of new snow, skier set on top of the tracks set late last week. Two of us skied on VR45 and two on waxless, both of which worked fine. It was SO pretty out – our twelve year old said it looked like Narnia.

    Surprisingly, we were the only ones in the parking lot and on the trail. We had a great time.

  5. AWESOME ski at West Bragg this morning, get out there now if you haven’t already – it was a winter wonderland and magical. We skied there Friday, too, and it was mixed conditions, rather spring-like; even though the air temps were chilly, the sun was working its magic and warming up the snow, which made it quite variable (cold, slush, etc.). On Friday, we did West Crystal, up Logger’s, and then down Sundog. Today, however, we just did a short tootle around Hostel Loop and had fresh tracks the whole way and that side of the trail network pretty much to ourselves. The toddler said “weeeeee!” in the Chariot going down the hills and the dog was ultra happy to have the trails more-or-less to herself (as were we!). When we got back to the parking lot, just before noon, it was getting quite busy, but not the busiest we’ve seen… so go, go now!!!

    • Like yourself I was out at WBC early this morning…actually 4th or 5th car in the lot which was lined up down the road by noon. Amazing deep fluffy snow everywhere as I ski-tracked about 7’ish km of trails over top of some fairly icy areas. First 2km… on the “skinny misery sticks” with V40 (for the fresh snow), didn’t like the kick/glide. Changed to my waxless… for 1km as they couldn’t/wouldn’t grip the light fluffy stuff… back to the waxables where VR45 with an extra 3″ kickzone front and back seemed to do the trick. Really wanted to try the Hostel Loop at the end but ran out of time and energy after ~25km.
      Had quite a few nice friendly chats w/ folks which I just love; some gave a polite-enough chin-thrust or grunt; but some folks just ignore the friendly greeting. Does anyone else find some folks are just either grumpy or impolite when given a friendly greeting? (ie “Sure is a great day to be out, isn’t it? How’s your ski day?”…. chirp chirp… silence…).

      • It’s not just you. Maybe we run into the same grumps on the trail? I often say hi to people who just look straight through you as if you’re ruining their day by being on the same trail. Like I say to my kids a smile costs nothing and means a lot. Oh well, different strokes I guess.

      • It is not just you. Sometimes I think people might not have heard my greeting, but other times there is no question. I keep telling myself they may be shy, not rude, or it is cultural perhaps. I don’t know, but it discourages me from being friendly because I guess I’m not thick skinned enough to always happily shrug it off. My problem, not theirs!

  6. -6 in Lake Louise, heavy snowfall overnight.

  7. Overnight, we’ve received 9 cm of cold, powdery snow at world headquarters of in Canmore. It’s still coming down quite heavily at 8:16 a.m. Check the webcams for road conditions. Temperature is -8.

    • Snow has stopped falling, sun is shining, brisk wind blowing at 9:52 a.m. Kenmore snow gauge shows a total accumulation of 11 cm.

  8. It was a beautiful day at Mount Shark, however skiing conditions not quite as lovely. it was about + 1 (snow temp -1.6) and snowing heavily when I arrived early afternoon, but by the time I’d waxed, and was at the trailhead, the sun was starting to poke through. It was amazing to be out there – skied most of yellow loop, tracks were good, but due to the warm temperature of the snow and from shade to sunny spots, waxing was a challenge (tried swix blue extra and violet), and the sticky snow was really irritating, and very hard to kick off, so I bailed back to the parking lot before completing the entire loop. Still an incredible day in Kananaskis, but sure wish it had been colder (some non-skiers may find my wish for winter to continue a bit longer offensive… I just want it to stay in the mountains a bit longer…. it can turn Spring in the city any time now…)

  9. We skied to Skogan Pass today from Ribbon Creek parking lot. The temperature at the car was +2C and the trails were slippery, so we chose our waxless skis. Conditions were excellent for making snowmen.

  10. Spray River West – Friday March 28th

    A very warm day in Banff yesterday and a very welcome break from the cold weather in Calgary! After leaving out intended route of Baker Creek (see previous post Large Grizzly Feeding), we headed into Banff. This trail was rated as fair/good, which it was. As usual on this trail, the snow got better the further away from Banff you were, but by 3:00 p.m. the trail was deteriorating underneath our skis. The base was very icy so the poles didn’t penetrate very well, and the snow crumbled & squeaked under our skis, but it was a gorgeous day with blue sky so it didn’t matter much. And our arms are much stronger now! I fear this may be the last weekend for this particular trail as the snow cover was very thin under the trees with actual dirt showing underneath.

  11. Large Male Grizzly Feeding – Protection Mtn, Bow Valley Parkway

    Yesterday (Friday March 28) we set out to do part of the Lake Louise Loppet route starting at Baker Creek. The trail was snowmobile groomed with a good foot of fresh snow from an overnight dump. As we were just heading down the trail, Parks Canada drove up and asked us where we were planning to ski. Hearing our destination to Castle Lookout & back, he informed us that the large male grizzly that came out of his den 2 weeks ago was unfortunately feeding on grain spilled from the trains passing through the valley. Mr Grizzly was right across the road at the train tracks from where the ski trail crosses the road at Protection Mountain. The rangers had just put up 2 small warning signs.
    We decided to pass on our intended route and drove to Banff to ski Spray West instead. We saw the bear on our way out and were glad we didn’t run into him and turn into ‘steak on skiis’. We warned a few other skiers and they all high tailed it out of there too. And yes, this is the bear that was shown on the video a few weeks ago. Here is the report from Parks Canada, and the ranger confirmed yesterday this is the same bear:

    “Bear 122, considered the dominant male in the park, made national headlines last year after he killed and ate a black bear by Sundance Canyon in August, then followed that feast up with an elk carcass at Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park”.

  12. A mixed bag of conditions this afternoon at West Bragg.
    Sundog and Elbow were very good, having been groomed midweek, with a few cm of new after that. I skied for a ways south of Iron Springs towards Allen Bill, after 1/2 km. reaching a point where the trackset was obliterated by the tracks of a large snowcat. (logging or firebreak activity?) Beyond that, staying in the center between the chewed up tracks gave OK skiing.
    Sun exposed areas were a bit glazed, but mostly the snow remained dry.
    Rode Viola Multigrade worked great.
    Loggers on the way back was another story- no recent grooming and lots of warm sun on 15 cm storm snow made conditions a bit challenging, as the wet chopped up snow was beginning to set up as the air cooled. Not highly recommended. I finished up on Crystal Line west which was in decent shape as it is more shaded.
    It looks like this weekend could wrap up what has been one the best seasons at West Bragg that I can remember, as grooming has ended and warm weather is in the forecast for next week. I’m going to miss my afterwork ski sessions. 🙁
    Hats off to the West Bragg volunteers for a great ski season!
    And don’t forget to buy one of the new Bragg Creek and area trail maps which help support the GBCTA.

  13. Thanks to Ray’s trip report, I got to “ditto” his great ski at PLPP yesterday. Bob knows how I love to break trail so up Whiskey Jack we went in 30 cms. on light snow. Happiness was meeting up with a few skiers descending Tyrwhitt so we only had to ski in 20 cms of skier tracked snow. From Elk Pass down and on the terrific tracksetting also on Fox and Moraine, we got back to the car with huge smiles on our faces.
    Thanks to Chuck’s trip report of yesterday, Baker Creek to Lookout was the route of choice. Initially in -7, it looked like the track had been groomed but not trackset. We got to the top of the first hill overlooking the river when we met up with the groomer who asked us if we’d seen the grizzly on the railway tracks. He has since put up 3 signs warning people of the grizzly’s wherabouts. He was unable to complete the tracksetting last night so we were delighted to enjoy the labours of his love the reminder of today’s ski. We noticed a few cars on the 1-A driving back and sure enough the grizz was seen very easily from the road, feeding on the tracks. Spring is here seeing this first sighting. p.s. Chuck-I absolutely LOVED your pics from Skoki/Fossil circuit, which my girlfriend and I did coming out from Skoki almost exactly a year ago. However we only started from Skoki, not the ski out. You are amazing!!!

  14. This week has been among the best skiing of the year. I enjoyed the new deep pow at Skogan on Saturday, then four hours of glorious sun (+6 degrees) and mushy corn at Nipika on Monday, and 25cm of new fluff (love that “floating” feeling on the downhills) at Bragg Creek yesterday. We are blessed with so much great skiing here.
    Anyone know if Pipestone has received any new snow?

  15. PLPP – checked the live grooming report early this am, and saw that Elk Pass, Blueberry, Hydroline, Fox and Moraine had been trackset overnight. Started at Elk Pass (-10C), skied up Fox and Elk, the up Blueberry where we had lunch in (almost) no wind at the picnic table. A pretty fast ski down, then up to Elk Pass, down Hydroline, and back to parking on the Elk Pass trail. Early on, there was 1-2cm of new snow over the great grooming. Skiing in near constant flurries and occasional sunshine, it was generally 3-4cm of fresh snow by the end of our ski, especially on Hydroline where we bucked a northerly headwind all the way down. A glance at Tyrwhitt and Lookout trails as we passed their junctions showed perhaps 20+cm of snow on those trails. Visually, today was a winter wonderland with so much new snow covering the trees. The few cm of fresh snow gave great control on the downhills – not super fast, but really fun. Temp -6C at 2pm when we finished.

  16. Today’s theme was “flying”: Started at WWL, with special blue wax, an air temperature of -8C and new track set that continued along Amos to the Lynx junction. Lynx had 1 cm of new snow over recent grooming and was excellent for the big hill. We followed Pocaterra to Packers junction and rode Packers ups and downs flying, on new trackset, to Amos. Over to Whiskey Jack where we added special violet wax with the warming air temperature softening the snow. From WJ/Pocaterra junction we flew back down to Lynx junction. With time to spare, we climbed back over Lynx to reach Pocaterra Hut via Lodgepole and Sinclair (more flying) by now in shirt sleeves. At 3:00 pm PH’s thermometer was reading +2C. Could these conditions last another 2 weeks?

  17. All together now – (Kananaskis) Rocky Mountain High…. PLPP that is. Beginning at Elkwood Parking all the way to Pocaterra Hut via Wheeler, Packers, Pocaterra, Whiskey Jack, a quick side trip on Lower Lake Trail, Amos, Lodgepole and Sinclair, the tracks were crisp and fast. I was singing Sunshine on my Shoulders all the way up Pocaterra Trail and Sweet, Sweet Surrender down Whiskyjack, which was perfect, even on the hairpin turn. Thanks to the weather gods, the track setters, and John Denver for an amazing 27 km. day with energy to spare at the end!

  18. Skied Terrace, along Kovach to Aspen, back to Terrace Link then to Kananaskis Village. Spring conditions but no snow sticking and good glide. Coverage is good with walkers, dogs and skate skiers marring the tracks in some places. Looks like a possible dump of new snow on the way to extend the ski season. All in all a great ski with nice warm weather.

  19. Monday March 24 Skied to the top of Elk Pass. Beautiful conditions with full sun and a lovely -7 or so. Nice snow with a few cms of fresh snow. Unfortunately on the way out a group of young boys pulling toboggans with snow shoes and backpacks ruined the tracks as well as the trail in general. Hopefully the groomer will be able to get out there soon to repair the tracks.

  20. A little over a week ago we were worried our March break skiing plans would be foiled – it’s turned out nicely after all. On our way out to Canmore with the kids, we skied a short loop around Skogan, down Ruthie’s, side-trip to Troll Falls, back along Hay Meadow. There was a light coating of fresh snow and, except for a 10 metre stretch of solid ice halfway along Skogan, the conditions were generally very good, particularly in light of the warm spell. The remnants of Purple on our skis worked fine for the 6 yr old skier pace!

    Around dinner time I popped over to the Nordic Centre for a quick skate ski – conditions were good to excellent, depending on the trail, and fast everywhere.

  21. I skied Sunburst / High Level / Skogan Loop and Pass today. It got up to about -5 in the afternoon. Conditions were quite good. Note that recent grooming only extends to the Sunburst / High Level loop. There is about 20 cm of new snow above that grooming but there have been enough skiers on it today to set it.

    • We skied up to Skogan Pass from Nakiska N parking.
      Rode Super blue worked the whole way. Great new snow!
      Skogan Pass and loop as noted was skier set. The pass loop was a struggle UP the steep bits and fast coming of the top. Hard to snowplow on touring skis with boot top snow so kamikaze DH was in order. 2.5 h up and 1h down!
      Yikes 🙂

  22. Saturday… early -18C start in PLPP from Visitor Center… finished midday-ish at about -8 or so. So gorgeous and beautiful out. Much as I love my summer sports sometimes skiing through a picture-postcard is breathtaking and impossible to compare. I can’t believe most of Calgarians will never experience this.

    Sunday… took kids for some DH at COP here in Calgary. Snow was surprisingly good and crowds about “average”. Saw at least a dozen hardy XC’ers plugging around their trails which seemed to be nicely trackset. Perhaps they had family doing DH there, but for an extra 30mins of driving and ZERO park fee (I think it’s about $20 or so) they could have had a taste of Bragg Creek sweetness. Methinks this week the WBC parking lots will be jammed full every evening after work… and CNC… given that sunset is 755pm (today anyways) and light enough to ski another 30mins after that. Hope the trails hold up.

  23. Lost: Sunglasses

    *cue the music* Oh, I lost my sunglasses…. on Blueberry Hill…. (so in case anyone finds them, feel free to email me at:

    Great ski today – up Lookout, along Tyrwhitt, and then a quick deek over to Blueberry Hill before returning Fox Creek to Elk Pass parking lot. We were skiing in the snow over tracks going up Lookout, but elsewhere it was either tracked (Tyrwhitt) or skier-tracked (Blueberry, etc). Glorious day with more sun than expected. Hope you all made it out!

  24. PLPP Sunday March 23.
    Winter is back on in Peter Lougheed Park. We skied the Elk Pass – Tyrwhitt loop counterclockwise from Boulton and had supreme conditions the entire way. About 3cm of fresh overnight and a steady -6º made waxing a breeze. Saw the sun for a while in the morning then low cloud with isolated flurries in the afternoon. At the top of Whiskey Jack we stripped our wax and tucked all the way to the car.

  25. West Bragg Creek

    We skied the WBC trails today, the first time in the last couple of years. we went along the Elbow, which had been well track set two days prior – still in a very good condition, then decided to return through Iron Springs – what a mistake :o( I didn’t even know what bad shape the trail was; loggers seem to plow the road and snow base is very thin – avoid it by all cost if you value your skis. I guess I was not paying attention to the posts here.
    Aside from the Iron Springs conditions disappointment, it was an awesome day, and WBC parking lot was at capacity when we were leaving.
    Air temp was -10, snow -6; Swix VR40 worked well.

  26. Glorious afternoon at West Bragg Creek!!

    The sun was brilliant, the snow was fantastic, and the trails surprisingly uncrowded for a glorious Saturday afternoon. It was much prettier than here in Calgary, and despite the strong sun the snow stayed nice and cold. A dusting of fresh powder over yesterday’s grooming was the icing on the cake 🙂

  27. With all the avalanche danger lately I dropped my plan to ski into elk lakes prov park on my own and decided to ski the 42 km cookie race route today. When I started at Pocaterra at 9am it was a pleasant -22c (not really that pleasant!) Pocaterra was freshly groomed along with come-a-long and lynx. I broke trail on old tracks once on Woolley. Same story for meadow and wheeler. Things started to warm up by the time I started climbing Whiskeyjack and I met a couple groups of skiers along the way. Had I bite to eat at the top of Whiskeyjack then continued along the beautiful Tyrwhitt trail to elk pass (skier set but such nice scenery!) After a tea break at elk pass it was a quick descent to fox creek junction. Elk pass trail was skier set and busy, busy. The new re-routed trail is great!. The new fox creek trail is great fun also (skier set). I was pleased how well it turned out after all the hard work by k country staff and volunteers (myself included!) after the flood. Moraine was as fun as always (skier set) then on to packers which was also skier set and a bit rough. Once at the Pocaterra junction I was relieved to finally hit a groomed and track set trail! A quick ski down Pocaterra brought me back to my start point! A great day of skiing! Amazing that Brian McKeever did this 42km route in 2 hours 20 min! Wow what an inspiring athlete!

  28. Skied pipestone today (March 22nd). Trail was in excellent shape. Counter clockwise was the direction of the day! Get out there.

  29. We skied Pipestone Friday evening and decided to return this morning (Saturday). Skied all the trails over the 2 days in both directions and pressed down any of the fresh snow still on the trails. The fresh snow over the recent track setting was not deteriorating the quality of the trails. Happy spring skiing everyone! 🙂

  30. Saturday 22 March
    Skied perfectly track-set trails at Kananaskis Village today. We parked at the almost empty Ribbon Creek Parking lot and and accessed Terrace Trail via a brand new bridge. The snow was in great condition, unfortunately I was not. The temperature change from -11C to -3C proved too much for my waxes and I was very slow. Good wildlife sightings, however; we saw two Bighorn rams licking salt on the highway, two elk beside the road, a moose just off the ski trail plus a not-so-wild Skier Bob himself!

  31. PLPP – skied the Pocaterra trail (and Come Along) from the hut to Lookout Jct today. A brisk -18C at 10am saw us start on excellent brand-new grooming. It was great to Packers Jct, but from there to Lookout Jct we skied ponderously on skier trackset in about 12cm of snow. We went part way up Lookout (ran out of time) where the more recent grooming was covered with about 5cm light new snow, making the descent of this section good fun. Then we retraced our tracks to the hut, slowly on the ungroomed section but nice and fast on the grooming. VR40 (blue wax) worked well all day. Lots of people on the trails. -5C at 2pm.

  32. Skied confederation golf course in Calgary today. Snow was thin but if you do not have time to go to the mountains it is a chance to enjoy the gift of winter.

  33. Just got back from an evening ski at Canmore Nordic Centre where snow conditions are suitable for wax, and the tracks were super fast. Temp was -11 with a stiff breeze but I’ll take this any day compared to the past couple weeks on waxless skis. I’ll try to get some photos on later. Did it ever feel good to be speeding along on waxable skis again!

  34. PLPP Lookout south side
    WOW the south side of the Lookout trail today was shall I say like backcountry powder skiing on skinny skis, firm recent packing with just the sweetest amount of dry snow on top making just THINKING of turns manifest. After the warm sticky then cold conditions what a treat, started early so waxing was not an issue used klister all day (just kidding) V45 was all that was needed, not a soul in site and as we luncheoned on caviar a helicopter came by with a delightful array of Indian food you know samosas, naan,paalak paneer,masala dhosa,shahi paneer and to top it off Indian rice pudding, you really should have been there. Perhaps it was just skiing on dry snow again that got my twisted mind dreaming. A fine day indeed , home to cat food on toast, its amazing how exercise and nature can make every day seem special.

  35. Anyone skied the West Bragg trails since the latest snowfall?

    With a little fresh snow last night, the Cascade Valley was the place to ski today.
    We enjoyed the warm sun, and cold temperatures. No grooming since last week, but as another local mentioned to us, the snow was light and easy to work with.
    Treat of the day…6 chirping robins!

  37. Despite a somewhat grizzly drive down hwy 40, my friend and I stopped in at WWL for a bite of lunch and cheered seeing Trywhitt and Elk Pass had just been trackset and Fox/Moraine the day prior. This circuit up Whiskey Jack, Trywhitt, Elk Pass, Fox, Moraine is The SKIER BOB SPECIAL and today it was, as they say in La Belle Suisse, FORMIDABLE! Similar conditions to Keith’s report, minus 3/4, blue 0 to -4 and light powder in the tracks. Only two other cars in Boulton parking lot. Anyone heading into Elk Lakes cabin this w/e should have one sweet time.

  38. Lake Louise: We set off from the Chateau parking lot on Fairview trail, with an air temperature of -5C, on blue wax (some on waxless skis), in a snow flurry that came and went all day. Fairview trail had been trackset overnight, but was covered with 4 cm of new snow. We were first tracks on Moraine Road and climbed a down track in new snow, setting up our own run out. At times the trackset was invisible, due to wind drifting, all but that faint shadow in the snow to guide us and the feel of our skis. The view from the turn-around was minimal in blowing snow, so we didn’t linger. Our tracks were excellent for the glide back. My blue wax worked well all day with some sticking late in the ski. Tramline back to the Village was better than last Tuesday with new snow covering “the tramping” and the ice along the Bow.
    It will be a new world tomorrow as it was still snowing when we left at 3:00 pm.

    Ideal conditions today, except for the lack of track-setting. Beautiful cold powdery snow. No need to use those slow waxless skis… enjoy the glide, and float.
    Tomorrow, the huge new Piston Bully will be addressing that. This weekend is also the last of the season that lunch is offered at the Lodge. To top it all off, now the days are long enough to enjoy a tour of the lake itself.
    So I think I know where you will be this weekend!

    • Do you recommend light touring skis with metal edges at this time on the fire road? Do you have to book in advance to get a lunch spot or just show up? Thanks Chuck for photos the past few weeks.

      • No metal edges required (those are only useful when icy) . Conditions are IDEAL. Take your waxable track skis and enjoy the powder snow.
        No reservations required for lunch at the lodge… just $15 (or relax in the Relais for free)!

  40. Mike fr Edmonton

    Has anyone done X-skiing at Panorama? Would be interested to know the latest conditions before a possible weekend trip.


    • Went to Panorama Dec 2011 and snow was not adequate at that time. Only trail we did was 5 kms. around the golf course. Here is a link on their website:
      Weather looks promising for w/e. Hope it is better snow than my too early in season experience. The outdoor hot tub is magnificent!!!!

    • The trails there are fantastic with great views. I haven’t been since early January so I can’t comment firsthand on current conditions. I think it’s promising though. That’s my plan for tomorrow.

  41. Skate skied at Canmore Nordic Centre this afternoon. absolutely gorgeous and beautiful snow conditions for both skate and classic. Get out there and enjoy some great spring conditions and snow-capped mountain views!

    • ….I grumble under my breath with envy as a cold spring rain spatters on the window …
      But when I think of those of you getting out to enjoy your bluebird sky days in the Rockies, a smile comes to my face -)

  42. Pipestone Trails

    We drove into the parking lot this morning, got stuck in the deep snow, dug ourselves out and went to park elsewhere!! Carried our skis back and had much better luck skiing through the parking lot. We were surprised to find the trails freshly groomed, and we seemed to be the first to ski there. Conditions were nearly perfect, but the sun is getting very strong, and by early afternoon some sun-drenched areas were getting a bit slow and sticky. Thankfully there is a lot of shade on these trails.
    Skiing: highly recommended
    Parking: not so much……..

    Trackset overnight, temp. -9 C, easy waxing with special blue, soft, velvety snow on the trees, mountains, sunshine, swish of dog sleds gliding past, fresh, clean air. Thoughts turn to the innocents perished in avalanches. Enjoy this fleeting time in PERFECT conditions.

  44. Skied at Lake Louise today and can report that Spring skiing is here! The weekend snow was heavy and wet. New grooming last night / this morning set lovely tracks that were soft due to the heavy snow and the light grooming equipment. Hats off to the groomers though, because I heard Monday was a misery in the deep untracked snow. Skiing, for us, started on new track set, with an air temperature of -12C, in brilliant sunshine and no wind. The wind did pick up in an hour and was blowing great clouds of snow from the trees. Special blue wax worked well until mid afternoon and then it was all downhill. Moraine Lake road and the Great Divide trail were groomed and trackset early. Lower Telemark was groomed by mid-afternoon, while Upper Telemark and Peyto appeared to be ungroomed today.We skied to the Village from Moraine Lake road on the newly groomed and re-named “Tramped-line” trail. Several very uninformed pedestrians walked, up from the Bow River to Moraine Lake road, using the newly set ski tracks as their pathway. Unbelievable! The trails along the Bow offered very slithery skiing and rough conditions.
    All-in-all Lake Louise still offers good skiing in cold snow on the higher trails.
    Does anyone have any beta on the Pipestone Loops?

  45. Just had my best skate ski of the season at Canmore Nordic Centre this morning. Bow, Meadowview, Rundle, Banff trail all in excellent condition. Temp -4 at 9:30am and still cold when I left around 11:30. Every classic skier I saw was smiling so guessing the wax was working in the fresh tracksetting. Thought the season was coming to and end as last week nothing but pine needles and ice past the snowmaking, but hats off to the trail maintenance staff for making every snowfall count!

  46. Redearth minus 2 at 10 am. Great ski up to campground with 2 waxless skiers and me using 0 to -4 blue. About 3-4 cms. nice snow in the track groomed on 12th. More cars doing wheelies in parking lot than on the trail; saw two A/T skiers on our way down. Snow got a little challenging for all of us lower down with increasing criss-crossing to get to the parking lot body intact.

    • Did you notice signs of avalanche risk crossing the avalanche run out chute?
      Was there a heavy build up of snow in the area?.
      We are planning a trip this weekend.

      • I confess to not being as avalanche savvy as I should be. Was hoping to take a course in Banff Mar 10/11 but it was cancelled. There did not seem to be alot of snow when we crossed the little bridge. Not sure what this latest snow dump will deliver. Hope your trip/report will tell it all and goes well.

  47. Skied great divide today, -1 today at 1030, there was 6 cm of new snow on the trails. We used rode super which worked great with the fresh snow. Met the track setters on the way back who were rolling and setting track making the way back great.

  48. March 15
    Trying to decide where to do our last ski today before heading to Australia for a holiday. Took a chance on Red Earth Creek and had a fantastic day. Headed out at 12 noon with a temperature of +1. I used my recently acquired zeros and had a fantastic ski on them. Charlie did well on last weeks wax concoction from our ski at Lake Louise. Conditions were so good we decided to head in to Shadow Lake Lodge. After some tea and refreshments we headed back down the trail with some light flurries. A fast glazed track took us back in no time. Hope to get some skiing in when we return in April. Happy trails!

  49. Just back from a most enjoyable day at Pipestone. Minus 1 at 11 am and after one re-wax, we got it right and no further waxing issues for rest of day. More people on Merlin and Drummond than usual but then I don’t usually ski on a w/e. Merlin’s old pioneer cabin was so covered in snow, one could almost ski past it and miss it. Snow was best on those inner trails, but absolutely no complaints. Great to be out there again after a frustrating 5-day Chinook hiatus!!!! Chuck, a couple of my girlfriends would love to join you on one of those trips further up the Pipestone (your former tracks were rather a workout today so we did not venture far).

  50. PLPP – skied some of the south end trails today. Started at Elk Pass parking, skied directly to Elk Pass, then north on Tyrwhitt to the meadows. After a lunch, we returned on Tyrwhitt to Elk Pass, then down to Blueberry jct. from where we did a short trip (1Km) up Blueberry. Returned to the start via Elk Pass and Fox Creek trails. A skiff (up to 1cm) of new snow on all these trails made for good skiing on VR45 or VR50. While there were icy sections under the new snow at lower elevations, conditions higher up (Tyrwhitt, Blueberry) were generally very good. Fox Creek, however, was often very icy and not pleasant to ski. Temps were -2C at 10am, and around 0C at 2pm, so not much softening occurred. At lower elevations, many trails are blackening as the collembola are beginning to appear.

  51. March 14. +2/+5C. Started at Boulton parking to do loop of Moraine, Fox Creek, Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt, Whiskeyjack. Used waxless skis as expected variable conditions, which was borne out. Moraine and Fox Creek not groomed recently, tracks in good condition except for icing due to recent warm weather and lots of debris, double poling gave quick passage. Elk was groomed and good tracks, glazed in spots but gave way to good snow surface with elevation. Tyrwhitt similarly. Whiskeyjack ungroomed but good tracks too. Waterways are making music and flooding destruction along Fox Creek all dressed up in snowy mounds.

  52. Hello Adam, I was thinking of doing a night of ski tomorrow, would you recommend the nordic centre with wax skis?

  53. Day 3 at Lake Louise – following tracks: We started our 3rd Lake Louise ski day at the Chateau parking lot in 2 cm of new snow, an air temperature of -4C and under clear blue skies. With special blue (-5C to -9C) and violet (0C to -1C) waxes we made good time up Fairview and down to Moraine Lake road. We easily followed fresh skier tracks to beyond Paradise Creek where the tracks abruptly ended. Switching over to the downhill track we soon encountered the tracks of a bobcat (or lynx). The cat walked in one track for a while before settling on walking the line between two tracks. Straight on he/she walked, for kilometres, with odd detours into the forest and back to the same ski tracks. As we approached the turn-around point the warming snow became stickier, but was still manageable wit our waxes. While snacking at the turn-around the south facing banks sloughed off their snow cover in two points with great shushes. The ski down Moraine Lake road was beautiful with silent gliding and easy double poling. The best of beautiful days!

  54. Do you think it’s worth a trip to Elk Pass, down Tyrwhitt over Lookout and back to Hydroline and then parking lot tomorrow on waxed skiis. If not where would you go? Thanks

  55. Skied the Canmore Nordic Centre March 12th. Started skiing at 6pm with +8C temperatures. Chose the waxless skis, skied a 20km loop, and didn’t even need a headlamp! Tracks were shallow and washed out on the lower trails, the shaded trails at a higher elevation were decent. Debris are starting to pile up in the tracks. Waxless or skates are the way to go.

  56. Another beautiful day in the Rockies. We left the Lake Ohara parking lot about 9:45am in a temperature of -10c. The Lodge had track set the trail last evening, so the tracks were nice and sharp, but a bit slow on the uphill. We admired the mountains in brilliant sunshine while we skied the shady valleys under an incredibly blue sky. As we got closer to the lake, the snow became softer and we got more glide. We skied out onto the lake in brilliant sunshine and had lunch in a snow bank (0C.). Later, we had fun in the deep snow on the lake before skiing towards the lodge to see if we could find the new Pisten Bully that creates those wonderful tracks for us. There she was, painted red and shiny new. After a good look, we began our descent on fast, fun hills to about the 7 km mark where we waxed with special violet for the remaining up hills and warming conditions. The wind had picked up, making the last couple of kms feel a lot colder than it actually was.

  57. Lake Louise – skied Great Divide west into BC to the Lake O’Hara trailhead. Fresh tracksetting, cold snow, great conditions. Started at -9C, finished at +1C. Sunny skies – it was heaven! After we returned, we skied part of Fairview, and Tramline down to the Bow River. Again, fresh tracksetting – mostly very good with some soft spots. Poor conditions by the river – icy patches, too many walkers. Forecast calls for mostly cool temps for next few days, so conditions should remain quite good for awhile.

  58. Skied West Bragg Creek this morning, tempeture was great, trails were very icy. Trails have good snow coverage. Not much track settings left and where it is the tracks seemed to have sank lower and my boots were catching on the sides. I would stay away from sun dog, logging has made the trail an ice rink

  59. Skied in to Lake O’Hara March 9. We started around 12:30. There was a Pineapple Express that brought in lots of snow and warm temps. Waxing was a nightmare (my wife’s 15 year old ex-rental fish scales performed the best out of the group of 10), nothing was working on pretty much anyone’s skis. It took us 5 hours to make it to Elizabeth Parker Hut!

    Skiing out today was much better. Aprox 4 inches of new snow, cooler and we were able to glide the first 8k! Once we got lower and hit the sunny spots again it got really sticky. Still it was a great trip.

    There is tonnes of snow up at Lake O’Hara, if it cools down and gets track set again get out there!

  60. Intended to join friends on Pipestone but alas, it rained 3/4 the way out there and the parking lot was not plowed. Having gotten stuck in thatPipestone lot before, I opted to park in Lk Louise Shopping Centre but barely got in there due to large amount of new wet snow (at least a foot had fallen overnight). 1+ all day. Decided to ski that beautiful Bow River Loop where flat trail would make things easier. Nice skier tracks most of the way, with some boots and snowshoes thrown in the mix. A short but lovely outing with VR55. Glide but no grip.

  61. Goat Creek Trail Canmore through to Banff March 8. Conditions were best from Canmore end to the washed out bridge- it was skier set, lots of freshies, but temperatures were very warm making for a lot of double poling!
    From washed out bridge to the spray river loop bridge, newly track set and quite nice- but the further I made it towards Banff, the more the conditions degraded from thinning snow pack and debris. I stayed on the east side of the river for the last 5 km to the golf course and it was in rough shape from so much debris. Can’t imagine it’s going to get any better as it was raining when I left Canmore this morning (march 9)!

  62. Emerald Lake
    It was raining lightly at Emerald Lake this afternoon, but we still managed to enjoy skiing around the alluvial fan loop. Out in the open, the snow was still quite good, tracks in great condition. In the trees, it somewhat resembled a toilet, with big yellow patches under trees, and the odd bit of branch or cone here and there…….. 😛
    My snow thermometer registered +1 C at 2 pm.

  63. Did any one ski Peter Lougheed today? Wondering if it is worth a trip from Calgary there tomorrow. Thanks

  64. Redearth Creek was track set yesterday, so we thought it might be a good place to ski, given the warm temperatures. Temp at the parking lot was +7C. and we got a lot warmer after helping the driver of a small panel truck get unstuck. The first 2 or 3 kms. of track had some pine needles, but after that the track was very good, but not well-consolidated. Our skis sank a little with each step, making that squeaky crunching noise that snow makes when walked on. Three of us had waxless skis and had no trouble walking up the hills, but the two who had waxable skis did quite a bit of herring-boning, and slipping. We had lunch at the warden cabin (+4C.) where only a few people had gone before, so the trail was not packed down at all. Skiing back down was a bit tricky on the unconsolidated snowmobile track which was lined with snowmobile tracks that sometimes grabbed your ski and sent one leg one way and the other leg the other direction. There was also a bit of stick and release which made for a face plant (not mine!) and a couple of swan-like maneuvers that were not at all graceful. The final hill to the parking lot was actually the best of all, smooth and not too fast.

  65. Pipestone, Friday March 7 and Shark Saturday March 8

    Warm, wet, and alternating between sticky and slick. Difficult to wax for, but nice to be out in some pleasant temps. Great recent grooming at Shark, would be good for skating.

    • Good to see you getting out with the family lots des. Aiming for some slogging through the mashed potatoes to get to the powdered stuff Sunday. Hopeful for cooler temps post storm and a more extended season.

    I started at the Stoney Trailhead and Hay Meadow trail at Robbone Creek, then did the same loop as John D, and returned via Highline-Hummingbird Plume Lookout-Sunburst. Wow! What a day to be out! The tracks were superbly groomed and track set yesterday and got 1-3cm overnight. I started on Swix Violet Special V45, which worked well at first… then added Red Special V55, as the temperatures warmed up. It was perhaps a bit too much grip in the shade and almost not enough grip on the sunny hill climbs, but generally worked quite well.
    It got to +8C by mid-afternoon, so there was some melting of the surface snow.
    Depending on how much it freezes overnight, the tracks may be icy in the morning or soft and wet. With the forecast temperatures, the snow will certainly be mushy by mid-morning…perfect for wax less skis (or skins).

  67. Skied at Mt. Shark. Well, skied some of the time, stomped and cursed and kicked snowballs off the bottom of the skis the rest of the time. Did a loop consisting of Red/Black, Watridge Lake Road to the lake, return and Yellow back to the parking lot. Very inconsistent, some wonderful patches, some spots where you’d go arse over teakettle due to one ski or the other sticking in the tracks. Still better than a day at work.

    We headed west today, to take advantage of the cooler forecast. Snow was powdery until late afternoon… by which time we had had lots of fun:

  69. BEAUTY
    Skogan Pass and Skogan Loop
    If you weren’t there you missed a wonderful grand day, fresh packing, warm temps without the the waxing problems reported at Ribbon Creek. The ride down from the top of Skogan Loop can only be described as AHHHHHHH!!! Lots of animal tracks in the light fresh snow.. coyote,snowshoe hare, squirrel, and a number of lynx trails it doesn’t get any better than this. I fear that tomorrow might be a bit gnarly if it freezes up tonight. Will have pleasant slumbers tonight! Did I mention a tailgate tea party after. Oh my,were you working today?

  70. We skied Ribbon Creek today (Bill Milne, Terrace, Kovach, etc.). It was 8 degrees and the waxing was difficult. I used red wax and only had minor problems and another skier said that he was even getting snow accumulating under his skis with blue wax. I’d recommend klister or waxless if you’re venturing out tomorrow. A great, sunny day out but I feel that the end of the good skiing may be near. We also skied Canmore Nordic Centre on Thursday and conditions were excellent but I’d expect that it was warm today and it may be a completely different situation tomorrow.

  71. Friday: early afternoon, West Bragg Creek.
    Approx +2C air temps, snow temp variable between -3’ish and ~+2 I’d say. FRESHLY GROOMED earlier today!! sweeeeeet! We skiid Crystal, Sundog, Loggers, Crystal w/ my wife who’s recovering from a ruptured Achilles (last Sept) so happy to get ~7km loop done. Primarily VR45 wax which was “good enough” if your technique & weight transfer was spot on plus lots of arm strength for the pole pushing. Otherwise not grippy enough. Loggers had several sections of slushy snow in the tracks which will by icy Sat. morning. Otherwise I’d say if you’re out there later this eve or early Saturday you’ll have excellent conditions. After that…. meh… then… squishy squishy (perfect for waxless) and/or dicey & icy early Sunday. Get out while you can!

  72. Couldn’t resist another trip the CNC this time on skate skis. What a temperature difference from the last week! +8 air temperature with a warm wind. It was skiing without a jacket kind of day! Overall great conditions on Banff Ave and Meadowview, but snow was variable especially in the shade versus sun (snow is still warming up in shady sections with the odd icy patch to keep things interesting). Some tracks were reported to be icy by some classic skiers. Earl morning or evenings recommended Or lots of Klister this weekend!

  73. Skied at W. Bragg Creek today. Sunny skies and virtually no new snow. Trails are well worn, but the tracks are generally intact, making conditions pleasantly skiable. Pretty cool: -14C to start and -12C in the afternoon on a cold east breeze.

  74. Checked out the Canmore Nordic Centre at lunch today on the classic skis. Pretty quiet with fresh, fluffy and beautiful snow. Did a loop on Bow and back to Banff Ave. as most of the tracks are filled in or not track set with the fresh snow that arrived this morning. Gorgeous conditions, used green (-10 to -15 wax) which worked well. Warm pacific air front moving in with projected highs of near 10 degrees this weekend.

  75. I was ski touring in the Engadine Lodge area today, but I did make note of some weather observations that would be of interest to anyone skiing at Mt. Shark or Kananaskis Lakes areas. At mid-day it was 0C and snowing lightly near Engadine Lodge and there has been about 20cm of fresh snowfall in the past few days. I expect this reflects conditions at the Mt. Shark trails.
    On my way past Pocaterra Hut at the end of the day, it was +1C and drizzling rain. The rain changed to snow and the temp went down to 0C a little bit higher, at the Highway #40 intersection.
    It was -12C at the Ribbon Creek turn-off, with about 10cm of new snow in the trees. Based on this, I’d say that Ribbon Creek had the best snow conditions today.


    Welcome to the new 1A Highway.
    The track between Baker Creek and Castle Junction is refilling than you can ski it.
    The SNOW is dumping!
    3 photos tell it all:

    • Thanks for breaking trail AGAIN Chuck. Ten of us are heading there tomorrow and looks like we will be enjoying our gaiters and breaking trail too. Hopefully the roads will be plowed by our leaving time @ ten. I always love your adventurous posts and “tell all” pictures.

  77. Ribbon Creek
    My buddy and I skied all the Village side trails today, and were surprised to see everything covered with an 8-10cm blanket of virgin powder. It was -10c and calm at 11am. We had a mixture of sun, cloud, and a couple light flurries. Very enjoyable skiing, although we did have to break trail on Aspen, and Bill Milne, which slowed us down, but was still lots of fun. Coming around a steep corner on Kovach, my buddy almost skied into a Moose who was sleeping at the side of the trail. The Moose jumped out his snow bed quickly, but didn’t seem too annoyed. It got the adrenaline going for all 3 of us.

  78. Nipika?
    Has anybody skied at Nipika recently? Just wondering how conditions are over there? Thanks!

  79. Arrived at William Watson Lodge this morning armed with green waxed skis to find the temperature at -7C. A quick application of special blue and we were off south on Wheeler, climbed Whiskey Jack, slid quickly down Pocaterra, and back over to WWL on Lynx, Amos and Wheeler. Snow in old track set everywhere with some track setting by us and some nice skier tracks on Pocaterra – thank you whoever you are! As soon as the Park is groomed it will be paradise whereas today it was ungroomed paradise. So nice to have decent skiing temperatures again.

  80. West Bragg- Good afterwork skiing conditions on Moose loop today, plus a bonus of pleasant temps. of around minus 10 at 4 pm. The nearly two week old grooming is holding up very well, with several cm’s of recent snow overtop.
    Waxing was a no-brainer- a thin layer of green did the job.

  81. PLPP – skied all over the north end trails today. Temperature around -1C and constant flurries made for occasional sticky conditions, yet glide was often decent, if a bit slow (used V45). Most trails were skier trackset in some 5cm of accumulated snow. The most interesting aspect of the day was the temperature gradient on the drive from Calgary: Calgary -19C; Morley flats -19C; Nakiska area -18C; Fortress Jct -15C; Pocaterra Parking (10am) -2C. The temperature sure rose fast in those last few Km. Positively balmy after the weekend in Calgary.

  82. Was it ever warm in Banff yesterday afternoon!!
    We drove out rather late to the Redearth Creek trailhead, and were surprised at how balmy it felt. (Still very cold in Calgary) We only skied to the first high point on the trail (is that about 5km?), with snow falling the whole time and already some covering old grooming. My snow thermometer read -6 C, and we thought the air felt about that, too. There was just enough fresh, soft snow for a lovely gentle snowplow on the return, and it felt like heaven. Back at the trailhead, I found myself wishing it could stay like this forever. Sadly, the forecast promises otherwise 🙁
    I can only hope the forecast is completely wrong…….

  83. BANFF to CANMORE and back!
    Conditions were too BEAUTIFUL to turn back early! After 2 days of house chores (due to the BRUTAL -30 degree weather) it was time to ski!
    Spray West had just been track-set as far as the 10 km Bridge across the Spray. Despite the damage, it was easy and safe to cross. The next few km to Goat Creek is not groomed, but is skier set. The last section up to the Goat Creek trailhead was track-set a week ago and just has a nice dusting of fresh snow.
    See more at:

  84. I just spoke with the Kananaskis Visitor Centre. It’s -12 in PLPP at 10 a.m. and they report about 10 cm of new snow. The webcam temp is unreliable, but for what it’s worth, it has moved from -15 at 7 a.m. to -4 now(that could mean the sun is shining on it).

    Depending on which weather forecast you believe, it could go as high as -5 today.

    On my blog statistics, I noticed that someone used the search term “motivation to go skiing.” 🙂

    If you do that search on Google, here’s what comes up re: my blog

    Anyway, it looks like Calgary is still very cold for a few days to come, but here in the mountains the cold snap is over. Should be some excellent skiing conditions for the next few days.

    • It’s incredible how far off the PLPP Visitors Centre thermometer is these days, even in the morning, before the sun hits it.

      Today, March 4, it reads +1.5C, while it is -17C at CNC.

      • While that thermometer definitely is a little warm in general, I just took my thermometer out of the snow (where it read minus 3) and found an air temperature of just above zero in the north end. I just checked the live grooming report (I am on days off) and it looks like an issue with the snowcat which surfaced at the very end of the Sunday morning shift has not yet been resolved so there will probably be a minimum of 8cm’s of snow (and more in the south) on any trail.
        I skied from Wedge pond yesterday late afternoon and there was about 3 cm’s of snow on top of the grooming in that area and although I did not have a thermometer, my blue wax (minus 3 to minus 8) just barely worked and it seemed the air temperature was even warmer at just below zero.

        • Interesting insight regarding the thermometer readings Jodi.

          Here’s my wild guess as to what we may be witnessing.

          In the CBC weather forecast yesterday, it showed the warm air mass moving up from the south, in a narrow band along the foothills.

          It could well be that the entire Kananaskis valley was affected much more by this narrow warm air mass than the town site of Canmore, which is tucked away on a north facing set of slopes. It’s still reading -11C at the CNC (16:40), and is 2.5C at PLPP.

  85. After walking the dog into the face of a BRUTAL east breeze on Sunday morning, I wimped out on plans for an afternoon at Ribbon and instead mounted bindings on and prepped my new xc skis, cleaned and glide waxed 4 other pairs, and tweaked the fit on my wife’s AT boots.
    Does that count as a ski day? 🙂

  86. Sunday Sun in PLPP!
    The delights of a Sunday ski when the whole world is in the city are many.
    Not a single car at Elkwood Parking lot.
    Minus 24C and foggy and overcast in Cowtown, but sunny and almost clear and a balmy minus 19C as we set off on perfect trails.
    No crowds! Just Di, Jeannie and David.
    Attentive staff at Barrier Lake Visitor Centre.
    And a great day away from the city and life that must go on even when the trails are perfect.
    So, next cold day break out the warmer pants and mitts and go for it.
    You will be glad you did!
    After all, this is why we live near these hills….

  87. Skied up a very quiet Moraine lake road and then up paradise valley today on my own. Cold but bearable since I was in the sun a lot of the way. Met a group of skiers and snowshoers along the way. Skied the steep trail up to lake Annette, then went about another km to the giant avalanche path off of Mount Aberdeen and Haddo peaks. Since I was on my own and it hadn’t slid yet I decided to call it a day and turn around there. Skied the creek most of the way back then onto Moraine lake road. A beautiful blue sky day out even with the brutal cold temperature!

    • BRUTAL seems to be the operative word this weekend.
      Most would head home at the cancellation of the Lake Louise Loppet, but not our Pete!
      But where are the blue sky pictures… you inspire us

      • Although I should be getting some pictures on here for all to see ( and I took lots!) my procrastination problem with loading pics onto my computer continues…….. You’ll be happy to know though that I spent most of the afternoon today thawing out in the Chateau Louise hot tub and enjoying beer and a burger at the Glacier saloon:)

        • P.S. I am disappointed about the loppet being cancelled (as I’m sure many other people are) as it’s a great family event we all look forward to every year. Thanks to everyone that tried to make it happen despite the weather! Hopefully it will happen next winter!

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