Trip reports – March, April 2015

Last month, the trip reports were viewed 17,766 times. Skiers are anxious to know what you found on your skiing adventure.

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  1. LAKE O’HARA
    With last night’s fresh snow fall, we had to check out Lake O’Hara for a late season ski.
    It is so wonderful to go there at this time of year when the the days are long and the sun shines from above!
    Check it out at:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/LakeOHara05?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCNq3ioqNwb2ZhAE&feat=directlink
    Be quick if you want to enjoy it too!

  2. MAY Trip Report!

    Lake Louise: Moraine Lake Road lovely this morning, but melting fast!

    There was another nice dump of snow around Lake Louise last night, so I tried out MLR to Fairview jct, then up Fairview as far as the Paradise Valley turnoff. That was surprisingly good early this morning! Paradise Valley trail at that jct had very little snow, so I skied back down the way I came, and on up the Moraine Lake Road to the big hill just past Paradise Creek. Hot sun starting to make good snowman snow, so I turned around. Could have gone further, though, and the run down wasn’t bad: slow where I had broken trail, faster where some wide skis and snowshoes had packed the snow down. Big patch of open road by Paradise Creek, so spring is definitely in the air.

    • P.S. Nice that the road is still open for skiing 🙂
      Last year they closed it ridiculously early, when there was tons of snow 🙁

  3. Anyone been to Lake Louise recently?

  4. Great Divide Trail

    Lots of snow still on the Great Divide. With the bright sunshine and a predicted high of 14C, two of us had a great day. We were both using klister but in the afternoon when the snow really started melting, waxless would work too. We looked over at Moraine Lake Road on the way out and saw about 8 cars there. They will be plowing the Road soon if last years date still holds true. We also looked at the Tramline from the road and it was bare for about 30 meters from the road. It might be better further down.

  5. Skied Moraine Lake Rd on a cloudy/sunny Thurs. afternoon. Trail groomed and trackset with 1″ to 2″ fresh snow for the last half of trip. Temp. basically constant at 7C for duration of trip resulting in a consistent soft and moist snow. Track still holding up with no tree debris or Collembola. Used Swix red extra which gave good grip if I skied on the corduroy between the tracks. Just a touch slow coming down but overall a pretty good ski if you enjoy spring skiing. Anyways thanks Bob for your efforts in producing such an entertaining and informative blog.

  6. Bad Timing is my middle name…..

    Monday, for the first time ever, we skied all the way to Lake O’Hara, following good skier track on the road. Snow tricky, either slipping or icing up, and we stopped frequently to scrape. Should ask Frank Howard about paraffin??
    Weather completely socked in, views almost non-existent, outdoor dining only at Le Relais (door to inner sanctum locked), and eerily quiet…..
    More success on return, though it was either fast on the track, or completely stopped in the deep snow beside, and then we ran into a huge school group upward bound late afternoon with heavy packs! In their wake, we could easily see the ice/slush beneath the recent snowfall. Not a bad day, did have some fun in this bonus spring snow season….

    Today, I had dreams of skiing to Blueberry Hill in fresh powder, but it was not to be. That lovely big snowfall did not reach very far south, and though around Barrier Lake was beautiful and very promising, by Fortress Jct was almost non-existent. We found a mm or two of fresh snow on the Elk Pass trail, which we skied up to Elk Pass and back. Two cars there before us, one group of skiers and one group of hikers, alas. Hiking boot holes not a huge issue today, but when they freeze overnight might be problematic. Conditions pretty good this morning, and scenery breath-taking under brilliant blue skies. The return was more challenging, with the more sun-soaked areas melting fast, and much herky-jerky fast-slow in the final km. Met another lone skier, who kept going onto Tyrwhitt, and a group of 3 at Blueberry Jct. on our return, for a total of 8 skiers and 3 hikers including ourselves, noted by us between 10:15 am and 1:15 pm.

    • I use paraffin sometimes because there is no chance of resin in it that can attract snow in a negative manner. It may slow your glide down a bit but your ski will run straight. I use a torch to put it on but some people have had success in putting it on cold. Theoretically, glider wax should work in the same way. Paraffin can be found in your grocery store’s canning section. People raise their eyes when they hear that I carry a torch but it can get you out of a lot of problems on the trail. Propane tanks don’t like the cold so try and keep it warm. I have had occasion where I was able to light it once but not again due to the tank getting too cold.

  7. PLPP – Elk Pass parking lot to Blueberry Junction

    I left Calgary today with some trepidation as the forecasts had warned of a heavy snowfall in the Kananaskis and Banff National Park. So it was sort of ho-hum as I turned into The Elk Pass Parking lot into Alberta.s magic winter wonderland. There were a couple of cms of fresh snow covering a well tracked trail. With the temperature at about plus 3C I was leery of the waxing and so I chose paraffin to cover the well worn klister that was already there. It worked well with some grip and no clumping. I took Bolton Creek to Fox Creek and stopped at the Blueberry Junction before turning around. On the way back it struck me that I was the only one on the trail so far. I had been thinking of the possibilty of user fees coming to the park and realized that on this particular day that my fee, based upon the fact that the user only should pay the way, would be astronomical! I was stewing on this as I skied along Fox Creek, when to my relief, I came across a couple sking , happily, on no wax skis, in the opposite direction. I was elated! My theoretical cost was cut by a third! I had a nice chat with the couple. Apparently they had skied the trail a couple of days earlier after the bid snowfall and together we remarked on the difference between the two days. Fox Creek is marginal although I think that the bare dark spots along the way are still ice. One of the bridges has bare snow at the end of the bridge and it is most noticeable in the afternoon. Otherwise conditions are good in this part of the park. I was back at the parking lot at about 2:15pm and the snow was starting to fall quite dramatically. On the way back in the car I reasoned that a person could have a bet going about how much snow there was in PLPP, raising the ante as the car got closer to the Elk Park pasrking lot.

  8. Since no one else has mentioned Peter Lougheed Provincial Park I will say that Saturday night and Sunday there was 4 to 6 inches of fresh snow. On Sunday we skied up Hydroline to Elk Pass breaking trail all the way. At the top my good wife bailed and headed down Elk Pass trail, breaking trail all the way until finally running into other skiers coming up at the Patterson junction. I headed along Tyrwhitt to the Lookout junction again breaking trail all the way. I was almost back to the picnic table before meeting a couple coming out. They heartily thanked me for the tracks and were happily on their way. The skiing was much easier after that but I returned from the 20 km jaunt feeling like I had covered more like 40 km. Too bad there is no new grooming as this snow would certainly give new life and extend the season. Tomorrows forecast is calling for even more new snow in the area but I’m not sure I am up to setting track for 10 km again. If anyone goes out Wednesday please make a post and I will take advantage of your hard work on Thursday.

  9. Risto. thanks for your report, luring me back out to ski the recent “big dump” at Moraine Lk Rd. Lots of powder and minus 3 made for a great afternoon. We first drove to Great Divide but with only one car there (likely Diana’s as she was madly breaking trail!!) but decided on MLR where chances of good skier tracks were more likely. In fact tracks continued all the way to the lake as we met two ambitious back country split-ski/boarders who had camped there overnight. Snow falling most of the three hours but roads perfectly clear and minus 2 at the parking lot. Looked like a Christmas Card.

  10. Skied the 1A from the west end up to the Great Divide and back. Followed a ragged skier-set track as far as the Ross Lake trail and then broke trail through ankle-deep powder the rest of the way. Swix Blue worked fine. Still lots of snow up there!

  11. Lake Louise wins again! Another big dump of snow obliterated any recent grooming. Great Divide this morning: one other car in the parking lot, skier tracks made by very few skiers which I followed for a short distance. Then I broke trail up the steepest route of Upper Telemark to the Chateau through quite deep snow, and returned (rather slowly) the same way to the junction with Peyto, where I turned left and broke trail again to the Great Divide trail, and followed other skiers tracks. Good times! Someone else will have to track the Lower Telemark………

  12. We skied the Lake O’hara fire road this am. 10+ cm of new snow on top of yesterdays accumulation.There was a firm supportive crust under all of this new snow.Quite the winter wonderland out there. The track was rough skier set,with all variety of snow cruising tools using it.Very enjoyable and nice to have a blast of winter again .-3 at the start and finish wax less XC skis worked well.

  13. Skied MLR yesterday morning. Unbelievable amount of snow. About 15 cm of fresh stuff in parking lot. Measured about 30cm with my ski pole at 4km from parking lot. I only went 6km out. Very slow going. It was snowing so much that my skierset track was already filling in on my way back down. Blue wax worked great. Nothing left of the track setting. Hopefully they groom it again.

  14. Shaganappi Grant

    Did PLPP Blueberry Elk Pass on April 11. About 4 – 6 ” dumped from 10-3 pm. Nice but visibility rough. Winter still here. Tomorrow likely awesome if they groom. Even if they do not. Used blue on one set and waxless on another. Great day. May do again by Wed.

  15. Louise. Great Divide was groomed today in addition to MLR. The latter was so nice I skied it twice. I bowed low and saluted the tracksetter as he passed.

  16. Lake Louise – Great Divide. Wonderful skiing today thanks to universal klister. Good tracks – still hard at noon but softening badly and deteriorating quickly in the afternoon sun. Will be good tomorrow at least. There is still lots of coverage if you don’t need tracks. +7C at 3 p.m.

  17. Eohippus Lake April 8, 2015

    Elisabeth and I headed to Sunshine yesterday with the plan to go to the Healy Pass area and, depending on snow, try something different. On looking at the map, I saw Eohippus Lake and figured we could make it under good conditions. Well, we had a picture-perfect day with new snow, velvet powder on east-facing slopes under the Lake and good track until about 4.5 km from our objective. Even breaking trail was easy as their was a firm base under about 10 cm of new snow. The climb up to the Lake was steep and requires making quite a few switchbacks, but it was well worth it. We got back to the car after 8.5 hours but with a wonderful break at 12:30 at the Lake. Wow!
    Photos: Entering the Pearly gates
    The Monarch, south end
    God’s finger
    No Lack of snow here

    • WOW! Thanks for sharing that Chip _ I’ve hiked there, but had no idea you could ski it. What a beautiful set of photos! Probably much nicer without hordes of biting horseflies!!

  18. PLPP, Blueberry Hill and Elk Pass. Tracks remain quite good in general. Those in full sun took a beating but are still skiable. Those in the shade remained hard but I started later (noon) so at least the centre corduroyed area of the trails was soft enough to provide decent braking (except on the 2 steepest hills which I walked down – the top part of the big hill above Boulton Junction and that smaller steep pitch going down to Fox Cr junction). Never did get much grip with waxless skis – I’m thinking about experimenting with klister on waxless skis. Can’t say enough about Swix LF7 glide wax, worth the expense, really reduces the lurching when you hit a wet spot. +3C in parking lot at 3 p.m. Don’t forget sunscreen.

  19. Maurice Gaucher

    Fox Creek, Elk Pass, Blueberry, Hydroline , Patterson
    What a day! Thanks Bob for your motivation to ski after a month of hiking.
    Arrived at Elk Pass parking ~9:30AM to fresh snow and -9C; used my waxless skis but others were on Violet Special or even Blue! By 2:30PM it was back to real spring skiing.

  20. MORAINE LAKE ROAD
    The winter that keeps on giving… pity those who went back to work!
    You’ve heard how good it is… now you can see how good it is:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/MoraineLakeRoad05?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCKO_6urbqufAEg&feat=directlink
    We met a group of 5 from Edmonton who have been skiing here for the last three days, and they said today was the best.
    The new snow has consolidated nicely. While it clouded over at about noon today, that will just preserve it for tomorrow!

  21. PLPP south end in the afternoon. Temp rose to +3C on Tyrwhitt and the sun kicked in, but no catastrophic damage – conditions pretty much like Ray Perrot described at Louise, and the tracks are still great.

  22. Lake Louise today – first ski in 3 weeks. Started up MLR at 10am on waxable skis (used V45) with temp at -6C. Pretty fast ski to the top in generally good tracks (a bit messed up by walkers for the first 500m or so) with my wax giving good grip. The trip down was relaxing (occasionally a bit slow), with my grip disappearing for the final 2km as the sun was warming things by then. +1C back at the car. After a bit of lunch, I skied a few Km on Great Divide, using waxless skis. Nice new tracksetting, sometimes a bit soft, but I got good grip with waxless. +3C when I finished.
    Probably some reasonable (if slightly icy) conditions tomorrow morning.

    • Ray, you just don’t stop, do you!
      We had a fantastic ski to Eohippus Lake yesterday. I’ll try to post pics.

  23. Just came back from PLPP. Got an early start, started skiing at 7:30 AM from Boulton. Did Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Blueberry Hill, Fox and Moraine. A couple of cms of fresh snow in the tracks from overnight but clear today. Temp -11 at the start and -2 when I finished at 10:30 AM. Trails are in very good condition with the exception of Moraine that had a few sketchy thin spots.

  24. Lake Louise – a magical winter wonderland!

    We parked at Moraine Lake Road with about 5 other vehicles, and headed up tramline to start. Skier track in more than 20 cm of fresh fluffy white stuff, we thought maybe 30 cm? Paradise! Easy to wax for the first time in ages – Swix special red worked well for us for most of the trip. Fairview loop had nicer skier tracks, kudos to whoever set those 🙂 It was all lovely, with some open water beside the trail, the downhills were quite slow but pleasant with even a little cruising through whipped cream – my favourite! The only slight issue was the meadow at the bottom of the first nice hill, where the sun had turned the snow into something like molasses.
    Then onto Moraine Lake Road, freshly groomed with the usual tracks, and looking better than it has for ages. A little soft and slow, perhaps, but what the heck! For the grand finale, I skied down Tramline to the station, where I caught the train back to Calgary 😉 – romanticising……
    Okay the lower tramline wasn’t the ideal way to finish. It was great at first with minimal skier track, but the lower third or so had been somewhat degraded by sun (crusty!) and hiking boots. The worst part was the exposed bit above the road, where I reached my highest speed of the day on rather bumpy almost-ice, trying to stay upright…. The very bottom wasn’t too bad, though, and there I met Andrew on his snowmobile, about to head up, having apparently just groomed the Bow River loop, so all the nasty bumps should be smoothed out now. That was about 3:30 pm, don’t know how much he will have accomplished by quitting time.
    It really was a good day, we had a delightful time out. There is tons of fresh snow, but for some reason Lake Louise was also one of the sunniest places around — spectacularly beautiful, but not ideal for keeping the snow.
    This is by far my favourite Easter bunny!!!!!

  25. Season Swan song today @ PLPP for me, its all good, haven’t skied in weeks and didn’t expect to again this season, it was an Easter surprise bonus day and very nice too. Whiskey, Tyrwhitt, Hydro line, Elk, Tyrwhitt, Whiskey, great conditions throughout!

  26. .. Great Divide got a healthy bit of snow over the last day or so, and was groomed this morning at about 10am. Conditions were quite soft, but everything is in great shape and expect it will hold as long as the weather permits.

  27. Fairview Loop April 6th

    Went up to see if there was snow. Not much new in the townsite. About 15+ cm of snow on the upper Lake Louise Trails. Tramline and Fairview were skier set while the MLR was track set. Nice soft, fluffy snow, -2oC at 1:30pm. We skied with previously applied Rode Purple Wax (0oC) from my last ski at the CNC just fine. Expect it will be good until it warms up.

  28. 06 April 2015

    West Bragg Creek, arrived at 0930 to -3 and snowing. Used VR45 and set my own tracks along with my faithful four-legged girlfriend Rhu, we went out to the moose loop, conditions around the moose marsh are “iffy” but to and from are great. Just follow my tracks – used Crystal connectors to get back to the parking lot. It certainly won’t last but there must be at least 25 cms now out there!!

    XC Kat

  29. PLPP this morning from 10am — as reported, glorious new snow and fantastic grooming all the way over to Elk Pass/Blueberry. Good coverage throughout, but one warm afternoon will quickly wipe out the track at the bottom of whiskeyjack. A purple drywax worked perfectly today until the early afternoon — certainly no need for zeroes.

    Well worth a visit if you can get out in the next day or two.

    • Agreed! Conditions higher up on Elk Pass were fantastic and the ride back down Hydroline on the perfect trackset was great. Started out using purple wax but had to add a bit of sticky red later on in the afternoon.
      Happy Easter everyone.

  30. Susanne Maxwell

    Skied Fairview at noon April 5th. No track setting but 15 fresh cm of moist beautiful snow- enough skiers on the trails to create a decent set of tracks. Get here before it melts! Current temperature about 0 and snowing lightly. Photo http://skierbob.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Fairview2.jpg

    • Very enticing! I notice the Banff Park website claims that the Moraine Lake Road was groomed today. Can you verify that?
      Thanks!

      • The Moraine Lake Road grooming was likely done this afternoon (April 5th)- we didn’t see any grooming evidence in the morning but when we drove back out at the end of the day there had definitely been some trucks up the ML road.

  31. Hi keen skiers
    Skiing at the Engadine Weadows on the 2nd and at Mud Lake on the 3rd and 4th. Mud Lake has the best show conditions and skating was just fantastic.
    It is so smooth it is unbelievable.
    OK don’t tell anyone!

  32. PLPP Elk Pass etc.

    The tracksetting from a few days ago is in great shape – looks perfect but it was a mistake to wear the waxless skis today. No grip on the icy / glazed tracks and even the corduroy was too hard to provide any traction on the climbs, although it provided ample braking on the descents. Not much sun, there were just a couple of spots where things were softening up by 2 p.m., +2C at parking lot at 3 p.m. The predicted snowfall and hopefully a final grooming could make for a great last weekend of track skiing but if neither materializes, I’ll be back with klister and probably walk down the one hill which was a bit sketchy today – that steep pitch down to Fox Cr/ Elk Pass junction.

  33. As we drove up to PLPP I was more skeptical by the mile. I thought all the way that it was very unlikely that we could ski. But when we arrived at the Elk Pass parking lot there it was a beautiful track set right to our car. Amazing! We skied all of about 50 feet before we ran into our friend Norm who was raving about the conditions on Hydroline. So we skied throughout the wet spots between the parking lot and the Fox Creek junction. At the Hydroline junction we turned left and climbed the hill and followed the power lines up to the top of Elk Pass. The snow was soft, almost slushy but there was lots of it and the track was perfect. Next we skied Tyrwhitt to the top of Whiskey Jack and back. Great tracks but in some spots the snow is getting a bit thin. No complaints at all! To finish the day a nice easy ski down Elk Pass which was in good condition as well. The real problem spots are the hill between Fox Creek and Boulton junctions, especially on the Fox Creek side and the very wet spots closest to the parking lot. The day far exceeded our expectations even if the soft slushy snow made for slow going on our waxless skis. All in all a great day! I would post pictures if someone would tell me how! Here is hoping we can squeeze one more week out of the season!

    • Doug, I believe that you have to upload your photos to an photo server, like Flickr, Google (either ‘+’ or picasaweb), Instagram etc.. Then provide links to these photos in your post. Hope this helps

  34. Elk Cabin March 27-29
    We began our annual tour into Elk Cabin Friday the 27th in warm sunny conditions, recently trackset trails and with a degree of optimism. Because we had big packs, we used skins all the way to the top of the descent into Elk Lakes Valley and the skins performed well in the soggy snow. Early Saturday morning many of us we’re woken from our sleep by intense wind gusts and buckets of rain hitting the cabin roof. It rained with intermittent periods of sleet all morning but by noon we donned our raingear and went skiing. Travel to upper Elk Lake was interesting for sure, but not unpleasant. The sun reappeared in early afternoon and eventhough the snowpack was generally isothermal, we managed to enjoy the tour.
    On Sunday, after a hard freeze we departed in the sun and set a track up through the trees to the meadows at the top of the divide and emerged at the Blueberry Hill intersection; a highly recommended exit route, if you have skins that is.
    I’m afraid conditions in PLPP are deteriorating quickly and spring is imminent.

    • From the cabin to upper elk lakes was there a trail you followed? I went in the summer after the floods and the hiking trail to the upper lake was destroyed. I figured it was probably a low priority for bc parks to build a new one.

    • Is your exit route fairly obvious?

      • Pete.
        The trail from the cabin to Upper Elk Lake is best found when you go directly toward the lower lake, then follow the lakeshore toward the upper lake. There’s a blazed trail that’s not too hard to follow although there are a few missing sections. We just bushwhacked directly to the upper lake as the trees aren’t too thick in the flat area.

        Henry
        The exit route up through the trees is not at all obvious. We set a climb track to the climbers left of the hydroline and worked our way up to the top of the pass where there are a few large natural meadows. If you keep going you eventually emerge onto the Elk Pass trail. It’s a bit easier with a GPS as there are a few watercourses and ravines you need to figure out. We followed Elkan Creek for part of the way. It’s just a more aesthetic way to return than skiing under the hydroline. Make sure you have skins if you’re going to do this route.

  35. Skied PLPP today from Boulton Creek parking lot, up Whiskey Jack and left onto Pocaterra, over to Packers junction and back. First kilometre from the parking lot is sketchy, but nothing that can’t be managed on skis. After that, the only problem, if you can call it that, was that nobody had skied on the inch or so of fresh snow on Whiskey Jack. It was a little slow going to compress the snow down. I did a bit of back and forth in a few places and the snow was great once I had skied over it. As a public service, I made a point of skiing up in one track and back in the other 😀 There was fresh looking grooming on Pocaterra and it looked like only one person had skied on it. It’s a shame really, since the conditions were pretty good. For grip, I used Swix universal klister again and it worked perfectly. Overall, I would say it was better than Moraine Lake Road yesterday, mostly because of the better grooming.

  36. Skied MLR yesterday. Lots of snow. Too much even maybe. Tracks were pretty filled up. Snow was wet and heavy, but Swix Universal klister worked perfectly. Great grip and no icing. Glide was very poor though. I figure that was mostly because not enough people had skied there recently to pack down the snow. Also, you have to be careful with your pole plants. You can easily get your pole to go at least a foot into the ground. Large baskets are highly recommended. It was totally skiable and consistent the whole way.

  37. Mt. Shark/Watridge Lake.
    Skied down from Bryant Creek Shelter to Mt. Shark yesterday. The 2kms closest to Mt Shark involved some water-skiing, but above that, and up to Watridge Lake and the Park Boundary there was quite good spring skiing, with no bare spots. From the Park Boundary to Bryant Shelter conditions are very sketchy, with lots of ice, and tons of needles and lichen. There is real snow at Bryant Creek area. By the way, I ran into Sara Renner at Bryant Creek. She was doing a rapid trip between Assiniboine and Mt Shark. I also heard a lot of avalanches in the distance. Temp in my vehicle was 10 degrees C.
    .

  38. PLPP

    Out of curiosity skied some of the middle trails that were groomed a week ago and a few others starting from the Visitor Center. At this point I would not recommend starting a ski from anywhere but Boulton or Elk Pass parking lots, though Amos to Lynx to Pocaterra from Elkwood is still just skiable if you are adventurous and don’t mind some ice.

    Amos, Lynx, and Packers were still mostly snow covered over the ice layer (with some short sections of ice), but from S Amos junction to Packers was more ice than snow with some pavement showing as well. Meadow and Wooley had mainly long stretches of ice and were pretty sketchy, including on Wooley a short jump over the only full width bare spot I have seen yet, though I am sure more exist further north.

    Skied in the south end yesterday and conditions were very good above Boulton Trail junction. There is still great skiing to be found at higher elevations on fresh grooming, you just have to have the right skis at the right time of day to suit your preference. I choose as early as possible, but I prefer higher speeds and less work. Happy Trails…

  39. CNC. Banff Tr. Soft and slow, slush, ice, a little water skiing but no exposed pavement yet!

  40. Canmore Nordic Centre.

    These comments pertain to track skiing only on Banff Tr out to the meadow only. +5C or so this aft, no sun. Soft sugar snow not quite corn snow gave great grip on waxless skis all afternoon; also satisfactory glide to start, but by 3 p.m. the tracks started to get wet and somewhat slow but still quite skiable. Good coverage, a few trivial icy stretches.

  41. We just had a wonderful day of skiing along the Bow River by up the Icefields at the Mosquito Creek Hostel. We had a night at the hostel (enjoying the wood fired sauna immensely) and took our skis without much optimism that we would get to use them especially with the amount of slush in the parking lot when we arrived Sunday afternoon. The temperature was around -5 and there was fresh snow falling on Monday morning. The overnight temperature had set the crust beautifully and we were able to ski just about anywhere we desired. We had great fun criss crossing the not so mighty Bow River as we meandered upstream through a flurry. The clouds cleared for lunch and we had a spectacular view of the mountains in all directions. Unfortunately, the sun also softened the snow and we just had enough grip after touching up with VR60. It was a spectacular day, and if it turns out to have been the last of the season, we will have gone out on a high note!

    • Sounds like you got a great reward for being optimistic. What a wonderful feeling to be able to point the skis and go anywhere.
      I had to laugh that you conquered the ‘not so mighty’ Bow.

  42. PLPP – Elk Pass

    We skied up from Elk Pass Parking Lot today under grey skies which probably make a a great difference than when it is sunny as there is less variation in heat from a sunlit area to a shaded area. We took Bolton Creek to Fox Creek and then Elk Pass trail to Tyrwitt to Elk Pass proper. There was a dusting of snow over an icy track for the most part and lengths where there was really good snow.The higher we got up the better it was. Two of us were using red wax which worked well on the fresh snow. One of us was using klister which worked well on the icy sections and provided good braking on the downhill slopes.At the junction of Fox Creek and Elk Pass Trail, skiers that were using waxless skis and another that was using blue wax decided to turn back as they felt that the conditions were too dangerous. The red wax wax skiers and the klister skier pressed on and the conditions were good until we reached Elk Pass. We had lunch at Elk Pass and then returned the way we came. Two to four centimeters of snow were predicted for the Kanananskis today and while we were there it was trying to snow i.e.,it was snwing lightly but any quantity would have to come later. There is a good base in the south part of the Park and any future snow will be a bonus. If you like to “quickstep” on your skis, Fox Creek is a hoot!

  43. re: Canmore Nordic
    Is there much left there to ski on? Will be there for a couple midweek days shortly and wondering if the skate, waxless, and mountain bike should also join me?

    • Skate skiing was wonderful this morning, 0830 – 1030. Granular snow will occur when it freezes or close to freezing overnight. The other day when it did not freeze, there was no platform to push off. Classic tracks were also firm but icy. Not sure if waxless (fish scales) will get enough grip. Zero skis are apparently working. Mixture of red and silver klister has been working well over the last couple of weeks. Mountain biking also looks good…not much snow around.

  44. Went out to PLPP yesterday – rented some waxless skis on my way out of town as waxable sounded potentially treacherous with the mixed conditions, and it ended up being a very good call. Skied Elk Pass up and Blueberry Hill to the end and back again. Hardly saw any snow on the way out there on the highway, and it was +5C in the parking lot when I started at 2pm. I saw people meticulously waxing in the parking lot give up and go for Klister shortly after starting, but many on waxable skis were walking after much frustration. Very mixed snow conditions – soft and wet, then bare & icy patches on some of the hills, but still really good snow coverage on the trails, and the tracks holding up well. The snow improved as I climbed. Blueberry hill was divine, but got a bit crunchy & icy when the temperature dropped on the way down. You need a very strong snowplow to handle the mixed sudden icy patches on the steep hills (again, I saw several people walking down carrying their skis when I was climbing). Elk pass coming down was good and VERY fast – only one spectacular faceplant going too fast around a curve (I saw another crash site just ahead, so I wasn’t the only on in that spot), so be very careful with your speed if you’re out there, especially if you’re not alone on the trail – it was very hard to stop / slow down. The sun did it’s work as there were much thinner dirty patches , and a couple of large slushy & solid ice flows that formed near the parking lot that hadn’t been there earlier. If there is more snow this week, and the tracks hold then conditions will remain good – if not, then the snow could be totally gone by next weekend. I noticed the trail along the road near Boulton Bridge is totally bare in the exposed spots, so I expect that might be the case for several other trails where the parking lots were empty (Pocaterra only had 2 cars in it earlier in the day when I drove by, but Elk pass had many).

  45. Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (PLPP)
    Finally, Elk Pass is as fast as it was always supposed to be:
    45km/h max and average ~17km/h on the way down from Hydroline+Tyrwitt+Elk Pass junction to the parking lot 🙂

    I started at 3pm from Elk Pass Ski Parking and ran Morain-Packers-Pocaterra-Tyrwitt-Elk Pass. Conditions varied from
    * soft and slow (Packers),
    * 2 inch deep powder (Pocaterra), and
    * groomed and harsh (Elk Pass).
    Unless strong hot breeze blows or rain falls, there is more than enough snow for ski in PLPP.

  46. Went to PLPP today. Left Calgary in the fog with a temperature of +1. Fog ended at Scott Hill and soon the temperature started rising. It was 11 at the turnoff to Nakiska but dropped to +8 at the turn into the park around 11:15. Not one car was at Pocaterra. I decided to try skiing out of Elkwood as parts of Wheeler and Amos were noted to have been trackset yesterday. Amos was still skiable but soft, other than you had to sidestep around the odd wet icy section where the tracks went under the drip zone of the trees. Kudos to the tracksetters who definitely made something out of not very much The south end of wheeler was very wet and I even saw the first pavement on the trail since early December. Went up Whiskey Jack and it was as advertised a few icy patches but soft. I was using waxless though and had no trouble going up the trail. the odd snowflake started falling and eventually it started snowing quite hard. Tyrwhitt was nice but slow on my waxless skis. Stopped at Elk pass and then skied back down Tyrwhitt and on down Pocaterra. Between Whiskey jack and Packers Pocaterra was great. After Packers, Pocaterra was definitely near end of life with a couple of very wet slushy sections. Turned back onto Lynx which was also soft/icy with lots of pine needles and debris. It was still great to get out but it definitely is getting close to end of season. Happy belated Birthday Bob.

  47. Me again. Did anybody go on the GD? And was it groomed today as Parks planned on their website?

  48. Was spurred on to Lk Louise seeing MLR had just been groomed. Tracks better defined after 2-3 kms. +4 at 11 am and very few people but things picked up a few hours later with many more people out. Fine mist of rain/snow mix during the day and saw no evidence of any new snow from last night. Nice skate skiing opportunity for those so inclined. Snow was quite lovely on the upper half but I would have to say it looked past the “best before date” on the lower part. +5 and gentle rain driving home. Unless there is a BIG DUMP, it might be 7+ months before I revisit MLR. While the Legacy Trail has still not officially reopened, it sure looked busy today, as were the police on T/C in doling out tickets.

    • Right on Helen. I was skating on MLR. I started at 9:50 , completely empty parking lot. Was quite icy to the bridge then it got quite good for skating. I saw some people as I was coming down and they seem to be quite happy with the tracks higher up. I thought that it was a little slow with that 1 cm new snow. It looks like a single soul went up skating yesterday after they groomed. I finish at 12:10 and it was starting to “spit”. I am trying to remember where I saw you on the trail. I was the only crazy “old” girl skating down.

    • The Legacy Trail has been swept to the picnic area for Canmore. My neighbour went to Banff Saturday and reported that the gravel was swept on the picnic area to Banff as well. Paul

  49. Had a great ski today at PLP. Skied Moraine , Fox Creek up elk pass to blueberry and returned via tyrwhit and whiskey jack. Conditions were minimal on moraine but improved at fox creek due to the light snowfall . The rest was great until the later part of the day when the conditions became soft and slightly slushy. We used our waxless skis so didn’t have too much trouble with sticking. On Elk Pass we ran into Skier Bob, skiing his favourite loop today because it is his Birthday. Happy Birthday ..What a great way to celebrate your day!!
    Rene Bruce & Colin

  50. PLPP-Thursday afternoon-started from Elk Pass Trailhead, up Boulton/Fox Creek, Elk Pass and then up Blueberry Hill and back the same way. Temp. constant around 3C with light rain at end. At start met groomer, Andre, at parking lot. He had just finished grooming Boulton/Fox Creek where he was able to set a pretty good track and Morraine which he just packed as he could not trackset due to poor conditions. Snow was soft and moist but not slushy or icy. Started with Red Special but switched to Swix hard klister which gave good grip but a little slow coming down. On way up skied on the corduroy between the tracks which gave better grip. On the way down the only hard snow/ice encountered were on the steep sections of Blueberry. Afternoon skiing in the spring avoids the icy conditions which the early bird skiers were encountering. Overall not a bad day. Happy Birthday Skier Bob!

  51. PLPP – Whisky Jack, et al.

    Boulton – up WJ- over to Elk Pass- double back to WJ – down Packers.

    The grooming was wonderful, with lots of snow churned into the tracks, so waxless skis worked great. Passed a group who were struggling with klister.

    Higher up it stayed cloudy and cool for most of the day – little solar effect. Conditions were nice and soft, maybe a tad slow but very consistent, with good traction (waxless) and none of that ice-slush-ice-slush stuttering on descents.

    Lower down, heading back mid-afternoon, Pocaterra towards Packers (groomed) and Packers itself (skier set tracks) were getting heavy but still not saturated. It was a mistake to leave the grooming.

    Elk Pass summit heading down toward Blueberry Jct – the tracksetting still looks good.
    Pocaterra heading downhill from Packers towards Lynx – skier-set track looks ugly.
    Moraine from WJ heading towards Fox Cr – narrow corduroy, pretty soft by late aft, one gentleman advised that there was bare ground along the viewpoint by the benches.

    0 C at the parking lot at 10, 4 C at 4 p.m. when it socked in with some light snow.

    Grooming ceases Easter weekend – maybe 17 days to go with hopefully most of them just like today – very very good.

  52. PLPP

    It looks like they tracksetted Tyrwitt to Packers and did Whiskey Jack as well. last night.

  53. We skate skied on MLR today. Started at 10:30 at -1.2C. Quite icy for the first km then it got very nice on a bit of fresh snow as we were going up. Somebody said that Parks had groomed GD and MLR on Sunday morning. Then the snow came Sunday night. It would have been fantastic if they had groomed right after that. Unfortunately the website does not report much. I wonder what happened to the 4 groomers on the staff? We have to find a way to get an update on the trail conditions once in a while.
    It is such a beautiful area and without info the keen spring skiers are missing it.
    The classics tracks have not been groomed for a very long time.

    • What fresh snow? We were there on Monday, and it looked like maybe 2 mm had fallen…. It did not look in need of much grooming then, at least not to us.

  54. Elk Pass Parking Lot – Peter Lougheed Park
    Ski conditions were good at the south end of PLPP today. From the parking lot where it had been groomed per reports, I skied up to Bolton Creek Trail where there was only a skier tracked trail. Over to Fox Creek, again skier tracked. I looked over at Moraine and nobody had come down that trail. Fox Creek was beautiful with the sunlit creek meandering alongside the ski trail. Back to Elk Pass Trail and nice machine tracksetting all the way to the top of the pass.It was trackset down the Hydroline but skier tracked further down Tyrwitt. The tracksetting ended at the first picnic table and as I had skinny skis, I too turned back. I had a little bit of klister on my skis so the alternating scenario of sudden braking in the sun lit areas and quick aceleration in the shadowed areas prevailed but otherwise a good time was had. If you like to ski, it is still possible.

  55. Unlike PLP, West Bragg Creek had excellent grooming ( no track setting ). Iron Springs ski trail was especially nice. Skiers, snowbikers, and hikers (us ! ) were all enjoying their respective designated trails on a beautiful, calm, sunny day. Skate skiers were especially happy; we should have had our skis but enjoyed hiking on the smooth snowbike tracks. Still hoping for some cooler weather and some snow!

  56. Skied at the Canmore Nordic Centre under blue skies today. What a lot of fun, as I did two circuits of the Banff Loop and once on Lynx. I also skied past the track setting on the Banff trail (junction 9 to past junction 14) but turned around when I started running over pebbles. I used waxless skies but wax would have worked well today at least until after lunch. Just a bit of ice her and there and it look like the tracs will hold up as long as it freezes at night

    • Following Eric’s info I can add that the Banff Trail was quite adequate for skating and the Meadowview was much better. There were no tracks set on either trails but it is quite understandable why. A few icy spots covered with a little snow were quite easy to avoid.
      Happy skiing !!!

    • Amazing spring evening at Canmore (CNC) today: clear sky, calm fresh air and beautiful scenery in pale hues. It was +4C at 6pm and +1C at 8pm. Swix CH8 +4/-4C gliding wax was an obvious choice and worked good …as a protecting coating 🙂 I skied (skating) Olympic and Meadowview trails. Most of the trails are groomed and little icy, but the higher from the Lodge and the further into the woods, the cleaner, fresher, and softer snow is. Overall it was very enjoyable skating. However, CNC didn’t seem good for classics at all; I haven’t seen any good tracks today.

  57. We skied at PLPP today. First, we checked Elkwood, Boulton and Elk Pass parking for any grooming not recorded on last night’s live grooming reports – none to be found, but parking lots at Elkwood and Boulton were not cleared – probably okay now.
    Parked at Boulton Bridge and at – 6C we ventured up Whiskeyjack to the S-bend then returned to the trail head. (Thanks to Helen Read for setting the tracks.) The 15 to 20 cm deep snow was heavy going in places, delicious in other places and, where the sun reached the trails, there was a 2 cm crust. All this made for very defensive skiing. VR45 wax worked well on the cold morning snow and VR50 was okay in the pm. Nothing worked well on the sun affected snow – no surprise!
    From the bottom of Whiskeyjack, we set off following skier tracks on Wheeler and Amos to the bottom of Lynx. We ventured down Wooley until we came on snowshoe tracks that had ruined the ski track. We stopped for lunch in the sunny meadow and returned to the car happy with the beautiful white snow on ski trails and in the trees.

  58. PLPP – Elk Pass – took cue from LJS who was here yesterday (Mar 16) and hoped for some grooming, or at least good skier-set tracks. Alas… neither was to be found. The 10-15cm of new snow, and previous days traffic did leave a track, but between fat skis, snowshoes, melting conditions, and overnight freeze it was a challenging trip just to Blueberry Junction. Struggled with wax which worked well for 5 meters, then not at all for 5 meters, etc. In Raylene’s words: “This isn’t much fun”. But… it WAS a sunny beautiful day for sure. About +4C at Blueberry. Hopefully, some overnight grooming will make this a much better day for someone tomorrow.

    PS… Blueberry has not been skied since recent snowfall, nor has anyone been to Boulton (judging by complete lack of tracks of any kind). Be prepared to break trail in the absence of groomer.

  59. Disappointment at Lake Louise:

    Where did all the snow go?? Apparently it was a day of unfortunate decisions, the first of which was not to take my sun hat! The second was to believe reports of lots of fresh snow at Lake Louise. There certainly was lots of fresh snow in the front ranges as we drove through, but much less west of Banff, and beyond Castle Jct. no sign of any at all. Lots of bare ground showing around Lake Louise Village, but we drove up to Fish Creek parking lot with still a little hope of getting to Boulder Pass today. Sadly it did not happen. The ski-out was very icy, dirty in patches, and chewed up by snow machines. We stuck it out for maybe a kilometre, but it only got worse, so we gave up.

    Across the valley, we skied a few km up the Moraine Lake Road, which was quite tolerable. Depending on when snow last fell there, it might have been quite recently groomed? It was pretty smooth, though the snow looked old and tired with perhaps 2 mm fresh on top. Icy in the shade, slushy in the sun, but really pretty good conditions all things considered.

    The weather cleared, and it turned into a most spectacular afternoon. The view from Boulder Pass would have been magnificent…….. if only we could find an easier way to Temple Lodge!

  60. Skied @ PLPP today, starting at Elk Pass parking lot. Beat the snow plow to the punch, and our faith in our Subaru wasn’t misplaced (this time). The car thought -4 @ 11:30 but my thermometer consistently read 0C throughout the day. Maybe I need a new thermometer?

    It was sun/cloud all day with cloud in the majority so whatever they groom tonight should be good skiing tomorrow. The snow was getting a bit heavy lower down, and where it had lots of sun but I think it will hold up. We still had adequate grip on VR40/Vauhti K15.

    Skiing was slow going breaking trail in 10-15cm, but there’s a certain charm in such conditions. Got some respite from breaking trail when we met the party coming out from Elk Lakes Cabin, cheers for the lovely packed tracks! Continued to Tyrwhitt Picnic Table then returned. Had a chat to a couple at Elk Pass who informed me the tracks we’d set on the ski in had been obliterated by the party heading in to Elk Lakes on snow shoes/AT gear/split boards. Pretty disappointing, there was plenty of room for everyone to have their own tracks but they nuked the whole trail in some sections, it certainly reduced the enjoyment of the ski out. Oh well. I had a chat to some from the group so hopefully in the future they’ll keep in mind others’ enjoyment as well as their own.

  61. Headed for PLPP in hopes of finding some nice new white stuff to play in. Wanted to park at Boulton but not plowed out at 10:45. Drove to Elk Pass and then Elkwood parking lots-same thing, so we parked at WWL and skied our way to Wheeler (skier tracked) then to Packers, where my girlfriend, always seeking a challenge, broke trail up it. I broke trail up Whiskey Jack and we met on Pocaterra @ 2, both rather tuckered out as the15 cms. of snow became a lot heavier than at our -3 start at 11:30. After lunch at the picnic table (with Calgary Flames ornament hanging over us), we skied down W/J and back on Amos, breaking trail again. A gorgeous day and no snowfall warning materialized. No evidence of anything being groomed today but am sure they will be very hard at work tonight, perhaps just packing this snow down.

  62. CNC late this morning. Skated out Banff Trail to mine scar, then Meadowview out to Banff/Bow junction, back on Banff and to daylodge via lower biathlon trails. It was all skiable and enjoyable – albeit with icy spots, the odd rock, and generally soft snow which made skating a bit more challenging. As people have been saying – it’s all relative.

    All that said, not sure really why I’m posting this, because it was +4C when we left and I do not think today’s conditions will last until tomorrow without more snow and cold temperatures (not in the forecast).

  63. Have some visitors from Norway for the week and we have been dying to take them to the Nordic Centre all winter. Was icy and gray….which is not what we typically see but beggars can’t be choosers…right?
    So happy to see some snow!

  64. After seeing PLPP’s live grooming indicating fresh grooming on Packers, Pocaterra, Whiskey Jack today, I knew I needed to make the trip out there. I enticed hubby with Callebaut hot chocolate and we made it to Boulton parking lot by 11 am. Temperature was around +2 and beginning to snow. No other cars in the parking lot. With zero skis we ascended Packers, The bottom 25% of Packers had many icy areas, and the ice flow required caution. From the ice flow upward to Pocaterra,, the trail was fast. Snow was beginning to accumulate as we reached Whiskey Jack so progress was slower in 2cm of fresh snow. We continued on to the Tyrwhitt picnic table, and turned back. We had a bit of icing in the Tyrwhitt meadows, and enjoyed the run down Whiskey Jack. The new snow nicely covered many of the icy areas at the bottom of Whiskey Jack. The snow continued all the way back to the Trans Canada.

  65. It started snowing about 2 hours ago in Canmore while I was out walking with Tessa in the forest behind my house. The temperature is near zero, but the snow is accumulating on the forest floor. The forecast is calling for 10 cm by tomorrow.

    It’s melting on the roads right now, but it might be icy tonight with a predicted low of -6. Can’t wait to hear what’s happening in PLPP if anyone was there. The PLPP webcam shows that it’s snowing.

  66. PLPP near W’m Watson. Saturday-Sunday
    I cannot even imagine skiing in the this stuff but I guess I am negative after reading the previous post. As far as skiing around W’m Watson goes, I would suggest leaving the skis and taking ice skates.
    On a more positive note, it looks like Hiway 40 south of the barricades is opening up nicely: after about 20 meters of ice, the pavement looked clear as far as I could see it.* Time to break out the bikes?

    *Okay, truth is I could not see that far, but I live in hope

  67. NOT DONE YET!!!

    Being one of the buddies who skied with Anna on fantastic Tyrwitt on Friday the 13th I decided to go back for more yesterday ( Sat.). I decided to ignore the forecast for 1 mm of rain but at the last minute threw a rain jacket in just in case. As Charlie and I drove along HWY 40 the rain began. No drizzle, heavy spring time rain. I figured it would end soon. Drove by Pocoterra ( one big ice puddle) but being an optomist assured Charlie that it would be snowing at Elk Pass parking lot. WRONG! It was rain quite hard and 3 degrees. I might have changed my mind but Charlie made some joke about how suffering builds character, jumped out of the car , put on his freshly klistered skis as headed out. I had to safety pin my boot shut as my zipper had just broken putting on my boots ( even my boots were trying to send a message. ). I then donned my freshly klistered skis , threw my rain jacket over my ski jacket and hit the trail. Our wax worked remarkably well aswe trudged up wet, icy Elk Pass. About 3 km. along ” the rain turned to snow”. ( there is a song that contains those lines). The skiing felt quite good and we were having fun and joking. At the Blueberry Hill turnoff I suggested we head up and enjoy the trail till the steep part which would be too icy. By now there was easily 5 cm of fresh snow and no problem with icy tracks. We made it all the way up suffering some icing on our skis higher up were it was colder. A fun return back down Blueberry on soft , slow snow. Our return back Elk Pass trail was much the same till we hit the rain again. Went water skiing through some puddles near the bottom of the trail , got soaked but we already were. All and all a great adventure and we were sure glad we didn’t give up at the parking lot like many others had. Off to the Visitors Centre to change into dry clothes and have lunch by the roaring fire. There is still plenty of snow In the South end so I predict more good skiing if we get some cooler days.

    • Absolutely beautiful!. I don’t know if I would repeat it but you do have my admiration. There may be more of this as the season winds down.

    • YAY! This gives me much hope for next weekend. I really didn’t want to believe it was over yet. Thanks, Janice! I will continue to be the lone weirdo in the office this week, making no secret of hoping for lots more snow in March before Spring really takes hold.

    • Thanks Janice your post seems to have tickled the snow gods. There is a snowfall warning out now for Canmore-Kananaskis!

  68. PLPP snow prognosis

    The Weather Network is predicting 10 – 15 cm for today with below zero C temperatures. POP is high.

  69. Having lived in the Bow Valley for several years now, I cannot imagine NOT getting several more dumps of snow in March and April. Last year, I skied 15 more times between March 14th and April 17th and two years ago, I distinctly remember my last ski on Ribbon Creek April 9th, 2013 before that trail was gone forever with the flood.

  70. We visited Great Divide Trail & Telemark for first time today. Some new snow and some rain. Better than staying home! Let it snow, let it snow….

  71. Went to Pocaterra today, 60% ice, 25% water, 15% slush. Waterskiing the puddles was quite enjoyable. Weather was classified as a monsoon. Recommendation: Do not attempt to slide down the wattery ice hills on your backside as it will result in a hasty and hilarious launch into the trees. Sections of the trail look freshly Zambonied, if you wish to bring your ice-skates. Our highlight of the soggy day was some fantastic mulled wine from the friendly Norsemen Ski Club. Thanks!
    All in all, it was a fun time actually, full of many laughs and bruises.
    I think the season is coming to a quick end due to todays rainforest type conditions.

  72. Mt Shark today – the good news, good skating with first tracks on the fresh grooming this am (thanks, Jody!), snow is getting thin as Jody reported with some icy patches/puddles, track texture was really variable from ice to snow to water (no idea what wax if any would have worked for classic), nice to be able to skate part of the Watridge Lake trail where the classic tracks are both set to one side, before the sled dogs show up (they started running at about 10.30am); the bad news, it was raining the whole time from 9-11 am, temps +2-3C, and the snow was pretty wet when we left; the really bad news, it’s gonna get ugly if/when it freezes!

  73. 3 of us decided to take our Friday 13 chances at PLPP.
    We were the first vehicle in the Elk Pass parking lot at 9:15 am and were pleasantly surprised to find new grooming. Tracks were firm and glazed but the corduroy offered some grip and excellent control on hills. Temperature was around zero when we started, and rose to +8 around 2pm. We followed the grooming to Hydroline and on to the meadows of Tyrwhitt. Needless to say, we had a marvelous ski!
    Finishing just as the snow was beginning to soften in sunny areas, we noted about a dozen vehicles in the Elk Pass parking lot.

  74. Awesome skiing this morning at the Nordic Centre. Sugary snow, could not be better. Hard in front of the Lodge area but as soon as you hit the first hill it was like sugar on the surface.
    Hope it will stay cold in the mornings.
    Come and enjoy it won’t last very long.

  75. Decent skate skiing yesterday on the manmade snow at Canmore Nordic Centre but go early before it warms up and slows down too much (we skied 8.30-10am yesterday). Trails are definitely showing signs of thinning and may not last much longer if it stays warm!

    Word is Jody plans to groom at least some of Mt Shark tonight, if it gets cold enough, so should be good tomorrow but check with live-grooming reports before heading up. Also note that the sled-dog operation is back at Mt Shark as there is no snow on the Spray Reservoir where they usually operate.

  76. We skied at Mount Shark today. The temperature in the parking lot was plus 6. There is complete snow coverage on the trails. There were two puddles to ski through as we left the parking area and then conditions improved after that. We classic skied out to Watridge lake and the trail was feeling the warmth of the day. We used red wax but waxless or klister would probably have worked a little better. When the track was a little too icy we skate skied with our classics and it seemed to work pretty well. I would think a straight skate ski would be nice for a little longer. Fun and fast skiing back to the car!

  77. Snow Prognosis

    Per the Weather Network there is a 70% chance of 5 cm of snow on Sunday at Lake Louise. Temperatures are generally cooler there but there are days where it will be above zero C until then.

    • Frank I like your weather report. Mine does not look that good. I will ignore mine.
      But if we get the snow I’ll be there.

      • Suzel, they upped it to 10 – 15 cm!. You may remember me on a certian ski week with a certain B. Hamilton.

        • That Frank! Hi Frank see you on the trails

          • By the way Frank that B. Hamilton is going to be 80 at the end of the month. Remind me on which trip we were together.

            • We were out to visit him on Sunday. Sadly, the forecast for Lake Louise has tuned for the worse as far as snow goes. There is rain for both Lake Louise and Peter Lougheed in the next couple of days. Theoretically there can be major snow anytime until May but this year……..?

            • mountain-forecast.com shows that on Mt. Cordonnier it is predicted to only get down to about 0 degrees at the 2000m level on Sat/Sun. Your spring has sprung !
              You guys could have used some of our February snow, which for all its abundance, not one day was warm enough to make a snowball or snowman.

  78. Ahem ahem
    is that the sound of an opera singer warming up to signal end of ski season?
    fah..lah…tee…dooo…ray…. meeeeeeeeee
    🙂

  79. OTTERTAIL FIRE ROAD
    If you don’t like klister… throw on some skins… and enjoy:
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=3108981&code=d64ced86a6fda6e28692b7e12501c029
    If you’re very lucky… you might meet Helen Read and her stash!

    • Chuck, you never cease to amaze! I’m astounded you seem to have found so much snow at such a low elevation. Spectacular day 🙂

  80. West Bragg Creek Triathlon
    I had a pretty good idea of the conditions I might expect at West Bragg Creek, so I brought all my toys and completed my own version of a triathlon.
    First I hiked up Boundary Ridge, over to Strange Brew via Elbow, up Strange Brew and down Ranger Ridge trial. Much of the route was on dry ground, with some very icy bits and a few sections of compacted snow.
    Then I switched to XC ski gear and did a loop on East Crystal Line, Sundog, and West-Middle Crystal Line. Skiing was very fast on hard-packed wet snow, sections of ice, with a few bits of bare ground, ice flow and standing water to make things interesting. Surprisingly, the skiing was better than I had expected.
    Here’s how the skiing portion looked: https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/WBCXCMar102015?authkey=Gv1sRgCPKV9sewte3gKw
    I finished with a short mountain bike ride on Braggin Rights and Long Distance on mostly dry trail.
    In summary: West Bragg Creek has marginal XC ski conditions, which are deteriorating quickly and it has manageable hiking and biking conditions, which are improving rapidly.
    A very weird season indeed!

    • WOW!! How did you get through that Crystal-Mountain-Moose intersection with the big ice flow? on skates, by foot, and wipeout? I can’t believe I was out there less than a week ago enjoying the winter wonderland and excellent snow conditions.
      On the BR/LD ride, you say “mostly dry”… how wet was the worst of it and approx what length? hike-a-bike style a la Telephone Loop?

      • I only went to the Reconnect/Demi-Tel junction on Long Distance, but the trail conditions really are mostly dry or moist ground with a few strips of ice/compacted snow and several softer, muddy bits. The worst of the muddy trail is the first 100m out of the parking lot on Braggin Rights.

    • I love the sense of adventure.

      Could it be termed a ‘quadrathlon’, because you were also firing your ‘point and shoot’ ?

  81. Peter Lougheed Park.

    Three of us did the Lower Traverse today from Elk Pass Parking lot over to William Watson Lodge via Bolton Creek, Moraine, Wheeler and across the road using universal klister, two, the aerosol and the other the tube type.Six others attempted to go up to Elk Pass using waxless skis but turned back at the top of the big hill. There is so much ice now in the park that klister is the only media that will work. The sunshine was out the whole day and the views were spectacular. We did walk down all the major hills.

  82. Macpherson xc ski trails, Revelstoke, groomed daily, conditions excellent for classic and skate. +9 degrees, we used classic no wax skis. Great tracks (I mean Really Great), and good scenery, lots of snow!

  83. PLPP middle
    I checked the live grooming reports before heading down to the PLPP trails and I’m glad I did. Starting from Boulton Creek parking lot, Packers, Pocaterra, Whiskey Jack, Lynx, Amos and Wheeler were all in great shape. Freshly groomed and not enough skier traffic to glaze the tracks. Swix V55 worked well on all but the steepest hills and provided good glide except a few sunny wet spots. Hopefully the Elk Pass/Tyrwhitt trails get groomed next.

  84. Skied PLPP today (8th) from the Elk Pass parking lot.

    Conventional wisdom says that conditions are better toward the south end, but today, conventional wisdom could not have ben more wrong. The Elk Pass trail was a block of ice in the morning, and it did not soften up significantly by the afternoon. Fox Creek and Moraine were also very, very icy. If you don’t like dodging trees at high speed on sheer ice, I would avoid these trails.

    Once we reached Wheeler and Whiskey Jack, I could not believe my eyes. The conditions on Whiskey Jack were astoundingly great. Beautifully groomed tracks. Great grip and glide. I talked to a few people on the trail and they were as flabbergasted and positively surprised as I was. From the top of Whiskey Jack, I skied Pocaterra to Packers Junction and back. The tracks were just as astonishingly amazing, especially considering how late in the afternoon it was already. The only sad part was that it looked like almost nobody had skied on them. I would like to thank the track setters from the bottom of my heart for pulling this off. Maybe not the best conditions ever, but they might as well have been.

    On the way back to Elk Pass, things started to unravel pretty badly on Tyrwhitt at about the Lookout junction. The track was well groomed, but the snow alternated between wet cement and hardened steel. I managed a pretty epic face plant coming out of the shadows onto some quicksand snow. On Elk pass, it was a chore to walk up and down the steeps, but I managed to get to the parking lot OK.

    For wax, I was using KX20 base klister, covered with KR30 ice klister, covered with V55. It worked very well through all the various conditions I encountered. Swix VR70, waxless skis, and Skintecs also worked great for others.

    If I only knew how good the skiing was further north, I would have started at Boulton Creek. Out of curiosity, I popped by the Boulton Creek parking lot on the way out. There were only about 10 cars, compared to about 30ish at Elk Pass, which would explain why I saw so many people struggling on Elk Pass and so few enjoying the magnificent snow further north. Hopefully the great conditions there hold up for a little while longer.

    • Almost nothing to add to Risto’s great report, just a few numbers from my experience today: Pocaterra Hut displayed +8C at 3pm and +6C at 6pm. Skied a 33km clockwise loop Come Alone-Pocaterra-Tyrwitt-Elk Pass-Fox Creek-Morain-Amos-Lynx-Pocaterra. I used glide wax only (LF8 +1..-4C, the warmest I have), no kick wax. Gliding was okay in average, except for sunny spots where snow was softened and wet and where deceleration was so sudden and significant that I struggled not to fall my face down, legs behind and up 🙂

  85. Just as we’re getting into spring, my doctor said I can ski now (roughly half a year post-op). It might take a bit to get my legs (and back) into shape but it sure felt good to get out there again. I went to CNC and just stuck to the Banff loop because I’m very familiar with it – and I’m a bit unsure of my tolerance to a face plant. I’m about 40 pounds lighter now than when my skis were set up so I waxed a bit extra using violet wax. I had ‘ok’ grip though klister might have been better. I got my skiing all in before noon and had no face plant moments. When you’ve been away from it for a long time, any ski day is a great day!

  86. Skied Mount Shark yesterday (7th). Beautifully pristine and groomed tracks but couldn’t make any of my wax work. Too much moisture in the snow in the afternoon. Might have been OK in the morning. V55 was too slippery. “Bingo dabber” universal klister didn’t work either. KR30 ice klister was icing up. Did most of the yellow loop and gave up after 7 km. I think it would have been a perfect day for skate skiing.

  87. PLPP off-trail wandering
    With all the nice groomed trails at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, few people consider off-trail skiing. But I have always wondered about the skiing potential in the big empty void between Whiskey Jack, Lookout and Hydroline. The terrain seems gentle enough and the snow pack is quite supportive right now, so I thought I’d wander through the woods to check it out. Turns out, it’s mostly Tyrwhitt-like meadows and gentle, open forest.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/PLPPXCWhiskeyLookoutMar72015?authkey=Gv1sRgCKr914n7iue2cg#
    As noted by others, there were less Collembola (snow fleas) on Whiskey Jack or in the meadows… but they were quite thick on parts of south Lookout, the Hydroline Hill, Elk Pass and Moraine. I gave Fox Creek a pass, because that’s usually the worst trail for them.
    A thin layer of Swix Red Special worked well all day. Much of it wore off on the downhills, but what remained was black tar.

  88. Did anyone else notice that Collembola (Spring Tails, Snow Fleas) smell like fish? As soon as we got on the trail at Elk Pass we both said “Wow. It smells like the ocean out here today.” The blackest sections of track seemed the most pungent.

    From Wikipedia: In sheer numbers, they are reputed to be one of the most abundant of all macroscopic animals, with estimates of 100,000 individuals per square meter of ground, essentially everywhere on Earth where soil and related habitats occur.

    Let’s see.. the snow outside the track had about 1 per square cm, or 10,000 per square meter (? check that, as I can do third order partial differentiation, but simple math escapes me). At the top of the big Elk Pass hill squished in the track we estimated about 20 per square cm. Assuming 80mm track width, every km we skiied today smushed…. like… a bajillion fleas. eewwh.

    • Just took the skis out of the ski box . Smelled like a mild ocean breeze!
      Now, let’s hear from the bug doctor on why 🙂

  89. Sun warmed spruce trees
    Blacken ski tracks in the snow
    Collembolan Spring

  90. Peter Lougheed PP
    Did a counter clockwise loop over Elk Pass from the Visitors Centre today and agree with the conditions report by both Mary P. and Skier Bob. The best skiing was on the lower trails around the Visitors Centre (Meadow, Amos, Woolley, Lynx, and Lower Pocaterra). The Snow fleas started around Boulton and intensified along Moraine, Fox, Elk Pass, Tyrwhitt and upper Pocaterra making this part of the loop with the dirty tracks and warm soft snow a real slog.

    Had decent grip with Rode 0 to +1, but scraped it off at the Pocaterra – Whiskey Jack junction for the run down Pocaterra. The wax was black as tar at this point. The fleas disappeared somewhere down Pocaterra between the Packers and Lynx junction and things got better. I rewaxed with Rode Extra (0 to +2) for the ski back to the Visitors Centre via Lynx, Woolley and Meadow. Overall waxless skis would have been a better bet; met Lyle Sutherland along Tyrwhitt with zero skis and he was doing okay. Still much better than a good day at the office!

  91. Lots of people out enjoying the trails at Elk Pass today. We started at Elk Pass parking in +2C temperature on waxless skis, which worked very well today, given the conditions. The first section of track was collembola-blackened with needles and cones added to the mix. The tracks got cleaner as we went further south and higher, but we never really got away from those little black harbingers of Spring! After a snack at the BlueElk table, we explored up Blueberry for just over a kilometer. The trails were very good, some debris and just starting to soften. Then it was on to Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt to the highpoint at the north end, where we turned around and returned the same way we had come. Tyrwhitt, unfortunately was softening and the tracks looked dark with wet snow and snow fleas. The last big hill back to the parking lot was not icy, but snow was ‘grabby’ and made a less than perfect glide back to the van. The tracks here were positively black! Mostly sunny this morning, more cloud and a few snow flurries after lunch. Temp at parking lot was +5C. A good day on the hills despite the challenges of soft tracks and less glide on waxless skis.

  92. Did PLPP today. Started going up Whiskeyjack around 1:15pm. It was soft, but skiable (grooming would help). Tyrwhitt was excellent, as was Elk Pass. Fox Creek and Moraine were soft and quite dirty. The tracks were deteriorating and dark grey in colour.

  93. Mount Shark, perfect fresh grooming today, +2 at 11:00. Lots of animal tracks, especially closer to Bryant creek: lynx, pine martin, hare, and perfect wing prints of a grey jay. A couple of animals in the flesh: a spruce grouse and a little red squirrel. I realize they are ubiquitous, but lovely just the same.

  94. Headed out to WBC mid-morning to see how the Skintecs would handle the conditions on Moose Loop. Was a bit short of time so headed out Mountain Road then did the Loop clockwise for a change. I had to take the skis off a few times (in total walked probably 1 km), due to slush pools and lack of snow in sunny places. The Skintecs are awesome on crusty/icy tracks, today those were in the shady bits. Out in the sun the snow was softening and in a set track the skis slow down, but out of the track on snow that’s chewed up a bit they glide just fine. The grip is excellent going uphill, while on the downhill a really wide, low snowplow is effective in counteracting the grab when they hit softer snow. Today a slow-motion, sliding fall felt like landing on memory foam…nice! Temp was around +10 with some wind when I started and was +12 back at the car. More bikes, fat and otherwise, out today.

  95. Fresh grooves, all day long.
    Yes indeed, I can also attest to the goodness of PLPP yesterday. A bit cloudy in morning but it cleared up nicely after lunch, just in time for the lookout summit. Grooming was excellent both up the west side and down the east. Sun was

    • Packing some punch at the tyrwit table and at blueberry, melting snow on skies, but not affecting trail at this height. More sun and temperature affect lower down for some morning crust maybe.

  96. PLPP today – skied with the other senior’s club today (Evergreens) and saw Art and his wooden skis at Fox/Moraine junction.
    Four of us started from William Watson Lodge at -8C, I was using VR40 (others VR45). We skied Wheeler /Moraine / Fox Creek / Elk Pass / Tyrwhitt / Pocaterra and Come Along, finishing our day at Pocaterra Hut.
    Wheeler was our problem trail with lots of tree debris over a thin layer of snow over ice. We scraped at the Amos junction and the bottom of Whiskey Jack. The snow-mobile groomer entered Moraine ahead of us and his work resulted in snow conditions that scrapped off any residual debris and all wax leaving clean bases for re-waxing at the Elk Pass trail. On excellent track set and clean snow, we now progressed quickly over Elk Pass to the Tyrwhitt picnic table where more wax was required for the warming air / snow temperature. I added VR45 with great results. We met Skier Bob on Tyrwhitt enjoying his favorite trail in excellent conditions. The run down Tyrwhitt and Pocaterra was worth all the work to get high! At Whiskey Jack junction conditions changed from new grooming to skier track on solid snow covered old track set. It was wavy but silent and fast all the way to Lynx Junction. Now the warming day started to affect the snow covered grooming (+5C at PH at 3:00pm). We slithered back to Pocaterra Hut happy with our beautiful day and a wee bit tired. All aboard the bus for Calgary!

  97. Carol and I did the classic loop at PLPP on Thursday morning (Mar5). That being a start at Boulton, up Whiskeyjack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, and out Fox/Moraine. The snow on Monday did wonders – Whiskeyjack to Tyrwhitt had 4 cm’s of “new” snow on previous grooming. Once we got to the base of Tyrwhitt (at the Lookout Junction), it was fresh soft grooming, and very pleasant from there to Fox Ck. The trail on Fox/Moraine was the best we’ve seen this year! Freshly flat rolled and no trackset – but soft and easy. Most of the time, a casual skate with the double poling had you on your way down that “singletrack” quite nicely. We were using VR50 (purple 0 to -4C), and it worked well. It was -4C at the start, 0C at the finish, and +8C driving past Nakiska.

    Before we got on Fox, we went by a busload of skiers from a Calgary Senior’s club. We stopped and talked for a while with Art and a couple of gal friends. I’m hoping the picture I took of they and Carol came along with this email. He’s holding classic wood skis (205’s? complete with the tar base) and cable bindings. Apparently, at 80 years old, Art has shrunk 3 inches, and HIS skis were even longer. One of the gals got new fibreglass skis, and he now uses her old wood skis.

    Anyway, they were having fun on a terrific day. And so were we.

    Photo: http://skierbob.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Arts-skis-and-gals.jpg

  98. WEST BRAGG CREEK
    Excellent day out at West Bragg Creek today. Bright sunshine, warming temperatures and new grooming made it a perfect day to enjoy the west loops. Looks as if Steve Riggs and I had the same idea, taking in West Crystal Line, Moose Loop, Mountain View and parts of Mountain Road. Lots of other people had the same idea. I counted 84 cars in the parking lot!
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/WBCXCMar42015?authkey=Gv1sRgCJuf_LSqoZiLRg#

  99. March 4 afternoon, West Bragg Creek: Skied W side of Sundog Loop, Elbow to the start of the steep descent to Allen Bill, Iron Springs, E Crystal Line. +1C at start, +3C at end. Waxless classic skis yet again! Skiing was generally good on thin snow coverage with a few tiny bits of ground showing through. More bare spots appeared on the approach to Allen Bill descent. Conditions improved again on the return via Iron Springs. E Crystal Line was in excellent condition. Overall the snow coverage seemed pretty thin, so with the warmer weather coming, these conditions may not last much longer.

  100. Skied up Olympic on excellent tracks and exited onto Meadow. At the Rundle junction we continued NW to the high point on Rundle before the steep downhill. The classic track was much improved and the skating lane roughed up all the way. One of us skated and one was on classic. We continued on past the Cougar junction and encountered a short rocky patch easily avoided before the shortcut down to Meadow. Cut down onto Meadow by the picnic table at the top of the long uphill from Banff trail and returned on Meadow to ski Grey Wolf which was in great shape – then skied back up to Meadow and returned to stadium. Ken’s advice was good re; Bow but lots of work has been done on the upper natural snow trails by Paul and crew.

  101. Emerald Lake on Sunday.

    Took a couple of days to recover from the bumbs and bruises to be able to write the report.
    Sunday was pleasant, about -2 in late morning. Had a coat of VR30 but put on Violet to start. Trails were almost completely ice. wax didn’t much difference as i could have double poled the entire day. Did one loop – counter clockwise, meaning going past the first left turn down along the lake to make the 2nd left. This wasn’t the best of ideas on the return, not the worst of ideas but would have been better to go the other way. I like going counter clockwise because you get a moderate, more a modicum, of a down hill on the way back. i generally have to vigourously double pole to get any speed on the return. Not Sunday. It was like a friggin luge track. The ‘snow’ on most the entire trail was frozen rock hard, so if your skis were in the tracks they were *in* the tracks. And trying to get a ski out to snow plow on solid frozen snow/ice? yeah, right. On the down hill the combination of solid ice/frozen snow created a nice run of death. Speed was 3 or 4x what i’ve seen befoe, but still manageable, especially as i was able to do the pole drag thing to take a bit of the speed off. Trail was wiped out at one point about 1’/2 way down, so you go from being in a luge run to suddenly open ice, with the expected spill. ouch, but again, not too bad. the other ‘fun’ thing was losing a pole. at some point, I planted a pole and it got stuck in the ice, hit a hole on the way in but as i moved forward the pole snagged in the ice, a kind of over hang of ice, and the pole got riped from my hand with the velcro wrap coming undone. i had it on loosely to begin with.
    Still a not unejoyable day. But normally i’d do two or three runs, only did one.
    One other note, i took the first turn off the ice to hit the trail that runs above the snow shoe track. love that run and really miss the old trail that started at the parking lot and crossed the avalanche pass. anyway, my 0.02$ is to avoid this trail until the region gets some serious snow. it was ice with neddles on top. when i stopped to check my skis at the bench about 1/2 way around the loop, they were almost solid brown. okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. you’re probably better off with waxless come to think of it.
    Still a so-so day of skiing is better than a good day of much anything else.

  102. WEST BRAGG CREEK
    I did a quick spin around some of the trails at West Bragg Creek this afternoon. Conditions were very good and all of the trails I skied were freshly groomed. It was a perfect combination of blue skies and blue wax.

  103. I won’t be able to do a regular update with photos tonight, but we’ve already got two detailed trip reports on PLPP and conditions are very good. I purposely skied up Packers to check the ice flow. It’s 20 metres long and the full width of the trail on a slope. Worse, it’s lurking beneath some fresh snow which could tempt skiers to cross it unknowingly. Heed the warning sign if you’re descending. Whatever you do, don’t try to snowplow your way over it. I didn’t have any problem as I was going up the hill and stayed to one side. Otherwise, the conditions in PLPP are the best we’ve seen in a long time. New Pocaterra has 3 cm of fresh snow and was enjoyable.

  104. Outstanding day in PLPP! From Boulton, Moraine and Fox Creek were the best I’ve experienced this season. Up Elk Pass to Patterson, then cooled off down Hydroline to catch the south Lookout trail. View from Lookout was awesome, not a cloud to be seen, then down the North side and Whiskey Jack in heavenly light fresh powder. Met only 2 other skiers and only a couple of cars at the trailhead. Swix special green worked just fine to the top, then scraped most off for the trip down. Temp was -10 when I started out at 1 and -8 when I finished around 4:30.

  105. Last Sunday, west elk pass
    For those inclined to venture off the track setting to west elk

    • Oops. West elk pass that is. Given the nice sunny weather, built a snow couch just east of the park entrance sign in a wind protected bay at the east edge of the meadow. Good views of mt fox and the turret. Big enough for two to lounge. Just need a seat foamy and lean on the backpack. Feel free to enjoy, or even expand if you have a shovel. Pretty good sun catch around 1 or 2 pm. (-:

  106. Absolutely stunning day up at Shark-two cars in parking lot bet 11-2. Minus 15 at start and minus 10 at finish. The antique green wax suiting those numbers worked beautifully. Yellow Recreational loop and add on to Watridge Lk was most enjoyable. Perhaps not fast enough for Skierbob, but I loved playing in the tracks and powder available in and out of the tracks.

  107. We skied from William Watson Lodge up to Elk Pass on Amos, Wheeler, Morraine, Fox Creek and Elk Pass. Then skied down Tyrwhit, Pocatera and Come Along to the Pocatera Hut. Great day, it was -20C when we started in the morning and -10C by noon in brillant sunshine. Amos and Wheeler were track set and very fast. The rest of the trails were skier tracked but easy to ski and there was good speed on the downhills. Some of us used green was and others blue (40vfr).

  108. CNCPP – late afternoon March 3 . Skied out Bow Trail and back on Rundle. There was a bit of recent grooming on Bow, and most of Rundle. I had hoped to take advantage of yesterday’s 4cm but was, I guess, a bit late. Conditions were (as the signs say) “marginal” with ice under the thin fresh snow, and a few rocks etc. That said, I was able to ski the entire way, but can not say that I would recommend either of these trails right now.

  109. Mount Shark/ Watridge Lake Trail to Allenby Pass Junction
    Yesterday

    I was rather disappointed to see some rather unfriendly nasty mountain bikers illegally riding down from Bryant Creek Warden Cabin by BR 14. One guy had brown hair and was likely in his later 30’s while the other guy appeared to have greying hair and was likely in his later 40’s or older. The only real significant ski trail damage done by their bikes was done at the higher altitudes near the campground- thankfully.

    Illegal mountain bikers are a dangerous threat to the well being of others, particularly on 16 inch wide backcountry ski trials, – I know as I was hit by one in the past (who also hit and ran) and I have suffered a permanent painful hip injury since- not to mention I had a difficult recovery period for about 8 months. New huge fines and penalties should be brought in by the Parks Minister to discourage such people from breaking the law and risking the health, safety and livelihood of others. Offenders should also have their bikes impounded permanently. Signs are not enough to deter law breakers. Parks need to step up their enforcement with the aid of technology.

    When mountain bikers fly down hills on very narrow 16″ ski trails, they will not bale off the trail into powder as that will result in a certain crash that could harm them. Instead they will crash into the skier if the skier is not quick enough to get out of the way. Skiers and illegal mountain bikers on the same trail is a very dangerous mix particularly on downhill corners.

    If you ever see any illegal activity in our Parks, such as illegal mountain bikers, take photos if possible and make reports to the wardens or rangers. Such information may be of great use in a court if someone gets seriously injured. It can also be used for administering lawsuit awards where necessary.

    As for the skiing, the groomed trackset trail to Watridge Lake and beyond is in excellent- no fantastic condition. There is even a skating lane to enjoy. The grip and glide was great. The snow was very fast and late winter like. Beyond the end of the of the groomed trail, there is an excellent very fast skier tracked trail to Allenby Pass Junction and beyond. Moonlight coming out made for some nice mountain scenery. Enjoy the remaining ski season while you can and keep an eye or camera out for illegal activities to help out the last remaining few wardens that need all the help they can get in this era of huge Government cutbacks.

    Make way for your next ski day.

    • Not condoning breaking the rules, but….
      Mountain bikers still lament the unfair closure (while heavy commercial horse use is still allowed) of Bryant Creek trail to bikes, which was key to the ride to Assiniboine, truly one of the 5 star rides in the Rockies, if not anywhere.
      Given that, ostensibly, one of the major reasons given for the bike ban was that increased usage could negatively affect the grizzly population, and that the bears are dormant in winter- maybe opening up some trails to winter riders could be considered. In reality- biking a narrow trail presents no more hazard than a speeding skier on the same trail, and postholing hikers cause far more trail damage than a rider.
      The rise of fatbikes has certainly changed the mix of winter trail users, but rather than all the complaining about them, why not embrace the fact that more people are getting out to enjoy the outdoors?
      Right on, Cheryl B!

    • Up to a $25,000 dollar fine is what illegal mountain bikers can face in the National Parks, according to what a warden told me. Furthermore, I was told that if an illegal mountain biker is caught that they must appear in court. The fine is apparently up to what ever the mood of the judge is in basically. With all the hidden cameras along the park trails, the more pictures an illegal mountain biker is in, the more likely that person will have a harsher case built against him or her- particularly if they injure someone in a crash.

      As a former Banff mountain biker, I personally have no problem with mountain bikes on designated bike trails. It sucks that they sometimes leave big ruts in the ski skating lanes but they have the right- for now. If however law breakers continue to go off of legal trails potentially endangering other people, then perhaps more trails should be shut down to mountain bikers as enforcement is a taxing pain in the butt.

      Mountain bikers have tens of thousands of kilometers of trails to choose from in Alberta- outside of the National Parks. One of the smartest things Parks did is limit the trails bikers could travel, including the Bryant Creek area- where I often use to lazily mountain bike to in order to access fishing quicker. Eliminating mountain bikers on most trails has reduced environmental stress on the back country which is the most important consideration as our wilderness declines as a result of over development. Fishing has improved in many areas now. Furthermore, the trails are not eroding as quickly since mountain bikers are not leaving big ruts behind for rains to channel down. This reduces the taxing cost of maintaining trails and keeps them in better shape longer. The Bryant Creek area is one of the best remaining Grizzly habitats Alberta has. Protecting one of the last few safe habitats for these wonderful animals in Southern Alberta is the moral thing to do.

      Horse back riding and mountain biking has been greatly curtailed in Banff for the benefit of protecting the environment. Without doing so, more trails would be in much worse condition than they are now which would require even more snow in the winter to make them ski-able.

      Mother Nature- cheaper to keep ‘er as she is.

    • Whoooah there big fella!! I get that you’re upset but you’ve thrown out a bunch of conflicting and unrelated statements connected to a sensitive historically-poor decision made by Parks many years back. Mr. Riggs has touched on many of these but the issues seem to be:
      1. Biker on trail that was closed to bikers. Illegal is illegal, got it. Why it was closed and how that was implemented is still an issue but doesn’t change the current rules. Don’t be surprised if the closure is reprised at some point, and/or modified on a seasonal basis. Doesn’t make the biker a “bad” person or a personal threat.
      2. Dual direction travel on a narrow trail. Totally unrelated to cyclists. Other users also move up and down that trail, many oblivious and disrestpectful to others. Is the issue the narrowness or dual direction?
      3. Cylists a “dangerous threat to others”? As are skiers, snowshoers, hikers, runners, walkers, dogs, wildlife, ski-doers, and even the groomers if they act poorly or some doesn’t know act appropriately around them – conflict takes 2. Like with any population there are a few bad apples. You’ll find them also at WBC, CNC, COP, PLPP, etc… Rather than outright ban specific user groups there are multi-use areas being developed, or that need to be considered. Be part of this successful implementation. [mental note to self to take own advice]
      4. Your encounter with a rude, careless, disrespectful person that resulted in personal injury is a serious matter for sure. I’ve been hit on the ski slopes, by other users… there are appropriate avenues for dealing with that but hit and runs escalate the whole situation regardless of form of travel.
      5. I am all for respectful but also fair and safe usage by all users. Bryant is an example of poor implementation. WBC is generally a good example of a slow but positive integration of the user groups, but evidently conflict still happens in this “me-first” and “screw-you” society. So really first step here is to practice courtesy, respect, and conflict resolution so we can all enjoy the great outdoors.

      • As a biker/skier/hiker, I’ve always tried to operate under the following policy: “The other guy has the right of way”. So far, so good.

        • Hello Bill,
          Your common sense philosophy about assuming the other person has the right of way, even if that person does not, is an excellent one to help prevent crashes. That is what I think too. Best to keep the head up and keep right.

          It works great until someone gets distracted or drops their head for that important second or two- perhaps because of something simple like sneezing or coughing. Having someone come down a trail on the wrong side on a blind corner can also make getting out of the way more of a challenge. Proper Parks trail planning for use is also very important in making trails safer for all.

      • Hello Richie
        Here is a response to your points.
        1) The issue of the Bryant Creek trial was settled by Parks for environmental sustainability reasons. This was not a poor decision. It was a beneficial environmentally respectful decision. As a guy who supports biking, I would not support the re-opening of this trail to bikes as it would erode it as well as flood the back country with numerous more people which would result in more dangerous Grizzly encounters. The Griz would be the loser. This is a species that needs protection in the last remaining habitats in Alberta as their numbers decline. Supporting biking in this area is a rejection of supporting this important Griz habitat. The fish would also come under more fishing pressure as well.

        Even hiking trials have closures in this area to protect the wildlife which I support and respect as a hard core backpacker.

        2) In winter a back country ski trail is about 16″ wide. A biker speeding down a hill on a blind corner is not going to move off the 16″ trail into powder snow due to risk of an injury crash and the possibly of death if they hit a tree or freeze because they can’t get out injured in the cold. If an uphill user can not get off of the trail fast enough, a crash will likely occur. THIS IS A LEGAL RISK MANAGEMENT ISSUE.
        Skiers (who normally are in more control or slower than bikers) coming down a hill can jump off a tracked ski trail into powder and not crash like a biker likely would. It is easier for a skier to drop on their butt to stop than it is for a biker to bale off their bike. Bikers on a big wide groomed ski trails are not such a problem

        3) Look at #2 for more about the threat of bikers. I have never seen a snowshoer or hiker be a moving threat to others unless they are talking on a cell phone perhaps! Conflict does take 2 as you suggest however there is far more dangerous conflicts with bikers as injury statistics and health care bills suggest!
        Various Parks have specific trails bikers can use. Other trails are strictly for hiking. This makes for a more pleasurable experience for tourist hikers. When I am hiking a mixed use trail, I am more concerned of bikers due to the high potential of a crash. I also have the choice to stay away from biker trails if I choose for safety reasons- which I do in many cases. Alberta has Tens of thousands of kilometers of trails for bikers to use. There is very little restrictions overall- other than on some trails in some Parks. There is no need to open up more trails for bikers with the vast amount of choice out there. There is a need to protect Grizzlies however as well as the tourists and the associated tourism hiking or skiing industry.
        4) The best avenue for dealing with reducing multi user collisions starts with wise decisions on trail uses by the Parks and maintaining a risk management standard duty of care which reduces legal liabilities. Proactive preventive measures are better than reactive measures such as billing the health care system or suing in courts. Law suits do not enable a disability from a bike accident to go away or prevent the loss of taxable income.

        5) Courtesy and respect goes a long ways. However not everyone has those qualities and they are becoming rarer in our over populated me first rushed society. You suggest Bryant Creek was an example of poor implementation. The biking experiment was tried by Parks and failed. The Grizzly bears, fish, wolves, Wardens, hikers, and trails (if they could speak) would suggest the current policy is ideal. About 5% of the trails in Alberta are restricted from biking for very good reasons. Opening up Bryant Creek or the other 5% of trails in Alberta for the benefit of some likely lazy mountain bikers (which I admit I was one) would be bad for the wildlife along with the ski and hiking tourism industry within Alberta.
        I Have found incredible places to mountain bike in this province outside of the Parks. Make way for exploring Alberta for more diverse biking opportunities.You won’t regret it.

        • I’m too young to have been able to bike Assinaboine, but I think daytripping that route is anything but “lazy”. And we are staying on the trail and not tramping vegetation with our tents, cooking bear attractants, and burning jet fuel. Goes to show that people will find any excuse to try to prevent other from encroaching on their personal paradise while at the same time blind to their own impact. Oooh a tire track in the mud! The horror! My hiking boots totally aren’t doing similar damage! The guided horse parties here that were here before me totally aren’t doing similar damage (they are doing much worse)! That biker scared me/my horse, so he must scare the grizzlies too (with their 2x as sensitive hearing)!
          There are no excuses for winter fatbiking on well packed snow. No permanent trail damage, no grizzlies to scare. Wapta Traverse on Fatbikes anyone? Go find another excuse. Liability issues from collisions? In a park where we are free to expose ourselves to numerous dangers climbing any mountain we please.

  110. PLPP Monday.
    We skied Moraine, Elk Pass, Trywhitt and Whiskey Jack today with fresh snow falling and plenty of wind in exposed areas. Temperature was steady at -10º so we used green and green extra which worked pretty well. It was slower than usual with about 3-5 cm of dense new snow. The place was essentially deserted except for 3 skiers coming out from Elk Cabin. Pretty good conditions given the weather we’ve been having and thanks to the trail crew who moved snow onto the Moraine Trail to cover the bare spots. That must have been quite a chore.

  111. Late noon start (-5) at winter gate on Hwy 40. My girlfriend skied all the way to Highwood Passon skinny skis and got there just before 4pm. I stopped at Rock Glacier (2 kms shy of Pass) as was running out of gas. Snow superb especially once past Elpoca turnoff. We appreciated having skier set tracks to Little Highwood, but then our workout began. We’d hoped for those 1-3 cms of snow to make the first 3 kms more pleasant but blue skies and -2 made for a wonderful day. I’ve never skied the Valleyview Trail and wondered which direction one might recommend. No animal sightings but huge moose prints as we got closer to the top. Back to the car at 6:30 and ready to sit down!!!

    • Isn’t most of that “route” considered to be avalanche terrain??? I thought I’d seen words to that effect somewhere on trail signage/info.

      • Past the Elpoca area (the end of the signed snowshoe trail) is indeed consider avalanche terrain and is not recommended. (I’m no expert but that’s the info the park folks provide).

  112. An excellent day of skiing had by all at the lake Louise loppet today! Perfect weather and temperature compared to last years deep freeze that cancelled the event. Many thanks to Alasdair Fergusson and his hard working volunteer team for putting on this great event! Can’t wait till next year’s loppet!

    • I wouldn’t say an excellent day was had by all. Maybe most, but not all. You must both have not seen people hitting trees at full speed and piling up into each other on the ice on upper Telemark, or noticed people herringbone walking and still falling on the icy uphills because snowplowing on concrete had removed all their wax. I’d like to think I’m no beginner anymore, but I fell 11 times before I reached the Great Divide trail crossing. Maybe the first people through that section had enough snow for control? Maybe you had metal edges? Maybe you did the 10k? The conditions on that loop were much much better. For what it’s worth, in my opinion, the 20km should have been canceled or run as 2 loops of the 10km course (with a 30min staggered start to avoid crowds). I think we are extremely lucky that nobody broke any bones yesterday. I know I should have scouted the course and stuck to the 10k myself. Lesson learned. That said, thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors and track setters who made the race possible. It was an adventure.

  113. If we believe the Parks website, Moraine Lake Road is only FAIR. Well we skied on very good to excellent conditions the higher we got on MLR today from 10:30 to 12:30.
    Skating and classics tracks were just great.
    Now if we can get Parks to get it right on their website more skiers would venture to Lake Louise. The groomers are doing an excellent job.

    • Who the heck needs Park’s reports when we’ve got you 🙂

      • Hey Bob
        But where do I get MY info? It is difficult for a “old lady” to go to Lac Louise everytime she wants it!!!
        Can I get paid for providing the info!!!

      • It is amazing the “stock” that is given to these reports. People will plan their whole day around them. On Friday we had a group of skiers and snowshoers that went to Peter Lougheed. Amongst the snowshoers, there were quite a few people who would have gone skiing if the the ski report had been better. Imagine their disappoitment when the conditions were found to be very manageable. I find that a lot of people do not trust their own capabilities to overcome conditions that are less than perfect. Years ago when tracksetting was not wide-spread, people would ski on practically anything. As a result a skier would gain great balance and be able to adapt when conditions were not good. Currrent complaints about a skater “wrecking” a ski track mystify me. Your ski is in a set track and because every so often there is an irregularity in the track, this is going to upset you? While I do not condone what this “skater errant” has done, if only not to set a precedent for future indiscretions, I will not make him a reason for not having a good ski.

  114. West Bragg Creek

    Had a lovely ski this morning- Iron Springs, to Elbow to Sundog. The snow was soft and not icy anywhere and a truly enjoyable sunny day warm day was had by all. It was mostly trackset fairly well although a bit thin in spots. We did not see any ski mobiles thank goodness. Let’s hope the weather stays on the cool side!

    • Conditions were still really nice later Sunday afternoon on much the same loop, with Swix V45 working perfectly. We skied Sundog-Elbow-Iron-Crystal East which would be my recommended direction, as the very sun affected hill at the far south-east corner of Iron Springs is ascended, rather than descended over many protruding bare spots. Other than that- great skiing!

      • Second those thoughts – we skied Moose Loop at about 10:00am this morning. The road to the Connector was a bit thin in spots, but overall skiable. Snow was soft. Saw the snow mobile tracks when approaching Moose Loop to the right (after the Connector, just before the hook up to Telephone Loop)…definitely damaged the snow, but if you get past those 50m, you’re back to the good stuff. Trail wasn’t groomed but lots of tracks to follow. Small ice flow on the west side of the Loop – never an issue to pass. Managed to keep good speed and all smiles back to Calgary!

  115. Another great day at PLPP today, skied my favourite loop from Bolton Trading Post: Wheeler, Amos, Lynx, Pocaterra Tyrwhitt, Elk, Fox, Moraine (don’t think I could ever tire of this route) great tracks throughout, VR40 worked well but was gone by halve way around, I’m to impatient to re-wax.Very fast tracks, set a personal today 🙂

  116. I was on the Cascade trail in Banff twice this week and beyond the initial road it was surprisingly good considering the snow pack is very thin. The road is another story — not a lot of snow on top of pavement, so take it easy on that stretch or consider walking it to the old landfill.

  117. An add-on to Nancy’s report on Mt Shark – we too found the classic conditions excellent, and lots of skiers out while we were there between 12 & 3. Also no sled dogs! They appear to have been able to resume their operations on the Spray Reservoir.

  118. Mount Shark yesterday was magnificent. Pristine grooming from the day before. Frigid temperatures made for hard packed base which I imagine today would have become somewhat icy in spots from the glorious sunshine. I would imagine skating today would be extraordinary also. Aside from the young Biathlon team and a few snow shoe groups, there were few skiers out there. Don’t even hesitate if you’re thinking about heading that way today.

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