Trip Reports – March & April 2016

This page was viewed over 75,000 times last winter. Skiers are anxious to know what you found on your skiing adventure.

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

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  1. Smith-Dorrien “Diehard”

    There is still substantial snow up the Smith-Dorrien, especially in the trees on the west side of the highway. I skied up the Burstall Lakes trail today, turning left at the gravel flats to tour up the Robertson Glacier valley to the end of the trees. There was a cm or so of fresh snow on a very supportive base, but I should have started 3 hours earlier, as by 10 am the snow in the sun was already in its superglue phase. In the shade it was simply superb.
    I followed the tracks of a couple of skiers apparently doing a glacier tour, and enjoyed mostly good conditions, especially higher up the valley. The sun was doing its thing, though, and by early afternoon the snow at lower elevations was rather wet and slow.
    On the return, I took the open route to avoid the narrow trail through the trees. It was fine, though sun-baked, but some water courses are starting to appear in the flats.
    The descent back down the road, which can be quite rip-roaring, was sadly rather slow and “stately” 😛 Might have been nice at 7 am??

    All by my lonesome today – my family thinks I am crazy!
    Far too many photos, and not as thrilling as Chuck’s:

    https://picasaweb.google.com/105504038225527277052/15April2016RobertsonGlacierTrailExcursion?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMbHzvWw0equygE&feat=directlink

    • Wow Diana… conditions look awesome there too!
      Where is everybody else these days?

      • I’ve been holding out for a good cold spring storm to deliver some late season backcountry turns. In the meantime, conditions on the lower to mid elevation mountain bike trails are at least a month ahead of the usual.Thus for me, it’s all about the math-
        Leisurely afternoon start, or get up really early to catch the refreeze?
        Drive- 30-45 minutes to the trailhead, or 90-120 at least?
        T-shirt and shorts, or ski clothes?
        Prime mountain bike trails, or at best- OK ski conditions?
        Still waiting for that spring powder dump though….

        • Diana, Chuck, and the rest of us were concerned that you might have copped out and moved to Arizona -)

          • Sadly that much longed-for spring snowstorm does not seem to be forthcoming 🙁
            Though it looks like Waterton had a fair dump, but rather a long drive…….
            I checked out the Elk Pass trailhead yesterday, and sadly there was less than a cm of fresh stuff, but thanks to recent grooming it still looked skiable.

  2. PARADISE VALLEY
    With a good deep freeze last night, today was a good day to travel up this sunny valley. While we didn’t see anybody all day, other habitants were definitely enjoying this year’s early spring:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/ParadiseValley03?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMC7_4GBrJfkuAE&feat=directlink

  3. YOHO is still a GO
    With 3 cms of fresh velvety snow on top of a solid base, Lake O’Hara was a great choice today:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/LakeOHara08?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMmCkozdvZCX6gE&feat=directlink
    The Grizzly didn’t bother me!

    • Maybe it’s the angle, but that Grizzly looks more like a bison to me. Glad to still be getting trip reports, thanks Chuck!

      • Bob,
        Maybe it’s worth updating your Home Page so everyone sees it, or better yet… ski it yourself tomorrow! More snow in the forecast.
        Note that we skied this last year on May 7.

    • great report Chuck. Glad you missed the roofalanche,I say Grizzly. Thanks to you and Bob and everyone for all the very helpful reports. Goin fishin now.

  4. April 10. 2 PM.
    I tried to use last chance to ski on groomed trails. But it was not easy as I started at … 2PM from Boulton Trading Post parking lot.
    It was soft. And wet. And slow.
    Lots of debris in woods.
    Tracks already melted quite a lot after overnight grooming…

    Cannot say I enjoyed the process of skiing.. But surely I did enjoy being in mountains on my favorite trails!
    Packers, Pocaterra, Lookout, Hydroline, Elk Pass, Boulton Creek.
    That was probably my last ski of the season.

    Thanks to all groomers for their hard work!

  5. April 9, 16
    Crust skiing has started early this season. Skate skied at Engadine Meadows this morning. Snow surface was hard, somewhat uneven, but quite supportive, snow bridges were good. By 10 am the snow was getting soft.

  6. Grooming has ceased at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Trails have bare areas and ice patches. Trail fees are no longer in effect. CNC advises that you now ski at your own risk.

  7. Yes I think we will give it a go! Thanks for letting me know…..

    • Graeme
      Skied Elk Pass, Hydroline, Lookout, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass today Friday 8 and conditions were not too bad. Temperature about +8 at 1000 and VR62 worked surprisingly well (except going up Hydroline which was frozen hard and which was walked). Definitely worth a try for tomorrow.

  8. Elk Pass still pretty good! Fresh grooming on all south end trails 🙂

    Firm in am, soft in pm, plus there is some tree debris already (windy much??), but conditions really quite decent on such a spectacular sunny day that I just wanted to stay in the mountains forever………

    • Is this worth trying early Saturday Diana – looking to get in one more ski this season!!

      • I would go for it, especially if they groom again.
        Unfortunately, the hot, windy weather today will not be helping 🙁
        Be prepared for a variety of conditions!

  9. Yesterday, April 6, Great Divide (Highway 1A) at Lake Louise still in pretty good shape at mid-day for skating (temperature about +8, and snow softening up nicely but not slushy). Party left ahead of me at 1100 on Skintechs and they said classic conditions were also good.

  10. Lake Louise today (5th)

    Moraine Lake Road still has lots of snow! It is well worn and trampled, and rather icy this morning. Only 2 cars in the lot when we arrived at 11 am!! A couple with mountaineering skis set off ahead of us with their dog….. I looked carefully at the signs, and dogs don’t seem to be allowed yet.
    Hard work in the hot sun, we turned around at Paradise Creek, then had a go at Fairview Loop, in the unusual direction of clockwise. Fairview is fair to yucky — still some nice looking snow up in the meadows, but lots of very dirty patches in the trees: needles, dirt and snow fleas conspire to “colour” the snow. More icy conditions made for challenging travel, and in the lovely meadows the creek is starting to encroach on the trail in a couple of spots – don’t fall in!! Also, especially at the chateau end, it was rather frustrating to see all the bootprints walking right past the “no walking” signs 🙁
    Upper tramline return to parking was quite decent, a bit dirty, and getting soft and slow in the early afternoon. Overall, not fantastic skiing, but skiing nonetheless, reasonably enjoyable, and just great to be out there.
    Lesson of the day: rules are made to be broken, and signs are put out to be ignored. No, this is nothing new…….. just seeing a lot of it recently 🙁

  11. Went to PLPP yesterday (April 3). Decided to be adventurous and start at Pocaterra. Think of the biggest pine needle disaster you have ever seen. Now double it, then triple it, then double it again. Now, think of the thinnest coverage on which you have ever skied… Pocaterra is in slightly better shape than Come Along, where there are about 4 stretches of about 5 meters where there is simply no snow left. All things considered though, it was still in better shape than a lot of the Finlandiahiihto course in 2014.

    Things improved considerably at the Lynx junction. If you start out at the south end of PLPP, I wouldn’t venture past this point. From Lynx to Packers wasn’t great, but it was orders of magnitude better than what came before it.

    Beyond that, I skied Tyrwhitt to the Elk Pass, Hydroline junction. I double poled all of Hydroline, which, in retrospect, zapped way too much of my energy reserves. Then I went up Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill where the conditions were pretty amazing.

    For grip, I used the klister that was left over from the Birkebeinerrennet a couple of weeks ago. It was a high fluoro +6 to -6. It gave barely enough grip. Towards the end, I had to get out of the faint tracks to get any grip. Not too bad, considering I have skied over a 110km since I applied this klister. The great thing about good klister is that it gets you grip on ice and slush without picking up any pine needles.

    On the way back, I almost got up to 60km/h and shot out of the track and crashed into a snowbank. Turns out that is an extremely dangerous thing to do at this time of year. The snow was so heavy that I couldn’t move my buried legs. Good thing my face and arm was free, so I could dig myself out of the 1m+ crater I had created. Luckily everything was in one piece!

    I started out at 1pm and I skied for about 5 hours. The softened snow made for a slow go. Luckily, I had enough structure left from Norway that I did not feel any suction going from shade to sun, which can sometimes be a problem in these conditions.

    With this trip, I have hit 850k for the season. Hopefully the conditions hold up so that I get to a 1000k for the first time in a season 🙂

  12. April 3 PLPP Elk Pass Trailhead

    The skiing today was so sublime
    I couldn’t help but do another rhyme
    On Saturday the weather in Calgary had us biking
    On Sunday we thought we might go hiking
    Charlie woke up and said let’s go for one more ski
    He knew that’s what I wanted and I yelled yippee
    A quick breakfast with coffee and tea
    Then off we headed to ski at PLPP
    As it is April and warm I used my zeros
    They turned out to be real heroes
    Charlie didn’t have zeros so was a bit wary
    He used sandpaper to make a great pair of hairys
    We arrived at Elk Pass to nice fresh tracks
    It was +3 and we didn’t need to worry about wax
    Our skis worked great and they did not slip
    They glided on the snow and gave us grip
    We couldn’t go by the fresh tracks on Blueberry Hill
    You guessed right – it was a real thrill
    Onwards up Elk Pass and then down Tyrwitt
    We skied in older tracks and turned back in a bit
    Upon reaching the end I had achieved my season’s goal
    I reached 1500 km with striding and double pole
    As the season wraps up a big thanks to Bob
    We all enjoy the fun and information on your blog

    …and I enjoy your poems, immensely! -Bob

    • Woohoo!
      Good for you!
      🙂
      So what do you apply the sandpaper to?

      • About “hairies” by Charlie P.
        Clean all the grip wax off. Sand the grip zone only, with coarse sandpaper in the direction of travel in short strokes. No grip wax is used. They work unbelievably well on wet snow.

        • Is this cruel distress to be applied to old/cheap skis only?? We would balk at subjecting our “nice” new skis to such torment!

          • I wouldn’t use my best , new skis for this but it won’t wreck your skis. You can wax over them when you don’t want them to be Hairy’s anymore.

          • Using your best skis is no problemo. Sanding the kick zone with #100 grit sandpaper before applying grip wax is pretty standard practice. I do it every time I clean the skis, before applying fresh base wax. The trick with hairies is that you only sandpaper and skip the wax. In other words, the sandpapering is not special. Rather, skipping the wax/klister is the trick. This can be a decent solution when you have some fresh snow mixed with wet snow and nothing else seems to work.

            see https://www.reliableracing.com/downloads/1c41c5be75.pdf

            • Fascinating! I never heard of this before. And thank you for the link, what a lot of information!

    • Delightful!
      Very well written.

  13. Stephen Vermeulen

    Did a couple of out-and-backs on the Banff Trail at CNC today from about 0930-1030. The tracks were a curious mixture of ice cubes and crushed ice. During that hour the “snow” softened considerably and glide slowed. The base is starting to soften too, last week pole tips were not going very far before striking ice, now there are places where the basket sinks several inches without resistance. One spot near the Meadow Hut was showing some dirt, but the rest seemed to still have sufficient coverage.

  14. PLPP today: Started at 9 am at Elkwood. Meadow was very icy with no track left so turned around after 5 minutes. After checking in at the info center and seeing that Whisky Jack was track set overnight we headed there. FANTASTIC! The snow was soft but our waxless skis had no problems climbing or gliding and the big curve was in great shape (no ice). Beautiful warm day in Kananaskis.

  15. Today at Mt. shark, the Easter bunny Jody S. Clause, was out adorned with S. Clause hat. Somehow the trail from Watridge turn off to Spray river was magically sprinkled with Easter eggs! This is quite amazing as it is neither Christmas nor Easter. Must be April fools day!

  16. Legacy Trail Update

    Cycled from Canmore to Banff today. Trail is well swept except from Tunnel Mtn Road to the Inns of Banff. Still some gravel to be cleared.

  17. Lake Louise – Great Divide/1A – BEAR ALERT! As we headed into Ross Lake on snowshoes this am, we found very fresh bear tracks and poop (heavily laden with grain – so much for CP Rail cleaning up the tracks!) right at the turn-off the 1A to Ross Lake – IF anyone is heading that way tomorrow, would highly recommend taking pepper spray (luckily we had ours with us). No fresh grooming on the 1A, +3 at 10 am, +8 at 1.15 pm, didn’t seem like it froze much overnight, both skate lane and tracks beginning to soften by 10.30 am and very soft by 1.15 pm

  18. Lake Louise – yesterday – march 30. Moraine LR.
    At 10:30 am. Skintex skis. Track setters finishing grooming skate lane.
    Didn’t freeze over nite. Good looking classic track. But mix of conditions generally slow. Faster on skate lane. And the ‘pole sticking’ was so annoying we only did Fairview loop. Waiting for a freeze.

  19. Long time follower first time poster. Searching for snow today and parked at Deer Lodge in Louise taking Trail 7 behind the Chateau and down. On waxless skis pulling my 1 year old, the tracks were still deep enough to stay in them and the snow didn’t stick. Varying snow from crusty (almost icy) in spots to soft but never an issue. If you’re out looking for a still skiable trail I would say you’re ok to take this trail for the next day or two. Everyone we ran into was enjoying themselves.

  20. Tue mar 29: elk/west elk (couch)/ blueberry and return (fox creek bypass).
    Feels like spring has sprung and maybe my last day on skinny sticks unless some cold temps with new snow arrive. -3 at elk pass lot at 10. A skiff of new overnight and 3 or 4 inches from Monday? Single track skier set given the rrecent snow (but not any more). Monday’s snow lessened toward blueberry junction (upslope storm). Upon rounding the corner at Patterson to blueberry, stickage in the sun (fish scales). Stomped to the picnic table, scraped and waxed (glide). Tried blueberry, more stickage. Bailed to the couch, figuring more heat, more moisture, less heals later. Waxed some more. Too early though, couch was in the shade. Built another seat in the sun. Hot! Seat kept sinking like a recliner. Watched Avalanches coming off mt fox east bowl in the heat of the day. Meadows definitely spring like. Back to blueberry. No stickage. Single layers, no glove or hat at the junction. Decided to try blueberry again. Better at 230. Only stickage on herringbones. Slippy in shade. Good grip in the sunny tracks. Single layers again at top of blueberry. Added gloves only on way down in case of a spill. Good core workout trying to stay upright in and out of shade. Eventually lost it at the end transitioning into the big sunny patch. Too much friction with the Waxless. Pretty moist most of the way back. Fox was reasonable, maybe 65 % colder snow, snice patches for the rest of it. You know its spring when skiing back at 4 pm and you run into an ascending skier on elk in shorts!! Snow fleas present here and there, but not in abundance, yet. +6 back at the car at 5 pm. + 8 at fortress. Opal ridge looks good for a hike. So does limestone peak. Time to start tick collecting. Suspect it will be pretty icy tomorrow given all the moisture everywhere unless starting late. I’ll be giving it a pass this week for some sunny hiking. Flies buzzing around at wedge pond. Wet patches starting to show at the sides of the lake.

  21. The early bird gets the powder!!
    Sadly that was not us this morning — best laid plans, etc…..
    Our consolation prize: Starting just before noon at Boulton Creek, we skied the Whiskey Jack – Pocaterra – Packers loop. What had been icy on Saturday was now thoroughly covered with ~ 10 cm of new snow, by then excellent snowman-making quality. Serious icing, huge high heels going up, stopped for thorough scraping at top, then managed to keep moving down Pocaterra, but it was not fast! Two tiny sections of shady trail afforded a teensy bit of powder thrill, but breaking trail to the picnic table at Pocaterra-Packers junction was tough going as it was surrounded by crazy glue in the form of snow 😛
    Packers similar story, with a little of that herky-jerky sun/shade delight, and an actual snowman in creek valley.
    We did actually have a mostly good time out there on a spectacular day, and are looking forward to more big spring snowstorms 🙂

  22. Boo Hoo! We missed MaSid by less than 30 minutes! Got to The Chesterfield Shop around 2:30pm with another two lovely ladies he has yet to meet. Heard he had just skied by the lovely mom and her two terrific children laden with heavy packs. Noted two new loveseats in inventory. MaSid you did not find your Easter Egg??? or other gift? NO, the gift was not more Calvados Brandy but that little ounce tasted good with a Le Chocolatier dark Easter bunny. We took a few pictures which I will happily send to you onceI receive them but need that e-dress. Today might have been my last ski of the season; up Packers/Pocaterra/Tyrwhitt/Elk circuit via Fox/Moraine. Happy Belated Easter MaSid. Thanks for the use of the four seater between 2-3pm. Car was -2 at 10 am and +6 at 4pm.

    • Ha! I was wondering where you were Helen. Unfortunate I missed you! New lovely ladies to meet, chocolate, hidden gifts, seeing young kids packing weight with exuberance and sending them to the couch, getting a good suntan base, not sure which is better. Despite not collecting all of the above on my delayed Easter egg hunt today, pretty good time nonetheless. I’ll ask Bob to forward you my email. (-:

  23. CNC – afternoon.
    Still good coverage on manmade, very soft at 3pm. Skied Salt Lake and Banff Loop. Also tried natural snow trails, which were more firm and faster snow. Bow, very thin in spots, icy and dirty transformed. Meadowview, dirty transformed and cleaner transformed at higher elevations. KOS, not recommended, turned to ice at the runout.

  24. PLPP north trails, west side. Chat with visitor centre staff.

    A very minor dusting of snow in fresh tracksetting made for an easy and very enjoyable ski on Lodgepole, Braille, Sinclair etc. Been years since I skied these trails and I had forgotten about the great views. Nice to see a number of sit-skiers enjoying the great morning up by WWL. By 1 p.m., sun-exposed stretches were getting saturated even though air temp was only +5C. Looks like it won’t freeze overnight and if so, these trails should be OK again tomorrow.

    ‘Discovery Centre’ staff said 12 cm fell during the storm, so with possibly even more fresh snow at higher elevation along with cooler temps up there, hopefully the south trails will get groomed for one last weekend.

    I mentioned the camera outage to the Centre staff, they weren’t aware. The camera is panning around, just no feed coming over the internet.

    Also asked about The Weather Network ‘Boulton Creek’ report. It is an AB govt weather station – Barrier Lake VIC staff answer the phone number mentioned on TWN but could not provide any details. They told me where to get more info and I will hopefully obtain and then post the exact location on Whisky Jack trail.

    • Thanks for reporting the camera outage to Parks staff. My morning ritual isn’t complete without that view. It was a bit of fun having it swinging free, giving an unusual panned view.

      • Haha – I’m the same: use it not just for pre-departure weather checks but also to ‘escape the city’ for a while on days when I don’t get out. Have watched deer, coyote, birds on that camera. The new camera shows tree movement a lot better so you can judge wind conditions.

        To report webcam outages, you can go to feedback.albertaparks.ca. On right side of that page, you will see ‘Still cannot find what you’re looking for?’ This link opens a box where you can submit questions or comments.

    • Great job!! Been wondering about that Bolton camera.

    • The Weather Network ‘Boulton Creek’ govt weather station is located some 300 m up from the maint bldg, along the Whiskey Jack Trail, visible on the right side with antenna attached to a tall tree

      • Andrew, that’s what I thought, too, until I received this explanation about the apparatus alongside Whiskey Jack from Kevin Coldridge(thanks to Helen Read for ferreting out this information):

        “The items in question on Whiskey Jack were installed during my time at Kananaskis Camping. They are an enclosure for the radio repeater & antenna for same. This was done in an attempt to get better communication to all campground managers. The repeater was originally mounted on the Boulton shop. Power was already available at that location on Whiskey Jack due to water system infrastructure & we installed the pictured repeater box & antenna. The fan was for cooling purposes.”

        Photo

        • Hi Bob. Can’t believe I missed you, I was around that loop a couple times.

          No wind-vane or anemometer, no thermometer or any sensors outside the enclosure – this is why I pursued this. I’m speculating that the weather station is somewhere within the fenced maintenance compound. Skiing is pretty much over (sob!) so I have the time to follow this through.

          Oh, I found your pic of the – 8 March.

          BTW, TWN ‘Kovach’ station appears to be Nakiska Ridgetop.

  25. Got to pocaterra parking lot at 8am, where it was -1 air and -2 snow. Waxed with v50 and had very good grip until about 11 when clumping started to be a problem. Skied pocaterra, Lynx, Amos, packers and back pocaterra. Lynx base is getting soft. Had to break trail after 3-4cm fell over night. Snow was pretty slow but it’s hard to complain about the blue skies and snowy peaks.

    Picked up two nails from the pocaterra parking lot so I came back to two flat tires. Keep an eye out for screws or nails in the parking lot.

  26. Here is the link to some pictures that I didn’t post properly in my message about the CNC.

    https://goo.gl/photos/UkPLgX5irNSz6H1k9

  27. Had a reasonably good time at the Canmore Nordic Centre today in spite of the fact the the snowfall warning was a bust. Skied Banff Loop, Banff Trail, Lynx, Meadowview and a little of Salt Lake. Everything was trackset this morning except for Meadowview. It was icy and fast in the morning in the tracks. Later it got a bit slower as things got very slushy. However the sun was shining and the mountains were beautiful, who can ask for more.

    There are photos on the link posted in the website.

  28. Great classic ski up MLR today, but only thanks to George Smith’s klister magic. Great grip on often glazed tracks, snow quality improving with altitude. Downhill in tracks exhilarating/scary fast. Recommend skating only unless you love klister. Met Suzel and Peter D on way up as they descended.

  29. Seconding Barry’s comments. Skied all of the above. But first, had to go up Lookout, as never skied it. Skinteks fine going up after whisky Jack. What a view! Figured other side was more gradual! Wrong. Still hard ice in places. Ended up walking, falling down a chunk! Way too fast even with skintecs.
    Around to elk pass and Tyrwhitt then Pocaterra to Lynx.. Best for Pocaterra seen for a long while. Most glazing on Tyrwhitt. Deserted too! Not a sole at Elk Pass.
    Only a helicopter parked across the boundary ?

  30. Well quite a beautiful ski on MLR. Started at 10:30 as the groomer was finishing the skating lane. The classic tracks were not freshly groomed but very fast. Two fat bikes were on the track!!!

  31. PLPP.
    Wonderful fresh tracksetting on Whisky Jack, Packers, Lynx and Pocaterra along with cold dry snow made for an amazing day than you didn’t want to end. Clouds rolled in at noon so there was minimal sun damage. Stayed cool enough: +2C at 2 p.m. These trails will be excellent again tomorrow (Monday) if they don’t get covered by the predicted storm.

  32. Shark trails were great for skate and classic on Sat. Checked out where the big avalanche ran – visible from the parking lot.
    LOST – ONE PAIR OF ZERO SKIIS AT SPRAY LAKE ROAD AND THREE SISTERS DRIVE AROUND 5PM. FISCHER CLASSIC YELLOW/BLACK/WHITE, BLACK AND YELLOW BASE AND RM INITIALS ON TIPS.
    IF FOUND PHONE ROB AT 403 678-7239

    • Wow!! Got a phone call from Brad at TRAIL SPORTS. “Hi Rob we have your skis come on up and pick them up”. A fine gentleman brought them in the shop. A Big thanks to the person who was honest and smart to take my skis up to Trail Sports – my favourite cross country ski shop! I am so happy! THANK YOU!

  33. Michael Le Feuvre

    A great spring ski day in PLPP! We started from Boulton Parking lot up Whisky Jack over to Elk Pass and then returning on Fox Creek. Three of us were on skintecs and one of us on waxable skis.

    Whisky Jack was icy on the way up – I wouldn’t want to descend this way in the morning but still climbable. The higher elevations were in excellent shape. We sailed easily from Trywhitt to Elk Pass and the descent from Elk Pass was fast but not unmanageable. Fox Creek was in much better shape than I was expecting with soft skier set tracks for most of it and just a few sections that were glazed.

    We all had good grip and glide although the skintecs do have problems with glazed tracks. Our waxable ski colleague used VR 45 and did fine. The rest of us were happy with our skintecs a hassle free alternative that works well in changeable conditions.

    Tomorrow will likely be the same at higher elevations but I would be cautious of descending anything steep before the ice softens up.

    Great way to end the season!
    Michael, Annalee, Tim, Elizabeth and Marshall

    • Michael Le Feuvre

      Should point out that we skied yesterday, Saturday on March 26th.
      Michael

      • We did a similar loop, perhaps precisely the same! Found mixed icy/not icy on Whiskey Jack, and wished for crampons on that one special corner. Puzzled re comments about new snow, as we did not notice any on Tyrwhitt or Elk Pass, found pristine grooming on Tyrwhitt, slight glazing, but much less pristine on Elk Pass trail. Thank goodness for the grooming there which greatly reduced the impact of all that foot traffic – holy moly!!
        Fox Creek mostly soft and pleasant with the odd very alarming icy hill, and we found Moraine to be very icy by early afternoon. Red wax worked surprisingly well all day, except for where crampons would have been helpful!

  34. PLPP on wax-able skis

    Had a great ski in PLPP on wax skis today. Started at the Boulton Creek washrooms, by where Whiskey Jack starts, 10:00 AM with Rode violet. Skied up Moraine and Fox Creek. The wax held well on any new snow and for the icy sections double poling worked well and herringbones for the stepper sections.

    Continued up to Elk Pass and for the first time in many years skied a couple hundred metres into BC along the powerline for a look. Saw lots of snowmobile tracks up from the Elk valley and a sign warning of an active trapline. Back on track down Tyrwhitt to the picnic table. The sun was warming up the snow but there was a cool breeze from the north. Rewaxed with Rode Viola Extra (0 to +1C) and continued onto Pocaterra down to Packers. Then down Packers back to the parking lot. Not much grip for the last 2 km down Packers so lots of double poling and herring-bones.

    Overall a great day, the conditions are still great up top, but a few challenging conditions to start and end. Should be good again Sunday, I recommend an early start if using wax-able skis.

  35. PLPP

    Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt. 9 out of 10, great on waxless this morning.

    The ice expected after reading yesterday’s trip reports had been mostly covered with a skiff of fresh cold snow. The only real hazard was ice on the south side of the hump on Elk descending down to Fox.

    Alas the sun was out and there were saturated patches on the return at 1 p.m. The waxless skis walked straight up the aforementioned hump. Low fluoro glide wax LF50 was impressive.

    After watching later skiers and those struggling with wax, my conclusion is: go waxless and go early or don’t go at all.

    Looks like there will be at least one more spectacular day when all that fresh snow on Whisky Jack and upper Pocaterra gets groomed.

  36. Wow what great conditions for skate skiing at Mt. Shark! 4 of us started at 8:30am with fresh tracks. Snow was quite fast but but not icy! Beautiful day!

  37. PLPP destination Lookout! Got a late “Bob” start at noon hearing of all the extensive coverage of grooming the Easter Groomers did for us. Think I met fallsalot after his early four hour ski on violet SkiGo at the Elk Pass Parking lot. Decided since I was climbing up Elk, then up the steep hill on Hydroline, and then up south side of Lookout, I would cheat and use my Asnes with half skins. Saw one skier descending S. L/O like a slalom racer on the Men’s Downhill at LL as I was climbing up the Risto/Ray steepest grade (besides Skogan). I have to psych myself up to do Lookout once a year and today (thanks to the groomers work) was the day! Love those runaway lanes the groomers put in on South L/O. Perhaps South L/O should be re-named LOOK OUT!!!!!! Enjoyed some young company at the top before cheating again and descending on my half skins. There is something about speed that I am allergic to. Played around in the meadows of Trywhitt, contemplating as Bob did, that this could be the last time this Spring enjoying such wonderful conditions up there. After skiing down Elk Pass, decided to go for a visit to MaSid’s Chesterfield Shop but it must have been closed for Good Friday. Missing Chuck’s posts but am thinking he is looking for a nice tick to photograph to remind us that hiking season starts soon.

    • Backcountry?!

      • Helen, Chuck wasn’t commenting that your trip was back country (with your account of the downhill skier on L/O, perhaps Bob should consider an ‘Alpine’ trip page.
        Chuck is in back country mode and is posting his trips there. -)

    • The couch is always open, 24/7. (-: Might head out there monday or Tuesday, or both. So no skier set track currently?

      • I really need to find this secret garden 🙂
        Perhaps Helen meant that no one was pouring Brandy, etc. on Good Friday??

        • The couch has to be “discovered” to maximize the joy of it. (-: The cost is a little exploration off trail into BC. Only about 10 minutes from a groomed trail on a fairly obvious route through flat open meadows, quite doable on skinny skis if an old track is visible. Bring a foamy to sit on with your pack as a backrest for some reclining and soak it all in. It’s in shade until about 11 or 12. Probably seats at least 6 now. Happy couch hunting, and who knows what you might discover or who you might run into, maybe even Bob!?

          • Thanks for your wonderful couch (s)! Truly a magical place to enjoy some rays on Tues afternoon …check out skier chics lounging and toasting you and Skier Bob!
            Photos posted on Facebook GrandviewChalet Bed & Breakfast.
            ‘Twas probably my Finale ski for this season!
            Cheers Carol .

  38. Went out to Pocaterra at around 10 and used Toko yellow goop. Up hills were relatively easy (very good grip) but the clumping made downhills a bit sluggish for me. Still, any ski is a good ski and the ice wasn’t too bad if I just kept my speed down so I found it enjoyable. I went to CNC later in the afternoon (1:45 for an hour or so) and the same wax worked well in the soft and wet tracks, also going in the skating lane was no problem. Banff loop seemed to be in good shape for me, the natural trails seemed thin already so I stayed off.

  39. Another magical day at PLPP

    Richard and I – as we always do – followed the groomer (eternal thanks to Jody!). The ski to Elk Pass and Tyrwhitt Meadows – absolutely gorgeous. Passed by Bob on the way up to Tyrwhitt! Surprisingly few folks taking advantage of the wonderful conditions…

    The past couple of weeks have been a tremendous bonus – Mt Shark last week and PLPP this week. Thanks, Bob, for making our season extra special, with news, encouragement and fun. Ain’t life (XC ski!!!) grand…

  40. Good Friday in PLPP was more than good, it was perfect. Jody and crew performed miracle and turned frozen water into nice double track. Now some people might prefer to see them turn that water into wine or a brandy, not me double track is perfect. Thank you Jody and crew. I’ve started early at 800, temperature was -3C. I put on 5 thin layers of Skigo violet and had good grip almost all the time. I saw only few souls on the trails but all of them looked happy. For a few hours I have glided on water it was heaven and that is good enough for me.

  41. Stephen Vermeulen

    I did a couple of out-and-backs on Banff Trail at CNC today, from about 0900-1000. Tracks were quite icy but well groomed until the meadow. The natural snow after the meadow was bad, Lots of ice and the dirt was getting close to the surface, so not worth risking it. I turned around after about 400m.

    During this time the tracks remained hard, no softening. Probably a day for some sort of klister.

  42. Skied up to Lake O’Hara yesterday, March 25. Fresh tracks with a dusting of new snow were great, but made waxing a challenge. My final solution was VR40 over Power Grip 4 ironed on at home. Still some clumping, but less. A slow day for everyone. Nothing seemed to resist the clumping on the up-hills. Everyone was having issues, including those on fish scales. But it was a great day out. Great to have track-setting on the road.

  43. Mount Shark: started skiing at 10:00 am under a heavy overcast and -1 C air temp. Three with waxless skis (fish scales) and one on VR45. There was 1-2 cm of new snow over the tracks & skating lanes on the Watridge Lake Trail. We skied to the Spray River bridge and on to Bryant Creek where we turned back as the trail to Bryant Ck. Warden’s cabin was rock hard and too rough for skinny skis. The new snow helped get down and up the big hill. Mt. Shark ski trails were slow in the new snow but faster as we returned in our tracks. We returned to the start on the 2 km blue loop again very slow on these hills, ate lunch (+1 C and sunny for a while) and went out again to ski the red black 5 km loop which was also slow. Finished skiing the Blue Loop again to log 22 km and a satisfying day. Waxless skis performed better than the waxable skis (VR45) for both glide and climbing.
    The Smith Dorrien was reasonable for travel but we encountered 15 to 20 cm of new snow on the road south of Sawmill. The grader was clearing the road on the hill above Lower Kananaskis Lake and will work north.

    • We too skied the Red Black Loop at Mt. Shark on Mar. 24th. Myself and my kids aged 5 & 7. We all had waxless (fish scales) and my daughter and I both had some clumping which we fought off with some universal liquid glide wax but my son had no issues.

  44. It does not get much better , folks !
    Started skiing shortly after 10 on the MLR. The groomers had left a short while earlier. Perfect classic and skating conditions. Had excellent grip and glide on my skating skis. Don’t remember what wax I had put on a few weeks ago.
    It started snowing at a rate of about 2 to 3 cm/hr . these short lived snow showers had been a regular occurrence for the last few weeks. As a result there is well over a meter of settled snow in the MLR and 1A area. This amount of snow does not extend to the valley bottom! It is also warmer down there !
    The grooming has been excellent! Kudos to Andrew and Tanya!
    Suggestion for Bob: Try skiing a little earlier in the day!

    • Thanks for the report! I purposely ski later so I can get a more accurate reading of the conditions for the next day, but I agree, going earlier is generally better.

  45. Just returned from a fun morning outing in freshly falling snow at Lake Louise. A few centimetres of fresh snow on Fairview-Moraine-Tramline loop with grooming in progress on Moraine and Tramline. VR75 resulted in massive platform skis for everyone in the group. Even my skintecs were freezing up due to pace being set by our 5yr old – likely would have been okay moving faster or treated with some anti-icing product. Moraine Lake would be a spectacular option for a skate ski tomorrow morning….

  46. I’m very curious to know if anyone has been to Jasper recently, in particular Edith Cavell Road. It was great about a week ago. I’m heading there this weekend for some spring bike training, but would love to get in one last ski on Jasper’s answer to Morraine.

  47. Pipestone march 23
    3pm- checked it out – expecting the worse.
    Skintex worked fine- but Very slow. 1+ cm in track.
    Lots of diagonal. Quiet day.
    Moraine looked very good.

  48. Yes Heather, wasn’t it just perfect on the 1A? I have to disagree with Bob’s comments about LL. The conditions were very good on 1A on the 22 and the 23. Andrew and Tania groomed on both days and it was perfect. They were even re-grooming the classic tracks as we were finishing skiing around 12:00 noon. Skating was a better choice as the classic track was quite hard but fantastic for the “NEW” double poling technique. We looked at MLR and it looked good also. We are going to MLR today.
    Should be still very good for the whole week-end.

  49. Had a great time skate skiing on the Great Divide today. Thanks to the track setters who were out mid-day; their work made for some fast skiing. Hopefully these conditions will last a day or so.

  50. Did anyone ski the trails in Plpp today? Thinking of going Friday and wondering if snow is holding for blue wax?

  51. Went to Mt Shark for family ski yesterday. It was our first time there and we had a great time. The trails were hard and fast and the weather and scenery were fantastic.

  52. Attempted to ski with my kids from upper lake connector up elk pass trail today. Icy glaze on old tracks and no grip so we turned around shortly beyond elk pass parking lot. Brought snowshoes for the backup plan so headed up the mucky Smith Dorrien and had nice trip up to Warspite lake (which isn’t a lake till late spring) below mount black prince. Had nice lunch in the sun then headed back to the car. Sure wish we would have brought toboggans or tractor tubes for the downhill back to the parking lot. Would have been a blast!

  53. Lake O’Hara

    We celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary in magnificent fashion today by skiing up to Lake O’Hara! Cold and clear this morning, the trail was a little icy at first, but not bad. A few km up, there was ~1 cm fresh powder, which became 2 or 3 closer to the lake. Conditions were very good until around 11 am when the sun became brutally hot and the snow got very sticky. Spectacular scenery at the lake – our first time seeing it like this! The descent was mostly very pleasant, except for a few sun-baked very slow patches, and the bottom 2 km were surprisingly still firm and fast.

    We met about 16 other people on the trail, some on very skinny skis, some on very wide skis, a couple on snowshoes, and the biggest surprise of the day, two guys on fat bikes! I’m sure there is a sign about no bikes on the road?? I have to admit, though, that they did far less damage than people walking in the snow, even when they zig-zagged across the tracks 😛

    • Fat bikes on lake O’hara road! Wow that’s a big no no. If a warden caught them up there it would probably mean a hefty fine and a mandatory court appearance.

    • Congratulations on 36 years together. I couldn’t think of a better place to share it on skis.

      • Thank you Henry 🙂

        PM — how do you know it is not allowed on the Great Divide? I cannot seem to find any information on that.

        • When I enquired at the Lake Louise visitor centre in December, I was informed by the staff member (who was clearly no fan of fat biking) that Parks Canada currently does not have separate summer and winter cycling rules (unlike Kananaskis), therefore trails that are permitted for bike use in the summer are also permitted in the winter, and as Pete points out, where prohibitions exist they apply year round. That is why the link that PM points to does not specify that it is summer specific.

  54. After listening to the depressing reports about yet another terrorist attack in Belgium we drove out to Lake Louise and enjoyed beautiful sunshine and perfect grooming on the 1A. Temps at -4 C with a trace of new snow. Great job, Andrew and Tanya !
    The MLR was also in perfect condition.
    PD

    • Peter, it was certainly horrible news from Belgium. One of our astronomers is flying there on the weekend!
      Your comment makes me think of how the car ride from Calgary is the place where the group can talk about the news, and their lives, so that by the time the trail head is reached, the world’s problems have been thrashed out. Then it somehow feels better to share the beautiful mountain environment, even when there has been bad news in the world. That’s a wonderful camaraderie.

  55. Skied CNC: 9:00 AM +3C cloudy. Skied Banff trail , Banff, out to end of mine scar. and bottom of lit loop. Skintecs,worked like roller skis, perfect grip in Margarita tracks. Skating looked to be really good as well. If I were to venture a Guess for Klister I’d look at Chola , Universal and a Red depending on how warm it was. Trails are pretty clean on Manmade and even off them the snow is OK for dirt and needles. ( silver Klister works well in dirty snow)Trails were quiet as the racers are all up in Whitehorse at the Sr Nationals.
    Don’t give up on the Nordic Centre. Still lots of skiing to go.

  56. Very good conditions in Lake Louise on the Great Divide again today. Started the day at around -1. Tracks were holding up great with a bit of glazing and soft sections where the trails were ex posed to direct su light for extended periods. Afterwards, skied Fairview counter clockwise down to Moraine. The downhills on Fairview were amazingly soft and fluffy for March 20th and a temp around +5 at around 2 pm.

  57. Skied the pink and black 5k loop and a chunk of Watridge lake trail at Mt Shark today. We started at noon, the snow was softened. Fishscales worked fine, waxed skis had no traction going uphill. I managed to skate ski some of the uphills, but it isn’t easy with touring skis. It was warm and ultra-beautiful though.

  58. Excellent skating at Dawn Mountain at Golden today. Classic tracks looked good too. A little icy on the trails not recently groomed but fortunately most of the trails except Raven were done this morning. Lots of snow to work with and no debris. Club plans to keep grooming as long as conditions allow!

  59. Had a great day a the Canmore Nordic Centre yesterday. Conditions were great on the main trails. The conditions coupled with the sun made for one of the best trips of the season. Conditions were getting a bit soft by 1pm, so you probably want to start early.

    • I started just before 10 on Saturday and it was very icy on Lower Banff and middle Banff. Middle scar was excellent as was the night loop.

  60. Shark Mountain was in great shape yesterday! Temp was about +4 when we left, and the parking lot in puddles, but there wasn’t ice on the trails. We skied into the Warden’s Cabin for a snack in the sun. Track setting was impeccable until the Park boundary. My waxless skies performed well, and a healthy amount of red wax did the trick on Dave’s. Skating track also in great shape 🙂

  61. Set out to ski Pocaterra today, given the recent grooming. What a mistake! It was terribly icy. I should have taken the hint, when there were only two cars parked in the parking lot on a Saturday. Anyhow, I turned back after about 10 minutes of skiing on ice and moseyed on down the Smith Doiron, to Mt. Shark, where conditions were pristine as usual 🙂

  62. Wonderful morning at PLPP… started out at 8:45 a.m. from the Boulton Creek Campground with an air temperature of -11C. We travelled along Moraine, turned right to ski up the big hill at the start of Elk Pass. The downhill was fast. We saw nobody until climbing the last part of Elk Pass where we passed an older happy couple. It was spectacular and sunny. The track set conditions were absolutely beautiful and it was great skiing on cold snow. We went down Tyrwhitt and had lunch at the Whiskey Jack junction at 11 a.m. The exhilarating Whiskey Jack descent took 12 minutes. Jamie was kind enough to let me travel along Wheeler while he drove to the Elkwood parking area to pick me up. It was icy on this section with very different conditions from the previous loop. We skied 18 km and 22 km respectively and were done by noon, just as it was warming up.

  63. Lake Louise – various trails
    Just got back from a 20km day at the lake, blue skies made it an awesome ski day. Started out on the first 4km of the Divide at about 2pm (2C air temp), then looped around lower Telemark and then up Peyto (green) to the Lake. Fairview to MLR, then down tramline and Bow river to my pickup in the village. Snow and tracks generally excellent at and above Divide/MLR elevations, some minor debris/twigs/rocks showing through on Telemark and Tramline. Bow River loop was awful as to be expected but you can make it 90% of the way to the village so it served its purpose!
    Fishscales worked pretty well, you would probably be good with Skintecs as well but too much variation in conditions for wax if you are doing a similar loop.
    Very quiet on all trails except the divide (and the walkers on the lake), tomorrow should be good too as most of the snow would have stayed frozen today.

  64. PLPP: Started at Boulton Creek, at 10:00 am, with VR45 and an air temperature of -10 C. Skied up Whiskey Jack and Tyrwhitt to Elk Pass on perfect track setting and cold snow. The sun exposed corner at Whiskeyjack’s S-bend has the usual icy patch Skied Hydroline, with new grooming, to Patterson and down to Elk Pass Trail in 1 cm of snow on the track – lots of control! Renewed our wax at Elk Pass/Blueberry junction. I added one layer of VR50 over the VR45, for the climb to Blueberry Hill. Blueberry tracks and snow were excellent but sunny south facing parts were starting to soften at 12:30 pm. The run down was fast and on the edge of my comfort zone particularly on the top “more difficult” stretch. Elk Pass trail was a perfect double pole glide to Hydroline Junction. Fox Creek was still very good – only a bit of ice in snow on the lowest 1/3. Moraine was better than expected and we found wet snow only along the scenic-picnic table section. At 2:00 pm the air temperature was +5C. 26 km of pure pleasure! Also, thanks to Jody for knowing what makes our world go round.

  65. Skied at Mt. Shark today on perfect grooming. Thanks Jody for posting your timely grooming report so early: 8 am. Makes it easy to make a decision about where to ski! And your information yesterday about setting PLPP instead of Shark that day was also valuable (we usually ski Shark on Fridays or when you’ve groomed it).

    Here’s a little extra info for you folks: PLPP plan was to cut back on grooming this weekend and not groom Shark at all. Jody told them the snow was far too good to skip grooming and he was willing to do both PLPP and Shark. Yay Jody!

    • Yes. Thank you to Jody for the grooming. We enjoyed his outstanding grooming on the Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass loop today.
      I would like to know who I can contact at PLPP, regarding NOT CUTTING BACK on grooming when conditions are so good. I would like to see INCREASED grooming during spring conditions.

      • Sometimes not grooming is better than grooming. I found tracks on Wheeler recently groomed March 15 to be worse shape than tracks on Lynx trail and old Pocattera groomed on March13. Wheeler has hard icy tracks covered by tree debris while the other trails have clean soft tracks that are pleasant to ski on. I agree on today’s skiing experience. It was one of the best this season. Wicked glide and excellent grip if you start early in the day.

    • Mt. Shark.
      Superb fresh grooming/setting at Mt. Shark; huge thanks indeed to traksetter Jody. Air temp -8C at 10am, +5C at 4pm; despite the high temp, the tracks are holding up very well, and it should be awesome skiing there all next week.
      We skied to Bryant Creek hut on skin skis.

  66. CNC: Don’t give on the Nordic Centre ! Timing is everything
    Start time 11:00 AM Skied out Bow trail onto Cold Shoulder and returned via Banff Trail.
    Skintecs worked great on Manmade groomed and track set trails. On the trails further out where the tracks were still hard it was an Armstrong ski. Various points on the trail were quite icy but as I said timing is everything. A bit later in the day the tracks soften up and all is good. Banff trail has been groomed and track set at the far end. Tracks were frozen. Once we got back to the man made at the mine scar all was good.

  67. AMAZING WINTER SNOW ON THE DIVIDE – LAKE LOUISE
    Great grooming, -4, non-transformed winter snow and beautiful sunshine made for a great day on the 1A!

  68. Emerald Lake Preview

    Calling all Skier Bob fans. Meet you at Emerald Lake tomorrow night at 8:00 for the last moonlight ski of the season. Brandy on us (Will and Rose) in our room at Emerald Lake Lodge after the ski.

    Totally serious about this. There aren’t many groups who deserve support more than Kicking Horse Ski Club. We’re heading for Emerald Lake tomorrow for a couple of nights, and would love to visit with some fellow skiers after an evening outing.

  69. Fri mar 18: west elk pass area.
    “Brilliant!” Encapsulates the day pretty well. Full 10 out of 10, with extra bonus points for Helen and her valiant crew joining me on the couch (with brandy and dark chocolate to share). Toured south through the meadows of west elk over to the power line. No shortage of flagging marking the route. Light Sun crust throughout most of the meadow but not an issue, good support off trail. Then back to the couch for lunch, which is now dug out to full size again. Apparently seats 4. Thanks for the visit ladies! Scooted over to fox lake after. Trails and quinzees everywhere over that way. Upon returning to blueberry junction, think I caught a glimpse of bob descending from blueberry? Up to elk pass proper and down hydroline to Patterson. Things were a bit slow with the waxless and solar input, but not too moist. Hydroline had a single track only. Patterson was barely travelled. Took the fox creek hill bypass on the way back. Track quality on fox varied from good clean and cold to icy and dirty. But it didn’t matter a bit after such an awesome day.

  70. Lake Louise Fairview, MLR, Tramline loop was excellent sking today. Fairview with recent snow and tracks in barely used condition, MLR recently groomed all tracks good and fresh corduroy, skating down was fast and fun. Tramline tracks good until close to Chateau but perfectly usable. Blue -3/-8C worked like a charm until about 2:00 in the sun, still fine in shade, no fuss and great grip/glide.
    No wind, full sun, just a few skiers, all in all another day in paradise.

  71. The Skier Bob-blog-effect was evident today in the parking lot of Elk Pass: we read, we went, we skied our little hearts out in some of the best conditions of 2016. As others have already said, Elk-Fox-Blueberry was a sheer delight.

    Fueled by my contest-winning meal last night at Market Bistro (thank you Anthony and Skier Bob for the World Cup contest: I won!), we headed up the big Blueberry hill. Given this morning’s update, I had an inkling I’d see the Man and… as I was trudging up — whosh — down comes Skier Bob. No doubt he’ll be saying the same things we all have about conditions. And what a great view from the top!

  72. PLPP – Elk Pass, Blueberry, Fox (March 17)
    As others have said, the skiing has been great at PLPP. Fresh grooming and tracks on Elk, Blueberry, and Hydroline. Fox was nicely groomed too. Best conditions I’ve seem in about 6 weeks.
    Photos:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/103173248988357771573/XCSkiPLPPMarch172016?noredirect=1

  73. Absolutely excellent skiing conditions at Peter Lougheed Park today (Fri, March 18th)!! Temperature was -10 C in the morning and about 2 C in the afternoon. Some parts were freshly groomed. Fast conditions but with good grip (except close to Pocaterra which always gets a little glazed).

  74. Canmore Nordic Centre. Disappointed – despite this little shot of winter, it’s still spring skiing.
    Launched at noon with freshly waxed skis and lots of anticipation after seeing a skiff of fresh snow on the webcams, colder temps on the weather stations and recent grooming seemingly everywhere on Live Grooming.
    Unfortunately there was not enough fresh to improve the icier-than-ever tracks on the natural snow trails – not recommended. Couldn’t get wax to grip on the machine snow either and refused to break out the klister. Switched to waxless skis yet again (sigh) and made the best of the outing by staying on the softer machine snow which remains pretty good.

    • Had the opposite experience using klister today and for most of the season at CNC. For those people who want a wonderful classic ski at CNC where there is old snow/man-made for most of the season, use at least a klister base. Go get a wax lesson from Trail Sports or You Tube it. Best classic days I have ever had – Klister! Many multi grades/univeral klisters available.

  75. Lake Louise MLR and Fairview

    A little warmer (-5oC warming to near 0oC by 2:30pm) than we thought over coffee – meant V40 and/or purple for different skiers. Good grip and pretty fast glide. Snow is older but groomed tracks on Fairview and MLR were excellent. Snow stood up well all day. Tomorrow (Friday) should be just as good.

    • Also at Lake Louise and the same trails. We must have passed you today. We used VR45 with good success until 2:30 pm when I added one layer of VR50 after returning back on Fairview, to see if it was better – and it was. A cold wind blew most of the day helping keep the snow cold. I thought MLR was excellent and we were the 4th and 5th skier up on the classic tracks. Two skaters passed us and by the look of their track MLR would be excellent for skating as well. The glide down was fast but not scary. The downhill parts of the loops are getting very dished and it feels like skiing in a water slide.

  76. Blueberry Hill and Elk Pass.
    I checked last night’s grooming, and figured I would ski it today. It was a wonderful -9C at Elk Pass parking at 10am – seems like 6 weeks since I last skied at such a cool temp. I started up the new tracksetting (crusty but good), and, being lazy, quickly deviated to Fox Creek (skier trackset, nice snow, mostly clean). Back on the Elk Pass trail, I skied a skiff of new snow into the fresh tracks all the way to Blueberry Jct. By the time I got to the top of Blueberry, there was almost no fresh snow in the tracks, and (amazingly) it was almost calm. A fun ski back down, then up to Elk Pass. Here there was a cm of fresh snow, even more in the Hydroline tracks (slow skiing) to the top of Patterson. Then down Patterson, and back to parking on Elk Pass (the big hill has some bumpy and thin spots, but is still skiable). -3C at my 1pm finish. Very pleasant outing.

    • Sounds wonderful!

      I have to say, the “live grooming” reports are not very live. As I mentioned yesterday, the grooming on Elk Pass trail started yesterday afternoon, perhaps about 3 pm?

      • The latest grooming report was not uploaded at 8am when I left Calgary, so I stopped into the PLPP Discovery Center to confirm what I suspected (from your report of yesterday). There’s no WiFi at PLPP, so the grooming cannot be live-updated, but has to be uploaded later.

    • BLUEBERRY: We were a couple of hours behind Ray – so -4ºC at 12:15, and probably near zero at Blueberry lookout. We opted for Salomon Aeroskin (waxless) anticipating that sunshine might change conditions — but it remained mostly overcast, and, after the first km from parking lot, track was easily wax-able – just got better as you went higher. Nice to ski have some cold air around for a change.

    • I’ll echo the comments about the great Blueberry and upper Elk Pass conditions this afternoon, and the joy of skiing in clean cold dry easy waxing snow. Virgin grooming was evident on Fox as we skied by, didn’t check it out though as we headed home via “the hump”. The parks truck and trailer at Boulton Bridge would indicate that the Boulton roller coaster was getting done also.

  77. snowing at Engadine Lodge when I drove by at 8pm,might be good skiing at mount shark tomorrow .
    near perfect day at PLPP all trails worth skiing have now been skied in.
    light snow showers on and off part of the day
    both trails to lookout and blueberry hill still have lots of snow.
    and the grater was out on Smith-Dorrien making the trip back to canmore a little smoother

  78. LL today on classic skis. Starting at around 1000 air temperature -1C on Moraine parking lot. Skigo violet grip wax did a job. Northerly wind made the descend on Moraine Lake road slow and cold. Some snow flurries, some blue sky, some sun afternoon. Next went up on Tramline #3, good cold snow and heavily used trail by gliders and walkers. Then I have turned on the Fairview #2, freshly track set by the way and discovered trail #4. I could not find it last time because I was going an opposite direction. That # 4 not much of a ski challenge but what a views! I had no idea. My grip was disappearing in afternoon snow so I had to put on some Start violet. I have completed the loop on Fairview. Overall excellent ski condition.

  79. PLPP
    We found our thrill…….
    on Blueberry Hill….
    Thermometer at visitor centre read -5C, just into the blue wax zone, oh joy!
    Elk Pass trail to jct: no recent grooming, snow going up big hill just perfect, so why did people take skis off to walk up??? Descent on south side a little icy, but not terrible; snow through trees mostly great, with odd little icy section; out in the open it was a bit sun-glazed, but still nice. We fervently hoped for no grooming on Blueberry and our prayers were answered.
    Just a few skiers before us on Blueberry, gave us a nice track to follow, with still lots of powder for the descent, enjoyed some cruising through yummy whipped cream 🙂
    Here is a lovely problem: powder so deep that we could only really cruise on the steepest hills, the rest we had to put one or two skis in tracks!
    Enjoyable descent of Elk Pass trail, up and over big hill, just zooming down when we almost literally ran into the groomer coming up! That machine (I don’t know which) is really wide!! Had to do some serious braking action and pull over to far left to pass. The son and I met and de-briefed at Boulton jct., and decided to ski back up the big hill and try the fresh, soft corduroy, which turned out to be rather slower than the original, but we happily cruised down to the parking lot. What a fantastic day out! There were only three other cars in the lot all day.

  80. Lovely ski on Great Divide/1A. Skate. All the way to end (and back). Started just after 11:30am. Snow was nice and firm with just a little fresh on top of grooming. But snow was slow on the way out and coupled with quite a brisk headwind made that direction more work than expected. Nevertheless the tail wind and much faster snow made the return trip a dream. Weather constantly changing – sun – overcast – light snow.

    FOUND: WAX – outside the Great Divide picnic shelter. Reply if it is yours and would like it back.

  81. Chester Lake/Elephant Rocks: started at 1pm in -4 temps and blue skies. Snow started falling fairly soon. Skinned up and part way down to junction of one way trails. Chose the snow shoe trail up to Elephant Rocks from the lake and skied down the ski trail. Saw no other skiers and only 3 cars in lot. Skiing down had some crusted powder to contend with but I never look very pretty coming down in light touring skis in any event. We were surprised by the great conditions and finished still in -4.

  82. Very quiet in the Bolton CG parking lot. Second time out with the new Lifesport wax-less. Seemed slow so I don’t know if that’s wax-less or the snow, been many years since I’ve used wax-less. About -3 at 10 am, Tracks are fine, a few glazed areas but nothing to complain about at all. Great day out. Whiskey Jack, Pocaterra, Packers to return

  83. Great day at Mt Shark March 16. Trails are in excellent condition with a fair bit of new snow for groomers to work with at the end of the week. 10km trail and Watridge had plenty of snow and a skier-made track that was more than adequate. Friends Brenda and Jamie found lots of snow on the downhills to practice their telemark turns! Temp was -5 when we started at 11am (waxed with V40). We rewaxed with a warmer wax later in the afternoon (probably about -1 or -2 degrees). Notwithstanding soaring temps, the snow at Shark should last quite a while.

  84. CNC: Apres Ski Tour Caanda the trails are really in good spring condition. The dusting of snow from two days ago has helped on the non snowmaking trails.
    Skintecs worked well,but I’d say wax would work. Skied out Banff trail to Mine Scar then dropped onto Bruin right beside the new warming hut. The new snow and soft base made for a good ride. We jumped over onto Silvertip and then ascended to Meadowview and up Coyote ending up on Rundle to return via Olympic. Somehow the trail runners seem to think running on ski tracks is a good idea, as we found footprints along Rundle,sometimes right on top of the tracks. Not impressed!

  85. Tue mar 15: elk pass/west elk.
    No track setting yet, and still plenty of fresh snow on the trail to deal with. Only a dusting of new at the parking lot and -5 at 9 am. Basically single track out there for the most part and a bit sloppy. Snow plow areas on the steeps are scraped smooth enough. Maybe it will get groomed tonight as the warm air is gone for a bit. Moist surface snow in afternoon on the trails From solar affect but otherwise stayed mostly at or below zero. Just above zero back at the car at 415. Visited the couch again after some backcountry stuff up on mt fox. Quite filled in since my last visit. Great afternoon relaxation After a little shovelling. Sun Has some punch to it now. (-:

  86. Lake Louise – a very pleasant ski here today. From the Chateau parking, we skied down Peyto (skier trackset in 4cm of new snow), west along Lower Telemark where we passed the groomer setting tracks (great work, Sherry!), and then on Great Divide (recently trackset) to the O’Hara access road. We returned on GD, up Peyto, and then skied Upper Telemark, crossed the Lake, and back to the car. The two of us used waxable skis (VR45, V50), and had good grip and glide – nice to be on waxable skis again! Temps: -3C to start; +1C at the end (about 2:30pm). Seemed like normal winter skiing conditions – almost no clumping or sticking, very good tracks. Hope it lasts a while…

  87. First we tried the new track-setting from the PLPP Visitor Centre – skied the Sinclair loop but the tracks were hard and not conducive to waxes (“forgot” the klister), so we restarted at Elk Pass where we found 5-10 cm of new snow, which liked the violet wax just fine. Fox Creek and Elk Pass to Patterson where we broke trail to Hydroline, turned and skied back down – over the top of the boot snow made for a great descent on skinny skis! Temp was around -1C all day.

  88. Anyone been to Mount Shark lately?

  89. Excellent grooming on MLR and the 1A for both skating and classic. Beautiful Skiing!
    PD

  90. Lk Louise -4 and staying below zero…..tried out new SkiGo HF wax today for -3 to +1 and was surprised how hard it went on and worked really well for 20 kms ski. Parked at Upper Chateau lot, started skiing on Peyto green/blue to west end of Lower Telemark, skied it to washroom, then back exact same route. East to west direction seemed to be a lot faster for us. 4 sets of dog sled teams were out enjoying this glorious day. A few cms of overnight snow likely made for a bit of a workout for skate skiers on Divide. Took #5 up to behind the Chateau and came out at the lake, skiing across it on walking trail, then back to parking lot via 4 trail that leads to Fairview. Perhaps like a golfer who wants a score of 70 in his 70th year, I got to celebrate my 70th ski of the season in my 68th year. Happy upcoming Palm Sunday Birthday Skier Bob! One day soon you will be “legal” to rent out a WWL cabin.

    • I think as long as the person renting is old enough then you’re all good? But then I suppose they’d want to stay too right? LOL

  91. The CSC group were very pleasantly surprised yesterday by the ski conditions out of the PLPP Visitor Ctr. Fresh snow covered the crusty stuff underneath, lots of sunshine. Braille Trail has a short section near the S end where the firm base has started to soften.

  92. hello ski friends,
    Has anyone skied Goat Creek to Banff recently?
    Thanks

  93. We had a great outing on the 1A Sunday. The added bonus of surprise grooming made a good trip even better. Perfect temperatures to start, lots of sun. The snow had softened a bit as we finished around noon but still retained a semi-wintry texture. Busy-ish, but not super-crowded, at least when we started out a little after 10. We skated on this day, but those on classic skis seemed to be motoring along nicely. Lake Louise forecast, FWIW, says seasonable temps are in the offing, maybe even slightly below, with flurries to boot. Only one disappointment on the day; some dogsled groups had stopped for a break near their turnaround point, with the clients milling in and around the trackset with seemingly no intervention on the part of the group leaders.

  94. Fairview Loop from upper parking lot counter-clockwise and then back around again clockwise. Trusted the waxless skis even though started out at -2. Went up to km 4 on Moraine Lake Road; newly track-set and skate skiers in their splendour. Temps should remain below zero tomorrow and more snow anticipated.

  95. CASCADE FIRE ROAD to WARDEN CABIN

    Took a chance on skiing Cascade
    And the right choice was made
    The trail had a skiff of fresh snow
    So having to drive to Lake Louise was a ” no go”
    Started late at 1 pm ( new time)
    Temp. +2 VR 50 should work just fine
    The first few km. were a struggle and high heart rate
    As we climbed the wax started gripping and all was great
    Tracks were skier set over old tracks frozen with ice
    They were not perfect but still pretty nice
    Part way to the warden’s cabin we had to break trail
    Hardly a sole was seen as we travelled over hill and dale
    We did see some scat from a bear
    If you go please Beware
    Beautiful day to be out on our skis
    There is still more fun to be had YIPEE!!

  96. PLPP: 10-15 cms of new snow when we started at the crack of noon on Elk Pass Trail, via Fox Creek (what a great single track!) on up to Elk Pass, a wee ways down Tyrwhitt until we started to ice up so we turned around and skied the same way back – 17 km and mostly without clumping or icing despite the mild temps (-1C to +1C). It should be fantastic once it’s been trackset. Gloriously sunny too. Not many people out for a Sunday.

  97. We skied Cascade Fire Road to the 6km bridge. The new snow made it not terrible. It was heavy snow over ice, so snowplow is hard work and the trackset is not very evident, so it is a little harder work than some of the trails that have had enough snow to groom. Overall, it was better than I expected, and it was a much shorter drive than Lake Louise.

  98. Excellent conditions and coverage on 30km of natural snow still available to be skied on at Dawn Mountain Nordic Ski Trails in Golden, BC! With fresh snow 3x’s this week and some stellar bluebird sky days coming up in the forecast the cross country skiing will be fabulous. We have enough coverage to last into early April we think!

  99. PLPP – William Watson – 7cm and snowing at 7am. -1c. Soft but sticky snow fell last night hopefully covering the holes left by the hikers and snowshoers who stomped up whisky Jack, look-out, and boulton.

    It was scary coming down the south side of lookout on Saturday. Metal edges recommended.

    Early bird will get the worm today.

  100. Skied Elk Pass, Hydroline, Patterson, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, Boulton Connector, Elk Pass back to parking lot this afternoon.

    Snowing a fair bit on the upper trails. Slow on Hydroline and Patterson due to the fresh snow and wind. We were breaking trail going up on Hydroline between Lookout and Patterson since the tracksetting a couple days ago were completely covered, but saw a couple people coming down so it might be better. Hydroline has tons of snowshoe prints all over the trail up to the Lookout junction. Elk Pass is fast but a bit crusty up to the mid point between Hydroline and Patterson, then still good amount of skier tracks but much slower above this point since snow was thicker and more sticky. Fox Creek and Boulton Creek were fast and crusty and still snow covered. Not a horrible day, but I think another round of tracksetting would make this much more enjoyable.

  101. Castle Junction: still some skiing to be enjoyed (but not too much)

    We decided to check out the Castle Jct trails today, having not been there yet this season. Parking at the Hostel, saw two hikers coming out, staying well on top of the snow, started to ski loop #3 heading east, we found about a cm of fresh, soft, sugary snow in more open areas. Under the trees was generally hard and fast, with occasional large dumps of needles, etc. Our progress was halted by clearing operations along the power line, which is an issue all along the 1A highway, not mentioned anywhere I have seen in Parks Canada sites 🙁

    We backtracked and continued east along the Lake Louise – Banff relay trail. It was lovely skiing across the meadow, so-so in the trees, and surprisingly good beside the highway for a while, until the detritus from road-clearing got too yucky. We turned around about 2.5 km east of Castle Jct, and enjoyed the return trip. We would have investigated the campground loop, but it was starting to rain so we decided to pack it in for the day.

    Photos:

    https://picasaweb.google.com/105504038225527277052/12March2016CastleJct?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCLrRks-R57a35gE&feat=directlink

  102. Lake Louise & Pipestone – started at 10:15 am -1C on waxless skis (fish scales) on the Pipestone Loop (20) ccw – icy for the starting hills with tracks and snow improving as we skied north. We skied down Merlin (23), on the best snow and trackset of the day, and SE on Drummond with very good snow. At 12:30 the sun and warm air were starting to soften the snow except in shady tracks. Merlin was so good we returned to ski up and back for a second run – this time the tracks were a wee bit softer but still worth the back tracking. Cloud cover by mid afternoon was glazing and preserving the snow as we descended Hector where we found the most deterioration of the area’s ski tracks. At 2:30 pm the temperature was +4 C. This area is a joy when the sun shines and we found good late winter skiing in the Pipestone. Sunday will bring similar good trail conditions as the area was quiet today.

  103. started at bolton at 8:30. Skied morraine, fox creek, elk pass which all was a little beat up but fast snow. 9:30 went from elk pass to packers and back to bolton which was very slow as I hit the magic temperature where fast snow became slow and sticky and the new snow wasn’t skier packed like elk was. I didn’t encounter ice flows on packers as there was a good layer of fresh snow. Finished at about 11:15.

  104. Skied Whiskey Jack,Tyrwitt, Elk, Fox, Moraine,Wheeler,Amos,Wooley,Meadow today and it was great on waxless skis. Upper trails had more snow, but lower ones while a bit close to slush, had defined tracks and were just fine.

  105. Mt. Shark.

    Skied Mt. Shark trails today; it was a busy place with Calgary Ski Club kids lessons, and a biathlon camp. Air temp +1 at 11 am and +4 at 3 pm; snow wet and sticky. Light rain/snow.

    FOUND: sunglasses. Describe brand/style/color and get them. CNC was very busy today, but I may be able to leave them there next weekend.

    • Sorry about the crowds Oleg – I hope you had a good ski and that our Jackrabbits weren’t in your way too much!
      Winston

      • Hi Winston,
        it was great pleasure to see the little kids on the trails, enjoying the warm weather and Club’s awesome coaches :o) Mt. Shark system is big enough for all to have fun and their own track.

  106. Hey skiers, did anyone go to PLPP today? While riding my bike was fun today, I’d really like to get some skiing in!

  107. Lake O’Hara today. Same gear as yesterday and both worked well. I re-applied the Grip Tape, spending more time cleaning the bases and pressing the tape in. It was especially good climbing up to the Lodge before noon. After lunch, it was much warmer and slower on the downhill. The R-Skins excelled here. Still, it was a great day – better than staying home, and we had a lovely lunch at the lodge too!

  108. We bought Grip Tape about 10 years ago as an emergency wax and never used it, but I have seen it on the shelves this winter. It looks like a red adhesive tape dispenser and you put it on just like that. Mine only lasted the day – purported to be good for over 100 km of skiing, but I was hasty in my application. Local skiers were using it on the Cascade Trail earlier this winter when it started to get warm out – with rave reviews so I figure this is the time of year to get it out.

  109. Skied Pipestone outer loop. Temps hovered around zero or above but we were testing out new R-Skin skis and Start Grip Tape. Both worked well on the freshly groomed tracks. Lovely outing, may still be good for waxless skis tomorrow.

    • Where does one find start grip tape? Sounds interesting

    • I wonder when they began to manufacture grip tape?
      It reminds me of the famous story of when skate skiing was just starting up and was quite controversial. The story goes that in a race where the first half was classical and the second was this new fangled skating, skier Thomas Wassberg put duct tape on the grip zone of his skis, applying the grip wax to the tape. At the start of the skating portion of the race he simply ripped the duct tape off.

  110. Decided vs Paradise Valley as avalanche risk high so skied to Boulder Pass from Fish Creek Parking lot (-3). Took an hour with a couple of cms of fresh snow over downhill grooming on ski out to official start of trail above Temple Lodge. Another hour+ to the Pass-it snowed most of day and snow only got sticky for short period when sun came out. If anyone finds a really nice pair of sunglasses, they belong to one of our group. She would greatly appreciate them but took a tumble coming down from Pass and perhaps they got buried in the snow. That ski did not feel like 8.6 kms to the Pass but that is what Trail Guide says.

  111. LL is still good for classic skiing today. Parking lot on Moraine Lake road was full at noon. Snow gets colder the higher you go and grip improves considerably. Initially I put on Skigo red but that iced up really quick so I covered that with Skigo violet. Fairview trail #2 is enjoyable but needs grooming, skier set tracks right now. Tramline #3 is well groomed, it has well defined tracks that are on the icy side. If you see footprints on tracks of Moraine Lake road those are courtesy of Beavis and Butt-Head from Oregon. Oh yes, they were made on purpose, not sure if they planted American flag by their footprints too. Fortunately there are 3 tracks you can use going up or down, easy to switch.
    On the side note if you buy annual pass for Banff National Park this year you will get additional year free. So my pass expires on March 2018.

  112. Redearth Creek to Warden’s Cabin: -1 at start and again -1 at cabin. Took 2 hours to arrive at Warden’s Cabin-would rate first km as fair to good with a few cms of snow atop of ice made for satisfactory grip on waxless BC Fischers. Conditions were G-VG the rest of the way, especially after campsite. Almost looked like it had been groomed and single tracked. 5 people ahead of me and finally caught up with them at cabin at noon; one of whom was a loppet winner in his age category and was going to ski into Shadow Lake Lodge before heading down. I walked down the last hill-something I have never done but it just seemed like a wise thing to do. A few more cms. of falling snow would raise this trip report to more than VG.

    • REDEARTH CREEK
      Helen Read’s prayers have been answered… “a few more cms of falling snow”!
      Yesterday, on a day off from volunteering at the Ski Tour Canada races, we were inspired by Helen’s report on Redearth Creek and decided to check it out. There had been snow overnight, so even the first icy hill had been covered with good grippy snow. And then it started snowing. It started clumping up under our skis and didn’t stop until we got to the warden cabin. We were too worn out to continue, so only have this one shot to share:
      https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/RedearthCreek04?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCJP5ivCu4OLlJg&feat=directlink
      Surprisingly, we had no problem gliding out, other than having to break trail!

  113. Smith-Dorrien Trails
    I did a ski tour on some of the Smith-Dorrien Trails. I mostly followed the old “Yellow” loop to Headwall Creek, then took the “Yellow/Green” connector to the “Green” trail and back to the “Yellow” trail (now known as the “Snowdrift” trail). I also did a side loop around the old “Orange” Loop (Mt. Murray Viewpoint) on the way back.
    It snowed off & on all day. Temp got close to 0C. There was 2-4cm of fresh snow. South aspects had a bit of sun crust from Monday, but the shady north aspects were crust-free. No need for man-made snow here… but grooming would be nice!
    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=112757355578245802406&target=ALBUM&id=6259911190248666785&authkey=Gv1sRgCIbb9rPRmbzG1QE&feat=email

    • We tried to follow your tracks today! Mostly successful….

      There was a light dusting of fresh snow over yesterday’s tracks. As we arrived at Chester parking lot, we nearly left again due to the large bus and huge number of snowshoe tracks! But we headed up the old blue trail, and very soon all the snowshoe tracks disappeared, and only Alf’s ski tracks remained (over the old well-packed trail). Eventually we realised that Alf had done the loop in the opposite direction, especially when we saw the tracks coming down the old orange trail. We continued up blue, turned left at yellow and encountered a potentially dangerous deadfall a short distance up the hill. Be careful!!!
      Turning up Headwall Creek valley, found Alf’s tracks again at the next junction, and followed them upstream. We had not been past that junction since the flood, and were quite surprised by the scene at the creek crossing! Anyway, continued up yellow, then followed The Famous tracks away from snowshoe “grooming” into almost pristine “backcountry”, down green and green/yellow to blue and the parking lot. We couldn’t have done it on our own.
      These snowshoe trails are much easier to ski than the canyons we have found at Ross Lake and elsewhere! The downhills on green and green/yellow were very challenging, though, due to overgrown, bumpy sections and variable crust, making navigation quite difficult. Apologies for all the bum craters in the snow and the side-stepping 🙁 Good telemark skiers would have a much better time, methinks!
      All in all, it was a pretty enjoyable day’s ski, but a little grooming and deadfall removal would certainly help. The red wax worked reasonably well, with a bit of icing up. This was by far the driest snow we have skied in the last couple of weeks!

  114. Lake Louise for a change, partly based on Helen Read’s note yesterday. Down Tramline to Moraine Lake Road (to the end) had ~4-6 cm snow over yesterday’s tracks, so slower than it could have been. Returned to Chateau Lake Louise parking lot via Fairview. That would have been more fun the other direction and with fresh tracks. Fairview was skier set tracks, but barely any ice showing through the new snow.

    • We, too, read Helen Read’s report yesterday and opted for the same trails that Diane skied, though in reverse direction. The couple of new cm of snow were pretty sticky as it warmed up. Our waxless skis performed well going uphill, but were miserably slow coming back down. Yes, overall conditions around Lake Louise remain good – very good if you have the right skis or if the temperature drops a couple of degrees (reached +3C around lunchtime; a bit cooler in the pm).

  115. For what it’s worth, cross country trail system at Dawn Mountain near Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden was terrific last Saturday. Almost all their trails had been freshly trackset when I arrived at 9 am and what hadn’t been, was still very much skiable. It was my first visit to the area and I was very impressed with the trail system. Perhaps a bit flat (not a lot of harder steep terrain), but there’s still quite a bit of variety.
    The conditions last weekend were tough (rain both Saturday and Sunday), but a lot of fun can still be had at Dawn Mountain.

    • If you go again and are looking for some hills, try climbing Moosemeat. Doubt you will call it flat again… 😉

      • Hawk Owl is pretty steep too. Raven has some fun rolling hills.

        • I did Moosemeat, Hawk Owl and Raven last Saturday. They were fun, no doubt, but I was hoping for something more epic along the lines of Lookout or Blueberry Hill in PLPP or Skogan Pass. 🙂 But still, I can recommend Dawn Mountain to anybody.

  116. West Bragg Creek
    I went out to West Bragg Creek at mid-day and did several laps on the XC ski trails that were groomed for the Alberta Youth Championships last weekend.
    Those trails were still in ski-able condition today, with Crystal Links # 2, 3 & 4 being in the best shape. Sadly, it got to +9C and the forecast is for nothing but warm temperatures for the next two weeks.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=112757355578245802406&target=ALBUM&id=6259537481454538753&authkey=Gv1sRgCMG0k7rT_uyzhQE&feat=email

  117. PALLISER (UPPER SPRAY)
    Starting at Mount Shark, with last night’s fresh snow, conditions were perfect for this day trip into the Palliser. The route has obviously been well travelled recently, so there was no reason to turn back early.
    Check out this link if you want to know more about this very pleasant tour:
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=3409524&code=9b09fd4aeedf63cfaddccc581b8a38d1
    It is actually quite easy and the views are amazing. This time of year is our opportunity to explore a little further, and the rewards are unbelievable.

    • Sweet! Scary bridge, though :O and it looks rather wet?

      You take brilliant wildlife shots!

    • Chuck and Jeanette, you are both such an inspiration. I love enlarging the google map and checking on Gem Track maps where exactly you are. You skied in the way some people arrive at Talus Lodge, but via Whiteman’s Pass. Assume you skied just under 40 kms. I feel like I should buy you a treat from Le Fournil. Go Canada Go !!!

      • Helen, Chuck, such a journey towards the Talus Lodge sounds exciting! Perhaps in a good snow year you can team up and try it. I’ve been poring over the google map to see how one would do it. Would one go over White Man pass and go all the way down to the Cross River, and then back up to the lodge? Or, as an alternative, I see that there is another valley that cuts off south before White Man pass. This looks like it has a high col that perhaps can get a person around the east flank of the mountain and over towards the lodge without loss of too much elevation.
        Perhaps a reader of Bob’s blog has done the trip that Helen refers to.

      • 40K??? In one day?? No, surely you mean over 4 trips?? I simply read this wrong. Dear gawd, I feel like a sloth. Not that there is anything wrong with sloths…

    • Chuck, Is there any exposure to avalanche terrain on this trip?

  118. Today was a winner at Moraine Lake Road, with new fresh clean snow being groomed/tracked prior to our arrival at 10 am and -4. Had planned on using waxless but no need to with today’s temps and “ancient” blue wax. It was a gorgeous day and found it hard to believe I had not skied MLR since beginning of November. As we were leaving the MLR parking lot, a small sedan car drove in and started trying to drive up the trail, until she got stuck by the Upper Tramline junction. The groomer likely had to pull her out backwards. We met 3 ladies at the top from Sudbury and they were asking where to ski tomorrow. I suggested O’Hara but a trip report would be very useful to them.

  119. Mount Shark Mar 5 Lost 1 pair of Fischer Sportglass and 1 pair of Salomon xcountry skiis as well as 1 pair orange poles. If found please email or cal 403 679-9854

  120. really fun time at the lake louise loppet today : ) new snow, 0 celcius, made the trails nice and soft and grippy, but also meant that there was lots of clumping going on underneath skis! i’m new to waxing but listening to conversations i think some people had success using just glide wax and leaving out the grip wax.

  121. +3c at Elk Pass parking lot at 1300hrs. Steady drizzle and a stiff wind. It was trying to snow. It failed. Intermittent drizzle from 1300-1500.

    Passable kick with universal spray klister (-5 to +10) from parking lot to a few hundred metres up bluberry hill. Almost kept up to my partner on her fish scales and envied her them. Was sure I was going to catch her when I cleaned the klister off my skis at our high point on blueberry but she beat me back to the parking area by 20 mins.

    5-9 snow fleas/square inch. Heavy wet snow on trails making for icy, wet, slushy, soft trackset. Very few needles or lichen. +2 and rain at 1515hrs.

    Props to the Mummas and Poppas packing there wee ones to Elk lake hut in a rainbow of chariots.

    Adequate travel, challenging, gorgeous day.

  122. Another great Lake Louise loppet today! Many thanks to Alasdair Fergusson and his crew of volunteers for all their hard work making the loppet happen. Lots of fresh snow in the area so conditions should be good as long the temperatures remain cool this week.

  123. Emerald Lake
    Snowing thick wet flakes when we arrived around 11:30. 0C air temp. Approximately 5cm accumulation. We skied out along the lakeside and then did part of the alluvial fan and then retraced our steps due to time constraints. Breaking trail over covered tracks. Tracks underneath would have been quite icy but the wet snow covered them quite well. Two of us on waxable skis were slipping some but the one with waxless faired better. Still snowing when we left at 1:30pm and still 0C. Looked like less snow had fallen on the other side of the great divide when we drove home. Then there was some rain later especially around Canmore.

  124. Carly amsterdam

    Lost jacket at Mnt Shark!
    I skied Mnt shark today with awesome sticky snow and warm weather. We skied to Watridge Lake and along the way I got too warm and took off my coat, hung it on a tree and left a snow-note saying I’d be back. On our return my coat was gone. It’s a black/dark blue Burton jacket. We checked the lost and found at the canmore information Center and at Engadine lodge but no luck. If anyone knows what happened to my jacket please give me a shout 403-437-9980. It’s my only winter jacket 🙁

  125. Skied Mt. Shark yesterday. It was +3 in the parking lot and the snow was claiming -2. Started the day with V45 wax and made it about ten minutes before my stubbornness wore off and I rewaxed with V50. Worked for the most part. Skied the 10k loop, had planned to do two of them, but due to the soft, slow snow thought better of it.

    Finished up just before noon as the snow started to get really slow.

    http://www.strava.com/activities/509386793?utm_content=13493611&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ride_share

  126. MORAINE -Fairview
    Started about 11am. Tried wax- but used skintecs. Work perfectly. Snowing from top of uphill around to end. Cooled to 0. Very Slow there. Many skiers with wax and frustration – 55, yellow, red – nothing worked.
    Skintecs worked better lower down where closer to rain and on Fairview.
    Could be tough tomorrow!

  127. Had two great skis at CNC on Friday and Saturday on our Zero rub skis. Timed it perfect to be finishing today at 12:30 as it went super wet and slow. Love spring skiing, just not this early.

  128. Rain, rain, go away!!!

    Skied up Yoho Valley Road to top of switchbacks this morning. It was lightly raining the whole time. Snow pretty good, nice and white, but like Pete I had no grip. We did see a train go through the upper spiral tunnel from the official viewpoint, must have been two miles long??!!

  129. Skied at pipestone today with the family. Soggy conditions as temp was at +4 and a drizzle/snow mix coming down. Klister or waxless would have been best for the conditions but we had neither so no grip to speak of. Did the short loop with trails 20 and 21. Later went up to mlr so my wife could test her skintech skis she rented for the loppet tomorrow. Slightly less soggy conditions on mlr.
    Hopefully the trails won’t be to icy for the loppet tomorrow.

  130. I seem to be that “weird guy” around the office and in the family that is hoping for some cold and more snow. I’m not ready to put away the skiis just yet, but these warm temps and excessive driving to get to good snow aren’t conducive to extending the season for me. Pretty tough to “sneak out for a few hours” early in the morning and be home by lunch when it’s a 3-4 hour round trip of just driving (ie PLPP or LL).

    That said… first road ride of the season and, like any sport you haven’t done for a few months, the body suffers and will make me pay for it tomorrow. So, um… yeah, this is the first March road riding report!! 🙂 Highway 1A to Cochrane more clear of gravel than normal for this time of year. Retreat Road and 85th St NW also in fine summer-like condition. Worst bit is gravel in the city so choose your route wisely to avoid that danger plus minimize conflict cos those dang pesky cars think they own the road (kinda like “insert here” thinking they own the “insert here” trail).

  131. Skied Fairview to MLR at Lake Louise yesterday afternoon. Great tracks, good snow and, under trees, tons of our new friends, the snow fleas. MLR was softer than Fairview and slower on my Skintecs (I’ve become too lazy to even try waxing for these conditions). Good luck to loppet racers on Sunday. You should have good conditions.

  132. TALUS LODGE: Feb 29-Mar 4th. Incredible plentiful fresh powder up at Talus all week. Temps averaged around -6, but dipped to -11 and as high as -2. Chris Espinel was a terrific host and our guide, leading 9 guests on gentle terrain to top of Ptarmigan Plateau, with views of Leman Lake below and up to Cirque Lake, as well as some touring through the trees when wind became a factor. Chef Mo from Golden put on 4 extraordinary meals, including hot soup for part of our 4pm snacks, and I am coveting her homemade energy bar for my next long ski. http://www.mosmountaincuisine.com Only short peeks of bluebird skies each day but I will default to great snow any day. It would be a fabulous place for groups of snowshoers as the terrain is terrific for it. Enjoyed meeting 6 great people from Prince George. Think we saw Bill Dreger taking advantage of those pristine tracks at Shark when we flew back out and over him yesterday at 9:30 am !!!

  133. Baker Creek to Protection Mountain

    Fair to good conditions — some icy patches, especially at the Baker Creek end, rather dirty needlemania under trees, but some nicer snow under powerlines closer to campground. When we arrived at the campground we found the trail closed due to ongoing work there, and there was a lot of powerline clearing work all along the 1A hwy.

  134. Great Divide at Lake Louise

    Trackset yesterday, the trail is in excellent condition with cold snow, good tracks and a firm skating lane. The snow temperature was -6 at 6 pm. At the O’Hara end, the snow wasn’t as cold and the tracks were a bit soft. As soon as you cross the Divide, however, excellent conditions prevail.

    I had originally wanted to ski at Emerald Lake and the Connector but snow was very wet. Went back to Lake Louise where conditions looked good on all the trails.

    Great Divide

    Great Divide2

    Great Divide at O’Hara end

  135. Has anyone been on the Great divide or Ohara today? How was it?

  136. Flawless, pristine, immaculate… There aren’t enough superlatives to describe conditions at Mt. Shark this morning. I skated this morning but the fresh trackset looked great. Given more time, I would have done a classic lap. It was getting warm and sunny when I headed home at 10am, so I got the best part of the day… But there’s lots of snow and the skiing should be good for at least a few more weeks.

    • Robin MacKenzie

      Bill is right! Some of the best snow and grooming to tickle the bases of our skis. We wondered who was the early bird skier – Bill. I only hope the world cup skiers have a window of time after the Canmore races to try out these great trails. I will sure suggest it to them!

      • With a rain predicted for PLPP tomorrow this might be the place to be. Is Mt.Shark accessible from the north, from Canmore side?

  137. Lake Louise
    Skied telemark race course on March 3rd. Mid afternoon.
    VR45 worked fine except some icing where track not set.
    Up and over telemark to GD. No trackset, or on lower telemark. Back on GD- skied in track. Skating groomed. Met tracksetter at GD parking lot. He was starting on setting track. He said they’re short staffed currently – only 1 working right now for various reasons. Didn’t plan to do lower telemark before race. FNordic will. Might get to pipestone Saturday. (It’s skier tracked currently).
    Skied back out to upper Telemark. It had just been set. Then around Fairview loop.
    Moraine was groomed and set passed Fairview junction. And in great – real snow condition! Air temp around +1 c at warmest.

  138. Lake Louise: 10:15 am and -2C at the Great Divide trail head. With the weather forecast we came with our waxless skis which performed well except for a half hour just after noon when we experienced icing. It was a good day to do loops so we skied Lower Telemark Loop (groomed but not trackset) and up on Peyto and Upper Telemark (groomed but not trackset) down to the Lake where we had lunch. We met Chateau Jeff giving ski lessons at the boathouse area and he pointed us to Fairview which was recently groomed and trackset, as Bob noted yesterday. Fairview was still in great condition with 1 cm of new snow on the tracks. From Fairview we skied MLR to Paradise Creek and returned on skier trackset. Took Upper Tramline to the Chateau parking on new trackset then over to Deer Lodge to return to the GD parking down Peyto and the steep hill of Upper Telemark. At the Telemark/GD junction we met Jeff once more, this time doing track setting on the upper Chateau loops in preparation for the weekend loppet I guess. As we left Jeff we saw the Parks Canada groomer Richard heading out on the Great Divide setting new tracks. Lake Louise still has the best snow for xc-skiing at this time and the tracks will be in perfect condition for a few days.

  139. PLPP Bolten : Temp +3 @ 1:00 pm for a late start today (jet lagged from holidays Down Under). Approx 5 cm new snow Tues? and another trace 1 cm today, so snow looked great. However warm temps made waxing challenging. Tried SKIGO HF -2 to +3 wax but was too slick. Added SKIGO HF yellow -1 to+5 wax, but was too goopy:) ! Attempted Whiskey Jack but turned back after 30 minutes. Carol made a snowman while Duane scraped. Great snow for snowman making :). Skied flat skier-tracked Wheeler to Amos which was better gliding. Let’s hope cooler temps and some winter returns, else we may have to add waxless skis to our toybox this year .
    See photos @
    https://www.facebook.com/Grandview-Chalet-Bed-Breakfast-1144634388897017/timeline?ref=page_internal

  140. Canmore Nordic Centre – quite enjoyable spring skiing on waxless skis.

    An earlier start meant taking advantage of the harder faster conditions before the tracks warmed and became wet and slow. The tracks in machine snow are a bit soft but nice. Beyond the meadow, Meadowview is still decent and even tired old Banff ain’t bad – there is a surprising absence of debris, although there are some icy stretches but these are quite manageable because the tracks remain very well defined (and because soft snow in the skating lane gives you an easy out). Didn’t try Bow as the tracks are not as distinct. Some very minor precip today was solid not liquid, at least until I left at 2 p.m.

  141. Question:
    Has anyone skied up to Boom Lake recently and can comment on the trail and snow conditions? We might try on Friday if it looks promising.
    Thanks

    • We stopped there on the way back from Invermere last Sunday. We had intended to ski up to the lake but the track was really icy so we turned around. We met some snowshoers who had just come down from the lake and they strongly advised against skiing.

      • We went there on March 4 and decided to snowshoe. Met a few skiers who all seemed to be really struggling with the snow conditions. Lots of snow though. On our way back from Panorama on March 6 it was snowing to beat the band around there so might be better if it’s cool enough.

  142. CUTHEAD
    With another centimetre of snow on the Cascade Valley overnight, and another layer of VR45, yesterday was the day for a challenge.
    See it unfold at:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/Cuthead?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCKyyvJqNnrOTrwE&feat=directlink
    Abundant wildlife between Stoney and Cuthead including Wolves, Moose, Lynx, Cougar, Grouse, Woodpeckers, but the highlight was actually seeing a Wolverine bolt across the trail in front of me while I was stopped for a snack.
    By the end of this 50 Km day I was TIRED!

    • Wow, how lucky is that?!

    • SuperChuck, I didn’t think you ever fatigued! Even when you are tired you still took the time to share your adventure. Thanks.

      • Well… I had to tell SOMEONE!
        Thanks for the admiration, but I didn’t get around to making my report until the next day. The 10.5 hour ski took it’s toll.

    • Superb remote wild adventure Chuck and incredible you saw a Wolverine! Did you use your metal edge skis (looks like them in photo) and did you bring/use skins for any portion?

      • Hi Dan,
        Yes, I did use my metal edge skis, which were particularly valuable for coming down that last big hill at the end of the day. They also provided the wider support that facilitated travel further up. I did carry skins, but did not need them at all.

  143. Skied Great Divide at Lake Louise today. Fresh snow, not track set yet. Lovely spring conditions. Track grooming for loppet started today. Snow was a little bit stickey on the main trail (6) but was quite a bit better on the loops that parallel it (8).

  144. PLPP — full of surprises

    We finally got out skiing again!! Sadly, it wasn’t great. We also started from the Visitor Centre, thinking fresh powder over recent grooming would be delightful, but it was a little too warm and sticky. Staying out of the tracks helped a little, but still it was slow and frustrating.

    We headed south on Meadow, following a surprising number of snowshoe tracks, then were really surprised at how soon they seemed to give up and turn back. There were more persistent boot prints, which we followed along Woolley and Amos as far as Elkwood. I skied over some of them to smooth them out a bit. They did not mar the tracks.

    Across the road, similar stories on Lodgepole, etc., with the addition of some dog tracks, and I just barely avoided getting some of that sticky brown pooh wax on my skis. Not cool. I suppose they might have been coyotes? Skeptical……

    We cut the loop short and returned to VIC on last little bit of Meadow, finding the best snow right at the parking lot.

  145. PLPP today-started from the Visitor’s Center in 3 cm fresh snow, 0o, Meadow to Woolley where the sun was clumping the snow and it started to feel like we were skiing in molasses; up Lynx but turned around just before Pocaterra since we had to scrape constantly to keep our “high heels” off. Almost no one on the trails. The scenery was stunning but the skiing a challenge and exhausting. Much colder temperatures needed to justify skiing .

    • Powder snow in warm weather sounds like a job for zero skis, or maybe crowns. What kind of skis/wax were you on?

      see: http://goo.gl/TP87Nt

    • All good points which brings the question why not open PLPP to skate skiing starting in March every year? If not the whole trail system just a portion of it. Classic skiing in spring conditions is exercise in frustration when skate skiing is the best in this time. Also grooming would be much simple and less costly. I assume one pass with piston bully would be enough. With this climate change wreaking havoc on ski trails maybe this should be examined.

  146. Great Divide and Telemark trail: Fresh 4-5cm of snow more at Divide end almost filling tracks. 0 – +1C. 10:00 AM only ones in parking lot. Mostly cloudy. Skintecs worked OK iced up on the gliding surface front and back, as did a pair of crowns. We stopped lots, crossing skis to scrape the iced on snow. First skier seemed to fair better than the skiers behind as they were breaking trail.
    Not sure if anyone with wax faired better as we returned we saw lots of skiers scraping . Once the sun came out, conditions changed for the worse. We ended skiing back along the dog track as the turned over snow from their sleds didn’t pick up onto our skis. Perhaps it was the brown Klister…..

  147. Lake Louise: Skied from the Chateau parking out on Fairview, up MLR and back in reverse and down to the Village on upper to lower Tramline. I used VR40 with good success all day. Air temperature was – 6C starting and about zero at 3:00 pm. Cloudy skies most of the day which will help preserve the good snow for the days ahead. Grooming and trackset on Fairview is getting old. MLR was skier track set in the up tracks but skiers were reluctant to set a track coming down – as was I. Sliding was great today in the up tracks. The corner at Paradise Creek was icy from the sun exposure of Monday but had softened by the time we came down. Groomers were working Tramline so we had new tracks on lower Tramline in very icy snow. Town side of Bow River loop was newly track set but we chose the other side in the 2 cms of skier tracked new snow. Everyone enjoyed another nice day.

  148. Lake Louise – skied Fairview and then Moraine Rd to its high point, then backtracked the same trails, and finished by skiing Tramline down to the Bow River. Fairview was Ok, fair tracks that were occasionally a bit washed out, but some 2cm of fresh snow was nice. MLR was quite good, skier trackset in 3-4cm of fresh snow. By the time we got to Tramline, it was freshly trackset, but the tracks were shallow and glazed/icy, especially lower down. Still comfortably skiable, but noisy. -4C to start; +1C to end (2pm). Overall, a very enjoyable day.

  149. Just a skiff at PLPP visitor centre so we headed south – found 3-5 cm new snow at Boulton and beyond. VR45 plus a little old purple was the magic combo for great grip and good glide. Powder snow over very recent tracksetting. Ascended via Packers, down Pocaterra to Lynx then back up Pocaterra and down Packers (13.5 km). Started snowing a bit as we left. -2C @ start and +1C @ finish. Just hope the temp keeps down. Enjoy!

  150. BREWSTER CREEK to SUNDANCE LODGE
    Poor conditions starting at Healy Creek, but good heading up Brewster Creek on this north facing slope. Then the new snow has been rather glazed as you head down to the Lodge.
    But check it out for yourself:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/110857225306442901854/BrewsterCreekToSundanceLodge?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCPfR5pn-j6i5BA&feat=directlink

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