Trip Reports – Nov 2015

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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. Cascade fire road to Stoney Cabin and back. -14 when we left at 12:30 and -14 when we got back. Slow going out, quicker coming back. Lots of sun at the cabin (wished I had a key). Trail is in great shape.

  2. WBC first ever trackset ski on mountain view west? Followed new grooming from nmoose loop onto a super fun and scenic route past Tom Snow reconecting with mountain road. Some major rocks on downhills butworth it! (sorry about the typos my keyboard has gremlin). This will become a fav route i think once we get more snow) . Thanks groomer guy!

  3. Great conditions in PPLP today. Started from the Elk Pass parking lot today at about 10:30 with the temperature around -12 C. From the Elk Pass trail, we took the side trip to Boulton Creek and then to Fox Creek before returning to the Elk Pass trail. A very pretty route, with much snow, but unfortunately the track has been largely wiped off. We continued along Elk Pass trail , stopped briefly at the Blueberry Hill junction picnic, before reaching the Elk Pass picnic table. We returned quickly via the Hydroline to Patterson and then back to the Elk Pass trail. With the exception of Fox Creek, the trails were in excellent “mid-year” condition.

  4. Another stunning evening on the trails at CNC. The hoar frost that others have mentioned twinkles especially bright at twilight. Warning: CNC is an obstacle course these days with all the snow making. Olympic and Centennial snow-making has made access to Meadowview a challenge for those of us who don’t like climbing up and over those hard mounds and snowmaking on the Banff trail has now closed off the Mine Scar from the Banff loop to the Grey Wolf junction (in addition to the section closer to the Day Lodge).

  5. Cascade Firewood today -12 to start. Great snow all the way to Warden’s cabin. As has been mentioned past the bridge track goes down to single lane with skating. Not as much traffic out past the bridge so conditions are still excellent! Great hoar frost on the bushes and a fast track all the way.

    However before the bridge and especially on the first hill up from the highway the trail is suffering from it’s popularity. Tracks are getting rattly especially on the downhill, where stepping out into middle can be dicey as its not very uniform and smooth. Lots of sitz marks. and add into the mix snowshoers, moose tracks, and harder snow from snowplowing it can be a bit of an adventure.
    Would love to see the groomers rework this as there should be enough snow. If I was a skater I’d be looking for a better track up the middle.

  6. Snow staying cold in PLPP. Minus 14 starting up Whiskey Jack @ 10am. Magnificent crystal formations like I have never seen (snow urchins) on Trywhitt. Hopefully someone will post pictures of them again. Fast tracks due to crystals falling into tracks, especially under trees and occasional snow bombs. Re-waxed at sunny Blueberry Junction and almost missed the Fox turnoff. Favorite snow today was on Moraine. Love this “Skier Bob Special” circuit! Now to find that great video Bob made of himself flying through Fox Creek many years back in great snow to send to my friends.

  7. Great ski from Baker Creek towards Castle Junction. Trail is trackset, in good shape – even under the power line where it has been chewed up to the side by service workers. Thanks to Baker Creek for the track setting!

    We have been waiting for this.
    Despite the fact that the Banff Tracksetter is now covering a second senior office job, he managed to get out yesterday and do quite a bit of tracksetting for us. Thank you.
    The elk have been active along the section to the Cascade bridge, but conditions are excellent beyond that. We met a lot of very happy skiers.

  9. We got to Mt Shark second cars in parking lot @ 9:15 and -14. Skied yellow rec loop taking a side trip 2.3 kms down to the bridge after Watridge Lake junction. Snow quite lovely to snow-plow down and going back up not as bad a grunt as anticipated. Resumed where we left off on yellow loop enjoying that great final hill back out to parking lot from final junction 26 (?) and Biathlon area. Minus 4 on our return. VR 40 and a Start wax for -1 to -3 worked the best in our group. I must have left my Mt Shark map in plastic sleeve on top of my roof (Blue Accord). If anyone wants to return it to me, thank you in advance.

  10. Yippee. Cascade is TRACKSET ALL the WAY now to Stoney Creek.
    29 km return.
    Yesterday was truly a skier’s day in paradise and Cascade Valley was no exception. We set off from the parking lot at 11:00 in sunny skies and -11.
    Exceptional track conditions to the first bridge. Then we saw the groomed single track continue. So we did too; all the way to Stoney Creek! We enjoyed a nice sunny rest at the Warden’s Cabin porch on the return. Big thanks to trail groomers. More trails to enjoy, more fun, more smiles. Check out the smiling face : Movemeber indeed.

  11. Everything that has been said here is also applicable to Mt. Shark. It was stunning there yesterday complete with moose washing cars in the parking lot, fresh trackset, cold snow, blue skies, lots of room for skaters and the classic crowd to coexist. Saw a few dogs as well, all of whom were on leash. Parks came and fired off a bear-banger to haze the moose off, that worked for about 5 minutes before he was back at the bumper buffet.

  12. We must have passed Skier Bob unknowingly somewhere today …

    Started skiing at 10am at Boulton Bridge where the thermometer read -20°C. Thankfully we had stopped at Pocaterra Hut to put on our boots in the warm hut, and the ski up Whiskey Jack also helped in keeping us warm. We arrived at the top of Whiskey Jack in 55 minutes, and as Bob stated, were surprised that there were no people, except for a group of three passing through from Pocaterra. No whiskey jacks either, just a Calgary Flames Christmas ornament that someone had placed in the tree.

    We also has most of Tyrwhitt to ourselves, saw a whopping two skiers, and it was heavenly! We took photos off to the side in the powder by the meadows, we cruised along, enjoyed the sun, and then encountered our first ‘crowds’ at Elk Pass where a group looked ready to head to Elk Lakes Cabin. It was much warmer there, and while we had lunch #2, we decided to also add on Blueberry Hill.

    At the top of Blueberry it kept getting warmer and warmer, and snow even got a little slushy. We were there just as the sun went behind the mountains barely after 2pm. The views were spectacular, and the ski down was quick.

    Elk Pass Trail was fun and quick, Fox was groomed but starting to get beat up, and unfortunately we took a wrong turn so ended with Moraine instead of Boulton Bridge (really wanted to see the post-flood trail and finish with a nicer downhill). Finished at Boulton Bridge feeling like we had put in a great day. Amazing conditions, let alone for November.

    • those are some stunning pictures

    • I agree with Barbara that the top of Blueberry featured the warmest temps of the day. Returned via Elk Pass, Fox and then caught the new Boulton Creek trial back to Boulton PL. The new trail does finish with a downhill that is narrow and a bit twisty (evidence of folks walking down the narrowest, steepest parts), yet a great finish to a fine day.

  13. Took Bob;s advice and had an epic ski up to Skogan Pass including both side loops great snow, awesome grooming and a truly epic day, might have chosen something a little gentler for my first day but my mind has no regard for my body.

    Meet two cool dogs (plus owners) on the trail and little else, can’t do better than that

  14. I have a secret. Sadly, for me, keeping a secret is impossible. We have not skied Allen Bill since pre-flood days and just assumed that it was washed out. Heard from a few fellow skiers that our info was erroneous. Bob (the dog), Cooper (the puppy), and my beloved headed out for what turned out to be a most lovely trip from Allen Bill to Crystal then looping around to Iron Springs. Far less people than I expected on a beautiful weekend. Judging from Friday’s usage at WBC, Allen Bill was really quiet. Trails might not be as pristine as Bragg but as a frequent skier of Sandy, I was more than delighted. Three hours later our tired foursome (I know, I know, you can do it in 20 minutes) made it back to the truck. A 40 minute drive home, soothing hot tub accompanied with a glass of wine, and I was, sadly, ready for bed at 5:30.

  15. Skied the “Blueberry Cookie Loop” at Peter Lougheed today (Cookie Race loop plus Blueberry Hill). Conditions were as good as most years in the mid-season, let alone November! Tyrwhitt was particularly delightful, fast and smooth. Fresh corduroy on most of the trails at the south end of the park. I think I saw Bob on his way up Elk Pass Trail as I was coming down 🙂

    • I concur – PLPP conditions were superb today, I wish it stayed like this all winter. Air temp at Pocaterra at 11:30am -11C, snow -17C(!). Higher elevations seemed to have a bit warmer snow (-6C at mid-Whiskey Jack at ~2 pm).

      I have also checked out Wedge Pond on the way back – again, awesome cold snow, single track and groomed skate ski lane to Evan Thomas bridge.

  16. Magic at PLPP – People – get out and ski!

    Timmy and I started late (not unusual) – arriving at the Elk Pass parking lot around 10:30. There was not a cloud in the sky – and this was the case all day. Simply gorgeous – our Mountains.

    The amount of snow was breathtaking – and the recently groomed trails superb. A quick dash up to Elk Pass, with a brief pause for Timmy to reapply his wax – followed by lunch at the picnic bench on the other side, towards Tyrwhitt. Beautiful, warm sun, not a breath of wind and surprisingly few people skiing by. The final ascent to the Tyrwhitt meadows was as lovely as usual – and rather than continue to Whiskey and around – we chose to retrace our route back. The downhill and uphill to Elk was a breeze – and the remaining ski was fast and amazing.

    An absolutely spectacular first ski of the year – with huge amounts of fluffy snow everywhere – on November 28!!! All I can say is – those who have yet to get out – go to PLPP tomorrow – you will love it!

  17. Elk Pass today, then to the highpoint on Tyrwhitt, returning Patterson and Elk (some of us) and Hydroline for the others. Trail was nicely groomed and track set. Temp at start was -14 but warmed up to +2 at our turnaround point, and then -8 when we finished. The sun and blue skies, perfect snow and tracks, and great company made for a fabulous day. Especially lovely were the small trees along Tyrwhitt that were covered with colonies of crystalline butterflies! We haven’t seen such big flakes of frost in a long time. It was enchanting.

    Most trails snowmobile packed yesterday. All trails were groomed before the last snowfall. Nothing trackset yet.
    The Groomers are doing an amazing job of evening out the base by shovelling a lot of snow from the sides into the low spots.
    Only saw one other couple on the trail… and it was a Saturday!

  19. Redearth creek today
    Relied on parks notes and they were bang on today. Trail had good snow cover and was skier set. At 81/2 about 3 cm of new snow. Went as far as cabin. Descendants at end really fast. Was -19 at beginning and -10 at end. Used vr 30 worked okay.

  20. Skied Moose Loop in West Bragg, it was in excellent shape. The sun was shining and I ran into friends on the trails. Lets hope that the snow stays and we get a few more dumps to keep the trails up.

  21. PLPP: Delicious and smothered in awesome-sauce. Lookout north side is skookum; descending south side there’s a few rough patches on steep sections where the corduroy has ‘holes’ and cat-track shows through. Avoidable, but you’ve got to keep your eyes peeled if you’re moving fast.
    Hard to sum up temps and snow; quite variable depending on time and location. The temperature inversion felt stronger (warmer) as the sun set. Wish we had brought headlamps… we’d probably have skied all night. The waining moon rises a little late.
    We concur with MaSid, Packers is OK to descend, IF you’re familiar with the tricky bits. One of the usual locations is already icy and sporting big beautiful frost crystals.
    Evidence of groomers shovelling onto the trail apparent in a lot of places. Their efforts make all this terrain so delicious. Our compliments to the chef.

    I did a couple of laps around Hostel Loop and the new Hostel Meadow Loop today. I was trying to decide which direction I liked better. Going clockwise, you start with a steady uphill and return via a series of curving descents and short climbs. Going counter-clockwise, you ski over rolling terrain, through a mixture of pine, spruce and aspen forest and finish with a quick descent to the parking lot.
    Today, East Telephone Loop got groomed as well, so you could split the difference and do either half of Hostel Loop. And the new Hostel Meadow Loop adds one more variation to the mix. Nice to have lots of great options!

  23. Ahhhhh, that exhilarating feeling of being let free from you kennel in order to soak in the great outdoors!! But enough about me and my day off work. Bragg Creek with my beloved and Bob (the dog), not to mention Cooper, the puppy, had a marvelous day. Sunshine, perfect temps, lovely snow, and a chance meeting with Wendy (an avid reader of this website, but most importantly, a fan of Bob (the dog), made today’s ski, well, perfect. For all those heading out to WBC, please do not be intimidated by the parking lot. It will be full. Actually, it will be chaos. However, once everyone is dispersed throughout the trails you will believe that someone hung a sign saying (on the trails we chose to ski), Bob (the dog) and his entourage only. Seriously, for all the commotion you may first encounter, once spread out, the place is yours. Gotta love winter and perfect skiing at West Bragg Creek!!

  24. Skogan Pass to Sunburst to the Lookout yesterday. Wonderful snow and conditions made for an exceptional day. My thanks to the groomer that passed me partway up along the trail. I had perfect untouched corduroy the rest of the way up – all to myself.

  25. As per Bob’s recent post, did Bill Milne trail today. Cold in the shade yes, but what a wonderful trail and ski. Lots of sun, blue sky, great snow, views and the track setting is holding up well. Used Rode green (-4 to -10) for kick and Swix CH6 for glide. It was also a great day to take pictures with the hoar frost on the snow and the deciduous trees and shrubs.

  26. Fri nov 27: pocatera, elk pass, hydroline, fox creek, Morraine, wheeler, packers back to pocatera.
    What a day. Fresh grooming on pocaterra today. Good snow. A touch icy/noisy at first. Single lane track set only on hydroline. Fox creek roll/ski packed only, but nice. Morraine track set still useable. Nice and sunny and warm at the bench. Rest of day was frosty. Snow seemed to stay cold all day. Getting closer to wheeler, more debri and thinner in some areas. Not as nice as pocaterra so busted back up to it via packers. One icy patch to look out for if descending packers from pocaterra. Steep grade down to a creek with a tight turn. Ice is on the outside corner. Stick to the insde and should be no issue.

  27. Castle Lookout to Baker Creek: 1pm-4pm, minus 7 with warm sun and brand new track-set!!! Or did Chuck buy Jeanette a new concept in skis that she can break trail and ski-track-set simultaneously? HA! The snow was perfect and got colder heading to Baker Creek end (minus 11). We did the loops at Protection Mountain while sun was still beaming. NO animal tracks on new grooming until on our return to L/O then lots of varied animal tracks! Saw 4 people all afternoon. p.s. Has anyone back country skied into Baker Lake from that parking lot?

  28. Winsport COP – I just got word from Winsport that they don’t expect to open the XC track there for another couple of weeks. Primary focus is making more snow for the downhill runs (no surprise there). But if things stay cool there could be hot laps to be had on the week nights come mid December….

  29. I came across an interesting question from a Fatbiker who posted on a local biking forum wondering about riding conditions. Although he didnt write much my impression was… Frustration? As a ski-loving person AND and avid all-season biker (just not a fatbike), the issue of Fatbiking on groomed trails is escalating to a conflict level fairly quickly.

    Bob – with your contacts at the various parks and groomed areas, is it possible to create a guideline or rules of etiquette for this growing user group?

    Btw- the following was my response to the posting (hopefully I got it right, but I not averse to issuing a correction):

    Please don’t Fatbike Moraine Lake road. It is religiously groomed for the high volume of classic and skate skiiers. Classic tracks are on the outer two edges with 2-way skate in the middle. There are already big issues elsewhere growing due to bikers riding over the tracksetting and leaving ruts and postholes.

    Parks is having a really tough time understanding fatbikes. Right now their path is towards banning them. Therefore the onus is on riders to choose their riding areas carefully and with consideration for other users. That includes conflict avoidance. Give time for this to evolve in your favor and help educate ALL trail users about etiquette.

    • West Bragg Creek has three distinct, trail systems within it’s network.
      There are groomed XC ski trails for skiers, snowshoe trails for snowshoers, walkers and some FatBiking, and an all-seasons trail network that is being packed and groomed for FatBiking and is also used for hiking and snowshoeing. There are also two designated “shared” trails… East Telephone is groomed for XC skiing on the east side and used for fat-biking, hiking, snowshoeing on the west half of the tread. Mountain Road is groomed for XC skiing & skate skiing on the north 2/3 of the tread and used for walking, fat biking, snowshoeing and horseback riding on the south 1/3 of the tread.
      If you want to avoid user conflict, you really have to develop your trail network with different users in mind.

    • I was able to find the guidelines/ rules here:

      here is a copy:

      Fat Biking

      Fat biking at the Canmore Nordic Centre is only permitted on designated single track trails marked with fat bike signage.

      EKG East*
      Blue Coal Chutes
      Long Road to Ruin
      Canmore Trail (double track – part of snowshoe loop and winter disc golf course)
      Georgetown Trail (double track)
      * To protect wildlife and reduce wildlife encounters, all trails above EKG East (ie. Killer Bees, Ziggy’s, Nectar Noodle, The Backdoor, The Albertan) are closed from December 1 – June 15.

      Fat Biking is NOT permitted currently on any other groomed trail in Kananaskis Country.
      Snow Biking

      Fat Biking Rules

      Bikes yield to all other users.
      Tires must be 3.7 inches or wider. Tire pressure should be 10 psi or lower.
      Do not ride if you are leaving a rut 2 cm or greater or if you are having difficulty riding in a straight line.
      Be an ambassador for the sport. Be polite, educate other riders, discourage bad behaviour and follow the rules.

    • Great pics Steve! My kids and I encountered the same amazing conditions last night. Good to see that the track setting hasn’t been completely mashed by walkers and fat bikers.

  30. Tried out Shaganappi golf course. Conditions are very marginal. Rock skis are a must. There is enough snow to make a go of it, but there are lots of very thin and bare spots. Hopefully Calgary gets 10-15cm soon. Fun adventure though.

  31. Oh so fine a day at Ribbon, blue skies (or is that skis) and finally were able to meet the famous Jeff the trail groomer ( well one of the many Jeffs that groom trails that is). He came up to the top of Sunburst just after we arrived, we had a nice long chat before he headed off to do High Line and Skogan He packed all the trails on the Nakiska side so we had a glorious zip back to the Stoney trail head. A bit on the cool side but that SKY we are truly fortunate!

    This photo, of where we went today, should give you all the hints you need!

    • Hey Chuck, that’s under the power line near Protection Mtn campground or towards Castle Jct right?

      • Well done Heather (it is towards Castle Junction)… glad someone is paying attention!
        We skied from Castle Junction to Castle Lookout and back today. It is a roly poly section of the loppet, with a few natural hazards and a bit too much time in the shade of trees at this time of year, especially in cold temperatures.

  33. Skate skied the bill Milne trail to wedge pond and back with my dog today. It was sooooo beautiful to be in the sun and on such wonderful snow. As I was on my way back I decided if I died tomorrow I’d be ok with it because today’s ski was that great.
    I had the pleasure of meeting Cheryl and Tessa near the parking lot. I recognized Tessa in her booties first.
    Can’t wait to get out again.
    Praying for no chinooks.

  34. Bruin and Silvertip tracked.

    Skiing at the Canmore Nordic Center today I noticed that Bruin and Silvertip trails had a classic track set, I believe for the first time this season. Looked like it was fresh this morning.

    Banff, Bow and Meadowview Trails are still in great shape for classic or skate. Lots of active snowmaking on the Olympic Loops above the stadium make these less good choices at present.

  35. PLPP – Wanting an easy ski for our first outing of the year, we opted for some of the “middle” trails at PLPP. From Elkwood parking, we skied Wheeler, the new Boulton Ck, Moraine, and Amos. All were in good shape with skier tracks in 3-4 cm of snow on top of the old trackset. Boulton, with several hills in the new trail, was in a bit rougher shape, but still manageable. Pine tree debris was very minor. We started at -14C (10:45am), and ended close to 3 hrs later at -10C. V40 worked fine. On the drive home, it was -1C by Nakiska and 0C at Morley flats. Hope it stays cool for the weekend.

  36. WBC covered in awesome sauce!
    Sunrise at Allen Bill was ethereal. -14 made waxing green/easy. The descent towards north parking lot was truly scintillating. Even ‘multi-glise riders’ couldn’t mar the joy (hey fat bikers, those grooves AREN’T for you!) Starting work at noon seems like “cheating the man”. Giving thanks for being Canadian!!!

    PS> describe the nice MEC mitt I found near the south end & I’ll try to get it to you

  37. My beloved husband and Bob (the dog) headed out yesterday to Sandy McNabb. “But you should have been there too” you are thinking to yourselves right now. This is true, but I wasn’t. His report back to me was that that while a few more trails have been packed, conditions are still marginal. Until further notice, and with all the wonderful reports on WBC, Ribbon Creek, PLPP etc., etc., the recommendation would be to drive the extra kms and enjoy what Mother Nature has provided in these areas.

    Just back in time to give you another report from today… and there is still time for YOU to get out and enjoy it too!
    With the snow on the trees the lighting is awesome… no need for headlamps!
    This picture says it all:
    Thanks for the heads up from TSJ/ Jeff on the Groomer’s Report tab. Make sure you have seen his video of grooming Skogan Pass, submitted on November 21. Next best thing to your own full moon ski!


    WBC was in phenomenal shape this evening. I arrived around 5 p.m. and threw on some green wax with the dropping temperatures. The snow was crisp and crunchy and I was able to ski straight up some of the steeper hills. The moon started peaking up around 6 p.m. and offered some natural light while illuminating all the snowy trees. I still used the headlamp as the moon was low in the sky. I skied West Crystal, Logger Loop and all the way to the Elbow River on Elbow and then back and finished off on Sundog to East Crystal. Night skiing at West Bragg is stunning and avoid all the nasty weekend crowds. Hopefully yall can get out there and enjoy the snow before the next evil Chinook wreaks havoc upon the trails!!

    Check out me route on Strava:

  40. Skied the new Ribbon Creek trail today counter-clockwise from the parking lot to Kovach via Hidden and Coal Mine. It had just been trackset and the trail was in fine shape. Snow cover was good so the fairly steep switchbacks down to the old creek-side trail weren’t too scary.

    • Hi Doug,
      Do you know where to find a map with the km for the the Ribbon Creek Trails?

      I’ve updated the Ribbon creek Trail Distances and Maps on the main menu under “Maps”. -Bob

    As Alaric reported earlier, this track has a well packed solid base, and now it is nicely covered with more cold fresh snow!
    The tree clearing under the power lines, reported by Hugh, is only on the short section from Baker Creek to Protection Campground, and nicely avoids the ski track. The tracksetting does continue all the way to Castle Junction.
    We did not see anyone else on the trail today, but you can see here what you missed:

  42. West Bragg- brilliant sky’s and crisp air this afternoon. I skied a convoluted route taking in all of the Crystal lines- W, E and Mid as well as the various connectors, Mountain View, Mountain Road, Moose Connector, Loggers, Sundog Loop and part way up and back Iron Springs, and oh yeah- some of Elbow too via a short bit of all season trail. Everything in great shape and mostly track set, but contrary to the live grooming report- no fresh grooming or track setting on Mtn View or Road, as well as Moose connector, which makes me think that Moose loop was also not track set as per the live grooming page. It really didn’t matter as those trails had decent skier tracks through 5 cm of light snow. I think that’s likely to change, as I would suspect that those trails are next on the to-do list.

    • Hi Steve!
      I filed a trip report, but foolishly put two links in it, so it might take all night to appear…..
      Yes, you are correct about Moose loop. We thoroughly enjoyed skiing there today in probably more than 5cm of delicious fresh snow with skier tracks. Might have passed you somewhere along the way?

  43. West Bragg Creek

    I think WBC might be a victim of its own success, and I don’t know if I will go back on a weekend. Today, though, it was a delightful winter wonderland, not too crowded, brilliant blue skies, and superb snow!
    We started from the parking lot at 12:30 pm, with temperature reading -10C, and headed up Mountain Road to the Moose Loop. On both trails, there were skier (etc) tracks in dry, fresh powder over older grooming. Normally I think of Moose Loop as having some challenges, but today all was sweetness and light – pretty much ideal conditions 🙂
    Moose Connector was the same, then at Crystal Line we met recent grooming. It was fast and fun on all the trails!

    A few photos:

    And I know this is way too late, but here are a few photos showing conditions last Saturday on the Goat Creek – Spray River trail:

  44. Night skied CNC yesterday. 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The only thing to be aware of is that a part of the lit trail was covered with snow guns, so I had to detour onto unlit trails. Fortunately, the full moonlight provided just enough light to manage without a headlamp. Perfect grip with VR30. Temperature was -15 to -17 ish. Biathlon parking lot was basically full when I arrived and I wasn’t even close to the last car to leave.

  45. PETER LOUGHEED PP – five Seniors skied from Pocaterra Hut in -10C temperatures. A very rewarding day. We skied Pocaterra and Come Along to Lynx then over to Amos and Moraine to Elk Pass trail and over the big hill to Fox Creek junction. We returned on Fox Creek (not great) and new Boulton (1st time on Boulton and a very nice trail). We then retraced our tracks back to Pocaterra Hut. We skied mostly on November 18th track set covered with 2 cm new snow. Once the track was set we flew along in the buttery snow. The park was strangely quite as we saw no other skiers. It will be great all this week now with no snow in the forecast.

  46. Snuck out of work early for a quick ski at West Bragg Creek. Did a quick jaunt around Sundog which had been packed but not trackset. Lots of snow and -10 at 3pm
    I have photos but I’m not sure how to post them. Well, you can see 1 here:

    • The best way to post photos is to download them to a photo-sharing site such as Picasa, then provide the link. For an example, see Chuck’s report from today.

  47. Skied on the Cascade Fire Road today. Nice, new dry snow. Skier track in the old machine track of some days ago. This terminates at the bridge, and is skier set only beyond. Excellent track, though, and a lovely day to be out.
    Don’t even think about skating……

  48. Delightful 3 hr.+ ski this afternoon starting at Sunshine Road lowest parking lot. Met a sweet family from Denmark who were heading for Healy Creek with their two young children; the not yet 3 year old enjoying the pulk. Her older brother was skiing at an impressive clip and his command of English impressive. A little new snow in -7 temp since Chuck’s report of a few days ago; some thin cover beneath trees but love skiing this trail along the creek and through the woods. The Cave and Basin end would benefit from a grooming as well as better signage to discourage walkers utilizing the skier tracked lane. Perhaps it was my Parks Canada neck warmer that I wear folded as a head band, but eventually I did convince a couple of guys to forge their own walking tracks to the Sundance Canyon. Very impressed with Alf’s photo of multi-use trails in Bragg Creek. Maybe Alf would like to take a group of us on a guided tour of the best x-c skiing in Bragg Creek. I have not skied there for many years.

    We were excited to read on the Parks Canada Trail Report that this area was rated “Good” with Single Trackset and a Skating Lane.
    Unfortunately, the 5 to 10 cms of snow Banff got last night has basically obliterated that, so we are looking forward to the return of the volunteer groomers!
    However, you can see here that we still enjoyed exploring the area that is so easy to access:
    The 400 lane is skier set. The 500 lane is packed for Skating, and the 600 lane is packed with a Single Trackset.
    If you don’t want to drive, you can get there on the Roam Bus.
    Good Luck seeing the Coyote!

    Telephone Loop is different from most of the West Bragg Creek in several ways. It is the only trail in the network that Alberta Parks is responsible for grooming (infrequently, apparently), while the other trails are regularly groomed by volunteers. The east half of the trail is designated as both an XC ski trail and as an “All-Season” year-round trail for hiking, biking and snowshoeing. This means that East Telephone trail is shared by all users (except equestrians), and their dogs, in the winter. The west half of Telephone Loop is a winter-only ski-only trail. The total distance around the whole loop is 15.5 km.
    Despite a couple of warm, windy Chinook days, there was good snow coverage around the whole loop. Despite the lack of any grooming by Alberta Parks, so far this season, there was a good base and no rocks or branches were encountered on our tour. On the west side, just south of “Reconnect” junction, there is a little stream with open water to step around. Just before joining Moose Loop, a tree has fallen across the trail. I expect the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association volunteers will remove that one shortly.
    More snow in the forecast… so expect to see fresh grooming of these trails soon!

  51. Old time skiing Baker Creek trails to Protection Mtn return Sunday. Good grooming. The campground has two dble tracked loops in the sun. single track under the hydro lines. Hydro boys have been in brushing under the power lines so it’s wierd skiing on a raised tracked trail with the snow on either side chewed up and bits of shredded bush . They have rebuilt the ski tracks where the machinery crossed the path. After the campground, tracked trail crosses the 1A and follows the RR tracks. Not sure if it goes all the way to Castle junction.

  52. Skied Spray River West Trail out and back from Banff yesterday, Sunday the 22nd. There were a few pine needles and lots of walkers in the first few kilometres, but overall the tracks were holding up surprisingly well. At about the 7km mark, the tracks got noticeably softer. More skiers are needed to pack it down! After about 9 km, the decent down to the bridge is not worth it. It’s too much of a mess of deep snow to descend and climb back up. Hopefully they groom it all the way to Canmore soon 🙂 I had universal 0 to -20 wax on from my last ski and decided to give it a go. It didn’t have quite enough grip on the uphills, but it was good enough that I didn’t want to spend time on re-waxing. Probably, red would have been a better choice for the first 5km and purple for the 5-9km stretch.

  53. Took another look at Fairview today and was delighted to find lovely, skier-set tracks; thanks to the folks who did the work. Today Blue Extra was perfect on the whole route with the air temp holding at -6C throughout. Cruising down Moraine under a cloudless, blue sky and hitting that view where the whole northeast of the valley opens up…magic…felt like I could reach out and touch Mt Hector…took my breath away.

    Looking at the weather forecast, I figured I could avoid Chinook effects like warm temps, wind and needles by heading down to the Kananaskis Lakes trails in Peter Lougheed Park. Conditions were fantastic! Temperature was -4C when we started from Elkwood Parking Lot and remained below -1C all day. Snow was cold and fast. It was brilliantly sunny and there was virtually no wind! A thin layer of V45 worked perfectly.
    The track setting was perfect on Amos, Lynx and Wooley trails. Pocaterra had been roller packed/groomed and had pretty good skier-set tracks in about 10cm of fresh snow. The top end of Packers appeared to be roughly snow-cat packed, but that was buried under about 20cm of recent snow. I don’t mind trail breaking, so we headed down Packers. The snow-cat tracks ended at the first open water holes, so it we had true backcountry conditions after that… complete with open open water holes, downed trees and deep, soft snow. That was probably my slowest descent of Packers, ever!
    All was forgotten on the magical ski back along Wheeler. Fantastic track setting, perfect snow conditions, bright sunshine and great views. WOW!

  55. We had a lovely, warm day at West Bragg with the kids and dog. We did a short loop along (lower) West Crystal to Moose Connector and back along Mountain Rd. The snow temp was all over the place in the trees; some glazed tracks, some cool, grippy patches, and some slicker warm snow, there were also quite a few needles scattered about from the Chinook. The Mountain Rd was much more even and surprisingly okay, in spite of all the use it has obviously seen.

    I’m feeling so content after my first ski of the season, especially since I missed out on most of last season. It was uplifting to be out in the sun and snow, have our happy dog rip around and get tired in this awesome off-leash area, to watch my 4 year old learn to ski, to have my 15 mo old discover patience (?!) and actually (maybe) enjoy her ride in the Chariot, and to see so many cheery people out engaged in the world, be it skiing, walking, snowshoeing, with friends, dogs, or solo.

    Thanks so much GBCTA for all the work you do out there, it’s amazing! Can’t wait to get back out there when the cool temps and fresh grooming have worked their magic.

  56. Excellent ski today at Ribbon Creek. We did Kovach, Aspen and Terrace about 12.5 km all done. With the warm temps I almost gave in to the waxless skis but decided to chance it with violet wax and it was perfect. A bit of debris on the trail due to Chinook but not too bad. Amazing snow and fully trackset for November! Amazeballs! Check out Strava link for route and some photos.

  57. Debbie Gauthier-Scott

    A group of 15 Norseman ski club skiers went to Ribbon creek today. Waxless skis outperformed wax skis, waxing was a challenge with the warm temperature. Lower trails were covered in pine needles. The sun was out and we had a great ski day.

  58. Mt. Shark/Watridge Lake Trail: Very quiet today again as Shannon said yesterday, with great tracks that haven’t been damaged by the high winds, nor the snow-shoers yesterday (thanks guys for no trashing the tracks!)

    And thanks too to the two separate husky dog owners who had their dogs on leash and under control!

    To the owners of the two yappy little terriers, one of which still managed to bite me even though on leash(!), I’m sure you will be happy to hear that it didn’t break skin (and luckily I’ve had a tetanus shot recently anyways), but might I respectfully ask that you keep the two little terrors on a shorter leash in future so that you can better control them, before a more serious incident occurs! Thanking you in advance,

  59. Well the car thermometer read +7 so we were skeptical. Thought we would not venture too far and ski around the Terrace/Kovack trails. Red wax was fine; however, looks like there was a wind storm last night as many of the trails are covered in needles, cones, and branches. Made for an interesting combination as my sticky wax on the bottom of the skis are coated with all the trail debris – looks like scraping this off will be my after-dinner chore. Add in the human footprints in/around the ski tracks and I would recommend waiting for the next snowfall to ski the village trails. Some melt spots especially in the sun so this could turn to ice as well. No complaints though, always good to be out in the sun and the fresh air!

  60. Well, we bravely attempted Sandy McNabb yesterday. I say bravely as I had thoughts of updating my Will as we attempted some of the downhill. The elation of seeing some of the trails packed last week was quickly replaced by a few crocodile tears as we realized that no other attempt at grooming has taken place. Debris on the trail makes most of them dangerous. In fairness, the warm day also contributed to much sticking. We will bypass Sandy and head to Bragg Creek today (due to the dogs, otherwise I would be headed to PLPP for sure). Hopefully, the forecast of snow for both Monday and Tuesday will improve the conditions as Sandy but my recommendation (and the bruises to prove it) would be to stick to hiking (not on the skier tracks, of course) just to be safe.

    • Thank you Sheila for checking it out for the rest of us! This chinook is not helping 🙁
      btw did you see the photos I posted after your comment on the nov. 9th post “More snow on the way”?

      • Hi Diana: I am surprised you even saw my first report as I posted it to the wrong area of this website. I do not get along very well with technology. Thankfully, I have students at school that regularly sort out my mistakes, explain very patiently what buttons to press, and, of course, put music in my phone on a regular basis. Naturally, these are the students that pass. I will go back and take a second look at your pics. Went to Bragg Creek today. It was a winter wonderland compared to Sandy. Lots of skiers, bikers, hikers, and walkers all coming together in perfect harmony (well, as perfect as 4 different sports in one area can) on a beautiful day. Snow is still pretty good also. Cool weather for next few days along with snow Monday and Tuesday and Friday off in lieu of Parent/Teacher and I would say this is lining up to to be a perfect week!

        • Sheila, this is in just the right place! Did I miss something? Or did Bob move it here?

          • I actually posted my first trip report to Bob’s (the human) post called “The Aftermath”. Now that I have everything sorted out (I seemed to have confused “Trail Reports” with “Trip Reports” even though English is my first language. That will not happen again. My husband will probably be headed out to Sandy either today or tomorrow. The falling snow was my first clue. My second clue was seeing him with his neck warmer on his head and skies in his hand peering out the window at 6:00 a.m.

  61. First ski of the season at CNC on Friday afternoon. I thought the CNC would be packed with others playing hooky but not so.
    Classic skied the Banff loop to the end with the best conditions and coverage I’ve seen at CNC in years. If it wasn’t for the blister on my heal from my new boots, I’d have done another loop. Aside from the excellent conditions, I love seeing the snow piled up on the tree branches.
    Can’t wait to go again.

  62. Goat Creek – Spray River

    Even at my age, I can still have dreams come true. Would you believe I had never skied this trail before?? Dreamed of it for decades……
    So finally today, got hubby to drop me and the kids off at the Goat Creek trailhead, then he drove around and parked at Bow Falls, skiing up the Spray to meet us. What a fantastic day to first ski this trail!! The first few km were busy with snowshoers and their dogs. Free-range dogs, mostly no problem, but there was one who got tangled up in my skis, twice! Good grief.
    Anyway, traffic thinned out and it was a pleasure to ski in such lovely conditions, and surprisingly little wind given how wild it was elsewhere. It was a lousy day to be on the highway!
    Helen, might we have just missed you? We started skiing at about 1:15 pm.

  63. Moraine Lk road
    Conditions were great and not as cold as I was expecting. At the end of the groomed trail I started breaking trail down to the lake. Soon I came across a lot of animal tracks. Shortly I found the source: a mother moose and yearling. It looked like they had taken up residence. I approached slowly and they trotted down the road a ways. We repeated this ‘dance’ a number of times but they stuck to the road. I decided to let them have their peace and turned back.
    Let’s hope there is no rain event this season. The base is looking great.

  64. Great skiing on the Cascade fire road today from Lake Minnewanka. Definitely “soft groomed” with fresh snow over a packed surface. Would not be good for skate skiing. I appreciated my wider light touring skis over skinny skis. Snow was fabulous and it was a winter wonderland. Very busy though and well enjoyed today.

  65. A marvelous day in PLPP today. Skied the big loop from Pocaterra over Elk Pass in a CCW direction. Good trackset except for Fox Creek, Tyrwhitt and Upper Pocaterra which had skier set tracks. -9 at Pocaterra at 11 am and stayed around that temperature until the descent down Pocaterra; -4 at about 3 pm at Pocaterra. Sunny all day and mostly calm other than occasional gusts in open areas at the south end. All in all, probably the best November skiing I’ve had in 30+ years of skiing at PLPP.

  66. 2/3 of the Maaritime reunion crew skate skied the entire length of the Bill Milne trail and crossed the highway and skied to the end of the trail .Amazing day with the first grooming of the year.TRACKS Moose tracks Elk tracks deer tracks wolf tracks dog tracks and fat bike tracks .We all don’t mind sharing the trails as it’s a little tough to teach the moose to stay out of the set tracks!Great to see so many young kids out loving the XC ski trails on this fantastic day.
    As always A huge thanks to the groomers for giving us this incredible early season paradise!!!

  67. Given the ‘snowshoe’ recommendation on the Banff trail report for Fairview and Upper Telemark, I thought there might have seen some snowshoe traffic since this week’s big snowfall so I wouldn’t have to break trail. Started up Fairview on skier set tracks that abruptly stopped after 25 m. I also bailed and walked over to pick up Peyto behind the horse stables. Broke trail through over a foot of snow to Upper Telemark junction, then fought my way down to the 1A. Was relieved to see that Lower Telemark had been groomed so skied that and back on the 1A, then caught fresh tracking on Tramline back to the Lake Louise parking lot. Air temp rose from -7C at 1:30 pm to -2C at 3:30 pm. Extra blue (-7C) was a tad light, but worked well given the variety of conditions encountered!

  68. Decided to check out the new Ribbon Creek today (I’ve missed it a lot since the floods). Started up Hidden to Coal Mine to the new trail. I can concur – the new section of Ribbon is no longer a trail I would ever recommend to beginners. I had a blast flying down the steeper corkscrew turns in the great conditions – I love a bit of challenging downhill, but that would be way trickier in less than ideal conditions (like in icy, I’d say it’s wise to walk down). The wind was up, so lots of snow bombs falling and needles on the Link trail, but nothing major. Walkers and snow shoers have been on the tracks a bit along Kovach, more as you approach the parking lot but still in good shape for the most part. Great to be out for the first time – welcome back to ski season everyone!

  69. Nov 21 – West Bragg Creek Telephone Trail
    6 of us set a track around the Telephone Trail loop. The only hazards are a tree across the trail just West of the junction with Long Distance, and one small creek crossing in the marsh on the West side that was easily bypassed.

  70. Cindy, Alan and gh

    Cascade to Stoney creek
    Started out at 8:45 this morning, trail fully track set to bridge -8 at start snow frosty used vr30 worked well to just after bridge. Thank you to the skier that broke trail yesterday from bridge to cabin trail soft an spongy so still lots of work only one person in front of us and only saw one coming in after of us. Ski out better due to track settling and hardening a bit. Wax worked well all the way. More skiers from just before bridge out.

    Great day

    Today was a good day to avoid the crowds and check out this long awaited new bridge at the base of the Sunshine road. We started from the Cave & Basin to check out the full route.
    As one can see in the pictures, the location of the old bridge could not be used due to the flood danger, so a new access trail had to be built around the rock crag at the old Healy Creek parking lot. By the way, I understand that when the new signage goes up, it will be called Brewster Creek to avoid confusion.

  72. Beautiful Ski at Shark today. Freshly groomed trail to Watridge Lake and beyond to the bridge. Only a few cars in the lot. Some of the loops have not been track set since the big dump this week.
    Be cautious when nearing the bridge at the end on the trail. There is a cut log imbedded into the track set. It was frozen in place and we could not remove it.

  73. Had a great ski at CNC today. The Banff Trail and Bow are track-set for classic and for skating. Conditions were great, although a bit crowded. 0C air temp and the waxless skiis worked great.

  74. Had a great ski to Blueberry Junction. Started at noon, blue sky and sun, no wind. -3C and VR40 worked perfectly. Skiing aling those glittering snow pillows makes that my favourite stretch in all of PLPP. Now relaxing in front of fire at PLPP Info Centre.

  75. Four of us decided to hit Goat Creek early this morning; splitting our routes with Brenda and I starting at Banff West Spray end (3rd car in parking lot @ 9am). Saw one skier all the way to the new big bridge at halfway mark when we ran into our car key swapping friends where the stupendous grooming and tracks end. Saw very few people indeed until we got to the last bridge over Goat Creek and on last section of trail we saw more snowshoers and dogs than skiers. It was a fabulous day to be out with little to no wind and stunning views. Forgot to check temp at beg and end.

  76. Great conditions at WBC. 0c starting out, parking lot still had a few spots at 10 am, upon returning at 11, lined up down the road. You wouldn’t have known it though on the trails. Skied Crystal Line, Loggers, Sundog loop. Tracks holding up nicely, so e fresh snow on top of recent grooming. Well done volunteers! A huge thank you. Best quick loop at WBC since 2013.

    • +1 Skied Iron Springs. More than enough snow already everywhere there. Two fallen trees across the trail as the south end (hope someone will bring a chainsaw when heading there soon;)))

      Gliding wax Swix LF7 -2..-8C was the right choice and the logic for it was simple: the overnight temperature fell perfectly into the wax range, so was the expected snow temperature forenoon, regardless that the air was above 0.

    • West Bragg Saturday afternoon- Easy waxing with VR45. Crystal Lines east, west and Sundog featured the best skiing, with mostly well defined tracks.
      Elbow was fine with a good skier track in 5 cm recent snow over a nice rolled base. A mixed bag on Iron Springs- mostly pretty good skier tracked conditions over sno-mo packing, but the south end loop was not so great in places where walkers had completely trashed the skier set track in the deeper snow there. The north loop was much better, but then more walkers were encountered in the central portion of Iron Springs as well, happily plodding down both lanes of ski track. Thought about giving them a lecture, but it was too nice an afternoon to bother.

      • Steve’s report accurately records what we found on the same middle WBC trails. We also skied the Hostel Loop CCW – it was very tracked by walkers and bikers up to Telephone Loop junction and entirely tracked by a dog sledder who unsuccessfully tried to stay off the track set. The base is still soft here and so tracks were worn and roughed up. Spectacular day!

      • We saw a young lady out for a run… blissfully destroying the set track.
        I do think the signage at WBC could be a bit more blunt about how inconsiderate this sort of behavior is.
        But thank you BCTA for a great job….(your Facebook page needs a DONATE NOW button).

        • Actually, the only thing I think might help keep the hikers/runners/walkers off the ski trails would be to paint bright orange arrows on the snow pointing them to the trails that are meant for hikers. Seriously, if they are herded to the correct trails, well, maybe even that wouldn’t help. 🙁


  77. Epic opening conditions in Golden with the 60cm snowfall last week.
    Both our nordic trail systems are excellently groomed: the 6k of ez trails at the Golden golf club and over 25 km at Dawn Mt (next to Kicking Horse Mt. Resort). This is a midwinter snowpack folks! Expect all trails to be open and groomed for next weekend, when the Kicking Horse Resort opens too.
    If this is el Nino, bring it on!

  78. November 20th Spray River Loop. Excellent conditions from Banff Springs to the bridge. Unfortunately, it was not groomed from the bridge to the golf course. Happy to be able to ski in November anyway.

    I thought I would check out the new Ribbon Creek hiking/snowshoeing trail that roughly follows the original valley route of the pre-flood Ribbon Creek Trail.
    In contrast to the exciting, hilly, corkscrew new Ribbon Creek XC Ski trail, the valley trail is a gentle, intimate wander along Ribbon Creek. The six bridges are too narrow to allow the trail to be groomed for XC skiing, but they are plenty wide enough for snowshoeing, hiking, FAT-biking and ungroomed XC ski touring. If the new XC ski trail intimidates you, there is always the option to ski along the valley trail. I thought it was a lovely tour!
    This trail merges with the Ribbon Creek XC trial for 600m, you skier can expect to see snowshoers, hikers and FAT-bikers sharing that section of the “old” Ribbon Creek trail, before they carry on up the valley.

  80. West Bragg: fresh snow last night overlaying groomed trails. Deep powder snow (for this time of year) but only near the parking lot (and on Sundog) will you find good-ish tracks. For instance, tracks on Moose Loop are pretty terrible; but the snow is unbeleivable for this time of year and I had a great ski. Crystal Line and Undog are your best bet. More snow on Teusday though….

    • Sorry that should say “Sundog” not “Undog” 🙂

      • BUT full of dog tracks. So full of dog tracks. Couldn’t people keep there dogs away!
        I used purple wax; it was good most of the time but a bit sticky in spots. Nice to ski on GOOD snow for the first time in since winter 13/14! But you might want to use light touring skis instead of racing skis till it is groomed again.

        • I skied Moose loop. No sign of any recent maintenance after the fresh snow. So many dog tracks and foot prints. Fat bikes are taking over Mt. Road too.

          • Just returned from WBC – night skiing with a headlamp, pretty magical (but somewhat spooky) experience. Skied Mnt Road, Moose loop, East and West Crystal, and Sundog. The best snow I remember in WBC for years, so I’m not complaining too much about the Moose Loop skier set tracks rather destroyed by dogs – they seemed to have had fun too; East Crystal and Sundog still have descent tracks. Whatever I could (or rather could not ) see in the darkness, fat bikers had been respectful to the tracks. As I was leaving at 8 pm, some hardcore bikers were still arriving to the parking lot :o)

    Thanks Scott for your informative report. You met Jeannette on her return, but I decided to go on to the Stoney Creek Warden Cabin. Quite a bit of snow, but now there is a track:
    Not busy out there, yet!

  82. A beautiful day at Ribbon Creek, skied up hidden and coal mine to the new Ribbon Creek trail, a slightly overly exhilarating downhill confirmed that this is not a trail for beginners, and likely should be run the opposite direction. Its holding up well, enough snow to brake safely, and no ice except for a small flow near the top. The new benches on a spur trail shortly after it leaves coal mine are gorgeous.

    Skiing along the old Ribbon Creek brought back memories, people have already been out walking in the tracks (on both sides no less), its still great to see the creek flow and the views of the peaks.

    I continued on across link (they curved the railings on the entrance to the new bridge!) to kovach and terrace which were in fantastic shape, no rocks, and not overly plowed out, nice fast snow too, I could just hang out in the tracks and coast my way down the turns while soaking in the views and sun.

    I started out on blue extra, but switched to green midway as I was getting a bit of icing.

    Only issue I had was on the terrace decent. I am pretty sure dogs are supposed to be kept on leashes when on the ski trails, especially if they have a predilection for running directly into the path of downhill skiers while barking up a storm. Probably one of those problems that will sort itself out soon enough.

  83. Checked out CNC today on classic skis. Superb conditions and no sign of the bears (perhaps they are finding a den). Unreal conditions for this time of year! Enjoy!

  84. Fri nov 20: coal mine/skogan
    Good day for building couches and hanging out in the sun. Coal mine is getting a bit of wear but still soft and travels well up and down. Added an unintentional new divet myself. )-: Fresh corduroy on skogan but not track set. A bit thinner over that way compared to the southern half of ribbon creek trails. One ice flow encountered but not in a difficult spot to manage. Didn’t go all the way up so nothing to report on the steeper upper half. Windy in the area, especially up high. Plumes on most of the peaks. For the backcountry enthusiasts, there is a skin track above coal mine for some turns on the grassy slope below Olympic summit. Neglected to measure snow depth but it looked decent. No grass poking through. I did measure just less than two feet off trail at the high viewpoint at south end of ribbon trails yesterday. It was gusting hard at the top of coal mine today.

  85. Cascade – what a gorgeous day, blue skis and no wind. Better snow than I saw all of last season. Chilly at -15 when I started (only one other car in the parking lot when I arrived).

    Lots of fresh powder – fortunately the two skiers ahead of me packed down the existing out-bound track, although it was still relatively soft and powdery. Felt pretty slow especially on the rolling terrain, had to stride even on downhills. (I only have one pair of skis, with fish scales… no doubt a correctly waxed pair could have been lightning today).

    No hazards all the way through to the new bridge. Snowmobile has done a loop in the camp ground on the other side, but beyond that only the intrepid skiers ahead of me had broken any real trail. Was grateful I had put the gators on, powder at mid-shin in many places, even following the freshly broken trail.

    Turned back after a few extra km, with a quick lunch by the river. Tracks were faster on the return with more skiers making them a bit more solid, plus some solid sun on the snow.

    -5 at 1pm and 18 more cars in the parking lot (plus two elk). If temperatures hold below freezing this will be a slick place to ski this weekend.

  86. West Bragg Creek: – we were greeted in the parking lot by David who told us he had just track set the Hostel Loop. It was minus 14 C with some wind so we opted for Middle Crystal Line, West Crystal Line, Loggers Loop and back the way we came for lunch at the car. All tracks were groomed and track set. We skied East Crystal Line after lunch in minus 2 C on very good grooming. We never got to the Hostel Loop because we realized the keys were locked in the car and there was a pressing problem to solve. Marta and her friend were very kind and drove us to Calgary where we picked up a second car and key and returned to West Bragg Creek. The day ended well and we met two really nice people.
    Bragg Creek is great at this time!

    Don has done his MAGIC… both are TRACKSET:
    I had understood he was going to trackset the Spray, but he must have thought better of it. We will see how long it takes before the hikers arrive. Let’s get skiers out in force!

  88. Skied Spray West to 2nd bridge on trail. Double trackset! No wind -great!
    Recent skidoo packing on Spray East. No track yet.
    Looks like Cascade is set to new bridge also.

    A question – does anyone know what’s actually trackset in Lake Louise? The Parks report is not dated and vague.
    Thanks for any beta!,

  89. Arrived first car in Elk Pass at 9:45 and the sight of the groomers made our hearts leap for joy. We went up on the packed down trail the conventional way and then at Blueberry Junction decided to break trail to the Pass and continue on down Hydroline breaking trail until we ran into the groomer laying corduroy after he came up Patterson and was heading down Elk Pass. We carried on making skier tracks down Hydroline at his recommendation and enjoyed the new corduroy at the bottom of the big hill. Waxing was easy -8 to -6. A bit of a wind made it seen colder. Those groomers have been working full out; ten hour days and I truly appreciate them more than ever after making our way today past trees that needed cutting down and streams that they would have been challenged crossing on snowmobile packing machine. I better get baking some cookies for them for drop off at WWL. So will Elk get trackset today, Nov 19th remains the question??? Lots of us chose that date so we will see. Tracks were laid on the short trail down to Lower Lake parking lot when we were finished at 2pm.

  90. I skied CNC’s Banff Trail on Wednesday afternoon, It had more snow on it past the meadow than at any time I can recall last year. Trackset all the way. Only issue is that the base was not solid enough for small pole baskets, so my poles often broke through (especially on the right hand side).

  91. Just to add a little to Susanne’s comment. I arrived at Bragg Creek at about 3:30. I followed tracks in the fresh snow left by skiiers and make a few myself. The volunteer groomers were hard at it packing the 6 inches or so, of fresh snow with snowmobiles. And much to my delight, just as I was returning to the parking lot, 4:30 ish, a groomer passed by me dragging a tracker! Fresh tracks – could not resist the urge to turn around and do the entire west Crystal loop and really enjoyed the hills. Made the trip from High River entirely worth it. This was only my second time on this trail system, as I have newly arrived in Alberta this summer. Love this forum – great resource for a newbie who admittedly till now, have had a great late summer and fall cycling/hiking on many of the trails in Highwood , Sheep/Bluerock and Elbow area. Now with this snow and dedicated volunteers – pure heaven !

    • My son and I must have passed you on the way out, we arrived (with headlamps) around 4:40 and skied the Hostel Loop/Hostel Meadows. Trails north of the parking lot were snowmobile packed with no other tracks until we reached the North Telephone trail junction where were were met with the trail groomer and fresh corduroy all the way back to the lot! I don’t think WBC had snow conditions this good at any time last year and it’s not even December.

    Wow! Ribbon Creek was simply magical today, with 50+ cm of new snow overnight. I arrived at the Ribbon Creek Parking lot in time to see groomer Jeff packing and grooming the trail around the parking lot west perimeter, which connects the “Village” trails to the “Skogan” trails. He then headed up Hidden Trail, on a mission to track set the new Ribbon Creek trail. I headed for Coal Mine trail and was thrilled to find that Jeff was packing that trail too. It’s one of my favourites, especially with new snow… but then I really like downhill runs like that one.
    I don’t think we ever saw conditions this good at Ribbon Creek all of last year!

    With a late start (after clearing the driveway, Bob), and finding a packed trail from the Banff Springs, we revelled in the new snow on Spray West. Finding that the grooming continued beyond the Spray River bridge, I carried on to the Goat Creek trailhead and Jeannette returned using Spray East which is also packed.
    See it all at:
    Lesson of the day: It gets dark early!

    Chuck, I have a very long driveway(probably the longest in Canmore!), and a dog that requires lots of tunnels in the back. Thanks for the info, I’m going to ski it when it’s trackset. -Bob

  94. CNCPP this afternoon. Who needs bear spray with all this snow?… well.. apparently we do if skiing at CNCPP! Bear sightings today by several people.

    Lots of grooming done today (kudos to CNCPP staff) – tracksetting on Banff and Bow (mid-afternoon) – see groomer reports for updates. Some wind gusts mid-afternoon – so a few snow bombs, and some pine needles on Banff Trail – but nothing that the next grooming won’t fix.

    • I can confirm bears are still active. I saw bear tracks on Bow Trail which made me make a U turn for the parking lot. After short break I resumed skiing with the bear spray can on the belt. Lots of snow in CNC and easy waxing. Temperatures were about -4C all day, sunny around noon. Now tracks are everywhere.

  95. Great day to be skiing at West Bragg Creek and I met at least one person who declared it a “snow day” and skipped work. Guess I did that too! Conditions were perfect with fresh powder overtop of packed snow from the last grooming. We skied Sun Dog and East Crystal line. Prepare to break trail if you choose trails that haven’t recently been groomed.

  96. West Bragg Creek
    Perfect conditions today on all the previously packed trails (Crystal and Sundog loops) with about 6 inches of light dry powder over a solid (not icy) base, tracks were skier set today. Will send photos to Bob.

  97. I’d love to know if anyone has intel as to whether Cascade Fire road gets groomed today or tomorrow post this wonderful dump of snow.
    Thanks, Rhonda

    As the Parks Canada website said “Fresh snow on a compact base”, and now there is a lot more!
    Today we chose Redearth Creek, and conditions were fantastic:
    What a delight to have all these choices within the National Park.

  99. Magical couple of hours from 4-6 pm skiing (minus 2) in powder at Canmore Nordic Centre. Lights came on at 4:30 which I was delighted to see: Banff Loop and Bow Loop were terrific. Measured 13″ of powder atop the picnic table where those two trails intersect. Reminded me of being a little girl in Montreal, and skating on the outdoor rink under the lights every night, dreaming that I was Barbara Ann Scott.
    I noticed they just packed Whiskey Jack and Trywhitt on 16th but I am still gambling for Nov. 19th on Elk Pass and will be there to witness it or NOT.

  100. Ribbon Creek

    We had a lovely little ski this morning from the Kananaskis Village south parking lot (which, by the way, is very icy!! 🙁 )
    South on Terrace, clockwise around Kovach, returning via Terrace Link and Terrace, I was a little surprised to be breaking trail for the first km or so, but the snow was mostly quite delightful so I didn’t mind. We met the groomed portion of the trail at the southernmost junction with Aspen, and the rest of our loop was groomed all the way. It snowed all the time we were out, lightly lower down and quite heavily at higher elevations. Very strong winds had deposited some debris on the trail, which for the most part was no bother, but we did encounter a slighly troublesome bit of debris just above the junction with Aspen:

    Coming down, it is visible from far enough away, and there is a slight upslope just before for decent braking action 😉

    Most of the skiing was quite delightful, and the grooming should make an excellent base for the snow which is falling right now!!

  101. Decided to check out Cascade. Often it trackset – but doesn’t show up on Parks trail report. Well it’s NOT set however it’s skiable! No clunking on pavement! (west side of Minniwanka road closed,as usual)- no sign of rocks or grass in meadow. A skied in track on skidoo tracks. Variable quality. Tracks have been set there in previous years with less snow. I expect the tracksetter is waiting for the Tuesday precipitation. Skating would not be fun. Uneven, multiple skidoo paths.

  102. After having a great time on Moraine Lake Road today (nice to see Bob out there!) I decided to do some reconnoitering along the Bow Valley Parkway. I was very happy to discover that Baker Creek to Protection Mountain, including the campground loop, has been trackset. I didn’t actually ski it so I can’t say what it’s like in the woods but what I did see looked pretty nice. The trails around Castle Jct. looked like they had been packed and maybe skied on but still need more snow.

    • Baker Creek – Protection campground are great. TJ from Baker Creek chalets has been out there regularly packing a base and yesterday set a lovely track. There is the odd bit of dirt poking through, especially in the trees between the powerline and campground, but overall very nice skiing on narrow trails. Still safe to use good skis, just be careful in a couple spots.

  103. Whiskey Jack
    Nice wide grooming all the way up and still like a winter wonderland with the snow still on the trees, met the groomer at the top, he’s happy to have the Cat out again and doing a great job of it with another foot of snow on top of the base, think he was heading round Pocaterra way to continue grooming. Been breaking trail up and down WJ a few times since the snow arrived, (learning to ski on touring ski’s), was great today with the new grooming, nice and smooth and very fast on the steep slopes, have been face planting on the same downhill corner every time, but today made it round (the steep hairpin bend) at full blast, not very pretty or coordinated and quite amazed that I got round without eating snow, thankful for the metal edges.
    I noticed when nearing the top of WJ you can see open snow and much less trees directly up from the trail junction, has any of your contributers ever skied there or know if a trail goes through the trees to there? I did notice what looked like an old trail heading that way on the top side of the junction.

    • I wonder if this clearing is the meadow which Alf and Co. explored last year?

    • GB, that’s good news about Whiskey Jack and glad you checked it out because none of this is showing up on the PLPP Live Grooming Report. Did you see any grooming on the other trails around there?

  104. CNC Mon AM Classic out Banff trail return. good coverage but Skier tracked so bring you adductors! Rode Purple multigrade (VR 45-50 ish) A lot of roller packed trails. Soft new snow on top of a firm base. Skaters dream out there. Pretty quiet day. Checked out new warmup shelter on mine scar. They’re still working on the state of the art loos but took a quick peak inside the cabin and it’s going to be a beauty!

  105. Glorious, glorious Great Divide!
    Temperature -6
    Weather- sunny, sunny, sunny with moderate west-ish wind
    Wax-Thought it was going to be a lot warmer so took waxless.
    Trail is packed but not set. Has skier-set tracks so a bit uneven. That didn’t matter as it was so wonderful to be skiing again.
    Smile quotient- Extreme
    Crowds? Parking lot almost full when we arrived at 12:10. Getting empty when we left.

  106. Great Divide Lake Louise

    We arrived at the trailhead around 11:30 a.m. Both Moraine and Divide were buzzing with eager skiers to enjoy all the new snow. I did not check the ski or weather report and brought only my skate skis. The 20+ cm of new snow had not yet been groomed so it was pretty hard work for the first 45 minutes and then I heard a snowmobile behind me and saw relief in site. 5 minutes later we were skating on brand new corduroy! Thanks Parks Canada! I’m tipping that all the trails at Lake Louise will be good for trackset now and the season is off to a excellent start.

  107. We got another 10+ cm last night in Canmore, this time quite a bit dryer than the wet stuff on the weekend. At 7:45am the groomers were out at the Nordic Center. We’re lucky in a way, it hasn’t been cold enough to make snow so they’ve got all the snow makers packing and running the Ginzu. This new snow on top of the weekend base should make for very good November conditions.

    • Are they still doing work on hill-and long delays?cant open link. Trackset I guess?

      • Hey Barb,
        Surprised you are having difficulty opening my link… others have no problem, including Bob!
        WE broke trail, so it is now skier set.
        There is construction on the Trans Canada, so maybe some minor delays.

        • How long is the kicking horse trail? I was looking for a good couple to three hours of classic XCski somewhere? Thanks

          • Hi JT,
            The Kicking Horse Trail is only about 6 km one way, but that might suit you as it is only skier tracked with lots of welcoming viewpoints to enjoy.

  108. Great skiing on Cascade Fire Road today. Snowmobile packed. Will be awesome once it is track set. At least a foot on the ground at the top of the hill. No rocks showing. Rode Viola Extra was perfect!

  109. Great day at CNC on top of freshly packed snow. Banff Trail was busy and a little soft, especially in sunny patches but I’m not complaining!

    A group of 7 of us set a track around the #20 Pipestone Loop. About 30cm of fresh snow. The last couple of days of snow have considerably improved conditions since Doug Connery’s Nov 12 report. No willows, only a few wet spots, and only one creek crossing where we had to build a snow bridge. Temperature at the trailhead was -1C at 10am and +1 at 3pm. Sticky snow caused clumping for those with wax skis, but the waxless skis worked great!

  111. Started at Elkwood parking lot at 3 pm today. With about 40 cm of heavy snow on the picnic tables we broke trail through the campground to the first pond. Our trip ended there since the pond had not yet frozen over and was still slushy. I am guessing there will be no grooming here until temperatures drop.

  112. Busy day on Moraine lake road today! Lots of fresh snow with only one track (skier set?) going in. V50 worked fine for the start but clumping started occurring near paradise creek. Lots of people having wax problems in the warm snow. A couple of snowmobiles past us numerous times first flattening the snow then rolling and track setting. Turned back about halfway. The descent proved to be much quicker once I had scraped most of the wax off my skis. Later in the day skied partway up tram line from the hostel with a large group of kids from foothills nordic. The trail was packed but not track set. It’s a winter paradise in Lake Louise!

  113. Had a great classic ski on MLR today (first time I have skied to the turnaround). Plenty of new snow and people out enjoying it! Was -2 in the parking lot at 11am. While skiing up, our friendly neighbourhood parks Canada groomers were hard at work. They rolled the middle for the skaters and put in one track up (the second up track appeared to be skier set and was in great shape as well) and one down.

    Waxing was a bit challenging as noted by all of the people stopped on the side scraping their skis. It was snowing lightly when I left and I as I look out the window here in Banff it is snowing and windy again.

    Welcome winter!

  114. We attempted the West Spray River Trail today in Banff (departing from the parking lot behind the Banff Springs). It’s not trackset but we did run into someone from Parks Canada trying to pack it down by snowmobile (thank you!). Pretty slushy by 11am and subject to a fair bit of abuse by walkers and snowshoers. Still a great day to be out!

    Moraine Lake Road:
    Grooming and Tracksetting started at 845am
    Cars getting stuck in the parking lot at 850am
    Wax icing and snow clumping on skis 900am
    It was slow, it was soft, it was FANTASTIC!
    Loved EVERY minute!!
    Drive safe and please remember to be courteous to your fellow skiers. Step out of the tracks to adjust your clothes, get a drink or wax, have a chat, etc (that includes your poles and ski tips)
    Have FUN at there!

  116. Canmore Nordic Center. Quick recce trip this morning to check out some of the recently roller-packed trails. Early season conditions for sure, but enjoyable nonetheless! I skated a loop on Bow and Banff Trails which are in pretty good shape right out to the end. A little soft in places but good coverage. Meadowview looked similar. Didn’t put any new scrapes in the bases of my rock skis 🙂

  117. West Bragg Creek – Save yourself some trouble today. WBC got hit with some rain and warm weather. Everything is pretty icy and thin. The base should hold until colder weather but not worth skiing on right now…unless you can find a secret pocket to get some strides on.

    I toured up to Rummel Lake today. There was 20-25cm of overnight snow on the Spray/Smith-Dorrien Road. The snow depth next to the trail at the Rummel Creek crossing was 59cm, which is really good snow coverage for November 13.
    Other than deep trail breaking, it was no problem to ski all the way to the lake. Pretty well all of the usual logs, rock and roots were well covered. The snow on the ground was quite dense, so our track set up very quickly. This snowfall will make a great base for the rest of the winter! It snowed at 2cm/hr all day, so I’m sure there will be even more snow on the ground tomorrow.
    I stopped at the Chester Lake parking lot and noticed an Alberta Parks truck & trailer and snowmobile tracks heading out on the snowshoe trails. I’m not sure how far around the loops they went. Perhaps they were clearing deadfall from the snowshoe trails. In any case, there’s now a packed snowmobile trail going around some part of the loop. If anyone wants to re-live the glory days when the Sawmill Trails were groomed for XC skiing, here’s your chance to do that!

    • Yes, the glory days! Wouldn’t it be great if they could find the $$ to do up those trails again? Such a fun network of trails just sitting there, waiting for the Pisten Bully!!
      Thanks for the info. Always helpful.

  119. We skied in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park today and I think we were probably the only people in the park. First and only tracks. We started at Boulton Bridge (only car in the parking lot all day) and skied up Whiskey Jack. It was groomed a day or two ago but you would have not have known it today. Snow was boot deep and very wet/sloppy. I had fish scale waxless skis and even they did not help me today. We pretty much snowshoe-skied up to the junction with Pocaterra and then we skied back down again. We stopped numerous times on the way down to scrape off our skis so that we could actually ski down the hills.
    Snow is amazing out there right now but we need colder temps before it’s worth attempting to ski there. There is definitely enough snow to groom and track though so hopefully tomorrow some track setting will begin.

  120. Like everyone is saying it was a perfect day to ski Moraine Lake road on Thursday Nov 12th. Lots of athletes and friends on the trail. Conditions are great. Click on link to see full report and photos.

  121. Spent the day in the Lake Louise area doing two trips today.

    In the morning I went for an adventure on the Pipestone trails for a 7 km loop: Pipestone east, Drummond then back on Pipestone west. There has been some machine packing but only skier track set. It was rough going with lots of bumps willows and wet spots. Not recommended until there is a lot more cold weather to freeze up the water, a lot more snow and more packing.

    In the afternoon I skied the Great Divide trail in perfect conditions from end to end, then back again. I was tempted to try some of lower Telemark as there was evidence of machine packing at all three junctions with the Great Divide trail. However after the morning adventure on the Pipestone trails I decided to stick to the groomed track set trail for the rest of the day.

    I also stopped in at Baker Creek to check out conditions there. On the north side of the 1A there were some snowshoe tracks in the shallow snow heading off towards the power line. Not enough snow to ski yet. The south side of the 1A by the lodge was not any better. Again more cold weather is needed to freeze the creek and a lot more snow and packing is needed.

    Here is a link to some photos of my ski adventures over the last two days. Sorry no labels on the photos.

  122. The 1A is an A-Plus

    We skied the Great Divide trail (1A) to the Lake O’Hara parking lot in what can only be described as near-ideal conditions. Yes, it got a little windy on the west end, but the track was fresh and with VR40, I had one of the easiest waxing days in recent history. Everyone was smilin’ big in the snow.

    Photos(click on link)

    1. Great Divide trail
    2. BC border
    3. Creek
    4. Snow depth
    5. Family from Athabasca
    6. Chip
    7. Nico buried in snow

  123. Moose Loop and Crystal Line on Wednesday.

    Thought Moose Loop was pretty marginal in numerous spots. Crystal Line was okay. Rock skis recommended.

    • Skied West Bragg on Thursday morning. Trails skied included Sundog, Loggers, Crystal Line, Mountain Road. At noon the snow was still cold and dry, so waxing was easy with VR 45. As noted above, conditions would generally be considered marginal, with the most consistently OK skiing to be found on Crystal. Nonetheless I had a very enjoyable ski in the bright morning sun, and managed to dodge most of the hazards, only adding a minor graze or two to my already decrepit rock skis.
      I’m thinking that most of the packed base should survive the oncoming chinook, and if the forecast for snow on Sunday is accurate…..

  124. PLPP
    Nov 11. Found Ribbon looking thin, so drove further to Boulton and skied the south end of what had been roller-packed (Amos/Wheeler) and broke trail to the nice viewpoint on Moraine (now has two benches) where it’s usually thin. It IS thin there, but everywhere else was… “sufficient” (no hits or scratches but still hitting bottom with powder basket poles).
    A squall blew through the south end and deposited 1 cm at ~2pm; more came as we were leaving. A little on the warm side with moderate clumping in the waxless pockets at the north end, much less so in the south. Scootched a smidgen up Wiskey Jack to find, as usual, the snow depth noticeably increases above that junction.

    Ahem…. There is no room to skate-ski on the PLPP trails. Bring your classic skis or skate somewhere else. Please and Thank-You!

  125. Skied Moraine Lake Road and Fairview trail today. Great conditions and the wax worked well: VR40 for kick and CH7 for glide. Fairview was user set: skier, walker and snowshoe. It was skiable with only a few rocks and logs to watch out for. There were a few wet spots but managed to keep my skis dry. Best to ski up from Moraine Lake road rather then down to the road.

    Also stopped at the Red Earth parking lot and walked up the first hill. No sign of ski tracks, lots of evidence of foot traffic on the trail. There appears to be a solid base, perhaps ice from rain just before the thin layer of fresh snow fell. Overall not recommended to ski yet.

    The new grooming allowed us to ski from parking lot to parking lot… and we were not the only ones enjoying the easy waxing conditions:

    • New grooming? OK, but covered with some new snow, so it looked mostly skier-set to me. Still very pleasant to ski on.
      Our Plan A was to start from the Lake O’Hara parking lot for a net uphill followed by net downhill out and return. But parking lot entrance was signed “Closed”. Turned in anyway, found a heavy truck parked (stuck?) directly in front of RR crossing. So small parking lot not accessible. Don’t know whether larger lot at base of Lake O’Hara trail is open right now.

      Note for Remembrance Day next year: Both Wilson Mtn Sports and the visitor info centre in the LL village were closed as of 10:30 until about noon, for a ceremony in front of the info centre.

    I was back out at West Bragg Creek today and skied a whole bunch of trails south and west of the parking lot. The route looked more like a clover leaf than a loop and included: West Crystal Line, Middle Crystal Line, Mountain View, Mountain Road, Moose Connector, Loggers Loop, Sundog and East Crystal Line. All the trails have been roller-packed, and although the snow depth is thin, it was generally quite skiable, with relatively few sketchy bits. I brought a pair of hand pruners to clip off twigs or roots that were poking out of the snow. I also tossed a number of small rocks and branches off of the trails. If you come across anything like this, please take a moment to get it off the trail. It sure makes it easier to groom the trails, if there is there is nothing to catch the grooming equipment.
    The temperature stayed below zero, so the snow remained in good condition. VR45 worked great all day.

    • I tried the link, but page not found?

      Sounds promising 🙂

    • I skied West and East Crystal Line and part of Sundog and Bunny Loop Tuesday, Nov 10 in the late afternoon. The snow was excellent quality. I was on my old fish scales and had good kick and glide. I was glad it was the old skis because there are a few small rocks still poking through, as well as grass and twigs. A mountain biker told me that Hostel Loop was already getting slushy in the sun. Fingers crossed for more snow soon!

      • Well, we tried the Hostel Loop yesterday (11th), and sadly I would have to say it needs more snow before being skiable again. We did remove many stones, scraped our skis on many more, and had to avoid some muddy sections. Also, the west side of the loop is inexplicably popular with hikers and people walking their dogs, so the snow is seriously degraded by boot tracks. It looks like it will be great fun with more snow.

        It seemed like almost everyone and their dogs were at Bragg Creek yesterday!

  128. Great Divide
    Excellent abundant snow, track set, blue skies and -7oC. V40 Blue Extra waxing. Great day out. Little harder for the skaters as the middle was a bit soft.

    As Ray mentioned in his posting, groomer Jeff got out and roller-packed many on the West Bragg Creek today. I measured 8-14cm of new snowfall at various points around the trail network and I’m guessing it may have been a bit more towards Moose Mountain. Roller packing the new snow helps to drive frost into the ground and keeps the snow from blowing away or melting too fast. It also creates a good base for subsequent snowfalls.
    One trail that I checked out was Hostel Loop. The Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association spent a substantial amount of money and volunteer time on this trail over the past summer. Eroded areas were repaired, drainage was fixed on wet/muddy areas, encroaching trees and shrubs were removed to help with snow capture and the tread was smoothed and levelled, where necessary. The trail alignment was tweaked at a couple of spots to improve the flow for skiers.
    As a result of all this work, it was possible to roller-pack the loop and make it skiable, even with just a moderate snowfall.
    I also did a quick lap on the new Hostel Meadow Loop and looked at the new teaching/practice area.

  130. The Great Divide was fantastic today!! It’s trackset, and there is lots of snow to pack the bumps previously mentioned. The skate lane looked soft, but if you’re a classic skier, I highly suggest a trip here!! It was a gorgeous day!

  131. Moraine Lake Road late this aft – great snow, but only skier set track. Center unpacked, and would have been …..arduous for skating, with 10cms piled in the center. -1.7C @ 2:45pm, -5C@ 5pm.

  132. Nov 9: great divide
    Another good day out at Louise. Divide is track set now. Still a little soft and bumpy in the middle for the skater crew. But I didn’t see any unhappy faces. No wind today. For those looking for a bit more solitude I busted a track through the west most loop of telemark. Just enough snow. No packing at all. A couple of trees to negotiate along with two little runnels of water, otherwise no ski damaging hazards encountered, but I would describe it as lumpy. Despite my late “bob start”, still early enough to catch bob starting his trek on divide a few minutes from the parking lot. (-:

  133. Skied west bragg creek today, sundog/elbow west crystal line, loggers loop. VR 45 worked ok. Trails rolled, not track set, many thanks to goomer Jeff.
    Some hazards poking up, but overall suprisingly good snow.

  134. BOOM LAKE
    Several of us skied up to Boom Lake today. Lots of snow in the parking lot. Lots of snow in the trees. And it continued to snow at about 2cm per hour until mid-afternoon. The snow was deep for trail breaking, but it packed down and set up quickly. All the drainage channels that cross the trail were still flowing, but in most cases, the snow on either side was deep enough that your skis would bridge the gap, without getting wet.
    Can someone send a memo to the walkers that winter has arrived along the Continental Divide and that punching holes in 40cm of snow only makes a mess of the trail for people who are actually prepared for snow. There are plenty of trails without snow at lower elevations and on the eastern slopes where hiking is still a good idea.

    • Yes! Boom Lake is one of our favourite early season ski trips!

      I fondly remember when only skiers would venture up those (hiking) trails in the winter, but first came the snowshoers, and now the winter hikers. The popularity of winter hiking is getting to be a serious problem 🙁

      • Boom Lake used to be designated as a ski trail in the winter, but no longer. In fact, it isn’t even mentioned anywhere in the Banff Park winter brochures.

  135. Sun. Nov. 8, Great Divide to Lake O’Hara lot

    An addendum about the section of the Divide from the border to the Lake O’Hara lot…As far as I could see, there is as much snow on the BC side of the Divide as there is on the AB side. There are skier set tracks on the fire road, but it doesn’t look like it’s received as much (if any) grooming.

    Saw the snowmobile going back and forth and tried to skate in the afternoon and but it was still pretty bumpy. Heard lots of complaints about clumping the morning, but less so in the afternoon after the skier-set tracks got packed down more.

  136. CLASSIC DAY on MLR and GD
    The ski teams were back at it today, but if you missed it yesterday, you can see the skill building exercises right here:
    You may need to login to Facebook to see it, but it is worthwhile. I’m not sure if it is a skill that I am going to work on!
    Arrived early today to find the Moraine Lake Road beautifully double trackset up and down. What a joy to be back on track skis.
    Then I headed over to the Great Divide where Andrew had just finished punching four passes of the snowmobile through the new snow… more joy.
    See it all at:

    • Thanks for the amazing inspiration to make skiing happen STAT!! Such a polar opposite to Calgary’s weather today! I am sure there are many happy faces and tired bodies driving back from the mountains tonight.
      Good thing I wasn’t there to witness the skate skier hacking up the first tracksetting of the season! I would probably be in jail right now 🙂

  137. Hi Bob! Did Great Divide again today. Easily 30 cm of snow since Friday.
    They loosely packed the trail at 1:30 but skaters were saying it was still too rough. We rode waxless and faired very well. Those on wax were complaining about clumps and sticking.
    Still no tracks but they’re close, I’m sure!

  138. I didn’t go skiing today, but I’m interested in hearing from anyone who was at Lake Louise.

    • I didn’t go today either, but at about noon today I phoned the Lake Louise Info Centre. They said 20cm of snow had fallen since yesterday morning.

  139. Just a reminder that even though Parks has not yet put up the usual Avalanche Warning sign at the end of the groomed section of the Moraine Lake Road, the Parks Lake Louise Info Centre is saying that a significant avalanche danger exists if you go beyond that point toward Moraine Lake.

    (A few days ago, Chuck put a similar post in the Backcountry section of the Trip Reports.)

    • At Boom Lake today, we heard around 30 separate avalanches coming off of Boom Mountain. When that’s happening, you know the avalanche hazard is high.

  140. Nov.7, 2015 Tramline

    On Skier Bob’s advice, and seeing the crowd already at MLR, we decided to park at the Chateau and ski Tramline. It was wonderful on the way down as we were making first tracks, slow and easy, beautifully quiet and no other skiers on the trail. We went all the way to the “Big Drop” above the village before turning back. Of course, we collected a bit of snow underneath on the way back up, as fresh, wet stuff was falling (12:30) but it was still a great way to spend a grey day. And, we were able to help a few drivers who didn’t know how to handle the road up to the Chateau from the TCH.

    Can’t wait to see reports after today’s snowfall.

  141. We skied Moraine Lk Rd up to Paradise creek today (Fri) Base was good.. Skier tracked tracks on the side.
    Better base than last year early in that our poles didn’t strike pavement (much)
    1st world problem was/is the skaters cross into the skier made tracks as there really isn’t a defined classic track.
    This W/E is a AB Ski camp and the place will be swarmed with young skiers.

    thanks to the Lake groomers for the great base!

    I toured up to Chester Lake today. Snow depth was around 23cm near the parking lot and about 30cm at the lake. The trail had seen a fair bit of traffic from a few skiers, several snowshoers and way to many hikers… so the base was packed, but not exactly smooth. There was one beach-ball sized boulder in the middle of the steepest hill on the “up” trail, but a couple of us were able to roll it off the trail. Snow coverage on the narrow sections of the upper trail was pretty good, but not enough to cover the sharp rocks that have been placed directly on the trail corridor by Alberta Parks staff. I guess nobody told them that skiers need to be able to snowplow on this trail on their way down!
    The down trail was in fine shape, with only a few previous ski tracks on it.
    I’d suggest that skiers just go up and down the “down” trail, until there is enough new snow to cover the hiker tracks on the “up” trail.

    • You are brave to go up there?!
      Can you tell me why parks staff would put sharp stones on a trail?

      • This was apparently an attempt to “narrow” the hiking trail for summer use.
        That seems like an odd priority for a trail that gets used for skiing for 7 months of the year and which is noted for it’s early season snowfalls.
        After about a meter of snow falls, it is no longer a public hazard.

  143. Was lucky enough to get out to Great Divide today. There is sufficient snow coverage to make for some really good early season conditions. No rocks or twigs to deal with, so your bases are safe!

    Not track set, but I was on classic and found the skier tracks sufficient for an enjoyable ski. Even got the great honour of meeting Bob himself!

  144. LAKE O’HARA
    Today we skied up to Lake O’Hara on a cold consolidated snow pack varying between 10 and 20 cm in depth… and the ride down was a hoot!
    You can check it out at:
    Last year, our first ski was on November 5… this year we have already had 4 great ski days, and it is only November 4!
    ps Sorry for the delay… had to see that Snow Show at the Banff Festival.

    • Thank you for the beautiful and inspiring pictures!!
      Can’t believe I beat you last year! But we had a wicked snowstorm in Calgary in early September………

  145. Finally free to ski!!!!!

    Ribbon creek “circuit”:
    Well, obviously, the early skier gets the fresh snow. We knew it would not be so fresh today, so that coupled with the complete unknown led to the decision to ski the loop anti-clockwise, which was probably a good idea. Rock skis would also have been a good idea……
    The north half was snowmobile and skier-tracked with added boots and bicycle tracks.
    Hidden – Coal Mine — fair to good, with some hazards (mostly rocks and patches of dirt/mud/ice)
    New Ribbon Creek trail — fair to rather terrifying! Lots of hazards, and variable snow cover made the steep, twisting descent almost impossible to actually ski down, so I side-stepped down the worst bits
    Old Ribbon Creek trail — fair to good with a few rocks, and at the start we found an old (?) bridge now turned into a mid-creek viewpoint
    At the junction, the trail going up Ribbon Creek looked very different! But we took the trail down to the lovely new bridge. The trail down had very thin snow cover with a few rocks, but the bridge had the best snow!!
    Link — mostly good, some thin sections
    At the Kovach junction, we met up with some fairly fresh corduroy, which made for a fast and fun descent, but the snow quickly deteriorated and there were many very thin and dirty sections on the way down to Terrace.
    Terrace down to the parking lot was snowmobile and skier-tracked, and started very nicely at the top, but got thin towards the bottom, with very many rocks on the final descent.
    More snow, please!!!!

    Overall, it was mostly fun, a beautiful day, and I was thrilled to be back out on skis 🙂

    • I did some of the same trails as Diana today, but went all the way up Coal Mine to the reclaimed mine site…just to check it out. Although not roller packed, most of Coal Mine had pretty good coverage. There were a few downed aspens and alders on the trail, but we were able to move those out of the way. That way there was no need to stop on the way down. A quick, fun run down to the parking lot.
      Another dump of snow like the last one would be welcome!

  146. Not a ski trip report but a report on snow and trail conditions in south PLPP. We hiked Elk Pass, Hydroline, Lookout and Whiskeyjack trails today. The fluffy cold snow depths varied from 10 to 25 cm – averaging about 15 cm. We could have skied with touring skis but there are water bars, gullies, barely frozen puddles and hard objects hidden in the snow. Any downhill runs would have been too risky for us seniors. It was beautiful with little wind and bluebird skies. Our lunch break at the Kananaskis Lookout was spectacular.

    Unbelievable that no one had checked out the Great Divide yet!
    But you can check it out here:
    Why wait for the track setter? This skier set track has it’s advantages!

  148. Alf and Chuck: Very excited to see your reports. What do you think about Sunshine Meadows?

  149. (The link to the photos at the bottom of this report was broken, but it’s now fixed. Click on it to see Alf’s excellent photos – Bob)

    A quick look at the Nakiska webcams convinced me that there was probably enough snow at Ribbon Creek to try skiing. That possibility looked more realistic as I headed south on Highway #40. By the time I coaxed my vehicle into the Ribbon Creek parking lot, I had no doubt.
    I had already decided to try out the new Ribbon Creek XC trail and was thrilled to see Alberta Parks groomer Jeff and his snowmobile getting ready to go up the trail. Not only would I be skiing, but it would be easy going on a packed trail!
    To get to the new Ribbon Creek XC trail, you go up Hidden Trail, turn left onto Coal Mine trail, then turn left again onto the new trail. The first part is gently rolling and gradually climbing up to a short side trail, which leads to a great little viewpoint, with a couple of log benches. Then the trail begins an exciting descent involving several rounded switchbacks and some up and down rollers. The name “Snakes & Ladders” comes to mind, but that trail name already exists at West Bragg Creek. At the end of the descent, you end up back on the “old” Ribbon Creek XC trail, all the way to the beautiful new curved bridge that marks the start of the Kovach Link Trail.
    Having made a “SkierBob” start to my day, I only had enough time to return via the Ribbon Creek Trail, rather than making a full loop via Kovach and Terrace Trails. This provided a good opportunity to see how the new Ribbon Creek Trail worked in the easterly direction. The steep hill climbing section is certainly different from the gentle glide of the original Ribbon Creek trail, but the climb is also not as bad as some people have been making it out to be. On the way up, it occurred to me that this was a bit like seeing an old friend, who had suffered a major injury and had spent two years in recovery. Well, the old friend is back and is stronger an more interesting than ever!
    In just a few minutes of climbing, I was at the viewpoint junction. And who did I see coming up in the opposite direction… Skier Bob, of course!
    After a quick stop at the viewpoint, we skied back to the parking lot together. The ski back down from the viewpoint is a wonderful glide. We were all smiles in the parking lot. A great way to start the ski season!

  150. We walked CNC along lower Georgetown this AM while it was snowing. Came backup onto Banff lower trail. Returned via roller ski loop. Sooo close to having enough snow to crash about on rock skis. If it were my trails I’d be out rolling/packing them.

  151. I’m so excited! I live in Calgary, but will make the long trek in with the hope that the amazing tracksetters will be working their magic in the morning!! If not, it looks like some amazing skiers already did the hard work! Thanks for this amazing update!!


    WOW… what a start for the season!
    Check out this link to see first tracks to the viewpoint:
    With this much snow, I bet the tracksetter will do his magic tomorrow.
    VR60 worked well for me.

    • James the Grizzly Tracking Skier

      Amen to the grizzly tracking ski season starting! The snow angels have arrived!

      My forecasted opening to the ski season was missed by one day as predicted several days back.
      Better late than never. Still the weatherman can’t predict the ski weather as good as the bones of this old mountain man!

      May your skis be with you always- in your car. The wax and boots too!
      Uh- don’t forget the pack, water bottles, food, toque, extra gloves and warm jacket too for safety purposes.

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