Trip Reports Nov 2019

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 OneDrive and leave a link with your comment. Last winter, the Trip Reports were viewed over 100,000 times.

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  1. We skied Great Divide trail today, conditions were excellent. Seemed like a very cold day since the sun was elusive. The Parks Canada groomer was just starting out when we got back to the parking lot at 2 pm.

  2. PLPP Lookout – Temps from -16 to -10. Started from Upper Lake and found negligible twiggyness. Elk Pass: skookum. New roller packing on Tyrwhitt almost completely smoothed it out but still take care, as there’s a few rough patches above the picnic table. North Lookout is fine, but South Lookout: Extreme Caution Required at the Creek Crossing – especially if you’re going northbound. Creek flooded and froze an unavoidably wide patch. It’ll be a nasty surprise right at the bottom of a steep hill if you’re going northbound. Otherwise S Lookout was good, just one tall rock that’s exposed and easy to spot near the one switch-back. Descending in the Hydroline track: screamer.

  3. Ernie, Irene, Shad and Shady

    As noted below WBC was so nice today we are still smiling !!!

    Mtn Rd – Mtn View West – Clockwise on Moose Loop – Mtn Rd

    Donate – Donate – The Groomers did long hours to give us pure joy – Thank-you

  4. My friend and I witnessed some unacceptable behaviour approximately 1 week ago next to the parking lot in West Bragg Creek. Some young women just beginning their ride (on horseback) onto the trails available to them when they were rudely and profanely accosted by an older fellow on cross country skis. He angrily yelled (Get your #%^@# horses off of these trails). He was incredibly belligerent and only stopped when my friend and I intervened. Let’s all just remember that they have a right to these trails until Dec 1 and were doing nothing wrong. PS – the trail was so well packed that the horses hooves did absolutely no damage. These are multi-use trails and we should share them with others. I must admit this outburst was an embarrassment to all of us cross country skiers that are happy to share our trails!

    • Although I agree with your assessment of unacceptable behaviour on the part of the skier, i take exception to your comment that they did ‘no damage’. In the middle two weeks of November, your grooming crew spent a total of 12 hours renovating out deep ruts caused by horse hooves and cleaning up horse pooh. This has been well documented and includes photos from East Crystal, West Crystal, Moose Connector and Iron Creek. Trail snow densities are nowhere near where they need to be to support ground pressures of up to 500 psi (horse hoof ground pressure). By comparison, a Fat Bike has a ground pressure of 4 psi, and a skier, less than 1 psi. When the ground pressure of a user exceeds the ability of the snow to support them, a rut is left. This becomes not only a safety issue for subsequent users but can also hasten snow loss. Eventually, after enough traffic, renovation and cold temperatures, the snow may reach a density that can support all users. In the end it is about common courtesy and ‘leaving the trail as you found it’. This applies to all users and is not specific to equestrians.

  5. I am getting over a cold so I didn’t want to do anything too ambitions, so we decided to give Yoho a try today. We followed Chuck and Jeannett’s trail from the Natural Bridge down along the Kicking Horse River. It was a chilly start, but we were very well-dressed and the sun and views were glorious. There has been a little bit of recent traffic on the trail – we saw tracks of polite walkers trying to stay out of the track, plus signs of hares, wolves and more all along the route. Last week’s blue waxes VR 30 & 40 were just fine. There’s some track setting equipment at the trailhead, so it may not be long until this trail gets even better.

  6. West Bragg Creek – 30 November, 2019
    Started 9:30 am in minus 20C temperatures with VR30 wax. Glide was minimal and we warmed up quickly with the extra effort. Skied a loop counter-clock-wise on Mtn. Road/Moose Loop (north)/Mtn. View West/Mtn. View/Crystal Line West/Loggers Loop/Crystal Line East. Glide improved toward noon particularly in sun exposed sections. Finished with air temp at minus 12C. Most tracks skied were set November 28 and are holding up well considering all the love they are getting from the many skiers enjoying these great conditions.
    If you can a donation to the Greater Bragg Creek Trail Association will be greatly appreciated by those volunteers who do the work to make this a first class xc-ski venue.

  7. Telephone Loop, Saturday Morning.
    I started with the east leg of Hostel Loop to avoid the often trampled first bit of Telephone- perfect!
    East Telephone- Generally really nice, but beyond about Disconnect junction the packed base is softer and as such has suffered a bit, with some ruts from skiers and a fat biker (who thankfully did not go too far) and divots from a hiker. Not much of an issue for my backcountry light touring skis/boots, but caution called for on the steeper downhills, especially if on pure track equipment. A couple of visible rocks but overall good coverage.
    North Telephone- Pretty much perfect. Cold in that shaded valley, though.
    West Telephone- Less well groomed again, tracks wibbly-wobbly in spots, and a couple of thin places. Overall very good. Took a detour from the usual, and….
    Went up Reconnect- all season singletrack packed down by fatbike grooming and foot traffic. A bit of extra VR40 wax fore and aft of the kick zone made for easy climbing.
    Demi Tel- wide all season trail (old road) groomed for snowshoe/fatbike etc made for a fast fun descent after a brief uphill. Somewhat chopped up but if you can handle the East side Telephone downhills- no problem. This would make for a fabulous ski trail! Especially as a great long descent when combined with the west part of Hostel which is all downhill as well.

  8. Confederation

    Skied confed at 11am today. The snow is surprisingly good for skating with just a few sections of grass poking through. The east loop is hard packed and hasn’t been groomed in a while, but still very good. The groomer had just finished parts of the south loop so it was great… Unfortunately the city is putting the lights up and parked right in the middle of the groomed trail so you have to double back. The west loop is still thin and not groomed. Classic grooming tracks show in some areas. Snow is thin around the bridges so tread lightly.

    Overall, it was a great day.

  9. Sandy McNabb

    Our regular parking lot (Interpretive Trail) was not plowed, so we drove back up to the highway.
    Skied from there down Meadow and set tracks around the Loggers Loop ( you’re welcome).
    I keep forgetting how dark and chilly that loop is, and some interesting sections and some not so much.
    The Meadow section was beautiful! Should have done more like that, but anyway you have our tracks!
    Also there are downed trees, some hiding under the snow, not a major issue here but might be on steeper slopes.

    We did not find two feet of snow, but variable amounts, more than a foot in open areas, less under the trees.
    This is definitely a good time to go!

  10. Went to ski Moraine Lake road today and found Tramline in very good condition heading toward Lake |Louise. While not officially trackset there was a good natural track and ample snow coverage to the lake and toured around the Lake, as it was windless.

  11. First time to ski West Bragg Creek and to meet Groomer Jeff, who was an appreciative recipient of some cookies. Seemed surreal all that Christmas Card beauty and relatively few people. -21 to start and vintage green worked well. Started out Mountain Road for first bit then climbed to popular intersection of Moose Loop and Tom Snow. I chose sunnier option to return on Trans Canada Trail. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the scenery was. Went a little further on Mountain Road, before completing the circuit back to parking lot via Mountain Road and West Crystal Line. Driving distance about the same: 60 min to Lk Louise vs 65 min to WBC from Three Sisters. Am sure it will get packed on weekend as conditions are superlative.

    • Very nice to have met you today Helen and thanks so much for the baking. The cookies were delicious and much appreciated by the grooming crew! Hope to see you out our way again, happy trails, groomer j

  12. PLPP, Upper Pocaterra via Lionel (aka Back Door)

    Arrived by 9am and it was -22C. Just a shortcut, and we were on the Pocaterra trail, beautifully groomed and double trackset, as the Live Grooming indicated. There was no one around for 2 hours we skied on the stretch between Packers to Lookout junctions, and 1/3 of Whiskey Jack — that’s everywhere where the tracks are in that area of the park. Let’s be honest: the trail conditions and the track setting were excellent today.

  13. Five members of the Sheep River Ramblers thoroughly enjoyed the excellent conditions along East Crystal, SunDog, Loggers, and West Crystal ski trails today. The winter wonderland scenery was postcard perfect. A bit brisk at the start – I think my vehicle registered -18C to start at 11:00 am. and finished at -13, with zero wind. Warmer skiing south with the sun in our faces. So nice to see all the enthusiastic skiers out here today with huge smiling faces. Thanks to the hard work of the volunteers – couldn’t have better conditions for November, and we are eternally grateful for your dedication. Looking forward to more tomorrow!

  14. Baker creek
    Went on spec for a change of scenery , which I got, and even some sun at 2 pm.
    Very limited tracksetting.. about 20 minutes one way to the barriers on slow snow ..
    about a third is thin , wobbly shallow tracks with dirt and debris. Of course this is Valley bottom.
    This gets better when you’re along the rail line.
    Lodge staff said it was supposed to go further but there is construction..
    Definitely makes you appreciate the track sitting and trails elsewhere.

  15. Does anyone know if any trails will be open at Canmore Nordic Center during the event tomorrow?

    • Re Canmore Nordic Centre: The trail report indicates “No Trackset from 29 Nov – 1 Dec on Frozen Thunder, Biathlon and Penalty Loop.” That doesn’t leave much unless they open up part of Banff trail which has man-made snow. The natural snow on Banff Trail and Meadowview has been groomed but reportedly it’s in poor condition. It looks like Olympic is available to recreational skiers.

      • thanks for the info Bob….my mum Lanny swears by this site. Think we’ll head further afield to the Great Divide tomorrow. 🙂

  16. Great Divide – Nov. 29
    Started at noon with a temperature of -20. Tracks are starting to get worn in places but are still in overall good shape. There were over a dozen others braving the weather. The tracks were still reasonably fast due to the polishing from traffic and absence of any new snow over the last few days.

  17. I tried out Demi Tel, Telephone loop CCW, Moose and Middle Crystal. Demi-Tel is not an official ski trail but it was groomed earlier in the week (see Alf’s report). I used to ski this trail a lot of years ago but it gradually became rather overgrown. Now it is well maintained but intended for bikers and snowshoe users. With the grooming and not a lot of biker / snow shoe traffic so far it was a pleasant ski up the hill with a few nice views back towards Calgary and then towards Moose Mountain. The run back down to the Hostel loop would normally be really challenging but with the wide track it was quite pleasant. Telephone was freshly groomed. It is the first pass (I think) so it is a bit soft in spots and rough in others but for the most part very nice. The east side is in better shape.

  18. Made a quick trip out to Sandy McNabb today just to see if we might save ourselves the drive to West Bragg. Sandy has received snow. Lots of snow. At least two feet of unpacked snow. Now, those looking for an Iron Man work out could break trail for the rest of us, however, fingers crossed that this area will be groomed either on or before Dec. 1st. Such a shame to have all that snow in such a beautiful area go to waste. There are additional issues of fallen trees, twigs, etc. that could cause a major accident if covered with snow so anyone planning on doing that Iron Man workout, stay safe and take care.

  19. Exceptional skiing today on Moose, both Mountainviews, Mountain Road, West Crystal etc. With no wind and brilliant sun, starting out in -21 and finishing mid afternoon at -13 felt very pleasant. We even had a picnic lunch! Most of the trails we skied looked to have had a recent update to the track setting- it was firm and we had good glide, unlike yesterday’s much slower conditions. A thin layer of VR 30 worked great for grip wax. Telephone is trackset- I know where I’m going tomorrow!
    Piper had a good day too:
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/SkiPix19-20/i-dFtj9xs/A

  20. Fri nov 29: elk/west elk pass
    Chilly morning at -25. Parks trailer was in the lot, solid grooming with a teaser 50 m section of track setting at the beginning. Could this be the day? No more track until at blueberry junction, but we dodged off shortly after for some meadow skipping in the sun and light winds. Good travel on cheeky and Simona’s old track. Busted a trail past couch HQ through the meadows until they thinned out. Boot top travel. Less snow in the trees and generally twiggy. 18-24 inches throughout the bigger meadows. While we may not have won the contest today, we felt like we did, getting pristine track set and grooming all to ourselves on the way back. On the new pocaterra gas fireplace, no more roasted chestnuts at the end of the ski day, but you can still dry your socks.

  21. We arrived at WBC at about 11:00 to a cloudless sky and a temperature of -21, with calm winds. Environment Canada indicated a 15 kph north wind and a wind chill of -35 so this was a pleasant surprise. We did a quick ski around West Crystal Line and then returned to the shack for lunch. We were all feeling a bit chilled so having a warm building for lunch was terrific. After lunch, we did an out-and-back on Mountain Road and finished off on East Crystal Line. The tracks were in good condition, but with the cold temperature, the glide was poor. Our V20 worked well all day. It was a relatively short ski but well worth the trip.

  22. YOHO VALLEY ROAD – Nov 29

    Tracksetting did not bring many skiers out today.
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAi0y_RvIBQIqSd0Gd?e=g91XYV
    I wasn’t the only one with ice whiskers by the end of the day!

  23. BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

    CASCADE RIVER TO STONEY WARDEN CABIN

    Starting from the parking lot, the paved road is thin with about 7 cm of semi dense snow. No base. Poles hit the pavement everywhere but the skis did not hit the road. Fair skiing on the road. It would be a good idea for Parks to roller groom the road before wind blows the snow off.

    Once one gets off the road there is about 15 cm of snow in the field. The bottom 7 cm is a fairly dense base- somewhat of a crusty base with about 8 cm of newer snow on top. Once a skier gets on the old Cascade Road, there is about 20 to 25 cm of snow. From the paved road to the Cascade River Bridge the skiing is generally very good skier tracked skiing. I did not hit any rocks in this section at night.

    From the Cascade Bridge at CR 6, to the Stoney Creek Warden Cabin, the skiing is generally very good skier tracked skiing. Moderate snow speed. No rocks were hit coming out at night. Temperature at the cabin after dark was -14c. Green Swix wax worked well.

    If Parks roller grooms the trail there will be good skiing. With 7 cm of new snow on top, skiing will generally be excellent.

  24. West Bragg Creek
    Four of us took advantage of all the fluffy snow at West Bragg Creek to do a tour of more single-track trails that are normally busy with snowshoers, fat-bikers and hikers. Today, they were great for skiing.
    We started up Snowshoe Hare and continued up DemiTel, which had been roller-packed full width. Then down Reconnect and lower Merlin View, which had been machine packed for fat-biking. And then we followed Moose Singletrack, which approximately parallels Moose Loop XC trail, to Tom Snow Junction. Then we returned on Moose Singletrack and descended Old Shell Road to Snowy Owl, back to the parking lot. https://photos.app.goo.gl/4jR2WZUU1dSXUdT49
    So, for the coming weekend, you have your choice of amazing XC skiing on the regular groomed trails… or a backcountry touring adventure on any of the other trails.

  25. Lake Louise was definitely cold as a bugger today! It looked like a couple cm of powder in the skating lane but the tracks were fine. (Well, some disrespectful hooved animal did some walking through them in places but it was perfectly skiable). It was fun to see the dog sleds running today on Great Divide trail!

  26. Thu nov 28: WBC.
    Cruised CCW on west crystal line, loggers, elbow, iron springs and east crystal line. -14 in the lot to start at noon, and seemed like it stayed that way all day. Nice refresh of the trail system. Seemed like less snow on our southernmost portion and tracks a bit soft and slow. Should firm up fine for tomorrow. One thinish/icy bit on iron springs under the culprit trees. A fine day in Christmas postcard snow. Roads were fine, although several vehicles, including a school bus and a bobcat, ventured too far into the deeper shoulders.

    • Did pretty much the same loop as MaSid later in the afternoon, minus East Crystal, and would concur about the soft tracks making for slow glide, and some unsteady “whoa!”moments as a gliding ski would sink through the bottom of the track into even softer snow. Should firm up by tomorrow. Awesome conditions nonetheless! Was a bit disappointed to find the south Elbow-Iron loop to be ungroomed. As I understand it- AB Parks is responsible for grooming those trails. The best skiing was on the Iron Creek spur that leaves Iron Springs at “the corner”. The track there was more solid and absolutely pristine. Highly recommended as a quick out and back side trip:
      https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/SkiPix19-20/i-mSzPrqs/A

      • I ran into MaSid near the end of my tour around WBC. I did Logger’s, Mountain View east/west, the south branch of Moose and Hostel loop. The coverage is amazing. Even the hill coming out of Moose Meadows south branch is hazard free.

  27. This will remain one of Meanderthal’s more memorable outings. 9 of us started out on Lower Tramline in -24 this morning. One car in parking lot by time we reached MLR. Decided with “iffy” conditions on Fairview, we would attempt to see how far we could get, and got to Paradise turnoff. But after a couple of fairly deep dippity-do-dahs, Bill McK. said that was enough for him. His ski snapped in half just in front of the binding, so 2/3rds of us went back to MLR (most of us walking back down) to perform “duck tape” CPR on his Fischer ski. It did not hold up well due to where the ski broke, so he walked/ran back down to the parking lot where two empty cars were parked. After trying to get many vehicles to stop, so that Bill could get a ride into the Village, a lovey young woman in a pick up truck came to Bill’s rescue. Thank you young lady!!! 3 ventured bravely on through entire Fairview and then enjoyed the ski all the way back down Tramline. Fairview would not be recommended at this time by our group although it had a fun back country feel to it. Laggins lunch at 1pm much enjoyed sharing a box of their superb varied day olds over coffee.

  28. We had some fun snow harvesting last night at the confederation golf course:

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/e4taN73KPaCHHYpf9

    • We’re always looking for new snow farming volunteers at Confederation Park. Please consider signing up here https://volunteersignup.org/EAXWL
      Snow farming is essential to preserve the limited amounts of snow we receive in Calgary, and to protect against Chinooks. If you enjoy skiing at Confederation Park, or you just enjoy shovelling snow then please sign up. This year we are again holding regular Wednesday evening snow farming sessions, in addition to other sessions dependent on snowfall.

  29. West Bragg Creek
    The snow hasn’t stopped falling at West Bragg Creek, but about 40 cm has fallen since Monday. The groomers were out packing and re-packing the trails, but the snow kept coming down. A few trails got track set by evening. The packed snow should firm up overnight and more track-setting will happen tomorrow.
    I did a nice “first-tracks” tour of the Watershed Interpretive Trail and Snowshoe Hare. At DemiTel junction we were pleased to see that the next portion of Snowshoe Hare and DemiTel had been roller-packed all the way up to Long Distance/Reconnect junction. This is not a ski trail, but it does get packed to make a base for fat-biking, snowshoeing and hiking. https://photos.app.goo.gl/UH4LDsPEpE4XMDZt5

    Starting on Sept 28, there have been a series of big snowfalls at West Bragg Creek, for a total of 160 cm. Of course, there have been Chinooks between the snow events, which melted a lot of it. Still, that’s a lot of snow!

  30. Great Divide had great winter conditions today .-15, no wind. Track sets still very good. Dog sledding had also started.

  31. Confederation golf course was nearly all snow-covered this evening, just a few wind-blown bare patches to watch out for.

  32. I spent a very enjoyable 2 hours this afternoon on an urban adventure, skiing from home in Silver Springs and back via a route taking in the Birthplace Forest, Bowmont Park and the new Dale Hodges Park. Along the way, I broke my own trail in silky new snow over a fast crust, bumped along well trodden dog walker paths, and followed nice skier set tracks from others with the same idea who had been out earlier. You don’t always need to drive to go skiing! Follow my ski tips below:
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/CitySkiTour-November27-2019/

  33. Our last opportunity to ski into Pocaterra’s back door today. Maybe 1-2 cms in previous excellent skier set tracks. No fresh skier tracks seen anywhere today. A slow 15 kms ski to BC border sign in -17 as we did not get much glide using VR 40 and vintage green. The cookies were in the “Tyrwhitt freezer” all day but did not see a grooming soul to give them to.

  34. Where would I find trail conditions for Shark and Chester? I believe Shark is dog friendly and want to confirm before I head out. Thanks and love this site 🙂

  35. MLR Wednesday Nov 27 13:00

    -15°C. 2cm new snow last night; no recent grooming; classic tracks looked excellent; I was skate skiing which was also good but first couple of km’s kinda messed by footprints ( as usual).

  36. Canmore Nordic Centre Nov. 26
    Most of the outer trails have been roller packed before the current snow fall. Access is difficult due to ongoing snowmaking on the Banff Trail and Olympic. Lots of rocks in spots underneath the soft snow. Decent rock skiing if you can get out there.

  37. West Bragg Creek
    It was a powder day at West Bragg Creek. By late afternoon, about 25cm of light, fluffy snow had fallen and it was all a winter wonderland. We took advantage of the untracked snow to ski trails that are usually busy with snowshoers, fat-bikers, hikers and trail runners. The tour included Snowy Owl, Strange Brew, Elbow, Sundog and Ranger Summit. https://photos.app.goo.gl/q2tgPKeHVWc5Zzz79
    The ski trails were being roller-packed all day by the grooming team. With this amount of snow, on a great base and below zero temperatures, ski conditions should be great for at least 2 weeks.

  38. BOULDER PASS – Nov 26

    Enjoy these magnificent snow conditions, before snowmobiles hard pack it in preparation for opening Skoki.
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAiz3hHo6c_Ja-3X0J?e=Xw4Ixa
    Great consistent snow pack, but bring downhill or backcountry poles!

  39. I will go wherever fresh snow is happening and today that was to CNC (Nordic Centre). While they are fully engaged in perfecting the snow for the Calforex Races starting this coming w/e, they promise to work on recreational trails next week. I did several circuits of the lower and upper trails above and below the Stadium, but did not venture as far as Meadowview which should be perfect with the fresh powder atop of the roller packed base. I love the Nordic Centre when it has fresh snow and a back country feel to it.
    p.s. I can almost hear and envision the track-setter working on Elk Pass this afternoon.

  40. Turner Valley GC. A backcountry slog in town around a very picturesque golf course as my little car couldn’t make it to Sandy McNabb. 50cm of fresh snow there! so I expect points west to be get some of the nice fine and very packable white stuff.

  41. BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

    AKAMINA PARKWAY CLOSED YET AGAIN

    This is a real skiing buzz breaker. Parks shut down the road for this winter to some of the best easy access backcountry skiing in Alberta. The Parkway was open in the summer. The Akamina Pass usually has the best snow early in the season. I have seen many years with 150cm of snow on the ground just after Christmas. Federal cutbacks to the Park are not good for the winter tourism industry. Alberta needs all the economic tourism benefits it can get right now, in light of the oil bust.

    • Would it not have to do with the recent burn scar and enhanced avi risk on that Hwy?¿ …or maybe it’s just such marginal ‘ski-tourism’ that it doesn’t justify plowing costs (don’t think reasons relate to habitat as they do in other valleys). Anybody know definitively?

  42. MLR, Fairview, Upper Tramway- Nov 25
    MLR and Tramway were groomed on the weekend. The snow conditions are great. Fairview has not been groomed (at least not recently). That makes the skiing there more like easy back country. The trail is skier / snow shoe set. Coming down to MLR on Fairview would be a bit challenging but going up that way and down to the hotel is reasonably easy.

  43. Great Divide-Upper and Lower Tramlines-BowRiver (North)-Village
    A big improvement in snow conditions from Friday. The new snow gave the groomers something to work with. Single tracksetting from top to bottom on the Tramline;beautiful corduroy grooming on the north side of the Bow River.

  44. KICKING HORSE TRAIL – Nov 25

    Another great option is available now in Yoho!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAiykkYRv4BJbcHKLR?e=nrKgD3
    Joe will surely be track setting this soon

  45. Canmore Nordic Center Update

    Got out for a short ski at CNC yesterday to check on snow making and grooming progress. Frozen Thunder continues to be in good shape, and in addition the Stadium and quite a few of the lower competition trails above the stadium are in good shape now for skating and classic. Several people were out on classic skis exploring skier-set tracks extending away from the groomed areas, but I was on skate skis and stayed on the groomed trails. There is snow making equipment on Banff Trail now, so hopefully that will be available soon with cooler temperatures and snow forecast this week.

  46. Moraine Lake Road to the avalanche zone sign

    For the second weekend in the row, Lake Louise provides the best conditions for skiing of the entire Bow Valley.

    It was a quiet day there today, less skiers than usual, still the MLR parking lot still couldn’t fit all cars.

    We skied from 11am to 2pm in newly set tracks. It was -3C and hardly any now snow was falling despite the predicted “10-15cm throughout the day”. People in our group used 3 different waxes with temperatures 0..-2C, 0..-4C, -1..-5C, and everyone seemed happy with their choice.

  47. GREAT DIVIDE – Nov 24

    Lovely quiet snow, with new tracksetting!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAixxxw2IzPiKxask8?e=kgrbcA
    and no avalanche risk on this trail.

  48. Back Door to Kananaskis Lookout and Elk Pass: Thanks to yesterday’s great trip and grooming reports from PLPP we checked out the backdoor approach today! -2C in the parkinglot at 10am, 5cm fresh, light snow, skier track to Pocaterra Trail. We opted for skate skiing, since we knew that there is no classic tracksetting yet. It was a fun workout skiing up to the lookout in untracked snow. And also fun practising turns skiing back down. Some more work to reach windy Elk Pass! Didn’t see any grooming on the trails today! Happy skiers were returning from Elk Lakes Cabin. Our return ski on Tyrwhit was a bit more tiring. A great day out in fresh snow!

    • PLPP Back Door to Elk Pass
      Here are some photos to add to Ulrike’s report. The conditions were very nice at the south end of the PLPP trails. I measured 7 cm of new snow at the “Back Door”/Pocaterra junction and 11cm of new snow at Elk Pass. The new snow on the recent roller-packing was an absolute pleasure to ski. I just love the soft, silky silence of skiing on a light layer of fluffy new snow. https://photos.app.goo.gl/QxjdvXuDny3JWZVJ9

    • Ulrike- I must admit to being a bit disappointed to not get first tracks, but great job skating all the way up Lookout in the new snow, and on the turns on skating skis back down! I was the skier that you encountered partway into your descent, and later on also, as you were going back up Tyrwhitt and I was heading for Elk Pass- like you I opted not to continue down the south side from the top due to the lack of a groomed base. It would have been a slog. The skier tracked classic skiing was actually really good. I had brought the waxless skis in case of warm snow, but found that VR45 worked perfectly.
      https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/Fire-Lookout-November24/

      • Hi Steve – nice to meet you on the trails. I have been reading your adventurous trip reports on this website.
        Agree, classic skiing would have been nice, especially less tiring in the new snow. However, my hubby prefers skate over classic technique when there are wobbly, skier-set tracks! Hope you still had fun coming down, despite the turns and skate imprints! Awesome snow!

  49. MLR to Moraine Lake
    Another great ski on MLR. Five of us started at 10am to -4C (had to park on the road as the little MLR parking lot was full) . Tracks are well used but still decent, especially after about 4km. VR40 and VR45 worked well. When we got to the end of the grooming (about 9km), we continued on excellent skier-set tracks down to Moraine Lake (another 3km). 200m of this trail section passes through an avalanche chute, but its generally quite safe at this time of year. Several other skiers at Moraine Lake. On the return trip, we had great glide coming down the hills. -1C when we got back to the cars at 2:30pm. Should be great conditions again tomorrow.

    • We checked the Avalanche Canada website this morning and found a report of favorable conditions before venturing across this avalanche path. Lots of other skiers did the same ski extension. I hope they understand the backcountry risks.

  50. We’re Carole & Jamie
    and we love to ski
    Back door, Hwy 40
    Provided some glee!

    No wind at Elk Pass
    Met Bob at the Junction
    Patterson was fast
    With a bit of caution

    Seventeen other skiers
    All of them keeners
    Boy of 10, mommy & daddy
    Alex & Allie, Janice & Charlie

    Overcast
    Still a blast
    Snow conditions…
    Near Perfection!

    • Nice to see you guys on the trail and happy to see someone else using poetry to write their trip report. ?

    • Nice meeting you on the trails. I was the mom with the 10 year old. We made it all the way down to the Elk Pass trailhead. Child loved the big hills down!

  51. PLPP Back door to Elk Pass via Tyrwhitt and down to the Elk Pass parking lot. Sent my husband back for the car at the pass and he picked us up at the bottom.
    Always fun starting higher and ending lower down.
    The trails were fabulous and we didn’t see a single rock.
    Elk Pass descent was fun and the steep hills were in great shape.
    We had waxless skis. Temperature was around 0. Snow was soft and a bit slow, but not icy at all. Delightful skiing overall.
    My son loved all the rollers and bumps on Tyrwhitt.

  52. West Bragg- Chrystal Line loop. Early morning skate this am. Arrived as the sun was coming up, fairly clean trails but hard bordering on icy. In sunnier spots snow was slightly softer and perfect. Some exposed areas near the edges. With the warm weather today I’m sure those exposed areas will grow and snow may become more icy. Wonderful quick, quiet early morning ski.

  53. Sat nov 23: pocaterra/tyrwhitt.
    8 degrees on highway 1 en route, just hitting -1 at the Hwy 40 pkg lot at 8. Soft and slowish until past lookout junction and up into tyrwhitt meadows proper where it was cooler. Mostly cloud and light graupel on and off. Wandered off trail from the tyrwhitt table and found 16″ of snow in the area. Slow descent going back down from tyrwhitt due to warm snow, but made the bumps easier. Ventured part way up lookout to see what it was like. Good and smooth grooming with a couple walker footprints. Slow descent with moist snow. More walking traffic towards the car from a group accessing mt Roberta. Parking lot full and spilling onto road when I got back. Only takes about 8 cars at a squeeze. It’ll be icy if it gets a good freeze tonight, or at least by Monday and will need more snow.

  54. James and had a quiet ski on the 1A at 9 am this morning, until we spooked a grizzly bear who was walking towards us at east side of Ross Lake Trail sign.
    Track was fine powder with a bit of blown in snow, especially at Lake O’Hara end.

    • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

      Hope you did not spook the Griz to bad! This is the Nature of Things.

      You are one of the lucky few rare people to see a friendly Griz at this time of year. Got to love such nature on skis.

  55. High Rockies Trail Nov 22. Skied from parking spot past Goat creek parking lot. Hill down to Spray Creek has thin coverage with ice underneath. We put our skis on after the bridge and skied the upper trail. Coverage is thin but surprisingly supportive. No land sharks found. A snow machine has run the trails giving a good base. We skied with lt touring skis Rode purple multi grade ( VR 45ish) wax. A bit of foot traffic and snowshoes. Conditions were fast. We skied past the middle junction and partway up the upper trail. Returned the same way. Walked down the last pitch towards the creek and back up to the car.

  56. Great Divide-Lower Telemark-Tramline-Chateau-Fairview-Moraine Lake Road (MLR)-Lower Tramline-Bow River (North)-Village
    The Lower Telemark has received a little more traffic since last time including snow shoers. The trail has vegetation sticking out of it but otherwise is skiable. The snowmobile has made quite a wide path. Hazards are the under lying creeks which create ruts. Fairview has had a lot more traffic especially snow-shoers and quasi-snow shoers (hikers). The trail shows evidence of post-holing where the trail traverses a stream. The trail became especially nice past the first major descent(where it forks) where a group of only snow shoers created a pristine flat trail. The trail is becoming undulating and a fresh breath of snow would be a timely addition. The Lower Tramline was beautiful from MLR until the road. After that it became progressively icier and hard packed creating a skier beware situation. There has been leafy debris after the bridge that crosses Louise Creek for the past couple of days. The descent that overlooks the road and the Village was hard packed and fast. There has been track setting all the way down but take caution with your speed. The north side of the Bow River was skier tracked with some texture over a hard base. Again some new snow would be nice.

  57. Elk Pass – Made a dash through the Pocaterra back-door to Couch HQ for some site compaction today. The inextricably sticky cloud of Elk Pass stayed all day, slowing wrapping its fingers around Lookout hill. Temps were kept to -6 to -2 under this perennial parasol. Roller packing took place on Tyrwhitt and Lookout while we were off trail, so it was an easy return. Also, no Tyrwhitt-twigs to deal with because the brush was cut this summer. Meadow travel pretty easy for this time of year with a fairly supportive thermal/sun crust down 10cm. Pocaterra Hut has a new gas fireplace – the flame looks dismal initially, but it does indeed warm up and start to feel just like the old one after a while. Saw only Skier Bob and a cheerful groomer out there. His shovelling handy-work was apparent in those creek draws and tricky bits, so it looks like tracksetting is only one more good snowfall away.

  58. YOHO ROAD to TAKAKKAW FALLS – Nov 22

    Another great choice is now available.
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAiwyjhsXbVEoCDmVP?e=1RZBcW
    Lots of snow and skier tracked all the way!

  59. BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

    REDEARTH CREEK- SHADOW LAKE LODGE+

    Thursday afternoon.

    The first 800 metres of the trail from the parking lot is pretty thin with little base snow. Expect to hit significant rocks coming down the first 2 hills. This section of the trail is fairly poor to fair skiing. Once a person gets above the first hill or 2, conditions improve to fair to good skiing. At this point, there is a dense crusty layer which protects the skis from hitting rocks. It is skier tracked skiing. With 15 cm of more snow and some grooming, the skiing should be good.

    From RE 6 campground to the Shadow Lake turn-off, the skiing is good to very good with 15cm to 20cm of snow. The lower 10 cm of snow is fairly dense and crusty.

    From the Shadow Lake Trail junction to Shadow Lake Lodge and beyond the skiing is fair to good. Expect to hit some rocks on the hills. The hill is skier packed.

    Beyond Shadow Lake Lodge the skiing fair. There are lots of willows. There is a snow pack of about 22 cm.

    Skied out at night to the twinkling stars. -2 c at the Lodge at night.

  60. One was hard pressed to find a cloud in the sky today. Had trip planned with Meanderthals to ski in from “back door” of Pocaterra as described by JR yesterday. Our Meanderthal JR in currently 14,000 miles away in S. Africa but we appreciated hearing from Trip Reporter JR that parking lot had been cleared. Ten of us skied in to Pocaterra junction and headed north DOWN to junction with Lynx. Snow definitely thinned but fair to good; and perfect snow heading south further up Pocaterra between Packers and Whiskey Jack. We did not ski further but am anxious to hear how trail beyond Lookout and into Tyrwhitt was. Great to see groomers starting to pack these trails. I had cookies for them but did not see any groomers since they did their work last night.

    • We copied JR’s route today, it was groomed up to the junction of Lookout and Tyrwhitt, beyond that we followed JR’s track. We went beyond the meadow and broke our own trail until a clearing that had a picnic table where we stopped for lunch and then turned around. Skiing Tyrwhitt was glorious, there are a few tiny creeks that one must negotiate, but if you stay to the side where there is heavier snow, it is perfectly fine. Thanks to JR for the report and for the trail breaking, we had a fantastic day.

  61. MORAINE LAKE ROAD – November 21
    MLR is still fantastic! The snow and tracks are holding up well and the tracks are faster than yesterday. We were leaning into the corners to stay in the track. It started out at minus 12 and the turnaround was minus 4 in brilliant sunshine. Darlene used V30 and Ian used V40. Both worked well.

  62. Thu nov 21: WBC again
    -7 to start at 10am. Just above zero on return at 1. Did some loops along the crystal lines and loggers. Cold snow and faster than yesterday. Some occasional ice but all manageable. Then out moose connector to the first picnic table in the sun on moose. Getting thin on the short steep uphill. Wandered past the picnic table for a bit in the sun but snow was sticky so back I went. Shady core trails should stay cool for another day, but expect some glazed areas.

    • I skied 11 k on a meandering core trails route afterwork at dusk today. Zero when I started, minus 2 as I wrapped at dark. Some glazing, but conditions remain very good. Easy waxing with Start purple which worked great. Fast fun skiing!

    • Just adding to MaSid and Steve’s comments, conditions remained quite good at West Bragg Creek today. Snow was good enough to allow for some off-track touring in the Tom Snow trail area.
      https://photos.app.goo.gl/qkuAYNXgyA1cPSDn7

    • Do we get a couch at West Bragg this year?

      • Unfortunately the weather isn’t so conducive. It’d go through too much melting and would take a lot of work to keep in shape, unless I put it in a shady spot, which Isn’t a preferred option. Also not usually enough snow to make blocks with. Luckily there’s lots of seating options throughout the trail system. Should get couch central up and running in December.

  63. Maple Ridge golf course
    Yesterday afternoon there was plenty of snow up top on the golf course. No grooming. Gorgeous day!

  64. West Bragg Creek
    Yesterdays snowfall of 10-17 cm brought the West Bragg Creek ski season back to life, after several days of Chinook melting. All trails have been roller packed and most of them have been track-set. Our loop today included Mountain View, Moose Loop, Loggers and the Crystal Lines.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/LRebzHVPHwVJ5Cee6
    I guess we’ll see what the +5C temperatures will do to the conditions in the days to come.

  65. Fine skiing at WBC. Started at 2:30 and skied Mountain Road, Moose connector, West Crystalline, Sundog and East Crystalline, plus a quick skate out and back on Mountain Road.

    Coverage was great, with just one small bit of nasty ice (must have been awful before the snowfall) showing through on Sundog. Waxed with VR45 with mixed success – not quite enough grip in the tracks which were glazed but a bit too sticky out of tracks.

    It looked like Iron Springs had tracksetting as well. Conditions should be great tomorrow morning.

    And yes, donate! It is amazing that WBC is groomed by volunteers – they should be drawing a salary for the work they do.

    • Great Day at wbc indeed. Picturesque, soft but glistening conditions on most trails -core ones best of course. Word to the wise, however, is my recommendation to roll/groom but not track set Hostel loop this early as snow pack was way too thin there with typical rough subsurface -spent most of time out of track and rock & twig picking which is fine as so scenic anyway. Keep that drop box stuffed people!

  66. Nov 20-WBC
    Thank you to the volunteer groomers for making today a very good ski day.
    I started at 1pm and had very good glide. My wax worked very well. It was SO nice to be out xsking again. Just a side note to all the trail users-remember to stop by theirdonation box and from time to time to drop a few coins

  67. Peter Lougheed Prov. Park – Pocaterra & Tyrwhitt
    NOV. 20 – Took advantage of Highway 40 still being open past the winter barricade (last day until closure is Nov. 30) and accessed upper Pocaterra Trail and Tyrwhitt Meadows
    The small parking lot, which is located approx. 8 kms south of the barricade on the right-hand side, was nicely plowed, but empty.
    When Highway 40 is still open past the barricade, it provides a golden opportunity for skiers to drive to the upper alpine areas where the snow is much deeper and drier.
    With 8 cms new snow in the parking lot and 20 cms at Tyrwhitt – the skiing was a little slower than usual as we broke trail and headed up towards Tyrwhitt Meadows. Both Pocaterra and Tyrwhitt trails had been roller packed a week ago, so there was still a firm base for pole planting and striding.
    We did not see a single skier, or ski track, all day. There was tons of snow, not a twig or rock to be seen.
    Glorious sunshine, blue skies, incredible views, and plenty of “sparkling diamond” like snow at the meadows.
    The trip back down to the parking lot was much quicker with the elevation decline and with the benefit of our own ski tracks to follow.
    Go get it while you can. It was delightful.

  68. It was a picture-perfect blue sky morning! I didn’t have a lot of time this morning, but wanted to get out anyway. I skied about 2.5km up the Telephone Loop at West Bragg Creek. It had been groomed, but not trackset. The snow was soft, which meant deep cuts in the trail when fishtailing up a hill, making for sometimes difficult descents on those portions if you’re trying to slow your pace. My skis got caught in the ruts a few times, and I got more practice getting up on skis than I might have wanted today ?????. But still amazing early-season conditions! A few spots were a little thin, and my poles definitely contacted the ice under the fresh snow, but most of the almost 5km I skied was really good!

  69. Wed nov 20: WBC/moose/Mountainview
    -4 to start at noon. Things seemed soft to start. Moose has a hard base felt with the pole and just enough snow to keep it going. Snow didn’t seem to be bonding well with the hard base. Hills might get scraped quickly. Excellent travel off trail through the meadows in dry powder over a firm frozen snow base. Mesmerized temporarily by the ski tips plowing along like a canoe bow on a flat as glass lake. Better track base on mountain view and the crystal lines than moose. Still a very pleasant day out in sun and light cool winds. Spotted Alf at the last second as I passed and was reminded of all the new additional pic nic tables. Thanks Alf!

  70. MLR – It was -14C when we started at 10:15 a.m. and -8 at 1:30 p.m. A lovely ski on nice trackset, thanks to the hard work of the groomers! It was quiet going up to the turnaround, but skiing back down we saw lots of skiers making their way up. Great to see Chuck and Jeanette and the Meanderthals too. A blue-sky day, fast tracks and fantastic views.

  71. MORAINE LAKE ROAD – November 20

    “Fantastic” as Don C. predicted!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAinpQM1tt4XBfp57M?e=ig6cYU
    Excellent highway conditions, and the recent construction work is finished.

  72. Canmore Park – 1pm to 2pm
    No action yet as far as I could see in the Confederation Golf Course, but there are lots of skier set tracks throughout Canmore Park, we managed 4 laps not sking the same loop twice. Rock skis with blue/purple wax worked fine.

  73. November 19 – Great Divide – Lower Telemark – Tramline
    The Lower Telemark from the Lake O’Hara side was a pleasant surprise as it had been snowmobile packed the whole way. On top of this there were about 4 centimeters of fresh snow which in general, covered the hard packing underneath.. There has been little skier traffic. The trail has open water along it at a few points.

  74. The Shell Oiltimers enjoyed excellent conditions on MLR today. The fresh snow from last night was groomed by Parks Canada in the center for the skate skiers and then fresh tracks were laid down for the classic folks. Temperatures were around -1 C and cloudy all day with no melting so tomorrow should be fantastic.

    • Also skied MLR today and added Lower Tramline and Bow Valley trails.
      Tramline was groomed only and very rough with lots of ruts. Slow glide with new snow, so not a pleasant trip down. Bow River needs work as noted by Ian and Darlene Look for better conditions tomorrow.

  75. Great Divide to O’Hara end where I FOUND a lovely MEC polartec dark blue with black venting hat/beanie. I tucked it right under the big blue X-C skier sign at O’Hara end. Conditions excellent from 11-3 (stayed minus 1) but some found sticking around the big hill around noontime. Groomers came around 2:30 so skate skiers can enjoy conditions there tomorrow as pristine corduroy was being laid, and new tracks. Likely they got 3-4 cms. enough to cover needles and most of leaves from yesterday’s ski there.

  76. nice ski at wbc this morning
    temp -1
    lightly fall snow w 4 to 6 cm accumulation at noon
    trail packing getting started at 2pm
    first tried the skin skis but considerable accumulation underfoot
    zero skis excellent
    encountered : 3 fat bikers, 2 skiers, 5 dogs and 1 moose and 0 horses in 17 km.
    everybody was enthusiastic and smiling
    should be fantastic again tomorrow

  77. Moraine Lake Road. Four of us went to the MLR turnaround point and then returned to the village via Lower Tramline and Bow River trail. The MLR trail was in very good condition with 1 to 3 cm of fairly dry snow overnight. Temperature was several degrees below zero with an overcast sky. Three of us were concerned about potential daytime heating and used fishscales. This heating did not materialize and one of the party did fine using V40. Lower tramline was in good condition with the exception of water dropping on the trail from tree branches. Bow River was in poor condition with substantial water from trees freezing on contact with the packed snow. A very enjoyable warm outing.

  78. Chateau Lake Louise-Fairview- Moraine Lake Road- Tramline- Village & Peyto
    Conditions on Fairview had improved dramatically from the first time I did this trail. Despite this my companions abandoned the trail preferring the track setting of the Tramline. Consider this when you are reading this report. The trail is wider now, probably from the snow shoers that have used this trail and the odd skier. The trail received about 5 cm of new snow that had not been tracked. The trail still has open waters and the two trees that cross the trail are still there. The first major descent (where it forks briefly) has received much more traffic and a good skier could probably shoosh it. The steep descent a half kilometer from Moraine Lake Road(MLR) has had a lot of traffic on it. Once again I tried Peyto from Deer Lodge and managed to get as far as the stables before turning back. The Tramline is good but is icey at the bottom. On the south side of the river, the CPR,close to the Village, is doing major work but it is possible to work ones way over to Samson Mall. The south side is deteriorating as well.

  79. Hi Tom, I wanted to provide some insight in the hopes of making your next encounter with a horse in West Bragg a better one.

    Since the establishment of trails in West Bragg, the mountain road has been formally designated for horse use. Only recently has this changed operationally but the road is still a road and the formal designation is still for horse use. You can see how this can be confusing since the road is groomed for skiers, which is why there is a lot of effort being expended to figure out a way to separate these 2 user groups in the most congested parts of the mountain road.

    You might have noticed that for the majority of the first stretch of the mountain road, horses, bikes and snow shoers are now being directed to an alternative trail to the south, beside the mountain road. There is currently one problem spot in the first km where beavers have flooded the lowlands by the creek and an alternative route has horses temporarily coming back up to the road.

    If you meet a horse rider at this or other locations, one way to avoid a similar situation to the one you experienced is to pause and say hi to a horse rider. This courtesy usually results in a very amenable experience. If a horse is nervous about the sound of your skis or the speed at which you are travelling, your stopping and saying hi can bring the energy down significantly. Horse riders should, and I suspect will be equally as courteous and stop to say hi to you.

    Some skiers might feel disgruntled by the notion that stopping for a horse is the best option. You only have to pause for a moment and your encounter will be over as quickly as it began with both parties the happier for it.
    One thing to note Tom is that the mountain road is really the only place where you are likely to encounter horses as the other ski trails are recommended skiers only.

    In the 30+ years of riding my horse, riding my bike, skiing and hiking in West Bragg, the vast majority of my encounters with other users have been very hospitable. I think extending a common courtesy to other users always makes the encounter more enjoyable and reduces any potential for conflict.
    As much as sites like this one can be venues for expressing anger, I think that it is important to recognize my experience and the experiences of others enjoying the West Bragg ski trails.

    Tom, I hope your next ski is an enjoyable one. Please consider trying the approach I have recommended here. I think that if you have another encounter with a horse rider, the results will be much more positive.

  80. Started out by checking Yoho Valley Road and turned around after 2 kms. It was like skiing in perfect “snowman making tracks”. Temp was zero at 10:20. Noticed a lot of construction activity at O’Hara entrance so decided to park at conventional lot to ski Great Divide. It was +2 by the time I started and there was evidence of tree debris and lots of leaves and needles in sections of the trail after last nights huge winds, but otherwise it was in very good condition. Doubt they will groom it until new snow buries that tree beard stuff-maybe the trees are celebrating MOVember. Skied to the top of the big hill trying out my new waxless Rossignols and was very happy with them today. Parking lot was reasonably full but maybe only 4-5 cars by the time I was done at 1:30. Am praying for a BIG DUMP to land in PLPP. I guess I should not have voted for the groomers to work during Grey Cup this Sunday, the 24th.

    • Thanks for checking out the Yoho Valley Road and the update on warmer snow conditions on the Great Divide.
      Looking forward to the BIG DUMP

  81. A belated update on Divide. Got to the Lake Ohara end about 1:30 yesterday in a hard wet snow squall. Blue wax was clumping horribly but a switch to scales worked fine. Skin skis reported to be working well too.Very nice if you didn’t mind a bit of rain , pellets, and wet snow with a few big wind gusts. Overnight snow and snow predicted for tomorrow should make it good this week.

  82. Boom Lake, Nov 17
    An early season tour to Boom Lake today included a range of weather. It was just below 0C starting out, we skied through a cloud layer and into sunshine for a while, then had lunch at the lake in a snow storm. After that, it warmed up enough to make the snow soft and sticky. Snow coverage was good, right from the parking lot and the only rocks sticking out were in the last 50 metres to the lake shore. Nice to see that some work had been done to improve the drainage and the tread!

  83. Lake Louise Tramline Trail, Great Divide:
    We started at the train station around 10:30am in -1C. 2-3 cm fresh snow, skier tracked trail up the Tramline on wax skis and purple Multigrade. Grip was somewhat challenging. Met 2 Parks groomers on their skidoos when we crossed the road. Continued on Tramline to the lake following a skier track above the second parking lot that lead to the trail junction that heads to Fairview Lookout. From the lake, we headed back down to the Tramline to connect to the Divide Trail. The parking lot was very full. Great tracks, and fun double poling. A strong wind came from the Lake O’Hara end. We turned around at the Divide as we knew that going back up would be quite some work. Wet snow started to come down heavily. My wax wasn’t working as well as my husband’s anymore, so I reverted to skate skiing for the last gentle uphills. Skiing down the Tramline Trail back to the village was good, however slower in the wet snow. We didn’t hit any rocks. A fun day in springlike conditions.

  84. Lake Louise Great Divide Trail:
    Wow! What a beautiful warm day! We skated from the Lake Louise end to Lake O’Hara lot then back this morning. Starting at 830am we were the 2nd car in the lot and -1 degree, light snow. There was a couple fresh centimetres of snow on the trail making for a bit of a slower skate ski but amazing nonetheless. About 1/2 way to Lake O’Hara the groomers came by packing down the fresh snow some more. Made it to Lake O’Hara before the rest of the skiers appeared and boy did they appear! Many out enjoying the beautiful weather and the fantastic trail conditions. Not sure how the weather was for classic but did see a number of skiers stopping and waxing mid ski…incredible groomed trail condition right now!

  85. I am a skier and mtn biker, but I have to agree with the horse riders in this instance. The long-established cut off-date for equestrian use is December 1st. Why should it change at the whim of the skier group at the expense of the equestrian group? The owner of this facility is the Government of Alberta, managed by Alberta Environment and Parks. It is not a private club. I suggest people go to the Canmore Nordic Centre if they want pristine horse free facilities.

    I cannot help but notice there seems to be a focused effort by the West Bragg association staff to discredit, and I believe deliberately chase the equestrians out. It is a propaganda program trying to discredit the less organized equestrian users, and it is wrong. Groomer Bill’s comment is a classic example whereby the grooming staff, with a user group bias, are using a public platform to discredit and smear equestrians who are entirely within their government sanctioned rights to be on West Crystal before December 1st, and all the multi-use trails year round for that matter. They change the dates (on whose authority I might ask?), have poor communication about the change to users, and then blame and smear the horse riders who are being set up for conflict with other users. The unfortunate thing is that other non-equestrian users become emboldened to attack the equestrian users, which I have been witness to on a few occasions unfortunately. Each time the horse riders were been in the right, but the skiers and mountain bikers somehow got it in their head that horses were not allowed on the multi-use trails at all.

    Another thing, most equestrians are women and their attackers, men… 100% of the time in my personal experience. The women have been bullied and intimidated both verbally and physically for exercising and defending their right to ride horses in West Bragg. The sad thing is, the WBC association and operations staff seem to be involved in a couple these extreme incidents frequently. A couple of incidents recounted to me are truly unfortunate, wherein a couple young women were berated so aggressively by a skier in one instance and a groomer in another – to the to the point of real tears; and I can imagine physical fear of these men; all for riding where they are 100% entitled to be. Poor communication and poor signage is an issue in West Bragg.

    I feel sympathetic towards the equestrians, and sad because it is a part of our western heritage and needs to be preserved as a native recreation for Albertans. West Bragg Creek is intended for all users and it is the job of the association to carry out that mandate, issued by the government; rather than trying to effectively privatize West Bragg for their own user group and subsidized by taxpayers.

    • My response would be that horses do a disproportionate amount of damage to trails , Summer and Winter , compared to other trail users. I rode the Three Point Mountain trail on my mountain bike this summer, I had planned to do the whole Forgetmenot rounder (exiting via Wildhorse trail) this fall but I note that , on Trailforks at least, the Three Point Mountain trail is now designated as equestrian only – no mountain bikes allowed. I call BS on this one.

    • The fact that we have as skiers, exclusive use of a network of trails on public land for a period of time is totally unique and something to be thankful for. Discouraging other users from using these public lands during times in which they are permitted will only lead to further conflict. We should be appreciative of our privilege to be in these spaces, as it may be removed in the future.

    • First of all if you had read my comments you would have read that I said they had the right to be on the trails. Common decency should have prevailed and they could have gone to ride the other trails that I had suggested to them. There were better, less intrusive trails to be ridden that day. Just because you have the right to be on a particular trail does not mean you should be on that trail. As bikers, skiers and equestrian riders we all have avoided trails when conditions were not suitable. That is common decency. I spent 2.5 hours on Saturday assessing the damage to the trail and talking and listening to the ladies and I spent 2.5 hours of my Sunday cleaning up that trail.

      The maintenance facility was built by and is owned by AEP, however the GBCTA has a 10 year agreement to manage, maintain, provide quality trails to ALL WBC users. You are right this is not a private club and the GBCTA has gone to and continues to go to great lengths to work with ALL users groups especially the Equestrian community. The Equestrian community is well represented and very active on the board of the GBCTA. I personally have spent many many hours defending equestrian use and working with our equestrian members. We have worked extensively with their concerns and issues, trying our best to make their riding experience the best it can be. And we continue to work with the Equestrian community – we have a meeting on Tuesday to work on further plans. We have discussed these issues with passion, respectfulness and empathy.

      I have never attacked a woman on a horse or otherwise. I find it very offensive that you would assume that because I am a male I would use that to bully or otherwise intimidate a woman or for that matter anyone. As a matter of fact in this case I was the one bullied but I cannot discuss this case.

      WBC is a multi use area for Equestrians, Bikers, Skiers, Walkers, Snowshoers etc. We must all be respectful of the users, the trails, and the volunteer efforts to make this trail system great. Many Many Many volunteer hours go into building, maintaining and grooming these trails, summer and winter. We must all be respectful of our actions to keep these trails safe and in good condition for the best user experience.

      The volunteer Board, volunteer groomers (fat bike and ski), the volunteer trail builders and maintainers put in unbelievable number of hours of blood sweat and tears to keep these trails so amazing. We would like it if our trail users felt the same passion we do for our trails.

      With all due respect

      Groomer Bill

      • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

        Trail etiquette is a (normative) society customary code of polite behavior on trails.

        Education of trail etiquette is needed on signs and in schools. This will reduce conflicts and save volunteer work as well as tax dollars.

        Keep on Groomin’ Bill. Thanks for your volunteer time.

      • Thank you Bill for everything you do!! It is greatly appreciated! I think you said it best with “just because you have the right to do something, doesn’t mean you should.” Respect goes a long way and I’m sorry for how this went down. Please know how many of us value your hard work.

      • very well said Bill. I think tolerance is necessary until this anachronistic activity disappears.

        • Equestrian riding hopefully will not disappear. We need to make trails for them and understand their needs and hopefully supply their needs. They must also understand that we build and maintain trails for all users and all users must work hard to keep our trails in good condition. This includes ski grooming. Grooming ski trails is time consuming hard work and as we all know ephemeral. Lets try to preserve them when they are there.

    • Hey Darcy, your comment is a classic example of trash-talk. I understand you haven’t contributed to WBC besides proclaiming yourself as a taxpayer. And apparently you don’t have a trip report either.

      • I think Darcy like many other equestrian riders are frustrated with their dwindling range to practice their sport. They are being pushed out of many areas. WBC is one of the very few places in Alberta where all these outdoor activities are welcome and encouraged. We are trying to make WBC a showcase area to show people how we can all co-exist. This exercise is invariably going to have conflicts and growing pains. The idea is to talk about our issues in a fair and reasonable manor and solve them as best we can. Everyone need to show tolerance and respect for their fellow users and the trails. Show people we can work together to make WBC an amazing facility for outdoor enthusiasts.

    • Darcy, I was interested in your comment until I reached the third paragraph.
      Attackers? Are you defining the word the same as most others? Being questioned about personal decisions and judgement and its cumulative effect on others is not attacking. Period. Its doubtful this constitutes as an ‘extreme’ incident. This is not an instance of the Oppression if the Male Patriarchy, try as you might to frame it as such. This is NOT a platform for Identity Politics, if you feel the need to disperse social justice, take it to Twitter.

  86. +1c and lots of good parking at 130pm at MLR today. -3C after our ski at 415pm. Overcast as we drove away. Red/silver on the way up. Violet on the way down. Fast tracks on the descent.

  87. Four horse woman decided to ride up East Crystalline today. I tried to dissuade them from doing so, but sadly, to no avail. They insisted on their right to use the trail system until the Dec 1 cutoff. I could not persuade them of the common decency and all the hard work that goes into the making of these trails. The tried to stay on the side of the trails but after a while they ended up walking down the middle of Sundog and up Elbow. returning the same way. Naturally there is the usual clean up that myself and the crew will have to do to repair the damage and the manure left on the trails.

    with a tear in my eye,
    Groomer Bill

    • Skiing at Bragg Creek this afternoon (Nov. 16) I encountered two horse riders who were making a mess of the outbound Mountain Road trail. I was non-confrontational but pretty nervous as the horses were definitely not thrilled to be on the same trail as me. What a coincidence! The situation got out of control when both horses spooked and I was looking to bail but its hard to run up a steep embankment on skis.

      The fact is the two activities do NOT mix. The second fact is, the dates on the signs need to be changed when we are blessed with good early ski conditions. Get the horses off of the ski trails or there is going to be an incident.

  88. Great Divide (from OHara end)

    As Bob’s blog mentioned, this was a great day for this ski. We started at the O’Hara end about 10:30am, temp -3C. Mix of waxless and waxable skis for our group of 6. The new trackset was a delight to find. Not much to add to Bob’s report, other than there was little or no change to conditions by the time we finished at 2:30pm, temp 0C.
    It started snowing lightly as we were putting our skis away. Should still be pretty good tomorrow.

  89. Sat nov 16: lake Louise
    -4 right now at the lower tramline parking lot. Just a light dusting of new snow. Active construction on Hwy 1 just east of Louise, down to one lane and 60 k for a short section.

    • +2 back at the car at 1230. Tracks were well loved today by many. The only grooming activity I saw was roll packing the skate lane on MLR first thing in the morning.

  90. Like Bob, we skied Moraine Lake Road today. Excellent early season conditions, although my skis iced up a bit with purple wax. It got better as the temperature went down and the new snow covered icy patches . Very dramatic views of Mt Temple and the Ten Peaks shrouded in mist.

  91. Skied around Frozen Thunder for an hour this afternoon at Canmore Nordic Centre. It opens tomorrow for the regular season but there is no snow! Other than Frozen Thunder there wasn’t enough snow to open anything else. I believe they are doing snow making and are trying to get the green loop open, but I don’t believe it’ll be open for tomorrow.
    The stadium is open, with double tracks, (contrary to what the website says) so you can ski from the day lodge to Frozen Thunder.

    Snow at the CNC was fast today but not icy. I felt safe on the hills. We just used waxless skis.

  92. WBC: Crystalines/SunDog & links, mtn road.

    Mid morning classic dbl pole only was on order. A bit slick in track but firm & not terribly icy actually in skate lane with a bit of slight surface frost & noon softening. No sun so good. Walkers we’re coming out in force so expect lots of potentially hazardous post holes this w/e on your downhills. Klister (does anyone still use that!?) or skin skis would be recommended over scales for classic. Saw only handful of easily recognized poo & earthen hazards.

  93. BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

    MOUNT SHARK TO BRYANT CREEK WARDEN CABIN #25 / BR 14

    The skiing from Mount Shark parking lot to Watridge Lake is generally good early season skiing. The first 1/2 kilometer has a couple of thin spots in the tight trees. There is only about a 10 cm base at the parking lot but thankfully the bottom 7 cm is very dense snow which has coated rocks quite well. This is some of best 10 cm base skiing I have ever had. The groomer only groomed about the first 1/2 kilometer or so before turning off. Beyond that point is well slier tracked trail conditions. Skate skiing is not too bad on soft snow. Another 10 cm of new snow and the trail to Watridge Lake could be trackset. Look out for thin spots under the tight trees within 1/2 km of the parking lot and the odd rock after that. Expect the ski poles to hit ground in some areas.

    From Watridge Lake to the Spray River bridge its is fairly well skier tracked. Expect a few rocks going down the hill but overall the conditions are fairly good early season conditions.

    From the Spray River Bridge to the lower warden cabin on Bryant creek the conditions worsen in the trees and on sunny slopes. Only fairly poor to fair ski conditions on this trail section.

    From the lower Bryant Creek Warden Cabin trail to the Owl Lake turn-off conditions improve as the snow deepens. Generally good skiing on this section of the trail. Expect thin sections under some trees.

    The Bryant Creek trail from the Owl Lake turn-off to the hill top near BR 14 is fairly poor to fair good. Beyond the hill to Warden Cabin #25, the conditions are generally good with the exception of a couple of hundred meters.

    Temperatures were about -4c at dusk at warden cabin #25. Calm winds and great Yodelling echos into the dark. About 20 cm of base at the warden cabin.

    I did do a little ski stint into the Upper Spray River area – for at most 1 km. The Upper Spray trail could use about 25 cm of snow of new dense snow to make things better. I rate the trail as fair with significant debris under the snow in some areas.

  94. Yup, Lake Louise is pretty nice. Went up MLR today. The tracks are as good as you can expect – firm and well defined. There were just two very small dirty patches at the top of the “steep hill”. We were on VR40, VR45 and skin skis. All were working great. The downhill track was deeper and straighter than usual. All in all, good conditions on MLR.

  95. LAKE O’HARA – Nov 14

    The snow is amazing here… well worth the drive!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAilLrcvP9sgYiroXV?e=0mkZOZ
    Some trees have been removed from around the Relais shelter, but that does not affect skier access.

    • Great early season digression from the bow valley Chuck … i wonder what Liz Parker would say of the spirit of that affixed sign.

  96. Thursday morning: I skied the Great Divide Trail from Lake Louise to the Lake O’Hara parking lot (on skin skis), 10 km each way and the snow is great the whole stretch! Perfect conditions and not many people at all.

  97. As of 4 pm Wednesday, Moraine Lake is freshly track-set and in great condition.

    • Thank you CA, for your Moraine Lake condition report! Nice to know that it was groomed late in the day! Appreciated and timely. Excellent skiing Moraine today!

  98. GREAT DIVIDE – Nov 13

    Nice to be able to use warmer waxes again today.
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAikJ3Og0qd-p6mm-x?e=AUCYQD
    Interesting that I got a greeting from every skier out today… must be a mid-week thing!

  99. Moraine Lake Road
    A very good early season ski today. Started at 10am to -6C. For the first 3km or so the tracks were well used and quite wobbly, but after that they generally got better. Cloudy early, but mostly sunny at the turn-around point. Felt nice and warm there. The return ski was quite fast. Finished a bit after 1pm to -2C. We added a bit of VR45 to our base VR40 early on – worked quite well. The groomers were rolling the skating lane as we returned. Lots of people enjoying the good skiing.

  100. W Bragg Creek – beautiful day but difficult skating conditions
    Skate skied 20km this am between 11-13h on Mountain View, Crystal, Moose… hard packed snow to icy conditions on some of the biggest hills. Very, very fast downhills – had to snow plot and even remove my skis a couple of times. Warmer weather to soften the snow and some grooming would do marvel. Might be better later in the day and/or on classic skis (w klister or skins skis).

  101. Drove out to check conditions at Mt Shark – didn’t ski. It looks like it has been rolled/packed but is still looking a bit thin. My guess would be pleasant rock ski conditions.

    • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

      Thanks for driving out and checking conditions at Shark. That is very helpful for old rock skiing hounds like me and this is what makes Skier Bob’s website such a great thing. Your report made my evening.

      I will see what the rocks will do to my 1994 metal edged skis and head on Thursday Afternoon.

      Hope to “C” you out there sometime.

  102. Lake Louise-Great Divide Trail: weather forecast was right on -7C to -4C with light snow all day. VR40 wax was perfect for the day. To the border arch the snow and tracks were very good. From the border to the O’Hara road the snow was thin in some stretches and was wind affected. It was a perfect first day of this season.

  103. Fairview – Moraine Lake Road (MLR)- Tramline & Peyto
    Fairview has been skier tracked from the Chateau to MLR. Trail depth is fairly deep. There was a group of snowshoers behind me so parts of the trail may have been levelled positively. There is open water towards the MLR side but the trail skirts around these hazards. The first long hill and where the trail forks has been broken by me so it needs further traffic to make it a smooth path. There is lots of snow so grooming cannot be too far off. It looks as though two trees have fallen at different points along the trail. I tried to do Peyto but almost no one has been down there. It needs either a snowmobile or a group of snowshoers to make it skiable. At this writing, Lake Louise is a Winter Wonderland.

  104. Drizzle by Bragg earlier this morning, has turned to light rain 15 km to the SE 🙁

  105. My first ski of the season was fabulous yesterday on the 1A/Great Divide in Lake Louise. Arrived around 11:30am and classic skied to the Great Divide sign at Yoho and back on excellent conditions with wax skis. The groomers re-trackset the outbound trail while we were skiing so it took some time to settle but was excellent once it did.
    Lots of happy skiers on the Great Divide yesterday.

  106. West Bragg Creek-Nov 11
    We did a similar loop as SkierBob, following East Crystal, Iron Springs, Elbow, Loggers, etc. Great temperatures, easy waxing and good conditions, as noted by many others. There was not much melting of the snowpack, even at the end of the day, so I think conditions should still be quite good tomorrow.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/VQdwktSZyuzxMZCg6
    The place was mid-winter busy, with all sorts of people. Young, old, XC skiers, fat-bikers, snowshoers, hikers, dog sledders. Wonderful to see all that activity!

  107. Took the opportunity to ski Lionell, Pocaterra,Tyrwitt up to Hydroline with Jip before the grooming prohibits dogs, lots of snow, great touring conditions, thanks to those who broke trail before me 🙂

  108. MORAINE LAKE ROAD – Nov 11

    Unbelievable snow conditions on the MLR today.
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAijg-6skwxlpSTg4Y?e=7cu5V0
    Glad we were on wax skis!

  109. Kananaskis Village : Needs more snow

  110. Spent the afternoon at West Bragg Creek. It was busy as expected with the holiday . I found the trails to be better than expected. Hats off to all the volunteers who worked so hard.

    • I’ll second that! …and remind all the folks that enjoyed these early (and winter) ski conditions to pony-up and support the GBCTA grooming efforts on their website. Good to see you on sundog this aft Bob.

  111. BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

    Has anyone been out to the Watridge Lake/ Mount Shark area?

    I am wondering how much snow is at the Mount Shark Parking Lot. Please let me know.

    • Only 27 cm at mud lake right now and about double that up at burstall pass according to the Kananaskis remote snow stations.

      • BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4U

        The snow is sweetening up.

        I am told by my Bro the old Burstall Pass road trail is in good condition but when one gets to the trees before the glacier outwash plain the skiing is thin and rocky. The Outwash plain is also somewhat thin. Robertson Glacier apparently looks very icy and rocky. Needs a lot more snow up there to pump up the glacier skiing quality.

        I would imagine Burstall Pass trail would be rough in the trees after the glacier outwash plain as well. The pass would likely be fairly sweet skiing.

  112. Mon nov 11: west Bragg creek
    Finally, a day on the skis, thanks to cheeky and simona. Excellent early season conditions along moose loop and mountain view with sunny skies and mild weather. The only moist snow we encountered was along mountain view beside the big dirt embankment about 1 pm. The odd ice patch, rock and tiny bits of dirt, all avoidable. Snow stayed cold mostly. Managed to spot the Riggs family, who seemed to be doing the same loop. Lots of people out enjoying the day before the next warm blast.

  113. West Bragg Creek, Nov 10
    After a strong Chinook on Friday and freezing rain on Saturday, the West Bragg Creek trails were back to good winter conditions. A 10 cm snowfall and grooming by GBCTA volunteers made for lovely ski conditions again. Todays tour on Moose Loop included side trips on the new single-track all-season trail that roughly parallels the ski trail, and a short tour up Tom Snow trail.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZHauaMQz54TFvXP8A
    Some all-season trails were also being groomed for fat-biking, so there are plenty of options for everyone.

  114. It seems like I arrived later than most of the previous reporters at WBC this afternoon, finding the trailhead area moderately busy at 2:30, and a bunch of fresh tracksetting. I skied a route that took in most of the “core” trails: West Sundog-East Crystal-East Sundog-Loggers-Mountainview-Mountain Road-Moose Connector-Lower West Crystal-Middle West Crystal-and finally Upper West Crystal. All great with very few hazards- I was regretting being on my slow rock skis, as I would have had no worries about using my much faster “best” skis. East Sundog, Loggers and Middle Crystal were skier tracked (but skied very well), the remainder were groomed and trackset. As I was on Loggers- I had to take yet another “Winter Wonderland” picture:
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/WestBragg-November10-2019/

  115. An Android cell phone was found at the MLR trailhead around 3pm Sunday. The gentleman who found it said he would leave it at the LL visitor centre.
    MLR was trackset late afternoon so should be excellent for Monday.

  116. Arrived at the Great Divide around 12:30pm. Skate lane rolling finished shortly after. Both classic tracks set _all the way_ to the Lake O’Hara turn off. Great snow for skiing. Drive from Calgary was slow/exciting, but the roads crew were great and it was cleared for the return home. I figure the drive kept a number of people away – lots of room for parking both at the Divide & MLR.

  117. Hi everyone, heading out tomorrow for the first time in a number of years and first time in Canada. I was planning on going to West Bragg Creek. What trails are the best for some nice views and sunshine? Sorry if this is the wrong place to post

    • Moose loop has great views and a pretty meadow if you’re an intermediate skier. Lots of hills.

    • West Bragg Creek got 10 cm fresh snow and a number of ski trails were groomed on Sunday. The Crystal Line trails have the best snow conditions right now. Mountain Road and Moose Loop has the best views and sunshine.

  118. Moraine lake road was freshly trackset at 3 pm on Sunday.

  119. Just returned from a beautiful ski at Bragg Creek. Winter driving conditions at 10:00 a.m. but certainly no nail biting. Snow was falling softly and conditions were wonderful. My only surprise was n how few people were out. Parking lot had lots of space spots even when we returned at 1:30. So glad I brought the dogs as I tend to leave them at home if I think the trails are going to be very busy. Perfect ski, perfect day!

    • What trails did you ski or do you prefer to “nurse” secrets?

      • You saw me wipe out, didn’t you? I was “nursing” more than a secret, let me tell you! For the first time in 20 years I actually got lost and so turned around that I had to ask for directions. Dark moment in my life. Happily, I am now reunited with my husband and two dogs and have learned my lesson to either keep up or leave a trail of cookie crumbs

        • I have rescued 2 lost Germans and 1 guy from Chicago while backpacking in the backcountry over the years. If I was married, they may have turned out to be bones in the bush as I likely would not have come across them.

          I would like to recommend carrying a GPS with you for piece of mind. Either that or put something in your husbands breakfast to slow him down. If I saw your trail of cookie crumbs in the bush I might eat them, particularly if they were Digestive cookies. I sure would hate to ski into your frozen body while I am out night skiing. That might harsh my skiing buzz.

          Keep your skiing tips up.

  120. Moose Loop was lovely today.Snow is deep enough. Good temp no melting. Double rolled this AM and looked like track setter was heading out at 1PM

    • Good to hear! How were the road conditions on West Bragg heading to trails?

      • Winter conditions, snow covered and partly covered but completely drivable. Worth it for some great skiing close to town. I skied most of the core trails and didn’t encounter anything more hazardous than a stick likely left by a four legged trail user. Get out while it’s good folks!

      • Just back from West Bragg too. Agree with previous posters, it was strangely quiet and very beautiful there today, conditions are great, no sign of the chinook meltdown. The West Bragg Creek road conditions were fine, just partly snow covered.

  121. Just arrived at great divide at 8 am. 15+ cm of snow. Groomers are just about to start down trail. Parking lot not plowed.

    Thank you for the timely report. -Bob

  122. Great Divide.
    Freshly groomed today but the tracks are very icy. Better for skate than classic skiing right now.
    Still great to ski so early in the season.

  123. West Bragg Creek-Saturday Am
    Heads up skiers! Black ice on West Bragg Creek Rd. Bad accident already. Be careful out there

  124. November 8th, 2019
    East Great Divide:
    Steve and I skied the Lake Louise side of the Great Divide Trail. The bad news is, it was an appropriate day for Gore-Tex and waxless skis (of which we had neither).

    The good news is, on our way back to the trailhead around 11:30 am, we were met by the grooming/track setting crew. They put down a lovely track which improved our grip and our mood. Thank you Parks Canada for putting a little joy into an otherwise soggy day.

  125. BILL VOTING RIGHTS 4

    GREAT DIVIDE TO LAKE O”HARA ROAD

    Very good early season groomed non trackset skiing. My poles only hit the road maybe a dozen times or so. There is a soft packed groomed base that has skier tracks to wiz down. Close to 30 cm of snow at the Lake O’Hara road end with some wind drifting. A little less on the Alberta side at the trail head. Moderate snow speed with -3c to -10c blue Swix old snow wax.

    The lower layer of the snowpack has some moisture density which enables travel off the groomed trail without sinking to the bottom of the snow pack. Ankle deep ski penetration on 60mm skis. Hard cores can skate ski with wider skis or low weight. No classic rocks skis are required to ski the Divide trail. Bring out the fast skis. Expect to hit the odd twig. Bring your rock poles for the odd hit.

    With 10cm of new snow the trail will be nicely tracksetable.

    Lake O’Hara trail would likely be do-able. I would think there could be some thin sections in wind exposed areas. Give it a try with rock skis.

    It felt sweet once again to prance across the winter snow on the X-C skis, particularly at night to a very bright moon lighting up the ski tracks and mountain scenery.

  126. DON’T MISS IT TOMORROW!
    South end of PLPP are snowmobile packed. Went to Elk Pass, At 10:00 hrs temp -6, on return to hwy 40 via Thirwitt/Pocaterra/Lionell,temperature +2. Hydro line, Lookout, Moraine, Elk pass… all are packed, with 3 passes.

    • Rock Skis ?
      Thanks

    • Manage to stick a pole in off trail near the pass or at lookout turnoff and guess depth? Lots of willows sticking tbrough still? Probably no more that 40-50 cm I would assume. And probably not enough to go off trail in the west elk pass environs yet. But hopeful to start the couch building process. Thanks in advance.

    • We didn’t! First ski of the season, we went in from hwy 40, up Pocaterra to Whiskey Jack, all great condition though a little warm. Snow temp at Whiskey Jack measured +1 C. Half of trail chewed up by snowshoers and hikers, but other side fine, and they all headed up to Lookout.
      We proceeded a short distance up Tyrwhitt, still good but the trees were raining on the trail, and our heads!

  127. Skied Moose Loop at West Bragg.
    Counterclockwise worked well and the hills were doable without obstacles. The hill with the creek crossing/ice flow in the far corner had not been groomed so I walked that one (can’t risk falling with a recovering shoulder injury.)
    If you’re getting out tomorrow get an early start. It was getting very warm and sticky today. We all had waxless skis.

  128. GREAT DIVIDE – Nov 7

    A huge social event on the Great Divide today.
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAii6MkC_xH-N8SR-B?e=m0maYR
    Thanks Helen for the Heads-Up!

  129. Was fully expecting lots of people to enjoy Moraine Lake Road today; perfectly skier tracked yesterday by Chuck and Jeannette. Perhaps the caution on road construction concerned some? There was no evidence of this construction today. Started at 8:45 (-15) and finished at 12:20 (-7) seeing NOT a single soul until Rick showed up in the totally empty parking lot. Loved your comment Jeremy on Chuck’s picture of the vehicle in the ditch! I was tempted to ski to the Lake but NOT by myself.

  130. Escaped work a bit earlier today, in time for some late day sun and, after talking to Groomer Bill and learning that it had been trackset- a ski around the Moose Loop. Roughly 90% was in very good early season shape with excellent coverage and well defined tracks. In my recommended CCW direction- all the downhills were fast, fun and free of obstacles. There were a few short spots of lesser coverage, and short water/ice flows that were easily avoided. The far northwest corner is ungroomed for a short distance on either side of the creek crossing, but is easy to navigate and bypass.
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/MooseLoopNovember6-2019/

  131. MORAINE LAKE ROAD – Nov 6

    First time to have the MLR to ourselves… never saw another skier all day!
    Details available in the captions here:
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avuc6aIvjGUAiiGIXnG7Z0djK_U4?e=RieseF
    Get there before the hikers!

  132. Sandy McNabb steeplechase ski -backcountry wander about south meadows and loggers loops for a couple hrs. Slow trodding through 6-8” of untracked dry powder on -need I remind, very unmaintained trails. Lots and lots of downed trees so more hop, skip & jumping than sliding on my 65mm 3/4 Karhu edge skis (VR40 weather).

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/4h5xbScyiPMZqJER6

  133. A blue skies and blue wax day at West Bragg Creek ! Similar to Ray, we found excellent conditions. Skied Mountain Road, Moose Connector, West Crystal, Loggers, Elbow, Iron Springs and Sundog loop. All trails that we encountered were roller packed level with the exception of Dead End and Middle Crystal. No rocks, twigs or pine needles were to be found and the groomers were setting track on West Crystal, Moose Connector and Moose Loop in the afternoon. I’m not sure how well these conditions will hold up but they were mighty fine today. Get out there while you can.

  134. I was at the West Bragg Creek parking lot at 0800 this morning for my first ski of the year. The snow was -18 deg. in the parking lot, but there wasn’t a breath of wind. Conditions were spectacular. I took the Lower West Crystal Line to the Moose Connector, to the end of Mountain View, and then up to the top of the first hill of Mountain View West. That took me 2 hrs because I was breaking trail pretty well all the way. The snow was so deep and soft that most of the time I couldn’t see the tips of my skis. On my way back down Mountain Road I ran into the first of the groomers. He was rolling Mountain Road and then on to Mountain View West. They’d finished Mountain View, so I took that to Lower West Crystal Line, and then up to Upper Crystal Line, and then back to the parking lot. Along the way I ran into another groomer. By the end of the day they’ll most likely have rolled the whole network. These guys are amazing!

    There’s over 40cm of soft snow – I really hope it all survives the coming chinook!

    By the time I finished at 1130, the temperature was -8 and there were a couple of dozen cars in the parking lot. Get out there if you can. The trails may not be track set, but they’re spectacular nonetheless.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/JV8Bdadcox39WKqG8

    • Wow! Great pics! A winter Wonderland indeed! I would have loved to be able to get out today. However I have one of those darn job things that prevented me.

  135. Very enjoyable ski conditions at WBC this evening! Loads of new dry snow had fallen over the previously packed snow, with continued roller packing underway on many of the core trails. I swung by on my way home from work, thus had only enough time before dark to squeeze in Sundog-Loggers-West Crystal-part of Moose Connector and a bit of Mountain Road before returning on Lower West Crystal. All great- easy going on the consistently smooth base, with good grip and glide using Swix VR 40. As usual for early season- I was on my light touring rock skis, but hit nothing, other than a couple of times where my poles bottomed out. I’m betting that tomorrow will be superb, once the snow sets up and further grooming occurs. Maybe even some track setting! Winter Wonderland? A bit of a cliche, but you can be the judge:
    https://steveriggs.smugmug.com/WestBraggNovember5-2019/

  136. Went to check out the conditions at Great Divide today and happened to arrive just as Parks staff were unloading the grooming machine. They said they “might start grooming after the next big snowfall”. They also left a machine at Moraine Lake Rd.
    The trail itself had a couple wobbly, shallow ski tracks on it but is still really thin.
    Boom Lake trail looked fairly well-covered and hard-packed from hikers with a lone ski track in the thin layer of fresh snow on top. I just went to look and didn’t actually ski so hopefully whoever that was will let the rest of us know what it was like!

  137. I got impatient and checked out Moraine Lake road today. Parks is still hauling stuff out from Moraine Lake, so the centre of the road is super solidly packed and pretty icy. The sides of the road have enough snow to ski on but my poles were hitting pavement the entire time. There was a pretty good skier-set track the whole way, but with the snow in the forcast(yay!) this will probably get buried. My skis hit pavement in the fairview/paradise area, so I would definitely recommend rock skis!

  138. BILL VOTING RIGHTS

    The snow forecast looks good for Banff this week. The skiing should take off this week from valley bottoms for those with rock skis.

    Lets hope that x-c ski trails will get regularly groomed this year in the Alberta Parks with the advent of recent budget cuts. As the Premier has likely never enjoyed a day in the winter woods, I don’t expect the same level of service from this government.

    Keep your rock ski tips up.

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