Trip Reports – Nov 2018

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  1. A group of 7 of us went over Elk Pass and into the Hut on the BC side on light touring gear. The conditions were excellent for early season – skier tracked and yes, the snow plowers did wipe out much of the hiker divots.

  2. ELK PASS FROM ELK PKG LOT- We did a return ski trip to Elk Pass on out light touring skiis. The snow was very good quality all the way. The only unfortunate thing was 4 or 5 hikers walked abreast the whole trail to the pass. Hopefully skiers snowplowing down or a good grooming can remove the bumps. And more snow!

    • Erwin Allerdings

      Hi Chris and Karl,

      I’m glad you are enjoying the winter mountain air. Send me a note sometime, and maybe we can hike the spring alpine meadows in May.
      Erwin Allerdings

  3. Mt Shark today, starting around noon. Somewhat reminiscent of Elk Pass last weekend – packed but bumpy base, mostly good coverage, no track. The added ‘features’ were occasional large rocks sticking up through the snow. Easily avoided for now but if they are covered up by the snow, which was very gently falling for most of the trip, it will be rock ski time. We chose the kid-friendly option of out and back to Watridge Lake, which was well packed by snowshoers and hikers (who weren’t sinking in far). Looking down the various loops from the junctions, they all appeared to be snowmobile packed with a thin layer of fresh snow but little to no evidence of skiing. Perhaps fewer rocks there – I don’t recall what those trails look like in the summer?

  4. West Bragg Creek, Friday, Nov 30: groomed sandlike fast snow, good for skating on West Crystal and links, lower part of East Crystal, Loggers loop all skiable except for highest point. Very few ice spots, several spots with rocks, don’t go down on long downhills like Sundog or Loggers clockwise. Weekend snow will cover it but they still be there.

  5. LAKE OHARA ROAD- We skied with our BC skies up to Le Relais where we had lunch. The first 3 km has nice new snow….the rest is pretty nice skier tracked snow. Glad we had our metal edges to saw off the snowshoer bumps on the bottom part. Might be too bumpy for skinny skies depending on your level of comfort.

  6. GREAT DIVIDE – Nov 30

    Still no fresh tracksetting… so maybe Parks plans to trackset overnight??
    Check out today’s continuing great conditions here:!AgTx5EOCG7eSg32lsY58j2WiQlg5
    Great to finally meet JeremyN… he had already skied the Moraine Lake Road before seeing me on the Great Divide, and he drives from Okotoks!

    • The pleasure was all mine Chuck. Moraine and Great Divide roads’ classic track was holding up very well to light traffic and steady cool temps. Did Tramline from lake to town and Bow River trail to lower bridge also which was a treat save for the Parks service truck ripping up part of campground segment -presumably due to (smelly) maintenance issue. …then back to Moraine. It was fun a 50km day, but I vow to always ski longer than the drive (and today was a long drive indeed!)

  7. We decided to enjoy the last day of the gate being open (closes 8:00 a.m. tomorrow) and took Hwy 40 in order to ski Pocaterra/Tyrwhitt and up to Elk Pass. I did not really expect much in the way of conditions, but boy, were we happy campers. These trails, at their worst, is Sandy McNabb at its best! We appreciate Sandy as we have learned our best dance moves there. We have “Two-stepped” around boulders, “Fox-trotted” twigs and debris, did the “Bump” over ice, and the “Alligator” (Come on guys, remember the gator? My parents were traumatized when the Westerners did it at my wedding) down hills bare of snow. Today was like ball room dancing and the descent DWTS worthy. My first ski outing for this season and could not have been happier. Y’all need to come out to Sandy sometime. Especially when I report good conditions. Guess it is all perspective!!

    • Splendidly lively post Shiela! I concur on the benefits of one regularly ‘tuning-in’ their balance AND expectations -something many skiers have become unaccustomed by waiting for, or only skiing perfectly groomed & machined tracks. As 21st century nordic skiers, we are a tad spoiled dare I say….;-)

  8. Nov. 30th, PLPP

    In essence, the Rocky Mountain Ramblers did the circuit reported by Tanya yesterday, only we reversed the order of the climb up Lookout, starting off Hydroline and coming down to the junction with Pocaterra/Tyrwhitt. I was the only person in the group without metal edges on my old Peltonen fish-scale, waxless skis. The climb up was heinous. I walked it for about 300 m and then managed to herring-bone and ski the rest. Some people with skins had a better time of it but it was still pretty chewed up. The trip down from the high point was equally bad since I can’t snowplow. I walked most of it.

    The best part of the trip was a short detour on Whisky Jack, about 1 km or so that was in excellent shape, likely because no one had been on it. I hope that the predictions for the weekend turn out to be accurate.

  9. gh, Jamie and Art skied up the tram line from Lake Louise Village to the Chateau. Conditions were quite good on a double track set trail. The morning temperature was -14. It warmed up to -5 in the afternoon.

  10. Skied the Great Divide trail today to the Lake O’Hara access road. Minus 6 at the Village at 10:00 am. I waxed with VR45, as did Bob, and had the same result – not enough glide. Tracks were old but are holding up well to minimum ski traffic. The returning track was more worn than the outward track. Skied down Tramline on very good tracks. Skied Bow River on the “south” side and across the road to the campground – thanks Bob for covering those dirt patches!. Skied the campground loop, for the first time, on good tracks ccw and found the hill delightful. My VR45 held up for the day and was the right wax at 12:00 noon on.

  11. Skied a 15km Loop around PLPP from the parking lot off Highway 40 above the winter gate. Was hoping for better snow but I waited till nearly the last day before the road closes so it’s as good as it was going to get.
    We skied Pocaterra-Lookout-Hydroline-Elk Pass-Tyrwhitt as a big loop.
    Skiing down the far side of the lookout was terrifying with current snow conditions (a mess of deep crusty snow that’s gone through some freeze melt cycles marked up by posthole boot prints, snowshoe tracks, and frozen ski tracks.)
    Otherwise, all trails had sufficient snow coverage to be skiable (even Tyrwhitt.) plenty of early season challenges though and a lot of dips where creeks hadn’t filled in yet. There is a snow bridge over the creek on the steep Lookout descent though.
    No fresh grooming or roller packing.
    Rock skis still recommended for Lookout (though I removed several) but no need for the other trails. Just willows to contend with on Tyrwhitt.

  12. Moraine Lake Road

    After many CNC days on limited terrain decided to head to Lake Louise. Great weather, -3oC at noon to start (Swix purple, could have used Blue Extra) and stayed that way all sunny afternoon. No icing. Tracks were excellent with some newer snow in the skate lane. Great for speed control. Met Jill and John at the viewpoint.

  13. CASCADE VALLEY – Nov 29

    Packed all the way to Stoney Creek… read the captions for details:!AgTx5EOCG7eSg28V1gWrhfbCaGXI

  14. Well, with all the great comments about Pocaterra/Tyrwhitt from shortcut off Hwy. 40, we had to try it today. We skied to the picnic table on Tyrwhitt and back again for a short, enjoyable outing in -4C. temps. We encountered only 6 others while out on this section. Ski tracks were reasonable, if wobbly most of the way, and there were twiggy sections. Did someone say ‘rollercoaster’? It makes me realize how thankful I am to the groomers who will shovel and pack all those swales and dips so we can ski safely and smoothly!

    • Rollercoaster is a good word for Tyrwhitt right now. Almost caught air a couple times. It was especially entertaining beyond the picnic table coming down from Elk Pass.

  15. GREAT DIVIDE FROM YOHO End – A perfect ski day, about a cm fresh snow had fallen before we arrived at 10 am. There were fresh bear tracks coming down from the Ross Lake hiking trail, over our tracks, then left towards the train tracks. Look for the path that looks like a regular bear trail! For grain on the tracks? We skied to Lake Louise end and back, perfect ski day.

    Moose knuckles to the people who pee on the ski trail! Let’s be more considerate ok?

  16. Pocaterra & beyond: I accessed by passing the gate and turning off to the little parking space on #40. Tyrwhitt was twiggy but ‘just enough snow’, as mentioned by the one person I saw out there. The trails are all man-made and there are a LOT of footprints for the first few kilometres of pocaterra, but it’s still enough for a good day. The hydroline was fabulous and I passed someone who said Blueberry Hill was perfect. I ventured to the lookout but the snow was so sticky by the time I got on the trail, early afternoon, that I literally walked up and then took my skis off and ran down. There was very little snow on the drive up and the gal in the visitor centre was lovely but didn’t paint a very promising picture, so I was glad I ventured further. Early season so no complaints.

  17. We had the family out to ski at Lake Louise on November 24, 2018. We had a great time on cold snow with tracks set on the Great Divide and both Upper and Lower Tramline. Unfortunately when packing up in the Lower Tramline parking lot off Sentinel Rd my son left his size 45 Madshus classic ski boots on the ground. If anyone has tracked them down please text me @ 403-618-8502

  18. PLPP -Hwy40 access to Pocaterra-Tyrwhitt-ElkPass-BlueBerry & return via Patterson-Hydroline. About 2+cm of new snow since w/e and lightly snowing off/on all day; -2 to 3degC so tested new skin skis on wobbly but fun and CLEAN skier set tracks whole way (no rocks, only minor emergent twigs in meadows). Watch out for HAZARD southbound Tyrwhitt @ bridge as bad double hump and ski eating holes -I suspect if rolled this w/e it’ll be gone. Vote: lets go back to Blueberry Hill as skier set only for the entire season (?!). Only 2 others on circuit, so get out there people -Highwood Rd. gates close Fri night.

  19. Had a wonderful ski in PLPP: shortcut past the winter gate, up Pocaterra, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Hydroline, and across the Lookout. Really nice conditions for light touring skis. The only annoying part was a steep 1km stretch up to the lookout. Had beautiful sun up there, a slightly tense ski down from the lookout, and then a nice cruise back to the car. We owned the Lookout today, and met a dozen of skiers at Elk Pass. A guy on snowmobile arrived with a metal picnic table, presumably to replace the broken wooden one.

    Question: If one were to ski into Elk Lakes Cabin on Friday via the shortcut, what would happen to your car when the winter gate gets closed?

    • I am guessing the same thing could happen if vehicle left off hwy 40 after closure, that has happened to a Hyundai SUV which is parked on upper lot right at Moraine Lake. Maybe it belongs to Moraine Lake staff or owners?

    • Hey Bob,

      Is there track set at PLPP at all?

      • Hi Emily, No, see my trip report. It’s supposed to snow this w/e and there is enough in the south end esp. Blueberry. Wobbly but fun skier-set tracks -don’t let lack of machine track deter you from getting out there & still having fun!

    • Slightly tense is a good way to describe skiing down from the lookout today. We went down the crazy side and I finally walked one steep section out of fear of breaking a leg.

  20. Great Divide – we started from the O’Hara end at 10:15am and -2C. A few cm of fresh snow and blustery winds had obliterated the tracks, so we made our own. As we approached the Ross Lake turnoff, we encountered fresh bear tracks along the road for some 200m – well defined in the new snow. The bear had then left the road and headed in the direction of Ross Lake, and we were somewhat glad, somewhat sad that we didn’t see it. Upon reaching the Divide, we encountered the groomers and tracksetters (thanks, guys) who had come from the Lake Louise end. We stayed out of the new tracks for about 20min, but couldn’t resist any longer. The rest of our ski was great, though as John A mentioned yesterday, the outbound (east to west) track keeps getting pushed further right, and so is soft in places. The track by the dog-sled run has been re-set, and was in very good shape. It was 0C at 1:45pm back at the O’Hara end, and VR45 worked fine all day.

  21. Looks like it might be a while before any significant snowfall east of the divide. Elk pass contest is likely won with a mid-December date. )-:

  22. Lake Louise – Peyto request – A request to the groomers at Lake Louise or perhaps Lake Louise Administration. Could they make a snowmobile trip between Deer Lodge and the Great Divide along Peyto? There has been no skier traffic on this trail (aside for my errant attempt that ended up from the stables rather than below). On my way back to Deer Lodge I came across a sign announcing a bear crossing in yellow with figures of a sow with a cub. From the hollowed trail I was pursuing, I had the feeling that I was on their trail. Perhaps Parks is trying to make a buffer zone for the bear that has been sighted along the Great Divide? The problem is that there is little signage on Peyto and there is enough snow to make trail breaking with skinny skis difficult. I have been on Fairview three times this year and it has progressively become better as more skiers and snow come down on it. Once the creeks there become covered, I am sure that the groomers will feel confident to make a pass there.



    Headed to the Shadow Lake Lodge later in the afternoon. Ski conditions were fairly poor in some spots to fair for the first 1.5 kilometers. Snowmobile packed conditions. After the first or second big hill, conditions improved greatly and were generally good early conditions.. Rock skis advised. Not much base, Thank god for the snowmobile packing and previous wet snowfall. No trackset. Only about 10 cm of snow at the parking lot maximum.

    Beyond RE 6 campground, conditions were generally very good and snowmobile packed most of the way to the Shadow Lake turnoff.

    The Shadow Lake trail was generally in fairly poor to fair shape until the top of the big hill then conditions became generally good. There is roughly 25 cm of snow at the lodge. The trail beyond the Lodge to Shadow Lake is pretty willowy.

    Excellent grip and glide with -3 to -8 blue old snow Swix wax. The snow on the whole trails was fairly fast and for the most part, a blast except the thin section on the lower bug hill.

    Skied out at night . Had sparks flying off the metal edges on the big hill on the lower 1,5 km. of trial. I had not seen such a light show since the 1980’s on the same pair of skis.

    Once the trail gets another 12 cm of wet snow and another snowmobile packing, it should generally be in good to very good shape. It will take about 20 cm of new moist snow before any type of tracksetting can likely be considered on the lower part of the trail.

    Rock on with the rock skis and imagine real democracy.

  24. Quiet day starting with a downhill on Upper Tramline to end of MLR. -4 to start and -2 at end with gentle snow. No sign of groomers but road in great shape. Tomorrow could be another story as ZERO predicted and only -4 there now. Anticipating perhaps some trickier conditions tomorrow. My SUV was one of two cars in upper parking lot, so lots of room if MLR gets crowded. Still not tempted to ski Fairview.

  25. Great Divide – Conditions were pretty good still with generally firm tracks, temperatures between -3 and -1, and some light flurries. The outbound track has been moved a bit to the right, so that the track now goes through a few twigs (no problem) and poles can disappear in the softer snow on the right side. The inbound track was obliterated by preliminary grooming for dog sledding. No idea when the inbound track might be set again. The skate lane appeared to be firm and reasonably fast.

  26. Our first ski day of the season at PLPP in KCo – not enough snow to trackset but it was packed and new snow on top – just had to try to keep both skis pointing in the same direction. we had a wonderful out and back from the E access to Pocaterra from Hwy 40 along Tyrwhitt to Elk Pass and on to Blueberry turnoff – 18.3 km. Takes a little longer without tracks – kinda old school – reminiscing on making our own tracks back in the 80s. New archway at Elk Pass – beautiful wood carvings (totem pole-like) welcoming everyone to Elk Valley. About as good XC track skiing as you can have without tracks!

  27. Elk Pass and Lookout North

    Parked on Highway 40 to access the Upper Pocaterra trail. Skied to Elk Pass via Tyrwhitt. Very good snow coverage with 1-2 cm of fresh flakes, good for skating in places. Good double skier track, without any shrubs sticking out of the snow and no bumpy trail, until about 1 km after the Lookout Jct. (heading south). No rocks encountered all the way to Elk Pass, but the trail is pretty bumpy in places, especially after the picnic table (2 km or so from the Pass). Be very careful about 75 m after the table, heading south, as there is a deep depression in the trail approaching a narrow creek. The climb to the pass was good and had been used by a large mammal that chopped the trail in places. Skied back on Tyrwhitt heading north to the Lookout Jct and up to the Fire Lookout Tower. The views from the top were quite scenic and it was pretty balmy in the sun. It looks like probably 3 skiers on fat boards had come up from the south. The ski down from the top back on Tyrwhitt wasn’t too bad even on skinny skis. Used -1 to -8C wax all day; work fine for most uphill sections. Over all, I would say that anywhere from 15-30 cm of more snow is needed to get a good grooming done on the Tyrwhitt trail, to get rid of all bumps and cover the shrubs. Only saw 4 people on Tyrwhitt, although there were still 6 cars in the parking lot when I got back. In all, a great day to enjoy a peaceful setting.

  28. X country trails at Panorama BC (Invermere) were in excellent shape today with skate and classic tracks for all levels. We skied an easy 5 km out to the Heliplex.

  29. Confed Golf Course has a very nice skier set classic track. There are thin sections along the usual spots where the trail crosses pavement but overall mid-winter non-groomed conditions.

  30. LOWER TELEMARK – we skied Great Divide and it was perfect, however lower telemark has not yet been groomed and is very bumpy and icy. Not very pleasant skiing…..but a good base is accumulating. Give this trail a pass until it gets groomed!

  31. West Bragg- glorious weather and very enjoyable skiing! Early season conditions for sure, but thanks to the firm base under our route which took in all the main Crystal Lines and then out and back on Mountain Road- we dodged some rocks but hit none.
    Moose Connector between MR and Crystal W is in decent enough shape as well-no real problems there. While Sundog west is fine for going uphill- I would avoid it in the the downhill direction as there is an ice flow covering most of the trail at about 3/4 of the way up, and a very thin and rocky patch not far above it. Kudos to the groomers for making the most out of a thin snowpack!

  32. Great family ski down Tramline at Louise. No happier child ever with 5km all downhill. My husband kindly picked us up at the final bridge. We also spent the weekend at Rogers Pass and enjoyed some fun early season skiing and snowshoeing up the Asulkan Valley for a couple km till we reached avi terrain.

  33. Confederation Park November 25th

    Inspired by Steve’s report on skiing in the city, Karen and I checked out Confederation Park today. It was a surprisingly enjoyable ski mid-day workout. There hasn’t been any grooming but the snow was deep and cold enough to allow fairly supportive skier tracks. No wind, beautiful sunshine, a half-dozen other skiers and a coyote scampering across the greens. Sadly, it will be gone by tomorrow, if the weather predictions are at all correct.

  34. Bob asked, so I answered the call. It was -9 at 8:30 in the Elk Pass parking lot this morning. I skied up Blueberry Hill, then looped back via the top of Hydroline and Patterson. No track setting anywhere, although the skier set track was good between the North Hydroline and Blueberry junctions – not so much elsewhere. On all trails, there is decent coverage and there was no point where I wished I had rock skis, although on the steeper hills more conservative skiers (ie. bigger snowplows!) were scrapping pretty close to the bottom in a few spots. All in all, not terrible for early November although – as always – more snow would be good! A couple of photos here: and a few more here:

  35. CNC: -3 VR 40/50 worked well. With the AB cup on not much groomed/trackeset available but the short stretch out Banff Tr. To the snow farm.
    Beyond that on Banff trail the skidoos have done a number on the trail turning over dirt and rocks. Rock Skis are the only way to go.
    From top of the hill out onto the mine scar the trail improves.
    We returned via Meadowview and the trail gets even better. Good depth of snow with the rolling giving a decent base. Some trail runners out there
    Running directly on the skier tracks. Not Cool!
    The trail conditions worsened the closer we got to Olympic. Rock sharks lurking and then onto Olympic where no rolling or packing had been done we took our skis off and walked the rest of the way down into the Stadium.

  36. Since I can’t ski at the moment due to a leg injury, here’s what the trail up to Elk Pass looked like 6 years ago today:

    there was lots of snow early that year, it had been packed but not track set.

  37. Kimberley: Centennial/Snowbird/Landsem/Spruce -the fun and scenic outer loop. Little skiff of snow last couple days so base rolled to 2” with plenty of exposed dirt, grass, twigs and a minefield of sharp rocks …but hey, bluebird conditions, -1 and little traffic made for fun couple loops whilst between hockey tournament games! Gracious volunteers and fabulous digs: character wax hut, modern day-lodge and well placed trailside accoutrements.

    • Kimberley is the best, Jeremy!! We spend January, February, and part of March there and you could not meet a greater group of avid outdoor enthusiasts anywhere. Not the least bit unusual to jump on the ski lift and be sitting beside an 85 year old who down hill skies everyday. Nordic ski trails are great and well maintained, but,if conditions allow, Lois Creek and trails up by Forest Crown (not to mention golf courses that lead into Nature Reserve) are amazing when you want to get off the beaten track. Thanks for the report. My bags are packed already!

  38. PLPP: Saturday we attempted Whiskey Jack from the bottom after seeing such great conditions at the junction with Pocaterra the day before. Not recommended yet. We started at the Boulton campground washrooms as the usual parking lot is still blocked off for construction. The snow is thin near the beginning but gets better as you go along except at the big hill at the top there are a number of rocks hiding just under the surface. Best to wait for another big snowfall before skiing here.

  39. PLPP : Skied Pocaterra from Hwy 40 on Friday. Excellent conditions on groomed but not trackset trail. We turned around partway up Tyrwitt as the squirrels had been having a feeding frenzy scattering spruce cones all along the trail. Despite the warm temperatures the snow was dry and not at all sticky.

  40. Great Divide trail today. The track is in great shape, snow temp -4 C so easy waxing with Swix -2 to -6. Skied
    from Lake Louise side to the Ross Lake turn off and back. Temp seemed at bit warmer on the BC end.

  41. Jip and I did the afternoon shift @ WBC, several loops around Crystal Line mainly sticking to the packed trails but did venture onto Moose Connector and East Crystal. The packed trails were actually a better ski than last weekend, hoping we’re getting setup for some quality extended skiing soon.

  42. Urban ski tour – November 24.
    Eleven cm of new snow made for a most enjoyable blue-sky morning ski tour, right from my backdoor. After skiing through our gate, down the back alley, and looping around the Birthplace Forest in Silver Springs- Piper the retriever and I meandered our way down into Bowmont Park along the river, and looped back home for a great ski of nearly 2 hours. Breaking trail in the cold sparkling snow was fast and easy, with blue wax giving delightful kick and glide. The snow had come in wet and warm, making for somewhat of a very thin base, but still- rock skis only!

  43. West Bragg this a.m. had been pressed, Crystal line and connectors. As per early season, be prepared for a rock dance or two, and only use skis that are already or you expect will become your rock skis(s)

  44. Tramline from the village and MLR were in great shape today. Temps started at -3C at 10:30 and didn’t change much by 2 p.m. I had to use VR50 for the grip up from the village and then it started to ice up a bit. Scraping at the top of MLR helped. Light snow falling until around 1 p.m. with, perhaps 2 cm of accumulation. The tracks are a bit wobbly in spots, but slow enough to be fun on the downhill sections. We still need more snow!!!!

  45. Canmore Nordic Centre. Banff Trail groomed as far as the snow pile, a km or so. Rock ski territory beyond that. There are a few more loop options below the biathlon area.
    Important to note. Saturday and Sunday Alberta Cup races will mean most of the skiable terrain will be closed to the public during racetimes. You will be restricted to out and back from the stadium to the snow pile. Lake Louise would be a far better bet.

  46. Great Divide Trail 10:00 -2C
    VR40 with 45 underneath
    Skied-in tracks, 3cm on skating lane. Great kick n glide
    No sign of a bear activity. VR 45 snuck through on return causing some icing.
    Groomers showed up at 12:00. Please don’t jump in behind them as the track needs time to setup especially with temps around freezing

  47. Friday morning: snowing in Kananaskis right now and starting to accumulate on the road south of the village. (-:

    Good to hear. Mud Lake has received 5 cm of new snow between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. -Bob

    • Elk pass/hydroline/south lookout/Patterson/blueberry
      -3 in the lot to start at 930. -1 on return at 4. Nice mild day. Light winds, light snow gently falling all day. Maybe a cm to start with a good two inches at the blueberry junction. All the above groomed trails in excellent shape with the fresh snow. Followed Liz and John’s broken trail all the way around to hydroline, swapping stories at the junctions. Went to the creek crossing on south lookout but no further. Partially open creek which wasn’t an issue for snowshoers, setting a double track up the ungroomed side. Back to blueberry picnic table via Patterson. Another cm had fallen on the table. Blueberry had more like 3 or 4 inches by that time. Only went to the drainage coming from mount fox. West elk meadows were a miss given only a foot of snow. Only 1.5 ft in the upper meadows by the drainage. Fox creek looked doable and evidence of travel. The big hill was a fun descent, both sides. Somebody left a pair of Solomon 198’s in the parking lot. Moved them to the trail map kiosk so they wouldn’t get run over. Hurry back!

  48. MLR was beautiful for classic ski today; even downhill was enjoyable with new track set and soft snow for my preferred “slower descent” . Thanks to Helen Read for being my motivation today @MLR and my inspiration everyday. Followed great ski tracks to Moraine Lake for a couple of photos. Wax: Ski Go Blue -2 -20 worked great. Temps -1- 3 . light flurries.

    A few photos (nice one of Helene and Carol) are at:

    Send snow. Lots.

  49. Lake Louise Great Divide/1A – adding to Martine’s report, we got lucky this am with fresh tracks in the skate lane as the groomer was just working on it. Great conditions, not too soft, reasonably fast, -3C. No wind today out beyond Great Divide and classic tracks were well defined with no wind blown snow in them, just a tad slow from approx. 1 cm new snow.

  50. Fresh tracks on Moraine Lake Road this morning. With the dusting of fresh snow mixed in by grooming the tracka were a bit slow, especially on the return, but otherwise great skiing. Downhill track appears to have been set slightly wider than previous passes as it was extra soft and the outside pole punched right through to the pavement. Should set up beautifully for tomorrow and this weekend.

  51. Fantastic skiing on Great Divide yesterday. They had just trackset it on Tuesday and the conditions were perfect. Plenty of snow, no hazards.

  52. Blueberry Hill 21-11-18
    Even though the snowpack is generally thin, we had a fantastic ski up to Blueberry hill today. Sunny, -4º when we left the parking lot at 10:30. Trail was in great condition, no bare spots to speak of, some needles and pine cones but generally fast and fun. The trail is not trackset of course, but is easy travelling with no icy spots. Some serious surface hoar is forming in the low areas, beautiful (see photo).
    I concur with the previous comments from Champion that skate skiers would have a great time on this trail right now. The last 200 metres of the Blueberry Hill trail is rough, just a couple of sled tracks but passable.

  53. PLPP November 21

    After reading Bob’s report on skiing PLPP, I posted a Ramblers’ trip (www.ramblers. to take the groomed road from HWY 40 to Pocaterra and see what conditions were like. When we started (6 of us), it was -9 and gorgeous. We skied up to the junction, continued to Whiskey Jack and then on to Tyrwhitt for about 3 km before turning around. The bush poking out of the snow wasn’t too bad and the views were lovely, as always.

    Then we made the mistake of skiing down Pocaterra to the Hut. Wendy and Tom skied this 3 days ago, so may not have experienced the fallen trees, rocks, grass and ice that made our return trip one of the worst I’ve had in the past decade.


    But it was still a beautiful day out!

    • Was tyrwit still rough packed as opposed to groomed? And did you make it to the first meadows? Wondering how they look for starting the couch. My guess is it needs another foot. Hopefully Thursday and Friday will bring enough snow.

    • Thanks for taking one for the team, Chip. You probably saved others from a lot of grief.

    • Yes indeed, good post. Though I had skis with me, I decided to stop early enroute from Longview and wander about the (completely) bare but always scenic, Cat Creek hills.

  54. Can confirm great conditions at Moraine Lake Road today. They started tracksetting the classic tracks around 11 this morning and was still doing the skating lane around 3 this afternoon. Pretty fast snow overall and good coverage, though it felt a bit slower on the descent probably because this snow was still a bit soft.

  55. We 8 Meandering Meanderthals also had a fun and fast ski from end to end of the Great “Bear” Divide, getting hugs in the parking lot from Mary and Ray to start the day off perfectly!! Temps were cooler than any of the forecasts (-5 at the GD picnic tables) but my old Swix Blue Extra (0 to -4) worked for me. Those trying out New Skin Techs smoked up the big hill. I only got 10 kms. as Gaia reading from O’Hara end to Lk Louise end…always thought of it as 11 in total. Groomer was arriving as we were finishing up at 2.

  56. We also skied Great Divide today and found the tracks good but well-used, and surprisingly fast. Temp was -10 to start and got up to -5 by 1 pm. We skied from the Lake Louise end to the Divide and about 20 mins beyond where the tracks had windblown sections on the BC side, as well as down the big hill to the Divide. Nice to see familiar faces on the trail, including the Meanderthals.

  57. Moraine Lake Road was track set today (Tuesday) at about noon. I started at 10AM -10C and finished at -2C after round trip to end of official trail. Snow was excellent (and no poles hitting pavement) for blue wax VR40.
    Centre lane in hard packed and very fast. Enjoy!

    • Track setters headed to great divide trail at about 1:30.. didn’t see results.
      They likely tracks set it also. Moraine tracks won’t hold up to much due to people skiing behind track setter.. but better than he washed out track from the weekend!

    • Skied MLR today with Chuckley but don’t know who he was in the relatively light crowd. Confirm the ski conditions reported on MLR. Also skied the Upper and Lower Tramlines. Tracks were hard and fast with no poling required on a mellow slide to the river. Bow River trail showed some dirt patches and was wobbly. The crossing under the RR bridge is flooded by Pipestone Creek overflowing probably due to an ice dam at the Bow River. I walked up and across the CP Rail tracks to access the Village. Watch for the 100 car unit trains!

  58. Lake Louise Great Divide:
    Only made it the first 4k and back, as I was travelling with a new friend to skiing, but conditions were lovely, and a few rocks and sticks made for a light amusement. Weather was gorgeous and the snow was friendly. Tracks seem to be well maintained! Glad to be out for the year early as compared to the conditions this time last year.

  59. Canmore Nordic Centre CNC. 10:30 -3C Sunny VR 50 covered by VR 40
    Snow guns going in Stadium, along Banff Trail up to the snow farm, down onto Lynx. There are snow guns set up out along Banff TR to junction 5.
    Warning if you venture further out past Frozen Thunder to Banff trail and Bow trail and beyond rock skis are in order. Most of the main trails out past the warming hut have been rolled. Skiable but more of a walk n glide. Skating would be soft but ok

    • Conditions were excellent between 10 am and noon. A new bit of Lynx added to the trails. Waiting for the rollout of more trails as snowmaking continues.



    Skate skiers take note:

    No tracksets on the Elk Pass Trail and others tails in the area. Nice wide trail for skate skiing currently. Take advantage of this while you can. The trails are nicely groomed only. Good to very good early season base. Just a couple of thin patches in wind blown areas or under the very odd tree but they are avoidable. About 25 cm of settled snow on the ground with a good relative dense base layer above the ground. Sweet dry powder on top.

    The trail up to Elk Pass had sweet grip and glide with -3 to -10 old snow blue wax. The temperatures remained below zero and kept the snow fairly fast. Some minor tree debris in some areas. A few sticks past the Blueberry Hill turn-off but avoidable.

    Blueberry Hill was also groomed.

    The trail down to the Elk Lake Provincial Park hut was in fair to very good condition on the road. Off the road there are sticks poking through in many areas. In a few spots there is a little gravel from ruts from a truck that drove up the road after the first snow fall. Rock skis are recommended. There is roughly a 30 cm settled snow pack at the hut with a relatively (or better than average) good dense layer above the ground. Sweet dry powder on top.

    The Parks department was smart to get out and groom the trails with the limited snowpack. Another 15cm of snow will make for very heavenly tracksetable trails to take you to the high country.

  61. FAIRVIEW-MORRAINE-TRAMLINE: Fairview appears to have lots of snow throughout, enough for grooming. Very bumpy trail on good quality snow. Morraine Lake Trail had a bzillion visitors this weekend so the tracks are getting obliterated. Tramline in excellent condition. Excellent quality snow on all three trails today.

  62. Nov 18: rock isle lake/sunshine meadows
    Finally got out for a ski. Blustery and grey with the odd bit of sun, unlike steves day yesterday, but more snow at the destination. Skinned up the ski out. Just doable after the last storm, but not recommended for descent. Rough cat and snowmobile tracks below goats eye junction with gravel and ice chunks. One more dump and it should be fine. Groomed above that, but still a few surface pebbles. 80-90 cm of supportive snow in the meadows and about 15 cm ski pen. No wallowing or whumphing but I didn’t wander around the terrain much.

  63. Lake Louise – Upper and Lower Tramline. Groomed and single track set top to bottom and in great shape – much better than the official Parks rating of “Good-Fair”. We rated in better than good with only one small patch of twigs showing through, just before the open slope on the way up, and no other hazards. Temp -7 to -9, perfect Swix blue wax. Also did a detour on the way down, up Moraine Lake Road as far as Paradise Creek and the tracks were quite washed out in comparison to Tramline.

    • I can second all of this and would add that Fairview has lots of snow that is skier track set by many, many skiers. This translates to a bumpy but enjoyable ski along the top and challenging conditions for the descent to Moraine lake road. A clockwise loop could be a great option for an intermediate or higher level skier wanting to connect up to the lake from Moraine Lake road. Hopefully grooming is in the near future!

  64. PLPP – Pocaterra from Hwy 40

    Since no one else had reported from here, I figured we had better see if there is enough snow to ski yet. The short answer is *Yes!!*, though not obvious from the highway.
    We parked next to a Parks truck with a large trailer, thought uh-oh maybe construction? Followed cat tracks up the trail a few hundred metres, when they turned into honest-to-goodness grooming!! Grooming continued to Lookout-Tyrwhitt junction, then just cat tracks up Tyrwhitt. We followed them, and a short distance up the trail met Jody coming the other way! Apparently he had groomed a lot of the higher trails today, but no tracksetting yet. As expected, Tyrwhitt is still very rough and we turned around before long. It was lovely skiing on a lovely day 🙂

  65. WBC Saturday skied East Crystal, Sundog, Loggers, Mountain View, Mountain Road, to use Alf’s words, an ‘okay ski’, had good glide but kept the speed down in anticipation of the next trip hazard. Snow is holding up well with temps below zero all day, should be reasonable tomorrow for those willing to ski marginal conditions, better than no ski at all!
    Videoed a very vocal Coyote on MountainView, war or love cry?

  66. Skied CNC to the meadow and back on thin but skiable snow. Upper black trails were rollerpacked but full of rocks (can’t really recommend) but Banff Trail was great! Nice soft snow over the pavement and no rocks on the part that’s paved. Enjoyable day out for anybody not wanting to go all the way to Louise.

  67. Spent the morning kicking around in the powder in LL. Started at moraine lake road, skied up to the Fairview trail. Skied Fairview, which had been skier track set but snow cover and depth was excellent. Busted through more powder breaking trail (trail #4 I think) and popped out on the hiking trail leading down to the lake. Hiking trail was skiable, just did some snow plowing to stay in control. Took the tramline trail (trackset) back to moraine. Track was soft on moraine road but oh so heavenly.

  68. Moraine Lake Road
    The parking lot was 40% full at 8:50, and then 500% at 10:30, overflowing onto the road.
    Tracks looked sharp in the morning and I skate skied, following the groomer, essentially being the first to leave skating lines on the road. The base got more snow since last week; it was softer and slower. Superb conditions, and not crowded until 10. If you like that, start early.
    -12C, no wind, clouds and sun.

  69. Canmore Nordic Centre Opening day!
    We got in a quick ski this AM.
    Lots of racers out skiing Frozen Thunder and up into the stadium.
    snow making in progress along Banff Trail until the Snow farm . We dipped down onto Banff loop to come out below the snow farm and found lots of snowmachine traffic and reasonable non tracked skiing. Look out for land sharks! Ended up on Banff Trail and just after the first bridge Banff Trail had been rolled full width out to the end of the Meadow and beyond. Groomer passed us as he came up out of Banff Loop heading west so more rolling will hav been done by this pm

  70. Boom Lake – lots of fluffy powder for my first ski-joring of the season!. My human broke trail all the way to the lake with about 15 cms of new snow covering the old track and about 30 cms of unconsolidated snow off trail. A few small open creeks to cross which were easy for me to jump right over but for some reason the humans were taking forever (something about not wanting to slip and get their skins wet). Didn’t venture out onto the lake (I’m a snow dog and I don’t like water after all). Great run down – good control not like it can sometimes be when the trail is firm so I was able to gallop a lot, on leash, with my human in tow. Temp -7 all day

  71. Moraine Lake Road AND the Great Divide – Nov 16

    Finding that both had been trackset today, I had to ski both!
    Read the captions for details:!AgTx5EOCG7eSgz1mFBPDYcrVRQcD
    Lots of smart people out today before the weekend warriors arrive tomorrow.

    Just not ready. We were heading to Lake Louise but icy roads on the Trans-Canada highway convinced us to give Cascade Valley a try. We knew it might be grim and it was. No cars in the parking lot, no ski tracks to be found and just not enough snow to cover the rocks.
    There is construction work occurring (drilling rig, tanker trucks, etc) at the trailhead off of the Bankhead road, so the start of the trail is in rough shape due to heavy truck traffic. The ski up the big hill was slow but steady. One could often feel the rocks just below the snow. At the top of the hill, the snow gets deeper and the skiing does improve. We didn’t quite make it to the bridge as we knew that we would be removing our skis and walking back down the big hill to get back to the parking lot. Attempting to ski back down the hill would have been extremely risky to both body and skis. Still a great day to be out, but Cascade Valley certainly needs another 20 cms snowfall to be considered. Didn’t see a soul all day.

  73. Good conditions yesterday for my first ski of this season on the Great Divide trail in Lake Louise. I crossed paths with three Nordic clubs. One from Saskatchewan, another from Canmore and one more who’s club name I couldn’t read on their jackets. There was a handful of others out there even thought the sun was setting behind the mountains.
    Today, Nov 16, I skied Moraine Lake Rd to the avalanche zone and back. Started at 11:30am and the groomers had just finished with the fresh 5cm ish that fell overnight. Conditions were excellent.
    Looking forward to my next outing and to getting my skis hot waxed at Lifesport. I was struggling a bit on the last few kms to the end of MLR and chalk it up to not hot waxing my skis yet and first day out.

  74. Great Divide Trail, Lake Louise. “So beautiful”, “perfection”, “we are so lucky”, “look at those smiling faces”, those are the words we’ve heard today on this trail following the track setters. Double track set now, more snow is expected overnight. It was a great start of the xc season.

  75. Canmore Nordic Centre – Afternoon doing 35km of dizzying figure8 frozen thunder. Single classic track hard as stone and typically fine grained man-made snow with some mixed conditions from fresh fallen & patches of icy-base still showing through. Grid & Banff trail not ready yet so remember it’s an intermediate level course. Green/VR40 and honed-in technique served me well …many others were vocally frustrated -it’s ONLY MOVEMBER skiers!

  76. We are new to X-country skiing, we live in Cochrane, is there any trails you would suggest for Friday (today) and for this weekend.

  77. Highway 1A at Louise: Kerrie and I skied the 1A from the O’Hara end today in lovely fresh snow. There were only scattered skier-set tracks when we started around 11:30, but we met the track-setting crew on the upper 1/2 of the trail so we had fresh tracks to follow back to the O’Hara end. Light snow continued through the afternoon, so the tracks will now be partially filled with new snow.
    With the temp around -2, it took 3 layers of VR50 to give adequate grip, but the glide on CH-6 was excellent. It was a fine start to the season.

  78. LAKE O’HARA E.P. HUT & AVI PATH – Nov 15

    A lonely day dedicated to documenting Bob’s query about the avalanche path.
    Read the captions for details:!AgTx5EOCG7eSgy5FZHf-1GGta7t9
    Obviously unanticipated, as are many!

    Thanks, Chuck. We didn’t have much info on that one when it happened. -Bob

  79. Moraine Lake Road – Nov. 14

    Excellent! A few cm of fresh snow overnight, light snow all day, and PC groomed (both classic tracks and free technique packing) mid-morning. Temps near zero today. Maybe 3-5 cm of new snow at parking lot and 10-15cm on upper portions of the road.

  80. Great Divide – started at the O’Hara end at 10am to lightly falling snow and gusty breezes. -4C. Tracks initially had been totally obliterated by snow/winds, so we set track to the Divide, occasionally following the vague outline of previous tracksetting. The Lake Louise end was a different story – decent (though often wobbly) tracks set by skiers in a few cm of fresh snow. Lots of twigs poking through the tracks in some places. It was snowing heavily at 1pm when we finished (-2C), but that only lasted 20 min. or so. With a few more cm of snow in the forecast for the next couple of days, the tracksetters should have lots to work with to make great skiing conditions for the coming weekend.

  81. Moraine Lake Road

    After an extremely windy drive into the mountains, we found lovely cold and calm conditions at Lake Louise. The skiing on MLR was delightful, as was meeting the incomparable Chuck as he ran laps up and down the road! It was quite a fun run down to Paradise Creek, slightly interrupted by having to stop for a downed skier. Fortunately all was well, and we all resumed the descent.
    Near the bottom, late afternoon, we were quite surprised by no less than three large hordes of skiers starting to skate up the road! Obviously a training run for some groups, finishing with the small fry 🙂

  82. MORAINE LAKE ROAD – Nov 13

    Conditions were so good today… that I did two laps to the end of tracksetting and back!
    As usual, check the captions here for details:!AgTx5EOCG7eSgyZIePaERmYaJvs9
    The weekend crowds were gone… delightful.

  83. Frozen Thunder update: Nagano Loop has been added, meaning you no longer have to make the steep right angle turn in front of trees of the original loop … now you just have to negotiate a less sharp right turn across the bridge :-). Excellent conditions, classic skiers were using klister covered with hard wax. About two dozen skiers from U of A Camrose showed up, as well as two guys from Sjusjøen, Norway, who showed them how it’s done.

  84. Great Divide from Lake Ohara End

    Advice from the LL Visitor Center suggested starting from the Lake Ohara end as the tracks were better. First time we ever started there. Skied 15 km return and best snow over the first 4 km out. Sunny, -5oC, great on Swix purple. Few sticks poking through on westbound track, eastbound set over the 1A so fewer sticks.

  85. Neil and Nora Hagen

    Elk Pass Sunday November 11: It was a brisk -9C when we started out from the Elk Pass parking lot. The only other cars there had spent the night, presumably belonging to hikers who went into Elk Lakes. The snow was usually sufficient for the first 1.5 km, although on the steep hill just before the intersection with the far end of the Fox Creek trail, I was glad I did not have my new skis — there were a few rocks. There were lots of footprints from hikers on the trail but we saw no other cross country ski tracks. As per usual, the snow quickly became deeper the closer one got toward Elk Pass. We did not go all the way to the top however. On the way back, we went via Fox Creek which was just gorgeous but again, the snow was scant toward the bottom. So: at Elk Pass it was early season skiing but oh so lovely.

    • Any guess as to snow depth off trail near the blueberry junction? Meadows looking plenty twiggy?

      • Timely post as many of us are wondering who is going to win the track-setting of Elk Pass Contest. We all await the next big dump…. I see Ma Sid is anxious to check out “The Couch” site and I can hardly wait to get back into those West Elk meadows myself. Great to have you on the forum Neil and Nora!

  86. Moraine Lake Road
    Excellent conditions today: solid base, well groomed and trackset. Despite the note in Bob’s post, I haven’t seen any signs of the overnight snowfall on MLR.

    Alberta Ski Team was there for a 3 hour training. It’s been a pleasure to chat briefly with the Team’s renowned coach.

    -10C at 9am warmed to -6C by noon in calm air.
    I skate skied and can’t comment on waxing. Hopefully someone else can share on that.

  87. WBC – Nov 11
    West Bragg Creek picked up 5-8cm of new snow on Sunday. That’s more than was forecast, but still not enough to encourage anything but rock-ski skiing.
    I did a loop of Mountain Road, Mountain View and West Crystal. There was some roller-packing on parts of the loop. Sun/wind exposed areas that typically have thin snow cover had plenty of rocks and gravel. Some of the shady, level parts of West Crystal OK, but anything with a hill was still too thin.
    So, unless you want to get out just to toss rocks off the trail… it’s not ready for skiing yet.
    Fat-biking looked pretty good, however.

    • Spot on Alf. After a spectacular Italian Farmhouse lunch, wife and I enjoyed a few km of rock skiing on west Crystalines & links where -for the most part, we’ve happily floated on fine snow on our 30yo boards but did get passed by a chap running (the whole circuit) with skis in hand! Now a moot point with warming :.-(

  88. We broke trail on the Ross lake Circuit, the snow is quite good with the exception of occasional rocks. The snow gets better as you go east to west (to the Lake O’Hara Fire Road). A nice easy to access backcountry experience.

  89. GREAT DIVIDE – Nov 11

    Wow, another day with fresh tracksetting!
    Check out the captions here for details:!AgTx5EOCG7eSgxt_sZ0FeHLZ5olq
    Lots of happy folk.

  90. Skied to Boom Lake today. Early season ski trip on dry snow, broken trail with hikers, rocky sections and stepping across small streams. Beautiful sunlight backdrop at the lake. The downhill part was fun and quite manageable with controlled speed on light touring gear.

  91. Great Divide Trail: Wonderful day, weather-wise and conditions-wise for our first ski of the season, but we weren’t the only ones out enjoying the day. Several ski teams were out training, but they seemed to keep to the east end of the trail, making for somewhat better conditions at the Lake O’Hara end. It might be a good idea, if you want a less crowded trail, to start at the Lake O’Hara end. We used V30 wax and it lasted almost the whole day with the grip starting to wear out only in the last few kilometres.

  92. Ventured out to Great Divide today to avoid the chaos of MLR. Conditions were decent but not spectacular. A couple cm of fresh snow over the narrow skate lane. The trackset was a tad shallow and wobbly with intermittent branches and leaves. Lots of fresh snow past the divide (on the O’Hara side). Felt great to get out for a classic ski but missing those deep tracks – fingers crossed for more snow. I used a blend of V40&45 for grip and CH10 for glide left over from last week which still seemed to work.

  93. MORAINE LAKE – Nov 10

    A machine set track is a beautiful thing, and well worth an early start today.
    See the photo captions here for details:!AgTx5EOCG7eSgxCZazbhv20hJY6S
    A safe day to go down to the lake.

  94. I was wondering if anyone has been in PLPP, specifically around Elk Pass-what are the snow conditions like?


    • We hiked Galatea yesterday, not much snow lower down and the only accumulations at the lower lake were wind blown, spikes and gators recommended.

  95. Lake O’Hara – Nov 9. Following Chucks lead from the day b4 I pushed 3” of fresh snow from thurs night over treaded base on 62mm 3/4 metal edge skies w VR40 to the Elizabeth Parker Hut. Here I said hi to a chipper few and enjoyed the warmth of an already stoked fire -thanks!. Dried and reenergized, i revelled in the winter wonderland views around the lake and headed back down floating fluff and not meeting a sole nor seeing my tracks the whole way. Another 3 inches by the time I reached trailhead. Go!

  96. Chester-Sawmill -Nov 9
    I was curious about how much of the early October snow remained in the Smith-Dorrien valley, after a month of warm weather. A quick check at the Chester parking lot showed a total snow depth of 20cm, including 5 cm of recent snow. Based on that, I opted to do tour over to the Sawmill trailhead and back to check on conditions in that area. Snow depths generally ranged from 15 cm on sun exposed south aspects to 28 cm in sheltered-shaded areas. If there was this much snow at West Bragg Creek, it would have been groomed and track set… but it’s not.
    Our tour included Frostheave, Graupel, High Rockies, Snowdrift and Mt. Murray Lookout trails; 19 km total. It was mostly easy travel with 4-8cm of new snow on a firm base. The exceptions were some snow-less sections on the High Rockies Mountain Bike trail and a very sketchy crossing of James Walker Creek on Snowdrift trail.

    • I haven’t been there in MANY years Alf (whence it was trackset!) & assumed snowshoers & ballon tire bikers had taken over the area. May have to try early season ski once I look up the trail names!

  97. Lake Louise Highway 1A – track setting has begun! We classic skied out to the top of the Divide hill this am on reasonable skier set tracks, then met the groomers about half way back setting track! No bare pavement, just a few twiggy bits, and obviously a little soft since there was no time for the tracks to set up. No sure if the groomers were going over to Moraine Lake Road afterwards. Temp -6C, Extra blue wax -1 to -7 worked well till around lunchtime when the temp rose. Also of note was a strong cold wind at the top of the Divide hill. Great to be back on the skis and in tracks! Thanks groomers!

  98. LAKE O’HARA – Nov 8

    Blue skies deserve a beautiful location. Read the captions for details:!AgTx5EOCG7eSgwbWQKa_vTIz8v7O
    Sorry, I was so amazed to see Sarah and Alana skiing in, that I forgot to ask them if I could take a picture. They must have left the parking lot at about 2 pm, and were lamenting the shorter days. I assured them that in fact they have more light with which to get to the hut. I had to explain that there is more light after 5 pm this week than there was after 5 pm last week. They were delighted to look at it this way!

    • U must be referring to the “long sunset” and (new) snow glow Chuck ! ‘cause our dusk moved earlier with MST not to mention where we are in the lunar cycle -there’s my glass half empty for the day;-)

  99. West Bragg Creek, Nov 7
    A few centimetres of snow has fallen at WBC and the volunteer groomers have roller-packed several of the trails. But before you rush out there… I really did mean just a few cm of snow! I did a quick tour of West Crystal, a bit Middle Crystal, Moose Connector and Mountain Road. The objective was really just to find and remove rocks from the trail, so I was on rock skis.
    The purpose of the roller-packing is to keep the meagre snowfall in place and allow the frost to penetrate into the ground. In shady areas, there were still remnants of the snow or ice from the early October snowfall, but in sunny areas there is only dirt and rock under the snow.

    • Thank you, Alf, I was wondering if I should head out!
      I took a quick tour of Bowness Park yesterday, in 2 – 4 cm fresh powder. Conditions somewhat marginal, stay on soft grassy terrain! But it was mostly fun 🙂

    • Thanks for the WBC update. I also was wondering about heading out there. I’ll wait for more snow!

  100. Moraine Lake Road for our first of the season ski was great. There were about 3 cms of fresh snow over yesterday’s grooming. We were the first classic skiers out on the trail and after 1 km. switched sides to break trail on the outbound, left-hand side of the road so as to have a nice, somewhat packed trail for the ski back to parking. The temp. at start was a chilly -10C. and -7C at the end. The sun warmed us up going out, and we stopped for a lovely chat with a couple from Vancouver who were walking in to Moraine Lake, one of whom was a friendly young man from Ireland, which made him a fellow countryman to Ray. I think we may have convinced them to take up xc skiing! The trip down was less thrilling than we had hoped as several skate skiers came up behind and skated all over our freshly set uphill track! We did get some good glide on the steepest part of the road. A 19 km. day is a super way to start the season!

  101. GREAT DIVIDE – Nov 7

    With 14 cars over at the MLR, it was a good day to check out the grooming over on the old 1A. It was rolled and packed on Nov 4 and is a nice easy going route in the sun.
    For details, check the captions here:!AgTx5EOCG7eSgn4bzkv6lXUiL0em

  102. 6 Canmore Meanderthals skied The Great Divide starting at the O’Hara end where Chuck advised me the snow would be better, and it was. We had our bear spray but no bear tracks seen. Fresh powder snow atop the grooming/packing that was done on 4th. Our poles never hit through to the pavement and we skied to where Peyto joins the Divide, for us at kms 8. No fierce westerly to contend with and variable blue/cloudy skies. Great “to get the bugs out” and remember what we each might have forgotten in our packs. Bill McKeever forgot his toe-socks! I forgot my ruler to measure the snow!
    We kept thinking we might see skiers at the Lk Louise end but never saw a soul.

  103. MORAINE LAKE ROAD – Nov 6

    Encouraged by yesterday’s Groomer’s report, and the new snow in our Banff backyard, we had to check out the MLR today. While it is not machine trackset yet, the rolling and packing has set up nicely.
    Surprised to find that we were the first ones in the parking lot at 10 am, and that we did not see anyone until our return.
    The only thin area was at the sunny viewpoint, but when we met Ray Potvin on our return, he told me that his pole tips had punched through to pavement at the 2.5 km bridge (okay, I concede… he is a powerhouse).
    See it all at:!AgTx5EOCG7eSgnSvzMeFgRv6kp1Q
    Rode Blue (-2 to -6) worked well for us, and we look forward to the imminent tracksetting.

    • Nice to see you Chuck! I think my extra weight might have something to do with the poles bottoming out. Great start to the season.

  104. Just returned from a late night lap up MLR. Snow depth is excellent – no exposed patches anywhere. Poles hit through to the road most of the time. Conditions were pretty soft for skating but we made it work. As stated in the grooming report, no trackset yet. Overall still worth the effort! The season has begun.

  105. Just read the Banff park trail report page (updated today), indicating morrain lake Rd and great divide were packed and groomed (only) for skiing. (-:
    Sunshine also reporting what looks like a 70 cm snow pack at their snow plot (a deposition area). Similar at aster lake. Still only 20 cm at mud lake.

    • And then I read bob’s post. Oops

      No harm in spreading good news around! Thanks for the heads-up on the Banff/Lake Louise trail report being updated. -Bob

      • Also noted that the Peyto parking lot is closed For Construction, and access to the bow summit backcountry ski area may be difficult. The notice didn’t say for how long.



    I rolled down the Trans Canada Highway on the morning of Nov. 4 at about 1:00 am and it was snowing like “craziness” at the Lake O’Hara parking lot. With such hard snow coming down, I would assume it is skiable to the spectacular views of the Lake O’Hara region. Does anyone know for sure?

    Ski ya later.

  107. Additional snow has fallen on Moraine Lake road. No machine packing has occurred yet. You can see from the tracks that skiing has been attempted. Photo courtesy of Malcolm Roberts. Moraine Lake road on Nov 3.

  108. CNC season pass prices go up Nov 1st…. get yours!

  109. I skate skied Frozen Thunder at Canmore Nordic today. It’s great to have a place to ski so early in the season. It’s a pretty hilly course so I find it hard work but conditions were fast. I imagine that it got soft later in the day but it was nice and firm first thing in the morning. I also did some mountain biking. There can’t be many other places where you can go mountain biking and skiing on the same day!

  110. Oct 17: the wonders of snowy travel (BNP).
    I was reminded today of the other pleasures of snow on the ground: animal tracks! Followed some fresh wolverine tracks in the early morning frozen snow on a trail that I wouldn’t expect it to occur given its normal popularity and proximity to the road. Then came across his breakfast bird kill site. Nothing left but feathers. Not even blood. Looked like he even licked that up. It’s a wonderful thing to know that it’s still wild and productive out there and an exciting foreshadow of the season that shows the evidence more readily.

  111. Oct 15: heally/Simpson passes/eohippus lk
    Larches in this area are still holding majority of needles, so made for a lovely stroll (on foot) with sunny skies. Probably was doable on skis for the brave, flexible and strong. Packed snow on the main trail with rocks showing in all the regular places, but no real icy spots. Didn’t have to put the spikes on but that should change in the next day or two. Thin at the start, but a foot or more above the first Simpson junction. Wished I had skis for the ccw loop in the upper meadows to Simpson pass. Other than that bit, bony everywhere else. Anywhere frOm 6-18″ of snow depending on aspect. One skier, two walkers and a pack of coyotes ahead of me once turning left from heally towards Simpson pass. Might still be doable on skis tomorrow, but probably crusty in places and general marginal conditions. Not much base on the downhill section from Simpson back to heally. Sketchy if on skis. The walk to eohippus was fine for skiing. Anything below that was suspect. Broke fresh trail to eohippus but didn’t go past outflow, which was still open. Might be one more marginal ski day option there tomorrow but it will be icy and crusty travel with the low single digit temps and sun up there today. 10 degrees back at the parking lot at 3:30pm butvthe main trail didn’t get too slushy.

  112. west bragg -10 C. Two inches new snow covering all overnight. Crystal line skier set. Get it while you can.

  113. Skied to Boom Lake today. Marginal at the base and thin most of the way. A novel, great time skiing in October. Unless more snow comes it will probably become unskiable . The lake was gorgeous and unfrozen.

  114. I skied a figure eight loop around west to east Crystal at West Bragg this afternoon with my son. What I can confirm is that yes, it was groomed (not track set,) but that you don’t want to ski West Bragg anymore until we get another dump of snow. The trails were a mess of pine needles, leaves, hard packed icy snow, and dirt starting to show through in spots. Not ideal.
    Still good to get out though and pretty awesome to be skiing in a t-shirt in October.

    • What a difference a day makes! It was in great shape when I skied it on Thursday. Mind you, I was only on the West Crystal Line section between Moose Connector and the parking lot, and I don’t know what conditions were Thursday on the rest of the loop. And I imagine yesterday’s windstorm ate away at the snow and put a lot of debris on the trails.

  115. Get out now to Ribbon Creek before it goes. Not great conditions but it is packed by cat. Think crappy spring skiing without the sticking and clumping

  116. West Bragg Oct 11
    I did Telephone Trail Loop this afternoon on light touring fish-scale skis. Looks like no one did the entire loop since my Oct 5 trip. Less trail-breaking and more gliding this time, but the bare spots are getting bigger and the snowpack thinner on the south-facing slopes. Returned via Crystal Line West which looked like it had been groomed earlier today and was in excellent condition!

  117. Snowshoe at West Bragg Creek

    Three of us, me on snowshoes and the others in boots snowshoed a 10 km loop at West Bragg today. There was about 5 cm of fresh snow on the trails. We did Snowshoe Hare to Demi-Tel to Long Distance and finished up on Braggin’ Rights. Didn’t really need the snowshoes although they were handy in a few places. The snow was fairly consistent. However the track on the south facing slopes on Long Distance had lost much of their snow so there were rocks exposed under the new snow. With the forecast highs for the next week or more, the snow will become fairly thin, especially on exposed slopes.

  118. Cat tracks made for some excellent skiing up to Skogan Pass from Ribbon Creek. I had skinny racing skis but most people might appreciate heavier gear for the descent. Thanks to the tracksetters who drove up there!

  119. Chester Lake, Oct 6
    Today was an interesting combination of early December snow depth, late September larch colours and mid-March temperatures. We skied to Chester Lake, although on this day skiers were vastly outnumbered by hikers and snowshoers pounding a hard packed trench into the 35cm snow pack. Skiing was actually pretty good, as long as you could get out of that trench and break your own trail.
    The snow in shaded areas was cold and powdery. In sun exposed areas, there was a thin sun crust earlier in the day and wet, sticky snow in the afternoon.

  120. WBC Friday snow was surprisingly good, skier set tracks on west Crystal, best ski we found, broke trail beyond the gate to mountain view, cattle and abundant cow patties, not recommended, some packing happening on trails close to the parking lot. Some fat bikers tried the soft deep snow without success.

  121. West Bragg Oct 5
    I did the Telephone Trail Loop this afternoon on light touring fish-scale skis. The trail was already broken by a couple of snowshoers, but it looked like I was the first skier of the season. No bare spots, but there were a couple of small wet spots on the west side that were easy to get around. Ski penetration was 10-15cm until I bottomed out on the snowshoe footprints. Great to be out so early in the season, although I was hoping still be able to do road biking this time of year!

  122. So we didn’t go skiing today, but where we hiked there would have been enough snow to ski. We climbed Green Mountain in the Sheep, and all along Sheep, Junction Lookout and Green Mountain trails there was a foot of powder this morning! It’s a bit reduced by now and was slushy this afternoon, but may still be a good option for early season skiing tomorrow morning.

  123. Burstall Pass Oct 4-18.
    I usually make Burstall Pass my first ski of the season but usually I encounter numerous rocks and some hiking. Not this year; conditions were stellar, probably the best ever for early season skiing. 45 cm at the trailhead, (Burstall Pass parking lot was not plowed so we parked at Chester), and 58 cm in the meadow below Burstall Pass. No need to remove skis when going through the trees or up the headwall. There’s no identifiable base layer but the snow was so deep and dense that we never touched a rock. We skied some of the low angled slopes off the top and I was thinking if I could ski this quality of powder all season I’d be a happy man. Temperatures rose to +4º or so in the afternoon and some of the trail between Burstall Lakes and the trailhead was getting glazed.

  124. West Bragg Creek, Oct 4
    Another unusual tour at West Bragg Creek today. A couple of us took advantage of the remarkable snow conditions to ski a number of trails normally used for hiking, mountain biking/fat-biking or snowshoeing. We packed pruning saws and loppers to do a bit of trail work along the way.
    Our route took us up Whitetail to Long Distance, then down Demi-Tel, Snowshoe Hare and Hostel Loop. Snow conditions were generally good. Late afternoon we ran into softer-stickier snow on south facing sections and that last hill down to the parking lot was getting pretty wet. Didn’t see anyone else all day, but there were plenty of snowshoe tracks and some ski tracks as we got closer to the trailhead.
    The parking lot was being plowed, as were leaving.

  125. Moraine lake Road and Yoho Valley roads are now closed for season!

  126. My first time skiing in October! And the snow was incredible!! We went to West Bragg Creek and did a short loop through 40cm of fresh powder. Thank God my girlfriend wanted to break trail. Prime ski touring conditions. We were pleased by the quality of the snow too. Not sticky or icy. We used waxless light touring skis and they performed well.

  127. West Bragg Creek, Oct 3
    West Bragg Creek was one of the areas that got a large amount of snow out of yesterdays early season storm. Driving conditions were good as far as the Kananaskis Country boundary. After that, it was a matter of following the tracks that were made by other vehicles on Tuesday. A portion of the parking lot had been cleared of some of the snow by volunteers.
    I measured 47cm cm of snow depth at the trail centre picnic table and as much as 58cm out on the trails. That would be a lot of snow at any point in the winter. It’s simply amazing for early October!
    We did a varied tour today, sampling a selection of XC ski trails, snowshoe/Winter Multi-User trails and all-season single track trails.
    We started at Chickadee Meadow and followed the West Crystal, Moose Connector and Moose Loop ski trails. Then we tried the new single-track winter multi-user trail, which parallels Moose Loop to west Telephone Loop. Then, back onto Moose Loop and up the Merlin View and Reconnect trail to the Long Distance trail junction. We completed the route by descending Demi-Tel, Snowshoe Hare and Hostel Loop to east Telephone.
    The snow was generally cold and dry, except on the most sun exposed slopes where the surface was getting soft and sticky. As soon as we got back into shaded areas, the skis would ice up… a good reminder to bring a ski scraper!
    It’s a wonderful winter tour, particularly when we are less that 2 weeks past the fall equinox.

  128. GREAT DIVIDE – Oct 3

    Clear weather after that big dump of snow enticed us out again today.
    Where was everybody? We had the place to ourselves except for one black little ball which kindly stayed off our track.
    Check out these photos (with captions) for details:!AgTx5EOCG7eSgkwZo3_qZDYX-Gap
    Last year, our first trip on the Great Divide was on November 6, and the bears were very active.

  129. According to Live Grooming some trails have been groomed and trackset at Kananaskis Village. That’s where I’m headed tomorrow…

    • Hi Adam,
      There was a glitch in the tracker we had turned it off but it recorded the area being groomed and trackset. The trails were not groomed or trackset just driven on by our cat. Skiing is possible but don’t expect tracks.

  130. The Burstall Pass trail is skier tracked from the trailhead to Burstall flats. Thanks to Naomi for breaking trail in 40 cm. of new snow and to Katja and Yves for helping to set the track. Get to it before the tourers, snowshoers and fat bikers do!!

  131. What a treat! Great skiing at Calgary parks – golf courses are not ready for skiers just yet so get out and enjoy those parks while it lasts!

  132. SPRAY WEST – Oct 2

    Last year it was November 7 when I first skied Spray West. This year, with 20 cms of fresh snow, we had to get out and enjoy it. Here are a few photos:!AgTx5EOCG7eSgj8DKyIc1L076mBh
    There was an ice layer close to the ground, which even made poling pleasant.
    Looking forward to tomorrow… it is still snowing here in Banff!

  133. Deirdre and Bill Richardson

    Maple Ridge Golf Course

    We had planned a bike ride for today but 25 cm of snow in the back yard changed our plans. We arrived at Maple Ridge at about 11:00 and found city golf course staff there, the flags still in the holes and acres of untracked “powder”. The snow was wet and sticky and our waxless skis and the binding were soon iced up and the going became more and more difficult. After an hour we were both bagged so it was home for a warm lunch and dreams of fresh tracked trails, but hopefully not until November. Biking season hasn’t ended yet.

  134. Snow Report
    Just back from fours days at Stanley Mitchel hut in the Little Yoho Valley. There is a lot of snow up there above 2000 metres – 50 cm in places. We hiked out over the Iceline trail on Friday. Fortunately the -9 C Thursday overnight temperature froze the snow solid. It was a breeze walking over the frozen snow pack instead of walking in the icy snow trench set over the week by previous hikers. We also hiked the Whaleback to Twin Falls through mid calf snow before the snow pack froze up. We reached the bridge above Twin Falls 1 hour after Parks took it out for the winter. It was an easy rock hop over stream above the bridge crossing. Also had a failed attempt to reach Kwetnok Pass due to knee deep slogging. The log hut built in 1939 is in great shape and is a real treat to stay in a beautiful location.

  135. Larch report: just back from a few days camping in Kananaskis. snow was at tree line basically before last night. Larches were just about prime with mostly yellow and a few tinges of green, but not fully golden yet. Apparently albertas oldest tree is a larch in pocaterra cirque (1900 years old?). Searched around but not sure I found it. Definately seen much larger girth larches near mount rose in Kananaskis.

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