Trip Reports Sep, Oct 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. Upper Pocaterra / Lookout Oct.30

    Did a hike today from the Hwy40 access to Pocaterra that starts some 9km south of the Hwy40 winter gate closure by the Kananaskis Lakes turnoff. No ski tracks yet, but conditions seemed good for anyone feeling adventurous. On the connector and Pocaterra section, there was generally a 10+ cm base, with 3-4cm fresh snow of top. Snowshoe and hiker tracks, some ruts here and there. We hiked up to Lookout – this trail had about the same snow depth, but the base was firmer. There were a couple of thin spots around the big S bend. Strong winds today in exposed areas rearranged the fresh snow somewhat. The road section to the access we used closes on Nov. 30.

  2. Not a trip report yet, I.s Emerald Lake Lodge offering ski club rates for the 2019/2020 season?

    They aren’t advertising anything on this blog, so I doubt it. -Bob


    A dusting of new snow on previous snow and ice had all kinds of users out today!
    Details available with the photo cations here:!Avuc6aIvjGUAigzQ1HN5ecu1u6c_?e=nd0LPP
    “Anticipation” by Carly Simon rang in my head all day

  4. West Bragg Creek, Oct 12
    The temperature at WBC got above freezing by 10am today and got to about +12C for several hours. Lots of melting happened on the sun exposed places. On the shaded trails, the snow got soft and compacted a lot, but there is still a fair bit remaining on a lot of the trails. It felt like spring skiing today… but is was still skiing!
    There are still some cattle out there, waiting for a ride home, but they looked a lot more relaxed than they did at the beginning of the week.

  5. West Bragg Creek, Oct 11
    The cold overnight temperatures and cool, clear days have been preserving the snow at West Bragg Creek. Conditions looked good enough for a longer tour. Today we skied Sundog-West Crystal Line-Mountain View-Mountain Road-Tom Snow-Moose Loop-Moose Connector-Snowy Owl-Snowy Shortcut and West Crystal Line. Aside from some thin bits on Moose Loop, along the sunny section by the marsh and the short, steep downhill on Moose Connector, and a couple of interesting creek crossings on Tom Snow… conditions were surprisingly good.
    One more cold night, but then it really warms up for Saturday afternoon.

  6. West Bragg Creek, Oct 10
    It was very chilly overnight at West Bragg Creek and was still just -14C when we arrived. The slush at the bottom of the snowpack had frozen solid and the surface snow had dried out even more than yesterday, so skiing was quite good. Today we skied West Crystal, Snowy Shortcut, Snowy Owl, Moose Connector and Moose Loop, up to the north junction with Tom Snow trail. To highlight how cold it got, the Moose Pond had frozen solid and was covered by a sparkling layer of hoar frost. It did warm up above freezing in the afternoon, but the melting was limited to sun exposed areas. And it’s forecast to be cold again overnight.

  7. West Bragg Creek, Oct 9
    Several of us did a nice little tour of the south West Bragg Creek trails today. West Crystal Line-Crystal Link #2-Middle Crystal Line-Loggers-Elbow-Iron Springs-Sundog-East Crystal Line… then West Crystal-Moose Connector-Snowy Owl-Mountain Road. Temperatures remained below -6C all day, Conditions were generally good for blue wax or waxless, unless you skied into one of the spots that was slushy underneath and then back into cold, dry snow. A scraper was a handy item to have! Mountain Road was the only place with terrible conditions due to sun exposure and a small herd of cattle who were wondering when they were going to be taken back to the home ranch.
    We came across 5 trees that had blown down during Mondays wind-storm, which we were able to move off of the trail… plus a few that we reported to groomer Jeff, who was removing downed trees from the trail network.
    Conditions should still be good on Thursday morning, until the temperatures warm up enough to melt the snow.

    • Oct 10 Prairie mountain snow: 2 feet of cold snow traversing the summit today, a foot not much below that. Over the knees trail breaking on foot. On the edge of being worth a ski carry up and out for maybe 700 ft of descent before it got too bony.

  8. GREAT DIVIDE – Oct 9

    Today was the day to be skiing in Lake Louise!
    Details available in the captions here:!Avuc6aIvjGUAiG8pfqzbeHx3EjIw?e=j1oMcW
    Unfortunately the weather will be warmer tomorrow.

  9. West Bragg Creek, Oct 8
    About 17 cm of new snow had fallen at West Bragg Creek by this afternoon. Pete and I did a quick ski that included Hostel Meadow, Hostel Loop, East Telephone and Snowshoe Hare. Where there was a previous snow base, the snow was nice and dry. In areas where last weeks snow had melted away, the warm ground made the base of the new snow wet and slushy so this led to occasional ski icing. It was very windy on Monday afternoon, so there were several big trees down on the trails. I expect that may be true of most trails.
    And there were still some cattle hanging around the parking lot, waiting for a ride home.

  10. Another (hooray!) early season urban lunch-ski in Okotoks. Bit of a non-report but just wandered 7km or so around the escarpment by Wylie park. Ol’ fish-scale boards good enough through 4” and to traverse a bit of asphalt -though clumping was a bit of a problem …can’t imagine why? 😉

  11. West Bragg Creek, Oct 3
    I was doing some trail work along Moose Loop today and was on my skis all day. Crystal Line and the shaded parts of Moose Loop were still skiable. But gaps are starting to appear in all the usual sunny spots. Mountain Road is mostly snow free for the first 1 km, but very muddy. Also, remember that it is still bear season. There were some nice, fresh tracks on Braggin Rights today.

  12. Sorry not a trip report but whilst we’re waiting for the ‘real’ snow to arrive we could be busy waxing, for that, a quality bench is required, I made mine a couple of years ago, its a duo!

    Show me yours!

  13. West Bragg Creek, Oct 2
    My expectations for skiing were not high, when I arrived at West Bragg Creek this afternoon. The snow had melted off of the trees. Mountain Road was looking muddy. And it felt like a warm spring day.
    However, the skiing was actually pretty good on the Crystal Lines and part of Moose Loop. Of course, it helped that I was on fish scale waxless skis.

  14. West Bragg Creek, Oct 1
    Temperatures got down to -13C overnight at West Bragg Creek, so the skiing was pretty good on the Crystal lines in the morning. By noon the temperature got above 0C and the snow started melting in the sun exposed areas. The snow was still mostly dry in shaded areas, except where the snow was dripping off of the trees.

  15. West Bragg Creek, Sept 30
    We arrived to find that another 20 cm of snow had fallen at West Bragg Creek since yesterday, bringing the total to 48 cm. We also saw that ski groomer Jeff was already out, roller packing the snow on the Chickadee and West Crystal loops. Who needs Frozen Thunder! You can already get some groomed skiing here!
    Todays tour took us along West and Middle Crystal Line, then along Snowy Shortcut and Snowy Owl to Moose Connector. Then along Moose Loop… but not on the standard Moose Loop XC ski trail. Instead, we followed the newly constructed Moose Loop all-season single track trail, all the way to northbound Tom Snow. The trail is meant for non-skiers like snowshoers and fat-bikers, but it also works well as a more backcountry style ski touring trail. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
    Pretty amazing conditions for September!

  16. A metre of snow at Sandy McNab made for interesting trail breaking on the 29th and 30th Of September. We went out Long Prairie and then up part of Macabee before giving up. Yesterday was a bit nicer because the “E Cow Strians” liked our track. A good early start to the season. Incidentally, Blue wax has an affinity to cow poop.

    You knew this would be coming… Here’s a trip report from West Bragg Creek. There was 30 cm of snow on the picnic tables at the Trails Centre, when I arrived at West Bragg Creek at about noon. There were only a few other vehicles in the parking lot, with people trying out hiking, dog walking, snowshoeing, fat-biking and XC skiing, with varying degrees of success. I’d say that ski touring and snowshoeing was having the best success.
    I did a quick tour of West Crystal, Middle Crystal, a couple of Crystal Links, Moose Connector and the newly re-aligned Snowy Owl snowshoe/fat-bike trail. I returned via Mountain Road. Skiing was good mid-November backcountry conditions, except on Mountain Road. There are a herd of 50 cattle hanging around Mountain Road, looking for a ride back to the ranch, so the snow isn’t exactly pristine.
    The base of the snow is wet and slushy, but the snow on top is dry and powdery. It sure helps to have skis with enough flotation to keep the bases in the dry stuff!
    It’s also an interesting opportunity to see fall colours on the aspens, poplars and willows, while skiing on white snow.

  18. Urban ski: Okotoks Sheep River escarpment & green/white space ski. Received upwards of 30cm standing so strapped on the Jarvinen kit and headed out for an hour of early season bliss -at least good enough to awaken dormant ligaments! 3 days earlier that 2018.

  19. Not sure if my comment/question on Bob’s Six Week’s to Ski Season page disappeared, so …

    the picture of the paved Bill Milne pathway made me wonder: Which Kananaskis/PLPP trails are paved or smooth enough that they are probably skiable for the next day or two at least?

    I’m pretty sure some of the aficionados have been skiing this weekend. Looking forward to the reports!

  20. Spent this past birthday weekend hiking at Skoki Lodge. Heading out around noon today over Deception Pass, there were snow drifts in some places to just below our knees. A grizzly was spotted around Ptarmigan Lake by other guests who were ahead of us. The muddy trail we hiked in on two days ago was nicely frozen over and grippers quite useful. Funnily enough one of my last ski trips last March was at Skoki. Two nice wooden benches, compliments of Parks, were in the Halfway Hut. Bring on the snow but am hoping we will have some Indian Summer in October. Bob, the new website looks amazing.

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