Trip Reports – Feb 2014

Last month, the trip reports were viewed over 14,000 times. Skiers are anxious to know what you found on your skiing adventure.

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

Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

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  1. Went out Feb 26 for a ski starting at Cave and Basin on the Sundance Canyon and Healy Creek trails in Banff. Parks Canada said they were groomed Feb 25, always nice to have fresh tracks. The Sundance Canyon trail must have already been busy with elk, horse and human foot traffic, but the tracks were still good. The treat came with the Healy Creek trail. We skied down to the Brewster Creek junction and back and the trail was just beautiful. We didn’t have time to head up the Brewster Creek trail, but the tracks looked great continuing on up. Fast tracks and great scenery!

  2. Chester Lake on AT gear. Snowshoer rant!
    Thurs Feb 27 Hiked up to Chester on AT gear getting legs in shape for a week in B.C.
    Great conditions up and back. However the track is approx. 1.5 m wide and appears to be snowshoe packed though this is supposed to be a dedicated ski trail. On our way back down, right above where the oneway up and down ski trails converge, we ran into two hikers on snowshoes,walking up the trail.
    I stopped and talked to them about the track being a dedicated ski trail pointing out there is a Snowshoe trail on the other side of the creek. They told me it had been wiped out by the June floods. I replied we had seen folks on it that day and was pretty sure it was open. I added, on this dedicated ski trail, they were in danger of getting run into as not everyone descends the trail under control. I left it a that. Further on, we hit the one way down track and found these two had come up that trail.
    This, in spite of signage in the middle of the T junction below, directing skiers left and snowshoe folk to the right. 100m later, they also had walked past a one way sign with arrow for the up track and behind it on the return track, a Do Not Enter red circle with a slash through it. These two have issues with reading signage correctly or don’t give a rats arse.
    I think snowshoeing is great if it gets people out in winter. However skiing and snowshoeing on the same trail when there is a dedicated ski and snowshoe trail doesn’t make sense.

    • Parks missed a great opportunity to separate snowshoe and ski trails right at the trailhead, when they did the flood repairs this fall. It does not make sense to combine snowshoe and ski trails for the first 400m and then expect them to go different directions… particularly as the snowshoe version appears to head AWAY from Chester Lake.

  3. I convinced my husband to take yesterday afternoon off work to get in a ski before the polar vortex resurfaced! We skied at Peter Lougheed, making the loop from Pocaterra Hut to Whiskey Jack, then back along Amos, Wooley, Meadow and Lodgepole. Temperature was around -2 and very calm so it was perfect. The grooming was still fantastic – thank you to the groomers! An excellent afternoon!

  4. Skied Pipestone on Wednesday followed by part of the Lake O’Hara road. Nice grooming on Lake O’Hara!
    Pipestone was beautiful, no problem on the hills, the only concern was running out of the tracks on some of the lesser inclines…

  5. Skied the south end of PLPP today, mostly at temps around -5C. Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, and Blueberry were fantastic (Thanks, Jody). Fox Creek was OK with a modest amount of tree debris; ditto parts of Moraine. Now for a few days of hibernation – hopefully resurfacing on Tuesday.

    Hibernate!? Did you run out of green wax? 🙂 -Bob

  6. Skied the Pipestone area, at Lake Louise, today under a brilliant blue sky and warm sun. Trails we skied are showing some wear particularly close to the parking lot and on the steeper hills.Tree debris, always there, but aside from the odd “catch” not an issue. Started my day with a special blue and after lunch, at Pipestone Pond, added a special violet for the climb back up Merlin for another downhill run on Pipestone West. Skied to the parking lot on Hector. Caution should be exercised on south facing sunny hills as these tracks are super fast – and must add exciting! Stay warm this weekend everyone.

  7. Did Telephone loop today following the recommended direction (counter-clockwise) and found the first half a little sketchy. The past couple of warm afternoons have made the skier set track pretty solid and a little tricky on some of the down-hill runs – fun but better be on your game. From the road crossing to Moose was much better/enjoyable. Hats off to the skiers on fat skis and skins – there has to be a better way!

  8. Yes, Spray Lakes has moved in to log on the west side of Moose Loop. They are leaving a 50 m buffer on either side so the trail should not be impacted. However, they are using the Shell road adjacent to the trail for hauling, and the road crosses Moose Loop in one place. Please use caution out there. They are logging 24/7 to try to finish before spring break up, and hopefully they will be done so they aren’t back there in the fall.

    Also remember that east Crystal Line and east Sundog are being used as access road for some clean up activity from the logging there last year. ESRD is currently burning slash, and these trails are plowed.

    Finally, more bad news for skiers, on Monday, March 3, ESRD has hired a contractor to move in and mulch a FireSmart cutblock on the south part of Iron Springs. As a result, the east trails will not be skiable, including east Crystal Line, east Sundog and all of Iron Springs.

    We’re all tired of the logging activity here, but after this go around, should be happy skiing for many, many years.

    Reports from the lucky skiers out at Bragg Creek in the last couple days is that the tracks on trails are holding up well, and even downhills aren’t very icy. Hopefully some snow the next couple days, but the likely cold weather will keep the volunteer tracksetters off the trails this weekend.
    Bundle up!

  9. In fear of what freezing temperatures the next days will bring, 5 Canmore Meanderthals skied to Burstall Flats and down some lovely skier-set tracks towards Robertson Glacier. The road up the hiking trail was in good shape despite lots of walkers, snowshoers, and skiers. We all struggled initially with the waxing but improved once we changed up the greens for the blues. Only two other cars in the parking lot and temp -3 to +4 from start to end. Nor for the awaiting indoor chores!!!

    Excellent conditions up Brewster Creek today with yesterday’s grooming.
    Ease of access is the only issue. We decided the Healy Creek parking lot option was not an option for us, though others have crossed the frigid waters on icy logs to save distance. We started at the Cave & Basin, dodging a little horse traffic and enjoyed the views.
    Great to meet Ray & Keith on our way up. They turned back at the end of the track-setting a couple of km before Sundance Lodge, but we carried on as the snowmobile and other skiers had continued well past the lodge.
    Lots to see…armchair travellers can enjoy planning their trip by viewing:
    Interesting to compare to the November 22, 2013 trip documented as a comment to Bob’s Home page report of the same date starting at Sundance.
    Lots more snow and travel is so much easier now.

  11. Wow, what a fantastic day at Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre. I think this is the best day of the season for me up there and there’ve been some awesome ones already. The sun was shining, incredible views, and great temperature (around -8 C at 10 AM). The tracks are in great shape. Thanks for the great grooming!

  12. It was a perfect blue sky blue wax day at PLPP today 🙂
    We skied the Elk Pass trail for the first time since the flood. The snow was in fantastic shape!
    Just wondering if my memory is faulty, or has the trail been re-routed at all south of the junction with Hydroline?

    • There was definitely some rerouting a bit before and after the hydroline north junction, but nothing very drastic. I actually didn’t notice until my second time through there.

    • The reconfigured trail runs for 900 metres south of the Hydroline junction, but it parallels the old trail for most of that distance, so it’s not very noticeable. The old trail has been taken over by Fox creek.

  13. Skied Sundance/Healy/Brewster today, on yesterday’s tracksetting. Sundance gets a lot of traffic, including horses that left brown blobs at several places. The tracks were mostly OK, with some beat-up and windblown sections. Healy was marginally better, though one of the two tracks was often washed out. The Brewster trail was excellent! (well worth the 5.5Km ski to get there). However, the tracksetting seemed to stop a couple of Km short of Sundance Lodge, so at that point we turned around. Brilliant blue skies! -17C to -3C. Blue (V40) all day.

  14. Just came back from a ski at West Bragg Creek. Just a warning to anyone skiing out on Moose Loop. About half way around they were actively logging today right on the edge of the trail. AT one point they were cutting on both sides of the trail and driving across the trail pulling out logs. Was a little worried skiing with my dog as the guy was working a big machine cutting and pulling the trees right beside the trail. I skied by him quickly in case he didn’t see me. When he did spot us he waived enthusiastically…needless to say I didn’t waive back. Sad to see…..

  15. 2 nights at chilly William Watson Lodge with 7 extra special women, who skied in minus 20 temps each and every day. Gastronomic delights each evening and had a cabin with a fireplace which was really nice for a change, esp. when thermometer said minus 30 outside. Today we skied up Pocaterra and must have missed Skier Bob. I decided to continue on up to Lookout as conditions were just as I like them, with gripping green wax and lots of snow to plow back down through. Temp at Lookout was minus 10. And yes, skiing down Pocaterra from Packers junction was great fun. Blueberry was terrific yesterday afternoon and all PLPP trails in great condition. What is the ruling on the FAT BIKES??? Tracks were very evident.

    Hi Helen, Thanks for the report. I was there yesterday, that’s why you didn’t see me. Fat bikes are not allowed on the ski trails in PLPP. I also saw the tracks when I was there. -Bob

  16. West Bragg Creek – Feb. 25
    Skied the Telephone Loop today, since I had not done it in ages. At my 1pm start it was a very pleasant -8c with brilliant sunshine. Swix Blue mixed with Blue-Extra worked fine. This trail had a few cm. of new snow over the grooming from last week, and skier tracks. Some fun rollers and hills, and I was happy to have my metal edge trail skis, rather than my track skis today. Great outing.

    • Haven’t done the telephone loop in years. I thought parts of it were inaccessable due to the logging. Was the trail intact the whole way? If so I will definitely try it as it was one of my Bragg Creek favourites.

      • Janice,
        Yes the Telephone Loop trail is intact the whole way. It’s actually quite nice through the Aspen forests. There has been no machine track-setting as far as I could tell, but most of it had been groomed with the snowmobile last week, and skier track-set. Lots of hills and fun rollers.

  17. Foothills Nordic Ski Club

    Trackset Confederation Golf course on Monday Feb 24. Conditions still good with some hard sections.

  18. I skied the Cookie Race in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park on Saturday. The forecast leaving Calgary was calling for -20C temperatures and the blowing / falling snow heading out to PLPP looked ominous. But… soon after passing Nakiska the sunshine broke through blue skies. Temperatures at the hut was a comfortable -14C around 9am and the sun was beaming. At 10am the 42km took off in a mass start. A fresh skiff of snow and a VR30 and VR40 mix made for excellent climbing although my glide wax could have used some work. I used a generic -9C to -16C glide wax and lost four positions between the top of Elk Pass and the end of Pocaterra. The fast skis were using a LF4 / CH4 glide wax base layer. All in all it was another well organized event, the conditions were spectacular, and the cookies and soup were fantastic – I believe Simple Simon ( provided the tasty soup.


    Skied the Moose Loop today in great conditions, used VF20. Only one small icy patch. Many thanks to the Bragg Creek volunteers for keeping these trails in great shape.

    • I’ll second Doug’s comments and commendations. I skied it Sunday. Good tracks and lots of fun in spite of the -21 temperatures.

      One hint: if skiing the Moose Loop and you see what appears to be an interesting short cut, don’t take it unless you are looking for “adventure.” We ended up having to totally retrace our steps. (I enjoyed it tho)

    With the new snow overnight, we chose to ski the Spray from Banff today. We were delighted to find that the trails were being groomed as we arrived. Excellent conditions. We must have met at least 40 people who were skiing from Canmore to Banff, starting from the Goat Creek Trailhead. No problems at the collapsed bridge over the Spray River, 10 km from Banff. The ice is very thick on the obvious walking route and is actually well supported by rock.
    Pictures are worth a thousand words at:

  21. PLPP
    I don’t have time to do a full-fledged blog update, but I’ll give you a brief trip report.

    It was snowing heavily in the south end of PLPP this afternoon. At 3 pm there was already about 4 cm accumulation over last night’s grooming on Tyrwhitt, and about 2 cm lower down at Boulton creek. Air temperature -9. Snow temperature -6.

    There’s a couple cm fresh snow at Pocaterra hut. All the trails which get groomed for the Cookie race should be in nice shape for tomorrow if the snow stops in time.

    Roads are slippery. A van was overturned in the ditch near Dead Man’s Flats, causing a traffic backup on the way home to Canmore.

  22. Twas a snowy day up at Chester Lake and several different groupings of people. One young adult group trying for their Level 1 Avalanche ticket, some smiling faces from Toronto area, and many on AT gear. Minus 13 at trail head and got progressively snowier as we climbed. Could barely see the lake upon our arrival so decided vs. Elephant Rocks. Super powder ski-out and the new access post flood is great. Skied a little on the snowshoe trail towards Sawmill as the snow was just too glorious to quit. Not the day to forget one’s backpack on the driveway at home but getting a taste of everyone’s lunch and wearing their gear made the ski even possible!

  23. A late 4 pm start for an afterwork ski at West Bragg proved to be fortuitous, as the groomers were making the rounds as I started out. I skied Sundog-Elbow-Iron Springs-Elbow-Loggers-Crystal West, enjoying the freshly recycled and corduroyed snow, which was formerly hard packed and needled according to my wife who was out there mid-day. Tracks have been mostly reset as well.
    The surface has a granular texture that strips wax quite effectively and skis very fast. So bring your wax of the day along with you (Start Purple worked great today) and wear your biggest grin. Wooeeee! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  24. Another great day at PLPP. Ray, Keith and I started at Elkwood Parking and skied on Amos and Lynx (no new track setting, both good skier-set) to Pocaterra. Although the trail report said that Lynx to Packers was track set last night, this section actually was not done, but was quite fast nonetheless. From Packers to top of Lookout it was freshly groomed and set track, which tempted me to go up to see the sights. I left the men to ski a bit of Tyrwhitt while I skied and herring-boned my way to the Lookout. It was a fabulous day to be out: the sun came and went, the air was calm and the trail was silent. All by my lonesome, taking in the spectacular views, I had a quick lunch at the Lookout picnic table and then returned the same way I had come up. Knowing the trail, I was able to let myself go a little faster, and the GPS reading says while I came down in 3 minutes, 45 seconds, I just missed beating my best speed of 43 kph (today I managed 42.5kh. – darn!) I met up with the menfolk at Whiskyjack junction and we all returned the way we had come. Going down, the new Pocaterra track set was a bit slow and needs breaking in, but the snowy Pocaterra from Packers to Lynx was quite fast and fun. We put in exactly 24 kms. by the time we got back to the van. We skied the day on special violet wax in temps. of -6C. to -2C. by 2 p.m.

  25. Two of us headed to Kananaskis Village area today to follow the best grooming in K-Country. Unfortunately it snowed on the new track set overnight – too bad! We went out, with special violet wax, on Terrace in 2 cm of new snow and an air temperature of -2C. From Ribbon Creek parking we skied north on new track set, covered in 1 cm of new snow and skiing improved. We climbed the 420 metres to Hummingbird Plume Lookout, via the High Level trail, arriving in time for a well earned lunch. Donning our wind jackets we set of for the fast slide down – always exhilarating. The new snow added that degree of control we wanted for a safe ride.
    Access to the Bill Milne Trail from Ribbon Creek parking was difficult with the flood damage and re-construction work, so we headed back to the Village. Our wax performed well all day for climbing and sliding. A great day close to Calgary!
    (It still amazes me to see the extent of the flood damage at Ribbon Creek.)

  26. Just a reminder that registration for the Kananaskis Ski Marathon (the Cookie Race) closes on Wednesday night (February 19)!

  27. Had a lovely Family day at PLPP with my daughter. We started out around 11:30 in soft snow over top of fairly fresh tracksetting on Amos to do the short loop areound Marl Lake back on Wheeler. Temps ran between 1C-3C on the plus side. Approx .5 km from the trail head @ the amphitheater, on our return, a large family consisting of several adults and 8 kids were stiopped and sprawled out across the trail. As I was descending a slight pitch, one of the adults was directly in my path adjusting a toddler on a toboggan. As I passed the group I politely asked the group to please not walk in the track. One of the adults quipped “It’s impossible to &%$*-ing do that with 8 kids!” and shot me an angry look. Sure enough, the track was completely decimated beyond this group all the way back to the parking lot.

    • We saw the same large group and even when I said ‘coming through’ on the ski track they didn’t move their child off of the trail so quite an inconsiderate group all in all. Luckily we skied ahead of them back to Pocaterra so the track was intact. Other than that there was fresh snow on Boulton and Fox making for a lovely ski to William Watson Lodge with our M’n’M Outdoor Club bus group.

  28. Skied Spray River south of Banff today. Both the east and west trails are gnarly and have debris in their northern aspects – the first 2 or 3 Km as you start from Banff. Further south, conditions improve, and conditions are excellent south of the picnic area where the two trails merge. Temperature stayed close to 0 for all of our ski. Generally, a decent day.

  29. As Cheryl B stated yesterday – if Sandy McNabb got a few centimeters of fresh snow it would be great – well it happened last night (6-8cm)! We only skied on the north side of the road – Death Valley Loop, Pine Ridge etc. for 13Km and it was great. A few sparse spots under the pine and fir trees in a couple spots but quite manageable and the grooming and tracking was still there from Fridays efforts where not obliterated by the snow-shoes. Hard to complain about those on snow-shoes as not many skiers are using the area from what we could see and the area must be great for that sport with all the varied terrain and wildlife. A good layer of purple/violet worked just fine.

  30. Excellent conditions in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park yesterday. Pocaterra and Come Along were groomed Friday night and in excellent condition. Lodgepole, Meadow and Sinclair were done much earlier in the week and had lots of snow that fell on top since they were trackset, but were skier tracked very well and were quite fast as well.

  31. At Lake Louise the Telemark (upper & lower) and Peyto were in fine condition today. Car temp was -3C around 4 pm. Blue with a dab of purple made for a fast ski with some lovely skating on the Great Divide. Tracks in great shape with just enough snow on the downhills to control speed. Snow in the forecast here for the next few days.

  32. Skogan Pass was all time today.

    Foot traffic at the very bottom and the odd pine needle in the snow but other than that absolutely perfect.

  33. Heard that Sandy McNabb trails were groomed yesterday, so I decided to check it out for the first time. Lots of debris on the trails, and many thin, thin spots where you had to be quick on your feet to avoid the bare patches in the exposed areas. There was still some very pleasant stretches of skiing in the sheltered forest trails, though and it was a beautiful sunny day – I did a bit of Logger’s loop & the connector towards the end, and wished I started out there as that is where the best snow coverage and least debris seemed to be. Alas, I started late and the sun was disappearing, so I had to abandon the thought of doing the whole loop. A few cm of snow and these trails will be great!

  34. What a perfect day to ski! We started out at William Watson lodge went over to Wheeler, Amos, Lynx and Pocaterra and came back down Packers to Wheeler and home. The weather, tracks and glide were excellent all on V40 extra blue.
    Everyone we passed was smiling and soaking up a day in the snowy woods. Bliss

  35. My husband & I had the good fortune to be in Emerald Lake to experience some spectacular snow conditions. Just wanted to give a grateful shout out to the Kicking Horse Ski Club for their track-setting efforts around Emerald Lake. Billowy fresh snow falling everywhere & ideal temps made for a winter wonderland to ski in. It was a magical place in these conditions – a glorious place to ski & explore!

  36. Tonigh, Saturday a few of us are going to ski from Goat Creek to the Goat Creek bridge in hopes of capturing some of the “almost full moonlight”. We’re hoping not to have waxing problems as I did a bit when previewing it on Thursday. In response to Brent’s previous post, I am content to wait until next season when the Spray River bridge will be re-routed but many people are climbing down and crossing it without much difficulty. We are aiming to be at the Goat Creek trailhead at 6:30 and be on the trail shortly after, if any other die hards care to join us.

  37. Had a great ski on Spray, got to Goat Creek and returned the same way. It was recently track set with just a bit of fresh snow once we got past the first bridge. Snow temp was 0 C at the parking area so waxing was a bit tricky as it was a little colder as you got further along in the fresher snow.

  38. Excellent conditions at West Bragg Creek today. The high reached +2C, but the snow stayed cold enough for easy waxing and fast glide. Most of the trails were freshly track set yesterday and are in great shape. Lots of skier out today, including many families and kids. Conditions should be good for the Family Day weekend.

  39. Parks Canada rates Pipestone conditions as “Superb”. After a family ski around the big loop today, I’d call that an understatement. It simply could not have been better.

  40. Day 2 at PLPP – more fresh snow. Ray and I set track from Boulton Parking Lot, along Moraine and Fox, and added our tracks to those of one other person who had come up from Elk Pass Parking. It was tiring business, so we turned back at Hydroline and Elk Junction, back to Boulton, then north on Amos, Wooley and back on Wheeler. Fox Creek was my favorite today: magical with gobs of fresh, clean snow. It was calm with lightly falling snow most of the day, and so quiet in the woods that you could hear the flakes falling, landing on your face like a benediction. It’s strange some days when the air takes on a liquid quality; you get a feeling that you could drink it in, live on it alone. Not that the orange slices and salty chips in the van on the way home didn’t taste wonderful after a day of hard skiing! (Must put in a plug here for my brand new Madshus (gasp!) wax less skis. They worked so well on the newly fallen snow in -4 to -2C. temperatures. Normally, my waxable skis tend to slip and clump up with snow in these conditions, but today, I didn’t experience any of that. I probably came out even, expending a bit more energy due to lessened glide but not slipping and stopping to scrape snow clumps from the waxable skis. So, if you are wondering if waxless skis are for you, in similar snow and temp. conditions, go for it!

  41. West Bragg – Thurs.

    Tracksetting was in progress this aft, and it’s removing all the debris. Toques off to the volunteer groomers. +3C at parking lot at 3 p.m.

  42. The warm air has rolled into West Bragg, along with some wind that has left scattered debris on the trails. It was calm though, and 2 degrees on the plus side when I started out on the Moose Loop at 4 this afternoon on what turned out to be a very enjoyable ski. The set tracks were firm and fast 🙂 , with south facing hills getting a bit icy, but overall conditions were good, and easy to wax for with Start purple.

  43. PLPP – arrived at 10am to find it snowing and -6C. There was about 10cm of new snow on the north end trails, so we decided to follow the tracks set by others. Starting at WWL, we skied past Elkwood, then took Amos and Wheeler into the Boulton area. We returned by Wheeler to WWL for lunch, after which we skied Lodgepole and then Meadow past the VC and back to Elkwood and WWL. Early on, we were the first to ski some parts of Amos, and our skis were often not visible as we moved along. But as the day progressed and more and more people used the trails, they became quite pleasantly skiable. At 2pm it was -2C. Very little wind all day, and some sun after lunch.

  44. Chuck’s photograph of Boom Lake inspired my girlfriend and I to drive there this morning. A few cars in the ditch en route but it had to be the BEST ski both up and down that I’ve enjoyed at Boom Lake. First car in parking lot around 10:30. Saw one other skier arrive after we’d done lunch and when sun tried to show itself. Met some courteous snow-shoers on way up as we enjoyed that glorious descent. Wanted to do it all over again as we got to the parking lot all too soon! Temp minus 6 and stayed that way until we got back to car when it was minus 3. Should be lovely tomorrow if temp behaves.

  45. Goat Creek
    We skied the entire Goat Creek Trail starting at the Banff Springs Hotel. The tracks were firm and fast the entire way except the piece between the washed out bridges. This portion was difficult for me, the rest great.
    I used blue wax at the beginning and added purple wax in the afternoon when the temperature came up to -3C.
    The Garmin clocked 37 km round trip with a total elevation gain of 600 m.

  46. More great skiing at West Bragg Creek today. The track setting has been holding up well and snow coverage is excellent!

  47. Canmore Nordic Centre – beware Banff Trail! Shredded a pair of skis there today.

    Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap – just counted 10 gouges after skiing 2 circuits.

    Suspect that the guilty rocks were in the tracks of the badly debris-laden outer reaches of Banff Tr but they might also have been in the skating lane; could also have been from some gravel disturbed by grooming at the base of closer-in overpasses.

    This ruined an otherwise nice day at -1C with minimal wind.

    Bittersweet silver lining – this justifies a new pair of skis.

    While this trail is not groomed, track skis will even work.
    It was a cold place to be today, but a single photo shows why it is so worthwhile:

  49. Maple Ridge Golf Course trackset on Feb 9. About 6km of trails to ski on.

  50. I skied most of the trails a plp yesterday and the tracks were perfect. I hope that the track setters will accept my thanks for a wonderful day.

  51. I enjoyed some wonderful XC ski conditions at West Bragg Creek today. The temperature was about -14C at mid-day, but it was sunny and calm. The trails had been freshly track set on Friday and were still in great shape today.

  52. Wonderful ski today at Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre in Golden! We skied in the early afternoon and the lower trails were in the sunshine, especially Caribou trail. The temperatures were around -14C and was really pleasant. The parking lot was almost full but we didn’t see any other skiers on the trails – as is often the case. Great ski!

  53. Skied Mt. Shark today. Departed Canmore at around 1:00 pm with a temperature of -18 and was pleasantly surprised to see a car temp. reading of -12!! Heat wave!! Whoo hooo! About 10 cars in the parking lot but trails very very quiet only passing one two couples on the 10km loop. Fantastic conditions and green wax was perfect for today.

  54. As Brad hinted, the PLPP Pisten-Bully is back up and running. The Live Grooming Report indicates a number of trails were groomed overnight including Whiskey jack, Packers, Pocaterra, Come-Along, and Lynx. You might want to give it a couple hours to warm up, however, as the webcam shows a temperature at the Visitor Centre of -27.

  55. Skied PLPP yesterday from Pocaterra up Pocaterra trail down whiskey jack and back along amos, wheeler, braille and lodgepole for a nice loop. All trails were in good shape though whiskey jack was a bit worse, saw the crew on it though as we descended so likely it’s better by now.

  56. Skied cascade fire road late in the day today after watching my daughter’s race at CNC during the Alberta winter games. Trail in great shape. Bitterly cold the whole way especially when the sun was setting behind the peaks. Skied across the frozen cascade river and went a short distance on the skier set track on the north side. On the way back to the unofficial trail that connects with upper Bankhead then back to the parking lot. Nice to get a ski in after spectating the last couple days at CNC.
    Keep warm everybody!

  57. Skied PLPP today: Info Centre to Amos around to W’m Watson and back to Info Centre along the hydro lines. Lovely day altho a bit brisk. (~-15) Waxing was just a bit tricky as in sun-exposed areas, snow was considerably warmer than among the trees. Also the snow seemed a bit more likely to wear the wax from the skis. Maybe just a bit gritty? (I had to reapply wax three times)
    Still it was a gorgeous day in God’s Country. Lots and lots of smiles on the trails which, strangely, were not nearly as crowded as I expected.

  58. Hyundai Car Keys found on Mt Shark 15 km trail on untracked section on Friday Feb 7.

  59. Went for a COOL ski up to Elk Pass today. Wanted to do more but was by myself so was cautious. Left parking lot at 11:30 and temp was – 27 Great short trip!

  60. Golden, BC –
    We’ve been so lucky with our trails at Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre in Golden, BC! The 33 km of track set trails are in great shape, the beautiful mountain views, and the sunny weather make for some special xc skiing these days! We’re also getting geared up for our fun 18th Annual Huckleberry Loppet in Golden for February 16th (Sunday of Alberta Weekend!). The event has a great small town feel to it and guests from Alberta and beyond have really enjoyed coming out for it. We look forward to it! See you on the trails!

  61. West Bragg Creek — Tuesday 4th February

    What a difference a few days, and few degrees C, make!! The parking lot was empty but for us and one other vehicle this afternoon. Thought we would have a quick blast around the Hostel loop, but conditions were much too slow for that 🙁 Thought we had some Polar wax, but couldn’t find it, alas, and went down the hills at great-great-granny speed……

    On the plus side, all bundled up, only my thumbs got cold. If you can avoid the wind, it isn’t really that cold 🙂

  62. Carol and I xc skied 18km of Pipestone loops on Saturday (Feb 1) after much deliberation on downhill skiing Louise. The temp in the valley started at -25C, but it was sunny and calm. Trail grooming was very good. Apart from dodging a few boy scouts and a few loose dogs, all was good!

    Next day we took our Rossi BC 65’s for a run up Lake O’Hara (11km up). Again, -25C in the AM – chilly start up the road, but a couple of km’s up the sun warmed things up, and we had another terrific day. Quite a group coming out of the ACC hut (E.Parker)! We also ran into a hardy bunch of guys with sleds from the Cochrane Search & Rescue organization, who’d been camping! They looked quite frosty. The lodge is now open – trail around the lake is skier track-set (in case the day trip up and back is not enough). The road in and out is very firm, with set tracks on both sides. Would be easy to skate ski if you were so inclined and fit enough to do so. Amazing views!

  63. Just back today (M0nday) from PLPP. Skied the area out from W’m Watson Lodge from about 10:00 to noon. Very cold- like about -18 so the snow was slow. I should also note that altho things are pretty clear (ish?) in Calgary, there was an upslope wind and ass’d snow at PLPP. The snow as cold and hard and sharp- as in new snow blowing into tracks felt like they had been sanded.
    Question: we skied Amos just after the piston bully had been out..well…pistoning? Anyway, our wax was okay for the older tracks, but when we hit the new ones, we had glide galore but little kick. Anyone have an explanation for this?
    Overall- even for less than ideal conditions, we were skiing in the most beautiful countryside in the world. Gotta love it!

    • Waxing is difficult for what you called ass’d snow! Especially after Jody has been out pistoning! Ha, gotta love your post 🙂

      • Wasn’t me. I’m in Edmonton. Not any warmer here, though hopefully I will be skiing somewhere in the city tomorrow. Though how any one navigates around here without mountains I do not know. Just a reminder that there are three of us what do the pistoning in those parts.

  64. Took a whirl out to Great Divide today, and aside from some nippy cheeks after 15km, it was a fantastic day! Tracks are great, with a few tiny smatterings of needles and branches here and there, but barely noticeable.

  65. Had an amazing ski today up and over Lookout, Tyrwhit and Elk. Sadly, beside the picnic table at the top of Lookout we found a cigarette butt…go figure. It was still warm so the perpetrator was not that far off. Only idiots do such things. I packed it out but now my pack smell like his or her car. I cleaned my pack and now my hands smell the same. If you’ re going to ski all the way up there, have anything but a smoke for goodness sake…or if you do, don’t be so disrespectful of the environment. How many butts does he or she chuck out the car window on the drive to/ from skiing? Not sure if the guilty one reads these postings. If so, good on you for skiing up, shame on you for tossing you butt on the snow.

    • Good for you and well said! I’m constantly picking up people’s garbage along trails! Unfortunately they have no respect for the environment or others and never will have!

      • This looks like a good thread for a repeat of my wife’s yellow snow appeal. Sometimes you gotta pee, but good manners dictate that the rest of us don’t need to look at it. So…..cover it up….no big deal.

  66. Confederation Park in Calgary – as I drove by earlier today, I thought I saw some new tracksetting. So I headed out for a quick ski this afternoon. Quite a few people out there. Some areas were quite decent, notably the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fairways, and the driving range. Others were more patchy with a mixture of good tracks and totally windblown ice. Areas around the clubhouse are often icy. Thanks to the tracksetters – a good job considering what they had to work with.

  67. Great day of skiing at West Bragg Creek! It was chilly and there was some fresh snow but the tracksetting was holding up well. Started on the Sundog loop to Elbow, did the Iron Springs loop, back on Elbow, then Loggers Loop, West Crystal Line, Moose Connector and back to the parking lot. Dave, one of the volunteer tracksetters, had a table set up with the new Bragg Creek & Area trail maps for sale. He gave me great advice on choosing a route for today and the new maps are well worth the $15.

    • I will second this, today was my first time at Bragg and the conditions were absolutely perfect, great grip and a nice fast glide. Really enjoyable trails too, the hills on the Hostel loop were far too much fun. Get out and ski it before the next chinook rolls in.

    • Got to the parking lot early’ish on skis by 10am… was maybe 10th car in lot on arrival?? Cars were PACKED in there and up the road upon my departure at 1240’ish.
      For the most part I’d have to rate today’s ski in WBC as one of my best in terms of overall conditions and snow coverage. I did Crystal West, Moose Loop, back to Crystal, up Loggers for 1st time ever (SO SO awesome), Elbow, IronSprings back BUT forgot about the end of tracksetting. What a disappointment/downer-dude to be honest… and then the crappy road. I warned a few others heading out that way as I took the emergency exit on Sundog and back to the wonderfullness-ssity of Loggers* and a final relaxed loop of Crystal to end the day.

      * = my apologies for scaring the bejesus out of some lady as I came down the hill. She’d stopped on the right/outside down from a blind corner as an oncoming skiier with big herringbone was in her track meanwhile a confused dog was hopping around. As I couldn’t stop in time I announced loudly “on your left!” and sidestepped around her, then the dog, and then buddy. No harm done, but note to all (mainly myself) that WBC can be busy and to back off on the speedy-Gonzalez behavior and save it for other times and places. Ditto for the jerk who parked inches from my driver-side door.

  68. Had a great ski on Cascade Valley yesterday. Cold-ish, but no wind, lots of sun. The same beautiful mountains are still there. Very good track. Followed the skier set track covered by one inch of new across Cascade River, and in for a few kilometres. Looked 6-8 skiers had been on it. What a beautifully set, consistent track, kudos to ___? Somebody take a bow. Last year when I mentioned following a good skier track past Stoney Creek, it was Alf and company who had set it. Same this time?

    • PS: Hi to Doug. Last Saturday at Elk Pass, then yesterday at Cascade, I called out “Hi Bob” to him as we approached on the ski trails. Then as we got closer, said “oops, not Bob, sorry”. (Not that anyone would be offended to be mistaken for our hero.) Has anyone else noticed that Bob has a doppel-ganger on the trails?

  69. Raced the 15km recreational at Nipika today with my wife. Beautiful conditions but Brrrrrr it was cold! Hovered around -20c first thing in the morning. Thank goodness for the warm barn and hot chocolate to thaw out our frozen limbs!

  70. Great skiing on Meadow, Amos, Wooley, Sinclair & Lodgpole today. Used Peter Lougheed Visitor Ctr. (a busy place) as a base for a loop in the AM & another after lunch in the PM.

  71. Very nice conditions on the south loop of PLPP. Just surprised to see that it hadn’t been groomed before the weekend … but old tracks were still in pretty good nick. Skiers were out there literally in bus loads today.

  72. PLPP – New Pocaterra in a couple of loops, first with Come Along, second and out and back along Lynx.

    Got to see Ray and Mary today at the hut, just when we were reminiscing about knowing everybody in the hut in the days when the kids were little. Nice to see friendly faces!

    My impressions of Pocaterra? Reader’s Digest? I love it. No, really.

    Worries: I used to call Lynx “The Bowling Alley” because the tame old Pocaterra would funnel all the beginners to Lynx and they’d fall like pins on that hill and it would make it interesting for anyone skiing down Lynx…

    I think that’s going to happen to Come Along. I used to tell skiers that it was much more fun to ski Come Along from south to north, but now that Pocaterra isn’t an “easy” trail I think beginners will get sucked in as they did with Lynx and Come Along, with its 3 black hills will be a bowling alley.

    I have some concerns about the second intersection with Come Along. In either direction Pocaterra has a downhill to that point but one of them is treacherous. Couple that with the fact that it’s just past the crest of the Come Along hill for the downhill run and it might get ugly.

    The other concern is the Lynx junction. Perhaps altering the Lynx alignment eastwards at that intersection will avoid the chace of accidents from the blind Pocaterra hill?

    That said, some wonderful parts to the new Pocaterra, including that “Hazardous hill”.

  73. The Greater West Bragg Creek Trails Association (and Partners) have produced an amazing map of winter ski trails and all season trails that is now available for purchase. ($15). The map includes detailed trail descriptions written by Alf Skrastins. Volunteers will be selling the maps at the WBC trail head this weekend. Maps are also available at local Bragg Creek retailers and some Calgary locations including MEC. All proceeds go directly into WBC trails – including grooming. (PS as Alf stated the tracks should be very good now – head groomer Bruce and I did our best yesterday)

  74. Here is a late day update on the West Bragg Creek conditions. As Steve Riggs noted, the area got 5-10cm of snow, which was skier tracked by a fair number of skiers on Friday. In the afternoon, volunteers from the Greater Bragg Creek Trail Association groomed and trackset most of the trails. I did a loop including Sundog, Loggers, Crystal Line and Moose Connector. All were in great condition…and it was snowing as I skied back along lower West Crystal Line. Conditions should be very good for this weekend.
    Note that Spray Lakes Sawmills has been using Mountain Road and East Sundog to haul logs, so those trails are not skiable at this time.

    • I might still have time for a quick ski ( I guess I should more accurately say short ski) at West Bragg today. Have never been there before! Can anyone say where to start for the likely best conditions? Thanks.

  75. Spectacular day at PLPP. Almost perfect conditions, not a breath of wind (at the N end anyway). Tracks are in wonderful shape, almost no debris and what there is, is buried or not affecting cold wax.

    The slight covering of fresh cold snow is very harsh and grippy – make sure you have cold glide wax, and go easy on the grip (short wax pocket, stay with cold wax).

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