A new trail, the Great Divide, was ready for skiing today!
After skiing Moraine Lake road(MLR) six times this year, I was ready for something different. MLR looked like it had been trackset and groomed, and the parking lot was almost full of vehicles. Conditions on the Great Divide may not have been quite as ideal, but it was a gorgeous clear sky and the scenery was breathtaking.
The trail has been maintained all the way to the junction with the Lake O’Hara fire road which is about 10.5K. Unless you park an additional vehicle at the Lake O’Hara parking lot, you’ll have to turn around and ski back for a total of 21k. There was only one machine-set track, with a reasonably good skating lane. No dogsledders were here yet, but there is a track all ready for them.
The ambient temp was a crisp -12C, the snow temp was -8 which made for simple and easy waxing. Swix blue for -3/-10. The snow had a texture that was consistent with having been rained on BEFORE it was groomed, but it presented no issues until you reached the hill which drops down to the Great Divide. The hill was pretty choppy with ridges and was a bit icy. And FAST.
The Great Divide is normally a good trail for novice skiers. If you aren’t confident on downhills, you can still ski 7k before you reach the fore-mentioned icy hill. The trail is relatively flat with a few small rises and dips. From the Lake Louise end, it’s about 7.5k to the Divide and it loses about 50m net elevation. You can go another 3k into B.C., where it will end at the junction with the Lake O’Hara fire road which is not maintained but is well-used by back country skiers.
On the B.C. side, the trail was single trackset as well, but the skating lane was not packed smooth.
My car was the only one in the parking lot when I started out, but I later met Doug, Catherine, and Graeme. Good luck with your training, Graeme. I hope to see you in the olympics in 2010.
The weather looks like it is going to stay cold, so the snow should be in nice shape for the forseeable future.
Has anyone found skiable snow anywhere else?