I can live with disappointment but I can not live with regret

Kevin & Kirstie thought Cascade Fire Road was great

Kevin & Kirstie on Cascade Fire Road  Dec 9, 2008
Kevin & Kirstie on Cascade Fire Road Dec 9, 2008

Lots to talk about tonight. Firstly, I met this wonderful couple on Cascade Fire Road today. It was only their third time ever on cross country skis. Kevin had no trouble keeping up with me(I’m old, he’s young). Turns out he is from Missouri, and he is thrilled to be living in Banff. It was truly a delight to have met and talked with them. Kevin & Kirstie, I hope you were able to find the blog and see this photo. If you want the original, send me an email. There is another photo here .

The trail is double trackset with a skating lane up to the Cascade River bridge which is about 6.5K depending on which map or guide book you’re looking at. It took all the courage I could muster to get out of the car. As you’ll see from the photos, the wind was howling and the snow was blowing. The air temp was -1 and the snow temp was -3. The wind was brutal. The first 700 metres of the trail is on the pavement of the Lake Minnewanka road and it was miserably cold and windy. Sort of like skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre or COP when the snow guns are blowing in your face, but worse. I then crossed the meadow, about 200M, and I was on the Cascade Fire Road. Another half kilometre up the hill it was like I entered a magical kingdom of snow. The wind completely disappeared and the beauty of my surroundings took my breath away. See photos. The wind was concentrating its fury on the lake  and the sheep(again, see photos).

There was no grooming beyond the campground(not to be repetitive, but view my photos to see how deep the snow was). Normally, you can ski a further 8.5K to the Stoney River, but I don’t know what the plans are for grooming this. Maybe it will be done by the weekend.

Kananaskis Country which includes PLPP and Ribbon Creek has a very detailed trail report out today. No tracksetting but lots of grooming has been done. Pocaterra hut is now open and the Pocaterra trail has been rolled all the way to the Whiskey Jack junction. Whoo hoo! The weather forecast is calling for more snow on Thursday, lots on Friday(5-10 cm), so this might be enough to allow some tracksetting in K-Country. The crews don’t trackset on the weekend, so you might be skiing in some fresh snow.

Lots of new tracksetting has occurred at Lake Louise. Moraine Lake Road and the Great Divide were just done. The shoreline trail is double trackset, and Baker Creek’s trail has been trackset.

I’d like to draw your attention to a couple new links Chandra Crawford and www.kananaskisblog.com

Chandra Crawford is our Olympic gold medalist cross country skier. I stole the title of this post from her website. I believe it was a quote from Andre Agassi. I would have really regretted it if I had chosen to work today instead of skiing. 

Tony Daffern is an advocate for Kananaskis Country. Send me a comment, Tony, if you wish to give us a little more insight into your new blog and what you are attempting to accomplish.

This blog is definitely where it’s happenin’ and I am amazed at the number of views we are getting . www.xcOttawa.com has come out of nowhere and I see lots of people from there clicking on to this blog. Welcome! How are conditions in your area?

To date, the most popular link I have posted was this item about When the polar bear met the sled dogs.

evite.com has given me a flattering plug on their website and I’m getting lots of clicks from them. Welcome to you all, too.

Here’s an update from Steve regarding conditions at West Bragg Creek:

Moose Loop at West Bragg Creek
Moose Loop at West Bragg Creek

“Fine skiing on the Moose Loop at West Bragg on Tuesday late afternoon. Most trails are soft packed with good coverage, minor hazards, and some bumpy bits. No tracksetting. I’d rate conditions as “fair to good”. On the West Bragg scale, of course. Hopefully the warm winds raking my house in the city tonight won’t wreck things too much. Likely I’ll check out the trails again afterwork Wednesday or Thursday, as I work in the area.”

Thanks for that Steve. It so happens I’ll be in Calgary for the next two days, so maybe I’ll check them out. The thing I really like about West Bragg is that we can take Tessa and Sophie there.

If anyone wants to ski at a really dog-friendly place, go to Nipika Lodge. If you stay overnight, your dog can stay with you in the cabins and best of all, can ski off-leash with you. Lyle has two resident dogs at the Lodge, Rufus and Murphy,  who might guide you around his fantastic trails.  I’m not sure what the snow conditions are like at Nipika. If you ever go there, ask Lyle to tell you the story of how he found Rufus.

Rufus and Tessa in front of cabin at Nipika

Rufus and Tessa in front of cabin at Nipika

Tessa skiing at Nipika

Tessa skiing at Nipika


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  1. Hi Bob,
    Great blog!I actually discovered your blog when I googled “X-Country Skiing and Dogs” , which brought me to your post on Nipika Lodge.

    I’m a long time XC skiier from the Maritimes and looking forward to introducing my “downhill skiing” husband to the sport, except that we have two additional family members that I really don’t want to leave at home (lets just say their energy level is well suited to the sport…).

    Any other suggestions for dog friendly trails? I grew up skiing on rural groomed/ungroomed trails that our dogs could always run off-leash beside, but I’m guessing a lot of trails/skiiers around here won’t be quite as accomodating. Any tips on XC Skiing ettiquette with dogs around Calgary and the mountains?

    Lindsay Bowman

    Hi Lindsay;
    Most places, except Nipika, require you to have your dog on a leash. West Bragg Creek is frequented by dog-lovers, and you can often see dogs running off-leash and having a great time in the snow. The hard-core skiers who would get upset from seeing a dog running loose are generally not skiing here.

    If you check the Banff trail report you’ll see a number of trails in Lake Louise which are dog-friendly, and Yoho trail report also gives you some trails where dogs are allowed.

    Dogs are not allowed on the groomed ski trails under any circumstances in Peter Lougheed Prov Park.

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with dogs on the trail. I usually stop and pet any dog that I come across. Chances are, you’ll live longer and have a better attitude towards life if you’re willing to slow down for 15 seconds to let a dog cross your path. They do minimal, if any, real damage to the tracks except immediately after grooming when the snow is still soft. People walking on the trails, or the odd moose, do far more than dogs to damage the tracks. Dog owners have a responsibility to try and keep their dogs out of the path of oncoming skiers, and pick up after them.

    Send us a picture of your dogs and I’ll post it on here and we’ll watch for them on the trail. -Bob

  2. Hi Bob! It was wonderful to meet you. We too thought the trail was magical and perfect for us beginners. The scenery was gorgeous, the trail was beautifully groomed and we loved being in amongst the snow covered trees. Once you get past the first little windy bit at the beginning of the trail it is really peaceful. We loved that you did most of the uphill stuff at the beginning so the trip back when you are feeling a bit tired was really enjoyable. We’ll definitely head back there a great place to improve on our skills, a great beginner trail with huge rewards with regards to views. Thank you Bob! Hope to see you out there again sometime.

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