Welcome to heaven on earth

All XC skiers know that God lives on Tyrwhitt.

First ski of the season on Tyrwhitt with famous Gap mountain in the background. Nov 18, 2009

You can now ski an entire loop on trackset trails from Boulton Creek parking lot. Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass or Hydroline, Fox Creek, Moraine.
*Novice skiers, please take note of my warning at the bottom of this post.

In today’s photo album you’ll see some pictures of other trackset trails in PLPP, as well as some very deep snow on the Smith-Dorrien from last night, and skier-set tracks heading up to Rummel Lake.

Three flat-bed rigs were spotted in various parking lots in PLPP today. We surmised there were two snowmobiles  and one Pisten-Bully out doing maintenance on the trails. We spotted the Pisten-Bully just as he was finished tracksetting Whiskey Jack. We spotted fresh grooming on Meadow. We smelled the fumes from the sled which was doing the grooming on Boulton Creek and tracksetting on Fox Creek and Moraine.

We parked at Elk Pass, donned our skis and took a quick left onto Fox Creek which was now trackset. That trail is so much fun, dodging the trees and twisting and turning until you once again reach Elk Pass.

Elk Pass had a lot of fresh snow on it, so we climbed the steep hill at the beginning of Hydroline which was just freshly trackset. It’s not often you can ski Hydroline in tracks that aren’t full of wind-blown snow, but we had that rare experience today.

On our way, we passed by the Lookout junction which looked awfully enticing with fresh tracksetting. At Patterson junction, the old tracksetting was buried in deep snow.

Upon arriving at Tyrwhitt junction, seven months of longing was satisfied when I could see fresh grooming.(We last skied it on April 4, an eternity). As we got closer, shrieks of joy were the order of the day when we saw it had also been trackset.

Tyrwhitt. I feel like I belong here.  The beautiful meadows with their fluffy pillows of snow, the deep dark forest, the bears who are sleeping only metres away in their dens. Gap mountain shining in the distance. The work it takes just to get up here. Some of the last unspoiled wilderness on this earth. We truly are the luckiest beings on the planet to have this at our doorstep.

We get quite a thrill from being the first ones over a trail which has been trackset for the first time in a new ski season, but these were not virgin tracks today. We could see at least two other skiers were ahead of us. When you look at the photo album, you will see how they desecrated the fresh grooming. About half way down the trail, we encountered the scoundrels, but nothing could put a damper on my experience of this pristine, snow-covered landscape today.

It was obvious to us that the tracksetter was here very recently, probably within the hour. We take great care on new tracks to avoid mangling them as they are quite soft.

There are still a couple of low-snow areas along the trail that will make you do some quick manoevering if you’re going downhill when you reach them, but not what I would call significant.

Reaching the junction at the other end of Lookout, we could see it had been trackset. Half a K further we were at Whiskey Jack/Pocaterra. Deep snow on Pocaterra which I hope will be groomed before the weekend because we want to take one of our intermediate daytrips up here.

Whiskey Jack was trackset and the tracks were still quite soft so it was an easy trip down with minimal snowplowing. Even the steep section was  fun. 

About 200 metres from the bottom we had to stop because we had caught up to Jeff  and his Pisten-Bully. We chattted briefly, and I think I remember him saying that he was doing Elk Pass tomorrow, but don’t quote me.

From here, it was a quick trip along Moraine, also trackset, then retracing our earlier path along Fox Creek and Elk Pass to the car.

Never before in the history of PLPP have we had such good snow conditions this early in the season(at least since I’ve been skiing).


 The trails which I have described above are NOT for novice skiers. Unless you are a competent snowplower, Elk Pass, Hydroline, and Whiskey Jack will be more of a challenge than you can handle. They all have ultra-steep, sustained hills which will tire you, wear you out, make you lose control when descending, and above all, will be dangerous to yourself and other skiers. You also need a certain level of ability to manouvre through the tight turns and quick hills with trees waiting to grab you on Fox Creek, Boulton Creek, and Moraine. The water in those creeks will be very cold.

Lookout trail(to the Kananaskis Fire Lookout) – don’t even think about it.

I’m co-ordinating a novice daytrip on Saturday to K-Country. Come out and get some experience on easier trails. It will be far more enjoyable than tackling a trail that is above your ability level. Ski Trip We already have five novice skiers coming on this trip but we’ve got room for a few more.

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  1. It was great meeting you on the trail on Wed. And yes, us three ladies had a fabulous time and the conditions couldn’t have been better. We seemed to be ahead of the groomer on some of the runs, but it was fun skiing through the fresh new snow as well.
    Happy Trails

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