A winter paradise

It was cross-country ski heaven on Redearth Creek today.

Update: 13 more photos

Redearth Creek trail in Banff National Park. Dec 12, 2010

I couldn’t contain my curiosity any longer and headed out for Redearth Creek today, and boy, did I make the right choice. There’s been a lot of snow here since it was first trackset about 10 days ago, and it was coming down again today.

There was already about 3 cm on the trail, and it snowed an additional 4 cm while I was skiing. The initial 1-2K  can be littered with rocks but I only saw two today, about 400m from the trailhead on the uphill, just as you cross that little bridge. They were covered with powdery snow when I renewed acquaintances with them as I was screaming downhill on the return trip, but I stuck a small twig in the snow on the way up to warn me. Worked like a charm.

Fresh snow on Redearth Creek. Dec 12, 2010

It was easy to ski in the tracks despite the new snow, and the glide seemed surprisingly fast, all things considered. One of those silky, smooth glides that doesn’t even make a sound. What’s really unusual is for me to be the first one on the trail!

The day was simply beautiful. And peaceful; the only occasional sound coming from the creek which is still running.

Where have you seen this before? Dec 12, 2010

The fresh snow slowed me down a bit, which allowed me to soak in the spectacular winter landscape for even longer. On a day like this I spend a lot of time taking photos. Reached the warden’s cabin in about two hours. This trail can be three different distances depending on which map or guidebook you’re looking at.  

The guidebook from the Park says 11.5K. Chic Scott’s book says 11k, and my Gemtrek map says 10.5K(After 12 years of heavy use, my old Gemtrek map has been retired but it says 10.8k).

The first skiers I saw were Chris and David(a SkiHere.ca fan), just as I hit the trail to return.

Chris and David were nearing the end of the trail. Dec 12, 2010

There’s a net elevation gain of 340m, so the trip back can be a lot of fun, which it was today with the fresh snow to slow you down on those steep parts. I can usually make it back in about 45 minutes but today it took an hour. I think it was the first time I’ve stayed in the tracks the entire way. Being a little reckless!

Katie and Charlotte on Redearth Creek. Dec 12, 2010

I met Katie and Charlotte who were about 3K along the trail. Only five of us fortunate souls got to enjoy Redearth Creek on this beautiful day.

Whenever there’s fresh snow here, I always look forward to seeing evidence of my usual companions  but nothing today. Last year, they were very close by. Read my posting from  Nov 2009 to see the tracks.


Do you remember Natalie’s question which was posted back on Dec 3? She took my suggestion and went to Mt Shark with her dogs. She sent me an email tonight:

“Thanks!  Mt Shark was amazing!!” 

 She also left a comment on the previous thread;

“Mt Shark was BEAUTIFUL.  We skied two of the 5km loops yesterday and the 10km loop today.  Lots of new snow (not groomed, but still fantastic – VERY quiet, too) – it was phenomenal!!”

Click to see Natalie’s photos from Mt Shark

Horses at Sandy McNabb Ski Trails

“Hey Bob,  So, I was at Sandy McNabb today and It wasn’t very good….rock ski conditions for sure.  I’d like to comment on the quality and use of the cross country ski trails out a Sandy McNabb.  It seems that someone is riding there horse(s) on the tracks and is absolutely destroying them or can I dare to say, ” vandalizing” them.  Even though there are sign posts that indicate the prohibited use of horses on the trails, still the problem seems worse then ever.  I stopped and talked to some fellow skiers today and they said to me that they actually confronted these horsemen and felt threatened, so what is anyone to do?  The solution may lay in reporting this activity to the Province or Park Wardens.  If you see a horse trailer and obvious activity of horses on the trails, why not write down a license plate number and report it to Park Officials.  I have the feeling if this kind of thing continues, skiers may end up losing these trails….?  I’d appreciate any comments you may have. 
Nigel Duxbury”

Grooming and tracksetting

If you read Denise’s question yesterday, here’s more explanation from an actual expert, Jeff, who does the grooming/tracksetting at Ribbon Creek/Skogan Pass:

“Hi Bob,
Just a follow up on the grooming and t-setting. You are right about the snow depth dictating whether a trail is track set or groomed. The average track depth runs from 2 1/4? to 2 3/4? depth. This time of year when the snow pack is shallow that extra depth can take you down into small rocks and dirt. So depending on the ground underneath we like to let the packed base build up from about 3? to 6? before we set a track.”

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  1. New snow on PLP trails covering previously tracked and groomed trails.Good for breaking your own trails.I expect grooming and tracksetting later this week.
    Measured temperature today at 2 pm near PLP visitor center was +2 C but no ice on trails.Some tracks from skiers.
    Could do some winter hiking.


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