Spray River in Banff
After skiing Redearth Creek yesterday, I went into Banff and did the Spray River loop. I hadn’t yet skied the east side. I can tell you there are a lot of rocks as you come uphill from the golf course. Going up it’s easy to go around them, but you’d have a hard time as your flying downhill, especially when you’re in a snowplow. You’ll have to dodge rocks for about 500m or a little more. Once you’re up, the trail is great. The solution is to start from this side and finish on the west side to avoid coming downhill over the rocks.
The east side has fewer hills and turns. It was nice, though, because the scenery is totally different from when you’re skiing the west side. You get glimpses of the Banff Springs Hotel as in the first photo above, the Rimrock, and a different perspective on the river as seen below. I’m happy to see that despite all the walkers on the trail, the ski tracks were still good.
Coming back on the west side, I could see there’s been a second round of grooming and tracksetting. The snow and tracks were all good.
There is a trail which leads you from one side to the other and it’s rough but skiable. Start on the West side, ski for .7K and you’ll see a trail marker and the trail going down a hill. They’ve set a track around the golf course if you want to ski in the shadow of the hotel as pictured below.
Cheryl and I took our four-legged girl to Ribbbon Creek this afternoon. Conditions have deteriorated significantly with the warm weather. Temp was +4. Icy tracks and pine needles. Tessa loved it, though.
I skied Cascade Fire Road Friday afternoon before it was trackset – shorter trip with the family, then back in by myself while everyone else hit the hot spring. Conditions were great, breaking trail for the last stretch but definitely no rocks. Left the return a little late and ended up blasting down the long hill in full dark by headlamp, with predictable results.
Uh-oh! I hope you’re okay.
Thanks for answering my snow grooming question. I saw your great pictures of Red Earth Creek … would you say this is okay for novice skiers?
Yesterday, with all the fresh snow, a novice skier probably could have handled those steep downhills by coming down in the middle of the track in the deep snow, but under normal conditions when the trail is groomed and trackset(as I expect it will be sometime this week), I would not recommend it to a novice skier. The hills are difficult and it would be easy to have an accident because the trail is not very wide.
I hate telling this story, but the first time I skied on Redearth Creek, there was a group of people standing on the trail gathered around a skier who was laying motionless. Coming downhill, she had crashed and broke her leg.
If you can do a strong snowplow it would be skiable. The problem arises when conditions get poor and the trail is icy or scraped bare by previous skiers. It’s difficult to slow yourself down in poor conditions on a steep hill.
There’s no shame in taking your skis off and walking the steepest sections. It takes a little longer, but you will live to ski another day. I still do it occasionally.