While growing up on the farm, one of the rituals of spring was picking rocks in the summerfallow fields. Back and forth, dad drove the tractor while my brothers and I picked up anything that could get jammed in the discer blades and threw it on the stoneboat. It was a dusty, laborious, back-breaking routine, as were many of the ancient methods of farming which I know way too much about.
I much prefer the way I’m doing it today, farming in the snow so to speak. Skiing down a beautiful trail with a hammer and chisel in my backpack.
There’s still one big rock about 1.5K along the trail but too big and too frozen. It would take a tractor with a front-end loader to remove it. There remains a number of embedded but exposed rocks on the final fast descent to the Goat Creek bridge.
Overall, though, it’s been some of the best early-season conditions I’ve seen on this wonderful ski trail. I think what I like best about Goat Creek/Spray River is the variety it offers: hills, long fast runs, a few steep climbs, hairpin turns, incredible scenery, the views from the Spray River bridge, the opportunity of seeing animal tracks in the snow, and the Banff Hot Springs at the end. Even those three ultra-narrow bridges add some spice to the trip, as you have to focus on your approach, one of them being on a quick downhill.
After taking the photo, Cheryl headed for Banff and I skied back to the trailhead with Tessa. Conditions must still be pretty good because she made it to Banff before I did(and I was driving!). It only took her 90 minutes to ski the entire 18K. Without me tagging along, taking pictures and dawdling, she averaged 12 Km/hr. She reports it was snowing intermittently along the trail, quite heavily in places. I can tell you it was very blustery at the Goat Creek trailhead.
Confederation Golf Course
Ben Silverberg reports:
Karen and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to slip over to Confederation Park for a quick tour of the golf course as a means of shaking off the seasonal turkey doldrums. The temperature hovered around plus two for most of the afternoon and though a stiff wind was present, we found the track conditions excellent given the lack of any fresh snow in the city. Still riding on blue wax from our last trip to PLPP, we set a blistering pace around the course and when we found ourselves back at the trailhead after an hour, we elected to venture forth for one more circuit as the conditions were so marvellous. Lucky Calgarians!!