The fallen tree on Lynx

Life is good. Soak it all in while you can!

When you see all those categories and tags next to the blog post title, you just know it’s going to be a good one. When you see “rant” included in there, how much better could it get?

The recent snowfall has created much better conditions. On my way back to Canmore today I stoppped at PLPP Visitor Centre and saw the grooming crew had groomed and trackset more trails than I had dared to expect. Thanks, guys, for all your work yesterday! See for yourself PLPP Trail Report.

I started out at Boulton Creek trailhead and climbed Whiskey Jack(WJ) on new tracksetting(I needed some punishment after all the imbibing yesterday). It was in  nice shape with just a couple thin spots that would be easy to avoid. Sure wish I would’ve had my camera because on my way up I encountered about 10 skiers descending and most of them had the fear of God in their eyes as they struggled to maintain a snowplow. One had already fallen. I’ll say more about this later.

I talked to a couple skiers at the WJ-Pocaterra junction who had just finished coming down Lookout and reported conditions were good but there were at least 25 skiers at the top. Maybe that’s why they couldn’t wait to get down.

Turning north, I set it on Cruise Control and had a blissful and effortless 6K run down Pocaterra. To the Packers junction it was freshly trackset. Thereafter, some new snow on the trail but good skier-set tracks.

The fallen tree(rant)

Turned left and headed down Lynx. It hasn’t been groomed yet, but still very skiable with lots of fresh snow. There was a fallen dead tree across the trail. Perhaps 2″ in diameter and it was laying absolutely perpendicular across the entire width of the trail, with the top end at the exact side of the trail. Another reason I wish I would’ve had my camera.

I came across it at 3:30 pm and by this time, I’m sure 50 skiers had skied over top of it judging by how far it was embedded in the snow. About 1/2″ was now above the snow. I watched as four skiers ahead of me skied over top. On a slight incline, it would be easy enough to stop but I can just see most skiers gliding over it. It probably wouldn’t damage your skis, but it would certainly scrape the wax off and slow you down.

I stopped and lifted the tree and easily pushed it to the side. It wasn’t heavy and it wasn’t attached at the other end. I would be ashamed to leave it sitting there on the trail. I doubt if anyone was in a race today, where you couldn’t have taken 30 seconds to do this little act of kindness. I’m quite sure none of them were readers(end of rant).

At the next junction, if you turned left, that stretch of Amos was groomed, but I wanted to do the entire length of Wheeler so I made the right turn. This short portion of Amos was not groomed but was still nice with lots of fresh snow.

Wheeler was freshly trackset, in great shape, and ultra-fast. I double-poled 99% of it and when I reached Boulton Creek after 18K of terrific skiing, I was left wanting more. It ended too soon. Wow! x 10

My own opinion on how to enjoy skiing more

Whiskey Jack. Why do novice skiers descend this trail? I think it’s a shame to build up all that stored potential energy climbing Elk Pass or Pocaterra just to waste it by snowplowing down Whiskey Jack, not to mention a potential faceplant. If you climb Whiskey Jack, you can descend Pocaterra with hardly any snowplowing. Ditto Elk Pass/Hydroline.

West Bragg Creek – sweet!

The West Bragg Trail Report shows 7 trails were groomed and trackset on Friday, including Mountain Road.

Skogan Pass – Holy Cow!

If you’re into some strenuous climbing, Skogan Pass Upper, High-level and Sunburst have all been trackset. Skogan lower was groomed. These trails make Whiskey Jack look tame. 2 hours up, 20 minutes down.

I expect the recent snow covered most of the pine needles on Ribbon Creek. I hope someone will fill us in.

Cascade Fire Road – OMG

The Banff Trail Report shows that Cascade Fire Road has been groomed and trackset all the way(15K) to the Stoney Creek bridge. When I skied this on Monday, there were a lot of rocks on the last 8K, so I hope the recent snow covered most of them.

Moraine Lake Road – up to 28 cm!

It sounds like they can’t keep up with all the new snow at Lake Louise. Moraine Lake Road is trackset but no skating lane yet. Check the trail report Banff-Lake Louise.  Maybe John the tracksetter will send us some more info soon. He has tantalized me with his Emerald Lake comment this morning.

Lots of good choices for tomorrow. 🙂


I’m a newbie skier and I understand what ‘track set’ means, but what does ‘groomed’ mean?

Denise, when the grooming machine goes over the snow and leaves the little ridges that look like corduroy, that’s considered grooming. Sometimes the snow pack is not deep enough to set tracks, but it may be deep enough to be groomed. Sometimes a trail is dedicated to skate-skiing and in that case it would only be groomed.

Send a comment and let us know where you skied. What was it like? How about Redearth Creek? Are there a lot of rocks on the first 2K? Did it get any of this recent snow?


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  1. 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!!

  2. 4 of us skied the 1A to the Great Divide and back today. Lots of new snow, not groomed, as 1 of the 2 available snowmobiles was reportedly broken. Beautifully calm and quiet…even the dogs seemed quieter than usual. We found a track for the dogsleds somewhat better than the skier set track (before the sleds set out) On way back, skier set tracks improved.

  3. I’m sure a lot of other skiers were wondering about Mt Shark and Watridge Lake Rd, myself included. Thanks, Carol. It will probably get groomed and trackset next week.

  4. Watridge Lake

    Our group was the first to break trail after a fresh snowfall on the Watridge Lake trail. The temperature was around -5 all day, there were some flurries to freshen up the tracks. No grooming or trackset, but it was awesome anyway!

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