Lake Louise, Emerald Lake, Goat Creek

Nicholas Roeder just spent 4 days in the Lake Louise/Emerald Lake area and sends some photos and this report:

Fairview Trail. Photo by Nicholas Roeder.

“Lots of new snow near Emerald Lake and Baker Creek. Trails should be in great shape for the weekend. I skied the following trails and can recommend them all: Pipestone (new map signs are great!), Fairview/Moraine Lake Road/Tramline, Upper/Lower Telemark, and Baker Creek Powerline. Also I skied from the Natural Bridge in Yoho to Emerald Lake and it was fabulous on new powder. Hot chocolate and dessert at the lodge is a nice reward for the halfway point!”

Emerald Lake Lodge. Photo by Nicholas Roeder.

The Kicking Horse Ski Club has very current trail reports on the Emerald Lake area.  Indeed, there’s been a huge dump of snow.

A perfect day

Skiers on Goat Creek. Jan 6, 2011

Things we take for granted: The two skiers in the above photo were from Saskatchewan and wanted to come to the beautiful Rocky Mountains and ski to the Banff Springs Hotel for afternoon tea. They were returning to the Goat Creek trailhead when I took this photo.

Being a stubble-jumper myself, I know the charms of living in our neighbouring province, but we have such an abundance of magnificent ski trails in close proximity that occasions like this remind me of our incredible good fortune to be living where we do. The above report from Nicholas is more verification(as if we needed any) of the fact that we are among the luckiest XC skiers on the face of the earth.

Ed, Ann, and Jill were enjoying a lunch break on Goat Creek. Jan 6, 2011.

Overall, the conditions on Goat Creek are good…and fast. I skied it one-way from Canmore to Banff and it seemed to go by way too quickly. Tracks are washed out in a few places, but there are no thin spots, the snow’s still cold and the only rocks to be concerned about are the ones on the final descent to Goat Creek. I was using my good skis, so I removed them and walked down.

A lady skiing behind me had a unique method of slowing herself down before the steepest, rockiest part: she simply pointed her skis to the uphill angle of the trail and plowed into the snow at the side.

The issue which continues to dog skiers

Cheryl and Tessa skied a short distance with me before turning around and driving to Banff to pick me up. Here we have perfect winter weather, great snow, an amazingly fun trail in the most beautiful place on earth, and the first thing an uptight woman said to me was “dogs aren’t allowed on this trail.” Sigh. Some people just don’t have enough to occupy their minds.

To put things in perspective, if the folks from SK had our impressive array of ski trails in their backyard, do you think they’d care whether they encountered the occasional dog on the trail?

If you missed it, the topic on this blog which received the most comments ever, was posted five days ago Dogs. To be technical and precise, dogs are allowed(on leash) on the first kilometre of the Goat Creek trail before you reach the Banff boundary.

Spray River trail. Jan 6, 2011

Upon reaching the Spray River trail at the 8K point, where it is wide enough for a skating lane, it appeared that the skating lane had just been groomed in the past 24 hours, as you can see in the above photo.

Cheryl was delayed on the highway due to a traffic snarl, so I arrived at the Banff Springs trailhead before she did. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to be greeted by someone else’s delightful Springer Spaniel:

Having tea at the Banff Springs Hotel isn’t on my “Top 10 list of things to do before I die,” but we always look forward to a dip in the Hot Springs which is only a five minute drive from the trailhead.


The Goat Creek trailhead; beware:

Right out of the gate, there are always numerous exposed rocks on the first 80 metres as you descend the small hill down to the creek. I carry my gear and walk down.

Search term of the day:

“Road with blue skies and snow”

Goat Creek  is one of my favourite trails and I want to ski it as much as possible this winter. I remember last year, when we never really had good conditions, at least not for long. It looks like we have more snow and cold weather on the way, so I should get my wish.

Lost and Found

A watch was found on the Skogan Pass trail on Jan 5, 2011. Send me an email with a description and your phone number and I’ll forward it to the finder.

Recent Grooming

Check the appropriate trail report for the latest updates. I notice that Sandy McNabb is finally getting some snow and tracksetting.

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  1. Good skiing on Saturday at Ribbon Creek, with a few cm’s of new snow covering up what looked like a lot of wind blown debris on the old groomed surface.
    West Bragg trails on Friday afternoon were good, but with lots of pine needles in many areas, and hard-packed downhills. Hopefully we get enough new snow to take care of that.

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