Friday night update

Here’s a link to an interview I did on CBC Radio today regarding the proposed user fees for ski trails in Peter Lougheed Prov Park. SkierBob interview on the CBC’s Homestretch

…and a story Alberta government proposes cross-country skiing fees

A section of Fairview trail with good conditions. It wasn’t all like this, however, with some sections having exposed rocks, twigs, and large depressions.

Lake Louise

I was informed by the LL Visitor Centre that Moraine Lake road(MLR) and the Great Divide would be groomed and trackset early Saturday morning. If indeed that’s the case, conditions should be terrific. The snow is still very cold. The snow temp on Fairview was -10°C at 3 pm.

I skied MLR-Fairview-Chateau-Tramline today. Despite not being trackset for five days, MLR was still in good shape with fast tracks.

Lyle Wilson from Nipika Mountain Resort on Moraine Lake road

Fairview is a mixed bag. 75% of it is trackset and has some nice stretches with excellent snow coverage, but also has other spots with rocks, twigs, and cavernous depressions on fast downhills that could throw you off-balance and send you crashing and burning(then freezing to death). I cannot recommend it unless you are a seasoned intermediate skier with high risk tolerance and a death wish.

Upper Tramline has tracksetting that’s a few days old, but Lower Tramline was trackset today.

From the Fairview/Tramline junction(which is at the east end of the lake parking lot), there’s a packed trail, two of them actually, which will take you to the lake and as far as the boathouse. No skiing on the lake yet.

I heard about Pipestone from another skier and received a few IPhone photos. Packed only, it’s skiable with due care and caution.

As I was skiing on a downhill section of MLR, I saw a skier coming towards me and I remarked to my companion how he was double-poling UPHILL. Who should it turn out to be but Lyle Wilson from Nipika Mountain Resort. They’re still waiting for enough snow to groom the trails which should be obvious if Lyle is skiing at Lake Louise.

John was at the Great Divide earlier in the day and left a detailed account on Trip Reports. It should be a blue wax day early tomorrow. Depending on which weather forecast you believe, it will be -9 to -13 tonight at LL, with a high on Saturday of -4 to -1. The highway is bare and dry all the way to Lake Louise.


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  1. On the point of fees for PLPP grooming. Why must we pay twice, once in taxes for parks and again for grooming in parks. Do we pay for outhouse services and trash pick in PLPP? How about snowplows on the roads? How do they propose inforcing this – they can’t even enforce fishing and camping violations. Is there a petition I can sign?

  2. Surely someone in the government must be running around jumping for joy that for a measly $150k per year, they are helping keep thousands of Albertans from becoming couch potatoes, as Bob mentioned in his interview. And add to that the oil revenues generated for the province from skiers having to fill their gas tanks every Saturday morning.

  3. I’m surprised that it’s taken this long for the issue of user fees to rear its head again. Let’s be honest, we skiers in Calgary have had it really, really good for a really, really long time. As Bob mentioned in his interview, the PLPP system is probably one of the best x-country areas in the world, and it’s always be free to anyone who wants to use it. We’d all like it to stay that way, but some of the arguments used against user fees could be questioned.

    For example, the quote from Albi Sole in the CBC article: “‘It’s a crazy idea,’ Sole said. ‘It’s in contravention of what the Alberta government said it wants to do around getting Albertans active.'”

    How is charging a user fee a contravention of “getting Albertans active”? All levels of government have invested in recreational facilities over the years, and most users expect to pay to a nominal fee to use them. For example, if adults want to swim at the U of Calgary’s Aquatic Centre, it’s going to cost $10.00 for the day. At a City of Calgary pool? Between $5.35 and $6.30 per day. At the Village Square Leisure Centre? $10.60. The U of C Outdoor Centre isn’t giving away its rental equipment for free, either.

    One commenter posted “I have already paid for the maintenance of the ski trails through my taxes — that is one of the reasons I pay them.” Provincial tax money paid for a significant portion of the renovations to CNC, but we still have to pay to use it. I pay taxes for a lot of things that I have to pay additional user fees to use.

    No one goes downhill skiing expecting to hop on the lifts for free. No one goes to the local pool expecting to be able to swim laps pro bono. Why do we as x-country skiers think our sport is somehow sacrosanct? Grooming machines aren’t cheap, they don’t run on water, and the folks driving them need to eat just like any of us.

    • If I’m paying I’d like to know what I’m buying. PLPP isn’t groomed every day or the day after a snow storm or even on overnight Friday for the weekend crowd, Last season alot of my PLPP skiing was fresh tracks.

    • Downhill ski facilities are not run by the government. That’s why we pay. They need to build lifts and manage the facilities – privately – for profit. There’s a difference.

  4. If you are going to ski the Fairview trail, I suggest doing it clockwise from the junction about 1.6km up the Moraine Lake Road. That way you’ll be going slowly uphill on the section with the rocks, roots, and holes. Once you’ve gained your elevation, the rest of the way is gentle, enjoyable skiing.

    Good comments on CBC. I’m afraid that the government will never make the connection with the money wasted on politician and senior administrative travel/expense and pension costs or the money wasted on studies that never get acted upon or the cost of controlling the government message to the public… versus the relatively small amount that it costs to groom ski trails.
    As fees go, the individual user fee is the most expensive method to administer and monitor. A simple vehicle pass or parking fee is a much more effective model to consider, if there is a need to generate revenues from users.

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