More snow bringing gladness to our hearts at Elk Pass

I was greeted by falling, blowing snow and lots of it in PLPP today. The tracks at Elk Pass were still well-defined thanks to all the nice, kind skiers who were breaking trail in front of me.
There’s at least 10 cm of fresh snow over Friday’s grooming and tracksetting but the going was pretty easy for me. In the photos you’ll see all the blog readers who were doing the hard work.

The air temperature was -1°C, so I knew that waxing would be a challenge with all the snow coming down. I wisely chose my waxless skis today, and all the skiers I encountered confirmed my suspicions. It was one of those days where you either have iced-up skis or no grip.

A strong wind was howling, and the snow was blowing and swirling in the Elk Pass parking lot. I know from experience that once you get over the gi-normous hill, it can be a whole different world on the other side, and indeed that was the case today. Calm and serene after the first 2k, except for the top of Blueberry Hill. Being forewarned by Richard and Dave, I turned around before reaching the top and subjecting myself to the hurricane force winds. There wouldn’t have been much of a view anyway today.

The first 200 meters from the trailhead is no longer a concern, as all that ice and dirt is hidden by beautiful, fresh snow. The snow was still coming down and stung my eyes as I flew down the big hill to the trailhead. Between the fresh snow and my fish scale skis, I only reached a top speed of 34 Kmh. Last year, on better conditions, I hit 49 Kmh as is shown in this video the fastest 1k in Kananaskis. When it’s groomed and trackset, the conditions should be fantastic.


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  1. Hi Everyone — Thanks to our collective efforts and to those of many other K Country users we have again stopped the implementation of user fees. Thanks again Bob for facilitating lots of good exchanges on the pros and cons. Your new PLP park sign is wonderful!
    The short article from today’s Calgary Herald is a suitable end to the recent debate about user fees for xc-skiers in K Country. Peter Lougheed would be pleased. His vision for K Country and for Peter Lougheed Park never included user fees. He was adamant about making this special area accessible to everyone free of charge.
    The central issue is that Alberta should be promoting healthy outdoor activity and not inhibiting it. Once user fees are implemented for one user group you may be sure that other users such as snowshoers, mountain bikers, and hikers will soon be added, that yearly fee increases will occur, and that the bulk of the revenue will go towards the new bureaucracy as well as other priorities and not towards the enhancement of the user experience. All users of K Country should be actively promoting an adequate budget for K Country.
    I encourage everyone to tell the politicians that we do not want to see further cuts in the already meager Parks / K Country budget –in fact they need an increase.

  2. Am I in a minority group as it relates to the proposed x/c ski fees at PLPP, since I strongly oppose them? I can’t believe there is so much compliancy with this government-initiated campaign; most skiers openly state that yes, they would indeed support the motion, without even expressing their concern regarding how the fees would be collected, enforced, and spent.
    An imaginary Park and Recreation bureaucrat assigned to monitor the popular acceptance of this rather ill-conceived plan would say, based on the comments in this and other blogs, that a significant group of cross country skiers are in favor, let’s proceed! Does anyone have any reason to believe that the collected fees would directly go to the PLPP trail work, and not to the coffers of our deficit-budgeted province, where these money would sooner be spent on more demanding projects, perhaps to cover personal expenses of likes of Allaudin Merali (AHS), and payouts to Legislature committees that never met.
    I don’t think we should so readily accept new taxes, all the while witnessing the non-stop stream of government’s spending scandals. Perhaps, an email to your MLA expressing your position might help, along with a demand to stop their appalling spending practices, and channel the money to required civic services instead, including better Parks services?

  3. New sign looks ironic indeed with all this buzz around user fees 🙂
    Totally agree with Steve Riggs and you Bob about government’s waisted spendings.
    And yes, as both of you I’m in support of user’s fees in Kananaskis (hoping that they go to trails maintenance).

    P.S. Looks like Lake Louise is out of my skiing scope for now as PLPP is getting in shape!

  4. Regarding the funny sign: I agree with the message that we should encourage the practice of healthy activities, but does anyone really believe that a fee would *discourage* it? At $0.25/km in gasoline and vehicle wear (that’s less than half the standard allowance by government and industry, by the way), going to PLPP from Calgary North costs me roughly $75 round trip. If a fee of $5 or $10 turns me into a couch potato, then I’m an idiot.

  5. Nice work on the sign, Bob!
    I am not all that opposed to the idea of trail fees if they were to go directly to grooming and maintenance, in fact I quite willingly donate a “fee” if you will, to the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association. (that’s a reminder folks!)
    However I do find it galling that the budget savings that we are talking about here, is far less than what has been wasted on a herd of trough-snuffling health care execs.

    You’ve summed it up pretty concisely. I, and many others, have no problem contributing to the maintenance of the trails, but it’s annoying and discouraging when we see the waste and pork-barrel politics. Just as you have donated to West Bragg, I was happy to give to the Kicking Horse Ski Club to help keep the groomed trails in Yoho. Glad you noticed the new sign! -Bob

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