This has been an early-season dream weekend. Great Divide on new tracks on Friday. Moraine Lake road on excellent tracks and cold snow yesterday. Skiers finding skiable snow
all over the place, including Elk Pass, Mt Shark, Chester Lake and in the city of Calgary itself.
I capped the weekend(I forgot, it’s a long weekend for some, but it seems like I work every day) with a quick spin around the Canmore Nordic Centre just before dark to check out the additional trails which opened today, and renew acquaintances with Frozen Thunder.
The air temperature was -5 but the snow was a very cold -10. I waxed before going with VR45 which gave me grip all the way up those steep slopes on Olympic trail, but I probably could have been just as successful with colder wax like VR40.
Frozen Thunder is better than ever with all the new snow it has received, both man-made and the natural variety. There were a couple spots where the trail was scraped clean, but considering that was after a full day of use and abuse, not bad.
A 10-lane practice grid has been trackset in front of the daylodge.
This cold weather is giving the nordic centre a good head-start on preparing trails for the World Cup races which happen Dec 13 – 16.
It’s difficult to hang up the skis when spring comes, so I empathize with the biker in the photo who wants to get in one more ride before winter.
User fees for Peter Lougheed Provincial Park ski trails?
Here’s a development which should concern everyone reading my blog User fees rears its head again. Voice your opinion.
Racing season is coming
Lots of fun will be had this winter at the various loppets. Registration for the Nipika loppet is now open, and it even has its own Facebook page. Take note of the new dates this year. It won’t conflict with the Lake Louise to Banff loppet.
Advice for Gareth…looking for huts
“I’m new to Calgary and I’ve been trying to do some research on good xcountry trails in the area, when I stumbled across your blog. In particular, I’m trying to find out info on good backcountry huts which are on trails suitable for intermediate skiers, and with nice trails around the hut as well for a day of skiing around the hut before heading back out. I was looking at Elizabeth Parker hut, mainly because I’m an ACC member, but I haven’t found much info on the trails surrounding the cabin. Is that a good option? I would certainly appreciate any help.”
I’m not an expert on backcountry huts but I know a lot of my readers are. Leave a comment if you can advise Gareth.
Both Elk Lakes and Elizabeth Parker are easy enough to get into for cross country skiers but there’s little to do once you are there. You’ll need touring gear for sure to go beyond Elizabeth Parker and you won’t get much further than the first Lake if you go to Elk Lakes. Bring snowshoes with you and more terrain would open up.
Other great options if you have the money are the backcountry ski lodges: Skoki, Shadow Lake, Assinisboine, and Sundance Lodge (Holiday on horseback). There are places you can ski from Skoki and Assiniboine especially once you get there. Shadow and Sundance – not so much again. Getting into Skoki or Assiniboine though will definitely require light touring skis with metal edges unless you are a very accomplished cross country skier.
Finally, many people ski into the park shelters: Bryant Creek on the way into Assiniboine and Egypt Lake. Again, you may want light touring skis and going beyond is challenging.
We don’t have much here unfortunately where you can ski into a hut and then spend days touring the area on cross country skis. Wish we did. You’ll need light touring gear to make it into most huts/cabins/shelters with the exception of Elizabeth Parker, Sundance Lodge and Shadow Lake. They are the only ones groomed and track set.