How long can this last?

The conditions we’ve had on Goat creek and Spray river are something to smile about

As Jan said in her Trip Report today, it was a spectacular holiday season for x-c skiing. 

Starting out from the Goat creek trailhead under sunny skies and -7°C. The distances on the sign are incorrect. It’s only 900 metres to the Banff boundary; Spray river is 9K, and Banff townsite is 19K.

I see there’s some warmer weather on the way, but I hope not too warm because the cold temperatures have really preserved the good snow conditions during this winning streak. I well remember the poor conditions we had on Goat creek/Spray river last winter, and if anyone needs a reminder of just how bad it was, read this Goat creek marginal. 

It’s been nine days since Goat creek was trackset, but it’s still in good condition.  The tracks are well-defined except for the usual downhills where they’ve been snowplowed into oblivion, but it made no difference to the enjoyment of the skiing. I didn’t check the snow temperature but my Swix VR40(-4/-12) worked well all day. No herring-boning anywhere.

It was enjoyable, easy, and fun on Goat creek today

From the trailhead, when I’m using good skis, I walk down the first hill to the little creek. I could have skied it because there were no exposed rocks. The next area of concern, at 7K, on the fast downhill to the Goat creek bridge, there were no rocks.

Chip and I were skiing one way to Banff and had arranged to be picked up at 2:30 pm. We were moving so fast, seemingly without any effort, that we would have finished 40 minutes ahead of schedule. At one time in my life, I would have been in a race to get to Banff as fast as possible, in order to spend more time in the bar at the Banff Springs, but we decided to kill time on the Spray river east side for a while, and had great conditions there as well. We encountered one small ice flow of little concern.

The first 900 metres of the Goat creek trail is skier-tracked only. The tracksetter only goes up to the Banff park boundary.

When finished skiing, our ride couldn’t drive the last portion of the access road to the Spray river trailhead to pick us up because of an accident. We had to walk out about 200 metres towards the Banff Springs Hotel because the tow truck was pulling a vehicle out of the ditch(see photo below).

The Kananaskis trail report indicates the trails at Ribbon creek and Kananaskis Village were trackset yesterday, as were some trails in PLPP.

Could this be the consequences of too much New Year’s partying?

In Yoho, the Kicking Horse fire road and the alluvial fan at Emerald Lake were trackset yesterday. The Parks Canada trail report for Yoho has not yet been updated with this information.

Although most people were holidaying, I worked 11 of the past 12 days, logged 183K,  and thoroughly enjoyed my job. It was -15°C or colder on four of those days, but if dressed appropriately, the cold was of little consequence.

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  1. New Years Eve I skied around the Kananaskis Village. The track setting was not great to start with since a lot of day-use people are walking around with dogs and sleds and part of the tracks got walked on. After an hour it all turned around when the tracking machine came around the corner going up Aspen and Kovach leaving fresh tracks. The ride back was great!

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