Update July 2013: This trail was washed out in the flood of June 2013 and has not been repaired. It is not skiable.
If you like fast downhills, here’s a trail for you. The brochure describes Marmot basin trail thus…“provides a good run down from the top.” That’s quite the understatement when you consider that I covered 3.3K in nine minutes.
I got pretty excited when I checked the updated Ribbon creek trail report this morning and saw that Marmot basin had been groomed for the first time this winter. I parked at Ribbon creek and was a bit concerned when the thermometer read +5°C at 1 pm. The snow was still cold enough at -2, however, to use waxable skis. I’m not sure how conditions will be tomorrow with another warm day in the forecast.
As a side note, Ribbon creek trail itself looked to be in great shape with good tracks and cold snow. Being in the trees and running east to west, it’s quite protected. A photo is posted in the gallery.
I expected the snow would get colder as I gained elevation, so I used some SkiGo for temperature range 0/-6 and it worked reasonably well for the duration of the climb. Indeed, at the top, the snow was -5.
To access Marmot basin, I started on the Lower Skogan pass trail which is still in nice condition. Not too many pine needles, good tracks, and a small ice flow that is still easy to get around. At 1.8K it intersects Ruthies which I could see was freshly groomed and trackset. On the way back, I took Ruthie’s and paid a visit to Troll Falls.
The next 1.1K of Skogan pass is aptly nicknamed the Skogan Screamer. Descending skiers fly by in an instant. I finally came to the junction where Skogan goes right, and on my left, brand new untouched corduroy on Marmot basin. To this point, I’ve covered 3.1K with a 140 meter elevation gain.
Marmot basin starts out with a gradual uphill, but gets steeper and steeper. On the first 2.3K you’ll gain 250 meters of elevation. Thereafter, the trail undulates to the end of the grooming.
You don’t have to stop at the end of the grooming, however, and I took the Nakiska access road which is nicely packed from snowmobiles all the way to the mid-mountain daylodge. It’s 500 metres from the end of the grooming and adds another 20 metres of elevation gain.
The descent is a lot of fun because the trail has wide, sweeping turns that don’t require you to slow down so much, except for a couple semi-tight corners.
From Ribbon creek parking lot to the mid-mountain daylodge, it’s 6.4k with a net elevation of 410 metres.
Check the Trip Reports for an update on Shaganappi.