I wasn’t sure how to describe this ski trip because each trail offered something very different, but I thought the photo above was fitting for what we’ve had to occasionally put up with for the past three weeks. With the recent windy and warm weather, my expectations have been lowered considerably, and all things considered, today’s ski trip was still pretty decent.
I skied the Tyrwhitt loop in PLPP late this afternoon. Really late as you’ll see in the photos. I thought I had allowed myself enough time to get back before dark, but I wasn’t counting on having the sticky fresh snow on Elk Pass – Fox creek – and Boulton creek. It was the sandpaper variety of snow and it slowed me down considerably. The good news is…it was snowing!
Starting at Boulton creek, it was +1°C, and I don’t know what the snow temperature was because I’ve lost or misplaced my snow thermometer. Swix VR45(-2/-8) was performing well, however as I climbed on reasonably good conditions on Whiskey Jack. The few pine needles were only a minor inconvenience and none were stuck in my wax at the top.
The first 1K of Tyrwhitt was bad. There’s no possible way of putting a positive spin on this one. Needles, cones, branches, hair, and tree bombs made it look like a war zone, but like magic, it was transformed into a pristine and beautiful trail as I skied through the meadows.
Halfway down Tyrwhitt it started snowing. At the top of Elk pass, there was at least 1 cm of abrasive fresh snow in the tracks. Staying in the tracks was painfully slow, so I descended most of the way in the middle, between the tracks where I had a little more speed. I don’t know how much debris was on Elk pass because it was now covered with snow.
As I turned onto Fox creek, I saw a pine marten run up a tree about 20 metres in front of me. Fox creek was in moderately good condition, with a few patches of debris, but not enough to dampen the fun of this trail.
Now almost dark, Boulton creek was in excellent condition, having been trackset yesterday, but slow with the fresh snow.
As I drove back, I could see the Pisten-Bully tracks crossing the road by the PLPP Visitor Centre, so we can expect the trails on the west side of the road to be freshly trackset by tomorrow. Those include Meadow, Lodgepole, Braille, Sinclair, Spruce road.
The Ribbon creek and Kananaskis village trails were trackset yesterday and I’ve included a photo of the Ribbon creek trailhead. It was +6°C, and the tracks looked like you’d need waxless skis.
If you’re looking for a loppet this weekend where the snow conditions are excellent, and the entry fee is only $25 for adults, check out Golden’s Huckleberry loppet.
Check this new page I’ve added under “Resources.” Words to describe snow conditions. This will help me and Trip Reporters to find the perfect word to describe snow conditions, but I need your input. Let’s see how long we can make that list.