My favourite loop

Firm grip, fast glide, cold snow, excellent tracks, nice weather, with lots of smiling faces. Today was one of those days where you could experience, as my friend Chip would say,the soul-mending rhythm of cross-country skiing.

The beautiful meadows of Tyrwhitt

The beautiful meadows of Tyrwhitt

When conditions are good, there’s no better ski trip than the Tyrwhitt loop in PLPP. The first two legs consist of a rigorous uphill on Whiskey jack followed by a cruise through the scenic and ethereal meadows of Tyrwhitt.

High atop the Tyrwhitt/Hydroline/Elk pass junction you’ll be in for some screaming fast downhills on Elk pass, followed by pleasant and gradual runs to the Fox creek turn-off.

Skiers descending a fast downhill on Whiskey jack. This is the section of trail which was rebuilt due to the flooding damage

Skiers descending a fast downhill on Whiskey jack. This is the section of trail which was rebuilt due to the flooding damage

The single-track of Fox creek with a slight downhill is thrilling as you twist and turn through the trees that are close enough to touch. You know you’re having fun when you can double-pole the entire distance of Fox creek, while dodging spruce and pine and negotiating tight turns that overlook the freezing waters of the creek.

Fox creek had excellent tracks

Fox creek had excellent tracks

The air temperature was minus 2°C at 2 pm and the snow was a purple wax minus 3°. There was some fresh snow on top of the recent grooming on Tyrwhitt and Elk pass, but the tracks were still very good. Whiskey jack, Moraine and Fox creek all had recent tracksetting and were excellent.

The couple riding the Fat Tire bikes were very courteous as they dismounted and moved to the side of the trail as I met them. As you will see in the photos, the bikes do no damage to the trail as long as they stay out of the tracks.

Cheri picked the winning name in the "Best Winter Song" contest

Cheri picked the winning name in the “Best Winter Song” contest

Speaking of Chip, I owe him one of the coveted toques as the winner of the Best Winter Song contest. As Cheri attested to in the previous post, the draw wasn’t rigged! Thanks to everyone who contributed to the contest.

Don’t forget, tonight at 11:59 is the deadline for entering the Emerald Lake Lodge contest. I’ll add any new photo entries tomorrow.

PLPP has just soft-launched their Live Grooming Report.


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  1. Happy New Year Bob and thanks for the great gift of this blog….. and your overall irrepressible enthusiasm and support for cross country skiing. As Day Tours Organizer for the Norseman Ski Club, I and our members find this blog to be essential to our skiing experience. Bravo and keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks so much for this post, Bob,—–it got me off my reading chair and on to the loop and some ‘soul-mending rhythm’ yesterday. The recommendation for Violet was bang on as I could not believe the +16 degree difference between my front door and Boulton!
    By the way, has anyone noticed that PLPP seems to be on the flight path to/from Calgary airport? I know that my last 2 flights to the West Coast flew right over the park. I seem to remember a quieter sky above PLPP in years past, but hey, I may just be dialing in some nostalgia 🙂
    Happy New Year to all!
    p.s. great shot of the star of Duck Dynasty pushing his steed with fat tires up Elk Pass! I still saw the tracks today and wondered what I would’ve thought they were without reading your post in advance…??

  3. I agree Bob, my favorite loop as well. Did it today under similar conditions with Rode Violet – iced up a few times. Hardly anyone on the trail.

  4. CNC, Ribbon Creek, West Bragg, and Mount Shark can be seen here:

    • Oops, duplicate post, please delete. This was to be in response to your 11:47pm post last night… seems my first post got logged as a standalone post, not a reply. Don’t want to make a mess of this page :-).

  5. You certainly had an idyllic ski day !
    One question about your wax.

    By ‘purple’ did you really mean straight-up zero degree violet, or was it one of the wider range fluoro versions? At snow and air near -3 C, I would have guessed a violet special.

    In my wax kit, Purple would encompass VR45(-2/-8) and VR50(0/-4). I was using VR50, but others were using VR45. VR40(-4/-12) would be described as Blue. -Bob

  6. My friend and I skied an out and back on Pocaterra yesterday from the Pocaterra Hut to The Whiskey Jack junction – a perfect way for me to spend my 35th birthday! Our highlight (besides the beautiful ski, of course) was when a pheasant-type bird tried to attack us on our way back – s/he was not impressed we were skiing on her trail, I guess! Quite funny. The bird was in between the Lookout junction and where the Pocaterra trail meets Lynx as an FYI for those skiing in PLPP.

  7. Just FYI, there’s Mount Shark, CNC, and West Bragg as well:

    • This is awesome! Bob – would you consider providing this link (and the Ribbon Creek grooming) along with the new Grooming reports section? Maybe at the top of that page?

      • I’ll give it some thought, but I think it will get too complicated. If I add the Live Grooming Report links, readers will click on only those links and not realize they are missing all the others such as Mt Shark, West Bragg, Sandy McNabb.

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