Excellent skiing on recent grooming


Meadow was freshly groomed and trackset today

If you can get out to the trails in PLPP soon after they’ve been groomed you’ll have some excellent spring skiingconditions.

Pocaterra had fast, icy tracks

Pocaterra had fast, icy tracks

Yesterday’s grooming on Lodgepole was still excellent at 6 pm today. We were using Skintec waxless skis but it’s possible that red wax might have worked. Braille, being exposed to the sun all day, was a bit crusty with very fast tracks.

Meadow had been groomed earlier today, and was fantastic. The snow had a really nice, soft texture and the tracks were not icy. Woolley had fresh grooming as well. I expect Amos and Wheeler will also show up in green on tomorrow’s Live Grooming Report from PLPP. 

Groomed yesterday, Lodgepole was in good shape

Groomed yesterday, Lodgepole was in good shape

Pocaterra has a lot of fresh snow over the recent grooming and it’s quite crusty with super-fast icy tracks. Hills had to be taken very cautiously. The temperature at Pocaterra hut at 5 pm was +3°C.  I don’t think traditional fishscale waxless skis would have performed very well in the icy conditions. If descending a hill, you were limited to the width of the previous snowplowing as the ridges were frozen in place.

Wedge connector is dog-friendly

Wedge connector

On the way to PLPP we stopped and skied with Tessa on the Wedge Connector. The tracks were still in good condition with the snow alternately wet and icy, but no problem on the Skintecs. Wedge is an easy, mostly flat trail so the icy parts were more fun than scary. There are a couple very small, gentle hills and it’s amazing how fast you can get going on them when the tracks are icy.

Check the Backcountry Trip Reports to see some magnificent photos from Chuck’s recent ski trip on the Upper Spray.


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  1. Yes, shorter than the wax pocket and a bit narrower than the skis. It it a good idea to secure the front edge of the skin section to prevent snow from getting underneath and peeling off the skins. Works best for parts of trails that are mostly uphill.

    • Thanks for the helpful, timely comment, Alf. I just came on line to look for options on how to ski up Assiniboine Pass late this week. I skied into Assiniboine from Shark a few years ago for the first time on my skinny skis (still the only pair I have) and decided I wouldn’t do that again without skins of some kind.

      I had planned on buying a set of AT skins and cutting them in half lengthwise to fit my skis (getting a pair for me and a pair for my wife). Then I started reading about kickers and met others with variations on kickers. Would you expect your version would be good for the steep 2 km or so on the way up Assiniboine, or recommend something less jury-rigged?

  2. For some unknown reason yesterday’s grooming in PLPP didn’t show up on the Live Grooming Report. If you go the actual trail report, however, it shows some of the trails being groomed yesterday: http://www.albertaparks.ca/peter-lougheed/advisories-public-safety/trail-report.aspx

    It’s confusing. It shows Woolley as being groomed and trackset on Feb 10. I wonder if they meant Mar 10. It also shows Meadow as being groomed on Mar 10 and trackset on Feb 10. The tracks which I saw looked brand new. As I had surmised, Wheeler and Amos were also done.

  3. Yes I would concur that that the wax less skis did not work very well yesterday on the morning ice layer. After it softened up in the afternoon it offered better grip. South of WWW Lodge on non track set trails was quite difficult going with lots of falls in our group. There is a mixture of ice, clumpy snow in the middle and uneven tracks.

  4. The Skogan side of the Ribbon Creek trails were surprisingly good on Sunday. The track setting was holding up, but the snow was soft enough for good control while descending. Above about Skogan/Sunburst junction, there was 2-3cm of fresh snow and temps were cool enough that V45 Swix Violet Special worked fine on flatter sections like High Level.
    I made my own cheap version of SkinTech skis by cutting a 25cm leftover chunk of climbing skins to fit my XC skis. I stuck these to the skis and used a couple of wraps of hockey tape to hold the front edge in place. This worked very well for going up the Skogan climb until I got to the waxable snow on High Level. I’m keeping these as an emergency item in my wax kit!

    On Monday afternoon, however, the trails below the Skogan/Sunburst junction were quite icy. I toured up the flood damaged Marmot Basin route on touring gear today and skied back via the Nakiska runs.

    • Great idea Alf. Is the trick to keep the skin section smaller than the wax pocket of the ski, so that it doesn’t catch on it’s front edge, or impede glide too much?

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