– There used to be a bridge here. I’m hoping it will be back in place for next winter. –
I’m happy to say that my last ski trip this winter on Cascade valley was an enjoyable one! I didn’t ski on this trail very much this winter knowing that I could only go as far as the damaged bridge at 6.1K .
I’ll be more enthusiastic about skiing here next winter when the bridge is replaced and we can go the entire 14.5K to the Stoney river. The Upper Bankhead was a scenic substitute but it only went 1.4K.
Today I skied on yesterday’s new grooming to the damaged bridge and am pleased to say that it was an excellent spring ski. I wouldn’t have been as thrilled on waxable skis, as the first 2.7K had a lot of wet snow. My grip was excellent while climbing the hill with my zero skis. It’s 2.7K from the trailhead at Lake Minnewanka to the top of the hill.
As soon as I crested the big hill and started down the undulating trail, the snow was colder and some purple wax would probably have performed well 95% of the time. From 2.7 to 6.1K the trail is in a lot of shade, but with the sun’s angle so high now, it was creating a few wet spots.
The first 750 metres on the pavement were extremely wet as were the sun-exposed parts of the hill. I got lucky, however, as it clouded over and the fast return trip down the hill was fun with no alternating shady/sunny spots to contend with. The conditions were consistent, albeit soft, all the way down.
The air temperature when I started at 1 pm was +2°C and at the finish around 3:15 pm it was +5. If it freezes tonight, the trail will be very icy in the morning.
If you’re wondering, zero skis have a grip zone composed of rubber, with a texture like very fine sandpaper. They’re excellent on wet or icy tracks, but are dreadful on loose or freshly fallen snow, with clumping being the problem.
I didn’t ski to Upper Bankhead, but with it being entirely sun-exposed, I expect the snow would be very wet.