Your thoughts at winter’s end

Bob I’m going to put together a personal Top 10 for this winter when I have time, hopefully within the next week.

In the mean time, my postings will be few and far between now that we’re well into April. I’d like to hear from readers, however, regarding your impressions of this ski season. Some ideas…

  • What did you like or dislike about this winter?
  • Tell us about a favourite trip.
  • Post-flood trails.
  • Did you learn anything from reading this blog?
  • A rant about something
  • Anything else that’s on your mind.


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  1. The good news this year – way more Nordic skiing for us than usual with many fun trips on great grooming, many thanks to all the dedicated groomers! Notably more days with good skiing in the Ribbon Creek area than most years.

    The not so good news – way less back country skiing for us than usual because of the often nasty avalanche conditions.

    Kudos to Kananaskis for implementing the live grooming reports! This made for many days on pristine grooming, and special thanks to the groomers for their comments!

    And boos to Banff NP for intermittent reporting of grooming in the Lake Louise area yet again with the Visitor Centre only open Thurs thru Sun still. If they were to implement live grooming reports too, that would solve the problem!

    And many thanks to Skier Bob for hosting this site, and to all the other reporters – it definitely helps ensure we all find the best possible conditions!

    PS the season’s not over yet – Peter Lougheed are planning to groom tonight and tomorrow night according to Jody.

  2. One thing that sticks in my mind about this past winter was the above average number of really cold days – about 20 overall, well above normal. But the rest of the winter was good for skiing, and I got out 47 times ( a record for me).
    Favorite trip – to Lake O’Hara on Mar. 12. New tracksetting, excellent snow, no clouds – it was heaven.
    Dislikes – all those cold days.
    Likes – the long season, basically mid Nov to Mid Apr
    Learnings – pros and cons of my new waxless skis; using glide wax. Appreciation – 1) the work of all the tracksetters – fantastic job, many thanks! 2) Snowplow operators – without them, driving to ski areas would be much tougher. 3) Bob’s blog – especially helpful in the early and late seasons, when conditions are more variable. And always great to hear of other’s experiences (if there’s one downside to Bob’s blog, its the anguish of reading about someone’s great ski on a day when you couldn’t be there, but really wanted to be).
    Now, on to hiking (where you have to work to go downhill……)

    • Very thoughtful to mention snowplow drivers. We’d be stuck without them.

      Agreed, it kills me to read about a great ski trip when I couldn’t be there.

  3. Bob’s promotion for the Kicking Horse Ski Club encouraged me to take out a membership. I took lessons with the club’s coach, Jessica Sticklebout, (she is a fantastic coach) and joined other members for the “free” ski outings she organized. And I fell in love with Field and Emerald Lake, spending 5 weekends there over the course of the winter. Dave’s track setting in Yoho was awesome; ditto for Andrew’s in Lake Louise. My best ski of many was the return trip from Field to Emerald Lake on a day when it was cold and the snow was fast. It was great fun flying down the new Connector route from Emerald Lake. I forgot to mention the lovely ladies who run the gift shop at Emerald Lake! Thanks for raising awareness of this special piece of heaven in the national parks.

  4. What a winter it has been! I think this must be my favorite season! Here are my thoughts and memories of a fantastic 5-month run:
    1. Nice, early start with a late November ski on Great Divide Trail and Moraine Lake Road.
    2. The pleasure other skiers seem to take in my Santa hat that I wear all through December.
    3. The frosty day with Skier Bob and friends on Jan. 23 that elicited poetic pronouncements about the rime and ghostly lichen on Tyrwhitt trail.
    4. An amazing day on Blueberry and Elk Pass Trails.
    5. The day I went up Lookout by myself, and down again in record time.
    6. Trying to beat my speed records (according to the GPS I have started to carry).
    7. The companionship of good friends and hubby that makes for a fun and fulfilling outing.
    8. The feeling of flying when the wax, weather and bio-rhythms all align.
    9. Attaining 850 kms. this ski season.
    10. Learning to ski in -20C. temperatures. It was cold for too long to stay at home and miss the super track setting.
    11. Last but definitely not least, a BIG thank you to all the groomers who prepare the trails for us to ski on. They must take great pride in their work, as it often looks to be a work of art, almost too perfect to ski on!

    • 12. How could I have forgotten our favorite blog (Ski Here) and blogger (Skier Bob)?! Many thanks for your efforts to keep us in the know re: trails, roads, etc. Your blog has been invaluable in getting us the best possible skiing, of which there was a lot this year! – Mary

    Winter may be over… but spring skiing has just begun,
    Time to move over to the rain crust:
    Today was my first day without long underwear!
    Let the season begin.
    Take your skins (no farting around with klister or waxless).. and be home before the snow is isothermic (Bob’s starting time)!

  6. Tyrwhitt Loop, April 10.
    A glorious spring day just to be out in the mountains, and the skiing was very enjoyable too. New snow covered much of the recent grooming, ranging from several cm’s on Tyrwhitt that gave smooth easy skiing (if a bit slower than one would like), to 7-10 cm on Whiskeyjack and upper Elk Pass that was soft for us, but will be challenging if re-frozen, until it gets groomed again. Fox and Moraine had great new tracksetting, but by late afternoon were pretty much all in spring condition.We used Start Purple all day which worked quite well most of the time, with my wife Jo opting to save her arms by using kicker skins for the steeper climbs on Whiskeyjack and on Tyrwhitt just below Elk Pass. The pictures can tell the rest-

    • Oops! That was supposed to go in Trip Reports, but maybe here is appropriate anyway, as today probably marked the end of our xc season.
      There are still some backcountry days to come though. 🙂

  7. Skier Bob, thanks for the reports. I like to read them even though I live some 400 km away from Canmore and K-Country and cannot ski there as often as I would like to (hope to change that when I retire).
    Conditions up here were a mix of too cold with a couple of long spells of too warm. Regrettably, too many loppets had to be cancelled and there were some frostbite injuries on some of the longer races that went ahead. Recently, I enjoyed good early spring conditions at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre and for a couple of days at Canmore.
    When the cold hit again after the most recent warm spell, I did some skate skiing on the hardened snow crust on rolling pasture land 130 km west of Edmonton where the snow is still quite deep. Great fun to be able to ski in any direction without the need for a groomed trail. Fast too. I recommend it highly as a season ending treat. But it requires a good night frost and one has to be out early before the sun hits the snow crystals.

  8. What was great:
    – That we are blessed with an embarrassment of skiing riches. I skied regularly at eight (8!!) incredible ski areas: Skogan, Kananaskis Village, Chester/Sawmill, Mt. Shark, Nipika, Pipestone, PLPP and West Bragg Creek. And all but one are FREE! And Nipika is worth every penny of the $10.
    What was bad:
    – Nakiska skiers who drive on Hwy. 40. Especially after the lifts close, they love to ignore the 90kmh speed limit & bully me to get out of their way so they can get back to Calgary. It’s a park, people, not an expressway. Last winter I watched a mother grizzly and her 3 cubs walking down the middle of Hwy. 40 until spooked by oncoming vehicles. Slow down and save some wildlife, please. We need more RCMP & radar traps along this route.
    – The cheap “TP” in the K-country outhouses is maddeningly thin & delicate. Really, how much $ are they saving with this stuff? It really bums me out. 🙂

  9. Jason Sokolosky

    Too cold, for too long!

  10. 1. What do I like about winter? I LOVE WINTER because I LOVE SNOW.
    2. Favorite: skiing in Tonquin Valley, Jasper with four great Canmore ladies.
    3. Post-flood trails I would change spelling to post-flood TRIALS!!! Leaving our home in Lac Des Arcs on June 20th and moving into our new to us duplex in Three Sisters on Jan 31st, 2014 was challenging.
    4. I learned that fishscale/waxless and other “zero” type skis also have their limitations and I am not rushing out to invest in a pair.
    5. A ranting or a “panting”? Despite 55 x-c ski outings, I did not once run into SkierBob and Cheryl on the trails this season. sniff sniff
    6. Would like to see a discussion on Fat Bikes and their use/suitability on groomed trails in this blog.
    7. If SkierBob were to create a Buff with his unique blog-header design, would any of his fans buy one? Could be a successful fundraiser??
    8. Thank you to ALL who report on this site, especially in the challenging ski conditions, since it sure helps to head us in the right direction. I am very sad the x-c ski season is over. I hate gardening.

  11. This has been a different winter. For me it started with a bang in November with the first MLR ski on Nov 11 and it continued well throughout January. This included 4 wonderful mid-winter days at Silver Star in late November, lots of skiing over Xmas in the Canmore-Kananskis area and volunteering for the IPC World Cup and Olympic Trails at the CNC.

    However things fell apart mid-February throughout March with the massive swings in temperatures from mid-winter thaws to unbearable cold snaps. I wish I had more flexibility in my work schedule as quite often the conditions were much better during the week than on weekends. I am envious of the retired folks!

    One of the best parts this winter was running into Skier Bob on the trails several times this winter. We had some great chats along the way. And as always, daily checks of this blog to check on trip and groomers reports have been part of my routine. For the most part, my skis are summer waxed and put away till next year, however a return to winter like conditions could tempt me for one more outing.

    Have a great summer everyone. Nov 11, 2014 is circled on my calendar to have the skis prepped and ready to go again.

  12. My favourite webcam (PLPP visitors centre) is showing a winter wonder land down there today. I hope that everyone is skiing and not writing blog entries!

    • Yes!!!!!
      Well, it was pretty quiet down there today, but at least a few of us were out enjoying the winter wonderland 🙂
      btw all that lovely white stuff was actually quite wet and *sticky*

  13. Didn’t get out as much as I wanted but that’s a working and family life.

    Loved the live grooming, the groomers page, groomers input, groomers work and the lack of threatened fees.
    Reports from all places and skills, the sharing of well….anything !

    Bob’s cool site.

  14. In general, I don’t think it has been such a long winter, and I sincerely hope it isn’t over yet!!

    On the good side, this has been the best winter I can remember for skiing at West Bragg Creek! Most winters the snow is rarely very good there, as it is the first place to be affected by chinooks, but this year we skied there many times, and thoroughly enjoyed most of them 🙂

  15. One thing that I think needs to be said as the season ends is a big THANK YOU to the Alberta Government and the amazing tracksetting staff that maintain the trails in PLP, Ribbon Creek and Mt. Shark. The GPS tracking and posting of what was current made for some unforgettable outings this year. Every time we drive west, we always mention how lucky we are to live so close to these gems. Skiers in other areas of North America PAY for tracksetting that is certainly not of the caliber that we get here. Hats (or Toques) off to all responsible.

  16. Well, the worst thing for me was being knocked out of this season with a rather badly herniated low back disc somewhere in the middle of November – not ski related. A re-flare of an 18-year old injury. I’ve been watching all of the trip reports and even went out to Canmore a couple of times to watch other people skiing. I’m hoping for an over-the-summer recovery and being able to rejoin all of you next season. This makes me appreciate good health and good friends a lot, but also the sadness of missing out on what looked to be a very good season.

  17. This winter could have been classified two ways, either the best winter ever, or the longest. Both ways can fit into either the good or bad category for the same reason depending on how you look at it. I am a glass half full guy so it was nice to see lots of snow. One thing I disliked however and I don’t know if I was the only one that noticed this, but common courtesy seemed to take yet another step back this winter going by what I have read or heard of other peoples experiences. Snowshoers in skier tracks. Skiers in snowshoer tracks on snowshoe only trails, no right of way shown between skiers on hills etc. Did others notice this too or is the rock I am hiding under pretty big? I didn’t post as much on here this year as I would have liked ( as a three season hiker first, snowshoer second, I found another blog that caters more to those activities. Not going to lie). I still check this site daily. Most of my trips this winter season were spent snowshoeing in the foothills. Saving a bit of money for the very busy backpacking and hiking season. What I would appreciate from you Bob, is your continued hiking trip reports when you go. For people like me, I never get enough of those stories and reports. To everyone else, thanks for leaving trip reports and accounts of backcountry experiences. Let’s hope we get another good dose of the white stuff this coming winter. Cheers.

    -Great day up to the top of Skogan Pass right after it was groomed. Run of the year.
    -CNC in mint conditions too often to count

    -Too hot or too cold too often
    -Dirty snow at COP – over the top gross

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