Mount Shark

-Tara and Melissa were having a good time on Watridge Lake road-

Great trip reports coming in from PLPP. It sounds like the fresh snow helped to cover some pine needles.

Michael, Kathy and their dog Peyto

Michael, Kathy and their dog Peyto on Watridge Lake road

Trails at Mt Shark were groomed last night. The remarks on the Live Grooming Report make it sound a bit hazardous, and are probably aimed more at the colour-coded trails…

“Dec 19th: Caution advised: Many early season hazards exist throughout the Mt Shark trail network including very icy sections, bumps and hollows, dirt and rocks, brush, and open water crossings. “

Watridge Lake road

Watridge Lake road

I was cautioned by four different skiers about the colour-coded trails because of icy conditions.

Overall, the conditions were good on Watridge Lake road. In a few places the tracks are a bit thin, and there are a few twigs poking through, but these were of no consequence. I had no annoyances, and there are no pine needles!

Watridge Lake road at Mt Shark

Watridge Lake road at Mt Shark

I used VR45(-2/-8) on one ski with good results. The other ski, with VR50(0/-4) was grabbing a bit. The air temperature was -3°C.

One of the reasons I like going to Mt Shark is to see happy dogs and I wasn’t disappointed. Soon after starting out, I came across Peyto and her people, Michael and Kathy. Peyto is the type of dog who’s right at home in the snow.

I met Gerard at the Watridge Lake junction. It's a further 100 metres down a steep hill to the lake

I met Gerard at the Watridge Lake junction. It’s a further 100 metres down a steep hill to the lake

Watridge Lake road is  trackset all the way to the Spray river at 5.8K. Most people only go as far as Watridge Lake at 3.6K. That could be because at 4.8K there’s a steep, winding downhill which descends to the Spray river and it can be difficult in icy conditions, but today it was fun and the conditions were nearly perfect. The hill loses 80 metres of elevation over a distance of 740 metres. It’s a workout when returning.

Gliding on Watridge Lake road

Gliding on Watridge Lake road

The only problem with the hill was created by a hiker who walked in the middle and post-holed occasionally. Thankfully, any large chunks of snow were already snowplowed over and made it safe for me.

I met Gerard at the Watridge Lake junction as I was returning. He is working at Mt Engadine Lodge for the winter and gave me an update on their ski trail. It’s packed but not yet skiable.

Gerard asked me what lay ahead and I told him 2.2K to the Spray river including a steep hill, and that’s why I was out of breath. He seemed quite delighted when I mentioned the hill, and sped away enthusiastically. As you can see in the photo, he’s young and fit.

The Spray Lakes road was in good winter driving condition.

Just a reminder, 10 days left to enter the Emerald Lake Lodge contest. Even if  you don’t want to enter, you should look at all the fabulous photos.

Lost and Found

Lost Head Lamp on Lake O’Hara Road.
Yes, very embarrassing – I dropped my Black Diamond headlamp on the Ross Lake trail near the O’Hara road or on the lower portion of the road on Friday Dec 19, and was unable to get back to search. Am hoping someone might find it.
Thanks, Ladd Snowsell (403-762-5728)

More photos from today’s skiing at Mt Shark…


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  1. I love you blog! Our primary source of ski info.

    Our kids love the color-coded trails at Mt Shark and I notice the grooming report indicates fresh track set on most of these the same day you wrote this. Do you think your descriptions apply to the condition before or after the Dec 20 grooming?

    • These were Jody’s comments after the Saturday night, Dec 20 grooming:

      “The remainder of the Shark trail system was groomed on Saturday evening- pretty thin track in most places and conditions are quite icy underneath the thin layer of corduroy. Lots of shovelling and chainsawing trees over the last two nights but many hazards still exist- in addition to some very icy patches there was also dirt showing through in places and the occasional sound of stones going through the tiller. I will definitely be using my rock skis at Shark until there is a good dump of snow.”

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