-Hahn and Aly were enjoying the beautiful day and good snow conditions on Cascade valley-
For cross-country skiers, this is the weekend we’ve been impatiently waiting for. Hundreds of kilometres of recently groomed trails without pine needles. Pleasant skiing weather with highs around -8°C are in the forecast. The most difficult thing about skiing will be choosing where to go.
Update Sat Jan 10 @7:45 a.m.:
The Mt Shark trails were all groomed and trackset last night
Shaganappi golf course in Calgary was trackset as of 6 pm today(Friday).
The Banff trails which are maintained by Don have all been trackset within the past four days with the exception of Brewster creek. Redearth creek was trackset today and the remarks say “excellent.” That’s what we like to hear.
All the recently groomed trails in PLPP should be in excellent condition. Anything with older grooming will still be okay but may have some fresh snow on it. I have to say this once in a while for the new readers and new skiers: PLPP stands for Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. It’s part of Kananaskis Country.
We’ve had glowing reviews of the conditions at West Bragg creek on the recent trip reports. Today, Dylan reported “WBC looks good for the weekend!”
Further afield, this could be your chance to experience the amazing Lake O’hara fire road in excellent trackset conditions, or the Pipestone trails at Lake Louise. How about skiing on the first-ever Pisten-Bully groomed Fairview trail?
Mtngirl has been tantalizing us with her reports from Emerald Lake and Yoho.
I don’t know what to expect on the Kananaskis village / Ribbon creek / Skogan pass trails as they haven’t been groomed for a while. I imagine there’s some fresh snow on top.
The Canmore Nordic Centre is reported to have much-improved conditions on the natural-snow trails. The man-made snow is excellent.
I think I skied more distance today than Chuck! I logged 29K on excellent conditions on the Cascade valley trail in Banff National Park. It’s been a long time since I skied the entire length of this trail. We could only go 12K return last winter due to the Cascade river bridge being washed out.
I suppose Chuck will tell me that he skied an extra 10K while at Lake O’Hara and try to lessen my accomplishment.
There are five spots along Cascade where the trail is now different than it used to be. The most dramatic being just after the campground where the trail has been diverted for 700 metres around the flooding debris. The end at Stoney creek has also changed. No longer can you bask in the sun in the nice open area with spectacular views all around. It comes to an unceremonious and abrupt conclusion about 300 metres before Stoney creek. I’m guessing at the distance because it looked almost impassable to carry on to the creek because of deadfall which has been washed over the old trail.
There’s been about 3-4 cm of new snow on the trail since it was groomed. It might be a bit slow for skaters. As well, skaters will have to deal with a snowmobile track for the first 6K down the middle of the trail. The construction workers are still going back and forth, but it’s of no consequence to classic skiers.
I made a note to observe where the high point of the trail is. It’s at 12.3K with a net elevation gain of 210 metres. Total ascent to this point was 336 metres. From here, it’s 2.1K to the end with a net drop of 34 metres.
The total distance is 14.4K, about 100 metres shorter than the old trail before the floods. Although it ends about 300 metres sooner, the new part of the trail adds about 200 metres distance.
I saw some very clear cat tracks around 13K, near the turn-off to the cabin. I didn’t go to the cabin today but it’s worth going there at least once to see the magnificent setting on the banks of the river with beautiful views.The first turn-off to the cabin is at 13.2k but I prefer taking the second one, and returning to the main trail on the first one.