At one time, people lived in a little house on the banks of the Cascade river. It’s a stunningly beautiful location and I skied 13.4K one-way in pretty good conditions to get to it today.
It was very tempting to head for PLPP today, with all those reports extolling the great conditions. I decided to take this rare opportunity, however, to ski the Cascade Valley trail now that it had some snow and tracksetting.
It’s still a bit of a challenge at the beginning of this ski trip. The paved road which you have to take for 750 metres had paper-thin snow coverage with lots of pavement showing along with small pebbles mixed into the thin snow. By going slow and skiing wherever the snow was best, I managed to get down to the meadow without taking my skis off. The 5-10 cm of snow we’re supposed to be getting tonight should help this trail a lot.
After another 200 metres through the meadow you reach the actual Cascade Valley trail. Your problems aren’t over yet, though. The big hill is south facing, and the tracks were semi-icy. I was using VR45(-2/-8) wax, and my grip wasn’t great but I’ll call it adequate. I knew that once I was over the hill, the snow would be a lot colder and I didn’t want to slow my glide for the remaining 11K by putting goop on my skis. As I was climbing the hill, I frequently stepped into the middle of the trail to get better grip.
Sure enough, the snow conditions got a lot better as I crested the hill at 2.6K. I had all the grip I needed for the remainder of the day. I was somewhat surprised that I still had some bite as I climbed back up to the trailhead on the paved road at the end of the day. A lot of people have walked on the ski trail with their hiking boots and you can see the pavement where their heels were breaking through the snow.
After the big hill, conditions were good all the way to the bridge at 6.1K. I took my skis off near the end of the bridge where the slats were showing through, and walked over a patch of dirt which was at the end of the bridge. I had to remove my skis again at 6.7K on a south-facing hill which was covered with ice and dirt. It was only a 30-metre stretch, and I met Jim and Tim who were returning from what they reported to be an excellent ski trip.
I had the trail to myself except for the fat biker and Diana, both of whom I met on my way back. It was interesting to see how little impact the fat bike made on the trail. The tire tracks were barely perceptible on the middle section of the trail. This was in stark contrast to the skate-skier who chewed up the tracks before the snow had set-up after tracksetting.
The skate-skier from West Bragg Creek who Richie Rich ranted about yesterday must have been on this trail as it was being trackset. I could probably quote his comment word-for-word. For a distance of about 4K, there were deep gouges in the trail and tracks. The first person to ski over his mess in the tracks would have had some pretty big chunks of snow to flatten out. I could still feel a bump as I passed over the divots. The trail is plenty wide enough for skate-skiers to avoid destroying the tracks, so I’m not sure what this person was thinking.