Thanks for all the Trip Reports. With limited options these days, it’s very helpful for determining where to go. I’m really enjoying this last spell of good conditions. The last four days have been an orgy of excellent skiing. All 106K have been wonderful on waxable skis.
I hadn’t skied more than 500 metres up Lake O’Hara fire road, and who should I see but Paige and Mike from New Hampshire. I took a picture of them on Thursday on Fairview. I remembered discussing and recommending this trail, and they were extremely pleased with it.
Very enthusiastic, they were the first ones on the trail today at 7:30 a.m. when it was still -18°C. We had a long discussion about the presidential election in the U.S, and I learned the difference between primaries and caucuses. Lovely people, and I hope to see them back here next winter.
It was around 12:45 pm when I got started. The air temperature was -1, and the snow was -6. The tracksetting was excellent, and I had good grip with VR45(-2/-8). The parking lot was almost full with 42 vehicles and they were still arriving. I had to walk 200 metres to get to the trailhead.
I came upon Joan and Ingrid who had stopped to top up Ingrid’s wax. It’s climb, climb, climb for the first 2.5K, so you need appropriate wax. You’ll see in the photos that a lot of skiers were using wide(really w-i-d-e) skis with skins.
The picnic table at 5k was another opportunity to stop and talk and have a drink. I remembered to take 2 bottles of water, so I was well-hydrated, but what I needed today was sunscreen. Concerned about getting sunburn, I was almost ready to turn back around 8K, but that’s when I got into the more shaded parts of the trail, and carried on. If you’re going here tomorrow, take some sunscreen.
At 7k, another bout of extreme climbing starts. With the hot sun beating down on the snow, I added a smidgen of VR50(0/-4) which gave me better grip on the hills.
At 10K I ran into Reg and Barb who were on their way back, having started at the Great Divide in Lake Louise. They’ll have logged 43K today. I learned that Barb has skied over 1650K this winter, which is 150K ahead of me. I guess we must have had some decent snow this winter.
At 11K, the fire was going in Le Relais day shelter where I stopped to have lunch. I finally met the other Barb who has left a lot of Trip Reports on this blog.
The trip back was my fastest ever. It’s sort of like flying when you’re going down those steep hills. The trail has wide sweeping turns, so even I’m able to stay in the tracks for most of it. I hate yelling “track” but I had to today. A skier was down and sprawled across the tracks in front of me. He reacted quickly and cleared a path.
There is a bit of climbing on the way back, and the sun was starting to take its toll on some of the exposed hills. I had to step into the middle a few times to get grip. The tracks were getting slick.
This is not an easy trail. The final climb rates near the top on Risto’s Hill Pain Score of Most Exhausting Ski Hills. The net elevation gain is 410 metres.
One of the best things about Lake O’Hara fire road: I enjoy seeing all the dogs on the trail.
Speaking of the presidential election, a skier had written a message in the snow: “Vote Trump!”
Back at the trailhead, the air temperature was +5.
I stopped at Moraine Lake Road in Lake Louise to check the state of the snow, and it was looking fine. Nice and cold and dry. Skiers who were finishing told me it was all good.