Starting out today took a lot of motivation and courage. It was -20°C at Boulton Creek parking lot with a stiff breeze. Five minutes up the trail, at the Whiskey Jack/Moraine junction, I was debating whether to turn back.
I persevered. Ended up doing Whiskey Jack – Kananaskis Fire Lookout – Hydroline – Elk Pass – Fox Creek – Moraine. Thankfully the wind was on my back when coming down Hydroline.
Whiskey Jack has had 3-4 cm of new snow since it was groomed nine days ago and it has covered all the exposed dirt and rocks. Seemed better today than it did right after grooming. The tracks don’t start until you’re about two-thirds of the way up.
If you’re descending Whiskey Jack, there’s a small ice flow at the bottom of the steep part, right when you’ll be at top speed. There’s a narrow lane on the extreme right hand side of the trail, about two feet wide, which is still covered with snow.
The wind disappeared after 10 minutes of climbing, but reappeared at the top. Pocaterra was in excellent shape in both directions.
With good grip on the cold snow, I had an enjoyable time climbing the 1.7K and 210 metres of elevation to the Kananaskis Fire Lookout. No wind while in the trees, so at least it was warm with all the exertion. Just before I reached the top, with about 150 metres to go, I stopped while still in the trees and prepared myself for the cold and wind at the top: Extra toque, warm coat, and buff.
The thermometer on the building registered -28. With the sun shining, it was a spectacular day for photos. Quickly, I took a few pictures and headed down the south side.
After a few minutes of descent I had to stop and put toe warmers in my boots and get my mitts out. I was now wearing every piece of warm clothing I had.
The south trail has a lot of twigs sticking up through the corduroy but are inconsequential. You can snowplow right over them. I didn’t take many photos while descending(just a couple at the start) because I can’t with my mitts on.
The creek at the bottom was easily crossed. There’s no open water, just a very small ice flow which was no problem.
Hydroline was in excellent shape. The corduroy was a lot faster than the tracks. Fox Creek and Moraine were pretty well the same as three days ago. Thin snow cover and bumpy but very skiable.
I only encountered four other skiers today. It looked like two other skiers had climbed to the Lookout judging from the tracks, one from each side.
There were eight vehicles in the Pocaterra parking lot and people were skiing out from there. A group of skiers were having a lesson.
This deep freeze finally ends tomorrow with some normal temperatures in sight for next week along with some much-needed snow on Monday.