–Elk Pass: Beautiful surroundings, beautiful tracks, beautiful weather.-
I’m glad I didn’t let this morning’s snow storm or cold temperatures deter me from going skiing today. The temperatures warmed up considerably as I approached Elk Pass and the trails were fantastic. In a season where we haven’t had a lot to cheer about, this was exceptional.
There must be an inversion happening. It was -22°C at the Stoney-Nakoda casino, -17 at Kananaskis Village, and -13 at Elk Pass around noon. When I reached the top of Elk Pass, Christine had a thermometer which registered an air temperature of -10. When I finished skiing at 3:30 pm, it was -10 at the trailhead.
It seemed way nicer than -13 as I was getting ready, too. I guess compared to the -20 which I’ve been skiing in, this was a heat wave.
The snow stopped falling as I drove into the Elk Pass parking lot where I was surprised to see only 10 other vehicles. The trail had 1-2 cm of new snow over yesterday’s tracksetting.
I started out with the VR40(-4/12) which was already on my skis from yesterday and it worked well. I didn’t use toe warmers today, and only had one thin layer under my jacket.
The first person I met, about 200 metres up the trail, and already returning, was Helen Read who couldn’t sleep because she was so excited about the new tracksetting. Christmas for skiers.
The new snow just added to the winter wonderland effect. It was easy, pleasant skiing in beautiful surroundings. How wonderful it was to be back on this incredible trail.
I skied 200 metres on Tyrwhitt which is snowmobile packed and took a photo. It’s still pretty bumpy.
I don’t usually do both Elk Pass and Blueberry Hill on the same day, but I couldn’t pass it up today. I ran into Janice and Charlie Perry near the top of Blueberry and was informed that Fox Creek was in nice shape and they would be taking it on the way back. It is only skier-tracked, but I think it may have been snowmobile packed before all the recent snow.
Descending Blueberry is so much easier and fun when there is a couple cm of new snow to play with. Some stretches are incredibly fast and I was surprised that it wasn’t bumpy at all.
Coming down Elk Pass from the Blueberry junction was sensational. The tracks were getting faster from more skiers having been over them and it was wonderful.
When I got to the junction, do I take Fox Creek or the big hill? Today the big hill won out. I usually take Fox Creek, but I was looking forward to rocketing down the other side of the hill in these great conditions. It’s rare that I feel safe enough to reach 53 km/h.
Dan and Kayla were on their way to the Elk Lakes cabin with their wide skis. They said the only reason they were able to book the cabin was because everyone else cancelled due to the cold weather.
I stopped at the Pocaterra hut to change clothes and have some soup. The hut is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and the fireplace is operational. The thermometer at the hut registered -11. Four skiers had just finished skiing to the Packers junction and back, said it was fun.
Thank you for all the kind, thoughtful, supportive comments on my previous post.
Today was registration day for the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet, and the first time since 2001 that I didn’t sign up. I’ve decided to volunteer this year. Jo Lunn tells me it sold out in 11 minutes!
I’ve added some new photos to the Emerald Lake Lodge contest page that are definitely worth looking at.
Check the Live Grooming Report for the Canmore Nordic Centre frequently these days. The tracksetting on Banff trail is slowly being extended.
I see the Weather Network is predicting 2 – 4 cm of snow for PLPP tomorrow afternoon and evening. The Snow Forecast says 4 cm. The Snow Forecast was predicting a high of -9 in PLPP today and I think they were the most accurate. They’re predicting -13 for Sunday.
I just checked the blog statistics and we’ve set another record for the most unique visits in one day. It’s at 8,067 and counting. Old record, set one week ago, was 8,059. Thanks for reading!