Great to see the Trip Reports page coming alive again. I have to say thanks to all Trip Reporters especially those who braved the cold
weather over the past 12 days. A big thanks also to all skiers who have been helping to pick rocks on Cascade Valley.
It’s a good thing we have Cascade Valley trip reports from Janice and Chuck because I didn’t get too far. Spotting a pygmy owl was a real bonus for Chuck.
It was nice to be skiing in my warm-weather gear, if you can call -11 warm. Sure beats the -28 from yesterday! I was using VR40(-4/-12) and had perfect grip.
Conditions on Bankhead and Cascade were better than I expected, except for one stretch going up the big Cascade hill where I picked rocks for an hour and removed a total of 63. Skiers have been snowplowing down the hill since it was groomed and have exposed a lot of rocks which may have originally had a skiff of snow over them.
I didn’t have a geologist’s hammer, but instead I used one of the bigger rocks as a hammer to loosen many of the frozen ones. I tried to push snow from the side of the trail and/or scoop it to cover some of the divots.
I know that Chuck and Janice had been removing rocks already, before I got there, because I could see the evidence. In any event, I made sure I had a rock-free path for the descent which was a lot of fun. As mentioned, I didn’t get far on Cascade. I only went about a kilometre past the top of the hill.
I agree with Chuck, it’s amazing what the Banff tracksetter accomplished on these trails, especially Upper Bankhead. The tracks are paper-thin but I skied in them at least 95% of the time without hitting any pavement. It’s a simple matter to step into the skating lane when there is any bare pavement in sight.
The Upper Bankhead trail is 4.6K return from the Lake Minnewanka parking lot. It’s pretty easy, with long, gradual, small hills. At the end, it makes a loop around the Upper Bankhead parking lot.
It won’t take much snow to improve conditions considerably and maybe even get tracks on Cascade. A few flakes had started falling by 3 pm, and the Weather Network forecasts 1-3 cm. Environment Canada 2-4 cm.
The Snow Forecast for Banff at 1594 metres elevation(approx the elevation at the top of the Cascade hill), is predicting 8 cm. The Snow Forecast for Lake Louise at the elevation of Moraine Lake road trailhead is predicting 17 cm.
This snow is also supposed to hit Yoho – Emerald Lake in large quantities, so let’s hope we see some groomed trails there. Speaking of which, I’ve added some new photos to the Emerald Lake Lodge contest including the one of the car licked by a moose.