Before I get started on my update, I wanted to let everyone know that we probably won’t get timely updates on three specific trails for the rest of the winter. Redearth Creek, Brewster Creek, and Lake O’Hara fire road all end at backcountry lodges, and the lodges are responsible for the tracksetting. The Banff and Yoho trail reports hardly ever update these trails once the lodges take over the grooming.
If you look at the Banff trail report, you’ll see it indicates Redearth Creek conditions are “snow covered.” Actually, it was trackset yesterday and is in good condition. The lodges usually do their maintenance on Thursdays if there is adequate snow to work with.
The temperature at Redearth Creek trailhead at 1 pm was -1°C and the snow looked borderline wet. It was enough to scare me into using my TwinSkins. A kilometre up the trail I could see the snow was dry enough that I could have used my waxable skis with VR50(0/-4).
Exactly one kilometre from the trailhead is where the tracksetting started. The machine was sitting on the trail at the 1K mark.
At 1.2K, my thoughts about wax were confirmed when I met a group of skiers, three of whom were on fish-scale waxless and one who was on waxable. Chad, who was on waxable, was clumping with the red wax he was using for grip. He scraped it off and applied a colder wax(-1/-7) and he enjoyed his skiing much better after that. The group were on their way to Shadow Lake Lodge for the weekend.
Other than right near the trailhead, the snow did not deteriorate today. With the temperature predicted to go down to -9 tonight, and a high of -2 tomorrow, the snow should be in fine shape on Saturday. The air was mostly calm but occasional gusts of wind brought down a few needles.
The tracksetting continues to the 10.4K mark where the trail splits. The trail to Shadow Lake Lodge is snowmobile packed. There has been no packing of the trail to the warden’s cabin, so if someone wants to do it tomorrow, you’ll have snow which is 25 cm deep for the 250-metre distance to the warden’s cabin.
As you will see in the photos, Redearth Creek has that horrible ridge in the middle of the trail. It’s not an issue right now with the powdery soft snow, but when the temperature rises to +6 next week, then freezes overnight, you will have a significant challenge coming down the steep hills on the return.
The snowmobile packed side of the trail is not wide enough to get a proper snowplow to slow yourself down, and there are ruts and tracks left by the snowmobile to make things even worse. My TwinSkins are slow, so today I could stay in the tracks all the way back. If I had been on my fast skis, I would have been hanging on for dear life. We got rid of the ridge on Goat Creek and it improved the skiing 100%.
Jeff is working late. The Ribbon Creek Live Grooming Report shows that Skogan Pass, Ribbon Creek, Ruthie’s, Troll Falls and some village trails were trackset today. Let’s see if anyone can ski Troll Falls before the tracks get walked in.
Thanks for all the trip reports. It’s wonderful to be able to get a read on how the snow is faring at the various venues. Nice to hear about Bowness Park being trackset.