It’s very satisfying and enjoyable to see mom and dad taking their three kids out skiing for the first time. Jayda the dog got to enjoy the family outing, too. I admire parents who are willing to put in the effort to introduce their kids to this activity. It would take some patience and preparation. Dad called it a military operation!
As I was returning I encountered Jayda and her people having lunch in the sun on the shore of Pipestone Pond.
The Pipestone trails were trackset yesterday and were mostly in great shape. Air temperature at 12:30 pm was -3°C and the snow was -5. I waxed with VR45(-2/-8) and had excellent grip all day.
I skied the outer loop counter-clockwise which involves #20 Pipestone most of the way, but ends with the final 3K on #21 Hector. After about 3.5K of gradual climbing, the skiing for the next 6K is simply spectacular. The narrow trail meanders among the spruce and pine reminiscent of Fox Creek in PLPP, or the Emerald Connector in Yoho.
At 6.8K you’ll reach the extreme north end where you can have lunch in the middle of the Pipestone river as a group of skiers were doing today.
The final 5K of this loop involves some pretty swift downhills, and always with a turn at the fastest part. With all the previous snowplowing, the narrow trails have become quite dished, so it requires some caution. There’s lots of loose snow thrown onto the side of the trail, so I simply put one ski in the loose snow and it slowed me down enough to make the turns. You’ll be skiing a little lopsided, though.
The air was calm for most of the day, but around 2 pm a strong wind blew in and created a deluge of tree bombs, and you know what that brings with it: tree debris. I was nearly finished, so didn’t experience any overabundance of needles, but there was some drifting in the open areas. The first skiers out tomorrow will likely have to break some trail along the pond.
The Pipestone parking lot was almost full when I arrived.
I didn’t originally plan on going to Pipestone. I was hoping to find some new grooming on Healy Creek, eventually heading up Brewster Creek. At the Healy parking lot, there is 25 cm of ungroomed snow.
According to the Banff trail report, tracksetting on Cascade Valley has been completed all the way to the end now. I’m not sure if it ends at the warden cabin turn-off at 13.3K, or a little further down the trail towards Stoney Creek at 14.4K.
Not sure if this is where I leave trip reports? We skied Telephone Loop yesterday, Feb. 11, not the best choice! It was pretty death defying in some parts with ice at places I wouldn’t normally expect to encounter those conditions. Made it through, going counter clockwise, came across a lot of cross country BOOT tracks going both up and down hills. Must have taken them forever! Finished the loop in 2 hrs. 29, much slower time than usual, most assuredly due to the conditions.
Today we opted to do Elbow from Allen Bill, have NEVER in all my many (27years) seen so many cars parked there! Conditions were remarkably good, even the beginning section which is trampled by walkers. Was surprised to see they have changed the route a bit from last year at the Allen Bill side, I like this route much better. Iron Springs was in good shape as well. Will not last, I know.
Just want to give a shout out to groomers. I love Bragg Creek, a 45 minute commute from where we live in Calgary. This has become such a popular destination in the past few years (I do sometimes miss the 90’s when so f people knew of this gem)
And let’s all stick at least a toonie in that donation box. We are so so lucky here in southern Alberta to have the wealth of trails at our disposal FOR FREE!!