Someone who logged in on March 31 was our one-millionth visitor!
Ray’s weather report motivated me to start working on a year-end review. It ended up being so lengthy that I will post it in two parts. The “Top 10” will come at a later date. I will also do a post with photos of the groomers and tracksetters.
This is by no means an exhaustive summary and I’ll be interested in hearing your comments and feedback on the ski season which is almost over. Was there anything significant that happened for you?
For the first time ever this blog attracted over one million unique visits during the five winter months. How many of those did you account for?! 🙂 More stats below.
I have my own ideas which I’ll share later, but what makes this blog so freakin’ popular? It’s come to the point where I feel guilty if a day goes by and I don’t do an update.
It’s wonderful to go back and read about the best ski days of the winter, and see the spectacular pictures. These memories are to be savoured all the more because we had fewer of them this year.
As always, I am grateful for the 400K of groomed trails which I have within an hour’s drive of Canmore, but I never seem to have enough time to ski them all to my complete satisfaction. Okay, maybe Goat Creek, but I could have done it 11 more times!
The snow was slow in coming this winter and we didn’t get off to a great start like last year. We were well behind schedule for Lake Louise and Elk Pass.
Nov 20: First tracksetting at Lake Louise (Last year Nov 9)
Dec 9: First tracksetting at Elk Pass (Last year Nov 19)
After 10 trips to Lake Louise, the Kananaskis Village trails gave me a change of scenery on Dec 5:
“Some of the Kananaskis Village trails were groomed(not trackset) this morning and offer pleasant skiing if you don’t mind dodging the occasional thin spot. It sure was nice to be skiing on some different trails for a change even if the conditions weren’t perfect.”
Kananaskis Village, Bill Milne, Wedge, and Ribbon Creek gave us some excellent skiing when more snow finally showed up. With the Evan-Thomas trail being groomed, it allowed for a wonderful loop to be skied in that location.
We had glowing reports from West Bragg Creek starting Jan 1 when they received a big dump of snow:
“Everything groomed, corduroyed, and track set. Lovely cool crisp snow and not a breath of wind.” – Lanny re: West Bragg Creek on Jan 1
We were restricted to Frozen Thunder and its various outgrowths at the Canmore Nordic Centre until Dec 12 when the man-made snow on Banff trail was ready. It was early in the new year when the natural snow trails became skiable.
Another feature of this winter were all the rocks on the Banff trails due to thin early-season snow. In total, I picked over 200 rocks off Cascade Valley, Redearth Creek, and Goat Creek. Other skiers did their share of rock picking as well.
When the snow finally appeared, these trails offered some of the best skiing in Banff that I’ve ever had, especially Goat Creek which I am thrilled to say I skied 11 times.
A big shout-out to Banff National Park for the new grooming configuration on Goat Creek. It was an unqualified success, and I’m so thankful to see the end of the dangerous ridge! The grooming in Banff was very timely, unlike last winter when it was only done on weekends. With every snowfall, the trails were immediately maintained.
We had better-than-expected early-season conditions for our annual trip to Nipika Mountain Resort on Dec 21-22. Nipika had one of their best seasons ever for snow…
“Not only have we had the best snow and trail conditions ever, but we’ve also had our busiest ski and fat bike season. Nipika got off to a slow start, with skiing starting in mid-December. But once winter arrived it brought lots of snow on regular intervals all season long.”
From Oct 1 – Mar 31(182 days), I wrote 215 blog posts.
Starting Nov 1, a total of 1508 comments were submitted on the Trip reports pages, and are still coming in.
Despite my yearly predictions that we’ve reached peak readership, it grows significantly. Unique visits were up by a whopping 60% over last year.
There is absolutely no chance of ever exceeding those numbers. For sure this time.
Many of my ski trips featured overcast skies and were not conducive to great photos, but I managed to find some sunny sky photos which I’ve posted below:
Thank you Bob for the reminders of my Calgary years, now I live in a province where any snow turns to rain. The skiermatch.com post was the best human interest post, if still living in YYC would have tried to organize a singles and looking event at a ski friendly venue such as the Pocaterra Hut or PLP discovery center.
Congratulations Bob on a tremendous success. As a groomer your blog provides the connection to the people we do this for. Before your blog feedback would come from the numbers of vehicles in the parking lot and the occasional comment left online or at a visitor center.
As MaSid mentioned its okay to take a break once and awhile. One suggestion comes from a Platoon of Trainers I belong to. We encourage the members to Guest blog once a week to tell their stories. You have more than enough intrepid trip reporters now that could write an entire post beyond just the where and what it was like.
Thank you, Bob, for hosting this very much needed resource; your time and dedication is immensly appreciated.
1 million is not a number I would have expected or anticipated, but clearly evidence of the need/gap. What surprises me also is only 1500 reporters, and the blogger himself, that helps feed that. That in itself is amazing. Imagine if more people posted about more abscure locations or multiple spots or over more days in the week. The key is real time, real data, about conditions from real people. If that’s what it takes to get more people skiing, great. Thanks bobby, and all other!
Oh, and feel free to take a few days off here and there eh. We will survive by the info supplied by reporters. The best things happen when others become the source based on an original concept/need.
I’ve been a frequent checker of your site since you started it. I can’t recall how many years ago that was. I’ve also told soooo many friends and strangers about it. All that to say I really appreciate the work you put into it.
You’ve created a community of people who have a love for one of the best forms of exercise and ways to enjoy the outdoors in any temperature.
Thank you, gracias, merci, etc….
I wonder if any of those young ladies found a xc skiing sweetheart?
Your efforts in developing and maintaining the blog are appreciated by me and a whole lot of other people. I frequently ask folks if they are reports but most say they just follow it “all the time”.
Congratulations Bob on your great success!
CBC is jealous.
Congrats Bob! Thank you for providing this unique and indispensable means of reporting trail conditions and so much more ( inspiration to get out there!).
We really appreciate your dedication and the effort you expend on our behalf.
Your amazing readership numbers ensure that KCountry staff know that their trail grooming efforts are appreciated by a growing number of xc-skiers. Hopefully a xc-ski loop in the Sawmill/Chester area will be approved soon.
Again THANK YOU BOB !!
Well done, Bob! One million! Now, if they only paid you a penny each time…
Actually, I visit you website several times most days, so I’m probably responsible for some thousands of those visits visits….
Wow!!! A million! You’ve earned that. Congratulations. That certainly shows how many people appreciate your website. Well done!!!
And if you are taking bets on all-time high, I’ll give you two to one :-).