Brass monkey boxing day

Castle Lookout to Protection Mountain. Photo by Chuck (click on image to get the full effect)

How many of you know the origin of this phrase? I thought it meant something completely different:

“The story goes that cannonballs used to be stored aboard ship in piles, on a brass frame or tray called a ‘monkey’. In very cold weather the brass would contract, spilling the cannonballs: hence very cold weather is ‘cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.”

I guess we should have a contest to see who ends up skiing in the coldest weather during this cold spell. The forecast shows we have three or four days of this yet, and there’s snow predicted for Thursday and Friday.

Awesome views on the Castle Lookout to Protection Mountain trail. Photo by Chuck

Chuck wins the prize for “Scenic photos of the day” with the spectacular shots of the trail between Castle Lookout and Protection Mountain campground. The trail is trackset all the way to Baker Creek(about 10K), and from Baker Creek you can go another 6K to Morant’s curve. In my reply to Chris on the trip reports, I made note of the fact the Banff trail report still has this section(Castle to Protection) as not trackset. As evidenced by Chuck’s photos, this is not accurate. See all of Chuck’s amazing photos, including wolf tracks Castle Lookout to Protection Mountain.

Andreas and son Torin at the Canmore Nordic Centre

I skied in weather which was 4 degrees warmer than yesterday, but it was still -19°C at the Canmore Nordic Centre at 1:15 pm. 

You can ski for 2.5K on Banff trail on man-made snow on perfect conditions. At 2.5K, you are met with mountains of man-made snow waiting to be groomed. 

Torin wins again!

I accessed the natural snow on Meadowview by taking Freddie’s Flip at Junction 6(2K from the daylodge). After crossing the bridge, the trail becomes Coyote. This trail is groomed and trackset all the way to Meadowview, but as you’ll see in the photos, it has a lot of grass and rocks. I managed to get to Meadowview without removing my skis but I wouldn’t want to be doing it with my best skis. The other method of accessing the natural snow would be via Bow trail. 

Banff trail at Canmore Nordic Centre

While I was in the daylodge warming up and enjoying, what else, turkey soup, I watched a father and son racing each other out front. The son, who turned out to be 10-year-old Torin, was going all out to win and I was fascinated at his flawless technique and the incredible effort he made to beat his dad. 

I took Torin’s and Andreas’ photo later and discovered that Torin is a polite and friendly young man who has qualified for the Alberta Winter Games and competes as a mini-midget in the Alberta Cup with a podium finish already this winter. Good luck in all your races this winter, Torin!

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  1. re. cold weather photos, they don’t get much better than Bob’s shot of Santa with her white fur trimmed hat and great white lashes.

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