-Sandra and Keith on Fairview-
Jessica had just finished skiing to the end of Moraine Lake road and back when I met her at the MLR trailhead as I was starting out around 12:45 pm. She said they received about 8 cm of snow at her place in Field overnight, so I was hopeful we’d see some grooming activity in Yoho.
This is the Yoho/Kicking Horse Ski Club update which was posted today:
“Finally–a break in the high pressure!! Joe is setting a track at Emerald Lake as I write. Then he’s moving the equipment to TAK. Falls to work on that one. Should be a good weekend!!! Enjoy!”
TAK is short for Takkakaw and it also goes by the name of Yoho Valley road. It’s a great trail when conditions are good and it’s dog-friendly.
The trail grooming in Yoho and Emerald Lake is all done by the Kicking Horse Ski Club and they could use your support if you enjoy skiing there. A $40 club membership entitles you to preferred rates at Emerald Lake Lodge.
It snowed a bit on the way to Lake Louise between Bourgeau and Taylor. The Redearth Creek area seemed to be getting the most, but that was probably only 2-3 cm. Skies were clear upon arriving in Lake Louise and the temperature was -6°C. The snow temperature was also -6, and VR45(-2/-8) worked well all day.
MLR had been groomed and trackset earlier in the day and I heard the Great Divide was also being trackset this afternoon. It was a beautiful day and I met many skiers on the trail as you’ll see in the photos. The tracks aren’t as fast as they were a few days ago but I still hit 48 KmH while descending the big hill on very safe conditions.
There was a skiff of fresh snow on Fairview which helped cover the remaining tree debris and it was in excellent shape. I skied Fairview south to north and it was in excellent shape. I didn’t have to do the 200-metre down track which spits you out onto MLR but other skiers said it’s still a bit bumpy and very fast. When you see the “down track” sign, hold on and pray.
I met two people walking on Fairview. I stopped and asked where they were going. “We’re just doing the loop.” I asked if they saw the No Walking sign at the trailhead. “Oh, we’re not walking in the tracks!” I shrugged and skied away.
Tramline to the train station was excellent with new tracksetting.
Some grooming was completed in PLPP today. Check the Live Grooming Report for details.
I met skiers from Golden, BC who said they had received some new snow and the trails at Dawn Mountain were in good shape. Read the comment from Jeff Dolinsky for more details.
Golden Update today: -9C at 9AM, cat grooming for skating and classic on all upper trails. Excellent conditions except under a few trees. Rental shop on site is open. $12 adult trail fee, $5 for under 19. For current conditions: http://www.goldennordicclub.ca. Merry Christmas all you nearly fit skiers ! <:)
Thanks for the trail report Bob. Always great insight into local conditions.
Question on Fairview though, on the Parks Canada trail report site it says walking is allowed (just not on the track set). Is this a different trail, or a case of inconsistent messaging?
This is the sign posted at the Fairview trailhead, and there is another sign about 60 metres up the trail. Fairview – No walking on trail
Is this the same trail listed on the Parks Canada website as Fairview?
I assume yes – see below for the material I referenced. It’s the link off your trail reports page for the Banff area.
Assuming my read is correct and it’s the same trail. The point I raise is this…the sign is clearly not official, though i am sure well intentioned. Folks who do research will go to the official Parks Canada site and see the disconnect. They will trust the Parks site. In effect – they will become used to both ignoring signs and the advice of skiers. Not in anyone’s best interests.
If I am misreading the Parks website, then please let me know, as this is certainly meant to be a constructive comment (and apologies if I am offside in my reading of the information)
FYI – I used to ski a ton, less now a days, but a big fan of the sport
You’re correct, it’s clearly a “sign” of inconsistent messaging.
Ian, Bob, it’s great that you are pointing out confusing wording on the GC Banff winter trails report page that Ian links to.
In looking at the web page, it appears that all/most of the wider, double-tracked XC ski trails also allow the other activities but ask them not to stay off of the tracks.
A simple solution for the descriptions of narrow trails having only single set tracks where only XC skiing is allowed is for GC to add small icons for ‘No walking’, ‘No snowshoeing’, ‘No fat biking’, just as they have done for ‘No dogs’. These icons don’t take up much room, and would then clarify things for each specific trail.
I used one too many negatives -).
“…also allow the other activities but ask them not to stay off of the tracks.” should read “also allow the other activities but ask them to stay off of the tracks.”
I apologize for the barrage of replies.
Looking more closely at that GC trail report page, there also appears to be inconsistency between the descriptions of what are called ‘XC Skiing’ trails in Banff versus those in Lake Louise.
So, in the previous Lake Louise example, we have the description for Great Divide trail, with the caveats for other users. Yet, for Minnewanka trail (road) there is no caveat as to whether other users are allowed, regardless of tracks. Yet this is a wide road, just like the Great Divide. I’m not a local, but I would hazard a guess that walkers/snowshoers/fat bikers are also welcomed on Minnewanka road in winter.
Another way to clarify some of this would be to have a specific list of XC ski ONLY trails. Then perhaps a list of where all the activities are allowed (including the wide double track-set roads).
Surely this would just take one or two people in Parks Canada to sit down in front of their web page content manager programs over a cup of coffee and just solidify the wording for each trail.
I checked at the visitor cente last weekend and there is no restriction on walking on any trails in the area. The signs are completely unofficial and not put up by Parks and do not reflect the Parks rules. Please don’t try to enforce rules that don’t exist on users, who were in any case not damaging the track set. The staff there also confirmed that Moraine Lake Road, Tramline, Bow River Loop, Great Divide and Pipestone are approved for fat biking and snowshoeing.