Considering there’s been no new snow or tracksetting for 10 days, conditions are holding up well at Lake Louise.
The one thing which has changed since I was there on Saturday is the amount of tree debris on the trails. Narrower trails such as Fairview where there are a lot of trees close to the trail have a few thick patches of pine needles.
With the snow still cold, however, the tree debris doesn’t make much impact on the skiing. It would become a problem if the weather warmed up and we had to use sticky wax.
The tracks are ultra-fast on all the trails I skied which included Moraine Lake road, Fairview, Tramline, and Bow River loop. Going down Tramline, all you had to do is step into the tracks and you were gone.
I see the forecast is still predicting 2 – 4 cm of snow on Friday. It would be nice if the trails received enough snow to enable them to be groomed and trackset and to cover the debris.
If you read the comment by fat biker Jake, you’ll notice he links to a blog with a story which has numerous references to the illegal fat biking episode on Blueberry Hill. The post contains numerous inaccuracies, distortions and falsehoods and delusions such as this: “It’s not hard to imagine a future when it’s the cross-cross country skiers pleading with fat bikers to use their trails.” Feel free to click over and read it and leave a comment Riding with the fat bike liberation front.
Update: The author of the above fat bike article, Phil Tomlinson, has deleted the comments which were posted, and disallowed any new comments. He’s obviously only interested in a discussion if he can control the narrative. When people disagree with him, he calls it hate. It’s cowardly to post an opinion piece and not expect other people to have an opinion. Through all the fat bike controversy on here, I never deleted one comment, and there have been dozens.
A few points are still missing from what I gathered from the post. The signage says no fat biking, walking, snowshoeing, or dogs on groomed, track set trails in PLPP. Most people respect this. Most people also realize that the signage for “groomed trails” means maybe 5 months max. One month at Sandy McNabb. Fat bikers and walkers, if given the right to ignore the signage, now can enjoy the trails for 12 months of the year while x-country skiing, again, if signage is ignored, is down to 0 months where groomed trails have not been destroyed. Yet, x-country skiers are the ones being asked to compromise and share, according to the post. I know there will eventually be a solution to all of this. I also still feel the ones that should be most aggravated is the groomers themselves. How frustrating (especially for the volunteers at Bragg Creek) to put in hours and hours of work only to have people destroy what they have done in a day. Kind of like washing my floor and having kids, dogs, husband. and I am sure a few fat bikers, traipse across it. Kinda makes me homicidal.
The fat bike night ride location appeared to be Chester lake if I’m not mistaken, also in peter lougheed provincial park.
Yes, that night ride looks like Chester Lake.
In the summer, bikes are allowed on the Chester Lake Trail, as far as the junction where the narrow trail leaves the wide “ski” trails and continues up to the meadows. Bikes are not allowed beyond that point in the summer.
The Chester Lake Trail is in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and the Kananaskis website says that “Currently NO TRAILS approved for Fat-Biking in PLPP”. However, the website also makes no mention of the High Rockies Trail, which was largely designed as a mountain bike trail. The HRT includes part of the Chester “Ski” trail, as well as parts of the Smith-Dcrrien snowshoe/ski trails. I don’t recall seeing a “No Bike” sign on the Chester Trail, other than at the junction with the upper meadow trail.
The real issue raised by the fat-bike post is that XC skier numbers continue to decline locally, within Alberta and across Canada. The number of people backcountry touring, snowshoeing, mountain biking and fat-biking are growing at a rapid rate. And land managers, such as Alberta Parks have been extremely slow to deal with evolving trends in recreational use.
We all need to be advocating for thoughtful and creative ways to share trail resources, rather than fighting with each other.
Are you sure that XC skier numbers continue to decline? Are there any stats from Alberta Parks? One could also track XC equipment sales over a number of years. I work part time in an XC shop, and hope you’re wrong :-). When conditions are good, parking lots at trailheads are full, and I don’t see that many snowshoers.
These figures are from SkiCanada, which I assume has an interest in promoting skiing in Canada. https://www.skicanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2014-15-Facts-and-Stats.pdf
There is a general downward trend in XC skiers as a percentage of population, especially at younger age ranges. Because the population of the Calgary-Canmore region has been increasing, a lower percentage of XC skiers out of a larger population can result in minimal net change in total numbers of skiers. More significantly, XC skiers are increasingly in the retirement age categories. The fact that XC parking lots are full could well be that the same number of people are skiing more frequently.
Also, many of those parking lots were constructed in the 1970’s, when the population in the Calgary area was about 600,000 people. The number of people in the area has more than doubled. The trail infrastructure has not.
Thanks very much for the link, Alf! I’m studying it. Hope we can slow or stabilize the participation trend. Seeing lots of families bringing children to the shop for their first set of XC gear, or trading up, but what is “lots”.
More snow would help.
A majority of us live in urban areas and most cities don’t get as much snow as they used to. A warming climate means that lower elevation trail areas like Sandy McNabb, WBC, Ribbon Creek, Pocaterra, etc are getting less snowfall and fewer months of reliable snow.
I’ve read a couple times now on Bob’s site about X-C skier numbers declining in Alberta and or Canada, I’ve sat on a couple X-C boards in the past and we tried to tackle this mystery question, it is very difficult to get accurate numbers on how many X-C skiers there are out there, and if I ski once a year or every two years, am I considered a Skier? there are thousands of people that ski around golf courses and trails that have never bought a membership or filled out a form, it is impossible to capture everyone. We ended up putting effort into what Peter N suggested, and that was getting stats from retail and rental shops. To be honest I don’t know what the numbers are these days, I can tell you that the number of skier visits to the Canmore Nordic center has increased significantly each year for the last several years, our ski Nationals here in Canmore 2016/17 had a Nationals Record for participation. That’s my 2 cents.