I searched for a warm place to ski with Tessa today, but where would that be? Most temperatures were hovering around -25°C with one exception. Mud Lake was reporting in at a “mild” -17.9 and it had warmed up 5 degrees between 10 – 11 a.m.
Mud Lake is close to Mt Shark, and with last night’s brand new tracksetting to entice us, we headed there. It was a good choice because the trailhead temperature was -14 and it warmed up to -11 by the time we finished skiing around 3:30 pm.
The tracksetting is immaculate and the snow was surprisingly fast for being so cold. The Pisten-Bully laid down some nice, firm tracks and they had set up well overnight.
Watridge Lake road must have been the first trail groomed because it had about half-a-cm of fresh snow in the tracks. Luckily, Clara, Ben and Brooke were skiing back from the Bryant Creek shelter and polished the tracks for us.
The coloured trails we skied were absolutely wonderful with no fresh snow to slow us down. We didn’t venture onto the difficult portion of the Yellow trail, which according to the trail report, still has a few twigs poking through.
The only imperfection I saw was a bit of dirt in the tracks in the heavily treed section about 500 metres from the trailhead. I scooped some fresh snow from the side of the trail and covered it, skied over it, and now everything is perfect.
The Spray Lakes road/Smith Dorrien are in excellent winter driving condition. They are totally covered in packed snow so the washboard effect is gone and there is no gravel to kick up. The 5K Mt Shark road had about 4-5 cm of fresh snow but is well-tracked and presented no problems.
I noticed the trails around Mt Engadine Lodge had seen recent grooming with some fresh snow on top. Last night’s snow had skier tracks.
This was my first attempt at skiing with one pole. I can’t use my left arm anymore this winter. I’m scheduled for shoulder surgery in April.
Cross Country Alberta has an updated list of events (mostly loppets and races). I’ve also added this link to the Loppets page.
Cascade Valley was trackset all the way to Stoney Creek and in the other direction as well to Bankhead.
The Kananaskis Village trails were trackset today. Take note of the closure on Bill Milne:
Bill Milne trail is now closed between the Kananaskis River and the Kananaskis Golf course due to flooding and ice flows.
The Banff trail report has some conflicting information regarding Goat Creek. In one place it indicates that it’s trackset, but in another it says only packed.