2017-18 in review: What a great ski season!

We were sking on trackset trails at Lake Louise on Nov 4, so it’s getting close to a six-month ski season. For the real keeners, Frozen Thunder at Canmore opened on Oct 21. 

The above photo is from March 5, 2018: The Wedge Connector was one link in the Evan-Thomas – Bill Milne – Wedge loop which I skied many times this winter in excellent conditions

Although the weather has turned warmer, there’s still lots of snow, and tracksetting will continue for a while in PLPP and at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Perhaps at Lake Louise, too. 

Jan 21, 2018: Elk Pass was in fabulous condition with beautiful scenery and excellent tracksetting

For those still skiing, I encourage you to post trip reports, but I won’t be posting any updates for a while so I wanted to do my year-end review now.

Feb 15, 2018: Great conditions on Goat Creek

This was the best xc ski season in recent memory. It was not without a few minor hiccups, but overall, it’s been a good one. In the early years of this blog, we had some good seasons, but I think the problems started in 2012-2013 when excess wind created debris-covered trails with sporadic snowfall. 

Jan 21, 2018: My all-time favourite, Tyrwhitt.

It got so bad I even wrote an update in Jan 2013 entitled “PLPP needle and cone report. Every year thereafter we experienced periods where the trails were compromised in one way or another whether it be from rain, ice, debris, snow fleas, or lack of snow. 

Mar 7, 2018: Emerald Lake on a sunny day can’t be surpassed for sheer beauty.

This winter, every time there was a warm or windy day that threatened the trails, it was followed by snow and cold weather. My most difficult day on skis came on Nov 22 when I was skiing Moraine Lake road with Chip, Peter, and Pat. It turned warm and we all lost our grip about 2K from the end. By Nov 25, it had snowed, turned cold and the good conditions returned. 

Nov 8, 2017: Earliest ever skiing at West Bragg Creek. Steve Riggs at the corner of Sundog and Elbow

I can’t remember a day of skiing where I encountered any significant debris, or an icy trail. I skied Goat Creek on a hard-packed trail once but it was actually fun. 

Dec 27, 2017: We had some cold weather in December. These skiers were braving -15 on Elk Pass.

We encountered some extremely cold days in December and early January but it was only a minor inconvenience. My coldest day of skiing was on Christmas day when it was -23°C on Redearth Creek. I’m glad I went out that day because the conditions on Redearth Creek were about the best I’ve seen in recent memory. I also saw Santa Claus with her white eyelashes. 

Nov 22, 2017: The day we lost our grip on Moraine Lake road. It snowed and turned cold a few days later.

I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t ski in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park as much as usual, and that’s because I had such good conditions closer to home. I believe many people from Calgary saved lots of gas money because of the amazing conditions at West Bragg Creek. 

The golf courses in Calgary saw lots of action from early in November. Alasdair Fergusson commented about Shaganappi a few days ago…

“We had our earliest ever start to tracksetting operations (at Shaganappi) on 6 Nov when we packed and groomed. Then our latest grooming and tracksetting was on 18 March – another record. Normally we cannot do anything after about 7 March.”

Apr 2, 2018: I skied to Kananaskis Fire Lookout without having to herringbone

Many people ask me what my favourite trail is. The Tyrwhitt Loop(Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, Moraine) would be number one on my list, and Goat Creek to Banff would be close behind. 

Tracksetter Alex on the Bill Milne trail

What trail have I skied the most over the years? Undoubtedly it is Whiskey Jack, because it acts as the access for three other great trails. At the top you can continue your ski trip on Pocaterra, Lookout, or Tyrwhitt.

This blog owes its success to all the skiers who submit trip reports. To date, 1715 comments were submitted to the the Trip Reports pages this season. Thank you!

We enjoy incredible tracksetting due to the dedicated guys and gals who operate the snowmobiles and snowcats. Thanks for all your hard work!

Well over a million people have logged in since Oct 21 when ski season started with the opening of Frozen Thunder.

Thanks for reading my blog!


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  1. Awesome blog thank you

  2. Was going to put the ski’s away this morning after 2 beginners skiing the Nordic Center Monday Good Conditionds and Lake Louise Wednesday and Tuesday sticky and fast depending on the time of day but overall good!! April 11 We are looking to take advantage of this little flurry coming down now and thought to check here?!? Bear warnings at LL ( just one bear) so they say groups of 5 or bear spray on The parks trails ?

  3. It was and still is a winter for the ages. I hope for one more like it before I go on before. Thanks, Bob, for being part of the vibe that consumes those who worship the greatest season of all. Let’s pray for a short summer.

    • Ya know, Porter, being a skier as well, I totally understand your sentiments and feel the same. However, a word of caution. Verbalizing these sentiments in front of people that do not ski can result in serious injury. Especially this year.


    Looking forward to next season///Emry from Edmonton

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