The first five times I skied the west side of the Bow River Loop at Lake Louise was during the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet and I was going too fast and was too focused to enjoy the scenery. Now I try to go as slow as I can because it is so incredibly beautiful.
The last time I did this trail during the loppet I actually shouted to those near me to look around and admire the spectacular scenery. That might be why our team lost the race; I was too busy sightseeing!
Today, the Bow River Loop was trackset on the south side of the campground bridge on the east side of the river, and trackset south from the village on the west side of the river. The Campground Loop was trackset a few days ago and has about 4 cm of new snow in the skating lane, but the tracks are still in good shape.
The air temperature was -1° celsius at 3:15 pm, and the snow was -2. Swix Extra Blue(-1/-7) worked well. These trails are dog-friendly and I was wishing Tessa had been with me.
On the east leg of the Bow River Loop, there were a few thin spots under the thick tree canopy. I pushed snow with my skis from the side of the trail to cover a few of the bare spots. There are still a couple thin spots but it’s easy enough to step out of the tracks and go around them.
At the extreme south end, where the trail traverses a drainage, it’s a bit bumpy for about 30 metres.
The Bow River Loop cuts right through the middle of the campground, so it intersects the Campground Loop in two places. You can continue north to the village and eventually reach the bottom of Tramline.
There is a stretch of 300 metres on the southeast section of the Campground Loop that is being used by work trucks. They are using half the width of the road. There’s a good classic track but skaters would have to use the road which is snow covered but might have a few vehicle tracks.
We often see footprints from walkers in fresh tracksetting and grooming, but I was thrilled to ski this pristine grooming with no footprints. Hold on! As I was loading my skis in the car, a gentleman pulled up in a black Volkswagen. He gets out and asks me, “Do you think I could walk the Bow River Loop before it gets dark?”
I had a few minutes of daylight, so headed up to see what was transpiring on the Fairview trail. Keith’s trip report made me curious.
“A conversation with Parks staff out shoveling snow onto the trail indicates Fairview may open next week with a bit more work.” -Keith
I used an old pair of Asnes skis(purchased my first season of skiing 20 years ago) which are shorter, wider, and quite flat now to explore Fairview. Let me tell you, it’s bumpy.
I was about 300 metres up the trail and who should be walking towards me with a shovel in his hand but Heritage Guides Groomer Jeff. He looked a bit weary from a day of shoveling snow onto the trail. He said the plan is to snowmobile pack Fairview as far as the hill on Friday if the stars align. He also said there are still many thin spots under tree canopies and open water.
I only went about 500 metres as darkness was closing in. I’m very glad I had the slower, more controllable skis for the roller coaster ride back to the trailhead.
Ray Perrott’s trip report from the Geat Divide yesterday mentioned fresh Grizzly tracks. I’ve attached a photo. We also had a report of Grizzly tracks on the Great Divide today from Chris Nykoluk.