Goat Creek and Spray River are trackset

Emily and Anna started at the Goat Creek trailhead. Photo by Chuck.

Update Jan 3 @ 10 pm: Some tracksetting has been completed on the south trails in PLPP. Elk Pass, Hydroline, Tyrwhitt, and Whiskey Jack. Check the Live Grooming Report for details. 

I didn’t ski today, but there’s plenty to talk about in any event. Lots of snow at Lake Louise in the past 24 hours with lesser amounts in Banff. Still waiting for reports of snowfall in K-Country. I enjoyed this comment from Lesley regarding Pipestone today: 

“There was so much snow! The parking lot had not been plowed, so we parked on the access road and skied to the trailhead from there.”

Spray River West. Photo by Chuck.

It was exciting to read Chuck’s trip report on Goat Creek/Spray River. It’s now trackset all the way from Spray River West trailhead to the Banff boundary(18K). Don’t forget, there’s also 900 metres from the Banff boundary to the Goat Creek trailhead which never gets trackset because it’s in K-Country. 

The iconic Goat Creek bridge. Photo by Chuck.

There’s still snow in the forecast for tonight, so I hope some early birds will ski in the tracks for me. The temperatures for tomorrow in Banff and Canmore are in that twilight zone between wax and waxless. 

As Chuck pointed out, there is an avalanche zone on Spray River West, so don’t stop in that spot to have lunch. Extreme avalanche conditions are in effect for the mountain parks. See my previous update for a list of groomed trails where avalanches are a possibility, with photos, and links to the avalanche bulletins. 

In Lake Louise today, tracksetting included Moraine Lake road and Tramline. The Great Divide was groomed only. I expect the PLPP tracksetter will be doing some trails tonight. 

Baker Creek – East and West

Castle Lookout to Baker Creek. File photo. 

The Banff trail report indicates that Baker Creek to Castle Lookout is trackset on Fridays. I asked James, the manager at Baker Creek Mountain Resort if that’s written in stone or if there is some flexibility depending on snowfall. He clarified the situation, and included some other great news:

Castle Lookout to Baker Creek. File photo.

“We also do it after a large snowfall. We went West today to Morant’s Curve, will go again tomorrow after the snowfall tonight, and will also go East to Castle Lookout by end of day. We tried today, but got stuck and need to run it without the track setter first.

As of tomorrow we will be track setting, through to the end of the Lake Louise to Banff Loppett, all the way to Lake Louise.”

The Lake Louise to Banff Loppet is on Jan 20, so for the next 17 days we’ll have another trail to ski. Castle Lookout to Castle Junction is also scheduled for tracksetting on Fridays. Castle Mountain Chalets takes care of that section. 


Wolf tracks on Cascade Valley. Photo by Peter Neumann.

We had a number of reports and photos of wolf tracks on Cascade Valley a few days ago. I came across this article in today’s Rocky Mountain Outlook about the wolves. 

“Parks Canada got a report of members of the Bow Valley wolf pack hunting just off the Lake Minnewanka road on Dec. 29, where they took down a whitetail deer.

Because of the close proximity to people and the road, resource conservation officers dragged the carcass away to cover for the wolves to still have their hard-earned meal.

“We had law enforcement and resource conservation officers patrolling the area to make sure no one was disturbing the wolves,” said Rafla.

“It didn’t take long for the wolf pack to finish off the whitetail deer, maybe 24 hours.”

Four wolves were reported, including the breeding female known as 1701. She’s one of two surviving members of the former pack, and is fitted with a conventional VHF collar.

Rafla said the wolves have been moving from east of Lake Louise to the eastern edge of Banff National Park. “They’re always constantly on the move,” he said.”

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  1. The Louise to Banff loppet is on January 20. The backup date is January 27.

    Thanks, Doug. I’ve made the correction. -Bob

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