Goat Creek and Spray River West

Spray River West near the “bus stop” junction

After a big dump of snow over yesterday’s tracksetting on Goat Creek and Spray River, the Banff tracksetter went back today to pack, groom and partially trackset the trails.

Colette and Curtis on Goat Creek at 2K

I talked to Tracksetter Don late in the day. He had to quit grooming because the snow was too wet and sticky. 

The first 4K of Goat Creek looks like this. At 4K, the snowshoers and hikers all turned around.

He did accomplish a fair bit by the time he had to call it quits. Spray River West to 9.6K is groomed and trackset. According to the two skiers I talked with at the shelter, Spray River East is trackset. 

Goat Creek is snowmobile packed but the snow is still very soft. As always, the first 4K is full of snowshoe and hiker tracks. 

After climbing up the hill from the Spray bridge at 9K, I was thrilled to see the beautiful machine-set tracks on Spray West. 

Spray River West between the East-West junction and Goat Creek is single trackset with a multi-use lane

As we’ve heard on the trip reports, anyone with waxable skis was having a difficult time with ice buildup on their skis, commonly referred to as high heels. I chose to use my waxless fishscale skis and it was a good choice. I also applied Easy Glide on the grip zone and had no problems with snow sticking to them. 

The first 900 metres is thin but skiable. This skier had given up because of the snow sticking to his skis.

Don said the most snow fell in the midsection of the trails and I could see the evidence. At the Canmore end there was a lot less and the 900 metres of ungroomed trail to the Banff boundary is thin but skiable. 

Nicole and Cameron on Goat Creek at 3.5K.

I even skied down the first hill from the parking lot. I could see the rocks in the middle so stayed to one side. I didn’t see any more rocks at all. It was relatively easy skiiing down the steep hill to the Goat Creek bridge but I imagine this will become dished and hard packed from heavy use after a day or two. 

There are a few thin spots under tree canopies as you get near Banff. The warm weather also produced some tree drippings on the trail which will be icy tomorrow. 

With the soft snow and no tracks on the first 9K, it was slow going, especially with waxless skis. On the other hand, I did not have to herringbone on any of the hills, not even once. 

The temperature at the Goat Creek trailhead at 2 pm was zero… and no wind! Very light snow was falling. I heard three avalanches throughout the day.

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