Pipestone: Peace and contentment

Tooday, the Pipestone trails were the epitome of Chip’s now famous saying, “The soul-mending rhythm of cross-country skiing.” Too bad he’s holidaying in sweltering heat in Cambodia and not here to enjoy it. 

This gnome was watching over the trail

Where can you ski for two hours and 13.1K on wonderful trackset trails, with a dozen vehicles in the parking lot, yet not see a single soul on the trail? The downside of that, of course is that I didn’t see any dogs on these dog-friendly trails, however there were two friendly ones in the parking lot when I finished.

Starting out on #20 Pipestone

John Blum’s trip report resonated with me. “Saw no one else, all day.”

I knew there were skiers on the trails because a few people had skied in the buttery-smooth tracks for me. There was about 2-3 cm of new snow overnight. The Visitor Centre predicted the trails would be trackset again by tomorrow. 

Pipestone conditions were excellent

The air temperature at 10:40 a.m. was -12 and the snow was -9. I used old Swix green(-7/-13) which worked well. It snowed a bit while I was skiing. 


My favourite section of these trails is the #20 Pipestone loop counter-clockwise from Km 3 – Km 6.5(the northern point). The heavy-duty climbing is over by 3K and for 3.6K the narrow trail undulates and winds gently through the forest. Today it was absolutely delightful.


Rather than return on the perimeter trails as usual, I took Merlin, Drummond, and Pipestone back to the trailhead. These trails are a little bit easier and turns are gentler than the perimiter trails of Pipestone and Hector which have blazing fast downhills and tight turns. You lose 150 net metres of elevation on the return. 

Driving home on the Bow Valley Parkway, I also skied the scenic section of Castle Lookout to Baker Creek but Chuck has taken care of that report. 

Be sure to check the amazing trip report and photos from Steve Riggs on his adventure up Skogan Pass. 


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  1. the trail report says pipe was trackset yesterday.

    • The tracksetting probably occurred in late afternoon. That’s why it didn’t show up on the trail report until today. I was out of there by 1 pm.

      This situation indicates that late-day tracksetting doesn’t make it onto the trail report until the following day, long after you’ve left to go skiing.

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