I had only planned to ski up a little ways on Skogan Pass so I could tell my anxious readers how far you had to walk to reach skiable snow. I then wanted to go check out the new grooming at the Kananaskis Village trails.
How do you stop skiing just when the snow and tracks are good? I couldn’t stop. The excellent tracks and decent snow pulled me along, past the Marmot junction, past the Sunburst junction, past the High Level junction, and all the way to Hummingbird Plume.
By the way, the new brochures and trail markers no longer show Marmot junction. That trail disappeared in the 2013 floods. The wooden post is still at the junction but there’s no sign on it.
I had to decide which trail to take to reach the junction at Hidden – Ruthie’s – Skogan Pass. Above this junction, for 1K, the trail is affectionately referred to as the “Screamer.”
I decided to take the shortest option and parked at Nakiska. Parking Lot #4, and climbed, on foot, that short steep trail(about 75 metres) which takes you right onto the Nakiska ski area. Officially, the Hidden xc trail runs right through the base of Nakiska. The signs are still there if you can spot them.
From there, it’s about 600 metres to the Hidden-Ruthie’s-Skogan junction. I skied most of it, but had to walk a bit where the snow was thin. I had my first glance at the new trail marker and noticed they forgot to indicate Ruthie’s on the map.
Ascending the Screamer on skis is possible. It’s easy to miss the rocks when you’re climbing, but not when coming down.
It snowed intermittently throughout the day and there was about 1 cm in yesterday’s tracksetting. It was snowing at the village later on.
The air temperature was -11 with no wind. The old Swix green(-7/-13) which was already on my skis worked well when I was in the tracks but I also had to herringbone on a lot of those steep parts.
At the top of the Screamer, the trail parallels the Nakiska service road for 100 metres. Still rocky, but soon after the tracksetting begins. Thereafter I saw only one embedded rock, about 200 metres above the Marmot junction. I removed about 10 loose rocks throughout the day.
From the beginning of the tracksetting to Hummingbird Plume, I had 4.5K of good snow and tracksetting. Net elevation gain from Nakiska was close to 400 metres.
Funny thing, the snow was thin on the final 100 metres to Hummingbird Plume, and also at the top. Skiable but thin.
The cruise back down was wonderful with the 1 cm of fresh snow on the trail. I retraced my steps and did not go down Sunburst so it is still untested. Upon reaching the Screamer I skied some of it and walked some. I hit a couple rocks and have some new scratches on my skis.
An alternative descent to Nakiska’s base, rather than taking the Screamer, would be the “Steve Riggs Option” which Steve described in a trip report. Take the Nakiska service road until you reach the ski slopes and down you go. Not recommended for skinny skis. I did it once many years ago when I was young and foolish. Scary!
At dusk, I headed up to the village and checked out today’s tracksetting on Terrace. I skied to the Terrace Link intersection and while there were a few thin spots which were easy to avoid, it was pretty nice.