Sandy McNabb

Long Prairie Loop(south leg) at Sandy McNabb.

After 11 years of doing this blog, I am thrilled to finally do a first-hand report on Sandy McNabb. 

Starting out at Sandy McNabb

Conditions were pretty good with occasional hazards such as dirt, rocks, and grass but they were nothing more than a minor inconvenience. I was still glad that I used my rock skis. 

Long Prairie Loop(north leg)

It was a beautiful day to take Tessa for another ski trip. For all the dog-lovers out there, this area is dog-friendly but it’s partly on-leash and partly off-leash. I’ve created an image further down in this post which shows the off-leash area. 

What a shame to ruin this beautiful tracksetting

The air temperature remained at -2°C all afternoon. The snow temperature was -4 and I had to dig down deep to find my VR45(-2/-8) after neglecting it during all the cold weather. 

While Cheryl and Tessa went across the road to ski the easy Loggers Loop, I did the Long Prairie Loop on the north side of the road.

Pat and Virginia at the Pine Ridge junction

Despite the a-hole who walked in the tracks, the skiing was wonderful. The idiot post-holed most of the loop, many times right down to the ground, leaving big divots on the trail. His handiwork is showcased in most of the photos. 

There is no excuse for this carnage because the area is well-signed with dedicated trails for multi-users and skiers. 

Long Prairie Loop(north leg)

There is one steep downhill where you really have to be careful. If going counter-clockwise as I was, after the  first Death Valley junction, hold on and pray. It was a death-defying, white-knuckle ride down. I couldn’t snowplow effectively because the trail is too narrow.


As I reached the bottom of the hill, I don’t know how I stayed upright as I negotiated a sharp turn. Perhaps it was the big tree staring me in the face that motivated me to dig down deep and complete it.

I would recommend walking down this hill unless you have the appropriate skis to handle this trail. Better yet, do the loop clockwise and climb this hill. You’ll enjoy the more gentle downhill as you complete the loop on the north side. 

Sandy McNabb is partly on-leash and partly off-leash. Click for a larger image.

I crossed over the road and caught up to Cheryl and Tessa on Loggers. What a lovely trail. It only has one small hill and gets quite a bit of sun despite being in the forest. 

I talked to skiers who climbed to the lookout on Pine Ridge where you can actually see Calgary in the distance. They said the conditions were fine with the odd hazard which was easy to avoid. 

Good luck to all the Cookie Racers tomorrow(Saturday) in PLPP. It will be extremely busy around Pocaterra hut and on the race trails. There are numerous good places to ski, so consider avoiding PLPP tomorrow.


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  1. It was great to run into you in the parking lot at Sandy yesterday, Bob. My beloved made me back up (when I said, hey, there is Skier Bob) and I am surprised he did not ask for your autograph!! We live about 15 minutes from Sandy and, conditions permitting, have skied there frequently over the past 19 years. However, after reading your trip report, you taught me something I did not know. I had absolutely no idea that there was an off-leash area at Sandy! This information will be very useful the next time we take our pups with us. I do remember a large sign “suggesting” a $250.00 fine for off-leash dogs that was posted near the highway not far from ranger station so just assumed this was in effect for the whole area. I thank you and Bob the dog and Cooper thank you. We, too, were very frustrated at the large divots left by the inconsiderate person who decided to walk in the tracks. We did come across a pair of hikers but it was on a multi-use trail so they were in the right. Sandy McNabb is such a gem and, as you would have noticed yesterday, quiet and beautiful. Grooming is sporadic and while I would have loved to have kept Sandy my own little secret, if more traffic means more frequent grooming, everyone can consider this their own personal invitation to come out and enjoy this amazing area.

  2. Very informative!

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