Skogan Loop Viewpoint

With so many wonderful trails in the Ribbon Creek system in excellent condition, it’s difficult to decide which one to ski next. 

Top of the Screamer where the ski trail parallels the Nakiska service road.

Yesterday, it was a sensual delight to ski Hay Meadow in such pristine condition with sunny skies and a temperature of -13°C. HM and Bill Milne, which I skied yesterday, are two easy trails which boast some of the most spectacular scenery that you’ll encounter anywhere. 

Skogan Pass

By the way, Alex and Jeff have snomobile packed a detour around the big ice flow on the Bill Milne trail. Read Jeff’s update on the Groomer’s Reports. 

Julia was on her way down

After completing Hay Meadow and climbing Ruthie’s, I came to the Skogan Pass – Ruthie’s – Hidden junction. The 1K section of Skogan Pass ascending from this intersection is affectionately known as the Screamer. 

I was speculating that the temperatures at higher elevations would be even warmer, so up I go. I could see that it was going to be fun on the return. The Screamer is steep but it flows nicely and has high-banked turns that are tight but quite manageable. 

My turnaround point at the Skogan Loop viewpoint.

Skogan Pass is #1 on Risto’s Hill Pain Score, so it’s not child’s play. To illustrate how steep and unrelenting it is, on my descent from 580 metres of net elevation, the total ascent was only 15 metres. That tells you it is basically straight up without a break.

Heading down the Skogan Screamer was fun.

This cold snow is incredibly abrasive and I was already starting to slip at the top of the Screamer. I should have stopped and added some wax rather than tiring my upper body. What made me reluctant to stop was that the temperature was getting colder, and after the Sunburst junction, I was in complete shade. 

Ready for a fast, cool descent.

I found a sliver of sunshine and when I did finally stop to wax, about 1K from the Skogan Loop junction, all that was left on my skis was a bit of base binder. I had excellent grip after adding a couple layers of Polar wax. 

I met Julia and Donald who were on their way back from doing the Skogan Loop. Adam was also up here but we failed to cross paths. 

It was getting late, and I was tired and cold, so I was satisfied to turn around at the first viewpoint on the Loop. I had skied 8K and made a net elevation gain of 580 metres from the Stoney trailhead. 

There was still some sunshine at the viewpoint, so it was a good place to eat a cookie and prepare for the trip down. I also took a snow temperature which was -16.

After putting on every piece of warm clothing I had in my pack(vest, down-filled jacket, a second toque, buff, and mitts), I headed back down for a quick but cool descent. As I expected, the Screamer was the most fun of all. The excellent snow conditions made for an easy descent by Skogan Pass standards.  

At the bottom of the Screamer I took Lower Skogan back to the trailhead. It is in good shape except for the two ice flows which are still easy enough to traverse. I couldn’t take any pictures of Lower Skogan because my camera battery was frozen. 

PLPP: Last night, Whiskey Jack, Packers, and Upper Pocaterra were trackset. 

Lake Louise: Fairview was trackset yesterday. 

Banff: Redearth Creek was trackset yesterday, but I wonder how far. 

West Bragg Creek: “All of the core trails have been roller-packed and there is some track-setting, where the snow depth is deep enough.” -Alf Skrastins is predicting 5 cm of snow for West Bragg Creek on Friday. 

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