Cypress Hills is a winter wonderland

Spring Creek trails at Cypress Hills

I started on the Spring Creek ski trails just as the sun was setting. I didn’t know what a treat was in store for me over the next hour and a half.

You’d think with 17 places to ski in the SkierBob empire that I would be satisfied to pick one close to home, but no, I had to venture off to distant and uncharted territory.

I’m in Medicine Hat to visit my brother and some friends from the time I lived here many years ago. It’s a great opportunity to check out the trails in Cypress Hills which is about 60K from the ‘Hat(and 700 metres of elevation higher!). 

There’s an amazing amount of snow in Cypress Hills for this time of year. The trails I skied today were trackset on Dec 10 and already they’re covered with 5-10 cm of new snow. It’s interesting to note the Spring Creek trails are at a similar elevation as the Canmore Nordic Centre, 1430 metres at the trailhead. 

I skied the perimeter loop of the Spring Creek trail system, about 9.3K with an elevation difference of 80 metres from the high point to the low point. Soon after starting out, I was rewarded with one of the most spectacular fiery-red sunsets I’ve ever seen. I skied quickly towards the outer trails, hoping to get a photo without trees in the way, but to no avail. 

There are no steep inclines, just gentle rolling hills where you don’t even have to snowplow. (Excuse me Keith, I guess they’re known as  “wedged descents”) 🙂 

Despite the fresh snow, the tracks were fast and well-defined. Right now it is a winter wonderland with the snow-laden trees. I am expecting to get some photos in the sunshine tomorrow. The weather forecast says sunny and -6. Perfect. 

It’s unlike anything we have in the mountains. There is one connection to the mountains, however, and that’s the Pisten-Bully snowcat which they use here. It is a hand-me-down from the Ribbon Creek trails. I’m hoping to see it on the trails tomorrow!

The animals are circling

There’s a warming hut at the trailhead with a wood stove. MaSid would like this place because the hut is never locked. At the far corner of the trail system, there is a shelter with bathrooms and a firepit. 

There were animal tracks galore in the fresh snow. Cypress Hills is great habitat for cougars. 

Air temperature was -6 and the snow was -5. I used that special night-skiing wax which Helen Read uses, VR4U. Very similar to VR45. I had excellent grip and no sticking. 

If you check the Live Grooming Report for Cypress Hills, you can see which trails have been groomed. Tomorrow, I’m hoping to ski some of the ones which are outside of the Spring Creek system. 

Lost and Found

Dennis lost a pair of black-framed prescription sunglasses at Shaganappi today. If you find them, let us know. You can email me or post a comment. 


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  1. Thanks for the tip bob. Is it the “spring creek” shelter and trailhead, on the east end of the trails?


    Wise choice of night time ski wax!

    Cypress Hills is an amazing place. The sunsets looking over the prairies 2000 feet below are unlike anything else in Alberta or Saskatchewan. Picture perfect. Glad to hear about abundant snow there. That will be good for spring skiing.

    If possible, whip up to the badlands north of Patricia for some spectacular ski shots on the way home. You will get ski shots that are out of this world which will send you back to the Cretaceous Period- well before the Hippie Period. Just don’t hit dinosaur bones with the skis as their teeth do a lot of damage to ski bases.

  3. The Cypress Hills are the highest point of land between the Rockies and Labrador. Great photos Bob, and hope you enjoy yourself tomorrow!

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