West Bragg – South Elbow

Gabriella and Ally on Sundog trail

Before I start my report, here is an important update from West Bragg Creek Groomer Jeff:

“For any skate skiers, be aware that two horses post holed and shat all over the skate lane of East Sundog this afternoon, making it hazardous for skate skiing. Please avoid this area for the time being. Thanks for your patience while we repair the damage. Conditions elsewhere on the trail system remain quite good.”

Brittany with her big, friendly dog named Hoss on Sundog

It’s been 15 years since I last skied the South Elbow trail to Allen Bill pond. The trail now ends up at the new Elbow/Fullerton trailhead. Hearing about the packing on South Elbow, I figured it was time to do it again. 

North Elbow was in nice shape with cold snow and good tracks.

It was +6°C at the West Bragg Creek trailhead at 1:15 pm so I played it safe and used my Fischer twin skins. When I started up Sundog(dodging the horse manure and post holes), I was wondering if I made the right decision about not using my waxable skis because the snow looked VR45-worthy. 

The angle of the sun is very low and the trails I skied today were protected for the most part by trees. It would be interesting to hear how Mountain road fared in this warm weather, being very exposed as it is. 

South Elbow – not so good

I had great grip as I climbed Sundog and talked to a few skiers and enjoyed the antics of some dogs. The grooming and tracksetting was still in excellent condition. 

At 1.7K I turned onto North Elbow. The grooming and tracksetting is a little older but still in good condition. The fast downhills were still “edge-able.” As I neared the first Iron Springs junction, there was a stretch of trail with quite a bit of tree debris, so now I’m starting to be happy with my decision to use my skin skis. 

The final kilometre of South Elbow

At 4.2K I turned onto South Elbow and things changed dramatically. The next 3.2K of trail to Fullerton was, to use Ray’s term, defensive skiing. There were lots of ridges and ruts and snowmobile tracks. To make matters more terrifying, the snow was crusty and it was difficult to snowplow on the fast downhills. 

Now I was extremely happy about my ski selection because my skin skis are wider and a lot more stable. 

Karla picked the winner of the Fischer skis contest

At 6.4K I realized I had been on the good part of the trail! Past the Fullerton junction, the trail is nothing but a mess of footprints from hikers accessing the Fullerton Loop hiking trail. The final 1K is definitely not worth doing unless you have a death wish. 

Brennan and Karla on Sundog trail

We have a winner

While on Sundog trail I coerced Karla to make the draw for the winner of the Fischer skis contest. Our lucky winner is…Mary Perrott. Congratulations! You may recognize Mary’s name as one of our trip reporters. 

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments. 

I was sent a photo by Henry who observed some destruction on Crystal Line. I’ll post the photo in the gallery below. 

Canmore Nordic Centre

Jim Hendry sent me the following email regarding this weekend at the Canmore Nordic Centre:

“This weekend the biggest ski race ever held at Nordic Centre is going down.  Like 700 racers from all over North America.  Not going to be the place for a quiet Sunday morning ski. By Monday everyone will be gone and back to normal.”


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