Goat Creek and Spray River

Fri Jan 10, 2020

I met Guillaume when I was about 3K down the Goat Creek trail

A search party should be organized in Banff National Park. We need to find the Banff tracksetter! There’s 10-15 cm of fresh snow on Goat Creek which requires grooming. 

On the bright side, the snow was cold, clean and free of debris. The skier-set tracks were quite fast considering all the new snow. Not a rock to be seen anywhere. 

Lots of fresh snow on Goat Creek

When I reached Spray River West at 9K, similar to Ernie and Maria’s experience on the Bill Milne trail, I didn’t see a post hole, a snowshoe track nor a trace of fat bikers. From 9K until 700 mtres from Banff, the trail had been used by skiers only, a very rare occurrence!

The beginning of the steep descent to the Goat Creek bridge at 7K

After an appointment in Canmore today, Cheryl dropped me off at the Goat Creek trailhead at 2 pm where it was overcast with a slight breeze. The breeze disappeared as soon as I skied down the first hill from the parking lot(no rocks!).  The air temperature was -8°C and the snow was -7. VR40(-4/-12) gave good grip when I needed it. 

Spray River at 9K

When I reached the Banff boundary at .9K, I was praying there would be new tracksetting. No such luck. There was no sign of the old tracksetting with all the fresh snow, but skier tracks soon appeared. 

The steep trench down to the Goat Creek bridge at 7K is still edge-able and I didn’t have to remove my skis but if it gets a lot of traffic tomorrow, I would encourage you to be very careful. 

A rare sight on Spray River West. Ski tracks only.

The steep hill down to the Spray River bridge at 9K had lots of snow, and the sharp turns are high-banked with all the fresh snow that has been pushed to the side. 

After the East-West junction at 13.3K the tracks on Spray River West were well used and starting to get washed out. I think Erin had the right idea by taking Spray River East.

There were four trees encroaching on the Goat Creek trail but all were easy to skirt or duck under. 

Spray River West: This sign is working!

The first 900 metres from the Goat Creek trailhead to the Banff boundary was well-packed by multi-users and had no hazards. 

In the final analysis, Goat Creek and Spray River West are skiable but could be so much better with some grooming. 


Spray River West: the home stretch, about 3.5K from Banff

As you’ve already seen on my previous post, Skogan Pass, Sunburst, High Level, and Skogan Loop were trackset today. It’s been a while since I’ve seen all the trails around Ribbon Creek in such great shape. Thanks to Jeff and Alex for the timely tracksetting. With the cold weather approaching, the water and ice may appear on the Bill Milne trail. The following caution has been posted on the trail report:

“The extreme cold temperatures expected in the next few days may cause the Kananaskis River to back up and ice over a section of Bill Milne between the Golf Course and the Nakiska access road. This can typically occur overnight with the right conditions so the ice may or may not be signed.”

At Lake Louise today, the Shoreline, Upper Telemark and Peyto trails were trackset. 

At Canmore Nordic Centre this weekend, the Upper Competition trails and stadium will be closed to recreational skiers, This shouldn’t have much impact on rec skiers, but parking may be a challenge. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. The following comment was submitted by Kiley on my Facebook page:

    Curious if anyone knows why the tracksetting in Banff seems to be such a low priority? Lake Louise does an amazing job with their trails. You would think with higher visitation in Banff as well as a higher percentage of locals looking for nearby trails that this would be done more frequently…

  2. It looks like you were a few hours behind us! ? Great ski, but I’m also looking forward to doing it again with fresh, crisp tracks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *