Tyrwhitt Loop


Feb 13, 2020

It was a challenge to find a place to ski where there was no wind. I stopped at Ribbon Creek but it was very windy and the temperature was rising.

At least I got a good picture of some skiers and a friendly dog named Kimmick at the Kananaskis River bridge on the Bill Milne trail. My friend Peter Neumann is in that photo, too. 

Skiers preparing to cross the bridge on the Bill Milne trail

Peter told me later that “from bridge back to parking lot into strong cross/headwind.  At one point I thought a low flying 747 was approaching, but it was a snow tornado”. 

Whiskey Jack. Still seeing some occasional “Winter Wonderland”

I decided to head south to PLPP in search of calm air and colder snow. The wind was howling all the way and was still ferocious when I stopped at Elkwood at 2 pm. Further along, at Boulton Creek I found utopia: no wind, blue sky, and the snow temperature was -4°C! The air temperature was -1.

I wasted no time getting ready and headed up Whiskey Jack on excellent conditions. There’s 5 cm of fresh snow on the trail but the tracks were still well-defined and fast. VR45(-2/-8) was giving good grip and I could stride most of the steep hill. 

Whiskey Jack

Tyrwhitt was amazing with cold, clean snow and no wind. Despite fresh snow on the trail, the tracks were fast, just like on Whiskey Jack. 

Conditions were fine when I started down Elk Pass. The downhills were fun and controllable and the new tracksetting was wonderful. Things took a dramatic turn for the worse at the bottom of the big hills. I encountered all the tree bombs and debris that Helen was mentioning. The wind had died down but I could see the destruction it had caused earlier in the day. 

Tree bombs have deposited a lot of shrapnel on Elk Pass

Like Helen, I skied a lot of the time on the corduroy. Needlemania was prevalent as I neared the north Hydroline junction. The chunks of snow in the tracks are going to be icy tomorrow and there are hundreds of them. 

It looked like it was trying to snow, and there is 1 cm in the forecast but it will take a lot more than that, and some new grooming to make Elk Pass enjoyable. 

Fox Creek

Fox Creek was much better than I expected with reasonably good tracks, just some tree debris which was of little concern. Moraine was even better with clean tracks and good snow. I was able to control my speed on the steep downhill. 

I met one skier returning to Boulton Creek as I started out but other than that, I had the place to myself. 

Pocaterra at the Whiskey Jack junction

Canmore Nordic Centre Event Advisory:

2020 Alberta Winter Games will be taking place at the CNCPP this upcoming weekend, February 14 – 19. Official training will start on Friday and the Cross Country and Biathlon races will take place Saturday – Monday. Recreation ski trails (Banff, Meadowview, Bow etc.) will remain OPEN to the public. Please expect all CNCPP facilities to be busy due to the Family Day weekend. (Reminder: Monday Feb 17 Junior & Children’s day passes 50% off!) 

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