Can you imagine?

Upper Pocaterra

Nov 21, 2020: With all this early snow, can you imagine how upset everyone would be if grooming in Kananaskis had been cancelled for good? I expect skiers would be out protesting with torches and pitchforks ski poles. 

Pat and Bert on Tyrwhitt

We owe a debt of gratitude to Nordiq Alberta for their well-thought-out proposal to continue grooming operations, and I’m especially happy that it’s the same personnel doing the grooming as before. Have you purchased your Kananaskis Parking Pass?

Mitch and Lindsay at the Whiskey Jack picnic table

I was happy to get the grooming report this morning by email from James when he finished at 2 a.m. I’m led to believe this is a temporary fix for the lack of Live Grooming Reports. I’m told by Alberta Parks that “Ultimately our groomers will be updating directly.” Sounds like a good plan.

After reading James’ report, I decided to break with tradition and ski on a Saturday. (I’m doing my part to ease the crowding by staying home on the weekends). I skied all of last night’s new grooming and tracksetting, doing Whiskey Jack for the 195th and 196th time. 

Bailey started early and had already arrived at Whiskey Jack from Elk Pass.

Whiskey Jack is popular because you have so many choices when you get to the top. When I started climbing around 10:30, there was 1 cm of overnight snow on the new tracksetting, and 2 cm upon reaching the top. My VR45 from yesterday was too sticky for the fresh snow, so I rewaxed at the top with VR40(-4/-12) and it worked well for the remainder of the day. 

Thanks to these skiers, I avoided iffy conditions on Packers

I was surprised at how well the bumps on Tyrwhitt have been smoothed out. This is very early to be skiing on Tyrwhitt. It is groomed only, not trackset.

I backtracked and headed down Pocaterra to the Packers junction. I was considering testing out the roll-packing on Packers until I talked to two groups of skiers who had just ascended and said it was very rough, and would be high-risk behavior to descend.

I climbed back up to the Whiskey Jack junction and enjoyed the fast run down to Boulton Creek. There are no hazards to speak of. The steep S-turn has some uneven snow but I negotiated it just fine. 

I was the third vehicle at the Boulton Creek parking lot this morning. There were 20 cars when I finished. I’m hoping to hear about the Elk Pass and Upper Lake parking. Was it busy? I noticed the parking lot at Pocaterra Hut had 50-60 cars. 

Spring Creek trails in Cypress Hills. Photo by Courtney

The Back Door parking is open. I chatted with a couple groups who parked there today. There are now signs saying no parking on the road.  It was roped off the other day to allow room for the truck and trailer which hauls the snowcat. 

“Greetings from the far reaches of the empire” – Courtney

We’re not the only ones enjoying great early-season conditions. Courtney was skiing in Cypress Hills today and sent the photo from the Spring Creek trails. She remarked, “Two bluebird degrees today on tracks set earlier this week at the Spring Creek trail system in Cypress Hills Provincial Park. Still some early season obstacles but great conditions for waxless skis.”


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  1. Great to meet you Skier Bob! We had a great day out!
    -Lindsay and Mitch

  2. Thanks to Skier Bob for the Upper Lake parking tip. We were the first vehicle in the Upper Lake lot at about 9:40 this morning. When we finished at 1:30, the Elk Pass parking lot was completely full, including vehicles parked on the side of the short access road into lot. Upper Lake had probably 15 or 16 vehicles and my buddy commented that the massive Upper Lake lot is a much better option than the crowded Elk Pass lot. We also enjoyed having that nice little 0.9 km connector stretch to casually ski after coming down to the Elk Pass lot.

  3. We arrived at 10:30 today at Elk Pass parking and were the last to squiz in

  4. I was one of the skiers who told you not to ski down Packers, and we only realized it was you after you left!

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