Good news abounds

Snowcat heads up Elk Pass

Just a reminder to purchase your Kananaskis parking pass

Another reminder:  if you’re looking for up-to-date trail conditions, check the Trip Reports on the main menu. Some even have pictures. 

Nov 18: I arrived at the Elk Pass parking lot at 2:45 pm to a temperature of -2°C and lots of fresh snow on the trail. A couple minutes later, James arrived on the Upper Lake access trail in the snowcat.

“Blading” on Hydroline

I can tell you the trails on which James is hoping to accomplish grooming this evening, but let’s not get our hopes too high.  Murphy’s law has a way of interfering with expectations. Elk Pass, Hydroline, South Lookout to the creek, Patterson and Blueberry Hill. I can vouch for the grooming on Elk Pass(2K), Hydroline, and Patterson because I actually observed it. 

After three passes, the finished product

Grooming trails, especially early in the season, requires many passes with the snowcat on each trail. For example, I was skiing up the first grooming pass on Hydroline when James was already coming back on the second pass. You can see the snowcat “blading” the snow from the side of the trail into the middle. This procedure requires two passes, one for each side of the trail. No tracksetting yet.

I took a side trip on South Lookout, which had already been groomed, to the Creek. When I arrived back at Hydroline, the third pass was complete and the trail was now trackset. 

James will be in for a long night if he gets all of it done. Blueberry is always a challenge near the top in the early season. There’s a tree down on Elk Pass which will have to be removed before he can proceed through. 

The creek on South Lookout

I skied down Patterson on the new grooming. What a fun trail when going downhill. I was surprised that I didn’t encounter any bumps or rollers. 

The downhill on Patterson was wonderful

I finished by taking Elk Pass on the ungroomed snow back to the Hydroline junction, then continuing on the new Elk Pass grooming back to the trailhead. It was dark by the time I reached my vehicle. I felt totally safe coming down the big hill in semi-darkness beacause I could see there were no hazards or significant bumps when I climbed it earlier. 

The South Lookout trail to the creek is a very pleasant 1.1K with an elevation drop of 40 metres. I should say, pleasant for 1.08K. The final 20 metres is a steep drop to the creek with open water. Be careful. 

I had excellent grip with VR45(-2/-8). 

Tracksetter James at Elk Pass

There were fifteen vehicles in the Elk Pass parking lot and most were displaying a parking pass. 

It was snowing lightly at Elk Pass when I left around 5:30 pm.

The tracks which Alf made on the Hydroline snowshoe trail are completely filled in. Hopefully some kind soul will re-establish a trail for the snowshoers to follow. Maybe even a snowshoer!

This weekend the Elk Pass parking lot will probably fill up. You can park at the Upper Lake and take the 900-metre Upper Lake access trail which is now groomed to the Elk Pass trail. 

Pocaterra hut

Pocaterra hut is open

The hut will be open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 8 pm. There are fewer tables due to the pandemic along with hand sanitizer and lots of signage about social distancing. A sign on the door requests that you wear a mask but they are not mandatory. 

As MaSid observed earlier in the day, there was even more new snow at Pocaterra Hut then at Elk Pass. I would estimate about 15 cm. There were skier tracks heading out on Pocaterra trail in the deep snow. 

PLPP Discovery Centre reopens on Nov 28. 

Little Red trails. File photo

Little Red trails near Olds are tracket

Do you remember last spring when I was calling these the “Hayfield trails” because they were being kept a secret? Here’s a report from Warren Smith…

”Today Bill and I trackset Hayfield, Timothy and Harriman trails, while Arlene tested the trails.  Town trails will be repacked or set in the next couple of days. If you ski all three the distance is 6.7 km. Firepit and picnic table are fcfs, no reservation required. Remember, as you dress for skiing, to be bright and shiny-it is hunting season.”

Oh,oh. Another acronym. FCFS. 

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  1. That’s good news about pocaterra warming hut. Surprising even. Thanks Bob!

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