Ski Heaven in PLPP

Elk Pass at 3.8K

PLPP = Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. 

Purchase your Kananaskis Parking Pass online. 

Nov 20, 2020: If you want to read about all the new grooming that’s occurring in the SkierBob domain, make sure you read to the end. Chuck has posted enticing photos of the newly-trackset Kicking Horse trail in Yoho. Thanks to everyone who has submitted a Trip Report. The information will help readers decide where to ski this weekend. If you know of any grooming that hasn’t been reported, please let everyone know. 

Elk Pass / Blueberry junction

Chris and Karl have already submitted a PLPP trip report which includes Blueberry Hill so I’ll tell you about Elk Pass and a whole lot more. Chris and Karl have submitted numerous trip reports over the years, so I was very pleased to meet them today. 

Chris and Karl on Elk Pass

When I arrived at the Elk Pass parking lot at 10:30 am, there were already 20 vehicles and a whole bunch of excited skiers getting ready to hit the trail. James did an amazing job of grooming last night and his work has created a lot of happy skiers. 

Pulling in right beside me was notorious couch-builder MaSid. I ran into him on the trail later. I caught him just as he was about to make the turn into the meadows where this season’s couch will be constructed. 

Couch-builder MaSid on Elk Pass.

I was taking a picture of all the skiers at the trailhead when Janice and Charlie decided it was time to take a picture of me. Janice and I gave a demonstration of social distancing which you can see in the photo gallery. 

JR and Karen on Elk Pass

It’s unusual to have tracksetting right from the trailhead this early in the season, but there it was, right out of the gate, those beautiful tracks. Being the last trail which James worked on, there wasn’t any fresh snow on it. Hydroline, the first trail trackset last night, had about one cm of new snow. 

Tracks were firm and fast, but not icy, just the way I like them. 

The temperature at the trailhead was -4°C and VR45(-2/-8) took me up the big hill with minimal herringbones.   

Adrienne approaches the Elk Pass / Patterson junction

The conditions are excellent all the way to the top of Elk Pass. I don’t even have to qualify it by saying “good conditions for early season.” I can tell the conditions are exceptional when coming down the two steep hills at speed. No bumps. 

Last night’s tracksetting in PLPP included Elk Pass, Blueberry Hill, Hydroline, and Patterson. Lookout South has been groomed as far as the creek(1.1k). 

A happy skier descending from the top of Elk Pass

Kananaskis Village

Kananaskis Outfitters posted this on Facebook: “First grooming of this season’s ski trails at the Village. It’s still early season so there are no tracks and some twigs/grass poking through but the staff report is it’s pretty good.”

Yoho News

Chuck talked to Yoho tracksetter Joe and discovered that Yoho Valley road will be trackset tomorrow. Also in Yoho,  Kicking Horse River has been trackset along with Tally-Ho.  Read more about Yoho trails on the KHSC website. 

Naomi reported excellent conditions on Blueberry Hill

More grooming in PLPP

After skiing on Elk Pass, I did some scouting and discovered that Whiskey Jack has been roller packed. I expect there are some early-season hazards and thin snow. Be especially careful at the steep S-turn. 

There has been lots of snowmobile packing on the single-track trails in the south end of PLPP including  Moraine, Boulton Creek, and Fox Creek. Snowmobile packing leaves a rough surface with ridges.  

Thanks to Canmore Chris, we know the Great Divide at Lake Louise was groomed and trackset today. 

Elk Pass Parking

The parking lot will fill up early at Elk Pass, so be prepared to park at the Upper Lake. There’s a 900-metre easy, groomed trail which will take you to Elk Pass. The parking lot at the Upper Lake is huge. The trailhead is at the south end of the lot. 

Last night, coming back in the dark, I saw an elk on the shoulder of Hwy 40 near Galatea. This morning the elk was laying in the ditch, dead. About 100 metres further down the road a smashed-up and disabled truck was parked on the side of the road. It had an incredible amount of damage. 

My usual Photo Gallery App isn’t functioning. We’ll have to make do with this one.


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  1. I rode down the Kicking Horse Trail this summer and was blocked well before the Ottertail river by an ever growing number of large fallen trees. Much thanks (and maybe even a KHSC donation) must be given to the maintenance crew in getting this trail (and all the Yoho trails) in tip-top shape!
    I only discovered these “hidden” gems last year around the time of the loppet -also a hidden gem of an event. And, COVID notwithstanding, really hope to see it go ahead. Well worth the trip, even from Edmonton (and we have snow!)

  2. MaSid looks hardcore.

  3. Thank you for your wonderful reports and dedication to the nordic skiing community! I reluctantly bought my parking pass today…not because I believe we should be paying the UCP government twice for this but because I didn’t want the hassle of explaining to volunteers how I feel this shouldn’t be a user pay facility (we already have one in Canmore). People should know that the pass is actually $54 because of the “processing” fee on Zone4.

    I encourage everyone to write to Jason Nixon requesting that the live grooming be re-instated. I’m not sure why it’s “no longer functioning” which sounds pretty final to me.
    You can submit your feedback using the offical contact form

    Anyways, I think I’ve made my point known so now it’s time to try and put all this behind me on the trails. 🙂 I’ll try to be less grumpy in the future (but this government is making it very difficult)

    Happy skiing!

    Cindy, the Live Grooming Reports were operated by a private individual who seems to have disappeared. There was no government involvement. -Bob

    • The government doesn’t owe you free grooming any more than it owes you free ice time, free downhill lift passes, free camping or free golf greens fees.

    • You tell ’em Cindy! I feel exactly the same way. I’ll buy the pass to support our volunteers but I’m not happy about it.

      @yyc below – the government subsidizes lots of things that are considered a net benefit to Albertans – roads, oil and gas, utilities, hockey rinks, golf courses. Why not cross country tracksetting that’s world class and enjoyed by thousands for a paltry $200k, that’s not even a rounding error in the provincial government’s budget.

      • You can always vote for a different government, next time. But this is what we have for the next few years. In the meantime, we have groomed trails thanks to the efforts of Nordiq Alberta and everyone who pays for a parking pass.

    • I agree- the physical and mental health benefits of xc skiing are more worthy of taxpayer funding than many other things. The reality is though that we, the xc ski community, want to have pretty much exclusive use of these trails in winter, with grooming to facilitate our chosen sport. For that- we should expect to contribute.
      So it’s a measly $54, per vehicle, for the season. Or- roughly two day passes at many other xc ski areas. Or- it’s less than the real cost (vehicle purchase, depreciation, insurance, maintenance, fuel etc..) of a days drive to go skiing.

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