Dec 8, 2020: A snowfall warning is in effect for Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, and it’s a good thing, because the north trails are in dire need of fresh snow. Pocaterra and the north trails received rain, and are a sheet of ice. Be careful on sidewalks and parking lots.
The snowfall warning from the Weather Network is also in effect for Yoho, Lake Louise, Banff, Canmore, Kananaskis, and West Bragg Creek. Most places are expecting 10-15 cm, but Yoho is possibly getting 40 cm. Hello, Emerald Lake. Helen encountered 15 cm of high-density snow at Lake Louise early today.
It was +8ºC when I drove past Kananaskis Village around noon. It rained all the way to Pocaterra. As I headed south towards Elk Pass, the temperature cooled to +1 and I was greeted by 1 cm of fresh snow at the Elk Pass trailhead.
Higher up on Elk Pass, there was more like 2-3 cm of new snow. I could easily tell how much fresh snow was on the trail by how far the hiker in street boots was sinking in. Thankfully he stayed out of the tracks(except on the couch trail). It looks like he hiked to Frozen Lake and back. His up-tracks had a bit of fresh snow in them, so he must have been out early.
There were six vehicles in the Elk Pass parking lot, so I knew the tracks would be well skied-in, but the snow was not conducive to using waxable skis. I used my Fischer twin skins and it was a good choice. I could see divots in the tracks from skiers who were using wax and clumping.
There’s still good skiing to be had on Elk Pass and the south trails. The fresh snow, as little as it was, helped on the steep hills. Coming down the big hill at the end of the day, after many other skiers, it was still edge-able. The best thing about coming down the hill was that it was starting to snow lightly. I hope it turns into something substantial.
It’s been almost four years since I visited couch headquarters in the Elk Pass meadows. The mythology surrounding the couch has grown immensely in that time.
Just as in my previous visit, the sky was overcast all day except the sun tried to peek out just as I arrived at the throne. I don’t know if couch congregating is still allowed. I was skiing and didn’t hear the new covid guidelines, so maybe readers can give their opinions.
It truly is a beautiful location and today was a good day for enjoying the peace and quiet even if the views weren’t as spectacular as usual.
My GPS indicated the route to the couch through Elk Pass meadows is 650 metres. It’s a well-used skier track but wider skis and big baskets are helpful. Today, the Frozen Lake hiker completely destroyed the ski track for the first 150 metres. He was post-holing 30-40 cm into the ski tracks. Thank goodness there was a parallel trail for most of the way, and I believe that’s thanks to Steve Riggs.
Avalanche risk is considerable, so watch where you go.