Skiing ’til sunset on Christmas eve

Before I get started on this report, I want to say that I enjoy seeing the comments and getting the questions from beginner skiers. The readers on this blog are very helpful and have a wealth of information at their fingertips for those of you who are just starting out.

Lower West Crystal

I thought we got started too late, but ended up enjoying the late day ambience and even some moonlight as the day drew to a close. Funny thing, though, we were skiing back to the trailhead on Mountain road and enjoying the sunset…in the east!

Up above was the moon, and back at the trailhead a number of skiers were just preparing to start out. 

Mountain road

I met a couple novice skiers and their rambunctious dog at the West Bragg Creek trailhead around 4 pm for a short but pleasant ski on Lower West Crystal with a return on  Mountain road. That loop is only 4K but I think Freddie the springer spaniel logged about 10K. 

My favourite feature of West Bragg Creek is seeing all the dogs, and even late in the day we must have encountered at least 10. Good times!

Woogie had enjoyed his ski and was now resting in Patrick’s backpack

After reading Alf’s report this morning, I made sure I took my skin skis, preparing for wet snow. Surprise! The snow did not deteriorate whatsoever, not even on Mountain road which is totally sun exposed. I could have used my waxable skis with purple wax and had plenty of grip. Being late afternoon, the temperature had cooled down but I didn’t notice anything icy. The air temperature was +1°C when we started but had cooled off to -4 when we finished. The air was calm. 

The trails have been well-used and the tracks on West Crystal were getting washed out, but surprisingly the tracks on Mountain road were still in fine shape. 

There was a lull in the grooming action at WBC due to a faulty hydraulic line on the snow rabbit, but it has been fixed and we can expect more grooming in the coming days. 

The temperatures for the remainder of the week are now going to be cool enough to preserve all this fine snow, and there’s even more snow in the forecast for Saturday. 

Chris and Karl’s comment about meeting a skier from Goat Creek prompted me to look at the Banff trail report. Lo and behold, it has been trackset. 

Can anyone figure out from the Banff trail report if Cascade Valley to the 6K bridge was trackset today? At the top it still has Dec 20 as the date which means it would be buried in 30 cm of snow. On the other hand, it says “good condition,” so it leads me to believe it may have been done today. 

Castle Lookout to Baker Creek has been trackset, as well as Castle Junction to Castle Lookout. 

Merry Christmas everyone!


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  1. Woogie the Snow Yorkie

    Great to finally meet you Skier Bob. Woogie is a celebrity snow dog now. Let’s hope it doesn’t go to his head. Thanks for maintaining this awesome site. It’s always great to know if trail conditions are naughty or nice before heading out. Merry Christmas!

  2. Skied Cascade Fire Road to the bridge first thing this morning and it was in great shape! It has been double track set at until the bridge and single track set beyond the bridge. Not sure when the grooming happened but it was recently after the last snow fall. We saw lots of wolf paw prints and we are pretty sure they were not too far: we saw fresh scat and urine markings on our way back up from the bridge that weren’t not there as we descended to the bridge a mere 15-20 minutes prior!

  3. Friends did Cascade to the bridge today and enjoyed it so I think it must be good!

  4. Deirdre (Dee) O'Brien

    Merry Christmas Bob to you and all your contributors. As a former skier now an arm-chair one I really appreciate and enjoy your Blog. So many people I know read and learn from it. Many thanks and I’m sure you will all continue on with a great season. Cheers!

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