Welcome to December

It sounds like it was another busy day at couch headquarters in the Elk Pass meadows. Thanks to Leslie H for the great photo of MaSid enjoying his handiwork. 

Leslie added these remarks in her email “He was holding court and working at maintaining the wind break wall and preparing all of it to hold up as much as possible during the upcoming Chinook. Besides debris from recent winds, the trails were in nice condition. Did Elk Pass—Blueberry hill—the couch—continued to hydroline —Elk Pass—hydroline—Patterson.”

Ken Hewitt mentioned the self-pay box at Elk Pass parking lot is operational now with pay envelopes and brochures. You can also buy your Kananaskis parking pass online

Helen Read on Bow River loop

I wish we had more snow, but the conditions and the limited venues are probably more representative of the situation at this time of year. We got a little spoiled over the past few years. 


We’ve had detailed Trip Reports from all the trails I skied at Lake Louise today. We’ve also received a good report from one which I didn’t ski, Pipestone. Take note of the final photo on Chuck’s pictures. You can open the gates and walk through, much easier than climbing the stairs and trying to open the door with your skis and poles in hand. 

I enjoyed running into many “blog people” today including Keith on Fairview, Ray and Mary Perrott on Tramline, and Helen Read on the Bow River Loop. 

Bow River Loop

Before skiing the Fairview Loop I stopped at the Bow River loop to check conditions and take photos. Helen was skiing there and returned my snow thermometer to me. I forgot it on Elk Pass a while back. Speaking of which, the snow temperature at the Fairview trailhead at 12:30 pm was -8°C. Air temperature also -8. Nice blue wax day. 

The Bow River Loop gets walked on a lot, but the hikers are doing a good job of staying out of the tracks. 

All the trails have occasional tree debris. On a cold day, using blue wax, the pine needles don’t stick in the wax as bad. I had one pine needle after skiing. 


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  1. On Tuesday my wife and I skied Elk Pass and she skied out Trywhitt and Whiskey Jack. Conditions were rather icy and the trail could use more snow and some grooming. Earlier in the day we meet a group of older skiers (like us) on the trail. Later in the day my wife encountered the same group with one skier having fallen on one of the steeper downhills of Whiskey Jack and having suffered what appears to be a severe break of one of his legs. The trail was very icy and fast. The group had moved the skier off the trail, had him wrapped in a space blanket and one member was sent off to summon the SAR team as there was no cell phone coverage in the area. We met the SAR team heading off with Ski-doos at the Boulton Parking area about an hour after the incident. The lesson here is that conditions are quite icy and accidents can happen at any time. The group seemed well equipped with warm clothing and some safety gear. They did not have a way of communicating and as I was coming down a shorter route from the pass, I was carrying the InReach, so I could not help. But would have this been faster that someone did by skiing out and driving to find the Rangers. I often see skiers who have nothing more than a little bum bag with a water bottle and Powerbar and no extra clothing or safety gear. Luckily it was not to cold on Tuesday, but having to wait an hour or several hours for rescue could be very uncomfortable or dangerous. Carry some extra clothing, some safety gear and a way of communicating such as an InReach or a Spot if possible. PS, when my wife asked if they needed any more help, the skier asked her for Whisky, which she could not provide at the time.

  2. Are users required to purchase and display a Couch Pass?

    • I believe it is called a Cookie Pass.

      I heard MaSid has rigged a cookie catcher to his ski pole to safely collect said passes.

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