You’ve already read about Pipestone from Chris and Karl. I met them as I was starting out and they were finishing on Pipestone #20. They started early in cold weather but I waited for the temperature to warm up and for the snow to speed up.
Chris and Karl mentioned that the parking lot had not been plowed. I’m glad they made it in okay. Getting out is easier because you’re going downhill. Fortunately I have winter tires for these occasions.
I was on the other side of Pipestone Pond, but it was easy to spot MaSid’s couch in the bright sun. It looks like you could enjoy the sun until at least 3 pm. I’m hoping Steve and Jo have photos of the couch because they had lunch there.
The air temperature when I started at 1:10 pm was -6°C and the snow was -8. The sun was shining and the air was calm. The trails were trackset yesterday and were in excellent shape.
The downhills still had enough loose snow to control your speed. There were a few wayward pine needles on the trail but nothing to be concerned with. I had no debris embedded in my wax at the end of the day.
“Peaceful Pipestone” I only encountered eight other skiers on my 13.2K loop.
“Magical Pipestone” I love the ambience of this trail system because it feels so remote and secluded. The sun shining through the snow-laden trees gives an aura of an enchanted forest.
“Beautiful Pipestone” is self-explanatory when you look at the photos.
The best for last: “Dog-friendly Pipestone” The skiing was terrific but it made my day to meet Piper, the friendly golden retriever. At the other end of Piper’s leash was Steve Riggs along with his wife Jo. Steve, being the trendsetter that he is, was sporting an impressively cool covid-19 haircut. Steve is an original SkierBob trip reporter from 2008.
Baker Creek to Castle Lookout
I took the Bow Valley Parkway on the way home and saw brand new tracksetting on the Baker Creek to Castle Lookout trail. The fresh tracksetting continues from Castle Lookout to Castle Junction, so you have 15K of trail with excellent tracks for tomorrow.
On the way to Lake Louise, I made a quick reconnaissance ski on Redearth Creek. It looks like about 4 cm of new snow from the recent storm. I skied for 2K and was pleased to see no tracksetting on the first 1K of trail which is mostly steep hills with turns. The little bridge has lots of snow at both ends so you can take it at speed with no problem. The fresh snow on the multi-use lane has been packed but the tracks, which start at 1K, are still from a previous tracksetting. About 400 metres in, there’s a fallen tree across the trail where you have to remove your skis to get over.
The Bill Milne, Evan-Thomas and Wedge trails are being trackset tonight.
I love reading your posts and often get excited about trying many of these trails, which are new to me. What I would really enjoy is if you would let us “out of towners” know where these locations are. Just a thought.
Bob- your wish is my command! A couch picture:
After clearing the fresh snow and stomping the area a bit, we enjoyed the panoramic view and lunch in the sun. Thanks, MaSid!
We passed by again later on the blue loop (pipestone#20) at around 3- the couch was still catching the rays. I will add that the sometimes challenging hills on the blue loop were in possibly the best shape that I can remember for skiing downhill, while leashed to an eager retriever.
Thanks, Steve. I’ve added the photo to my update. -Bob
Thanks Steve, jo and piper for the couch maintenance at pipestone. Keeps it alive for everyone to use. And always good to see a photo and what condition they are in. See you on the trails soon!