In the olden days

Thank you to everyone who has submitted a trip report this winter. They are not only a great source of trail information, but also of entertainment. Many times I find myself laughing while reading them. 

Mike W had two comments that had me chuckling. The first was suggesting to Jean-Francois that he try descending the short-cut at Brewster Creek so that he could give us a report. I don’t even think that MAAD would risk that. 

Mike W’s other remark had me thinking about “the olden days….”

“It was a great day reminiscent of the ‘good old days’ of parking lots with lots of room and empty trails!”

I think he was referring to last year!

It’s interesting how the trip reports frequently begin with a parking lot comment now. 

Who could have predicted the developments that occurred over the past 10 months? What will the future of cross-country skiing look like?

Ribbon Creek/Kananaskis Village

Photo by Tracksetter Jeff

As soon as I posted the above, I received this report and photo straight from Tracksetter Jeff’s snowcat:

“Hi Bob ,

A nice New Year surprise. About 15 cm of cold new snow around the Village. No signs of tree debris or drifting and the winds are feather calm at the moment.”

So far, the trails which have been trackset include Ribbon Creek and Link.  Aspen and Kovach have been partially done. 



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  1. I did some digging to find the full version of that pamphlet:

    I was running 40 Mile Creek this summer and noticed some Parks Canada nordic styled signs. What an area that would be to ski!! Carrot Creek as well, so many gems in there. I also can’t imagine how wonderful Middle Spray River would be if it was still properly maintained. Might need to invest in some LT skis next season…

    • Great find, Chris, not only for the booklet but also the website. I’ve got the paper copy, but your link saves me from having to scan it! I browsed the website for similar booklets (eg, but couldn’t find my “Trip Planning Handbook to Ski Touring” (see my post below for a link to an image of cover page). Nor could I find the booklet whose link you provided. How did you find it?

  2. Yes! That is what I was thinking. I realize the unprecedented interest has led to strain on the current trails and parking, but what if this enlightenment of the masses leads to a bigger voice for this wonderful activity and MORE trails get funded, and better parking solutions are found, and all the other great things mentioned in the above post!

    • my post showed up out of order…. “the above post” refers to MaSids comment. 🙂

    • Full Parking Lots
      With restrictions and physical distancing practices, many vehicles are coming to the trails heads with a single person. This is my unhappy experience. I look forward to the day when we car pool once more.

  3. Who’s this guy? A young Steve Riggs?


    Skier Bob asked what the future of XC skiing will be like. Lets look at ski sales to predict it.

    Well if the lack of choice for ski equipment continues at the many shops I have visited in the last couple of years, skiing may not occur for a lot of people. I have not been able to buy a decent durable reasonable priced pair of ski poles for years. My size does not seem to be available by the time I can make it to ski shops after harvest without paying more for the poles than my skis. The Rossignol poles I bought 3 years ago were junk as the thin straps broke and the tips fell off. I feel like I am living in the old Soviet Union Dictatorship (I wonder if they were short of XC ski poles?). I am on my” back up back up pair” of poles and the tips are nearly worn to the baskets. I can only ski soft trails as a result. I will likely not be able to ski hard spring snow with these poles. I will likely have to resort to being stuck in COVID downhill ski line ups at Lake Louise in late winter rather than cruising on my XC boards.

    I won’t get into how I can’t buy the super narrow high camber metal edge waxable skis I used to be able to buy years ago. UGHHH!

    On Kijiji there are a lot of people looking for XC equipment- the most I have ever seen. People can primarily only buy old junk from way back in the last century. I really don’t think bamboo poles will last more than 5 minutes for me before splintering and leaving dangerous debris on a ski trail for someone to crash into and get all slivered up!

    If ski shops can’t supply equipment demand, a lot of people may never get into the sport or leave it. Some of the local shops are just too small to store gear so I can understand that they run out quickly. But bigger shops have no excuse to run out of equipment selection by the 3rd week of November. They are missing sales and profits as a result. If a “want a be beginner” xc skier can’t buy gear as late as January 31, then they may never get into skiing nor advance and buy better gear as they get better at skiing. This is a potential huge future profit loss to the ski shop industry and ski equipment manufacturing industry. Then such “want a be skiers” won’t introduce 2 friends to skiing and those people won’t introduce 2 friends to skiing and so on and so on. The is what XC opportunity ski equipment sales losses look like not only today but in the future.

    The ski shop and ski manufacturing industry really needs to understand the marketing concept of “Just In Time” supply chains, like other industries do. Imagine if a car parts store only brought in parts the way the ski shops do. You would not be able to get an air filter after the first few weeks of November.

    A lack of XC ski equipment supply also means fewer than the maximum possible amount of new skiers entering the sport. This has negative economic spin off effects on the local economy as well. Just imagine if there were not enough cars for sale on the market or enough gasoline or electricity to supply cars on the road. Similar negative economic spin off effects would occur.

    Lets hope the ski shops in the future better match equipment demand with supply for the benefit of all skiers, their profits and more. If they don’t Amazon may and that will kill a lot of ski shops along with parts of the local shop economy.

  5. Bob, I managed to dig out my copy of the booklet whose cover you displayed. Here’s another booklet cover from “the olden days” –

  6. Colder temps in Bragg creek (wishful thinking); proper tax base funding for grooming given the demand and benefits (or a tax/health credit for user fees); expanded trails and grooming; winter roadside camping options with weather protected cooking facilities; more skis available and snowshoers/walkers embracing this efficient way to travel in winter; a new generation of younger skiers so demand/grooming continues; more seating options in good places; better connections between trails for more continuous ski options; more rapid or strategic parking lot plowing after large snow events, and; Bob finds an apprentice with equal talent.


      Fine political thinking Sid!!!

      Just how old is Skier B0b that he needs an apprentice?

      I was suspecting his legs might be getting up there in age judging by his comments recently on the Redearth Creek trail,

      He is not ready for a snow burial yet I hope.

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