Mid-season update

Cascade Valley elk on Jan 15. Photo by Chuck

Jan 16, 2021

(I’ve summarized the grooming updates at the bottom of this post)

Do you realize that ski season is half-over? 

This first half of this season has been pretty typical as far as snow and conditions.  Rain, wind, warm temperatures are something we deal with throughout most ski seasons. Two of the last three years have been exceptionally good with last year the best ever, but we can’t expect that all the time. Does anything stand out for you so far this year? 

The Kananaskis parking pass project has been a huge success. That’s my assessment, nothing official. Three months ago we didn’t even know if there would be groomed trails in K-country. It took capable, skilled people to organize and execute this program and the xc community is blessed with such folks. 

Ski Mania

So far in January, this blog is averaging 13,539 visits per day. That is up a whopping 160% over last year. 

999,073 visits have been logged since Oct 1. Today, someone will become this winter’s one-millionth visitor. 

Ski Mania has been quite the shocker. Stores sold out of gear. Parking lots overflowing. What do you think will happen when the pandemic is over? Will all the new skiers continue skiing or will there suddenly be a lot of used equipment for sale?

This winter is remarkable for another reason: we haven’t had a cold snap where it’s too cold to ski(for most people).  That’s about to change according to the Weather Network. 

Thanks to everyone who has submitted a trip report. Did you take note of this trip report yesterday from Brad…

“Nakiska to Skogan Pass to Dead Mans Flat return.
Enough has been written about Skogan, I’ll just add icy and fast on the descent. Light trail breaking on the descent from Skogan to Dead Mans. About halfway down where the traffic picks up from that side, it became very icy and the descent was fast and sketchy. Used skins for the ascent back up to Skogan. Great day out!”

Brad did 36K with a net elevation gain of 1200 metres. Half of it was on ungroomed trails. I bike the Dead Man’s side every summer and it’s very enjoyable, but I can’t imagine skiing it on sketchy conditions. 

Grooming updates

Cascade Valley on Jan 15. Photo by Chuck

Cascade Valley in Banff National Park was trackset yesterday. 

Ribbon Creek and the Kananaskis Village trails were trackset and come with these remarks from the tracksetter:  “Conditions are good, though more spring like, and will vary depending on elevation, aspect, and use, amongst other factors. Ski with care.”

Kicking Horse in Yoho. KHSC photo

Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

It looks like a double shift happened yesterday/last night. The following trails have been trackset:

  • Amos
  • Meadow
  • Wheeler
  • Lodgepole
  • Elk Pass
  • Blueberry Hill
  • Hydroline
  • Patterson

Yoho – Emerald Lake

Update from Jan 14: “Yes —Joe did Kicking Horse/TallyHo today/with many trees down—after the warm weather & tons of snow!
Tomorrow he hopes to do Emerald via the Connector with a trail on The ice???
We hope all goes well for a great weekend!”

Lake Louise: Great Divide and Lower Telemark

Redearth Creek has been trackset. Both Normand and Chris S have cautioned about doing this trail. Chris S: “Definitely not a beginner trail unless you’re comfortable with the downhill runs, in particular the final drop to the parking lot.” and Normand “I can see the lowermost 4 km being challenging on skinny skis, especially where the snow is starting to be a bit scraped off.”

West Bragg Creek from Boomer Groomer

1900h Jan. 15, 2021
Still no new snow and temps got up to +6C on the trails this afternoon. Subzero temps tonight means the possibility of ice and crusty conditions in many areas especially on hills and southern exposures on Saturday. Classic tracks may be glazed and fast depending on aspect. Skate lanes especially Mountain Road W. were surprisingly good this afternoon, once west of the first cattle guard. Expect a mixed bag of conditions throughout the area for the weekend. Be COVID aware!

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