I thought it was time to check out the conditions at Strathmore, and did I ever pick the right day to go. Ed Meyer in his Pisten-Bully and a volunteer on a snowmobile were grooming and tracksetting when I arrived.
The temperature at 3 pm was -19°C with a light breeze. The wind was coming from the north, and while not strong, at -19 it required me to pull the buff over my face when skiing into it. The sun was struggling to poke through the clouds.
I started out through the driving range and proceeded across the canal and onto the north trails. There is only one access over the canal so you have to return to the same spot but you can do a number of loops on the north end.
When I was skiing the south trails, I was surprised to see three other skiers out. Word of new tracksetting travels fast I guess. I also saw the snowcat and snowmobile as they were exiting from grooming the lake.
With the proper glide wax on my skis, I was moving along just fine. As Steve Riggs mentioned, it helps to keep your wax pocket slightly shorter on cold days. I also only apply two thin layers of polar grip wax.
The tracks have a few places with some grass showing but it wasn’t of any consequence. Only one place had some gravel exposed but it was easy to get around.
Strathmore is a good place for beginner skiers because it’s pretty flat. The one hill of any note is long and gradual with no more than 10 metres of elevation change.
The map from a few years ago which I’ve added to the gallery below shows about 10K of trails. Presently, It might be slightly less than that because there is only one loop on the lake.
The clubhouse with warm bathrooms is only open Mon-Fri from 9-4. It costs $5.00, so bring cash to deposit in the box at the trailhead.
If you want to know more about Ed, read this update from a few years ago: Giving back: The generous man behind Strathmore grooming.
“Bill Milne, Wedge Connector and Evan Thomas groomed today. Excellent conditions. A small ice flow exists on Bill Milne at the north end of the meadow. It does not present a problem right now, but has the potential to get bigger.”
West Bragg Creek: “Lots of beauty new tracks laid in the last 48 hrs including Telephone Loop! Dress warm and have fun out there!”