The empire: evolving and changing

Smith-Dorrien Upper Yellow (2004)

When I started this blog in the fall of 2008, my intention was to give condition updates on all the groomed trails within a 75-minute drive from Canmore.

Smith-Dorrien Upper Yellow (2004)

The original SkierBob banana republic covered the following areas(with original km of groomed trails):

  • Yoho 43
  • Lake Louise 79
  • Banff 77
  • Canmore 65
  • Mt Shark 30
  • PLPP 80
  • Ribbon Creek 56
  • West Bragg Creek 50
  • Sandy McNabb 37
  • Calgary golf courses 10?
  • Smith-Dorrien 32
  • Hawkridge 8

That amounted to 567 K of groomed trails. We have subsequently lost the following from the above list(there are likely a few I can’t think of off-hand):

  • Smith-Dorrien 32
  • Hawkridge 8
  • Ribbon Creek(Marmot, Ribbon Creek partial) 5
  • Sandy McNabb(Death Valley loop) 4
  • East side of Emerald Lake 1

These were wonderful trails when groomed 

We added some distance to the domain by annexing a few territories, along with expansion of the system in West Bragg Creek:

  • Golden, BC
  • Strathmore golf course
  • Baker Creek to Castle Lookout
  • West Bragg Creek (Loggers, Mountainview, Mountainview West, Mountain Rd, Iron Creek)

We are near 600K of groomed trails and have become a full-fledged banana empire.

The floods of 2013 altered the landscape dramatically. We lost two amazing trails, the initial 3.6K of Pocaterra, and the easy, beginner-friendly Ribbon Creek. Both trails were rebuilt but in a much different configuration than the original. The upside is that they will not be destroyed by flooding in the future. 

The Smith-Dorrien trails were groomed for the last time in Dec 2008 when this blog was only a few days old. I wrote one post before they disappeared Chester-Sawmill aka Smith-Dorrien report. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. We also lost Marmot to mid-mountain in the flood too.

  2. The population of the Calgary/Southern Alberta region has tripled since the 1980’s.
    Except for the creation of the Canmore Nordic Centre and the addition of new trails by West Bragg Creek volunteers, the actual amount of XC ski trails in Kananaskis Country has decreased. There has been no comprehensive plan in the past 30 years to address the increased demand for outdoor recreation that results from this regional population increase. Successive governments since Don Getty and Ralph Klein have cut funding for trails. The NDP did create the Castle Parks and invested in trail and infrastructure upgrades in Kananaskis.
    The UCP governments helpful plan is to have Australian companies remove mountain tops and sell the coal for nothing to China… and to turn the rest of the public lands over to OHV users.
    Peter Lougheed would be ashamed of the lack of leadership and vision.

  3. In PLPP we also lost part of Boulton Creek due to the flood. This were subsequently replaced, though I preferred the original. Sunshine used to groom and trackset trails up in the village on a regular basis and even had a nordic lift pass that allowed a ride up the gondola and one ride up either Strawberry or WaWa. There was one loop above WaWa, a loop in the meadows beyond Strawberry and a loop below the village. I don’t know what the total km was. Last time I was at Sunshine it looked like the loop below the village was groomed for skating, though without a season pass you’d have to pay the full lift price to get up there.

    • Hi Peter, the “old” Boulton Creek was a much easier trail. Just like Pocaterra and Ribbon Creek, it was rebuilt at higher elevation and it became more difficult.

  4. Before your time Bob pre 1988 Ribbon Creek had almost 68 km of groomed trails. The trails around the Nakiska ski area like Stump Meadow, Timber Trail an extended Coal Mine and Ruthie’s were some of the best ski trails in Kananaskis.

  5. According to the latest news and weather the empire’s assets will be frozen this weekend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *