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  1. Why buy a pair of ice skates when you can use your XC boots on ice skate blades fitted with NNN or NNN-BC bindings!? It looks like this has been a “thing” for a while. Can’t believe I haven’t heard of it before!–1000×500.jpg

  2. I just saw that Kananaskis is going to charge admission:
    I didn’t see that one coming….
    Will this fee be on top of the grooming fee?

  3. I didn’t get an answer to my question the other day about furniture polish so if anybody can help that would be great. Is it used on the top sheet or as a glide wax (or both)? Since I’m not doing much furniture polishing these days, what type or brand is recommended? Thanks.

  4. Does anyone know what happens to the Lost and Found while the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre is closed?

  5. Hi All!
    Looking for recommendations on metal edged skis. I recall a bit of chatter earlier this year about the benefits and would be interested in hearing what people are skiing on. Stability and control will be important for me. I’d like to say light and fast as well, but you can’t have everything. Perhaps a little of both is possible?
    I’ve been forced to take this year off, but I hope to be back skiing next year.

    • Scroll down to my October 21, 2020 at 12:37 pm post and replies about metal-edged skis for use on groomed trails. My friend ended up buying the Rossignol BC65 and is very happy with them.

    • Just keep in mind they are slower, metal edges matched up with a wider ski. I’ve used them to look for a little bit off track fun.

      Sometimes the stability and control is not always about the ski. My brother has used skinnys and is usually ahead of me flying down a hill that’s scrapped clean.

      Try to rent, try them out, I love mine but it all depends on your style, strength and trail.

    • Wendy, I just wrote a big response to your question but it disappeared in cyberspace so think best if I ask/impose on Bob to share my email with you. All I ski on are metal edge skis with NNN BC manual bindings. Not sure what you are looking for but since Mike W suggested the Rossignol BC 65’s, thought I would chime in. I have owned Rossignol BC 65’s in waxable since 2008 and love them, and a few years ago bought Rossignol BC 65’s in waxless fish scales and dislike them. My favorite skis are my Asnes Cecelia’s from Norsemen and they are waxable, but have ability to easily add a kicker skin. Happy to chat/email more.

      • Thank you Helen. I’ve been wondering what you do all those miles on. I have old Rossignol BC65s that I’ve hardly used and just learned recently that I could buy kicker skins for them. I have full length skins but don’t really have the skill to do serious backcountry. Well, the kicker skins were sold out everywhere by the time I learned about the concept, but I’ll be more alert next season.

    • Madshus Fjelltech M44 is a 3/4 length metal edge skin ski, 54 mm at widest point. This will kick and glide better than a BC65, and not rub side of track in turns. Available at Norseman among other places.


      I highly recommend that you look at Madshus Fjelltech M44 skis. They seem to be the most narrow metal edge ski on the market today. The only thing that turns me off about them is they have a partial mohair base waxable base. In late spring conditions, I normally do not wax and I would not want mohair slowing me down. I would also assume it would be difficult to skate with a mohair ski base- but I have no experience skiing on skis with mohair ski bases. Other skiers with experience with mohair bases should be able to speak to that.

      These skis sold like hot cakes in Calgary this season. Lifesport had the best price on the skis and my preferred size was gone by early October. On the Madshus website they are $379 which is steep but to get the narrowest metal edge ski that could be the fastest on the market today, it is a price worth paying.

      The M44 ski has a Paulownia Glass core which I assume would be better than wood core and allow the screws in the bindings to stay more securely.

      The sidecut of the Fjelltech M44 is 54-44-49 which is 4mm wider than a previous Madshus metal edge ski (that was once sold at the old church Lifesport) which had a wax base. I would pay $500 to get those skis again even though the durability was only good for around 4000 km before the bases began to delaminate at the tails. It was a high camber (like a typical XC ski) metal edge ski that was the lightest and fastest metal edge ski ever made. Too bad Madshus stopped making that ski. I heard it was actually made in Canada. High cambers allow for more speed. Speed does not kill, only bad skiers and bad drivers do and maybe the drug(?).

      If anyone from the ski nation has a pair of these skis, please give a report about them. Your experience would be valuable to the xc METAL edge ski nation.

  6. The Nordic pulse Does not show any trackset in last night and Peter LPP.?

    Does this mean they are done track setting for the year?

    • Once a week they are the groomers for Mt Shark. A good write up there under Shark. The last date was April 2nd so Shark done a week later April 9.

    • Barb, I was told by Tracksetter James that grooming will continue until the middle of April if the weather holds. With the cooler temperatures and fresh snow, I would expect it to go for another week.

  7. Hey Bob

    Do you have all the trail maps in a zip that you could upload too Google drive or something like that?

    Those are priceless

  8. Has there been any announcement about when they will stop grooming and or track setting?
    my pass says it’s good until April 5

  9. Cross-country skiing books? I am looking for good Nordic skiing narratives other than guidebooks or instructional manuals. I cannot find many, so I might have to write one when I retire. Meanwhile, I sure would like to read more. I am writing from Oregon so maybe I am missing out on titles available in Canada?

    Unlike the subjects of climbing and mountaineering, or hiking for that matter, there do not seem to be many good novels, memoirs or histories about xc skiing. _My Year of Living Strenuously_ by Bill McKibben (of Vermont) is excellent. _Brave Enough_ by Jesse Diggins (of US National Team and Minnesota) is good enough to read, and I just started _ Beyond Birkie Fever_ by Walter Rhein (Wisconsin) and I am enjoying the history of American XC and the Wisconsin Birkenbeiner.

    Can anyone share any other book titles old or new? Thanks!

  10. Does anyone have any idea about trail conditions on the Cascade Fire Road near Minnewanka?


      I was going to ask this question as well.

      My guess is that the Minnewanka Road could be a little thin. The old road that once went to YaHa Tinda/ Sundre should be good for skiing still- depending on temperatures. Some years I have had to walk the Minnewanka road to get to the snow to ski.

      Parks Canada reports conditions as poor but their snow reports are often very undependable.

      • Thanks. I have not seen any trip reports from the CFRoad for quite some time, so I assume that folks in the know know that grooming has stopped for the year. I suppose there’s only one way to find out for sure.

  11. Does anyone know if Parks Canada are still grooming and track setting ski trails at Lake Louise?
    I called the LL Visitor’s Centre and listened their message service twice before leaving a message with my question. No response! What does this tell us? Everyone has gone backcountry skiing?

    • This morning the links to trail conditions at Banff and Yoho do not work. Does that mean they are done for the season?

      • Received a call back and message (after skiing at PLPP today)!
        Parks Canada will not groom their trails (MLR, GD, etc.) any longer this season. The Chateau groomers will continue grooming Fairview Loop, Shoreline, Lake Trail and upper Telemark and Peyto trails until the Easter weekend.

        • That’s a bummer, with fresh snow on the way!


          I have noticed in recent years that Parks Canada stops grooming trails earlier than the past. This is a part of the shameful Trudeau parks service cut backs. This tactic may be used to “privatize” grooming in the future- like what the UCP is doing on Alberta Crown lands. People get ticked off at the government for not doing a good job and then the wealthy demand privatization of grooming services to maintain the xc ski service. This is an old school political tactic and has gone on in many industries including health care.

          At one time Parks Canada would groom and trackset all trails until they started getting bare patches in the spring. The money from grooming xc ski trails in Banff is now being shifted to wastefully log and burn Banff Park lands, particularly around the town sites. This is a huge unnecessary wasteful tax payer subsidy for those living and operating businesses in Banff. The towns in Banff Park need to take care of their own fire suppression without destroying the landscapes and environment for wildlife. Think sprinklers rather than cutting xc ski grooming.

  12. Hello Bob and everyone,

    Does anyone know why Park Canada has never been connected with the live grooming sites like Nordic Pulse (previously SkiTrails info)?
    Or maybe they are considering it and I don’t know? Is there a fee for a groomer to connect on this?

    In the conditions we’ve had lately, we all know that finding out the next day about grooming isn’t very helpful…

    Have a wonderful birthday tomorrow, Bob!

    • Hi Sophie, there is a fee to be connected to Nordic Pulse, but I don’t know what Parks Canada plans to do. I think they’ve relied on my blog to get the word out. 🙂 Thanks for the happy birthday wishes!

  13. Hi, has anyone been up to Mount Shake for skate or classic skiing lately?

    • Look at Trip Reports – March for any recent reports.


      On Friday the skate and classic skiing was great with late winter to early spring snow conditions. It was groomed on Thursday. Very smooth. I would assume the skiing would be fast now. Get out an enjoy it now as there will likely be no more than 1 month of skiable snow in the first 1/2 kilometer from the Mount Shark parking lot.

  14. Here-here!!
    I hope there’s a way to preserve all the old maps that are so useful and just neat to look at.
    The resources on here are just outstanding.

  15. HOW OLD IS BOB TURNING TOMORROW? BD’s post reminded me of something I wanted to do today. I decided to pose it as a QUESTION because in my world, BD stands for BIRTHDAY and March 20th is Skier Bob’s birth date, only he is “a handful of years” younger than me. That serves as a clue. How lucky we all have been to be able to commence our last 13 winters by opening this page, which used to be to what has become the most unique and treasured one-stop shopping for anything and everything readers all over the world have every wanted to know about X-C skiing, back country skiing, trails, weather links, waxing, fabulous photos by treasured posters (you know who you are), even special posts for dogs such as Kazzy. The thing I will miss most is getting up in the winter mornings and not being able to check in on what everyone has written, including Bob’s thousands of Home page posts and pictures. I believe he deserves a place of honor in the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. What I will take away are the many relationships I have formed over the years via this website, friendships which I treasure, even people who I have yet to meet face to face. So to Birthday Boy, Skier Bob, I wish to donate (tab is located right under the Weather tab) on this day to vocalize my thanks to you and Cheryl and beloved Tessa on the eve of this _ _ birthday!
    p.s. BD you are a man of perseverance!! I enjoyed your funny, descriptive post and glad you did not injure yourself on this marathon ski.

    Thanks, Helen. I’ve enjoyed the encouragement you’ve given over the years, and not just the public blog things, but all the personal support and kindness which you’ve shown.-Bob

    • Helen, Couldn’t agree more! This site has been my one stop shop for conditions, weather, opinions for years. When asked a question about where to ski, I just say go to “Skier Bob “

  16. I’ve been cross country skiing for a few years, but never skied in the mountains. I was told Moraine Lake is great. Any other suggestions in the Canmore, Kananaskis, Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper area. I live in Edmonton so often ski at Waskehegan. I would be looking for a 15-25km ski. I’m not sure what the conditions are like this weekend. Also I may be skiing on my own so is it safe to do so. Open to your suggestions.

    One more thing do you know of any instructors I could have come out with me for a few hours and what the costs might be.

    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Hi Susan, the freeze thaw cycle is in full swing, leaving trails icy in the mornings, softening as temperatures rise throughout the day. Your best conditions will be found on the overnight grooming in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park or the Canmore Nordic Centre. I would be reluctant to ski on Moraine Lake road until they get some new snow and new grooming. You might be in luck because the weather forecast is calling for some fresh snow and cooler temperatures at Lake Louise for the weekend.

    • Susan, I am heading out to Lk Louise (LL) today, Wednesday and again on Friday. As Bob mentioned, Yoho/LL might see a cm or two come Fri/Sat which would greatly help. Some of our “very seasoned” skiers turned around on MLR yesterday at 3 km mark since it was so icy and drove over to the Great Divide (GD), which is where I will be heading Friday. both parking lots relatively empty now and within .5 kms from each other. There is a lovely CANSI level instructor, Jessica Sticklebout who lives in Field and teaches at 2-3 locations (LL, Nordic Centre and Field) who you might want to contact, through Kicking Horse Ski Club. Both my husband and I have enjoyed a lesson or two with her. Waxless or skin skis would be way to go, and later in day to start. GD end to end is 20 kms. and MLR 18 kms to safe turnaround point.

    • Susan, Bob and Helen, yes, I was at LL and “skied” Tramline down to MLR, up to Fairview and back to parking lot from 3-5 thinking the snow would be soft enough for my waxless. It wasn’t. I struggled mightily but my two friends with twin skins were fine. The tracks were icy. I skied off the tracks but with post holes and crusty snow, it was a challenge. But still fun and lots of stops and visiting with my friends made the drive worthwhile.

  17. Any recent trail conditions at West Bragg Creek?

    • Lindsey, the WBC trail report has your answer:

      “The warm spring weather has turned WBC into daytime mush and morning ice. Our Grooming Team has used all the tricks they have up their collective sleeves and now have to admit that ‘spring has sprung the grass has ris we wonder where the flowers is’. See you all next November for more winter goodness inWBC! Thanks for the fun times…”

  18. I am wondering if any one skied at Lake Louise today —Cross country that is.
    and if so – did wax work or skin skis?
    And has anyone been up to O’Hara recently?


  19. Which one is the Hay Meadow temp site?

  20. Hello, was wondering if anyone can tell me if cross country skiing to hidden lake is possible along the skoki route? Not sure if it would be to steep coming out?

    • Yes, I was there yesterday. I kind of hate the actual Skoki snowmobile trail, because of all the awkward dips and turns, but it at least provides a firm base underfoot. A nicer way to get to Hidden Lake is to follow the meadow terrace on the west side of the creek. But, in any case, the tour to Hidden Lake is not too steep for coming out.

  21. Hello Bob and everyone,
    Assuming there is snow, do you know when grooming in k-Country stops for the season? When is the cut off date?

    • Hi Sophie, they usually groom well into April. Two years ago, they were still grooming on April 21, but that was later than usual. It also depends on the temperature and snow cover. We haven’t had a lot of snow this winter, but that can still change.

  22. Can I skate at Pocaterra trails?

  23. Browsing Google Earth I see what looks a trail branching off from old Marmot trail and then back again, maybe circumnavigate the flood area. I don’t know how to link the Earth view.
    (I did have an old Garmin track link that overlaid the route we took pre-flood, complete with map, all of a sudden, on the weekend, the map overlay disappeared.)

    Anyone know if this is the case?

    Snowshoe maybe?

  24. Anyone know what the TECH refers to in the Nordic Pulse grooming report?

  25. Alberta Budget 2021 – I think a lot of us have been nervously anticipating the provincial budget for the coming year which was announced today. Now, it always takes a few days for the generalities of the budget to be broken out into specifics – such as whether they will/will not be winter ski trail grooming next year, or park closures, etc. Still… I perused the available documents for a while today, and all I could find was this: “Improve recreational access management through effective engagement and a modern and integrated approach to Crown lands management (including public lands and parks), implementation of the Alberta Trails Act and establishment of a sustainable recreation funding framework.”

    Did anyone else find anything more specific?

  26. Kananaskis Grooming Cooperating Agreement

    Following a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) request to Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) a few months ago, I just received the Kananaskis Grooming Cooperating Agreement between AEP and Nordiq Alberta. There is no restriction on the distribution or use of this document. There’s nothing “scandalous” about it, and I don’t know why the government and/or Nordiq Alberta were so reluctant to release it in the first place. I’ve posted the Agreement at where you can view and/or download it.

    • Thanks Mike W, in their fee structure they were targeting 1500 season passes and 14000 day passes. Do you know (or someone else) how many season and day passes have been sold so far?

      • Sorry JF, I don’t know. And I couldn’t find anything on the website.

      • Jean-Francois et al — Since the launch on Oct 30 Nordiq Alberta has issued a couple of “updates” — the last one on Jan 14 and another one is due in a week or so. I am the one who did those budget estimates way back in late September, and my estimate of the balance between season and day passes was WAY off – although the overall revenue target has been exceeded. I believe that we have sold over 5,000 season passes, and around 2,500 day passes to date. Watch for the update in early March.

  27. Alberta Parks XC trail reports – that annoying drop down menu above the status column to increase the number of trails shown IS GONE!

    The default is now for All trails, no longer a default of 10.

    This was a quick response by Parks – it was only a couple of days ago that I suggested this change via their ‘Contact Us’ feature.

    After this small success, I am tempted to whine again to Parks Canada about getting Banff NP on Nordic Pulse.

  28. Just curious Skier Bob of the location the middle header photo is taken? It is stunning and perhaps one day I would love to ski that trail.

    Thanks for all you do and your website is a Godsend!!

    Connie Singer

    • Hi Connie, it’s the Bill Milne trail heading south from Ribbon Creek. I’m not sure if this exact spot is accessible right now due to the ice flow. All three photos were taken on the Bill Milne trail.

  29. Never been to Emerald lake trails. Which ones do you recommend? I am an avid skier from Canmore

    • Hi Sharon, it depends on what you want. If it’s scenery you’re after, the Alluvial Fan has spectacular vistas. It’s a relatively flat trail and very easy. If you’re after a more adventuresome trail, the Emerald Connector between the Natural Bridge and Emerald Lake is a lot of fun but has some difficult sections with hills and tight turns. It’s narrow, and is in the trees most of the time.

      This blog post from 2017 shows the Alluvial Fan at its best.

      This blog post from 2018 Beautiful Skiing at Emerald Lake has lots of photos of the Emerald Connector.

    • I did the alluvial fan from emerald lake and it was amazing

  30. YOHO
    Skiing on the connector trail from natural Bridge to emerald lake. Which way has more downhill ? How much ?
    *i would assume emerald Lake to natural bridge

    • MK, the elevation loss from Emerald Lake to Natural Bridge is 75 metres over a distance of 7.4K. The Connector was rerouted after an avalanche in 2011, and now the “Reconnector” is very steep with tight turns. It’s near the end of the trail, so be careful there. You might see skier tracks on the original, easier trail. Don’t take it. There are lots of downed trees that are difficult to get around. Watch for Dippers when you’re near the river.

  31. Anyone know anything about potential XC skiing fees in National Parks? Just saw the following at

    In 2019, Parks Canada conducted public and stakeholder consultations on fees. Canadians from across the country took part in these conversations, and their feedback helped inform upcoming fee changes that will take effect beginning in January 2023.

    These updates will not affect admission or front-country camping, but will result in changes to fees that offer a high level of individual benefits to visitors, such as enhanced experiences, facility rentals and special event permits.

    These updates will help Parks Canada recover a greater portion of the costs of service delivery by reflecting changes to the cost of living since fees were last reviewed in 2008. These changes will also bring some Parks Canada fees closer to those charged by nearby tourism providers, helping to avoid unfair competition with local businesses providing similar services and experiences. Examples include special guided tours, CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING, golfing, and access to hot pools.

  32. Do you know if the Little Red Trail paths for XC skiing and open and groomed this year?

    • They are open and being groomed regularly. In fact, they will be groomed this afternoon. I haven’t mentioned them because they don’t want hordes of Calgarians showing up due to the lack of parking, no toilets, and the pandemic.

  33. Jennifer MacPherson

    Hi Bob. I’m trying to find a trail where I will have cell phone coverage because I need to be reachable. I am wondering about the Cascade Valley trail starting at Minnewanka. I know there is cell coverage at the parking lot but not sure beyond there. West Bragg is too spotty.

  34. Mr. Bob, a few years ago we stumbled onto some expertly groomed cross country trails but cannot remember if they were off the 40, 3 Sisters Parkway or beyond. They looked like they could be used for competitions. Might you have any idea where they might be? With thanks, Ann.

  35. Hi does anyone know if Mt Shark has any picnic tables and fire pits there or near by … gonna miss this Bob!!


      There once was a picnic table by the Mount Shark parking lot but I don’t recall if it is still there. Fire pits are usually only located by campsites. You won’t need a fire pit in the winter. Just be aware that your fire will sink into the snowpack. Make sure it is out when you are done. Embers can last into summer and start forest fires.

      The classic alternative to a picnic table is finding a log to sit on or cutting a dead tree and roping it up between 2 trees. Put a toque or spare pair of gloves on the log for extra comfort. Another alternative is to lay garbage bags or thermo-rests on the snow and just sit on them. You can shape the snow if it is firm or wet to make a more comfortable seat.

      I have also seen people ski with small foldable light weight backpacking seats. They just whip ’em out where they want. Look on the internet under 10 best backpacking chairs.

      If you need to lay out a lunch, lay a bag on the snow and put your stuff on top. This will keep the snow off the bottom of your food or wine glasses.

      Ski Cheers.

      • There are two picnic tables on your right hand looking west just past the start of the Watridge trail. No fire pits and I think it is not the place for fires.

    • Thanks for the info Keith and MAAD.We were looking for an apres-ski location at or near Mt Shark. We have 4 couples coming from different areas of the province and staying at different locations ie : Canmore and Mt Kidd ,etc after our ski (covid compliant of course) . A fire would be nice but not a must have.


        There is Buller Mountain Day use area not far from Mount Shark parking lot north on the Spray Lakes/ Smith Dorrien Highway. Years ago they use to plow the parking lot in winter but I have not been by there this year to see if it is plowed. The area does have fire pits.

        There are also other picnic sites along Spray Reservoir. Web search a map for details.

    • My favorite picnic table (one only) is right beside the river between junction 8 and 9, just before you start the climb up to the 5 kms Recreational Loop at Mt shark and more close to parking lot as Keith described. Sawmill parking lot has several picnic tables along side of the High Rockies Trail. Agree with other comments on fire pits. Maybe Engadine Lodge has some perks for a warm and cosy afternoon tea location.

      • Thanks Helen…as we are all from different households an outdoor gathering is the best we can do. Maybe a hot drink at junction 8 and 9 and a BBQ at the start of Watridge Trail or the parking lot. Works for me : )

  36. Hi Bob, all of my university students have their reading break coming up, and I want to get them out to all of the different trail networks that we never get a chance to ski because we are usually so busy with racing. I was hoping you know in general what days of the week some of these places typically do their grooming? My experience often gets me out their with shin deep powder;) Pocaterra, Skogan Pass/Ribbon Creek, Yoho? Thanks, and keep up the great job on the blog.

    • Hi Chris, there is no set schedule. Grooming is dependent on snowfall, weather, staff availability, and equipment. For example, the tracksetting in PLPP has been irregular recently because the snowcat was in for repairs.

  37. Have noticed the term ‘sporty’ being used more frequently in trip reports. What do folks mean when using this description?

  38. Hello!

    First off, great page! Been a wealth of information!

    My group is feeling adventurous and wants to try the Lookout Trail in PLPP. We usually do 10-15km when we go. I’ll admit we are newer, but have done most of the black hills at PLPP. What’s the best way? Make it into a loop with whiskey? Or just out and back from the elk pass lot? Any advice would be great!

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Siobhan, doing the loop with Whiskey Jack, Hydroline, Fox Creek and Moraine would be exactly 15K. I’ve always preferred climbing the ultra-steep south side because of the scary downhills. The downhill on the north side is only semi-scary. If it hasn’t been groomed, and is covered with fresh snow, it doesn’t matter which way you go, it’ll be a lot slower and controllable. It’s noteworthy that you ask about it during this cold snap. The last time I descended the scary south side, the temperature was -28.

  39. I had a fantastic ski today up Whiskey Jack, to the picnic table on Trywhitt and then back down via Pocaterra and Packers!

    I’m wondering if anyone happens to know if Pocaterra Hut will be reopening soon and same of the lounge at the discovery Center? Restaurants are reopening for dine in on Feb 8th and both were closed at about the same time that dine in service was banned in December 2020.

    Also couldn’t help but notice new signage on Highway 40 for the Kananaskis Visitor Information Center (Barrier Lake). Does this mean that they will be reopening it?

    • Adam, I’ll forward this to the person who may be able to give us an answer.

    • Adam, I received this reply from Duane Fizor, Kananaskis Trails and Wayfinding Team Lead at Alberta Parks:

      I am not aware of any easing of the restrictions for warming huts at this time. I’ll do some digging and if I see/hear anything I’ll let you know.

      As to the new signage, I actually ordered that long, long before the decision to close was foisted upon us and it was perhaps unfortunate that it was eventually installed while the facility was closed. There are no solid plans to re-open unfortunately, but we should know more about the realities on the ground, following the 2021 Budget announcement.

  40. Hi Bob!
    Your page is a wealth of great information. I’m wondering if you could provide some insight for me. I’m taking a solo vacation later this month (FEB2021) to Canmore. Any advice for solo skiing in Canmore? I’m thinking of a few daily visits to the Nordic Centre trails. And see also that one of the routes is lit. Is it fair to say that there is enough regular traffic on these trails that being out there alone isn’t a concern?

    • Cassandra, there is regular traffic on the trails both day and night. Occasionally, cougars and bears have been spotted so bear spray would be a good thing to carry.

  41. we like to try new trials wherever they are in alberta. we prefer trails that have elevation with lots of hills and prefer them to be at least 10 kms. Do you have any recommendations? we have been to pipestone and lake ohara. also goat creek and skoki.

    • James, you are in luck because there are some killer hills in Kananaskis country.
      Peter Lougheed Provincial Park: Whiskey Jack, North Lookout. Elk Pass, Hydroline, South Lookout. Blueberry Hill.
      In the Ribbon Creek area, Skogan Pass.
      Check Risto’s Hill Pain score for more suggestions.
      You can mix ‘n match to create distances of 10+ kilometres.

  42. Hi!

    My wife and I and 9 month old are going to be cross country skiing in the Canmore area in March. We have skied PLPP & Kananaskis area lots before in January and Feburary and loved it. I was wondering what the snow conditions typically are like near the middle and end of March?


    • Kit, there’s an above-average chance that conditions will still be fine. Of course, nobody knows what the weather will be like, so you should cover all bases and have waxless skis available. On the sidebar, there’s a heading entitled “Archives.” Go back and check out the reports for mid March for the past 12 years.

  43. Insoles and ankle pain advice: Hi skiers! Wondering what special insoles people use in their ski boots??? I’m putting more and more miles on my skies and the paper thin boot insoles aren’t cutting it. After big days my feet are achy with some sharp pains under the toe bed. Any insole advice? Also – occasionally experience pain inside the ankle, seems to be when carrying heavier packs on long skis – any tips to alleviate this? Thanks all, very grateful for this great ski community!

    • Jenn. I recommend Super Feet footbeds. They (usually) have them at MEC. There are a few different styles for different activities. You can do some research here;

      One bit of advice; It’s best to try a variety of sizes to find the one that fits your arch and foot shape best. I take a size 9 but bought size 13 footbeds and cut them down. Hope that helps.

      • Thank you Gord! I will check them out. I know Superfeet has many styles, is there one in particular you prefer?

        • I have a few pairs. One set for ski boots that are red with foil on the bottom to reflect heat, a green set with extra cushioning for hiking boots, and yellow ones designed for skates. Best to look through the various styles and then either go to a store and try them on your feet or order online and hope for the best. If you have a favourite xc ski shop, they may be able to recommend something. Good luck.

    • Lots of trial and error is involved in finding the best footbeds (aka insoles). If you have footbeds that work well in your hiking boots or running shoes, try them in your ski boots.

    • As for “pain inside the ankle, seems to be when carrying heavier packs on long skis”, better footbeds might solve that problem. If you think it’s due to insufficient ankle support, I’d suggest switching to skate ski boots. (Unfortunately not a cheap fix.) I’ve been using them for over 10 years for both classic and skate. They provide way better support and edge control than classic boots, especially on downhills. Supposedly they provide less fore-aft flexibility for classic kick-and-glide, but they work great for me.

      If lack of ankle support is due to slender ankles that don’t fill the boot, try eZeefit neoprene ankle booties – They come in various thicknesses and are marketed for blister prevention, but they work great for filling up the empty ankle space in boots. I’ve used them for years as well. Norseman sells them.

  44. Hi,
    I’m a fairly new skier, who has mostly done yyc golf course trails. Would like to meet a friend somewhere in k-country for a fairly flat set-track trail. My skis are waxless and I have the winter k-country parking pass. Any advice, friends, for where to go?

  45. Are any trails being groomed in Bragg Creek Kananaskis. eg Fullerton?

  46. Does anyone know if the trails at Cypress Hill (in SE AB) are 1) groomed this year and 2) have snow? The only available info I can find is from last March!

  47. Question for any wax gurus who might be out there:
    My most recent wax job (Swix CH5 ironed in, scraped lightly with plastic scraper while warm, brushed) needs a redo after about 55 km.
    Any thoughts on improving glide wax longevity in the current hard tracks and reworked granular snow conditions on many trails lately? Other than only skiing soft snow? 🙂

    • I am *definitely* not a “wax guru” and have found similar frustrations after putting in hard work waxing only to find it spot-wears after some shorter skis on abrasive snow. What’s I’ve found to be fairly effective band-aid treatment is to buy a liquid-based glide wax via built-in sponge applicator. Then I buff it in with my glide-only cork. My Swix one seems to help a lot… and it’s fluoro which is almost impossible to find now. I’ve found this at local skis shops as well as online. Am currently trying to figure out a hard-wax style one by Zum which I found on Amazon. That said there’s no substitute for a dialing in ones waxes and having that perfect glide day!

    • Hi Steve, you’re doing it right and 55K isn’t bad on this snow. I expect you know this, but make sure you let the skis cool outside before brushing. I’ve prolonged the life of my glide wax by waxing first with graphite. I’ve used this Kuu Mach Graphite Wax but any brand with graphite would work.

    • Steve;
      I would do your hot wax and then let the skis and wax cool to ambient temp. Then plastic scrape and brush.
      I used to warm scrape to lift out dirt and contaminants (left over wax remover, old dirty glide wax ) , using a warm/soft glide wax.
      Scraping glide wax while warm doesn’t allow for the wax to bind inside the pores of the Ptex base. Give it a try to see if it improves longevity.

    • I agree with Bob. I wouldn’t expect the best glide wax job to last more than 100km in ideal snow conditions. In abrasive conditions, getting only a half or even a third of that distance sounds very reasonable. The other issue is whether your wax actually disappeared. One is usually told that your wax is gone when your bases change from shiny black to dull grey/white. I’m not convinced. I haven’t seen a study that actually tested for the presence or absence of wax.

      I checked my skis this afternoon after my 37km ski at Ribbon Creek yesterday on about the most abrasive snow I’ve ever encountered. There were narrow strips of base adjacent to the ski edges that were a dull grey/white. I checked them with a magnifying glass and saw tiny flakes (of wax or base) sticking out. I used a bit of Swix Fiberlene and rubbed it along the strips (being careful not to transfer any wax from the centre of the ski) and it changed back to shiny black, presumably by removing the flakes or pressing them back into the base. So in this case it was the roughness of the base, not absence of wax, that was causing the dull appearance. Although a base with no wax will look dull, a dull-looking base might look that way for reasons other than lack of wax. Nevertheless, it’s reasonable to assume that a shiny base will glide better than a dull one. It’s less clear whether corking, brushing, or polishing it back to a shine will result in as good a glide as rewaxing.

      As for the best way to improve glide wax longevity, I used to always just iron in a low-fluoro (LF) solid glide wax, cool, scrape, and brush. In addition, for the previous two seasons, I’ve been applying a layer of Vauhti LF liquid glide wax on top, letting it dry, then corking and brushing. The glide was significantly better than hot waxing on its own, and I didn’t have to hot wax as often. Instead, applying a fresh layer of liquid glide wax was sufficient. Vauhti (along with other companies) is discontinuing its fluoro waxes for environmental and health reasons. So now I’m trying out Vauhti “Pure One” non-fluoro liquid glide waxes. So far, they seem at least as good and durable as the Vauhti LF liquid waxes. I also tried for the first time yesterday their base primer/binder liquid wax, which is designed to be applied to an unwaxed base, with a layer of the temperature-appropriate liquid wax on top. Apparently the base primer should be good for several glide wax applications before the primer has to be reapplied. It’s early days yet, but based on how the wax performed yesterday, I think it’s at least as fast and durable as hot waxing without the hassle of ironing and scraping. The other big advantage is that unlike iron-in waxes, the base primer is universal temperature, so you don’t have to remove and reapply a different version when the temperature changes.

  48. Anyone been on Pipestone loop today (Jan 24) to report condition? Report looks like no grooming since the big wind….

  49. We have only just been following your updates this season…. well done Bob, to you and all your contributors.

    Your updates and trip reports have helped us select our day trips since late November.

    Thank you.

    Having just skied the Kananaskis Village trails yesterday, (Jan. 22)I thought you might appreciate our update…. tracks and grooming are all good, (thanks to our world class/best groomers!), however the tracks are VERY fast with only a light very thin dusting of fine snow that is feeling marginal. We did two circuits but saw a few tumbles from skiers who couldn’t manage the speed on corners…. caution to intermediate skiers and probably not recommended for beginners, until we get a few cm. of snow.

    Not sure if this is the format or portal for trip report additions?

    Thanks again for all the work you do on this.

  50. What are track conditions like at XC ski Strathmore Golf Course? Any recent grooming?

    • Keith, I asked a skier who lives by the golf course for an update… “I haven’t been out lately but I back onto it and it looks skiable. The base looks to still be there and we had about an inch a few days ago. Ed has done a lot of work with the big dump we had in December. He’s also done a bunch of loops on the lake that is very skiable. And no pine needles” 🙂

  51. Waxable Skier - Kinda?

    I am new to XC and was gifted a new 120 g block of TOKO HOT WAX which notes the following on the label:

    Snow -4C/-12C Air -2C / -11C
    iron 140C
    Non Fluoro


    Is this a base wax – a glide wax – a grip wax

    Can it be applied by rubbing and corking or only iron on scrape off?

    Thanks in advance for some help/guidance.

    Think Snow !!!!!!!

    • That would be a glide wax, to be ironed on and scraped off.

    • Can’t tell for sure without seeing a photo, but it sounds like an alpine or XC glide wax that’s designed to be ironed in, cooled, scraped, and brushed. You can rub it on the base and cork it in. The result won’t be as durable as ironing, but a lot better than no glide wax at all.

      • Unless you know what you’re doing, it’s really easy to ruin a ski base by ironing with an iron that’s too hot. Find someone that can show you how to do it, or forget the hot wax and go for the rub on and cork. Or use a liquid glide wax with a sponge applicator.

  52. January 20, skied Cascade Valley trail. Old tracks with some needles to the 6km bridge. Icy in some sun exposed areas. Lots of needles and debris after the bridge. Needs some fresh snow.

  53. Snowshoer here. I have an etiquette question. There have been multiple occasions this winter where I have broken trail only to find on my return that my tracks have been skied over. If I am descending through fairly open (can avoid tree wells easily) and downhill terrain I don’t mind breaking trail twice. However, most times in most terrain I have zero desire to break trail again on my way down just because people skied over my tracks. Personally I don’t think I’m in the wrong if I am going down a trail I made on the way up, but I have gotten some flak from skiers even after I’ve explained the situation. Am I out of line here?

    To be clear, I am breaking trail where no past tracks are visible. Usually after a big dump of snow.

    • Hi Bree. Can you provide some more information? Were you on a designated snowshoe trail, designated XC ski trail, or a designated multi-use trail? Exactly what trail(s) were you on? Or were you off-trail in the backcountry? The “etiquette” would vary depending on the situation.

      • Hi Mike, these were all backcountry trails. Two recent examples of where this occurred are Burstall pass peak (past burstall lakes) and commonwealth ridge.

        • Or I guess more accurately, backcountry ‘routes’ as there wasn’t really a visible trail in any of these cases.

        • I take it the problem is that when a skier goes over a fresh snowshoe track in deep snow, the skis leave a trench in the snowshoe track that the next snowshoer (you or someone else) has to flatten out? Despite backcountry skiing (along with a bit of snowshoeing) for over 30 years, I’ve never encountered that situation. I would have thought that the surface area of skis provide as much flotation as snowshoes and they wouldn’t sink into snowshoe tracks, but it sounds like that’s not the case. Or is there also a problem with skiing over a packed snowshoe trail where the skis don’t sink any further into the snow?

          I’m not aware of any established etiquette for that situation. You could try googling it. My personal opinion is that each user can take advantage of the work done by another user, as long as it doesn’t make things more difficult for that other user. (This assumes that the terrain is such that it’s feasible to put in an additional track.) But in practice it’s problematic. How does the second user (skier encountering a snowshoe track or vice-versa) know if the first user’s track is from that morning or a previous day? Or whether the first user is planning to come down that track later, vs. doing a loop?

          • Ah sorry for the confusion. I do not care at all if people ski over my tracks. My issue was that a few groups of skiers got mad at me for going over the tracks I made in the morning which had been skied over while I was gone.

            • Thanks for the clarification; I understand the situation now. You have absolutely every right to re-use a trail you’ve broken that day, even if it damages the trail a bit for subsequent skiers. Once you point out to the skiers that you’re the one that broke the trail, hopefully the skiers will be thanking you rather than complaining!

    • Hi Bree. I think people, (skiers) often get way too wound up about trail etiquette in the backcountry and some even feel they have priority over other users. I’m a skier, xc and backcountry and in general terms non-groomed trails like Burstall Pass and Commonwealth Ridge are not limited to one form of travel or another. In those areas most skiers are using climbing skins and the pristine condition of the ski track is not a requirement. That said, if the width of the trails allows, it’s better when snowshoers or hikers stay to the side of the ski trail but I’ve encountered many situations where this is not practical. For those skiers using xc skis in the backcountry, they need to expect rough trail conditions now and then and act accordingly, including using their manners.

  54. I was walking through the park and noticed some skate ski tracks.
    I dawned on me that their length was quite impressive. I paced out each track to be 5 full paces in length (I am 6 ft tall). Snow conditions were probably ideal, with a styrofoam base, a skiff of new snow, and just under the freezing mark in temperature. Terrain was perfectly flat.
    I wonder how their length compares to average?

    • 5 paces x 6′ is roughly 30 feet (or ~10meters). I’m just over 6′ and a fairly competent / quick skier compared to average. According to my Garmin watch my classic strides are ~4m (~12′) and skate ~15m on Confed-type conditions. Then again I’ve really worked on my balance, glide length, and good glide waxes the last several years. I’m curious what others do too.

      • According to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary definition 1a, a pace is one step. According to definition 1c it’s 2 steps! Don’t know what Henry’s definition is. My skate ski glide length depends on gradient, grooming conditions, temperature, how tired I am, etc. etc., but 10-15m sounds about right on level terrain.

  55. Looking for info on trails at Spruce View, West Country Nordic Ski club…anyone?

  56. Just want to check on skate skiing in PLPP. I understand it is either not permitted or not recommended. Does anyone have the latest info?

    • Hi Doug, these signs are at a few of the trailheads in PLPP.

      • Thanks Bob, that is what I thought. However, we picked up a new map at the PLPP Discouvery Centre today. It is a winter activity map that clearly describes and illustrates what cross country skiers, snow shoers, snow bikers and dogs can do and where they can and can not go. But there is not a mention of classic only. Now here is the zinger. The new picture of cross country skiers on the front of the map has skiers doing both classic and skate technique. Thus it appears that PLPP allows skating and encourages it based on the picture an no mention of skating allowed. Perhaps PLPP should remove the map from circulation and update the picture. It would also be worthy of an update indicating classic skiing only.

        • In the past, Alberta Parks has asked me to provide photos for their brochures. Too bad they didn’t ask me to provide a photo for this new brochure. Really, it’s not a surprise. The brochures usually have significant errors in them. I’d be happy to proofread them before they go to the printer.

  57. Whenever I go to PLPP, I find many vehicles parked at King Creek. What’s the attraction there? I assume people are climbing ice falls, but that is not based on any evidence. Anyone care to enlighten me?

  58. i normally use the Lake Louise WebCams to see the temperature, However the last week or so the temperature at the base has been -4 exactly! all day and night,
    I knew there was something wrong and it was obvious as today it was -15 at the Pipestone!- at about 9:45 Am. Of course I prepared for colder temperatures so it was all good for skiing

    so this is just I warning that their temperatures are not to be trusted right now.

  59. Just wondering about skiing on the Glenmore Reservoir. Lots of people do, but I can’t seem to find any information about conditions or whether it’s even allowed (though my internet search skills may be the issue!)

    • It is illegal and dangerous to ski on the ice surface of Glenmore Reservoir! Illegal because the City wants to protect its water supply and they may fine you if they catch you. Dangerous because the water level is drawn down gradually during the winter which leaves a gap beneath the ice and can result in a sudden collapse.
      The City sets ski tracks in South Glenmore Park, so ski there.

  60. I have modern equipment but I do love to ski on wooden skis with 3-pin bindings fairly regularly too. The track setting at some locations is such that the bindings drag due to width, especially in icy conditions. Do you know how 3-pins will function at the Nordic Centre? Conditions are always so great there and Id love to take some family members who only ski on wooden skis with 3-pin set ups.

    • The Canmore Nordic Centre sets tracks with a standard track setter giving a depth of (usually) 5cm and a width, at the top of the track, of approximately 8cm . Your three pin binding will probably drag on the side of the track if your wooden ski is not very thick. This also happens with NNN BC boots to a limited extent.

      This is not a huge problem except that it slows the glide of the ski. Wooden skis are not as fast as synthetic based skis so this may not be a problem.

      • So have tracksetter dimensions changed along with the evolution of our skis?

        • Yes it’s called marketing so everyone new to the sport has to buy light weight user friendly (waxless or skintec cause waxing is a difficult time skill) skinny toothpick skis mounted with plastic nnn binding and of course the matching cheesy boot then step into the engineered groomed track (a.k.a.treadmill)
          and voila away you go stride and glide like a pro ha ha but this dandy setup is almost useless in ungroomed/trackless snow (boot top or less please) unless the skier is very proficient and even then steep hills or hard snow will be a challenge and if boiler plate or omg icy conditions exist then most should de-ski and walk or serious injury could result (this has already been reported a few times on this forum) needless to say if i sound biased right you are because not one of my numerous well used ski 3 pin binding combos will fit in these tracks and i can stride’n glide like a scalded cat oops my apologies to all cats cause i like them too.

        • Tyree pretty sure they haven’t changed. What has changed over the years is the grooming equipment. Modern equipment tills and turns over the snow much more than older track setters. This lets the snow to setup harder. This is especially true at the Nordic Centre. They groom and till their snow in such a way that the snow is harder and so are the tracks. Your 75mm wings will drag on the sidewalls somewhat. .

  61. Hi Bob, what is the deal with the Live Grooming report? When I click on there it says the site may be compromised. I thought it wasn’t being serviced anymore yet on your home page I saw a Live Grooming Report screen shot showing the recent grooming at Ribbon Creek.
    The Live Grooming service was very useful and would love to see it reactivated by whoever provides it.

    • It was working fine last night, but I see what you mean. To access it, scroll down and click on “Advanced.” When the new window appears, click on “Proceed to” if you dare.

      Nobody seems to know what’s happening with Some of the locations are functioning, such as Ribbon Creek, but most aren’t. The owner won’t reply to emails.

  62. Lost a new pair of Julbo sunglasses Blue frames with bronze lens yesterday at Pocaterra parking lot close to outhouse structure
    Phone 403-589-1859

  63. Hello! I would like to try cross country skiing, but do not own gear and have never had skis of any type on my feet. I’ve considered renting gear for a day, but suspect I’d be miserable trying to figure out the very basics of the technique on my own. Does anyone know a casual instructor that could help me out for an hour or so? Everything I find on the web is for multi-week courses, which I can’t commit to; I just want to try it out to see if it’s for me.

    • Have you looked at the ski lesson list on this site under resources?

      Call the lifesport & Norseman store, or email them to ask if any employees do that

      Check cross country YYC Facebook announcement page.

      • I’d checked on this website, but those were all for multi-day (or prohibitively expensive). I just joined YYC Cross Country though, so thanks for that tip! I never thought of Facebook. Looks like they’ve got a good list for me to look through.

  64. Hello- I am wanting to try the Lookout Trail and/ or Tyrwhitt. I’ve done some reading but can’t figure out the “best loop”? Is it better to go up Whiskey Jack and to Lookout and back down hydroline?

    Or for a “loop” go up Elk to Hydroline to Tyrwhitt and loop back on Lookout trail and back down?

    18-20km is just fine distance for us 🙂 Thank you for all you experienced skiiers input 🙂

    • Lisa, I’m surprised you didn’t get a few answers to this because every skier will have a different opinion. There is no right or wrong way. If skiing Lookout, I prefer going up the south side which has some insanely steep sections that scare me if I was descending. I guess it also depends on what kind of skis you’re using. Descending the north side is only semi-insane! Tyrwhitt is fabulous in both directions.

      • LOL! It’s okay.

        Thank you SO much for this feedback though, I really appreciate it! It definitely helps. We will either ascend south side, or go from Whiskey Jack- and halfway up Lookout and double back to Tyrwhitt based on what you and Mike have suggested. Thanks again 🙂

    • Another option is to go up and down Lookout on the north side, and avoid the steep south side altogether.

      • Thank you Mike! This is a great suggestion, and very helpful! Thanks for taking the time to respond 🙂 Happy Trails!

      • I agree. Having done the traverse in both directions, I have never enjoyed the south side up or down, and it connects to the uninspiring Hydroline trail. My preference is to do the Tyrwhitt/Elk Pass loop of the north trails, taking the Blueberry and/or Lookout North trails as side trips (weather, waxing, and energy permitting of course!)

  65. Regarding web cams at West Bragg Creek: I frequently find that I am unable to view the pictures from these web cams. Sometimes a tiny slice of the top appears, but nothing else. Does anyone else have this problem? I use my laptop (MacBook) for this.

  66. Perfect, thanks Bob!

  67. Happy New Year!

    Is the Evan-Thomas trail to The Wedge Connector dog friendly? I’d like to park here and do the Evan-Thomas/Wedge/Bill Milne with our dog. Thanks!

  68. Hi! I’m 6 months pregnant and its my second season of XC skiing. I went along the bow river during the big snowfall in Dec., but am wondering if there are any other trails that are FLAT in the city or surrounding area? No hills at all please… just looking to change it up from snowshoeing.

    • Mim, while the tracksetting at Confederation Golf Course has a number of hilly areas, you can access the middle flatter area by parking on the street at the little gate entrance that is just where Constable Rd NW and 31st Ave NW meet (by the biathlon area). Straight ahead from the gate there is a little connector to the small purple loop which is flat. I like to go clockwise so as to easily connect to the tracks of the short section it shares with yellow loop.

      Another option is if you go right onto the yellow loop after you enter the gate. Head west to just past the beginning of the fenced in driving range and there is the part of the yellow loop that bends off left and goes along the east side of the creek. It is flat along the creek. Once you hit the point where the yellow trail narrows and turns away from the creek you would have to turn around and come back.

      A second option skiing to the right from the gate is to go slightly further on yellow to the other side (west side) of the creek on yellow trail. This then becomes the blue trail which you can follow along the west side of the creek, again turning around before the hill.

      Also, I think the main part of orange loop might be flat but I haven’t ski that so don’t know for sure. It might be a bit repetitive doing the in-and-out by the creek or the small purple loop but at least it would be some flat trail options.

      Trails are marked with colored flags. Here is a map of the golf course ski trails:

    • Pete (the 13th Troll)

      Mim – Try the both North and South Glenmore parks, the Glenmore Reservoir shorelines and the Weaslehead Flats (just walk down the big hill from the parking lot).

  69. Hi there – does anyone know of the condition of the xc trails at Sandy McNabb?

  70. Hello everyone,

    Today a friend and I enjoyed a beautiful day of xc skiing at PLPP. She is classic and I skate ski. Two people in a kind way told me that skate skiing is not allowed in PLPP. On this website people have commented likewise. I’ve checked the government website for PLPP and nothing is noted about the trails there being classic only. I’ve been skate skiing in PLPP for about 8 years. We parked at Bolton and there were no signs anywhere saying “classic only”.

    Is this an actual rule that it is classic only in PLPP? If so…where is this officially noted?

    Greatly appreciate your input.

    Thank you in advance.

    • I spent about 10 minutes trying to find something on the Alberta Parks website, but had no luck. I seem to recall in the past a web page saying there are no skate skiing trails in PLPP, or there are no trails groomed for skate skiing in PLPP, or words to that effect. That is clearly true. But I don’t recall ever seeing anything that says skate skiing is not allowed in PLPP. I don’t see a problem with skate skiing a trail that’s not yet trackset, but that would tend to only happen early in the season. Once the trail is machine or skier trackset, I’d consider it poor form to slice up the tracks by skate skiing. But if you can somehow manage to skate without touching the tracks (virtually impossible on most PLPP trails), I don’t see a problem. That’s just my personal opinion of course. Hopefully someone else can provide something more definitive.

      • Thank you Mike for your input. Based on what Bob posted below, I won’t be skate skiing in PLPP anymore. Enjoy the rest of your ski season!

    • Scott, there are a few of these signs in PLPP which address skate skiing, but I don’t know at which trailheads.

      • Greatly appreciate you posting this photo Bob. Thank you! Based on this, I won’t be skate skiing in PLPP anymore. Thank you for all you do with these forums and info.

  71. Hi Folks,
    As most of you have noticed by now every trail within this universe is beyond busy. Bill Milne is no exception.
    This is a poll to gauge the use of this easy trail this winter.

    How many people would prefer a double track the entire length?

    How many people would prefer to keep the single track and skating lane?

    Our observations are that it may just be too busy for only a single track.

  72. Hi, just wondering if there’s a headlamp that you’d recommend for night cross-country skiing? My little 3 bulb LED one doesn’t quite cut it. Thanks!

  73. Hello, can you please clarify if dogs on a lease are allowed on Ribbon Creek, Kananaskis Village, Wedge Pond and Bill Milne xc trails? The Alberta Parks website state that dogs are not allowed on groomed trails. Thanks for the clarification


    • Someone from Alberta Parks is going to have to answer that question. Dogs have always been allowed on these trails so this is a new development. By the way, the website states “Dogs are NOT PERMITTED on Cross Country Ski Trails in Kananaskis Village.” Does that mean they are permitted on Ribbon Creek and Bill Milne? I’ve sent an email to the person who can answer the question, but it replied that he is on holidays until Jan 5.

    • Thanks Bob! See comment below from the Parks Canada website that dogs are allowed on non-groomed trails if on a leash. I’m not sure if that means that they are NOT allowed on groomed XC trails. I look forward to the clarification when you hear back from Parks Canada.
      Cross-Country Skiing
      Dogs are NOT permitted on the groomed ski trail system accessed via the Kananaskis Lakes Trail in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park or at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
      Dogs are allowed on non-groomed trails IF on a leash.
      Mount Shark is a recommended area for skiing with a dog on leash.

      • Laura, the “Accessed via Kananaskis Lakes Trail” refers to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park trails and has nothing to do with the Ribbon Creek trails. It isn’t Parks Canada who has jurisdiction, it’s Alberta Parks.

  74. Hello Bob, Skitrails info seems to be back on, I just checked Ribbon Creek.

    • Jean-Francois, thanks for bringing that to our attention. I’ve added it to the main menu. Let’s hope all the areas get back online.

  75. Hey Bob,

    Do you know if Strathmore is going to be open and tracksetting again this year? I tried calling but didn’t reach anyone and I don’t see anything here.


  76. Has anyone travelled to Mount Shark via PLPP? How are the roads? Wondering as well as to the parking lot, lots of people? Thinking of heading out tomorrow Dec 28th for the day. Thanks so very much,

  77. we are headed out tomorrow to k country. not sure which trail yet. I’m quite nervous about avalanches. is there a trail out there that is a relatively avalanche free area?

  78. Is the Bow Valley Parkway open for cross country skiing? Track set possibly?

    • Chalrene, the Bow Valley Parkway is open to vehicle traffic, so no skiing is possible. There are trails along the BVP where you can ski such as Castle Lookout to Baker Creek, and Castle Junction to Castle Lookout.

      • To clarify, 511 Alberta says “1A closed between Fireside and Castle Junction. Motor vehicle access will be restricted on the Bow Valley Parkway, from Fireside Day Use area to east of the Rockbound Lake Trailhead, near Castle Junction. This portion of the road will be closed to private vehicles. These actions are intended to reduce visitation numbers at the popular Johnston Canyon day-use area where physical distancing on the narrow sections of the trail and boardwalk are difficult. Snowplows and other service vehicles will continue to be active on the Bow Valley Parkway and pedestrian use of the road is strongly discouraged.”

  79. Wax Temperature Range:

    The Swix Nordic Waxing Guide states that: “Note: All temperatures given on Swix waxes are air temperatures measured in the shade.”

    Many people use the snow temp as their guide to which wax to apply.


    • I assume you’re mainly concerned with grip/kick waxes. I was aware that Swix uses air temperatures, but don’t know why. It should be the snow surface temperature that counts, since that’s what’s contacting the wax. Since one usually starts skiing in the morning when temperatures are rising, the air temperature would generally be higher than the snow temperature but it might be a better predictor of what the snow temperature is going to be for most of the day. In any case, the temperature range printed on the wax container is only a guide that you have to adjust based on personal experience. So use either air or snow temperature, whatever works best for you.

      In my case, I go by the air temperature registered on my car dashboard, which I’ve measured to be virtually identical to the air temperature measured with a thermometer in the shade. I’ll cork in about 2-4 thin layers of the grip wax for that temperature, and ski for about 10 minutes, which seems to be how long it takes for the grip wax to take effect. I’ll often have to add a couple of thin layers of the next warmer wax, but at least I’ve never had to scrape off the initial wax and apply a colder one. Sometimes if I’m feeling lucky, I’ll apply a warmer wax right from the start! And nowadays, I use my skin skis if the forecast high is above -4C.

  80. Hi There,

    I’m very new to XC skiing, I’ve has several rounds of lessons and I am excited to go tackle Bill Milne Trail this weekend! I’m noticing that in the pictures, there is one set of tracks and now I am unsure if it is considered a “one way”? Or do I get off the tracks when another skier approaches me? Sure don’t want to ruin anyone’s experience out there….any advice would be appreciated 🙂 Thanks

    • Bill Milne is groomed for classic skiing in the trackset and skate skiing on the corduroy next to the trackset. Had the trail been wide enough, there would usually be a second trackset for classic skiers skiing in the opposite direction. But in this case, skiers have to share the same trackset in both directions. One-way trails are uncommon and would be clearly marked as such. On hills, the etiquette is for uphill skiers to give way to downhill skiers, since it’s easier for an uphill skier to get out of the way. (Note that this is opposite to the mountain biking etiquette, since it’s easier for downhill bikers to stop and get out of the way.) On the flats, you can keep approaching each other to see who blinks first (not recommended). I don’t know of any specific guideline in that case. But I’d say if a smaller group is approaching a larger group, the smaller group should move out of the track.

  81. Has anyone been out to Maple Ridge?

  82. Good morning Bob. Just wondering what you mean by the Ribbon Loop at Ribbon Creek as it’s not a named trail on the map? Thanks

    • Hi chris, essentially the central loop around the creek valley bottom. I started at the village, went down to ribbon parking, along hidden and coal mine to ribbon creek trail (north side of creek) down to the bridge and over to the south side of creek and back to village via terrace link. The loop portion linking both sides of creek is mostly blue trails.

  83. Any thoughts on whether Sandy McNabb might see grooming and track setting this winter?

    • Sandy McNabb is definitely being groomed and track set by Alberta Parks staff this winter. There do not appear to be any recent reports of grooming since Dec. 16.

    • I was wondering the same thing Chris, so thanks for asking. 🙂 I wish the Alberta website still had the live grooming reports for this area, but it says it no longer does. 🙁

      • The developer of the “Live Grooming Reports” has disappeared, along with the app. This means that no ski trail areas have the Live Grooming Reports any more.
        Hopefully someone develops a replacement program. In the meantime, old-school website updates is all you’ll see.

  84. A strangely worded press release today from Alberta Environment and Parks … “Alberta’s government has secured or maintained partnerships for 170 parks and public recreation area sites across the province ….. as a result, no sites included under the Budget 2020 optimization plan will be delisted. All will remain open and accessible to Albertans. All will retain their current designations and associated protections.”

    • What I _think_ they are saying is that they have backed down on the “Optimizing Parks” plan announced back in the spring.

      Good news ???

      • Sounds like good news to me.

      • This excerpt from the Alberta Crown Land Vision worries me …
        “Develop a trails act and fee framework to improve outdoor recreation experiences”
        Are we going to be charged to go hiking, biking as well as cross country skiing? On land that we as Albertans own.

  85. I’m looking for a recommendation on what to ski in Kananaskis. I have never skied there before and am looking for something intermediate in difficulty and in good condition for classic skiing. Hope to ski on Wednesday of this week.

    • Kananaskis includes Ribbon Creek, PLPP, and Mt Shark. On the main menu, under “Maps,” click on whichever area you wish to ski. The maps are colour-coded to show which trails are easy, intermediate, and difficult. After this recent snowfall, check this blog or the trail reports to see which trails have recent tracksetting.

  86. Can someone help direct me to where I can learn about which trials at PLPP are track set or suitable for skate vs classic skiing? Or in general looking at the maps available here, how might one figure that out?
    Thanks in advance,

  87. I know this is not part of skier Bob’s domain but does anyone know if the trails in Cypress Hills have been groomed and track set? Or what condition they are in?

    • Louise, This is the reply I received from the groomer at Cypress Hills:

      “The Spring Creek Trails in Cypress Hills were groomed and trackset on November 24th. Since then, the weather has not been ideal to conduct more grooming. There has been very little fresh snow and the weather, at times, has been very warm. Latest trail conditions can be obtained by contacting the Cypress Hills Visitor Centre at (403) 893-3833. There is a Facebook group called “ Medicine Hat and Area Cross Country Ski Enthusiasts” that also provides current updates of the trail conditions by users.”

  88. Hey, Bob, do you have a link to how to get to the Great Divide trail now that the parking lot is closed for repairs? i can probably figure it out when i’m in the large parking lot at the top of the hill, but if you have a link somewhere…

    i looked around the web site as i vaguely remember (or thought) there was a link to descriptions of trail heads and driving directions and such.

    • cd, are you referring to the Moraine Lake road parking lot? Or am I missing something? I hadn’t heard anything about the Great Divide parking lot being closed. If it is MLR that you’re wondering about, park at the Upper Lake Louise parking lot and access Moraine Lake Road via Upper Tramline. Map

      • Ah, bleep, you’re right. I got them mixed up. Think I’ll try to ski down to from the hotel anyway to GD, never done that. Have skied down to MLR. Thx

  89. Headed out to the cabin this last Monday 14th. Went by the two sets of couches, one close and other further on where the wind screen and log lunch spot are. We followed a trail set by some people previously and came out at the power line about half way to the cabin. OMG full on logging there in BC. The power line road was plowed down to the ground and was icy so we walked down a bit but turned around as too icy to really even walk down. Went back up to where to where the plow headed east away from the power line but did not see any recent track along hydroline so just went back out to Elk Pass when we came in.

    I guess if we want to ski to the cabin we should go over to the summer trail further west?

    • Ken. Descending from Elk Pass to the cabin west of the Hydroline is not easy. It’s quite heavily treed and although there is a trail (of sorts) down Elkan Creek, I wouldn’t attempt it without AT gear. I’ve come up that way numerous times, and I prefer it to the Hydroline, going down is another matter. I haven’t seen what’s been going on with logging above Elk Cabin so I don’t know the best way to avoid it. Perhaps others have had some experience with the trail lately and can chime in.

      • Probably best to just avoid elk lakes cabin as a destination for a while, especially on light gear. Many other choices that don’t involve a continuously changing ski environment due to heavy machinery. The logging has definately blown away the switchbacks of the steeper portion of the descent under the power line. And as mentioned, Elkan creek isn’t an easy option either. The summer route from fox lake also not an option due to significant avalanche hazard along the south and east side of mount fox. Interestingly, the ACC web site makes no mention of current access issues for the elk lakes cabin. You would have thought that any logging approval/negotiation involving BC provincial parkland impacts (or immediately adjacent) would have included protection of recreational access routes, or providing alternatives. Bad negotiation, or enforcement.

  90. Has anyone skied ribbon creek recently? I can’t find any details about the conditions there. I don’t have time to drive all the way to PLPP but would like to do a quick ski!

  91. Is there ever any way to ski between Pipestone and Lake Louise townsite? I see a pedway(?) at the north end of town over the highway. When there’s fresh snow, I’ve skied from Lower Tramline right along Sentinel Rd and over to the Bow River loop without issue.

  92. FOUND!! Sunglasses were found on the trail to Rawson, if they’re yours, please describe in detail so we can return them to you.

  93. Is it possible to ski from Lake Louise to Lake Ohara by taking the Great Divide and then Ohara Fire Road? Do they connect or would there be a short walk in the middle?

    Yes, there is a short walk in the middle. Maybe 300 metres on the access road to Lake O’Hara parking. -Bob

    • Do you mean the Village or the Chateau? Either way, it is totally doable. Big day out, but doable. ~21km one way from the the Divide. The Great Divide trail goes all the way to the Lake O’Hara parking lot. From there it is almost always skier or snowmobile packed. Once in a while it gets properly trackset to Lake O’Hara. You’ll usually see those lucky few who get to experience those tracks post on here when it happens!

      • Thank you Aaron! Yes, I’m looking for a 50km route, so the Great divide trailhead to Lake Ohara and back will be close! Ill eagerly be watching for tracksetting on Lake Ohara Fire road! Thanks for helping me out.

        • If you add in the Moraine Lake Road return, you’d be up to 60km, plus a km or so walking between trailheads! I was hoping to work up to an 80km ski last winter, but I only managed 56km before the pandemic got in the way. Presuming your objective is distance, like me you’re looking for trackset trails with minimal elevation gain. And it sounds like you don’t want to just do multiple out-and-backs of Great Divide. Other options (in order of generally decreasing speed and flatness) are Goat Creek – West Spray return at 37km, perimeter of Peter Lougheed at 32km, and the perimeter of West Bragg Creek at 41km. All can be shortened or lengthened as required. I like to plan 2 laps so that I can do a major refuel, rehydrate, and re-wax halfway through at the car, instead of carrying it all with me for the entire day.

          • Thanks Mike – yep, you know what I’m after. Though lots of laps on the Great Divide isn’t all that bad. 🙂 At least you can stop by your car every 20 km!

            I’ll definitely keep my fingers crossed that Lake Ohara Fire Road gets trackset!

            • May I suggest parking at the Ohara end, for out and back on both Ohara and GD, thus giving you choices on distance for any equipment/body issues, AND access to food and water at the car midway through your mega ski.

    • Thanks Bob!! That sounds doable! I appreciate your help.

  94. Hi. I’m an intermediate skier on classic and skate skis (just skied 5 years, then had kids and have since only skied towing them in the Chariot at Canmore Nordic, Lake Moraine and Great Divide). I’m considering trying Peter Lougheed with the younger one in Chariot and 5 year old now skiing himself. I can’t tell which trails in Kananaskis would be good for us. My 5 year old could do about half the way to the warming Hut in Canmore and the full downhill back from the Hut to centre last year). Any suggestions? Can I tow the Chariot on all the trails? I don’t want too steep anywhere! Thanks for any suggestions!

    • Sounds like you are totally fit, having hauled two young ones around in a chariot x 5 years. I believe a chariot is allowed anywhere in PLPP. I’d be tempted to park as if you had rented one of those William Watson Lodge (WWL) cabins and the entrance to green Spruce Road (around 0.8 kms) is right across from cabins about halfway down. There is a playground in there in case the younger one gets restless. Start there then short trail will continue to green BRAILLE, which consists of 3 well marked sections, virtually flat and wide! I would avoid the north end of Braille that leads to a killer hill towards Pocaterra Hut. Once your 5 yr old has mastered those, there is Lodgepole 1.5 kms. off of Braille. Another green portion 0.7 continues towards Elkwood Parking but involves crossing the road. Then I would graduate over to Elkwood and head towards Wheeler which has beautiful views and picnic tables. Kudos to you for introducing your family to X-C. My initiation to skiing was Mount Royal’s nasty rope tow.

      Helen, I agree with you that Spruce road is very easy and would be ideal but I’m not sure if it’s easily accessible from WWL. Back in late November, I received this communication from K-Country: “Select trails in the WWL area will be groomed, though not ones that would encourage people to visit a closed construction site. I don’t think we’ll be grooming Spruce Road or WWL Access.”

      The trail report is confusing. For WWL Access it states, “Extremely thin base with possible exposed pavement.” It says nothing about being groomed, yet it indicates Spruce Road is roller-packed. How did they get there?

      I hope someone checks it out and gives us a definitive answer. -Bob

      • Wow! Thanks for the tailored suggestions! But I didn’t mean to mislead you by saying I towed 2 kids in the Chariot! I only do one at a time (and barely that at times!).

        I look forward to meeting you on the trail sometime, Bob and Helen! Love your updates, folks!


    • Karen, the easiest trail in PLPP is Wheeler which starts at the Elkwood Amphitheatre parking lot. The trail is 4.5K and has a few small, rolling hills but there is no sustained climbing or anything steep. The most significant hill is about a 10-metre ascent over a 300 metre distance. It’s groomed but not yet trackset. The trail is on pavement, so it’s very safe at this time of year. This trail would be no more difficult than Banff trail at the nordic centre. It also has some nice views.

      As Helen mentioned, and starting at the same parking lot, but across the road are two more fairly easy trails: Lodgepole and Braille. Both have been roller-packed but I expect there are some early-season twigs and grass.

      • Very belated comment here, Bob, but I’ve been meaning to thank you for taking the time (especially so promptly after my query!) to scope out the beginner trails at PLPP for me. In fact, we probably crossed paths that very day because I did some reconnaissance there with my younger son that day too! We drove to each of the parking lots and visitor’s center and walked around. It was a gorgeous day but I found it so deserted and quiet, I was hesitant to venture out on our own. William Watson Lodge had many deterring construction signs. I didn’t want to cross any roads with the Chariot on skis, so we settled on Poccaterra Hut where there were 2 cars in the lot.

        I’m a bit embarrassed to say that we ended up disregarding every bit of advice you and Helen gave (mainly because I rarely have just 1 kid with me so I felt emboldened, and later I needed to rush back to Calgary to pick up my older son from kindergarten!): we skied Come Along and then back on Rolly Road. My son surprised me on his first big ski and did most of it himself on skis with me except for the big downhill to the parking lot (thank goodness he agreed to get in the Chariot for that!).

        We took my older son back later in the holidays and did Wheeler.

        I look forward to getting out there more often as my guys get older! Hope they can get into Jackrabbits or something like that!

        Thanks for all the advice and encouragement you and your readers give to us lesser-skilled enthusiasts! 🙂 Karen.


    Hey Bob,

    For people who are computer illiterate like myself and only know how to do emails and surf Skier Bob, could you maybe explain how to upload photos on the Resource Section if possible?

    That is if you want to look at more pictures from more skiers.

    It would sure be nice if skiers like Chuck could break out what I call a video or motion picture camera in place of his still camera and link some ski video too. I have no idea if ski videos can be linked up on Skier Bob on the ski trips section.

    I think skiers sitting home with broken legs might enjoy some good video. Particularly if they included tomorrow nights meteor showers out skiing at night.

    • Chuck or anyone who posts photos would be the ones to give a detailed description, but I can give you the short answer. You need to use a photo sharing site. Chuck uses Google Photos but there are many available. When you download your photos, you’ll have a link which you can post with your report.

    • MAD, pics are small and easy, but viddy not so. eg. I transcoded old camera vid into smaller universal web-optimized format but it still doesn’t play from cloud storage, on some browsers, on certain devices. Meh. Too much muckymuck.
      That said, look hare at muh firz vijayoh! I hope the AUDIO evokes some memories in those who’re stuck at home. Krunkle is my onomatopoeic term for wet squeaky snow, as evidenced by:!AmEN_pg-34FehDFW7uD4PyttGjM1?e=sAaQPZ

      • A xc-ski instructors told me we should look ahead and not down at our skis – I hope your skiing view differs from your artistic view which was fun to see – love the “krunkle”

  96. What is a trackset trail in good condition for a 2 hour or so xc ski? Near Canmore, Banff or Lake Louise? Generally flat ideally as with the kids. I hear good things about Great Divide? Where do you park? Thanks!

  97. I am told that some time ago, someone asked: what happens if the funds raised from parking passes exceed the $210,000 target? The proposal prepared by Nordiq Alberta, which forms part of the agreement, includes a “Surplus” clause that stipulates that …”the Society will hold these funds pending further spending decisions regarding the use of the excess funds to support future investments in cross country ski trail grooming.”

    I think we’ll have a better idea after Jan 1 as to how close (or not) we will be to the $210,000 target. We have currently sold just under 2,800 $50 season passes, and just over 230 $10 day passes.

  98. Is there a schedule for tracking the trails in PLPP after a significant snowfall? ie. can we expect it to occur 1 or 3 days later.

  99. Hi Bob,
    Where would you suggest we xc ski this weekend? We are beginners but don’t really want to drive as far as Lake Louise

  100. Someone needs to ask the question: Back in March/April the CoVID caused all grooming to cease. Are there any indications which way things may go now (Dec 10) w.r.t. grooming in WBC, PLPP, LL, etc…? What about day-lodges such as Pocaterra & Visitor Center in PLPP? CNC?

    • Pocaterra Hut – boy howdy were we ever glad yesterday evening that it’s still open (until 8pm). Limited to only 10 people, masked when not eating. A rest-up and warm-up made for an easier drive home.

    • Richie …. back in March, all provincial parks were closed to public access because of COVID. At the current time, there has been no closure of provincial parks, and no discussion of stopping grooming. I have heard that Pocaterra Hut and the Visitor’s Centre may be closed to the public as of this Sunday — but have not seen an official announcements specific to these facilities. says “As part of Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, public access to our outdoor spaces is open, however Alberta Parks indoor facilities and permanent outdoor shelters within Kananaskis are closed to public access”

  101. Is carpooling allowed.under the new restrictions (effective dec 9) ?

    • Go to and scroll down to “Carpooling”. It basically says that with people outside your cohort, “avoid carpooling unless necessary”. It goes on to provide precautions to take when carpooling is “necessary”. It’s hard to imagine what constitutes “necessary carpooling”, but presumably such a situation exists otherwise carpooling would have been banned outright. Read the details and decide for yourself whether your carpooling is necessary!

  102. Hey Folks,
    So I have 2 vehicles, a small car for when the roads are good and a 4×4 truck for when they’re not. My parking pass has the license plate for one of them. I’ve been using it for both vehicles but now that we have volunteer pass checkers, will this be an issue?

    • Hello Gord

      After much deliberation, we made a decision to limit pass purchases to a single vehicle licence plate. So far, most people have just purchased two (or more) passes for separate vehicles. But, that said, we have no problem if people wish, on an exception basis, to move their one pass to another vehicle and ask that you include a note so that the volunteer monitors can understand the reason for the mis-aligned plate/pass number. That way you won’t get hassled with a note under on your windshield! And remember, this is a voluntary program, so you can make your own choice here as to whether you need/want an additional pass.

  103. I cannot see where to upload a photo for trip reports? The only place on skierbob that I see to make entries is this “Leave a Reply” yellow box. What am I missing?


    • Patrick, upload your photos to a photo sharing site such as Google photos or Flickr, then leave a link with your report. For an example of this, go to the Trip Reports and see how Chuck and Steve Riggs submit photos. Here’s the latest one from Chuck

    • Patrick, this site is uber-retro.

      When you enter something in the yellow box and hit “Post Comment” there’s no going back.

      Be sure to Czech your speling!!!

  104. Are the Pipestone Trails open and ready for croas country in Lake Louise?

    • Sara, Pipestone has been roller-packed but snow cover is thin. We received a report from Helen yesterday… “Lots of twigs, some rocks.”

    • I skied it yesterday. There are no tracks set. The greens seem better than the blues. Expect some exposed rock, thin snow and exposed dirt. Coming down the 1.9 km run fromDrummond to the parking lot was difficult due to the number of exposed dirt piles. With no rock skis on, I snow plowed most of it in order to stop quickly to avoid hazards. Mud Lake and Pipestone Pond were beautiful! The trail is firmly packed so a dump of snow would make this trail great but for now…..not so much.

      • …continued….of course, the upside is we saw only a handful of skiers!

      • Marjory, thanks for the report. Was the 1.9K on Drummond or #20 Pipestone? Pipestone Map #20 Pipestone has a lot of downhills and leads back to the parking lot.

        • the sketchy downhill was on #20 Pipestone FROM the Drummond intersection, 1.9 km to parking lot. Just sketchy as the snow was hard then you would come upon a sandy area with no time to stop unless you were snowplowing. (At least at my skill level)

  105. anyone ski Plpp today? curious about conditions? besides the needles is it
    .ice. wax or skin skis appropriate?

  106. Lac Des Arc still clear of snow?
    Can’t see any webcams close enough

    • Yes. Lots of folks out skating on various lakes along the trans Canada on Friday. You could even ski up to Boulder pass with your skates and have a glide on ptarmigan lake.

  107. Hi Bob, do you know where I could get some beginner lessons? I down hill ski but have never tried x country and would like to try it out,


    Did you know that the Alberta UCP Government further subsidized the NHL with $4,000,000 this year while charging XC skiers to ski?

    Why the billionaires that own NHL teams need even more government subsidizes is beyond my understanding. UCP stands for “United Corporate Power” rather than being for the people and skiers. The Kenney Government is taking away from skiers to subsidize corporations like those that own NHL teams.

    If we lived in a real democracy where people make the decisions, you can bet that Albertans would not further subsidize Conservatives to go watch hockey games.


      Well you conveniently left out the part of the story that noted how many jobs were created how much money was spent by the teams during their stay (many millions) the estimated value of the tourism exposure etc etc Perhaps you should look outside the mirror and try to view the whole picture rather than sticking to your narrow ridiculous political manifesto. You do good trip reports which what this blog is about, staying on topic would be a better use this space.


        Number one,(before I get to XC skiing/ NHL economics) just because you can vote does not mean you live in a democracy as intelligent people understand. Democracy is defined as rule by the people and rule by the people does not exist anywhere in Canada. The top intellectuals say we do not live in a democracy also. We live in a political system where a few people make the laws of the province or country. That is called an oligarchy and some people call it an elected dictatorship.

        To have a real democracy the people must make the laws. This can easily be done by legalizing the right of people to vote on bills using a cell phone while including citizen initiated legislation- like they did in Ancient Greece before people had cell phones and skied. This is where the term democracy came from. The definition was perverted by elites and media who created a fake definition called representative democracy. The only way to have a real representative democracy is to represent yourself in definition reality. Anything else is not democracy.

        I did leave out the economic spin off effects of the $4,000,000 subsidy the Alberta Government gave the NHL this year for good reason. The NHL is highly subsidized in Alberta and Canada in the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions.. Hockey teams owned by billionaires are given hundreds of millions of dollars by governments to build and operate arenas. If it was not for the CBC subsidizing hockey coverage for decades, the NHL would not likely exist. This coverage even subsidized unfeasible American teams. Canadian teams have actually obtained millions in direct government funds in the past. There is also a lot of policing costs and court costs dealing with the NHL and the rowdy rioting fans. Then there is security on transit systems such as the LRT and so much more. Hockey is not a free market enterprise and it depends on government handouts that far exceed that of cross country skiing.

        I would suggest the subsidized economic returns on investment in cross country skiing are higher per invested dollar than NHL hockey. NHL hockey fans tend to be more over weight than skiers which has added health care economic spin off effects which need to be considered. I won’t go into other effects due to time and space considerations.

        The returns on XC skiing investment are likely higher in the National Parks than Alberta Provincial Parks or lands because Parks Canada uses much lower capital cost equipment than the Provincial Parks. The Alberta government should have followed the lead of Parks Canada and used snowmobiles to groom trails rather than fuel inefficient snow cats worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. By doing so this would have created much better returns on investment for each dollar invested in ski grooming while providing quality xc skiing. Money saved could have been better utilized, but Conservatives are not about wise investing in this province.

        Make way for better investments and democracy.

        • now say it out loud XC SKI BLOG.

          Intelligent people understand this is not a Political Rant Blog. You to spin a good yarn in your rant and do pile it high but at the end of the rant all you have is a steaming pile of….. which has no place here because it is a (say it again) XC SKI BLOG


            There is plenty about XC ski politics on Skier Bob, particularly in the last year with the UCP Kenney cutbacks.

            Politics affects everything we do including the trails we ski on and the air we breathe.

            People should be aware that Kenney has subsidized the billion dollar corporate welfare owners of the NHL this year with millions of dollars while cutting beneficial XC skiing services for Albertans along with our Parks in general.

            I guess the hockey crowd does not want to hear about all the corporate welfare that is pumped into the NHL!

            Keep you political ski tips up for a more knowledgeable nation.

  109. Is there a way to search this site for ski terrain that is NOT trackset? I only ski real / natural terrain.

    • Ken, you’re in the wrong place. The focus of this blog is on real trackset trails. Occasionally we get reports from skiers who have done backcountry trips and you can see those on the Trip Reports tab. There are plenty of backcountry sites on the internet. If you do a Google search “Backcountry skiing Banff Kananaskis” you’ll get 52,500 results.


      Hi Ken,

      I sometimes write on this blog thingy about skiing on terrain that is not trackset. Often early in the season I ski trails which have not been trackset yet. I and others also post about skiing terrain that never gets trackset, like Upper Spray River, Beyond Stoney Creek. Egypt Lake, Elk Lake (rather than Elk Lakes) Shadow Lake, Ink Pots, Skoki, Assinibone Pass and more. Seek and you will find. That is part of the skiing adventure.

      If you want no tracksets or grooming to ski on, I suggest you look at backpacking trail maps and topographical maps. Examine the topo maps and look for suitable terrain that won’t kill you. Usually such trails are for advance or expert skiers only and I classify much of it as “Ski or Die” terrain because the trails are narrow for the most part. Generally, if there is good snow and a trail, I can ski it but only you will know if you can.

      Some areas. like up on the Banff Jasper Highway, Castle River and Waterton National Park offer very easy road access and snowy terrain for those who want to venture on their own ski cut trails. These areas also offer more wide open skiing so you are less likely to crash into a tree.

      Ski or die- or maybe just crash into some nice snow.

  110. I’d like to start hot waxing my own skis, took a session on it a couple if years ago, have the brushes, iron, and scraper, but didn’t write down what wax to use. So, what is a universal wax to use for hot waxing?

    • Swix CH6 (or PS6 if wherever you go only has Swix’s new line of waxes) is a good choice if you mostly ski in -5 or colder conditions. If you are only a “spring conditions” skier, CH8 might be better, but it will feel slower in colder conditions.

  111. With the closure of Barrier Visitor Information – your website is even more important. I’m hoping all the new to skiing will access this site for trip/trail reports. Really appreciate the trail ratings – may save a lot of ‘rescues.
    I’ve been x-c skiing in K-country for many years but never heard of “Back Door ‘ Parking lot – perhaps I know it by another name but looking at maps & can’t find it (as stated). Where is this parking lot..
    Thanks and keep up the great reporting….

    • Laurie, the Back Door parking lot is 8.9K south of the winter gate on Hwy #40. The road will be closed on Dec 1. Back Door is a nickname that Helen Read gave to it last year. Rolls off the tongue better than “Kananaskis Fire Lookout Access Road.” Back Door map



    Does anyone know if it is skiable to Sundance Lodge from the Sunshine Road parking lot?

  113. Hi! I’m wondering what is the widest width of ski that can be used in the tracks? I’m looking for a backcountry ski that can also be used in the tracks. Any suggestions?
    Thank you!

    • Rebecca, this is a reply that Tracksetter Jeff(Ribbon Creek) made to a similar question a while back:
      “The bottom of most track pans is 70 mm The sidewalls flare out to 140 mm at the top of the track. If you were skiing on 65mm skis there will be times when you will get a bit of drag from the sidewalls Also understand that unless you get the first tracks in a fresh trackset the sidewalls are subject to scraping from all the other skiers who went before you.
      If you are looking for performance in the track I’d go with the 59. If you are out for a nice easy ski and want good support for the hills the 65 should be fine.”

  114. If the Pipestone trails at lake Louise are being groomed/trackset this season, is the parking lot open? If not where is the closest parking space? Thanks!

    • Jan, I’ve called them. The Lake Louise Visitor Centre didn’t know, so they put me through to the Banff Visitor Centre who also didn’t know. They promised to get an answer for me by the end of the day. I’ll post it as soon as I have the answer.

  115. Found a pair of X-C poles left at Mt. Shark trailhead yesterday (Sat., Nov 21). Send me a note to claim them?…they’re in Canmore. Thanks!


    Does anyone know how much snow there is at the Cascade Valley ski trail parking lot in Banff?

  117. Has Pocaterra been trackset yet? I knew it was groomed this week. Planning to go there tomorrow. Anyone, please advise.

  118. Hi skiers
    I saw a report from Helen Read on Nov. 6, 20 snowshoeing to Ross Lake. If I consider skiing to the Lake would it be advisable to ascend with light touring skis from Great Divide junction and descending via trail that connects to Lake OHara fireroad? How much downhill is there? Thanks

    • Hi Ulrike, the park of the trail that would be tricky would be the 3 kms from O’Hara Fire Road sign to the lake. Previous snow-shoers to me had sunk in the snow with almost every step. If those big snowshoe (SS) holes have gotten filled in with this new snow, it might be OK but think I would prefer to start at Fire Rd and climb that portion and ski down from the lake to the GD sign. You are an excellent skier but, as a ski, that route will remain a SS for me.

  119. With Parks now grooming GD (Great Divide/Hwy 1A) trail twice without updating website… got me thinking about (pining for) that mind boggling web app for Norway nordic trail conditions. Or was it Finland? Someone dropped it here at SkierBob a year or two ago. The country map starts out peppered with hundreds of dots and zooming in reveals nearly every dot is a PLPP sized live-reporting trail system. I lost the link. Recall that one?

  120. Hey Bob, tried to ski out of the Backdoor access today. Don’t know if I was at the correct spot at about 8km from the gate. There was 2 No Parking signs with yellow tape blocking the access to small parking lot. Sure looked like I was in the right place from descriptions I have read prior.

      • Maybe the closure was temporary, to allow access for grooming, as per the latest
        PLPP report? I hope so, as the report also mentions physical distancing, so you would think that having options other than what could be a very crowded Elk Pass access would be encouraged.

        Nov. 18 Groomed North side from Lookout to Pocaterra.
        Groomed only from Lookout Trail to Packers Trail.
        Groomed: Nov 18”

        • Steve, I believe you are correct. With the Live Grooming Reports not functioning, we better start looking at the trail reports regularly. I barely ever looked at them in the past. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  121. Is “” defunct? Early grooming of CNC and PLPP used to show up on the map (as well as other select spots in North America), but nothing on the site seems to be working.

  122. Hello
    Are there skate-ski trails in the Peter Lougheed Park? ( I would have posted this in “Ask a Question” but there doesn’t seem to be a link….

  123. Any word on if the Pocaterra Hut will be open? What about the PLPP Visitor Center?

    • Hi Adam. As it stands at the moment, Pocaterra Hut _will_ be open – but with some COVD restrictions (such as fewer tables). And, there is a rumour as well that the Visitor Centre might be open this winter after all. Stay tuned.

  124. Lake O’Hara Fire Road – how far in before you start hitting the avi run out zones? Or is it pretty much right away? thanks!

  125. Quoting Bob from the bottom of Back Door to PLPP:

    “Kananaskis pass sales. Season pass sales have surpassed 1200. Along with donations, we are 35% of the way towards the goal of $200,000.”

    Does anyone know what the outcome might be if the initiative fails to raise the $200,000?
    No grooming?
    Limited grooming?

    • Hey Steve … good question(s) and sorry to take so long to respond.
      1) Fail to meet the $210,000 target? As far as we know, grooming will continue to season end regardless of funding outcome. Since we don’t have to transfer any funds until late March, it’s hard to see how grooming could be curtailed at such short notice
      2) Exceed the $210,000 target . Still under discussion, but Nordiq Alberta’s favoured position is that excess funds be retained in some form of reserve to support future grooming operations in subsequent years.

  126. Bob, there seem to be no grooming reports coming out of for any location. Are they operational?

    George, I don’t know the answer to your question, but it’s early season, so let’s give them a chance. -Bob

  127. I like using liquid glide waxes when I don’t have time to hot wax, or when optimal performance isn’t an issue such as on light touring waxless skis. After trying out different brands, I hit upon Vauhti LF (low fluoro) “Polar” and “Mid” about 2 years ago. Its performance on its own is superb, and it significantly improves the performance of a hot wax when applied on top. But now Vauhti (and I think most other manufacturers) have discontinued their fluoro waxes due to the health and environmental concerns of fluoro additives. Vauhti LF sold for $23 at Norseman, about $5 more expensive than their lowest price GW non-fluoro waxes. These have been replaced by Vauhti’s PURE line of non-fluoro waxes, starting at $30 for PURE ONE, $64 for PURE UP, and even more expensive ones. Has anyone had experience with these waxes, and which would be comparable to the performance of Vauhti LF?

    • Hey Mike,
      I find the guys at Lifesport are awesome resources. The manager has loads of experience but tends to get super technical really fast. I’m sure he has an opinion. I’m heading in to get my skis prepped this week and maybe suggest to him to drop a post here or add one to their website.
      Would Bob mind if he left a note for us or would that be self-promoting his business a bit too much…?

  128. Good morning,

    Is Bragg Creek skiable this coming Wednesday? I am planning to ski this Wednesday.

    Thanks a lot,




    51 mm metal edge skis are now available at Norseman Ski- hopefully no wider! The downside is they include some skin system rather than being waxable which makes them pricy. Wax is the best preferred option for a hard smooth surface spring snow skier like myself.

    Is it possible to skate ski on hard smooth spring snow with these new skin system skis? Let me know if you have experience with such skis.


    • I’m interested in metal-edged skin skis. Do you know what brand the ones at Norseman are? Does anyone know anything about these…reviews, etc?

  130. Hi! I am looking to go x country skiing tomorrow on some dog friendly trails. I checked out your list of dog friendly ski trails but am having trouble determining what has decent snow conditions currently. Do you know if Mount Shark or Sandy McNabb are skiable?


      My guess would be Mount Shark would be like having a Shark chew on your ski bases at this time. I have not been there this season but judging by the snow at Canmore, I would think it would be grim due to recent rains and warm weather. Personally I would wait for 10 cm of real wet snow before attempting to ski there without a ski report from the Skier Bob Nation. I am also wanting to ski Shark to Watridge Lake and far far beyond. Wednesday is looking suitable to ski the Shark area judging by the expected snow dump on Tuesday.

  131. Hi there, where do I find out where to XC ski in Kananaskis? Is there a map or directions to parking?

    • Sarah, click on the “Maps” tab on the main menu. The Kananaskis areas are all there including PLPP, Ribbon Creek, Mt Shark, and West Bragg Creek. If you scroll down, you will also see a tab entitled “Trailhead Locations.”

  132. Will Nordique Alberta be activating the real time reports on track setting? Any idea when track setting might actually start, once we get some more snow?

  133. I am a snowshoer. When I go to the Kananaskis Village or PLP parking lots will I be expected to pay?

  134. Any idea if the access road to Lake O’Hara is/will be groomed this wither?

    • The Lake O’Hara Lodge does the grooming. If the lodge opens, it will be groomed but that’s all I know. You could try the phone number on their website and ask.

      • Gust spoke to the LL info centre, the road apparently was already groomed. Supposed to be maintained by the Kicking Horse crew this winter. So I guess those guys will be the one to ask details

  135. Got my season pass about 2 hours after the announcement. Number is 5197 !
    Wow. If numbers are sequential that’s already enough to pay for grooming.

  136. Hi Skier Bob, thanks for posting our fundraiser article. The version have is now out date and so I am wondering if you could update your site with the new version? If you send me your email I can get it to you. Thanks!
    Karena Brawley, Secretary GBCTA

  137. Hello, whereabouts are the trails at South Glenmore and North Glenmore park for cross country skiing? I know that they are ungroomed. Is it just in the grassy areas nearby the paths?

    Also, can anyone suggest a good group(s) to join who would meet to ski together outside of Calgary i.e. WBC?

    Thank you



      The XC tracksetting/ grooming in South Glenmore Park occurred between about 24 Street and the end of 90 Ave. SW. last season. The grooming was adjacent to basically 90 Ave in South Glenmore Park. There is plenty of parking and bus transportation available as well. I have not seen track setting in North Glenmore Park but I may have been looking in the wrong area.

      Some real nice non groomed XC skiing trails occur throughout the Park ranging from beginner to expert, but these trails require generally 30 cm of base snow to be considered ok to ski. Once the ring road is completed, pollution from vehicles will make the air tougher to breathe when skiing and the noise levels of the ring road will really suck. Ski it before the ring road is completed to enjoy it the way Mother intended.

  138. Hi SkierBob: Been an avid follower of your great blog since its inception. Just wondering if you could or why you haven’t included a “Lost and Found” section to your already informative blog.

  139. Anyone know which day they trackset the Divide (1a) in lake louise ?
    Thank you

    • Easy Great Divide Groomed. 25-10-2020: Double trackset classic

      Lk Louise X-C trails are listed under Trail Reports; scroll to bottom

  140. After reading Bob’s remarks about xc skiing in Cypress Hills Prov Park I’m wondering does Alberta Parks provide the grooming there? If yes, a number of questions could occur to me.

  141. The “Live Grooming” links don’t seem to be activated yet this year?

    • For all areas? Assuming those locations haven’t started yet, or in the case of Alberta, very little to report with very little locations still being government sponsored groomed

    • Diana, when you get that “not secure” message, click on the “advanced” icon at the bottom of the page. Scroll down. It will then give you the option to “proceed to” and the Live Grooming Report will display. In any event, there are no reports yet.

  142. Hi there,

    I’d love to get out to Confederation Park golf course for a ski on the weekend. I know that there won’t be any grooming or track setting yet but is it still possible to get into the golf course to do that? Thanks.

  143. I have a friend who’s planning to buy metal-edged light touring skis, primarily for use on trackset trails. Due to knee injuries, the desire for metal edges is to improve control on steeper downhill sections where the surface would be groomed but not trackset. Her shortlist is either the Rossignol BC 59 or BC 65, which have a maximum width of 59mm and 65mm respectively. All other things being equal, the BC 65 is more attractive because the recommended ski length is shorter than for the BC 59, which would make it easier to control on downhills. But the tracksetting specs I’ve found indicate that the bottom width of each ski track can be anywhere between 60 and 70mm. At the low end of this range the BC 65’s would definitely be too wide. But even if the track were 70mm wide, I’m thinking that on curves the outer tip and tail of the ski and the inner midpoint of the ski would rub against the side of the track.

    What are people’s experience of using various width skis in the SkierBob domain? Does anyone (groomers in particular) know what the local tracksetting width(s) are?


    • Hi Mike,
      You’re right the bottom of most track pans is 70 mm The sidewalls flare out to 140 mm at the top of the track. If you were skiing on 65mm skis there will be times when you will get a bit of drag from the sidewalls Also understand that unless you get the first tracks in a fresh trackset the sidewalls are subject to scraping from all the other skiers who went before you.
      If you are looking for performance in the track I’d go with the 59. If you are out for a nice easy ski and want good support for the hills the 65 should be fine.

    • I would recommend the BC 59, as flotation is not an issue if primarily on trackset trails… plus they will be a little faster!

    • Jeff and Chuck – Thanks for your recommendations!

    • I have the Rossi BC 65s and really like them. I use them with heavier boots and NNN BC bindings mostly for off track skiing sometimes even with skins. But I have used them at CNC and on other tracksets and I have not noticed any problem with sidewall scraping. I researched it when I bought them a few years ago and I seem to recall that the exact World Cup spec for the bottom of the track is 67 mm. As Jeff has noted presumably that widens a bit as more skiers pass. Im sure Chuck is right that a narrower ski would be a little faster but the wider ones work fine in tracks and are wonderful for mostly flat backcountry cruising –of course they are way lighter than standard AT gear.


      I recommend the narrowest possible 2/3 or full metal edge XC ski possible. Fat skis that just barely fit in XC tracksets are a waste of energy to move if you are serious about making some mileage on the trails. I commonly do 30 + kilometers a day and will push up to 50 km a day on metal edge XC skis. I have yet to meet anyone who can keep up with me going down winding hills when I am hauling ass on my metal edge XC skis.

      I use to ski on Madshus 50 mm 2/3 high camber waxable metal edge skis that were as good handling on icy slopes as the wider 60 mm metal edge skis. Narrow high camber means more speed on the flats! Madshus foolishly stopped making this light weight ski. They now have new skis which are slightly wider. If you can land a pair, let me know as I would like to get them as well- as long as I can wax them. I don’t dig waxless skis. In spring when conditions are icy, I don’t wax skis nor do I use waxless skis.

      I only ski on metal edge XC skis as I prefer the safety- particularly when I am skiing to moonlight. They also are excellent for skate skiing on hard icy smooth surfaces in the spring when no trails are required in the backcountry.

      • Thanks for your feedback. In the meantime, my friend decided to go for the Rossi BC 65s.

      • I’d like to give these a try. Pricey, though.

        • I have owned the Cecelie Asnes for many years now and LOVE them. They are my “go to” ski but hardly do justice to them in the “Powderpuff minimally gentle” trails and terrain I thrive in. 76-56-66 and while I bought the skinnier skins and the wider ones, I rarely use the wider ones. If I attempt Skoki or Boulder Pass, I am the type who prefers to use only wax on way up and wants skins on the way down, but find the half skins do not give me much confidence on the way down. I find the half skins give me a jerky “stop and go” scary descent. Some of my male ski friends have bought Asnes: Combat or Amundsen BC and am sure they would be happy to give you opportunity to try them out. For what it’s worth-am definitely not in your category of skier, but vicariously enjoy your contribution and photographs to this site.

  144. We went hiking on Sunday in West Bragg and couldn’t believe all the snow! We were sure disappointed that we didn’t have our skis!
    We will definitely bring them next weekend!
    Any idea if they will groom West Bragg before the weekend?

    • Cathy, this report from Greg Foord explains…”There is 8 to 12 inches of snow to plow through but sadly beneath it there is quite a bit of slush which I suspect is preventing grooming.” Grooming may be possible when the cooler weather comes.

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