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Places to SkiBaker Creek Banff Bill Milne Blueberry Hill Brewster Creek Canmore Nordic Centre Cascade Valley Castle Lookout Confederation Park Golf Course Dog-friendly Elk Pass Emerald Lake Evan-Thomas Frozen thunder Goat Creek Golden Great Divide Hawkridge Healy Creek Hydroline Kananaskis Kananaskis Fire Lookout Kananaskis Village Lake Louise Lake O'Hara fire road Moraine Lake road Mt Shark Nipika Pipestone PLPP Pocaterra Races Redearth Creek Ribbon Creek Sandy McNabb Shaganappi Golf Course Skogan Pass Spray River Tyrwhitt Watridge Lake Road Wedge connector West Bragg Creek Wheeler Whiskey Jack Yoho
TOKUMM CREEK – Jan 31
The Continental Divide was the place to be today… White clean snow and no wind!
Details available in the captions here:
Peaceful and quiet… music only from open sections of the creek.
Fri Jan 31: pipestone couch/river tour.
-5 in the lot this morning at 8 with 3 inches of fresh snow. Marginally below zero on return at 4. Fresh tracks all the way to the couch site made for a nice glide while cool in the morning. Stomped out a pad and went for a ski up the river a short distance and back to test the snow. No good. Happily the work crew showed up shortly after for some more (heavy) stomping. Then off up the river with the group while the snow set up. From about noon on I was getting stickage the rest of the day with all the fresh snow coming down (waxkess). Others fared much better with a quick application of some kind of glide liquid gold. Winds were light to moderate while in the area. Pipestone river couch is now open for use and seats 4. User maintenance required, especially after this storm! Hopefully doesn’t get too buried. Coming down quite rapidly at times, and wet. River trail was in great shape with chuck, et al, packing it down. Pole plants started getting sketchy and a few ski “drops” crossing the dips near open running water. Driving home was fine (at that moment). Snowy lanes west of sunshine, wet to east. Happy couch surfing!
And of course, thanks to cheeky, Simona and Eric for helping compact snow and build some good comfortable seating. (-:
CNC Fri 31 Jan – very good.
Meadowview, Bow, Banff were surprisingly soft, supportive and debris-free, given the winds and +6C temp. Good tracks if a bit shallow on the natural snow trails. Good gription with fish-scales today, but the snow is so clean that in retrospect, wax skis would have been fine except for all the snow fleas on outbound Banff beyond mine meadow.
A spring time ski trip on Goat Creek Trail before the rain: There was still a reasonable track down to Goat Creek bridge, however tracks were all wiped out on the downhills; With a temperature around +3C glide was fairly slow on wax skis (Swix VF50) and grip was marginal. The tracks on the Spray River west trail were littered with pine needles and leaves. Had a sunny lunch spot at the shelter. Lets hope for new snow!
BLUEBERRY TEA AT THE COUCH- JAN 30
Not much to add to the abundance of reports about the very good skiing today in southern PLPP, other than that we paid a visit to the couch at west Elk Pass after skiing Blueberry Hill. We took the “upper” meadow route which leaves Blueberry just before the second bend from the bottom, following a blown in old skier track though meadows, and then a short stretch through easy forest connecting to the main west Elk Pass meadow, just west of the BC border and the couch, where we enjoyed a most pleasant afternoon tea in calm air. Unlike back at the trailhead, where the winds had picked up substantially on our return! Off trail travel in the Elk Pass environs was very supportive to light touring skis, opening up lots of possibilities for enjoyable wandering at will- I wish that we had started earlier. I’ll leave the rest up to the pictures below:
Nice! A great choice for the conditions.
MOUNT SHARK to BRYANT CREEK SHELTER Return on skinny skis – Jan 30
Mount Shark at 10:30 was -9 and there was new tracksetting all the way to Spray River.
Between Spray River and BR9 it was a bit challenging on skinny skis due to a somewhat rough trail due to snow bombs and no recent snow. Between BR9 and the Shelter conditions were much better. The return between the Shelter and BR9 was quite fast and pleasant because the snow on the sides of the tracks was still soft enough to control speed by simply placing one ski off the side of the track, with the exception of the steep 500 meters just below the Shelter.
We met a total of 8 skiers above BR9 going into the Shelter and they had improved the section between BR9 and the Spray by leveling the uneven trail. It was also quite fast.
We would expect conditions to continue to become faster and more challenging due to warmer temperatures (-1 at the Shelter today), night time freezing and skier packing until new snow arrives.
However, today was manageable on skinny skis with perfect weather.
One additional note.
We heard an avalanche on Mount Turner in the afternoon.
PLPP – Central/South trails -All trails now freshly groomed and pressed immaculately. Started Elkwood at 10am needlemainia! heading south but less debris once elevation gained (apparently windy last night says chaps coming out from Hut). Packers was in the BEST condition Ive ever skied -totally safe both ways! and nice centre strip corduroy all the way up Poccaterra-Tyrwhitt-Elkpass AND Blueberry. Super safe! Even Fox creek-Moraine was freshly groomed and set with surprisingly little debris compared to Wheeler et al.. All in all, after a cool start it turned into a mild -1 ish day with almost no breeze. Wax was a combination of vr45/vr55 (marginal grip) with plenty of embedded needles after 40km.
Mount Shark – When we spoke to Tracksetter James yesterday morning while we were at William Watson Lodge, he indicated that he would be tracksetting at Mt. Shark today, so that’s where we headed this morning. We began skiing at 10 am in -7 temps and found only grooming, but within 10 minutes, we heard the welcome sound of the Pisten Bully approaching. James had track set the Watridge Road all the way to Spray River. We had a wonderful time gliding along, then descending to the river on a fast, safe hill. By the time we got back, it was -1 with a strong Chinook wind blowing. The Pisten Bully was parking in the lot, so I assume the rest of Shark will be track set overnight tonight. Big thanks to James!
LAKE O’HARA – Jan 30
Excellent snow conditions today in the mountains… and no wind!
Details available in the captions here:
Great to see the Silver Fox again, and his Vixen!
PLPP – Skied my favorite loop from Boulton parking lot: Whiskey Jack – Lookout – Hydroline – Blueberry – Elk Pass – Tyrwhitt – Packers
All the trails were recently trackset and the fast descents from the lookout (south side) and Blueberry were fun and safe.
Just a word of caution, there were may snow bombs on the northern steep descent on hydroline before reaching the Elk pass trail and sometimes difficult to avoid.
As mentioned in a previous report, some areas such as the lower part of Whiskey Jack and Packers were covered with needles and the only way to get a good glide was to move from the tracks on to the corduroy.
Jan 30. Lake Louise Bow River loop (#9). Parked at railway station and started at 1:40pm. About 1cm of fresh snow on existing tracks. Crossed the bridge and skied the west side of the river to the end of loop, crossing over to the east side to head back. We only did the first half on the east side and then crossed over to the west side of the river to retraced our steps thru the tenting campground and the rest of the way back. Surprisingly few boot prints on tracks. Just a few in one section. Tracks were well defined although not too deep and nicely refreshed with the new snow. Not too much debris or snow cookies but the west wind was picking up as we finished so expect more. Old special blue (0 to -7) worked well for grip. Temp was -1 when we finished at 2:45.
Upon return the bridge off the parking lot was freshly groomed and it looked like fresh tracksetting on the east side heading towards the town site. Maybe the groomer came down Tramline?
Note that the parking lot near the campground kiosk is inaccessible due to construction at the moment.
NEEDLE-MANIA AT PLPP:
I have had some very memorable skis at PLPP over the decades, but today was not one of them. We started at Elkwood parking lot just after 10 am and skied Wheeler to the start of Whiskey Jack. The tracks were hard-packed and covered with pine needles along most of the trail making for a poor glide at best, and my own personal needle collection in the grip zone. Whiskey Jack had fewer needles, but the tracks were hard-parked with only skiff of snow on top; meant for a long hard climb.. At the end of Whiskey Jack we were happy to see that the upper end of Pocaterra was actually quite good, but as we got close to the junction with Lynx the needles were there to greet us. Lynx and most of Amos were needle city. We were glad to see Elkwood parking lot at the end. Here’s hoping that another dump of snow is on the way soon!
PLPP – Moraine, Fox Creek, Elk Pass, Boulton Creek, 29Jan
Had a nice time on the trails. They’re in great condition, but groomers are having to chop up very hard snow to create the tails. I was getting better grip with my skintecs than my wife was with her traditional waxless.
Lots of debris on Moraine and Fox Creek, Elk Pass not so bad. Came back on Boulton Creek just as the wind was really starting to blow. The trail was blanketed with debris and twigs and more needles were really falling with the heavy wind. We were skiing with skintecs and regular waxless, so we weren’t picking anything up, but anyone with wax will have a lot of problems until it’s all covered with a fresh layer of snow.
Lake Louise: Great Divide – Upper Telemark – ice sculptures – Peyto- Lower Telemark
All good skiing, except around the ice sculptures today! Conditions were mostly good and fast, with a bit of tree debris and only a few footprints in the “skiing only” sections of trail 🙂
Overcast and chilly all afternoon; ice sculptures definitely worth a look.
Pipestone- nice conditions today. Took a bit of time to figure out where to start skiing due to construction. Usual gate is closed, start skiing on the opposite side of the parking lot, just down the road a bit.
PIPESTONE RIVER to POINT CAMP MEADOWS – Jan 29
Surprisingly easy travel with only ankle deep trail breaking today.
Details available in the details here:
No couch yet!
Went to Shaganappi Wednesday afternoon to ski the fresh grooming. As you might expect, despite the efforts of the volunteers, conditions were a mixed bag. Expect icy and thin patches and lots of debris. The perimeter trails were in the worst shape – the west section along the condos is pretty much done, and there is a short gap in coverage at the SW corner. The trail along Bow Trail is still okay. The inner trails were generally still quite skiable and I had no problem getting a good workout. I was skating but the groomers did manage to trackset most of the inner loops. Kudos!
Excellent conditions at the Golden Nordic Centre, Skate lanes are freshly groomed. New snow is expected this week.
Should be a fun weekend at the 24th Huckleberry Loppet Feb 1 & 2
West Bragg Creek (yesterday) -enjoyed several loops throughout the core trails namely Crystallines East-West and loggers noon. 9am corduroy was refreshed making descents safe and classic track still firm, formed and deep. Excellent conditions; used a thin base layer of universal/silver klister (-5 to +3) with 2 layers of VR45 on top which was ok. No softening yet by mid-day.
The Shell Oiltimers had a wonderful day in PLPP today. Up Packers, Pocaterra, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, “The Couch”, Fox Creek and finally Moraine back to the car. The temperatures were just right for wax. -5 C to start at the trailhead at Bolton, warming up to around 0 C by the time we got back at 2:30 pm. Some fresh grooming as per the Grooming report. Elk Pass down to Hydroline junction was old skier track but still in good shape. A short excursion to MaSid’s couch was lovely in the sun :). Fox Creek is in rough shape with lots of snow bombs and bark/needles but clear of all deadfall. Moraine is in slightly better shape but was getting very slick/icy in the afternoon.
Yesterday Cascade Fire road, skis were fast and today Fairview and Moraine Lake road the conditions couldn’t be any better. Started at 10:00 , the temperature was at -8 according to my car, hardly an other person on the trails. Was getting busier as we were getting back to the car.
Jan-28 West Bragg Creek
Went for a skate ski, -6C at 10am, 0C at noon. Crystal E, Loggers, Mountain View, Mountain View West, Moose Loop S, Mountain Road. Crystal E & W freshly groomed, in excellent shape. Mountain View & MV West were frozen hard and somewhat rough from yesterday’s thaw/freeze, but still quite reasonable. Loggers, Moose Loop, and Mountain Road were “semi-frozen”, and somewhat rough. For classic skiers, the trails groomed today looked great. The other trails had glazed tracks with some tree debris in them.
West Bragg – same route but on classic waxless scales. About -1 to start, but the sun popped out from behind the chinook arch around noon and got to work right away. Once you’re outside of the well shaded core trails it’s not so great for classic. Things deteriorate quickly on Mtn View, with significant glazing of track. I was ok with metal edges on the hill, but my better half on track skis was right at the limit of keeping control. MV West hill was same thing, but oh my, that sunny 100m with snow-fencing… absolute full-on edge to edge luge track ice. Just needs a few machine gun equipped motorcycles chasing you to complete the scene. Moose S. was ok, but no grip at all on icy Mtn Rd at 4pm, forcing one to double pole up the hills. For classic, stick to the shady core trails until the new snow arrives this weekend.
Report’s a bit late, but skied Blueberry Hill from Elk Pass parking lot on Sunday, Jan 27. Great soft snow on the Hill. Tracks were in good shape. Lower down towards the parking lot, the steep pitches were getting a bit scraped by the end of the day. All in all a great ski.
I haven’t skied the Shaganappi golf course for years! But after reading about all the work, I gave it a try this afternoon. Conditions were rather more icy than I expected, but pretty good considering the weather recently.
Grooming seems to be wider and more “serious” than I remember! Some areas have lots of snow while others are bare or almost. Given the conditions and my lack of metal edges, I stuck to the main course area and did not explore the more interesting NE cormer.
There were a few other people out there, and we had quite a decent afternoon of skiing. Many thanks to the groomers!
Skied Bill Milne with my 16 yr old dog today under a sunny sky. The tracks were slick and icy but I had a good ski. The trail could use a re groom ideally but I realize the groomers might be waiting for more snow. Time for the snow dance. Photo
Was very tempted to check out those skier tracks going up the Pipestone River that Jeannette and Chuck enjoyed Saturday starting at the future “Couch to Be”. We six Meanderthals started out at west gate (reiterate it’s the ONLY option) just after 9:15 today (-8) heading up the route I reconned official opening day when Chuck took our photo. Thank you Chuck: but I should have taken your photos also!! Some of us figure this new route is a nicer way to ski Pipestone (heading up blue, then right onto Drummond, +/- Mud Lk then up #20 in the usual counter-clockwise fashion, down to final junction with Hector, and enjoying Paul D’agostino’s favorite green out. One gets to ski every trail in the area that way, adding Hermit for more kms if one wants to. Total 16.7 kms. Great news to hear Ma Sid is eager to resume his “finishing carpentry” expertise, recreating the Snow Couches. P.S. Thank you for cutting the trail through West Elk Pass to Hydroline and posting on it, Pete (the 13th Troll) and MaSid. Snow temp at noon was -4 and snowflakes trying to come down but mostly a blue sky day.
Somebody (maybe Pete) went through the meadows before us yesterday morning, so we “double packed” it, and straightened it out in a few places, so it’s starting to look a little braided. Just take the straightest line south. Pipestone might acquire a couch Friday or weekend. And good to know there is a nice trail up the river to explore while compacted snow firms up for cutting blocks. Anyone doing same in the coming days, feel free to stomp some snow in the couch location. Helps immensely (plus I can ski more!). Thanks in advance.
Stomp?! You expect people with skinny skis that weigh less than a feather to stomp?!
Works great, better penetration. (-: But not an expectation.
Moose Loop – Mountain View/Road – Loggers – Crystal E.
Super fun ski. Tracks from recent track setting were surprisingly good. Fast glide on the flats and V40 was primo on the climbs. Downhills had enough loose snow from other skiers snowplowing to not be terrifying.
Lots of grooming work going on today by the fantastic trail crew at WBC.
Lake Louise on Friday 24.
Starting at the Train Station. Tramline -> Moraine Lake Road -> Fairview –> Tramline back to Train Station.
The fresh snowfall made it a bit sticky so a red wax / waxless was needed.
Lovely conditions on the whole though.
Everything is well filled in – full coverage on Fairview section.
Elk Lakes Hut
Going to Elk Lakes Hut (especially with kids & pulks)? Lower Fox Creek trail (which will by-pass the “Big Hill”) is passable with just a couple of downed tress encroaching on the trail. The West Elk Pass cut-off has been skied all the way to the power poles – if you want to avoid the climb up to Hydroline. There exists a solid, supportive consolidation crust about 3″ deep all through-out the meadows – makes for fast skiing.
Sun jan 26: west elk pass
Yes, the meadows are in excellent well settled shape for easy and fast travel whether on a track or breaking your own (toe height ski penetration only). It’s go anywhere time off track. Couch update: wind wall now in place, but couch still only seats 3 or 4. Groomed Tracks throughout the south end trails stayed cool and fast with occasional icy tree bomb bumps. Worse on fox creek but still reasonable if wanting to avoid the hill on return at the end of a tiring day. A few new trees down along fox, and removed the ones we could.
WBC on Sunday. Started around 2 pm and skied WC, Moose, Mountainview West and Mountainview and back on WC. On classic skis and tracks were a mixed bag, with many glazed sections, a little ice, some slush. Swix VR 50 was just barely adequate and I had to reapply. Lot of double poling and some skating.
Coverage is still great and the downhills were all pretty good; it did not seem icy out of the tracks. The only place coverage seemed in danger was the road cut on Mountainview West which must be one of the sunniest spots on the trail system. There was also a little ice flow across the grooming on Moose Loop.
Still pretty good skiing but some skin skis might join my quiver as the weather this week will surely do some damage.
Lake O’Hara Road
Headed up on Sunday, January 26 at 10:00 AM.
Lots of deep soft snow off the road. The road and tracks were hard packed and slick . Coming down, in the center of the road where I usually like to snowplow, it was iced and irregular from the various traffic. Another snow fall could make for better conditions.
BRYANT CREEK – 1
MOUNT SHARK TO BRYANT CREEK
+1 KM beyond BR 14 Campground
The Watridge Lake trail is double trackset and nice skiing. Lots of people out today.
The trail up Bryant Creek to the Warden Cabin at BR 14 is snow shoer and skier tracked. A little bit of a wimbly wombly trail. 5 cm of new snow will make it nicer.
Beyond the Warden Cabin the skiing is not tracked and the snow is superb and silky with fairly fast speed. Breaking trail is fairly easy with just over ankle deep snow penetration with 60mm skis. The Swix V30 wax worked well. Moderate speed skiing coming out at night.
PLPP – It was -6 C today at 9:30am and skied from Pocaterra hut : Pocaterra – Lynx – Wheeler – Elk Pass – Tyrwhitt and back on Pocaterra to the hut. It was a windless day and the conditions are greatly improving when you the reach the south end of the trails. Many skiers and families were heading to Elk cabin mostly equipped with with backcoutry skis. Pocaterra was recently grromed and it was a delightful ski back to the starting point.
Red Earth Creek. Started around 10:30 this morning, right after the groomer had finished and removed the trees across the trail! Very good conditions. Some patches of needles but not too bad. Track setting ended at the 6.7km mark at the campground. Past there was skier-tracked and pretty solid so we carried on for a ways but the small poke baskets and skinny skies made it a bit of a slog. Snow was thigh deep when I stepped of the track to re-wax. Had a fast trip down with some people in the group walking the last hill. All in all great day with the Calgary Ski Club!
Redearth Creek today. Good snow. Trackset to the campground, skier set beyond. Needles and small tree debris on the trail off and on for the first few kms. Parks was leaving just as we pulled in. Downed trees mentioned Thursday are already cleared! Hard to pole in the deep skier set snow, so turned around before the bike racks.
Hit WBC this morning. Started at 10 (temp was -8) on Mountain Road where the tracks were in good shape but icy in sections, which made my fish scales ineffective. The groomed part was better. Turned off onto Mountain View and found the snow fairly crusty and fast; was happy to finally connect with West Crystal Line where the snow was softer and nicely groomed, more to my liking. Skied the links here and there and ended up on East Crystal Line before heading back to the parking lot, which was filling up fast at 11:45. All and all a pretty good Sunday morning!
It is so nice to have the Pipestone back! We skied a figure 8 route today and it was exceptionally fun. Not too busy and good tracks. One reminder though to dog owners: THERE IS NO POO FAIRY! The dogs and owners we met today were great, but someone left a “doggie bag” by the side of Drummond trail recently – not cool!
We swing back around and pick up on the way back
Skogan and village trails. 2 pm start, 2C. The lower trails of skogan pass were in poor shape, with hard packed icy conditions and pine needles throughout. No grip except on flats using purple wax (0 to -3 I think); even my poles were sliding out on the hills. Started at hay meadow (flat and funnest trail of the day double poling) and made it about 1 km up lower skogan before I decided it wasn’t worthwhile and looped back. Coming down on skinny skis was way too fast and hard to control so I took them off on lower skogan downhill. Despite the fact it’s a busy area with hikers, I could tell at least some of the footprints on (usually minor) hills were from skiers. Tried some of the village trails after and they were in much better shape, with no ice just some track glazing (I enjoyed flat Terrace the most), though my poor grip made it no fun on aspen. More tracks on link and aspen may have helped, as it controls the skis, plus the snowfleas seem to accumulate there and improve grip, of all things. A total of only 12k today so I walked some of the Ribbon creek snowshoe trail for a little extension. On days like this, flat trails are the best. Skogan was a bad call. Expectations were higher given recent track setting. I’m sure it gets better the higher you go but I was not equipped for the conditions.
We arrived in the parking lot behind the station restaurant in lake louise at 10am. It was -5 and we were the first car in the lot. We did the full bow river loop, with a stop at trailhead cafe for a lovely brunch. The trail hasn’t been trackset for a while but it was gorgeous on the west side, and the southern part of the east side. We only saw one other skier on the west part, by the campground loop. Once the trail gets closer to the village on the east side, there are a lot of footsteps and snowshoe tracks. The last 500 meters south of the village were rather painful. Got better again on the last km to the trailhead. It was -1 in the parking lot and packed when we got back. Snow was great, no slush or wet muck at all.
Johnston Canyon campground to Castle Junction plus #3 loop from the junction and #2 loop from the the junction to Castle campground. Conditions were quite decent today. The loppet grooming is still okay most of the way. Temperatures stayed just below freezing today. It was a little warmer in the really sunny areas so there is a little glazing here and there but most of the trail is fine.
PLPP. I wasn’t sure what I’d find today. Given the warm temperatures we’ve had this week, I was expecting clump-mageddon. Instead, there was a dusting of fresh snow, temperatures stayed just below zero (I think?), tracks were in great shape, the sky was blue, the mountains were beautiful, and it worked out to be a perfect day.
Starting at Boulton Creek parking lot, up Whiskey Jack, along Tyrwhitt, down Elk Pass and then Fox Creek and Moraine. This is my favourite ski loop in all the Rockies (what’s not to love?). There were many smiling skiers up on Tyrwhitt, and most were heading in the opposite direction.
After all the traffic along Tyrwhitt and Elk Pass, Fox Creek seemed surprisingly empty. There were pine needles scattered along Fox Creek, but since I was expecting a mess, it really wasn’t that bad. That is, until I encountered one large tree that had fallen right on the tracks and the area around it looked like the free had barfed all its needles on the ground.
After that, I still felt pretty good so skied an encore small loop counter-clockwise along Amos and Wheeler. It sure was pretty finishing on Wheeler on fast tracks, with the sun setting to my right. This was the sort of day that skiers dream of.
Mt. Shark today had about 2 cm of fresh snow over a hardened track making excellent fast skiing classic and skate.
PIPESTONE – Jan 25
We’ve been waiting for this… and yes it is excellent.
Details available in the captions here:
Trail Crew has done a lot of work to create a solid level track… Thanks
Holy cow! We made it onto skierbob!
Steve and Joyce aka Couch Potatoes
Oops, had I suspected visitors from Seattle would have known about SkierBob, we would have introduced ourselves! I should have known better after learning of your love of nordic skiing in Canada.
It was a pleasure to meet on the Pipestone River!
PLPP – Had a great ski today! Arrived at Pocaterra Hut at 9:30 to a lovely minus 5 temperature, and some fresh overnight snow. Went up Pocaterra to Packers, which was freshly groomed. Went down Packers to Wheeler. Packers was skier trackset. There were several centimetres of fresh snow, which made the downhills much easier. There were some annoying bumpy spots, likely due to snow bombs from yesterday. We then went Amos to Linx (also freshly groomed) and back on Pocaterra. I had great luck on my skin skis; others were doing well with Swix VR45. When we left after lunch at 2:00, it was plus one on the car thermometer in the parking lot. It was fairly busy today, but not crazy – good to see people out!
SOUTH GLENMORE PARK- SW Calgary
The trackset skiing is still holding up in the Chinook weather. A couple of avoidable bare spots under trees. Lots of good snow off the trackset to be enjoyed.
Nice big coyote walking on the trackset in the late afternoon with no fear. Skiing kids really enjoyed the sight of it from 40 meters. Casual coyote with no fear. Just enjoying the skiers. I have never seen a coyote that tall. Might be crossed with a wolf.
Baker – Castle
We parked at Baker Creek, and initially skied west toward Morant’s Curve. However, this trail was heavily impacted by snowshoers and walkers, not to mention lots of pine needles, so we turned back after 1 km. Then we skied east from Baker Creek on delightful new tracksetting. Reaching Protection Mtn campground we skied both campground loops, again on new tracksetting, before continuing east. We skied to within 1 km of the Castle Mtn parking, then returned. Probably over half of the trail is double trackset, with the narrower sections being single tracked. -5C when we started about 10am; about 0C when we finished around 2pm. Great snow – we used VR45 or VR50 for grip. Pleasant mix of sun and cloud. Quite a few people on the trail, enjoying the sublime conditions and wonderful scenery.
Castle Lookout to Baker Creek (return)
Happy Birthday to Carol and her well wishers on the trail. A great sun and cloud mix for a birthday.
Trackset yesterday and it is the best I have skiied here over the years. Good snow, just below zero temperatures in the very late morning / afternoon. Swix purple. Still excellent on the return.
Anyone ski Skogan Pass today?
Yes, we did! Started out from a pleasantly warm Ribbon Creek parking lot around 11:30, expecting tricky conditions I choose to use light touring gear. Started out with barely working VR45 up Hidden and through the busy base area (Jip likes kids!) passed a couple of skiers waxing just at the start of Skogan pass trail, saw them again applying more ‘Blue’ wax shortly after putting my skins on! The trail is nicely set all the way but has iced over convincing me wax was not the way to go. Beautiful day, great views and calm at the pass. The trip down was fast and fun with metal edges and wider skis, I would not recommend skinny skis but its certainly possible. I was thinking the snow would soften for the return but it did not. Meet Astra and Nicky top of Skogan, they set out from Dead Mans flats and bet me down the hill so I could give them a ride back to the Casino LOL
I found an iPhone ( I think) on the Bow River trail Saturday at 2:45. I left it at Parks Canada visitor centre.
Goat Creek Canmore side. Older track set but still good. Temps ~+3C, snow a little sticky but overall good. Beautiful warm day. Ran into Bob on the trail as well and had a good chat. Thanks Bob for maintaining this site!
Another beautiful day in PLPP! My dad and I started at the Boulton Creek parking lot at 10:15 at 0 degrees. We did the Tyrwhitt loop (Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, Moraine) and it was a fast and fun ride, myself on skins and dad on fishscales. Snow bombs pretty much everywhere and Fox Creek and Moraine were also a bit messy, but the snow was still surprisingly fast and tracks were good throughout. No sign of Mrs. Moose whom dad had seen on Wednesday, although we saw her tracks as we climbed WJ as well as pretty fresh-looking wolf poop at a couple of places. One felled tree going up WJ that had been there earlier this week, and one new one on Moraine. 3 degrees and my bagel sandwich waiting for me back at the parking lot.
+2 c at the Mt Shark parking lot when we got there around 1pm. There were about 5 or 6 cars in the parking lot. We skied to Watridge Lake and back on beautiful tracksetting. Once we got to the lake, we hightailed it back as it looked like a big storm cloud was moving in. It was a gorgeous on amazing trails! +1 c back at the parking lot and snow was starting to fall. Some other skiers said the snow was clumping a bit on their skis. We had no issues at all with our fish scales.
Am wondering what’s the snow quality at Confed (skate and classic) and also WBC. Am hoping the trails have been surviving this warm spell that is just warm enough to damage.
Bueller? Paging Mr Bueller…
Confed on Saturday was very glazed. Classic skiers seemed to be making some headway. Almost impossible to skate because of the glaze. There was soft snow off to the side of the tracks however.
Nice trackset skiing on the Red Earth Creek trail to RE6. Beyond RE6 it is skier tracked to Shadow Lake. The hill has been skier packed from Red Earth Creek Trail to Shadow Lake Lodge. Good travel conditions up by the Lodge to the Lake and beyond. -4C at the Lake after dark. Calm winds. Moderate to somewhat fast skiing. Used Swix V30 wax and it provided grippy fast skiing going up hills.
There are 3 downed small trees on the Red Earth Creek Trail in the first 3 km from the parking lot. They are on the hills which is a bit of a bummer. They are easy to get over.
Up Lower Tramline, MLR, then headed up Fairview; perfect snow conditions in -5. Like the new shortcut to #4 off end of Fairview, quick bite by boathouse, then skied to end of the lake. A few wet sections on these tracks, but signage has improved immensely to keep walkers off ski tracks. Watched a few ice climbers at the end of the lake, then back to view the amazing ice sculptures. One of the Heritage Guide groomers got the cookies today and promised to share with the others. The walking track is very wide and popular; maybe that should be where dogs are permitted instead of on Tramline. I was sorry to read Bob’s update today that dogs will be allowed on Tramline. It is such a glorious trail to double pole or stride and glide all the way back down to the train station restaurant. It is also a perfect trail for beginners. Guess the double track-setting we enjoyed today on our descent might be some of the last on Tramline.
Skied at Lake Louise using VR 40 with excellent results. Saw a temperature range from minus 6 C to 0 C. light snow flurries stopped about 11:00 am. Peyto – good skier tracks, lower Telemark trails – very good skier tracks. Great Divide was track set late morning. Returned to the Lake on Upper Telemark trails and finished the day skiing the Tramline on very good skier tracks to the Village. Silent silky skiing conditions and, despite all the people at the Lake / Ice Sculptures, the trails weren’t that busy.
Goat Creek Trail starting at Canmore end. Trail is in good shape with plenty of snow. Downhills to Goat Creek bridge were manageable with enough room for a wide snowplow to control speed, although it was obvious several people took their skis off for the final turn to this first bridge (including one in our group). Second half was freshly groomed about an hour or two ahead of our arrival and therefore wonderful. Used VR50 and didn’t have to rewax.
Bill Milne from Ribbon Creek was a great day for 6 skiers all seniors or seniors in training. Beginners in the group really enjoyed their first ski in Kananskis. Early afternoon saw the snow get sticky but the weather was beautiful. Enjoyed skiing along the creek without the detour like last year.
Ribbon Creek/Bill Milne/Wedge Pond/Evan-Thomas and return: -1 at 10:30 with partly cloudy skies gave very good skating southbound. Boot prints across full width of skate lane diminished after a few kms. A steady rise in temperature with some sunlight resulted in soft sucky snow on return trip, with “crunchy” sound each stride. +5 degrees at 2 pm finish. This entire loop can be skated, with just a few short climbs on Evan-Thomas requiring some skating across one, not both (!) classic tracks. Or just double pole it … 🙂
Healy Creek trail was fine today. Track set good after lodge junction. Skied to the Sundance Canyon junction and beyond. Our Madshus M44 skin skis worked great. Wolf tracks galore on a portion of the trail. At least we think the were wolf tracks and not coyote. Confirmed with a guy supplying the Sundance Lodge who reported other sitings.
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
Warm and windy! -1C at start, +3C at finish, but VR55 and twin skins both worked great. Skied Elk Pass via Fox Creek to the high point on Tyrwhitt, and return. Lots of tree bombs had fallen on Fox Creek during the day so watch out!
Cascade Valley / Stoney creek / Upper bankhead.
It was -6 C at 9:30am, blue skies and no wind. The tracks are in very good conditions from trailhead to the end of grooming past the Stoney creek ranger cabin. V40 blue wax worked very well and it was very pleasant to have a good grip and an excellent glide (with much double poling) after a few days at WBC with glazed tracks.
On the way back to bankhead, chinook wind was in full force and the snow was quite soft (no wind whatsoever in the valley).
If you enjoy solitude this is a great trail, I just saw one skier on my way back near the bridge.
Arrived at 10 am with -6 oC sunny weather and skied Mountain Road then Moose Loop. Mountain Road was in very good condition and fast snow with blue wax. Moose Loop was more icy with lots of debris in the tracks, but the wax still worked well. Hills were soft enough that climbing and decent were no issues. All in all a surprisingly good ski given the warm temperatures that were above zero by the end.
Elkford: Boivin Creek trail
One last fling on our ski tour of SE BC, and well worth the short extra drive up to Elkford. This is a well-maintained double-tracked trail up Boivin Creek, 14 km round trip, mostly in the trees until the last couple of km. No facilities at the trailhead!! But there are two warming cabins along the way, one about halfway and the other at the top of the trail, each with a biffy.
It was a delightful and very quiet tour, would have been fabulous except for the warm, sticky snow. Unlike PLPP, just up over Elk Pass, there was only a couple cm of fresh snow here, but it was quite warm. The trail plods fairly steadily uphill, and we had a great downhill run at the end of the day 🙂
I started at Boulton Creeik, but today’s conditions for that area have already been discussed. Blueberry Hill, on the other hand seems to need some mentioning.
It looks like only a handful of people have been up Blueberry since the last snowfall. Snow conditions changed 3 times on the way up – from relatively dry near the junction with Elk Pass to wet and sticky-ish about a third of the way up, to dry-ish again near the top. I was using my skintecs, but there wasn’t much glide at all, even on the way down. Temperature was about -3, skies were overcast with occasional flurries, and winds were light. Tracks are well defined and the 3 to 5 cm of fresh snow made the descent really easy.
Minor problems with icing on the way up, but nothing bad.
Sundance lodge trail – still in reasonable shape, soft on the downhill. Very worthwhile. We were on wax 9VR40) and mini skis, excellent travelling conditions.
Was it trackset between the two bridges and Lodge?
Thanks for reporting.
I was there a couple of days ago and it was not trackset between the two bridges and the lodge
Maybe they should consider widening the bridge for their equipment… especially that ramp up the 2nd bridge!
wed Jan 22: pocaterra hut to elk pass/thyrwitt loop (CCW)
-4 at the hut at 830 along with an inch of fresh in the tracks. Removed 2 of 3 trees from fox, but easy detour on the large one. Started acquiring some ice along Amos and wheeler. Cooler once on morraine. Mrs. Moose was napping again along morraine, and wolf tracks from last night(?) shortly thereafter. Hard to tell with the new snow. Oh oh. About 3 inches new over grooming at blueberry junction, quickly petering back to 1 inch on thyrwitt. No need for snow plowing with the new snow. Started acquiring ice again north of wiskeyjack. Slow tracks with the new snow and occasional icing and scraping (waxless). Zero on return at 4. Didn’t even contemplate adding blueberry (-; The loop was plenty enough with the slowish travel.
Jan 22 Fairview/Tramline to Village
Starting at 10:30am broke through about 2cm fresh snow on top of previous tracksetting from Chateau parking till the Paradise trail start. Temperature -3C. Some clumping when we stopped, but easily scraped off for lovely glide on blue Vr 40. After Paradise and all the way down Moraine and the Tramline exquisite skiing. Some in our group carried on to the campground loops which were also in great shape. A lovely day, and especially appreciated after the cold snap kept us off the trails last week.
Gear recommendation: anyone looking for NNN BC boots, I can recommend the new Rossi BC X10 boots. Picked them up a few weeks ago and used about 3 or 4 times now. Good comfort right out of the box (medium width foot). Solid support. Warm. Toe box room. And a nice snow collar that can be folded down for easy lacing access. Yesterday’s long trip was a good test for a guy with a bad ankle. No issues, even today. Previously using 15 year old Rossi X6. No affiliation with rossignol. Just a happy customer.
REDEARTH CREEK to SHADOW LAKE LODGE – Jan 22
Still only trackset to the Lost Horse Creek Campground… but the ACC is working on changing that.
Details available in the captions here:
Parks Canada used to groom to Redearth Warden Cabin!
Launched from the Discovery Center 11:03 a.m. -2/-3 no wind
really pleasant and calm all day. Soft tracks with some new infill made for velvet glide but we were not in a Zoom Zoom mode and never once broke into the Elk Pass Bird Song (great Skier Bob U Tube Vid). The great snow made for easy execution of the Wedge Descent when applied. Saw several other smiling happy faces. Just so happy to be there after last weeks chill. Did Meadow, Amos , Wheeler a portion of Moraine then back on Wheeler and Meadow. Caught up to Bob just before Elkwood Lot where he was parked and had a nice chat. Fun relaxed day.
Bill Milne-Wedge/Evan Thomas out and back this morning. Sublime! Fresh 1.5” last night and light cloud at minus 1 kept heat away and made for perfect conditions. Base grooming firm and even. Water was flowing however through meadow creek with the usual (very minor so far) seepage for about 10m just south. Vr45 was fine. Skate conditions are OPTIMAL.
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park – a Reverse Skier Bob
8cm new snow at Elk Pass on top of great grooming. We (4) started with Boulton Creek trail (which has been groomed overnight but had a few centimetres of new snow), proceeded on to Fox Creek, Elk Pass on to Tyrrwhitt and then down Whiskey Jack. Fantastic conditions for 17.6km.
Temp was -3C to start at 10AM. The crew had skintecs, or waxless or waxed with VR45 in the kick zone. All worked well most of the time.
I skied from Castle Lookout parking lot to Protection mtn campground and back yesterday mid day. Wonderful conditions and soul soothing surroundings with snow hanging on trees and blue skies.
Let’s pray for the snow to stay despite the warm temps.
Back on Monday, noticed some interesting owl strikes in the snow can be seen alongside Iron Springs trail in Bragg Creek. They’re in the sunny exposed sections near the south end, and also one at Snagmore junction. Owl Strike
Fernie: Elk Valley Nordic trails
It was our first time here too! Apparently this is quite a new facility, and consists of a rather short but sweet system of well-groomed, super-wide trails. It is rolling terrain, with a few interesting hills but no big ones.
Temperatures around or just below zero, socked-in and snowing all afternoon, conditions pretty good but got progressively slower. We were asked to pay $10 each for the experience.
P.S. Very quiet until school let out!
Lk O’Hara Fire Road: -3/-2 day and applied “crayoning” of waxes (VR 45/50/55) throughout our ski to the Campground Shelter where we had lunch. Silky glide most enjoyable after week of frigid weather and virtually no glide. A whole group of Grade 7 class were taking over the Elizabeth Parker hut for the night. What a delightful, polite, well prepared class of outdoorsmen/women they were: kudos to their teachers and parent chaperones (?), and what lucky kids to have had this opportunity!!!! Bet the kerosene lamps will be turned off early tonight. I struggled down the big hills as the snow-plow lane was not all that wide, but am guessing this gr 7 class will have an absolute blast skiing out tomorrow. Oh to be 12/13 years of age again!!!
Hi Helen ,has this been track set yet ?
Had a wonderful ski at South Glenmore Park this afternoon including a lap on the fresh grooming and track setting. What a treat to have a great option in town.
CASTLE LOOKOUT TO BAKER RETN- excellent conditions today, the track was quite fast. Just a bit of melting starting by the train tracks beside the campground. Groomer came out about 3pm. Lovely day!!
FAIRVIEW, MLR and TRAMLINE – Jan 21
Lake Louise area was the place to be today!
Details available in the captions here:
Sorry to have missed Ray & Mary Perrott
We started on Fairview about 10am, and could tell we were the first skiers there today. We didn’t meet any other skiers until we got to MLR. Sorry we missed you too, Chuck.
Looks like it’s time for some Fairview couch maintenance/rebuild. Thanks for the photo proof. Maybe when pipestone is open.
Jan 21 Great Divide Trail
Wonderful snow conditions on GDT with new tracksetting and grooming. Temperatures at -3, VR 40 (and a lick of VR 45) for a few of us did the trick providing great glide. A bonus was seeing 6 sleds of dogs along their special track.
Thanks to Mary Perrot for the info about Fairview/Tramline. Plans to do that (with a car shuttle) to the village tomorrow.
Lake Louise – This and That. Not having skied Fairview yet this season, we opted to take it down to Moraine Lake Road and then back up Tramline to the parking lot. Fairview was to die for: great tracks, silky snow, warm temps (-5 when we began) and no wind. As a bonus, the light was soft and sky a cobalt blue, with moments of sunshine. Be advised that there are numerous snow bombs on the trail, but luckily none that we noticed on the steep downhills. We skied over to the lake and had lunch by the ice sculptures (very worthwhile seeing the intricate and delicate carvings!) The track we took to cross the lake was mostly walked on and tracks almost invisible, but after lunch we took the #4 Lake Louise track southwest along the lakeshore to the end of the lake and back. This section was quite good, and as flat a ski as you are ever going to get! To finish the day, we drove down to the Bow River Loop, starting at the campground. There is construction just beyond the registration kiosk with heavy equipment working. Caution required here. Skied east, crossed the river and came back on the west bridge. Tracks more worn and walked upon here, but still enjoyable. We ended the day at +1C. and rewarded ourselves with coffee and cookies at Laggan’s.
WBC – Classic w 12h start. About 0C in parky lot. Skied Crystal, Iron Springs loops, Loggers, Mountain View, Moose Connector. Variable conditions. Mostly glazed tracks, but also good snow in some sheltered areas. Needles and such in tracks, some fast downhills. Used VR 55 which worked well.
South Glenmore Park, Calgary
The City has just finished grooming and track setting South Glenmore Park. It looks great. Wasn’t able to ski it.
Canmore Nordic Center
Meanderthal Tuesday Morning Ski. Conditions on the Banff, Bow, Silvertip, Grey Wolf, Bow, Banff loop (14 km) were excellent with temperatures near zero. Several folks used Swix purple. One of the best seasons yet at CNC.
Lake Louise Snow-shoeing Jan. 20
We had a wonderful day at LL on Monday. We did Highline, Fairview and Louise Creek to the Village. 14 km., and all of them were good. Coming down Louise Creek, we measured snow depth at the 5300 ft. level, and it was 3.5 feet. There should be coverage up here until quite late this season.
Kicking Horse Trail, 20Jan
My wife had never skied Kicking Horse, so after I saw the trail had last been groomed 17Jan we headed that way on Monday. 3 or 4 cm of snow had fallen since the grooming, but the tracks were still in pristine condition, except for boot tracks on the southern most track (the return track), where, despite the signs, someone had decided to walk back in the track from the Emerald River junction, about 1.5 km. It’s annoying, but not bad.
Temperature was hovering just below 0 with occasional flurries, overcast skies and light to non-existent winds. There’s a tree down on the trail just as you get to the Otterhead junction, but there’s just enough room on the trail to scooch around it.
I really like this trail because it has an intimate feel about it, the grooming is superb, there are very few people on it (we saw 4 all afternoon), and the snow on the trees is so thick it really does look like a marshmallow world.
West Bragg Creek: Mountain View (east and west) / Loggers / Sundog. Conditions were quite good today. I skied this route in the morning before it warmed up a whole lot. It was -1 at the parking lot when I was done. The only marginal area on this route is the north down hill from the top of Mountain View west which is pretty wind blown. I would definitely want metal edged skis for that descent. I was going up that side and down the south downhill which was fine.
Hearing about the Lake Louise to Banff loppet, we decided to take advantage of the great tracks put in by those dedicated volunteers during the bitterly cold days last week. We skied the 4th and 3rd legs from Sawback Picnic Site to Castle Junction and return, 29 km, snow temp -9 C at start, air temp -5 C warming to around 0 in the aft. Met some friendly “ Banffonians” along the trail and encountered a cow moose nestled beside the trail upon reaching the Johnston Ck drainage on the return.
Lake Louise – Great Divide and beyond
A group of 9 skiiers from Calgary skiied from the Chateau parking lot down Peyto to the Old 1A Hwy and then on to the Great Divide. Some also continued beyond the divide toward the Lake O’Hara parking lot. On the return they took the Tramline and Bow River to the Village.
It was a beautiful blue wax day with temperatures ranging from -3 to -8.
All trails were in very good condition with good grip and fair glide. The Old 1A Hwy has good skier set tracks in the new snow that has come since the last tracksetting.
The snow between the Great Divide and Lake O’Hara parking had fresh snow and provided a delightful soft silky ride.
The Tramline and Bow River were also in good shape with no icy spots.
Everyone had a great day.
CASTLE LOOKOUT to BAKER CREEK – Jan 20
So many skiers out enjoying this second leg of yesterday’s loppet… it must be the favourite!
Details available in the captions here:
I tried hard to catch up with Bob Toothill and Jeff Dolinsky… but not this time!
This is what days off are made for!
I parked at Pocaterra hut just before 10am, and my car told me it was -6. Just one other car in the lot…where was everybody on this beautiful day?? I skied up Pocaterra via Come Along up to Whiskey Jack and back, and the 20km flew by, mostly due to my super amazing skins that must have been created for this exact type of snow (I should buy stock…I think I sold the idea of skins to a gentleman I met a few kms down from Whiskey Jack who was struggling a bit with wax). A few snow bombs here and there along the way, but nothing too difficult. My car said-2 back in the lot at around 12:30. What an awesome ski!
Sunday Jan 29th.
Skogan up to hummingbird plume and across Highline was very good, the hills are getting a good shaving from snow plowing though.
Some debris but non-issue.
Hay meadows in the sun was pretty sticky.
Finally did a full-ish tour of PLPP yesterday. Started at Pocaterra with pristine tracks all the way to Linx, then skier tracked on Amos that wasn’t too bad, groomed again at Wheeler. This was where I had to decide if I felt like doing the big loop of “no going back”, I decided to continue on to Morraine which was skier tracked, but so fast, fun and pretty, then on to Fox for similar conditions then up to Elk Pass. Where I passed some guys at the top that asked if I was alone and I told them that no one I knew was crazy enough to come with me. Then I skied….. Tyrwhitt which was sadly not groomed slow and wobbly skier set tracks the whole way. I was starting to doubt myself when I fell over on the flats just trying to diagonal stride. Then thankfully I made it back to Pocattera. All the way back was a complete joy on pristine tracks the whole way down. I was glad because by the time I passed the Whiskey Jack turn, I was pretty tired and needed the break on the downhills which were so fun. When I got back to the hut I felt like jumping for joy. The surprise was that it was only about 32km to do the loop, it was shorter than I thought it was going to be.
I think you chose the right direction for it given conditions. Next time you feel the crazy urge, add in blueberry hill for almost marathon distance. (-:
Sunday in and near Castlegar – Paulson ski trails absolutely delightful today! Trailhead temp -5C to start, overcast and socked in, not really snowing, maybe 8 – 10 cm fresh powder over recent (?) grooming; we had way too much fun!
This is a wonderful trail system, and at $10 each a better deal than most places we have tried in BC.
Excellent tracks and snow on Cascade Fireroad to end of tracksetting, Warden Cabin and Bankhead today! Started in -8C and finished in -1C. Felt like spring skiing. Lots of people out enjoying the great conditions.
Spray River West to Goat Creek return. Nice conditions overall and fluffy, silky snow, the farther you go. Trail untouched so far by chinook winds, was calm today. Starting to show the love from the fair weather multi-users and tracks a bit wobbly but otherwise firm. A few postholes in the middle section from a large ungulate and some tire divots here and there but the silky conditions help to smooth things out. Second bridge to Goat Creek bridge section downhills starting to show the classic U shape and require controlled descending. Temp -5 to -2. A very enjoyable ski with sunshine and a snowy wonderland in beautiful contrasts.
LAKE LOUISE to BANFF LOPPET – Jan 19
The Tradition Lives On!
Details available in the captions here:
Results available on Zone 4 here:
Well coordinated Heidi. And Natasha says hi, again 🙂 a great day and for some odd reason the pleasure it gave me to ski over the LL Chateau road was out of all proportion. Your volunteers are GREAT 🙂 What a blast.
Unfortunately, my account has been temporarily blocked due to an “unusually high volume of traffic”… please check back later.
Tremendous photos Chuck. So grateful you are always there capturing the joy on the faces of the loppeteers. And your fingers did not have to freeze in the process.
SOUTH GLENMORE PARK – COWTOWN
The end of the Coldgary Albertia weather pattern had a number of skiers out at South Glenmore Park enjoying the trackset and skating lanes. There is some fresh snow on the track. Great warm skiing through the park. Skiing for beginners to experts to be had. Even dogs if you can get them to ride your skis!
“Eat it up” before the Chinook Winds eat it up. Bring your mutt and train it to pull you around. Don’t forget the dog bags though.
Banff to Canmore via Goat Creek – Jan 19
Normand was right – conditions were near excellent today. Started around 12:15pm. Did the car/kid trade off with the husband at Banff Springs Hotel and had a near perfect day. Husband skied from Canmore side and was so fast he had time to add a golf course loop before meet up time. From Banff side, had a fantastic ski with close to record fast ski tracks, beautiful views and amazing temps after the deep freeze. Couldn’t help think that these are the ski days we live for! Enjoy!
Redearth creek groomed today….excellent conditions, lotsa snow. Saw moose cow with calf just beyond the campground.
WBC. Late start this morning, so this was the place to be. It was very busy! Lots of people out and a lot of happy-looking dogs. Tracks were in good condition, even near the end of the day. Temperature was -9 deg C when I set out and +2 deg C when I finished. That developing Chinook arch was a very welcome sight. I can only echo the positive reports from other WBC skiers today, and give another shout-out to the volunteers that work hard to look after the trails.
Richard and I decided to start at the PLPP Visitor Station today – getting soft in our old age. The temp was around -7 when we started.
From Meadow to Wheeler – a wonderful 7 km getting to good old Whiskey Jack. Conditions going up were magnifique – leading to a great lunch break at the picnic bench at the crossroad. And then a fabulous swoosh down Pocaterra to Lynx – doesn’t get much better. Up Lynx to Amos and then to Meadow and back to the Visitor Station. Temp was -3 when we ended and we had a nice few minutes indoors before heading home.
Snow – grooming – weather – PERFECT 22.5 km. Life is good.
Two different, very gratifying days!
Yesterday, Jamie and I skied from Baker Creek to Lake Louise, looking for the start to the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet. We found it and skied through part of the campground. We hope that the skiers had fun today! We skied back and I continued to the Protection Mountain campground. The temperatures ranged from -21C to -11C. It was pleasant.
Today was a very different and fun day. We skied various trails of PLPP, parking at Boulton Bridge with a temperature of -6C. We went up the fresh track set Whiskey Jack trail, just behind Skier Bob, whom we met at the Whiskey Jack and Pocaterra Junction. We descended Pocaterra and Packers. They were both in perfect condition. The skiing was fast and fun, with no sign of ice or hazards (except for the steepness of certain hills). We went along Moraine, which had been track set a few days ago, with some fresh snow on top, but other skiers had skied on it. We met Bob again as we had our lunch at the viewpoint on Moraine. We looped around Fox Creek, up the hill and down the big hill along the Elk Pass trail. We descended to the Lower Kananaskis Lake, along a trackset trail with 2 cm of fresh snow on it. The return took us on the exciting Boulton Creek narrow trail with tight turns. It warmed up to -1C upon our return to the car. Conditions are superb out there! Go and have fun!
Sat Jan 18. Skied a good portion of the south trails. About a cm of hoar frost over fresh grooming. We were pretty much the first people on the trails we hit. Excellent conditions and good coverage everywhere. Very little debris. About -8 when we finished.
Sun Jan 19. About a cm of new snow overnight. Skied a loop on the North trails to the Natural Bridge and back. Excellent conditions. Some debris from a few cleared downed trees. Some tree bombs starting as the day wore on. I got out on some of the south trails again in late aft. Still good conditions but tree bombs more evident. Got up to about 0C today but was mostly cloudy all day so I think the snow stayed cooler.
Excellent conditions @ WBC, looped around Moose, Mountain View, Loggers, Sundog for a home run around East Crystal Line, glorious midday ski. Snow stayed cold till mid afternoon when my VR40 stopped working just in time for the mostly downhill return to the busy parking lot. The hwy22/8 turning circle exercised my vehicle ABS, traction control and opposite lock driving skill!
Great conditions and weather on the Goat Creek trail today with the Calgary Ski Club!
Exceptional conditions at West Bragg today. Warm air and cold snow. I skied Iron Springs down, then took the shortcut to Elbow and skied back up. Then I did Loggers, MV, and Mountain Road. Conditions were perfect aside from a few snowplowed-out downhills and a handful of pine needles on one section of Elbow.
We arrived at the parking lots about 9:00 to a temperature of -14. We headed south on the Iron Springs trail which had been freshly track set. The track was good but the corduroy was very hard with some edges that made the steep downhills quite nasty. We came back on Elbow North which hadn’t been track set in a couple of days. It had a couple of cm of snow that didn’t affect the glide in the track but made the downhills a bit more forgiving. We started on V30 but the temperature had increased by the turnaround, so we added some V40, which worked quite well. After a quick break for lunch, we headed out to do part of Moose Loop. It was a very good day, and terrific to have more seasonal weather back. Hopefully, the higher temperatures for the next few days won’t do any serious damage to the trails which are the best we have seen in years.
At the warming hut, there was a group of volunteers from the WBCTA giving out free hot chocolate and asking for donations to support their terrific work. They also had some very cool buffs with the WBC trail map on it. For anyone who is a regular to this site, I’m sure this is preaching to the choir but please remember that the great trails and track setting is largely done by volunteers who need our support. They are only asking for a tooney per person for the day so please be generous.
Sun jan 19: ribbon creek
Only -3 at 830 in the parking lot this morning, and windy as predicted. A good day to ski in trees that had already lost most of their snow. Zig zagged around all the interior trails and loops a few times, hitting the village for a civilized lunch, read the globe and chatted with members of the ski cross team. They were quite happy with the race temps yesterday compared to training days mid-week. Back on ribbon and hidden. Snow seemed to stay cool with the wind so No stickage for me (fish scales) until after noon when I tried extending on hidden to nakiska where there was old grooming with snow over top. So back to the car for a warm sit in the sunny parking lot. All the interior trails were in good shape as previously reported. No tree bomb debri or trees down, unlike PLPP.
Boulton Creek Elk Pass to Fox Creek Moraine
-8 @ 0900
Soft skier set track. Good kick and climbing on blue swix. Glide was a bit cottony on fine snow.
Pulled a couple of big branches off of fox. Looked like they had dropped last night. Still lots of snow hanging in the boughs. More may come down. Warmer temperatures will bring the snow thudding down as well.
I got to wish Bob a good morning at 1000 when I returned to the parking lot!
Thursday afternoon in Golden: very short visit to Dawn Mountain due to closed highway, no grooming due to broken down cat, slow but sweet skiing through tons of fresh powder!
Friday morning in Revelstoke: first time at Mt. McPherson trails, beautiful skiing on fresh grooming, tons of snow here too and much warmer! It was about -12C to start, and we finally got a brief glimpse of sunshine. Ideal skiing conditions, and fun trails. It cost us $11 each, no senior rates.
Saturday morning in Rossland: first time skiing at Blackjack trails, overcast and snowing all day, temperatures around -6 to -4C. A few cm fresh powder over very recent grooming made for lovely skiing conditions, until it warmed up a bit and we started sticking. Still a great ski day, most expensive yet at $16 for adults, $12 for seniors.
SUNDANCE LODGE + 6 KM
From the Sunshine Road parking lot, I took the “short cut” up to the Brewster Creek trail as lightening speed Chuck pointed out in his picture captions previously. Generally the short cut is in very good to excellent condition. With another 7 cm of snow it should be in excellent condition on the trail with no rocks whatsoever. I only hit one rock on the climb up and it was avoidable.
Brewster Creek trail is shallow trackset and very shallow trackset beyond the twin bridge section to Sundance Lodge. Expect some fat bike damage to the trackset.
From Sundance Lodge past the old cabin and Brewster Creek crossing, the trail is snow shoer and skier tracked. It has been widened in key spots so a snowmobile can now travel the trail easily. I broke off trees that were leaning on the trial.
From the Brewster Creek crossing beyond the old cabin, the trail is fat skier tracked. Very nice straight tracks done by pros. Once one gets past the first hill the snow pack becomes much firmer making for only ankle deep ski penetration. This is the time to make mileage up Brewster Creek towards the warden cabin and Halfway Lodge while there are such good travel conditions. Skied out at night with moderate speed snow and fairly warm conditions. Light snow crystals falling. Thankfully my car started no problem which suggests the cold spell is finished. EEEHAW!
Mount Shark Jan 17: I skied Watridge Lake to Spray River bridge plus most of the green loop. Conditions were really good with a couple of cm of snow over the recent grooming. The temperature was still -18 at Pocaterra as I drove by at 1130. It was up to -10 by Chester Lake and still -10 at Mount Shark parking at noon. It was -9 when I returned at 1600. It may have been a couple of degrees warmer up at Watridge Lake. The warmer weather extended as far as Mount Kidd on the drive home. It dropped from -10 at Mount Kidd campground to -15 by the hotels intersection and then it got really cold. Perhaps tomorrow Ribbon Creek skiing may be okay from a weather perspective.
Found (last Friday, January 10): wax kit on Ribbon Creek trail. I could drop it at an info centre or connect with the owner in Calgary. Please let me know.
Bill Milne, Wedge Connector and Evan Thomas. To fill the gap between Bob’s two skis today, conditions were excellent in the middle, with no hint of an ice floe developing on Bill Milne, which was single track set. Evan Thomas, a rare track to find so pristine, was in the best shape ever and I realized I hadn’t skied it since before the 2013 flood as I didn’t recognize one section where I had to take my skis off, which Bob explained was a new route where the snowmobile cannot go. Overall, tracks are firm and fast; the snow is holding up well against impacts. Temperature was steady around -12. It was quiet and peaceful, with a bit of snow settled on the conifers. Was nice to ski back toward sunset colours on the chinook arch. So nice to run into you, Bob, and thanks for your concern! I was back at Ribbon Creek parking lot by ~5:15. The longer days mean we can squeeze more in, or at least til later, though the sun does disappear sooner in the mountains.
A bit of a Chinook arch was forming today, as we headed west in the hopes of finding warmer temperatures.
The numbers on the car thermometer started to improve as we headed south on Highway #40. By the time we got to Ribbon Creek, it was reading -13C… which is comfortable enough for XC skiing. Anticipating warmer air at higher elevations, we first went up the Coal Mine trail to the viewpoint at the reclaimed mine site. Then, back to Ribbon Creek trail for a view and a tea break at -9C! After descending the corkscrew, we dipped back into colder air along the valley bottom trail. We completed our loop on Kovach Link, Kovach, Aspen, Terrace and Terrace Link. Yesterdays excellent grooming had set up nicely, so it was great to enjoy nice glide again, after a week of cold weather skiing. https://photos.app.goo.gl/iocaQ884GkFsAs8u6
It should be a lovely Loppet tomorrow. We had a fine ski on freshly trackset trail from Castle Lookout trailhead to Protection Mountain and back. You could feel the westerly warm coming our way on the return.
Brewster Creek – Sundance Trail – Cave and Basin – Marsh Loop
Brewster Creek to Sundance Trail was groomed and track set, Sundance Trail to Marsh Loop is skier set but still fun and doable, Sundance Canyon trail has enough snow to ski on and no tracks, and Marsh loop is a snow-packed hiking trail that was fun to ski on. A great trip into the Town of Banff, especially with dogs!
PLPP – Pleasant temperature surprise! Forecasts for PLPP suggested -20C rising to -14C. When we got there it was -15C, and when we left at 3pm, it had risen to -8C! So nice to ski in moderate temperatures! We covered a variety of trails – Wheeler, Amos, Woolley, Meadow, and bits of Moraine and Lower Lake. Generally, very good skier set tracks in 2-3cm of snow. Enjoyable day, even if the glide was a tad slow. Highlight was seeing a big moose grazing on the steep hill just below the Whiskey Jack / Moraine intersection. Had to wait a few minutes for her to move off before skiing down that hill.
SUNDANCE LODGE via BREWSTER CREEK – Jan 20
This is what we have been waiting for… Trackset!
Details available in the captions here:
A wonderful weather inversion once above the valley floor… warm and no wind!
First car in Goat Creek parking lot today and first this morning on Don’s new track-setting of yesterday. THANK YOU DON! We missed you on the trails. Started at 9am and temp -18. Finished at 1:30 and temp -8. Warmer up there than in Canmore at -14. Saw one gal at Spray River bridge and two others on route back after Goat Creek bridge and then lots of people maybe the temperature “gates” opened at 11:30?? Due to time constraints (Jumanji movie calls….) we turned back after 12 kms.
Ribbon Creek trails yesterday: started at -18C at 1:30pm on Kovach, Link; trails had 2-3cm fresh snow over the last track setting, crossed the bridge and continued on Ribbon Creek Trail, then up the Ribbon Ski to the lookout towards Coal Mine; nice ski down in the powdery snow; back at the trailhead there were fresh set tracks on the Bill Milne Trail.
We managed to find a warm-ish pocket of weather at the Chester-Sawmill trails today. It was fresh tracks for us on a loop that included the High Rockies Trail, Whiteout and Snowdrift. There was about 30 cm of recent snow on a nice, firm base. Hopefully that marks the end of the past weeks cold snap!
GOAT CREEK TRAILHEAD to BANFF & RETURN
Arrived at the parking lot at 10:45 am, under a balmy -26 C and light winds. I somewhat forgot we were Friday today, which may explain why there were no other cars, if not the weather! About 5 cm of windblown snow in the parking lot and on the trail, with squeaky and styrofoam noise coming out with every slow stride on the trail. Face mask and insulated mitts territory. I figured that given the slow snow conditions, I would just make it to the Spray River bridge and back. To my delight, I encountered the tracksetter man and his skidoo, 40 meters before the Goat Creek bridge. I now had corduroy / flat packed trail all the way passed after the Spray River bridge, at which point one knife-edge cut trail had been laid out too. The trail was soft after the very recent tracksetting, but it was quite a bit faster than the first 8 km. Decided to get on Spray East, which was also groomed and trackset. Encountered a few military personal camping about 1 km after the Spray West-East junction; they invited me to their camp with a nice fire going. Did not want to get cozy, as I still had more to go. Passed a group of three ladies. Turned around by the golf course and headed back. Fairly soft conditions, as I mentioned, but the trail should be even better this weekend and early next week when things warm up during the day and harden at night. Back at the junction, chatted a bit with a couple; not too long to stay warm enough. No one seen after, crazy enough to do the whole thing return in slow and cold conditions. The ski back up from the Goat Creek bridge to the Banff Park boundary was well packed and trackset. Very clean slow all the way. A great outing, as long as you keep moving. Enjoy the trail over the next few days.
THE SPRAY IS TRACK SET!
East and west side and goat creek.
Skied around 3:30 . Temperature=minus 16. Used Arctic wax ..the cold snow was a bit slow, as to be expected
Tracks a bit shallow. And a skater had a negative impact on the tracks as it’s not wide enough to skate.
Just so your expectations are too high, Don mention there’s a large group of campers on the east side who walked in and will be walking out .
He asks them to try not to walk in the tracks .
BUT in spite of all that it’s great to have the Spray back in shape!!
Any member of KHSC got a complimentary ski lesson with CANSI instructor Jessica Stichelbout at the O’Hara end of Great Divide this afternoon. I ended up with a private lesson and there were 20 cms at least of ungroomed snow to improve my glide technique in. It was -12, and like Chuck I used vintage Swix Green Special. After my lesson, pulled a Bob and started rather late on MLR (brand new tracksetting) at 2:30 pm in -10!!! Skied the Fairview loop and switched over to all brand new grooming of #4 which took me to the end of Lake Louise. A lot of walkers all around the lake, and hockey players and skaters, but a small minority found their boot prints right inside the tracks. Signage is obviously not sufficient but a HUGE improvement on years past. Thank you Heritage Guides. There is a gentle short cut trail off F/V that saves a bit getting onto #4. The hill to the lake was very manageable as were the excellent tracks on the lake. People enjoying being outdoors. finished te ski in -14 back at the parking lot. GLORIOUS! Get out there before the tree bombs knock you out.
LAKE LOUISE to MORANT’S CURVE (Leg 1) – Jan 17
Checked out this first section of Sunday’s Lake Louise to Banff Loppet… not at race pace!
See captions here for details:
Should be amazing this year… Good luck racers.
It’s -16 in PLPP (at 12:45 pm) – broken skies.
If you are looking for a respite from this cold, skier Bob is right. PLPP is a warm spot, but I was somewhat concerned when our vehicle thermometer registered -30 as we passed the Nakiska junction around 11 am. The temperature began to rise near the Fortress junction. Wouldn’t it be appreciated if we had a website temperature available from PLPP to accompany those highly valued live grooming reports?
We enjoyed the new grooming, covered by 2 – 3 cm new snow, from Boulton parking lot to Blueberry Hill under a balmy -8 degrees. 20 degrees warmer than Calgary! Very few people were out, as they were likely unaware of the weather here.
Weather Network app gives PLPP temperatures that seem to be realistic. Not sure where their info comes from.
Here is a resource for temps close to Pocaterra though it is a bit convoluted. Go to rivers.alberta.ca. This brings up a map of Alberta showing locations of remote stations for water flow and weather. At top right, click the 4th icon down ( a blue green globe) to select Environmental Data. Then zoom in to your area of interest. In the Pocaterra case, when you zoom in you will see an icon just north of the intersection of Kananaskis Lakes trail and Smith-Dorrien trail. Click on this then click on the top blue icon with 6 black bars. This brings up a table of data – you might have to scroll right to see the temperature column. Obviously you can use this to find out temps elsewhere, but not many stations have temps.
Lake Louise – Upper and Lower Telemark and Peyto
Conditions were so good that we did circuits on these three trails all day long. Temperature at 11 a.m. was minus 20 rising to minus 10 at 4 p.m. 5 cm snow overnight with 3 cm more during the day.
Upper Telemark was the BEST EVER with fresh dry powder on new grooming and tracksetting.
Peyto was excellent on fresh tracksetting.
Lower Telemark was good on skier trackset.
The trees were a fantastic sight with all the snow loading.
We did not see another skier on these trails all day long. Were they at Boulton or the loppet trails?
Mt Shark/Watridge Lake
Twice lucky today! All 3 of us (including Kazzy dog) were getting restless with cabin fever so we looked for some warmer temperatures – a balmy -13C at Mud Lake at 9 am! Since this is usually a good proxy, we set off for Mt Shark, to find -10C at 12.30 pm! Also, we didn’t expect any fresh grooming, but lo and behold, a groomer had just done the Watridge Lake trail this morning. Temp rose to -7C by 3.30 pm, and there was a light snowfall the whole time, partly filling in the tracks already. As we were skiing the last bit of the Wat Lake trail, we could hear, but not see, the groomer working down in the trees (? red trail), so tomorrow could see everything groomed and trackset – check live grooming in a.m. and Mud Lake temps. to see if there’s another inversion.
NO WIND was the blessing in disguise (yes, we 3 were all “disguised” for it with buffs/goggles, two of everything. Started at Castle Lookout -25 and enjoyed still barely visible tracks with at least 4 cms of powder in them. Did not see anyone until we met the snowmobile driver who had just commenced his packing down of the trail from Baker Creek end on our arrival. We completed one way: 10 kms at Baker Creek Café for a most welcoming latte. A wonderful employee of Baker Creek and loppet course volunteer, named Brandon, drove me back to my car. He was given the Raisin Oatmeal homemade cookies to share with his buddies; they all realize how much work they have ahead of them before Sunday. A pipe burst last night in the Restaurant Bistro building so that basement was flooded. A snowmobile broke down and other such things as frigid temps have presented them with extra challenges. We drove up the 1-A to check out the course again and it looks like the snow will be incredible (as compared to some leaner snow years). Having said that, there are still sticks protruding out, so eyes on the ground. My friends all thank you Brandon for helping me fetch the car.
Confederation Park Golf Course
I saw no one else, but with multiple clothing layers on I was comfortable.
There is enough snow all over for skiing. I noticed that I didn’t get much glide at these low temperatures. My wax was Swix V05 Polar, rated for -12 to -25 on new snow & -15 to -30 on old snow.
Emerald Lake – Alluvial Fan trail
We skied around here today on good skier tracks. No recent grooming, but very good conditions on pristine white snow. It was gloomy and snowing lightly all day, but the lack of wind make it easy to stay warm, except for my face. It is always a problem to decide between sunglasses and face covering, as I seem unable to manage both! The polar wax seemed to work pretty well here.
Upper and Lower Telemark and Peyto
Minus 24 with a light breeze was fine when we were all bundled up. Good skier set tracks on a blanket of fresh snow. Very scenic!!
Canmore Nordic Centre: “balmy” -22C today at 4:30pm and barely any wind; 2-3 cm fresh, cold new snow covering up tracks; the blue sky came back and evening sun on the peaks across the valley! Days are getting longer! Slow skiing following skier tracks out to the meadow, on Meadowview, Silvertip and Grey Wolf! A quiet evening ski!
The Flight of the Crows Loppet is Feb 1 and is a very charming event. Plus the cost is very attractive.
Outlander Ski Club – Lac Le Jeune near Kamloops.
-26 Jan 13th.
Pulled in to check this place out. The attendant was closing up early. “Too cold except for the crazies and Albertans, go ahead, no charge”!!
Seems a neat place, minutes off the Coq. The snow was pretty slow but I hope to explore again.
Restrooms, warming chalet and lighted trail!
Confederation Park, January 14
On arrival at 2:15, the car’s thermometer read “Go Home”. I ignored it. After 75 minutes, I was ready to run for hot chocolate. Not too much glide, but the grip was fantastic! Closing temperature was -27 C. Where were all the keeners?
Canmore Nordic center: last night (13th) headed out with white polar wax around Banff loop. There was virtually no glide in the tracks as they are filled with snow drift powder, so had to ski classic on the corduroy, which was dusted with powder as well, but did glide ok until I headed on Lynx, which had 1cm of powder. With no grooming last night, I expect conditions to be the same today
DITTO! My coldest ski on record at -29. No one is sight. Posted pic on Instagram. Gotta love those Parks Canada buffs. Was tempted to ski Banff Trail beyond the meadow but the snow was S____L____O____W and my thoughts went to baking and puzzle making.
A belated trip report for our mini road trip. Last Thursday / Friday we drove to Golden’s Dawn Mountain and then Nipika Resort near Radium. Both areas had excellent grooming and a wide selection of trails. Both also have warm but rustic day lodges. Nipika is dog friendly, with off leash mostly permitted. This might be an idea to escape our deep freeze if they warm up earlier than we do. Both are about 2 hours driving from Canmore.
SKOKI – Jan 14
Okay, it was this day, last year… but nice to ponder!
Details available here as usual:
At minus 30, it’s a great day to go into the SkierBob archives.
Took Piper the dog out for a lap around the neighbourhood park yesterday. Not overly enjoyable with the slow snow, but the sun was nice.
Myself- I’ve been looking back to warm desert sun.
If it makes us feel any better- minus 45 in Jasper this morning!
Steve, that looked like a pleasant time to go there. Not many people around. What were the temperatures?
Having a dog to walk was my only reason to go outside on days like this.
Bob, temperatures for that trip were around 10 C for lows, with highs in the mid 20’s, sunny everyday. Based on our 13 trips to southern Utah-northern Arizona in the late September-mid October timeframe, I would say that is about average. Having said that- we cut the 2019 trip short, just before a system bringing rain/snow and well below freezing temps descended.
Temps can vary a lot with elevations which range from roughly 1000m up to 2500 m- we have woken up to -5 c near Bryce Canyon (but the day was sunny and warm) and hiked in plus 35 near St. George.
West Bragg Creek
I managed to get out for a short ski on Hostel Loop and part of Snowshoe Hare. A few cm of new snow has further buried the needles and debris from a week ago and everything was looking pristine. The glide was slow due to the very cold snow. My skiing pace was also slow, as I tried to find that fine balance between covering up well enough to keep warm, while not fogging up my sunglasses as I was breathing through my buff.
Confederation Park, January 13
Despite the rather discouraging weather report, I decided to venture out for an hour of exercise at Confed today. The temperature on arrival was -24 in the car but there was no wind and good sun, so it was surprisingly comfortable.
The tracks have seen some work (Thanks to the Nordic Alliance!) and, as expected, they were slow, hampered no doubt by the fact that I was using 20 yr old fish-scales with last year’s storage wax!. No big deal, really, as I was only out for the exercise.
A word on clothing, since Bob posted a link to advice on the issue and, as Alf has been credited as saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather; only bad clothing.”. So…
On the top…
Icebreaker 200 base layer
Craft 87% poly 13 % spandex half-zip mid-layer
Daehle Beto Ski jacket
MEC Polartec long-johns
Craft 100% poly ski pants
For the hands….
MEC mid-weight ski gloves
Auclair Tech Over Mitts (This is a fantastic combo for cold fingers)
Laundromat fleece-lined wool toque with ear flaps.
Smartwool mid-weight socks.
I could have used an over-boot for the ski boots but my feet were just a bit cool.
Have fun out there!
I forgot the Buff…Very important!
Chip have you tried Grabbers hot shots for toes and hands yet? They are wonderful
ELK LAKES ACC HUT
The trail from Elk Lakes Parking lot in the Kananaskis to Look Out junction (1.5 km about) has a few centimeters of snow on the trackset trail. Sweet skiing. Ski speed is less than moderate.
From Look Out junction to Elk Pass the ski trackset has had about 15 cm of cold light snow in it since it was last set. It is in not bad shape for the most part. Plenty of skier out today.
From Elk Pass to the Elk Lakes ACC Hut 99% of the willows have been covered by snow. There are a number of snowmobile tracks under the power line. Skier tracked. Blowing snow conditions.
Temperature at the ACC Hut was about -22C with some wind. Snowing lightly and drifting. Lightly snowing back at the parking lot at night. Winds relatively calm.
Interesting ACC Hut news:
I forgot to mention that the Elk Lakes Hut may be taken over by BC Parks. The ACC, from what I understand, has to bid on running the hut against BC Parks and maybe others. This is rather interesting and may open up the hut to more opportunities if another service provider comes in.
Ah yes, I used Swix white polar wax yesterday. It performed very well going up hills with very good to excellent grip. The snow was variable speed. Near moderate speed up hills and slow-moderate to near moderate speed down hills.
That’s interesting. That hut was originally the warden cabin for Elk Lakes PP before the ACC took it over. Who knows maybe it might revert back to being the warden cabin.
Interesting history of the Elk Lakes Hut or cabin. The Rangers or Wardens had a nice comfortable joint to kick back in.
I think BC Parks has an intention to keep the hut for public use. Perhaps they see profit potential. Better that the government finds profitable ventures for revenues rather than taxing people.
Spent 1hr on Baker Creek west toward Morant’s Curve temperature -20C. Beautiful and scenic but very chilly! Groomed with only skier set on skiff of fresh snow. On the return a stiff east wind made us glad to have shortened our trip.
My former neighbour and I were the only car in the Boulton parking lot all day. Temp at 10:20 was -21 on car. After our ski, I thought car thermometer was broken as it would not budge off -22C. Reading Jean J’s report yesterday and seeing new grooming, we headed up Packers (Special Swix Green -10 to -15 worked beautifully all day). First tracks also on Pocaterra and checked out the “Backdoor” while ascending. Must have missed someone descending Pocaterra upon our return, but carried on to third meadow on Tyrwhitt. Mountains were stunning and only felt a bit of wind once we turned around on Tyrwhitt. Before descending Whiskey Jack in 1 cms of fresh powder, we stopped to make snow angels at that junction. It was then we saw the only person all day-a gal who had done a very long ski, starting at Pocaterra and she skied to Elk Pass, returning the way she came. It was MaSid who reminded me about making snow angels, when we were at Ribbon Creek on Saturday. Snow angel
Always happy to help you up and out of your angel prints!
It was nice to see you two and your beautiful snow angels!
The link for the weather forecast from Boulton Creek, Kananaskis is probably reading incorrectly, It says -15 but it’s -22 at the peter lougheed discovery centre.
If you google “boulton creek kananaskis” google says its -22 which is accurate but the link is incorrect.
Just in case you thought it was warmer here! BRR
There was also a fresh dusting of snow (1 or 2 cm) this morning.
Thanks for the “on location” temperature. Much appreciated. -Bob
The SkierBob link for “PLPP Boulton Creek” takes you to the Weather Network’s “Camping Report: Boulton Creek Peter Lougheed Provincial Park”. At 1:30pm, it’s reporting -11C.
If you Google “Boulton Creek, Kananaskis weather” Google displays a box titled “Boulton Creek Campground, Kananaskis, AB”, reporting a 1pm temperature of -22C. But this is misleading. At the bottom left of the box is a tiny link titled “More on weather.com”, which presumably means the weather Google is displaying is provided by weather.com. If you click on this link, it takes you to weather.com which is reporting a 1:25pm temperature of -20C. The temperature discrepancy isn’t an issue since the times are different, but the blue banner near the top of the page says the location is “Kananaskis Improvement District”; NOT Boulton Creek. The map location pin is on the South Elbow River, SE of Banded Peak. If you search weather.com for “Boulton Creek”, you won’t get anything. Likewise if you search for “Peter Lougheed Provincial Park”. It appears Google knows where Boulton Creek is, and provides the weather.com forecast for the closest weather.com station irrespective of how far away that station may be. I think it’s only coincidental that Google gave you an “accurate” temperature.
In the past, I’ve found the Weather Network’s Boulton Creek forecast to be the best available for PLPP (but apparently not today!). But it’s misleading as well. Presumably they aren’t providing info from a weather station they’ve installed at Boulton Creek. They are using Environment Canada weather station data, a weather model, and an interpolation algorithm to generate a custom forecast. Just like Windy and SpotWx. Perhaps there is a temperature inversion above PLPP that hasn’t reached the ground. I’d be interested to find out what the PLPP temperature is at Lookout and Blueberry Hill!
The Mud Lake weather station, which is an actual thermometer at 1900 metres elevation, was reporting -21 at 10 a.m. The PLPP Discovery Centre is at about 1530 metres.
Thanks Bob, I forgot about those weather stations. FYI, the 1pm temperatures for Aster Lake at 2350m and Burstall Pass at 2300m are -14C and -9C respectively. So it does seem warmer higher up, but you have to go a lot higher than Boulton Creek!
Confederation Park, January 11
Despite the rather chilly temperature, I ventured out to Confederation Park at about 3 p.m. on Saturday to join the handful of others enjoying the opportunity to be out before the REAL cold sets in. It was -14 on arrival and -16 when I left, with little wind to contribute to the chill.
Tracks were pretty worn and icy and my VR 30 was scraped clean within 5 minutes, even though I two layers and a bit of VR40 under foot. Some of the skating sections were still in good shape.
A note to fellow oldsters with fingers that don’t want to stay warm. I’m in that camp now, likely due to capillary damage in previous winters. Early today I bought some Au Clair Tech Cover Mitts from Norseman. So far, I can recommend them strongly. They are light, fit over the Au Clair XC gloves easily, still allow me to use my wrist straps and kept me toasty warm. I’ll try them in the next couple of days to see how they work in -25 and report back.
Excellent conditions at West Bragg, best I have seen in years. Cold conditions not bad as long as you dress for it and keep moving.
Whiskey Jack – Packers
Fantastic conditions on freshly groomed trails. -10C at the start and finishing at -7C . The tracks were fast, no downed trees and no sign of the ice flow on Packers. Great day!
Cascade fire road to Stony Creek
Had a nice quiet ski up the Cascade fire road today to Stony creek. No new tracksetting so the tracks were a bit wobbly in places. Starting out the temperature was -10c so waxing was easy. Right after the first climb we encountered a set of very large wolf tracks along with some smaller ones heading up the valley. It looked like they had bedded down right on the ski trail overnight. It was funny that they had crapped right in the ski tracks in numerous spots but not in the middle of the trail. Trying to deliver a message maybe! After the bridge over the Cascade River there was only one ski track to follow to just before Stony creek where tracksetting officially ends. Past that there was a skier set track to the Bison fence and beyond that one set of tracks continued on. We skied back to the Warden’s cabin and had lunch and laughs with some nice folks we met on the trail. The return trip was quick and uneventful. We saw around ten people on the trail all day so it seem quieter then usual.
Link to my photos from Cascade fire road today
Don’t tell me you were too afraid to venture into Lynx Lane:
We need trail breakers like you to push the trail further!
Hi Chuck. My friend is recovering from an injury so I was happy to get as far as we did today. I wouldn’t mind skiing up to the Flints park warden cabin or the Cuthead cabin again someday though!
Had a delightful ski the warren of trails around Kananaskis village, starting at 10:30. Quite balmy, beautifully tracked trails and very few people.
Obviously a lot of other SkierBob regulars were looking at the weather forecasts and grooming reports and came to the same conclusion that Ribbon Creek was the best bet for conditions today.
It’s obvious that a lot of work had been done to remove bent, broken and downed trees from the trails. With new the new snow that followed, the grooming is in excellent shape. But the real bonus was the weather! I recorded a temp of -7C when I arrived and a high of -4C at the viewpoint bench at the high point of the Ribbon Creek trail. What a treat, when we know that we have a very frigid week ahead!
Goat Creek, Canmore to Banff.
We finally did this as a family trip with kids ages 9-11. They did so well and it was a beautifully warm day in Banff.
The trail is a mess of fat bike tracks (at least one person didn’t have their tire pressure set correctly and was sinking a lot! Huge tire divots and swerving all over the trail, biking on the ski tracks, etc. made a complete mess of the trail!!)
Tons of footprints and deep holes from walkers as well who also thought it would be easier to hike on the ski tracks.
Spray East was in amazing shape!! Ski tracks on one side, fat bike tracks on the other (and these fat bikers knew what they were doing!!)
Naughty bikers and hikers aside, it was a great day and the snow was lovely. The hills were all fast and a bit challenging with the various tracks, tire ruts, and boot holes, but doable with light touring skis which we all had, kids included.
No ice flow popping through on the Bill Milne yet. Time and colder temps will tell. A gorgeous day to ski Bill Milne at -10C.
Ribbon Creek to Bill Milne and Wedge Pond loop still in great shape, surprise to see part of Wedge Connector double track set and no room for skate skis without skiing over the classic tracks , damage was minimal though. Lots of foot traffic from Evan-Thomas fireroad made a mess of that trail for skating but did leave the track set in good condition so no complaints really. Temps were falling fast by 3pm back @ Ribbon Creek 🙁 , stay safe https://www.folio.ca/exercising-in-very-cold-weather-could-harm-lungs-over-time-researcher-cautions/
Lots of booms and bangs to the south down the Kananaskis valley, avalanche control or thunder snow storm?
We were thinking it was Avi control at fortress maybe, snowcat skiing starting up again? or prepping for some film scene?
Kananaskis – Skogan pass
It was -20C when I left Calgary this morning and a balmy -9C at the Nakiska parking lot. I skied Sunburst, a quick visit Hummingbird Plume lookout, High level and then direct to Skogan pass for a snack and I returned by Skogan loop. The tracks are in good conditions and Swix V40 blue worked fine most of the time (had to use a bit of V45 to get additional grip). There are many debris until you reach the junction with Marmot trail but not an issue really.
I used my skinny skis and the steep descent from the top of Skogan loop (CCW) was a bit too fast and almost uncontrolled, so just use caution on that part of he trail.
Ditto on the Skogan Loop CCW descent. Lots of needles on all the Skogan trails & side trails, except for Skogan Loop which was pristine. Nevertheless my kick wax picked up almost no debris – VR45.
Sat jan 11: ribbon creek trails
A busy day with lots of trip reporters out and about, gathering info for the empire and enjoying the pleasant temps. We did the ribbon perimeter loop CW up to the lookout, finishing on ribbon creek and hidden. Helen and crew did it the other way, starting at the same time. Got to the lookout within minutes of each other, and same back at the lot. So no faster or slower either way. Fair amount of debri just under the surface on the lower trails. An inch or two will fix that. A few ridges here and there, and perhaps a few divots scattered throughout the system as we saw numerous wipeouts by a large group. You had to time your downhills right. Fire and sausages at Wedge pond filled out the short ski nicely. Hard to not have a good time in such balmy conditions.
Mt. Shark: started at 10:30am in -11C at trailhead; great grooming and tracks at the start of the green 15km loop; downhills were fast, but not scary; some pine needles on trails, but was not a problem; after reaching the picnic table down at the river the tracksetting stopped. We continued as the sun was out and the scenery was great! Tracks resumed after we reached the junction with the yellow 10km loop. I should have read the live grooming report more carefully this morning, as it indicates that the extra 5km on the 15km loop was groomed only. We finished our ski in sunshine and -5C. A very enjoyable outing and no frozen toes or fingers!
Castle Lookout to Protection Mtn Campground – freshly groomed and trackset this am though it still doesn’t show on the Banff Park Trail Conditions Report. Lots of folks out enjoying the great tracks and what may be the last of the tolerable temperatures for several days: -15C at start, -8C at finish, waxes were VR40 and straight blue. Minimal needles under the trees and twigs out in the open. Tracks continued westward past Protection Mtn but we turned back as Kazzy dog was tired from running around off-leash yesterday at Bragg Creek.
We did Baker to Protection Mtn Campground. Beautiful fresh tracksetting and lovely conditions, with some sunshine. Finished about 1:30 when it clouded over with light snow. Most of us used green wax.. temperatures in the -12-15 range, minimal wind.
Ribbon Creek – Terrace/Kovach
A magnificent ski around – with Richard and Jeff. Trails in outstanding shape – virtually no-one around. Started around 10 AM – finished just after 1 PM. Sun was shining – -4C at the car when we finished. Amazing day – outstanding skiing. Life is good.
LL/Banff loppet legs 3 & 4. Not yet trackset on leg 3 from Castle lookout trail. The latest posting told me that, but I ignored it, only to be forced onto the road by the power line workings. Sled packed from Castle Junction – I was surprised as to how brushy the trail was after all this snow. Quite fun, but hard work. Chatted with volunteer Bruce at the start of the hill at Johnston campground road junction and also another organizer 200m from the end of the event course at Sawback. Thanks for all you do volunteers and really looking forward to next Sunday 🙂
Skied to Elk Pass yesterday, starting at Boulton Bridge. The idea was to get one more ski in before the deep freeze. Temp was -15C in the morning and -8C when I returned in the afternoon. There was no new tracksetting in upper Fox Creek past the Hydroline turnoff. Just past the Blueberry Hill junction I skied out into the meadows to the kiosk at the Fox/Frozen Lakes turnoff. From there I continued through the meadows into Elk Lakes Park. The snowpack was supportive with 6″-8″ of ski pen (above the ankles). I couldn’t find the flagging tape that marks the route to the powerline (probably hidden under the heaps of snow!). So rather than making a loop I returned the same way.
No flagging really except marking the treed links between the smaller meadows on the south half. I knocked the snow off most of them on New Year’s Day so should be visible still. The crux is diverting out of the initial large meadow at the correct spot. When the large meadow starts to curve right and form into a descending drainage, take the left meadow branch and head south linking the meadow sections. And thanks for putting in a track.
Ribbon Creek area: all trails on the Hotels side of Ribbon Creek plus Coal Mine. Snow conditions were quite good today and the grooming / track setting fresh.
Trail damage: Walkers have done some damage to the middle of the trail heading out of Ribbon Creek towards the hotels. A couple of fat bikers did the loop from Ribbon Creek up to Kovach link and back down to the parking lot. They left some fairly deep ruts in the middle of the trail which might make snow plowing a bit difficult for less advanced skiers. Similar damage occurs on Aspen north from its junction with Terrace / Kovach. Try to get out early tomorrow before the trails get wrecked more.
Found: I found a wax kit on the Ribbon Creek trail just east of the Kovach Link bridge. I was going to turn it in to the information centre but the centre was closed when I drove back. I could take it there tomorrow or meet up with the owner.
Dad and I took a chance and started out on the Canmore side of Goat Creek at around 10:30 this morning (-11 at the outset). So glad we did! Skier-set tracks were better than expected almost the whole way, and the snow was light, fluffy, and fast! Blue wax worked really well the whole way.
We finished up on Spray River East, my first time taking it rather than West. What a lovely trail with good tracks! The added bonus was the yoga dad did by climbing over a felled tree without taking off his skis.
Overall a really lovely day, capped off with coffee and a delicious sandwich at the Banff Springs Hotel while waiting for our ride… Thanks mom!
Wow… that’s a well written report Erin, and very sweet!
Keep them coming.
LYNX LANE – Jan 10
Okay, I didn’t get to my destination… so I had to give it a name!
But it seems an update on the Cascade Valley is desired.
Details available in the captions here:
No, I didn’t make it to the Elk Trap… glad I turned around when I did… no headlamp.
Hmm. My old ski tracks in the pictures did not look that straight. I guess I am not skiing as straight at night as I thought I was. The old bad ankle ski side looks a little wobbly.
I skied to Troll Falls starting from Kananaskis Village. Good-excellent conditions throughout. Terrace and Terrace Link couldn’t be much better. As you get closer to the Ribbon Creek end, there are more pine needles in the trails but conditions are still great. I skied Skogan to get to Troll Falls (removing my skis for the little trail to the falls of course) and back along Hay Meadow. East of the powerline there are no boot tracks on Hay Meadow (yet) but it’s drifted in in some places and icy in others. Basically, anywhere you are in the open there is some drifting.
Yes, it was cold, but cross country skiing is great because it warms you up!
Ribbon Creek: Ernie & Maria
Seeing Bill Milne was freshly set and given the forecast for chilly temps next week off we went. The Track Set was the kind you hope for when you leave home deep, perfect form and set up crisp. And the corduroy was pristine!!!! Only saw 6 other smiling skiers.
It was -11 at Ribbon Creek launch and -8 upon return. Did the full loop Bill-Even-Wedgey Pond Wedge Connector (the connector was a dream) ET Fireroad and back to Bill. There were some wind gusts and some blown in sections but small potatoes compared to the joy on the rest. Not a Post Hole, Fat Bike Track or Skate Mark anywhere on the Tracks.
Thanks to the Groomer who made our day !!!!!!
Skogan Pass A small crew of rowdy Ramblers graciously allowed me to accompany them ascending the Pass this morning. It was warmer at Nakiska than Calgary at -10, but strong wind chill made hand warmers, toasty toes, or boot covers de rigueur. Snow was likely colder, as Swix VR30 (-10/-30) on skinny skis worked fine, as did Ray’s twin skins. Perfect, brand new tracksetting all the way to the top. We met Alex the groomer descending near the bottom with the Pisten Bully. He asked whether we were warm enough, said he hoped he’d pushed down most of the pine needles. He did. Exhilarating but not scary fast descent, 50 minutes. No photos, no one wanted to remove gloves.
WBC – Moose – Mountain view – West Crystal – Hostel, afternoon ski with a mild temperature of -9 C at the start. The tracks are in good conditions, except on Hostel where in many places there is plenty of needles and cones.
J-F, are you the son of Monique and Guy from Deer Run neighbourhood? Just curious and would love to see you sometime on the trails.
Hi Helen, Nope, I live in Calgary and was born and raised in France. I am retired now and moved to Calgary to enjoy the great outdoors. I think I saw you once a couple of year ago, you were going down Blueberry and I was going up with a friend.
I am xcountry skiing 3 to 4 times a week so with a bit of luck will see you sometimes.
Life is short.
You two should meet over coffee and cookies -)
Shaganappi-Thursday afternoon-great skate skiing conditions! Including north lower loop and driving range. Big bare spot around parking lot on east side and the usual bare spots along west side near the condos but otherwise very good conditions considering minimal snowpack.
WATRIDGE LAKE- BRYANT CREEK
The trail from Mt. Shark parking lot to Watridge Lake/ Spray River bridge was just trackset. Slow- moderate to moderate skiing speed.
The trail up Bryant Creek has been fat ski tracked to near RE 14 campground. From there roughly, I re-broke trail about 2 km beyond Warden Cabin #25. There is 10 to 20 cm of new snow in the old skier track. Excellent high moon light prancing on the skis on the way out. Only needed the headlamp for less than half the trail.
We checked out Spray West late this afternoon. Before going I checked the Parks Canada Trail Report, and it said the trail condition is “Fair”. I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description. Temperature was about -12 at 1500 and -15 just after 1730. The trail is pretty beaten up, but the 6 to 8 cm of fresh snow from the other night helped a bit. Surface-wise, the tracks are fine, but they’re pretty wide over the first few km, disappearing at corners. The further you get from the start the better the tracks get. We ended up turning around at the East/West junction due to time (6 km mark). If you continue on, you’ll notice someone walked on one track on the way out, and the other track on the way back – equal opportunity trail destruction…
Miraculously, no one has walked on the first 6 km of the trail – a pleasant surprise.
Gave Shaganappi a whirl this afternoon skating on the fresh grooming. Some thin and bare patches and tree debris to dodge but conditions were generally pretty good considering the snowpack. Tracksetting was somewhat intermittent and the tracks were shallow so I’d say skating would be more satisfying than classic. Hats off to the volunteers.
Whatever happened to plans for snowmaking at Shag and Confed?
Has anyone ventured out onto Goat Creek over the last day or so? I’m looking to make the most of my day off of work and a ski with my dad before the cold snap hits! (And if any incentive is needed to trackset around there tomorrow morning, name your price!) 😉
CASTLE LOOKOUT through PROTECTION MOUNTAIN CAMPGROUND – Jan 9
Suggest getting an earlier start if you head out on this trail… because you will want to go further!
Details in the captions here:
Of course, Jeannette went to exercise class first!
Mountain scenery doesn’t get much better than that! Thanks Chuck.
Thu, Jan 9 2020 – East Crystal Line/Iron Springs/Elbow/Loggers
WBC was wonderful today! The temperature at the start was -16 but warmed up to -10. Snow conditions were excellent (a few cm of new snow). Used blue wax which made for fast runs on the flat and downhill sections. We started at East Crystal Line and skied it to the Iron Springs turn off, then up Iron Springs and around to Elbow (the long way) up Elbow to Loggers and then along Loggers to West Crystal Line and back to the cars. Thank you to the trail maintenance crew for keeping the tracks wonderfully groomed!
SWEET SKIING IN SOUTH GLENMORE PARK CALGARY
I think the track setter hit the trails today as conditions are excellent and smooth. Double trackset with a nice wide skating lane with some new snow from the afternoon snowfall to make things silky sweet. Does not get any better in the city for skiing. The skiing off the trackset is also generally excellent throughout South and North Glenmore Park. Get your city night skiing conditioning in after work rather than turning on the TV from hell. Nice moon to ski to now which brightens things up with interesting light.
Where is the best place to park to access the trackset trails in S Glenmore?
…or a map? Wondering what the distance / options would be? I couldn’t find anything on City of Calgary website …
Drive to the west end of 90th ave SW; there’s a parking lot on the north side & the trail is an easy 10 metre walk from the NE corner of the lot. Tried it late afternoon Thursday, thin snow cover but the track is VERY viable for both skate & classic.
PLPP – Meadow, Wheeler, Amos
Excellent conditions. Started at noon with the temperature at -2 and about 2 cm covering the new trackset. There was intermittent light snowfall all afternoon but there were enough skiers to keep the track free of too much loose snow so icing was only a small problem. There were quite a few snowshoers out as well but thanks to the improved signage and their courtesy, the ski trails remained in perfect shape. Later in the afternoon the temperature started dropping and the snowfall intensified. There was about 2 cm of fresh snow on the car and the temperature had dropped to -6 at 3pm. The drive out was interesting. The amount of snow on the road increased as we approached Mount Kidd and there appeared to be about 10 to 15 cm of new snow in the shoulders and the centerline had a ridge about 15 to 20 cm high. We just followed the snowplow out and had no problems.
We had a bit more icing issues but still really enjoyed the ski on the above trails. Should be excellent if it warms a bit Friday/Saturday.
Lake Louise was fun! 10cm new snow meant all recent track setting was filled in. Started at the LL restaurant. Lots of fun, esp as the big storm ploughed in whilst up Tramline. Shelter was duly found at the Chateau. Literally ploughed my way through Telemark and Peyto, whizzed along the dog sled track on Great Divide, skied the short cut from the car park back to Tramline. Another great ski. Groomers were out as I finished, much to my amusement.
Ditto to Tim’s description of MLR and GD trails today. – 6 and first cars in parking lot just before 10am. Fairview was a good workout ascending from MLR; I needed help getting up from the Couch. Meanderthals had a variety of skis today and the woodies” did not win the race, except to Laggan’s for our final meetup. Glad to see (?) Tim’s tracks on Peyto-it was indeed fun but not sure we could use the adjective “whizzed along”. Bill Mc also found the dog sled track to be the best way to return back along the Great Divide. Those who purchased the Dog Sled experience could not have picked a better day. Roads were fairly decent both ways. Missed the groomers today by likely minutes, who I had brought cookies for.
Took advantage of yesterdays track setting, today on the Kananaskis Village trails, starting at Ribbon Creek. A couple of cm’s of new over the grooming made for smooth easy skiing, with good tracks and no hiker or biker damage. After a decadent warm lunch inside at the village centre (dog’s welcome!), we emerged into the face of a full on 30 minute blizzard with falling temperatures, which left about 3 additional cm’s over everything, as we retraced our route back over Kovach etc on tracks that were almost completely filled in from wind-drift in a few exposed spots. Conditions remain excellent overall.
Starting around 1400, I did Bill Milne from the Ribbon Creek parking lot to where it crosses over the 40 and heads to the Wedge, turning around just there. With the really heavy snow the tracks were filling very quickly. The snow lasted from before 1400 to about 1530. One track is essentially gone, with only hints of it here and there. Everyone (well, about 5 people total I saw) was using the other track and it’s ok-ish. It’s a little ankle-twisting right now, as it’s essentially a skier track that bobs in and out of the groomer track.
When the snow stopped, it left about 8 to 10 cm on the ground. The trail really does need to be regroomed and trackset.
It was pretty windy when I left the area around 1730, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the track in the meadow gets pretty filled in with blown snow. It should be ok in the trees.
For anyone traveling to Kimberley, lucky you. Just returned home this afternoon after a 10 day trip and if I had pulled the snow switch myself I could not have done better. Nordic trails are usually always good as they are so well taken care of but, as of this moment, Lois Creek, Trickle Creek Golf Course, and Bootleg Golf Course are all in excellent condition. Weather reports seem to be a bit off and on numerous days one to two cm. in forecast only to receive 8 to 10. Had to leave today on what would have been the best ski day ever for both alpine and Nordic. Conditions simply spectacular. However, weather has been quite warm so even with snow in forecast, not sure how long perfect bliss will last. Need some of Calgary’s deep freeze to keep things in pristine condition. Heading back on Monday. Fingers crossed that our playground will be in same condition as we left it.
Another report for PLPP January 7
Skied Wheeler / Whiskey Jack / Pocaterra / Lynx and Amos back to Lodgepole. Wheeler needs grooming and track setting but recent snow has covered most of the tree debris. Whiskey Jack was deep in new snow but we were climbing so not a problem. New snow on Pocaterrra to Lynx was skier tracked that made for an amazing glide. Lynx was skier tracked and in very good condition. Amos to Elkwood Parking; the most difficult trail of the day, with wobbly skier tracks.
We picked up the most recent grooming at Elkwood, now covered with approximately 4 cm of new snow. I had been waiting for this all day! The ride down Lodgepole, North Meadow and “Suicide Hill” to Pocaterra Hut was the best of the day.
Started, with VR40 wax, at WWL where it was -6C. Experienced some icing which was scraped of twice in 5 hours. It snowed lightly all day and more heavily as we finished. Air temperature at Pocaterra Hut was -5C.
Cascade Fire Road to the bridge
January 7th 2019
Lovely ski today yet again at the crack of noon. Tracks were in good condition with very little debris. Excellent glide with V30 plus a little bit of v40 under foot got us up the big hill. The last downhill back was smooth and not icy at all. Was snowing the last 20 minutes.
On the drive back we commented on how many people were skating and promenading on a surprisingly large, almost snow-free section of the ice shelf on Lake Minnewanka.
We had an unfortunate end to an enjoyable ski at the ever popular Confederation Park Ski Trails. There is some exposed asphalt at the downhill of a bridge – be careful until it can be fixed. The asphalt cost us a pair of skis and some banged up knees.
If I recall correctly, the bridges are not part of the trails anyway – don’t make the same mistake.
Cautionary tale – I also fell hard on the rock and asphalt coming down off maybe on the same Confederation bridge on Jan 7. It was covered by a thin layer of snow. I spent 4 hours wax removing, sanding my entire bases, and rebuilding 5 glide waxes from base to hard plus my kick zone. Still some fairly big gouges – I guess I’ll see how they run. I’ve gone over some bridges before but made a bad decision. Couple knocks. Hope the skis survived. Comments are definitely on point and this post does is not meant to discount the good work done by volunteer groomers at Confed.
You can use a P-Tex candle to fix gouges, it works quite well. I used this kit: https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5044-425/PTEX-Base-Repair-Kit although the instructions in the package are useless.
Here are some good instructions from REI: https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5044-425/PTEX-Base-Repair-Kit
Wedge Pond/Evan-Thomas/Bill Milne/Ribbon Creek just as Bob described yesterday, only bit cooler. -10 @ 11:00, light snow starting 11:30, -8 and more snow @ 2:30 pm. Very little wind, snow falling almost vertically, about 2 cm by time I left. Saw about 7 skiers. 2 hikers, 2 fat bikers, both of whom stayed nicely off ski tracks. New snow meant that “steep hill” and “high collision location” no problem.
PLPP – snowing all afternoon!
We had glorious conditions today, skiing around Pocaterra – Lynx – Amos – Woolley – Meadow back to Pocaterra Hut. Temperature around -5C, really enjoyed the powder on the downhills.
I found a really nice woolly grey mitt, not on Woolley, but at the junction of Pocaterra and Lynx. It had been put on a tree, but was getting covered in snow and very hard to see. I took it down and turned it in at the Discovery Centre. I hope it will be re-united with its mate!
Shell Oiltimers skied the northern loops of PLPP today. Air temperatures were a warm -6 to -8 C all day long and most of the trails have had recent grooming. Amos, Wooley and Meadow have not been trackset but a good skier track is in place. One fallen tree on Wooley is easily avoided, the others are all off to the side. Most of the debris from the recent wind storms has been covered by fresh snow. It snowed all day today with no wind so conditions can only get improve.
GOAT CREEK from BANFF – Jan 7
Hardly anybody out skiing today, but nice to see Jo & Al who recalled fun encounters from the past!
Details available in the captions here:
Spray East is more pleasant than the Spray West… less damage.
Today’s ski was at West Bragg on the Moose Loop trail. Lots of cars in the parking lot for a Tuesday mid day. We’ve been so fortunate with the amount of snow and conditions this year so far that I find myself being more selective than I want to be if that makes sense. Conditions were good with lots of needles due to last weekends wind. The classic tracks have been blown over with snow in several places but overall still an enjoyable ski.
My fav part was watching the big flakes falling around me for the latter half of my ski. I started at 11:15am and finished just before 1pm.
Bring on more snow.
Canmore Nordic Center
Meanderthal group ski on Banff, Silvertip (at Grey Wolf junction to end of the park), Bow and Banff circuit. About 13 km on well groomed tracks for all but Silvertip (nice natural powder) with lynx tracks (probably) still visible. Cooler, -7oC and first use of Blue Extra.
Thanks so much to Michel and Suzanne for finding my husbands glasses at the picnic table up Cascade fire road. I drove out and retrieved them from the gate where you tied them. You saved us a lot of money and anguish!! Thanks again – and again skier bobs website saves the day?
Kicking Horse Trail
After reading so many reviews in the past extolling the virtues of this trail, I decided to finally check it out. Even the Parks Canada lady at Lake Louise recommended it, saying it’s her favourite trail. They weren’t kidding!
First – the parking lot is now plowed. Apparently too many people were getting stuck.
The temperature was hovering just below 0. No wind, and about 95% cloud. There was about 3 or 4 cm of fresh snow over very fresh track setting (a couple of days old, done on the 4th). The track’s in great condition, and I only saw 6 people. Snow was light and fast. Overall, conditions were perfect. I’ll definitely be heading back. You can find some photos of the trail here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/VaFvsbGVi7CC6NF37
I was going to do Emerald Lake and the Alluvial Fan, but my Achilles was acting up, so I just checked out the Natural Bridge, since I’ve been driving by it for years and had no idea what it is. It’s worth going down to the river to see the frozen flow.
Thanks a lot to the Kicking Horse Ski Club for doing such a great job maintaining the trails!
fun trail to ski ! if you can make it ,this is a good time to go as well
Baker Creek day use towards Morant’s curve. The trail was in nice shape but the grooming / track setting ends just shy of Morant’s curve.
Baker Creek day use towards Castle Junction. Conditions here are also good on fairly recent grooming.
January 6th, 2020
Goat Creek Trail, Canmore to Banff
Headed out at the crack of noon with the temperature about -4 to -6C. Skiff of new snow worked in the track nicely by the early birds. Silky glide. VR30 worked well but could have gotten away with a colder wax. After the first kilometre, the Jan 4th track set was still pretty good and still some snow hanging on the trees . Yard-sale falls resulted in forgiving, soft impact. No needles or debris on the trail except for the last few kilometres near Banff. No footprints in the track. Total of 19 people encountered. Fabulous day!
I was snowshoeing the Wolf Creek trail today (having skied alongside most of it last Wednesday). Today that poor track was mostly covered in pine cones, bark, needles and lichens, and I feared the groomed trails might be just as bad. When it snows again, I’d like to extend this ski track and pack it to well beyond SW of Mnt Dyson which would be a first for me. Lets hope for at least 2 inches over the next 2-3 days to make it all GOOD again. Those ski trails have been a real treat so far this year, very well groomed by the parks personnel, and I had not encountered any post-holers or thoughtless snowshoers on top of ski trails this year yet. Park officials have been addressing this issue this year and it shows.
Is the river frozen?
Blueberry Hill – skied today, fantastic snow conditions. Snow was sticking to skies so had to do some scraping off of wax. Great downhill runs as fast as you want to go. All south side PLPP areas look really good right now.
Goat Creek to Spray West/East Junction lunch shelter. -6 at start time of 9:30. About 1 cms in tracks and got good glide with that and VR 45. Saw not a soul until returning back approaching Goat Creek bridge. Skier track holding up but one can see how the other multiuse half of the trail gets a beating with depression of fat bike tires and walkers. Not a trail for beginner skiers. I might have misread the latest grooming report because it did not look like it was as recent as I had thought. It was great to be on the Goat Creek side again. No downed trees but 1-2 to duck under.
Bowness Park: there has been some grooming, maybe a few days ago? Conditions are reasonably good, but the tracks are well-worn and there is tree debris, naturally. Still some powder on the berm at the west end 😉
I took my NNNBC gear to West Bragg again today and headed up Demi-Tel. Not wishing to climb up the big hill on Hostel first thing I went up Telephone to the north Hostel junction and backtracked to the Demi-Tel-Snowshoe Hair junction from there. This was a very bad idea because both Telephone and Hostel are in serious needle-and-branchmania and the snow is extremely crusty and chunky. I put on some nasty old +3 wax to climb up Demi-Tel, which worked great (not much glide though). At the top of Demi-Tel I went north on Long Distance to the first big hill with a view, taking off my skis on the steep, rocky uphill. Fast fun descent down Demi-Tel and Hostel. A bit icy coming down Demi-Tel though-I’ve done this on skinny skis before but wouldn’t have wanted to today.
Tomorrow’s snow should help.
MOOSE MEADOWS to JOHNSTON CANYON – Jan 6
Grooming has started for the upcoming Lake Louise to Banff Loppet, so it’s time to check out favourite sections!
Details available in the captions here:
Next time we’ll bring pruners.
Sandy McNabb -as expected, conditions were horrible there this am after days of warmish weather. Pretty severe glazing and/or the tracks nearly filled in with needles, cones & an old mans beard cast off from recent winds. As well, the warm weather brought out post hole makers, so the going downs are hazardous to say the least. Maybe just avoid until new snow, or grooming is refreshed (which is usually only with significant new snow there) …or, your looking for a sketchy-skinny-ski adventure!
Thank you for checking it our for us, Jeremy! I was afraid that might be the case 🙁
Lake Louise – Skied Fairview (Skier tracks only), Moraine and Tramline back to the village. Moraine and Tramline were covered with a few cm of fresh snow and on Moraine hence a slower skiing but very enjoyable and quiet (just met a walker on Moraine Lake road and a couple of skiers). It was -8 C and V40 wax worked very well with the fresh snow.
Cascade fire road. What a great ski1 Followed the groomer/track setter out and back. Was a total joy. Bigger baskets might be in order as the edges are soft. Decided the groomer sneezed a lot, resulting in the occasional random wiggly track setting…. All good.
3hr round trip to the cabin and back.
Jan 5, 2020 12 – 4pm
Baker Creek to Castle Lookout
Tracksetter headed out ~noon from Baker Creek. Conditions were excellent with some pine needle debris in the trees. We followed in the fresh tracks east and he passed us heading back west so we got fresh tracks much of the way back too. Beautiful 20km out and back.
No more construction detours anymore, back to normal?
There is still some equipment back there (north of the camp ground) but there are no detours or signs prohibiting use and everything is groomed and track set, nearly up to Morant’s curve. I did not try from Lake Louise to see if one could get close to Morant’s curve from that end.
Bragg Creek Weather:
I had been using the webcam and temperature readings from the Bragg Creek.ca website, which now appears to be permanently defunct.(this had been forewarned).
Alternatives include a personal weather station along the West Bragg road that I found on Weather Underground:
On the last couple of outings, the car thermo has agreed with the readings there. It’s showing a cool -15 this morning by the way.
Weather Network also has readings for Bragg Creek but doesn’t indicate exactly where:
Is there a way to get it to change to Celsius?
GMJ, click on the icon in the top right-hand corner. It will give you the option to see it in Celsius. (It’s the little wheel beside Login/Join)
that Wx Underground site is super handy, thanks Steve. On the topic of weather, Im preparing for a BC backcountry trip and discovered a site called Pivotal Weather. It gives you temp and precip loops on all the models including the European(which is hard to get for free)
The recently revamped GBCTA website has the WU applet on its conditions page .
Check out the site for great stuff from the GBCTA !
PS: Coming soon a webcam pointing to Chickadee Meadow and Mtn Rd…
Bryant Creek warden cabin – January 6, 2020
I was glad to get on my skis, after a bumpy buggy-ride style drive on the Spray Lakes Road, navigating through snow ridges while driving late in the morning. After the initial 4 km of skiing into high winds and windblown snow covering the ski trail, almost into a facemask and goggle territory, the conditions got a lot better into the trees. Saw 11 people skiing out of the Bryant Creek shelter, by the bridge over Bryant Creek, and a family of 4 with wardens skiing out of the cabin. Those skiing out really packed down the trail well for me to move smoothly, all the way to the warden cabin. After that, the ski trail is all covered in blown in snow and likely has not seen traffic for a week. A nice ski out, making sure my head was tucked down to go under those arching trees, while gliding at moderate speed. VR40 works well all day. I like the snow shapes over rocks of Palliser Creek and treed corral by the warden cabin.
Thanks for the update, Normand. Perhaps I will head out cabins way later on this week.
Cascade Fire Road – trackset today! (Jan 5th) Very windy near the start but then quite sheltered and lovely. Be prepared for the recent chaos in the parking lot with everyone trying to get their Instagram videos and pictures of skating on Lake Minnewanka! It was a zoo! I had a late start and only went 8km before turning around. One day I hope to make it to the cabin! I think the snow was a bit slow as I found the trip back on the hill quite manageable and didn’t wipe out like I have in the past!
Skogan Pass …better late than never. This is a report from Friday whereby conditions uphill of Ruthie’s Junction were very good, to excellent from Skogan loop up. Safe soft snow and no trail dishing on screamer. Though it warmed up THAT day, ski tracks were lightly used and 1.5″ fresh snow on good packed base was holding well. Seems lots of people walking/wandering troll falls which discouraged skiers from negotiating the poor lower trail conditions; once a third of way up (incl. Hummingbird Plume loop) the route is splendid. Some better signage would help there.
Castle Junction trails 1 ,2, 3. Not nearly as ambitious at Jeannette and Chuck today. #1 westbound is closed about 2.5 kms in from CJ. I was on #2 campground loop and part of Tower Lake Trail when I learned Canada Junior Hockey Team won gold. Don’t think Chuck heard me but I was very excited. # 3 loop was likely the best of the three although only snowmobile groomed and skier tracked. Open water in a couple of places right at beginning. Lots of loppett people working on the trail packing it down with snowmobile, and saw a few skiers checking it out at Moose Meadows.
Canmore Nordic Center
Banff, Meadowview, Banff, Grey Wolf, Bow, Lower Banff, Banff trails loop totally 12km. All natural trails were not groomed overnight so lovely powder for much of the skiing. Nice afternoon recon for next Tuesday morning Meanderthal ski at CNC. 0oC and Swix purple did the trick.
WBC- Moose Loop, Crystal Lines.
We were thinking of Ribbon for a change, to give both humans and doggo some Sunday afternoon exercise, but with clouds hanging over the mountains combined with no recent grooming there- it was WBC in the sun, yet again! No regrets- despite the recent warm winds, which gusted strongly at times during the afternoon- the trails remain in good shape. Expect a minor bit of tree debris here and there, with tracks washed out in a few spots, and fast smooth downhills with only one small, easily negotiated patch of exposed ice that I noticed- on Moose Connector near the top of “Half Pipe Hill”. Temps stayed not far above zero- VR 50 worked perfectly for both grip and glide.
WBC – Did a quick lap around Hostel loop this morning. I’d rate trail conditions as Fair – lots of needles, branches and cones, even a tree covering half the trail at one point! Snow was crusty, not icy.
Confederation Park fast and partly icy this afternoon … until 10 minute snow squall around 3 pm coated the hard pack with a cm of soft snow, giving slower but much smoother skating. Shallow classic tracks. Should be fine tomorrow morning, until wind blows new snow away. Bumped into to trail designer Sean H-C and wife Y, who flagged the trails, making them look like race courses! A big thank-you to them and all the volunteers who maintain the park.
Lake Louise loops a mixed bag of trail conditions with lots of fresh snow!
We skied from the old train station up along the Tramline to Lake Louise. It was trackset except for the last little part near Deer Lodge. We went around the parking lot and across Lake Louise, following a skier-set track. We skied down Upper Telemark in lots of fresh snow, without grooming after the dump. It was similar down Peyto. We skied on a fresh track along the 1A where we had our lunch break at the junction to Lower Telemark and enjoyed a great conversation with SS & hubby. We returned via the freshly groomed Lower Telemark. Eventually, we met the groomer and were treated to a fresh track. We got soft snow-bombed repeatedly along this trail and the wind was crazy in places. We skied through a whiteout but other areas were very calm. We returned up behind Deer Lodge. The next trail was Fairview. There was a very good skier-set track. We skied in a track on the Moraine Lake Road, and we finished off down the Tramline.
We started skiing at -3C and finished at -6C. We used blue wax which worked well, except for a bit of clumping in the deep snow. Scraping our skis at lunch solved that issue. It was a good day with varying snow, trail and weather conditions. The road out to Lake Louise was partly snow-covered past Banff. We encountered one short-lived blizzard which almost made us change our destination. We went through it fairly quickly so persevered with our original plan. We were happy with the road conditions on our return to Calgary.
After seeing all the new tracksetting on the grooming report, we headed to the south PLPP trails. We were surprised by a fresh blanket of fluffy white snow!
We started at Boulton parking lot and broke trail on the Boulton Creek Trail. Elk Pass and Blueberry were skier-track set and became more manageable as the day went on (it seemed to get colder too). On the way back we took Fox Creek and Moraine which were also skier track set. Fox creek had three downed trees with decreasing difficulty of getting around them.
Moraine Lake Road
was a calm place this afternoon. Fresh snow blown off the trees onto the road, shallow tracks, but good silky glide. -6C and Rode Super Blue worked great.
Castle / Baker Trail from Castle Mountain Lookout Parking
-3 degree C at the parking lot. Used VR40 wax which worked well all day but caused some icing/clumping which was easily removed. Others on waxless fared better. Getting down the hill and across the 1A to start was easy with all the new snow. We set our own ski tracks to the CPR switch after which we encountered folks coming from Baker Creek. There were two significant snow squalls and the wind came up at the Protection Mountain campground after noon hour. I expect Sunday skiers will be setting new tracks again. The wind in the trees during the snow squall filled the air and sent soft snow bombs onto our heads. A very pleasant day in a quiet place. -1 degree C back at the car.
Peter Lougheed Prov Park
We drove down highway 40 through snow squalls and a very dark sky. Could hardly see the road passing by Nakiska.
Things improved as we got further south and we decided to try for Chester Lake. We turned around without even getting out of the car because the road was in a complete whiteout with snow falling heavily. Snow was drifting so badly we were also scared of getting stuck on the way home if snow plows didn’t clear the road.
Ended up back in PLPP where it was much calmer so we decided to ski up to the Lookout since it had been groomed yesterday.
Turns out all of PLPP is under at least 10cm of fresh powder so we enjoyed soft fluffy skier tracked snow. It was great for coming down from the lookout on light touring skis. I had an easier time of it on waxless skis than my husband did with wax.
Plenty of new snow on Kananskis village trails when we arrived @ 11am and it snowed most the time it took us to make two loops taking in most of the trails. Snow temp was -0.2c 🙁 , not an easy waxing day. I added a couple of layers of VR50 over VR45, reasonable grip but bad icing which lessened as the ski progressed, temps cooled and my constant scrapping probably removed much of the VR50. A nice ski overall with all debris placketed with fresh snow, maybe it will be groomed this eve ?
Goat Creek to Banff: Windy start at Goat Creek trailhead with at least 5cm new snow and a good skier track; good glide down to Goat Creek bridge; tracksetting started at top of the hill from the second Spray bridge (junction to Spray Lakes); great tracks and not much wind all the way to Banff Springs trailhead; lots of people out enjoying the new snow; we didn’t encounter any walkers, snowshoers or fatbikers!
Must have passed you! I skied Banff – Goat Creek. What a blast. Great glide, though grip was a bit of a challenge sometimes, esp at the Banff end. I had the wrong poles, but the bigger baskets worked well. Snowshoers / hikers / runners were very good at keeping off the tracks. Bravo! Saw numerous folks I knew which was a bonus. Hitched a ride down Spray hill to Canmore/home. Superb day.
Shag is a great place for a quick workout. No track setting but there is enough snow to cover the grass and concrete sidewalks, I enjoy just meandering where my skis take me. The north side is a little quieter away from Bow Trail!
CASCADE VALLEY TO BEYOND STONEY CREEK
Skied to about 5 km past Stoney Creek. Went past the little springs that cross the trail before the Elk Trap. 55+ cm of settled snow. Ski penetration ranges from ankle deep to near mid calf. Moderate difficulty trail breaking. Moderate speed snow.
-2C at the Stoney Warden Cabin sometime after dark 30. Gusty wind conditions at night.
The track set trail is getting a little wind loaded in some areas. It is overall still good.
We arrived at a quiet Elk Pass parking lot around noon, only a handful of vehicles. The air temperature was -3, but the snow temperature was -5. VR45 worked beautifully all afternoon. Moraine and Whiskey Jack skied well with a few cm of new snow over the grooming. We found the snow cat parked on Tyrwhitt, and enjoyed grooming only (no classic track) on Tyrwhitt and Elk Pass trails. Gusting winds picked up as we neared Elk Pass, and we were bombed and blown down to the parking lot. Fox Creek trail was reasonable but there were a few large trees to be skirted around or stepped over. There was a parks repair/service truck at Elk Pass parking lot, so I am hoping to see the snow cat up and track setting soon.
My daughter and I skied from Baker Creek to Morant’s. A couple had broke trail over around 10cm on older trackset for the first few kms, my daughter and I for the rest. When we returned to Baker Creek we met the groomer who said he would be hitting up the west portion this evening.
On an embarrassing side note, our original destination was the Kicking horse trail. High centered my car trying to pull into the natural bridge parking lot. A Parks Canada employee and another fellow fortunately had all the tools I needed to free myself. Roads in Yoho are very very snow covered.
Cascade Fire Road
Windy, cloudy and -2 C when I left the parking lot with V45 on my skis. The wind died down and grip improved as soon as I started up the big hill and continued to get better the farther out I skied. Quite a few people on the trails. Nobody has broken trail much beyond the end of the trackset. The wind started to come up and soon the it was blowing the snow out of the trees and I was in a combination of blizzard and sasquatch snowball fight. And on the flood detour a smallish tree crashed down across the trail 5 m in front of me – a little too close! Overall, the return ski was one of my slowest – it took me almost as long to ski back as it did to ski out.
BTW, I wouldn’t recommend Cascade for skate skiers this year. The groomed trail is narrower than usual, probably because of the encroaching bushes.
I should add that the trackset is out to the usual stopping point several 100 metres before Stoney Ck,
Spray River (west) to Goat Creek Bridge out and back. The route certainly has lots of snow on it. It has been a while since this route was groomed. The section between the upper Spray River bridge and the Goat Creek bridge is pretty bumpy on the hills due to skier craters. That section (and I suspect, the section up to the K country parking lot) are currently back country conditions. The section from the Banff Springs Hotel to the first bridge has had some walkers on it (as usual) so there are a fair number of divots between the set tracks. I asked a couple of walkers on that section if they had seen the signs (there are two of them) at the junction indicating skier only traffic. They claimed that they had been “talking” so missed them. I replied that they were fortunate as one of the two large clap board signs was right on the trail and would have been a tripping hazard to unsuspecting walkers. They turned around and walked back to the parking lot.
West Bragg ‘gotcha’
Forgot to mention in my earlier post that the push-in door locks on the bathrooms don’t seem to be working, so a lot of “oh sorry’s” and general surprised comments, (plus the odd screech), eminating from those inside who were surprised at awkward intrusions. The larger top lock that turn do the trick though. Smiles worked once outside, if you could see them through red faces!
SULPHUR MOUNTAIN (West side via SUNDANCE TRAIL) – Jan 3
Given the prospect that the Sundance Trail is about to be Closed again this year,
I thought I’d better take this opportunity to ski the back side… so inviting!
Details available in the captions here:
Way more fun than mountain biking it!
Pot Pourri of trails out at Lake Louise in perfect grooming: -8 to start and Laggin’s Gluten Free Delicious Cookie to finish. MLR (had been re-tracked on our 9am arrival), 4 cms new light powder on top of older grooming on Fairview, enjoyed Peyto in the new powder on top of tracksetting done yesterday, brand new tracks on Great Divide AND Lower Telemark was the best I have ever seen it. Climbed back up the hill to finish off on Tramline. Turned out to be a most enjoyable day in perfect snow/temps/conditions.
What she said! We started up that way, abandoned ship and headed down to Bill Milne. Windblown tracks and chinook winds so strong they’d push a 105 pound kid backwards…
So we abandoned that plan as well and went for lunch.
Sorry, I was trying to reply to Ulrike’s comment about Skogan Pass but it didn’t end up below her post…
West Bragg Creek
Snow temp -6, warm sunshine, and absolutely zero wind up until we left around 2:30. Clockwise route today – Mtn Road to Mtn View West, Moose Loop back to Mtn Road. Lots of blue sky and fun pockets of warm air coming down Moose Loop through the trees. A bit of glazing on Mtn View West on the downhills, and a few rocks that are starting to peep through, but easily avoided. Caught an edge and did a faceplant. First of the year! :-0
Everyone do the WBC Snow Dance for all the exposed areas. Happy Trails.
After a Holiday Season of an injury, a cold and waaay too much rest with no skiing, I landed on my skis at Confederation Park this afternoon. Followed the blue flags and to my absolute delight, the tracks were perfect. Thank you, snow farmers and groomers! Yellow flag trail a little wiped out. Beautiful sunshine, cool weather and smiles from this Snowfairy! Nice to see the little skiers out enjoying the Park. Skate skiing trail looked so inviting! Tomorrow AM it’s skate skiing then!
Skogan Pass Trail: Started from Nakiska in +3C with a strong Chinook wind blowing. The lower part of the trail was covered in pine needles and twigs and the tracks were gone. Higher up the snow was cleaner and tracks decent. However, tricky to get good grip on wax skis. We ended up herringboning alot. Decided to head to Hummingbird Lookout instead of the pass. Nice views. The ski down was somewhat rough, with intermittent glide on the pine needles and windblown snow. We were lucky no trees fell down on the trail from the crazy wind gusts while we were skiing.
Last nights snow shoveling elves did great work on the blue and purple trails; I am totally impressed with the subsequent packing, grooming and tracksetting. Confed is in great shape, go ski while you can.
the Walkers ,the xc tracked trail destruction ,the lack of signage ,the lack of Conservation officers patrolling the area ,and the lack of our provincial government to manage the user experience of Nordic cross country skiing in the kananaskis village/ribbon creek area , is and has been for too long , a source of frustration and danger to myself and others that I have talked to skiing this area. Please help communicate the need for more education / enforcement for this area and other xc ski trails that are getting trashed ,sometimes minutes after being groomed . Lets try, as a ski community, to wake up the governing body that looks after our sport ! Our user experience is as important as is grooming those trails for that experience. Please take a moment to send a message to Feedback.AlbertaParks.ca
Bill Milne South from Ribbon. Jan 2
A couple of centimetres of new snow freshened the trail but created skier set tracks. However the snow was lovely and soft giving smooth glide on VR 40 blue wax. Temperature -3C at Ribbon Creek parking lot with light sw winds at 11am, but an hour or so later winds really picked up into big gusts, making us happy to be returning with the wind at our back.
This is a lovely relatively flat trail that is not always skiable so get it while you can!
Bluebird sky and a dusting of new snow made for great conditions at WBC this afternoon! A couple of others have reported on the north and west side of the trail system, now for the south side:
We skied Sundog loop to East Crystal, then out and back on Iron Springs to make the most of the sunshine. Tracks were in very good shape, and downhills smooth and easy with no ice. The far south Elbow-Iron loop is a little bit rugged on track skis in spots, due to the rescue vehicle from a few days back, and the usual walkers. Easily managed though.
It doesn’t get much better:
Cascade Stoney Warden’s Cabin today for 8 Meanderthals; four of whom had never skied to the Cabin before. Delightful powder snow and tracks improved significantly after the bridge. Started in -7 and ended in -5. The ski back makes it particularly worthwhile, and seems half as long. Could not believe the number of people skating on Lake Minnewanka, especially with open water visible in background. The skaters occupied at least 2/3’s of the parking lot. Had hoped to give Don the Groomer some freshly baked cookies today but he might have opted to fix up Goat Creek before the anticipated (bah humbug) warming trend. P.S. enjoyed meeting Heather D and Keith on Baker Creek east/west trails yesterday. They were heavenly in the new powder.
Skied from Castle Mountain Lookout Trailhead to Protection Mtn Campground and back earlier today. Lovely soft snow ~ 4cm over wide trail packed yesterday by volunteer groomers helping out Baker Creek Resort. Ski tracks on top are rather thin but did the trick. The usual wet dip is at the east end between the 2 hills. Also skied both trails east and west out of Baker Creek picnic area yesterday. Lovely, similar conditions as today’s ski.
WBC – Ski is still pretty good thanks to the excellent job of the groomers. It was -9 C this morning at 10:00am, very windy and skied Mountain View West, Moose loop (CCW), back on Mountain View West, Loggers and East Crystal. The trails were not very busy and the tracks are quite fast.
Same route for us starting @ 1pm and -3 air temp, snow and trails still in great condition, VR45 worked well with a little icing climbing Mountain View West, WBC keeps on giving.
Jan 2. Hit Confederation just after lunch. The few cm of snow refreshed things to make it quite skiable. All just skier-tracked with some of the tracks pretty well defined and others somewhat indistinct or non-existent. I was doing classic but the skating lanes looked pretty good with a layer of snow for coverage and hard underneath. (Although on the driving range the skate lane was windswept on one side and blown in on the other.) Nice blue sky day to be out there and enjoy some in-town skiing!
Also skied tramline, Fairview, ML road, and then tramline down to the station. Great conditions, worked well with Swix Blue wax, skiing CCW made for a little more action coming down Fairview but all these trails are rather mellow (especially given the soft conditions).
Any tips for a more technical xc or backcountry xc ski in Yoho or somewhere within an hour of Golden?
Hello Rustydog, If you are looking for more action and beautiful scenery, in Lake Louise my favourite trip is a day outing to Skoki lodge with xcountry skis. It’s a 30km round trip with around 1100m elevation gain and approximately 5 hours of skiing(excluding breaks).
I have looked into doing that trip, hoping to maybe later this winter or next! I just have regular classic xcountry skin skis. Would these skis be sufficient to do Skoki Lodge? Or do I need to rent actual touring skis?
Skied Fox Creek trail to Elk Pass this morning and there is still plenty of heavy snow on the trees. Three huge trees fell while skiing, fortunately missing us, so beware. One large tree just on the downhill run just before the junction of Fox Creek and Elk Pass. A couple after the junction of Elk pass and Hydroline. Lots of debris on Fox Creek and a huge thank you to the groomers for removing tons of fallen trees.
Lake Louise Jan 1
We were the first car in the parking lot at the bottom of Tramline, and it was already 11am! Temperature was about -5C, rising to -3C over the next few hours. On no-wax crown skis. There was about 5cm of fresh snow over the trackset. We didn’t see another skier until the Moraine Lake Road, which had just been groomed and trackset. We continued on to Fairview which was in great condition, and all the fresh snow made for an easy descent to the Moraine Lake Road. Then back to Tramline and down to the car and a full parking lot!
A bit of different trip report. I’m up in Edmonton with family for the holidays. Much to my joy, I found out that the community leagues in the SW trackset in their parks and utility corridors! A gentleman named Ron with a skidoo does it all, and does it beautifully. We skied Kastikayo Park, Keewehin Park and the Yellowbird pipeline corridor for a total of 8 beautiful sunny and warm kilometers! If you’re in Edmonton and would like to ski very locally, join the facebook group SkiLocal – Ron is always updating where he tracksets! What a pleasure to ski around the city.
Spray River West from the hotel to the second bridge – Beautiful day for a ski!! The tracks are in pretty good shape – and there is lots of beautiful snow – but the center skate lane is FULL of boot holes and craters from skiers falling. Lots of caution required if you need to get out of the tracks to snowplow – the trail definitely could use a refresher grooming 🙂 Temperature was-1C at end of our ski at 3:30
Wed jan 1: elk/west elk pass.
A cm of fresh in the tracks made for nice smooth glide this morning. Also made fox creek seem more palatable so went and checked that route out. Fair amount of small branch debri from all the trees removed but less woodpecker bark. Cut a medium sized tree off elk near Paterson. Another 3 or 4 new ones down on return, some quite large. One too big for the saw that you can’t go around or over, requiring ski removal and a bit of a crawl depending on size of pack (and flexibility!), but on a flat spot so not a surprise. Then a batch down on fox near the end on return too, that was on a hill. Passable now though at speed without issue. Some looming trees just waiting for a slight breeze, including one thats close to the trail head that looks like it’s a threat. It ain’t big, but it would hurt and wouldnt provide any warning given its low position. We dared not try to touch it. There will be more down on a daily basis is my guess. The west elk meadows travelled well and now have a nice track all the way through the meadows to the hydroline. Nice and solid with good pole plants too so good to go on skinny skis. The couch has been unburied and is functional again although it needs more work. Found some meadow skipping conscripts who were eager to try their hand at trail breaking on the way to the cabin. We did not deny them the pleasure, which helped us immensely in putting in a fine track. Groomed tracks slow on return with a bit more warmth and moisture, but no stickage at 3pm. Meadows were silky smooth sailing on return as a bit of sun showed itself for a final sit. A great New Year’s Day ski.
Skogan Loop and Pass / Humming Bird Plume Lookout. Conditions today were still quite good. One walker made it all the way up to the Highlevel / Skogan junction. Below the Sunburst / Skogan junction there are more walker divots and snowshoe tracks but the trail is still decent at this point. The “screamer” hill is still hazard free (except for pine needles) but fairly hard packed. I had metal edged skis so I had not problem controlling my speed coming down.
CONFEDERATION- January 1
Didn’t ski that much of the trail system as we were there with our 4 year old grand-daughter, for her first real go at skiing. She had a great time, especially on the downhills, although grandpa did have to tow her back much of the way from the far corner. Conditions were pretty good- firm with some glazed, but well set tracks, and great coverage. Looked best for skating, but my fish-scale skis, which I had selected just to keep things simple, worked quite well.
TUNNEL MOUNTAIN CAMPGROUND LOOPS – January 1, 2020
Lake Minnewanka road was closed this afternoon for safety reasons, so people had to scramble for other places to ski… why not try Tunnel Mountain Campground which has always been available? Well, it’s not groomed!
For details see captions here:
Cross country skiers are an intrepid lot!
Regarding Tunnel Mountain tracksetting, Parks Canada has supplied this information: “the project has been submitted for long term approval which is going through a mandatory public consultation process.”
The public consultation is scheduled to be complete by the first week in January(this year, LOL). Not sure what the next step is.
Laugh Out Loud as public consultations are a political joke most of the time. Parks Canada does what autocratic Parks Canada wants to do and to hell with real public input. Public consultations are just public relations façade. They are fake public input systems for the most part.
If the XC Ski Nation out there wants better trails and skiing in Banff, the XC Ski Nation has to get political and put pressure on the government in power.
Power to the skiers.
Cascade Fire Rd. Conditions were very good along Cascade Fire Rd today. No evidence of icing, but lots of animal (four or two legged…unsure) in the ski tracks. Everyone in our group of Norseman reported that their kick wax was working. Some used blue, some blue-green and some violet. The skin-techs were also working well for one member. Temps stayed about -4 C all day thanks to the cloudy skies. Fast run out.
Just a couple of additional comments to Richard’s report. We found the big hill (about 1km after the start) to be hard, bumpy, and somewhat rutted. No problem going up, but we skied down quite cautiously, and noticed some other skiers having difficulty descending this section. Beyond the Cascade river, conditions were excellent – great skiing and super scenery.
Bill Milne-New Years Day Ski! What a fantastic trail-groomed, nice wide skate lane, easy ski, fantastic views….and dog friendly!!! We had a great morning to ring in the New Year skiing from Ribbon Creek lot to Wedge pond and back-skating. Trail from Ribbon creek to about the golf course was excellent-thanks groomers! minimal foot holes and some nature debris on the trail which was easily avoided. Lots and lots of foot tracks from the golf course all the way to Hwy 40 crossing-making the skiing a bit more cautious and slow but still doable. Surprisingly not too many people on the trail for such a mild weather holiday. We arrived back at Ribbon creek lot about 2pm, the lot seemed to be about 75% full with skiers, snowshoers and hikers heading in all directions to enjoy the day.
SUNDANCE TRAIL – January 1, 2020
Disappointed to find this trail not available for skiing!
Details available in the captions here:
Good for walking.