2017-18 in review: What a great ski season!

by Bob Truman on April 10, 2018

in Year in review

March 5, 2018: The Wedge Connector was one link in the Evan-Thomas – Bill Milne – Wedge loop which I skied many times this winter in excellent conditions

We were sking on trackset trails at Lake Louise on Nov 4, so it’s getting close to a six-month ski season. For the real keeners, Frozen Thunder at Canmore opened on Oct 21. 

Although the weather has turned warmer, there’s still lots of snow, and tracksetting will continue for a while in PLPP and at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Perhaps at Lake Louise, too. 

Jan 21, 2018: Elk Pass was in fabulous condition with beautiful scenery and excellent tracksetting

For those still skiing, I encourage you to post trip reports, but I won’t be posting any updates for a while so I wanted to do my year-end review now.

Feb 15, 2018: Great conditions on Goat Creek

This was the best xc ski season in recent memory. It was not without a few minor hiccups, but overall, it’s been a good one. In the early years of this blog, we had some good seasons, but I think the problems started in 2012-2013 when excess wind created debris-covered trails with sporadic snowfall. 

Jan 21, 2018: My all-time favourite, Tyrwhitt.

It got so bad I even wrote an update in Jan 2013 entitled “PLPP needle and cone report. Every year thereafter we experienced periods where the trails were compromised in one way or another whether it be from rain, ice, debris, snow fleas, or lack of snow. 

Mar 7, 2018: Emerald Lake on a sunny day can’t be surpassed for sheer beauty.

This winter, every time there was a warm or windy day that threatened the trails, it was followed by snow and cold weather. My most difficult day on skis came on Nov 22 when I was skiing Moraine Lake road with Chip, Peter, and Pat. It turned warm and we all lost our grip about 2K from the end. By Nov 25, it had snowed, turned cold and the good conditions returned. 

Nov 8, 2017: Earliest ever skiing at West Bragg Creek. Steve Riggs at the corner of Sundog and Elbow

I can’t remember a day of skiing where I encountered any significant debris, or an icy trail. I skied Goat Creek on a hard-packed trail once but it was actually fun. 

Dec 27, 2017: We had some cold weather in December. These skiers were braving -15 on Elk Pass.

We encountered some extremely cold days in December and early January but it was only a minor inconvenience. My coldest day of skiing was on Christmas day when it was -23°C on Redearth Creek. I’m glad I went out that day because the conditions on Redearth Creek were about the best I’ve seen in recent memory. I also saw Santa Claus with her white eyelashes. 

Nov 22, 2017: The day we lost our grip on Moraine Lake road. It snowed and turned cold a few days later.

I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t ski in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park as much as usual, and that’s because I had such good conditions closer to home. I believe many people from Calgary saved lots of gas money because of the amazing conditions at West Bragg Creek. 

The golf courses in Calgary saw lots of action from early in November. Alasdair Fergusson commented about Shaganappi a few days ago…

“We had our earliest ever start to tracksetting operations (at Shaganappi) on 6 Nov when we packed and groomed. Then our latest grooming and tracksetting was on 18 March – another record. Normally we cannot do anything after about 7 March.”

Apr 2, 2018: I skied to Kananaskis Fire Lookout without having to herringbone

Many people ask me what my favourite trail is. The Tyrwhitt Loop(Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk Pass, Fox Creek, Moraine) would be number one on my list, and Goat Creek to Banff would be close behind. 

Tracksetter Alex on the Bill Milne trail

What trail have I skied the most over the years? Undoubtedly it is Whiskey Jack, because it acts as the access for three other great trails. At the top you can continue your ski trip on Pocaterra, Lookout, or Tyrwhitt.

This blog owes its success to all the skiers who submit trip reports. To date, 1715 comments were submitted to the the Trip Reports pages this season. Thank you!

We enjoy incredible tracksetting due to the dedicated guys and gals who operate the snowmobiles and snowcats. Thanks for all your hard work!

Well over a million people have logged in since Oct 21 when ski season started with the opening of Frozen Thunder.

Thanks for reading my blog!


Tuesday morning update

April 10, 2018
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  “Avoid lifting anything heavier than a cup of coffee for the first six weeks after surgery” This morning I’m giving my left arm some practice for what’s to come. Tomorrow’s the big day. If I don’t wake up, I’ve left the log-in credentials for this blog with a trusted person. 🙂

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Cascade Valley

April 8, 2018
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Yesterday I said I was finished skiing for the season, but I really mean it this time. I’ve never seen Banff tracksetting in April, so I wanted to verify it with my own eyes.

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Strathmore golf course grooming update

April 8, 2018

Thanks to Ed Meyer for the photos and update: “A team effort in some challenging spring conditions for another great set at the Strathmore Golf Course today.”

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A surprising grooming update

April 8, 2018

Sunday April 8 @ 12: 20 pm: Something compelled me to check the Banff trail report around noon today and this is what I found: Could Spray River be next? The Great Divide at Lake Louise was groomed and trackset yesterday.  The usual Saturday night trails were

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Still skiing on wax

April 7, 2018
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-Breanna on Packers- I couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to end a wonderful ski season. Skiing on cold snow with beautiful tracksetting and later seeing so many of the blog “regulars” at the hut.

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Canmore Nordic Centre

April 6, 2018
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-Bella and mom Stephanie were heading for the warming hut.- Thanks for all the trip reports. Amazing conditions everywhere and Mt Shark was, according to Gwen, “like winning the lottery!”

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“Everything about your website helps me get out there”

April 6, 2018

It’s snowing in Canmore this morning with a temperature of -12°C. There’s no wind and the snow is coming straight down, looks beautiful.

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Another place to ski

April 5, 2018

I had no idea there was such a great place to ski in Strathmore. This has been a well-kept secret. They also have a creative grooming set-up for classic and fat-bike trails as you can see in the

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Shaganappi still open, but…

April 4, 2018

Shaganappi golf course is still open to skiing, but it may come to an abrupt end. Alasdair Fergusson from the Calgary Ski Club received this email from the superintendent of Shaganappi…

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Kananaskis Fire Lookout…and more

April 2, 2018
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I waited for the perfect day to finally ski up to the Kananaskis Fire Lookout this season. The snow is so amazing

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Winter conditions in April

April 1, 2018
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At the north end of the Pipestone trail system, from km6 to km8, I love the ambience and remoteness of the area, yet I can cruise along a trackset trail

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Sunday morning update

April 1, 2018

Update Apr 1 @ 5:15 pm: Parks Canada will continue to groom at Lake Louise. I was given that information today at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre. The Pipestone trails were trackset yesterday. As predicted, Whiskey Jack, Packers,

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Pocaterra Meet ‘N Greet

March 31, 2018
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Conditions don’t get any better than they were on last night’s tracksetting. The only complaint that I can make about today is that we ran out of cookies.

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Saturday morning update: blue or green?

March 31, 2018

You can be forgiven if you step outside and think it’s Jan 31 rather than March 31. It’s -15°C but the sun is shining and it looks like it will be a beautiful bluebird day for skiing with a high around -7. I just hope you didn’t store your green and blue wax yet.  The […]

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Grooming continues at West Bragg Creek

March 30, 2018

Thanks to Alf Skrastins for this report: It looked like mid-winter conditions at West Bragg Creek today. -10C, with 10cm of fresh snow… and light snow falling. Volunteer groomers Bill and Dan were out roller-packing and grooming the new snow on on the trails mentioned by GH. New snow was covering the fresh corduroy as […]

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Mt Shark and beyond

March 29, 2018

You can see all 18 of Chuck’s photos from his trip to Mt Shark and then into backcountry conditions on the Upper Spray.  My sources tell me that tracksetting will continue in PLPP until April 15. I’m not sure if that includes Mt Shark

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Season-end “meet and greet”

March 29, 2018

I’d like to meet all my readers this Saturday Mar 31 at Pocaterra Hut after skiing. I’ll break with tradition and ski early so I can be at the hut starting at 2 pm and I’ll be there ’til 4 pm.  Everyone is welcome!

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Winter returning?

March 26, 2018

Update Mar 28 at 8 a.m: The PLPP Live Grooming Report indicates that Moraine, Fox Creek, and Boulton Creek were trackset early this morning. It also says “Use caution when skiing Moraine trail due to grooming equipment

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Ski Heaven in PLPP

March 25, 2018
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Conditions on the new tracksetting were spectacular. Today’s skiing was as close to perfection as you’ll ever find, and everyone I met was echoing those

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