Warming up for the weekend

Fresh tracksetting at West Bragg Creek. Photo by Groomer Jeff

Jan 17, 2020

Along with warmer weather, we have a lot of trails freshly groomed for everyone who is anxious to get out skiing after a week of hunkering down. 

The big news is that Goat Creek and Spray River(both sides) were trackset today. Read Barb Banff’s and Normand’s trip reports for more details. 

McNair Pond. Kilometre 11 of the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet. Photo by Chuck

For anyone who would like to ski the first leg of the Lake Louise to Banff loppet, Chuck has documented a few kilometres of the trail with photos and descriptions on his trip report. It looks like snow conditions are exceptionally good, but you may want to remove your skis while going under the highway bridge. 

I’ve skied the 21K first leg of the loppet numerous times and it was beautiful in the early morning sun, especially along the Bow River in Lake Louise. The short section along McNair pond was another location where I wished I could have stopped and taken photos. 

The Ribbon Creek tracksetting crew was busy today. The image at the side shows all the trails which have been trackset. The forecasts indicate a high at Ribbon Creek somewhere between -10 to -14 on Saturday. It will be much warmer on Sunday, but probably windier too.

West Bragg Creek update from Groomer Jeff:

“It was a very brisk day out there, but a couple of dozen kilometres of trail got re-track set today. Tomorrow looks like another cold one, but your grooming crew hopes to have the majority of the trail system re track set for Balmy Sunday. Happy trails, and stay warm!”

Pipestone parking lot. Photo by Helen Read

Lake Louise tracksetting includes Fairview, Lake surface, and thanks to Helen’s info, Moraine Lake road. 

PLPP may see some overnight grooming. Check the Live Grooming Report in the morning.

Helen Read took a picture of the Pipestone parking lot today. It looks like it will be a while before we can ski there. 

I hope someone will check out Healy/Brewster Creek. The Sundance Lodge is open, so I’m curious to know if the trail is trackset. 

Friday morning temperature round-up

Mt Shark trails were trackset last night. Photo from Jan 2018.

First, a tracksetting update. Chris gave us all a heads-up on Mt Shark when she saw the snowcat yesterday. This morning, the Live Grooming Report shows the entire system has been trackset. 

At Canmore Nordic Centre, the natural snow on Banff trail was trackset this morning. 

Bill Milne, Wedge, and Evan-Thomas are being trackset as I write this.

There was a spark of hope yesterday with reports of temperatures in the single digits at Mt Shark and PLPP. It seems to have been a one-off because today’s forecasts are colder again, except for Mountain Forecast which is quite optimistic compared to the other two. 

Today’s winner, according to the forecasts is Golden, BC. It shows -10 or warmer across all the forecasts. 

Mt Shark also appears to have one of the warmer temperatures this morning. Mud Lake, which is near Mt Shark, is at -10.4°C at 9 a.m.

The Rivers.Alberta site shows PLPP at -24 at 8 a.m.

Let’s see what the various forecast are predicting for today. I’m giving high temperatures for Windy.com, Weather Network, and Mountain Forecast. 

Calgary: -19, -23, -25, sunny

PLPP: -15, -16, -9, partly sunny

Kananaskis Village: -16, -18, -9, mostly sunny

West Bragg Creek: -16, -23, -17, sunny

Banff: -17, -15, -7, partly sunny

Canmore: -17, -16, -6  sunny

Lake Louise: -17, -16 -8, partly sunny

Golden: -11, -10, -6, sunny

Sun and moon are aligning…

The start of the race on Lake Louise

Jan 16, 2020

Lake Louise to Banff Loppet Update

Update from the Loppet website: “The sun and moon are aligning with warmer temps for the end of the week! Current forecasts suggest a Lake Louise low Saturday night of -17C and a Sunday morning high of -12C. The downhill start will be nippy – dress accordingly. Sunday’s high in Banff is -5C.”

Crossing the finish line at Sawback

Tracksetting of the loppet trails resumes today throughout Banff National Park. This is an opportunity for non-racers to ski trails which are trackset only once per winter. 

The end is in sight

This cold snap is starting to break at higher elevations today. By Sunday, we’ll be back to perfect skiing temperatures in the neighbourhood of minus single digits for the mountains. 

The Mud Lake temperature has increased by eight degrees in the past 12 hours and at 10 am was at -11.8°C. The temperature at the PLPP maintenance compound was -12.8°C at 11 am according to the Rivers.Alberta website. 

I should point out that’s Mud Lake in Kananaskis, not Mud Lake near the Pipestone trails. 

Today(Thursday) Windy.com is predicting highs of…

PLPP: -12 cloudy and 1 cm of snow

Kananaskis Village: -15 partly sunny

Banff: -15 and cloudy

West  Bragg Creek: -20 and partly sunny

Lake Louise: -16 and 2 cm of snow

Tracksetting Update

The south end trails in PLPP were trackset last night including Elk Pass, Blueberry Hill, Hydroline, Patterson, Upper Lake, Moraine, and Fox Creek. 

Pipestone Update

I received this update today from Parks Canada’s Jeff Hearnden, Backcountry Maintenance Co-ordinator for Lake Louise, Yoho, Kootenay Field Unit:

“I haven’t received the opening date confirmation from the Parks Project Manager responsible for the new  LL Water Reservoir construction at Pipestone. It remains closed. As soon as I get word I’ll let you know.”

Who made these tracks?

I made the ski tracks, but who made the ones beside me? This is in PLPP today where the temperature was rather pleasant this afternoon. I’ll post an update later tonight. In the mean time, you can agonize over these photos. Continue reading

Redearth Creek/Shadow Lake Lodge update

Archive photo of Redearth Creek

As you know, Alpine Club of Canada has taken over Shadow Lake Lodge. Lawrence White, executive director of ACC, just informed me they will not be opening the lodge this winter. The significance of that development is that Redearth Creek will not be groomed by ACC/Shadow Lake Lodge for the remainder of the season, so I am hoping the Banff tracksetter will continue to do it. 

I trust everyone is staying warm. 

From what I can ascertain of the weather forecasts, it appears that higher elevations will be warming up less frigid today. The Mud Lake thermometer has warmed up by eight degrees between 1 a.m. and 9 a.m. so it’s going in the right direction. At 9 a.m. it was -23°C. The Aster Lake thermometer, which is at a much higher elevation, is at -20.

Polar wax day

Chip Scialfa at Confederation golf course

Jan 14, 2020

Tomorrow’s high in Calgary is predicted to be -30°C, so Chip took advantage of the balmier -27°C temperature and skied today at Confederation golf course. 

Here’s Chip’s report…

“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?” Continue reading

Brewster Creek and Healy Creek

Wolverine tracks on the Brewster Creek trail at the bridges (2015)

Knowing that Sundance Lodge is scheduled to open on Thursday, I contacted Discover Banff Tours(the owners) regarding grooming on Healy and Brewster Creeks. This is their reply… Continue reading

Welcome to the deep freeze

Jan 13, 2020

It’s -26°C in Calgary this morning with a wind chill of  -36. This is the type of weather where we can expect to see rainbows beside the sun(that is, if it’s a sunny day). 

As we learned yesterday, the temperatures you see on the weather forecasts can’t always be trusted. The Weather Network’s 10 a.m. temperature at Boulton Creek was -15°C, but the PLPP Discovery Centre was -22 at the same time. The Mud Lake thermometer was at -21 at 10 a.m. yesterday. Mud Lake is in PLPP in the vicinity of the Chester Lake parking lot. 

The same discrepancies seem to be occurring today. The Weather Network says it’s -19 in PLPP while the Mud Lake thermometer is at -29. 

Some of the downhill ski areas are closed today and tomorrow due to the extreme cold. 

If you venture out in these temperatures, you’ll notice your skis glide very s-l-o-w-l-y, unless you have them glide waxed for extremely cold temperatures. 

If you didn’t see it already, here’s a link to my blog post about cold weather gear. There are 26 comments with helpful suggestions. 

Tracksetting updates

It wasn’t too cold for the PLPP tracksetting crew. The trails on the west side of the road were trackset last night including Lodgepole, Braille, Meadow, Sinclair, and Spruce road. 

Moraine Lake road, Tramline, Townsite, and Shoreline were trackset at Lake Louise.