Snow Season is Here!

Kananaskis Country has just experienced a remarkably quick transition from fall to winter. On Monday, I was hiking along McConnell ridge in shirtsleeves on dry ground. By Wednesday, I was skiing on the Ribbon Creek trails.

I did a quick driving tour to search out skiing prospects in Kananaskis Country. The Spray/Smith-Dorrien area was disappointing, with only 11 cm at the Chester and Burstall trailheads. Pocaterra only had 8 cm of snow. Highwood Pass only had a base of 12 cm, which is not enough for skiing. Things started to look up as we approached the Ribbon Creek area. The Nakiska parking lot had almost 25 cm and the trees were blanketed in snow.

We got out the skis and toured up the Skogan Pass-Sunburst Lookout trails. After the long, mild autumn, our bodies had not yet adapted to the cold, so we struggled a bit to keep warm at -15°C.  However, it felt great to be sliding on snow. We completed our tour without even a scratch on our ski bases, which is great news at this time of year.

Rumour has it that Kananaskis trail crews will be packing and grooming these trails in the next few days. This will be great, since it will set up a good base for the season. This is definitely the place to go for skiing this weekend!

Ribbon Creek area

New snow on the Skogan Pass trail

4 comments… add one
  • Henry Leparskas Dec 17, 2010, 1:30 pm

    Hey Alf,

    It’s good to see that you are still active. Keep it up!

    We just had an entire winter’s snowfall in a week here. I wish we could send you some.

  • fumi ota Dec 2, 2010, 6:05 pm

    Hi Alf
    Nice to know you are on the web,
    We went to Ptarmigan Cirque on snowshoe last Saturday, it was great but not much snow, just enough for snowshoeing and that was the last weekend before the gate closure, but thanks for the info for the snowshoeing in Smith Dorrien corridor, we were just about giving up to go to Chester Lake since info at Barrier Lake was not much snow there,,,
    Hope to run into you some day again.

  • Alf Skrastins Nov 19, 2010, 8:58 pm

    More snow has fallen in the Spray/Smith-Dorrien Valley, so I went up to check out the Chester Lake trail. We found 45cm of snow depth at the Chester trailhead and close to 50cm at the lake. The biggest surprise was the warm weather! While it was -23 along Highway #40 and -19 at the parking lot, it was a balmy -7 C at Chester Lake!

    The only disappointment was the ski damage caused by the rocks that were purposely put on the ski trail path by trail crews trying to “narrow” the trail for summer hiking. Somebody doesn’t seem to be understanding the fact that the trail gets used twice as many months for skiing as it does for hiking.

    Anyhow, there is now lots of snow in the Chester – Burstall – Sawmill area for trail skiing and snowshoeing. The base has not yet settled enough for off-trail turns.

  • Alf Skrastins Nov 18, 2010, 10:36 pm

    I was up at the Ribbon Creek trails today and skied the Skogan Loop. We ran into Jeff, who was carefully packing the upper Ribbon Creek trails by snowmobile. He says that he may trackset a few of the lower Ribbon Creek trails on Friday.

    I also drove along Highway #68, the Sibbald Road, to check out the conditions there. The snow was right up to the door sill near the Powderface Road junction. Conditions look good for snowshoeing at the Eagle Hill, Sibbald Lake and Jumpingpound Loop areas.

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