Winter in the Rocky Mountains

We arrive at our destination and it is dark.  When we wake up, the sky starts to lighten and it feels like we have been reborn.  Reborn in the Rocky Mountains.  Florescent white mountains peaks are etched into the blue bird (as the locals call it).

Murray heads out with J to back-country ski, but I will let him tell that story.  The mild temperatures have made the ski conditions in both Canmore and Banff only “fair”, the Lake Louise conditions are “good”, so I head to its higher elevation to cross country ski.

The Great Divide in the Rocky Mountains

I ski the Great Divide Trail.  It is a 14 km out and back to the Alberta-British Columbia border.  The Great Divide is the point where water flows east to the Hudson Bay and west to the Pacific Ocean.

The Great Divide

There are other skiers out today, so I am not totally alone. The trail has slight rolling hills, but is basically flat.  An easy ski. I stop frequently to look at the trees iced with blobs of snow, critter tracks, a couple of nuthatches and the majestic mountains.  The snow on the cuts by the trail is so smooth it looks like fondant waiting for pink roses, green leaves and a bride and groom.

I am wearing my newest purchase.  X-Bionic Energy Accumulator EVO base layer, top and bottom.  It is designed to keep warm the parts that need warmth and to cool parts that need cooling. This is the first time that I finish a ski not soaking wet. Check out their website at http://www.x-bionic.com .

It is a perfect day to be outside and the ski exhilarates me.

As Debbie mentioned, the day is perfect. We head to an uptrack close to Observation Peak. We arrive at our start point and if there was a track, it is snowed in and we have to set our own. The penetration is not deep, about 15 cm, and the travel is easy. The temperature is just below 0 C and we start out with minimum winter clothing. Can’t believe how good it is.

We use a different route than the last time we were here and depart from the creek bottom quickly. Our route leads us past some extremely enticing glades. We bypass these glades in hopes of finding the knolls we skied last year. Arriving at the knolls we decide not to ski there. The snow is thin snow pack on a slippery layer that is outlined on avalanche.ca as being prone to slide, we move across the valley and ski what we thought was safer.

The run down is the reason I walk up and today’s skiing is as good as it can be. Thirty cm of soft snow on at least a meter of snow pack. We float down the hill, it feels like we are moving on silk. 560 m (according to the Garmin) of glorious skiing. It is good, so good that 4 of the 6 of us are going back tomorrow.

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