To get a different view of the mountains we head up the Spray Lakes Road to Mount Shark. Mount Shark is groomed for both classic and skate skiing. There are 2, 5, 10 and 15 km loops. Today we are going to tackle the 10 km loop. Murray and I have skied it before and I recall that there are many hills on the first part of the trail.
We are not disappointed as right from the first corner, we find ourselves staring down a rather steep hill with, you guessed it, a left hand turn at the bottom. Murray, R and J snow plow down leaving B and me at the top. Gulp! I start down, my ski gets stuck on something and I wipe out. “Well, that’s over with for today.” I mumble. I make it down the rest of the way without trouble. B also makes it down with a few stops to check out the snow crystals on the way.
The next three kms are a series of similar death defying downs followed by heart rate topping steep uphills. Murray commented “Yesterday we got our aerobic training in, today it is anaerobic training!”
We stop for a much needed break and to wolf down a snack, gulp a drink and get our heart rates down. Our legs are feeling the exertion of the steep downhills and uphills. This trail is not for the faint of heart!
The second half of the ski is on more rolling terrain and we actually get to stride. Our wax is failing us though as the tracks are glazed over in spots and it is not sticking. We make a quick stop to apply stickier wax and it helps for the last few kilometers.
We watch as a snow storm approaches from down the valley. By the time we get back to the van, it is snowing and blowing. We quickly change, stow the gear and drive. R wants to get to the main road before too much snow falls. We park at a spot on the Spray Lakes Road to eat our lunch. Sandwiches, veggies and fruit revive our tired muscles.
We drive back to Canmore, where R, J and B change and then head back to Edmonton. Murray and I stay in Canmore for a couple days of back country skiing and mountain air and view therapy.