Winter Comes and Goes!
It has been a strange fall at O’Hara and down in the Bow Valley. October weather saw over 50 cm of snow fall in Yoho National Park at Lake O’Hara, and had us gleaming about the skiing this coming season. In fact we pulled out of O’Hara with one truck chained up plowing through the snow while I followed on a skidoo. Never had to do that before!
Then things turned. We had a glorious late October and November with temperatures in the mid teens (thats Celsius). That sure through wrench in the local Nordic Centres plans to make snow; only barely getting by with a pile of saved snow from last year to be able to get our National Biathlon and Cross Country ski teams back on the white stuff and preparing for their upcoming seasons races. Finally December has arrived and with it a bit of snow and cold weather. As they say “Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas”! And to start the season off we and a crew took in David Myles Christmas concert at the Banff Centre. What a fabulous performance of some classic Christmas tunes, Inspired Christmas songs by David and a few of his numbers from his most recent albums. All interspersed with his engaging and captivating banter. His supporting musicians round it all out. Now “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas”.
Skiing amongst the clouds
Prior to the cold weather arriving we have been getting out on both our touring skis and cross country skis. Travelling out towards Lake Louise and North on the Icefields Parkway. With the really cold temperatures we might just wait for it to warm up a tad before we head for the slopes again. That gives us a little more time to make sure we are all prepared for the ski season. The cold weather has one thinking about clothing and what you want to have in your pack. Those warm long days of spring ski touring seem far away when the thermometer is reading minus 26C. I have pulled out the down jacket and vest for my pack in addition to an extra pair of gloves, a buff or neck tube and my favourite boiled wool toque. Those will be living in my pack from now on. I also have thrown in the smallest and lightest Therma-Rest pad. It triples as a warm sit-upon during a lunch break, an insulator to put under someone if they are hurt and waiting to get hauled out or it works amazingly well as a splint. A first-aid kit & tarp and of course my avalanche safety gear; probe, shovel and beacon round things out. If you are looking for ideas what to pack, go and download our packing list!
Itching for a new pair of skis
I am still using my old skis for ski touring this fall. The snow isn’t always deep enough to cover everything up so I will sacrifice the bases on the old ones before I pull out my “Nice” skis. If you are itching for some new gear and every year there is always new skis on offer we now have a new ski maker right here in the Bow Valley; 93 North. The company was started by two engineers who have ditched the city life and started making skis here in Canmore. I took a quick glance through their ski making home with Max Flowerday, one of the owners. The combination of their passion for skiing and engineering expertise they are crafting what look like a beautiful pair of skis. They are on my wish list this year. Do I need a new pair or do I what a new pair?? I encourage you to check them out. There will likely only be a limited number of pairs produced this year, as it is only the two of them cranking them out, so get in line early.
As the cooler temperatures slide on out and warmer temperatures return I will be heading out again on my skis. No rush as there is still lots of time left in the ski season. When it does warm up the cross country skiing has been amazing out around Lake Louise. The Yoho and lake Louise National Parks grooming team have been doing an amazing job on the Moraine Lake Road and the Great Divide trails. On Saturdays you need to arrive early to get a parking spot. The snow on the O’Hara road is awesome with the plan to get out in the next couple of weeks and have it all groomed. We will keep you posted on our website each time we groom. In Canmore the snow guns look like they are pouring out snow 24 hours away. No doubt trying to get the Banff Trail loop in shape for the Holidays.
Enjoy the upcoming winter and we look forward to seeing some of you up at O’Hara sometime this winter.
Travel the back country with confidence knowing you packed properly.