Although this El Nino year hasn't deposited immense amounts of snow on us, it hasn't (yet) been -25C, and the snowfall has been reasonable. A check of the Alberta Basin's Snow data shows Three Isle Lake, in Kananaskis, as being on the high side of the normal range. Last year, we were on the low side of that range. And it showed as we were driving the Smith Dorrien Highway from Canmore to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (PLPP) for another round of xc skiing on our favorite loop - Boulton Bridge, up Whiskeyjack/Pocaterra/Tyrwhitt, over Elk Pass, and out Fox Ck/Moraine (16-18 km?). Winds were blowing in the empty parking lot, making the -7C seem a lot colder. Easy wax pick: SkiGo HF Blue (-1 to -20C). Worked perfectly on the 2-3cm of new snow (deeper, or non-existent depending on wind action)!
As shown on the photos below, Whiskeyjack is aptly named for the ravenous crow-family birds that hang out at the picnic table at the top of the trail. I was putting a little chunk of bread atop my pole for a photo, and one of the little feathered flying dinosaurs grabbed the piece out of my fingers before I put it on the pole!
Tyrwhitt, as usual, was magical, and the wind had stopped blowing. Not so much sun, as light snowfall was escaping from the Elk Valley in BC. Windsift was filling the new grooming from Thursday, but it was light. The trail down Elk Pass was soft and easily manageable, albeit a bit slow - good for the double poling training.
Fox Creek was nicest we had seen it in years, as the photos below will also show. It too had been recently groomed. The flood-ravaged creek, with it's massive tree carnage was draped in lots of snow pillows. Even Moraine was in great shape. Back at the parking lot, one more car had pulled in....