We arrived at the Ribbon Creek hostel at 9am on January 23rd, 2016 to meet up with the rest of the Parkland Ski Club. As we live in Cochrane, it was only a 50 minute drive for us. So we decided not spend the nights at the hostel.
The temperature was a pleasant – 5 Celsius, with no wind. There was three centimeters of new snow from the previous night, so near perfect trail conditions.After introductions and breakfast clean-up, we packed up from the hostel and arrived at the Elk Pass parking lot at 10:15am. There, we set out on the trail with the group after waxing up our skis. It was a blue wax day, which worked for the entire day.
The initial climb from the parking lot was challenging, as this is the first time I have been out on skiis in the past 2 years. But after a number of breaks, we arrived at the summit of Blueberry Hill around 1:00pm. Once at the top, we took a lunch break with the group. The views of the Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes and surrounding mountains where spectacular. Everyone enjoyed the surroundings and I’m sure the Whiskey Jacks enjoyed our company also.
There was a group of Japanese skiers ahead of us, and we kept crossing paths on the trails during the day. When coming down from the Hydro Line, some of the Japanese skiers elected to take off their skis and walk down the steep hill. This made it challenging to follow them down, as they walked down the middle of the hill, and did not keep to the side. Lisa came down the hill with lightning speed, after maneuvering around some of those Japanese skiers. Luckily, once at the bottom of the hill, Ivan taught them the proper way to descend down the hill, so that they do not become hazards to other skiers coming down the hill.
We decided to take the Fox Creek Trail back to the parking lot, and it presented new challenges during the day. While on the trail, we found that the snow was hard packed and icy. We had to ski with caution through this area, as to avoid the hazards of trees and slipping.
Once we got back to the parking lot, we added up the distance we traveled. We skied 18.5 km for the day and it was good to get back to the car and back to the hostel. Being the first time I was on skis in 2 years, it was a great day and workout.
On the way back to the hostel, we stopped at the Kananaskis Visitors’ Center for a quick visit, as Marilyn wanted to pick up some maps and brochures of the area, for future reference.
Back at the hostel, we were all treated to Ivan’s “Blueberry tea”, followed by appetizers and good conversation by the fireplace.
This was also the first time, in about 15 years, that I was able to enjoy a fondue meal. The whole group and I (approximately 14 people) sat at the table to enjoy cheese and chicken broth fondues, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, and bread. This was then followed by dessert fondues of chocolate and bumble berry.
Shortly after the meal and washing dishes, my father and I said goodnight to the group around 10:30pm, and drove back home to Cochrane. I was very impressed with the camaraderie of everyone and how they all contributed to both the meal and the dishwashing. You have a great group of people and a great community in the club.
I would like to thank Marilyn for organizing this trip and Ivan for taking time to teach me new skills and techniques in back country skiing.