XC Ski @ Mt. Shark - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-25-2015, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Default XC Ski @ Mt. Shark

The board, Alberta side in particular, sees little in terms of ski reports, so here is one. Mt. Shark area is well known as Mt. Assiniboine trailhead -- both self propelled via Bryant creek and helicopter fly-in (helipad is about 2km from the trailhead). In winter it is one of best areas for XC ski enthusiasts. In comparison Canmore Nordic center charges fee, while it is all free at Mt. Shark ---not to mention considerably more scenic! There are many trails branching in different directions, but main artery follows wide forest road towards Watridge lake. In summer this is also popular hiking destination, including visit to Karst springs - and moderate/difficult Kane scramble up Mt. Shark. It is ideal for beginner skiers as it is trackset in both directions and generally flat. However descent to Watridge lake, although short, is steep with one sharp curve. Past Watridge lake main trail continues in direction of Mt. Assiniboine and soon descends moderate steep towards Bryant creek bridge. This is great place for beginners to practice snow plowing technique as curves are gentle and slope is wide. Tracks end at the bridge and single skier trail continues. Judging by the cars left overnight at the parking lot, people skied to Mt. Assiniboine over Christmas break. This time of year when days are so short (and cold!) it must be quite a challenge to make it to Assiniboine in a day.

I went just a bit past Bryant creek bridge - to Palliser pass junction (heavy moose tracks going that way). On return I descended to Watridge lake and played a bit on virgin frozen lake surface before heading back. It was very cold, probably below -20 Celsius. Couple of photos:

[Cone mountain and Bryant creek from the bridge]

[Twilight colors along main Watridge lake trail]

Couple of additional things to share/recommend in respect to this type of winter activity.

1) Ski Trails in the Canadian Rockies by Chic Scott. What Kane is for scrambling, Chic is for skiing. Variety of trails, with 1st division to Nordic / Ski Touring / Ski mountaineering and 2nd division to easy/intermediate/advanced.

2) Skier Bob online web site. This is fantastic resource with daily condition updates and trip reports. Like CT but only for skiing in Canadian Rockies. Highly recommended

Hopefully we can see more ski reports on CT this winter; there is plenty of snow everywhere, and days are now getting longer!
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-26-2015, 12:31 PM
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Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Interest: Hiking, Backpacking, Skiing, Space History
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Do you know what the snow depth is like? I'll be taking my kids out for a night at Rummel Lake on Tuesday and was hoping to build a snow shelter (we'll bring a tent in case it doesn't work out)
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-26-2015, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kellymcdonald78 View Post
Do you know what the snow depth is like?
Looked plenty to me. This is a guess, but I'd say 60-80cm at least; Rummel might have more.

It is very cold though for overnight, but might warm-up by next week.
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