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As a beginner, daylight may be best. But great divide is a reasonable choice for a night ski being Flatish and a nice wide road to let lots of light in if its a clear night. You may or may not need a head lamp. If it’s snowing, even lightly, with a breeze, it can be quite disorienting to the balance with a head lamp (especially modern LED style) with slanting snow. As to bear and cougar, your odds of running into one are low, but possible (not probable) and are likely similar everywhere other than perhaps the most populated spots. Most bears should be napping by now, but doesn’t mean that it’s not posssible.

Probably less odds than running across a cougar. We often see cat and wolf tracks on the groomed trails in the winter as they provide an efficiencient means of travel for night hunting and no humans around. If a large noisy group, not much of an issue. If you are travelling solo and are of small stature, the odds go up for both an encounter and an attack. CNC may be a better option as there is now night skiing.

Hello. I’m a newer xc-skier. I have waxless skis. When I bought them the people at MEC waxed them (glide wax on tips and tails I guess). That year and the next I skied on them as they were. A couple weeks ago I took them in to have them waxed again in the same way, thinking this would be a good thing to do. I was able to take last Wednesday off and took the skis for their inaugural trip this season. I went to ski Moraine Lake Road with a friend, who has the same same skis, bought a year later at a different place. He has never put any wax on his skis. As the trip went on I got slower and slower and more and more exhausted and thought I must be really out of shape. However, on the return, which has downhill, my friend was enjoying the ride and I was actually stopping and getting stuck on the downhill. Eventually I thought to look at the bottom of my skis. Both skis had ice stuck behind the fish scales. I scraped it off and glided better for a little while then it iced back up again. This continued for me to the parking lot. Not fun. Did the people who waxed them do something wrong? Or was it just bad luck with the temperature? It was a little +/- 0 all day and snowing. But my friend didn’t have this problem at all. If he had, I’d know it was the temperature. I’m just not sure what to do before I go out again. Perhaps this is a really rookie question. I would appreciate any advice.

Hello everyone – I was unfortunately not able to do any skiing last winter in those fantastic conditions, and had to be satisfied reading about all of your excursions and pics instead (thank you all and especially Bob for sharing your trips and photos). However, it was for a very happy reason at least – I had my first baby last November. Although I’d planned to get out as soon as I could, my body just wasn’t up for it recovering from pregnancy and leaving the newborn for a few hours proved more challenging than I thought. I am very excited to finally get out again this year and introduce my little one to XC skiing for the first time. He will be a year old by the time conditions are good, so I was looking for any advice or tips this wonderful and experienced community can offer about skiing with a baby. I’m not going to invest in a ski pulk yet, just in case he doesn’t enjoy it, so I thought I’d try some short skis initially with him in his MEC baby hiking backpack, and maybe rent a ski pulk a few times if he tolerates it well. I have no clue about trying to ski with a baby, so any advice, tips or experiences you can offer would be greatly appreciated, so I can hopefully help him to enjoy it as much as I do.

Skiing at the end of the day after lots of traffic and cooling temps is a challenge regardless of wax or no wax skis. Skin skis regardless of name brand aren’t perfect. We ski at the Canmore Nordic Centre a lot . Especially close to the stadium in high traffic areas our Skintecs require some thought when kicking. It gets better further away in lower traffic areas.

As far as technique, I’ve given up trying to improve by skiing without poles. I think it’s a waste of time for me. What I do while skiing is I “Look Ahead” I look 30-50’ down the track and think of putting my nose over the track I’m gliding on. Very subtle left to right shift. I don’t think of kicking. I bring my back leg though past the gliding foot. Looking ahead improves balance allowing you to glide on one ski longer and bring the other foot through. In Yoga it’s called as Drishti point. Since all your weight is on the gliding ski you can kick and don’t slip back. Full disclosure here: I was a CANSI instructor from the very beginning. I’ve taught all the tricks and drills to get better weight shift, set you wax, yadda, yadda. I no longer think of all those points I “look ahead” Good Luck!

It’s a great question and often comes up. The grooming equipment that we have at our disposal does not allow for much compaction at the periphery of a pass. We pull a device known as a Ginzu Groomer. It can compact and renovate snow and also lays classic tracks with 250 lbs of down pressure. Unfortunately, the outboard 30 cm of the groomer is designed to be soft and malleable, so that it won’t break should it run in to an obstacle. The floppiness of the mat that lays corduroy at the periphery of the trail is what causes soft pole plants. There is not enough weight over the mat in this area to compact the snow enough to get a reasonable density to support pole plants.

The problem is compounded when we attempt to widen a trail to accommodate different user groups. If we laid classic tracks right up the middle of any of our trails, soft pole plants would not be an issue. This is not a practical solution however, so we are at the mercy of time and multiple passes of grooming to get the snow to a firmer density.

I’m a 90% classic / 10% skate skier. As per Steve’s reply earlier today, GBCTA designates several trails for both classic and skate skiing (including Sundog, but not Logger’s). But it’s unclear whether skate skiing is specifically prohibited on other trails. Clearly one should avoid skating across classic tracks, which would damage them. This applies even on the trails that are designated for both skate and classic. But is there a problem with skating on classic trails as long as you don’t damage the tracks? It’s possible to restrict your skate stride so you don’t cross the tracks. For many trails, you’d have to restrict you stride so much that it would be a waste of time to try to skate them. Some trails, like Loggers and Mountain View, are wide enough that’s it quite feasible to skate without touching the tracks. And just because you’re on skate skis, it doesn’t mean you’re always skating. I was on skate skis on Mountain View yesterday (West to East) and double-poled virtually all of it.

In the 1880s Colonel James Walker of the Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP) established a rough line shack, and pastured and bred horse’s on the land that today is Rafter Six Ranch. The Mounties eventually moved their horse operations closer to Calgary, and next into the area was an old Trapper and Mountain Man, called Soapy Smith. Soapy was quite a character, and in addition to having a rep’ as a man who never sold a good horse, he had an eye for the ladies. In his mid seventies, Soapy took a teen aged wife, Eva, and together they homesteaded the land and took rich clients on guided hunting trips.

Soapy and Eva operated the guest ranch, and housed their guests in tents, teepees, a small log lodge. Cabins were added as the years went by. Soapy died in the late 1930s, and Eva remarried and operated the ranch right up until Stan Cowley bought the ranch in 1976. A half-diamond over the number six – is what is called a rafter six in branding lingo. After acquiring the Ranch, the original horse brand was registered to Stan Cowley. The Tradition continues. . . .

Rossi X5’s – wore these for 3 seasons. First pair: one lace broke after 30 days, 6 days later an ankle strap broke; these ankle straps just don’t seem strong enough to cinch up tight for true ankle support. Second pair (thanks to MEC’s generous return policy) had a painful pressure point in the toe box but I was able to push this out using a screwdriver handle from the inside; never had blisters from any XC boot until I wore these; got 2 seasons, 93 days, 1432 km from the second pair. Both pairs – treacherously slippery soles (on parking lot ice). Both pairs – speed lacing was just terrible, perpetually loosening to the point where I actually rejoiced when one of the speed locks broke and I had to put in normal laces; but not long after that, one of the fabric lace loops broke and the interior insulation at one heel deteriorated – beyond repair.

Fischer XC Control – one season on these now, found them at Norseman. Comfortable, better traction, a little pricey. The ankle straps on these are no more effective than on the Rossi’s – worse maybe, because the ‘male’ and ‘female’ sections of the Velcro are dimensioned so as to make it impossible to cinch the straps up tight enough to provide any support at all. Dunno, maybe these straps are only meant to hold the plastic support frame around the heel area. The tongue is not wide enough to fully cover my in-step which is a major PITA. Maybe these negatives are due to my foot geometry and not the boot design. At least the Fischer’s don’t have that pesky speed lacing.