This is Chris's Corner, with special guest Dr. Percival!
This morning, my adviser and his friend took me out to do some serious xc-skiing at Peter Lougheed Park. There is plenty of base left up in Kananaskis, the trails are groomed, and there was a soft dusting of powder from last night that made the surface quite excellent. We started at Pocaterra, a warming hut near the entrance to the park, and continued up along Pocaterra Trail towards Elk Pass (pdf map for those interested). We followed the rolling trail about 10k with around 900 feet elevation gain before turning around.
It was quite a learning experience for me, because of the dry powdery snow and the solid trackset. My heavy, wide, wax-less back country skiis that have served me so well in PA and skiing around some of the golf courses in Calgary were no match for the light and nimble wax skiis of my hosts in the conditions. Because of this, and because they have both skied significantly more times than me this season, I was left pulling up the rear, huffing and puffing.
Regardless, it was a great trip with some really fun downhill sections on probably the best condition trail I have ever skied. There were no trees to dodge, no icy patches, no banging the skis up on hidden logs and rocks, and no blueberry bushes to snag my poles in. I look forward to more xc-skiing, perhaps this season (still probably another month and a half of snow in the mountains). Although I may have to look into some lighter skis.