First Cross-country Ski of the Year – West Bragg Creek

It feel like all we’ve been doing lately is drywalling our house and working, so we both agreed that this weekend we would step back a little and enjoy some “free time”. I desperately wanted to spend some time outside and when I found out on Friday that ski conditions in Kananaskis were pretty good, I knew we had to head out to do some cross-country skiing on Saturday.

I’d been to West Bragg Creek once last year to ski and I was anxious to take Jon out there. They also allow dogs on the ski trails (even off leash in some parts) so it seemed like the perfect family destination. I dug our skies out of the garage (difficult since we have two garage worth of stuff in one garage) and we loaded up the Rover. Even with a stop to pick up a friend, and another stop for gas we were at the parking lot about an hour after leaving our house.

We arrived around 10:30 so the parking lot wasn’t full but it was definitely starting to fill up. The wax thermometer said blue so we waxed up, did the usual fussing with gear that happens the first day out and hit the trails. Despite accompanying us on adventures for 10 years now, Patches doesn’t have much cross-country ski experience so it was a little awkward to start but he eventually figured out how to stay to the side, and enjoyed it even more once I let him off leash. I have a couple of waist leashes that we use when we’re running that were also perfect for skiing.

After accessing the trails we headed east on the Bunny Loop, then took the East Crystal Line back. After this short warm up (which helped us all feel a little more familiar on our skis) we skied the loop formed by the West Crystal Line. We added a little more distance by asking the East Crystal Line/Bunny Loop in reverse and then called it a day.

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The terrain we skied wasn’t very hilly but had enough to remind us how to get down (and up) a hill
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Patches is still working on his trail etiquette but I was careful to check that his paws weren’t damaging the track

It wasn’t the longest ski (about 3.7 miles) but we took it slow and enjoyed about 1.5 hours on the trail. Patches was definitely starting to get tired by the end but seemed to have enjoyed his time chasing me down hills and running along the trails. I was happy to be out in the fresh air, and on my skis. It was warm, probably above zero, so was a perfect temp for easy skiing. Our earlyish start meant that the trails were pretty quite while we were out there but by the time we got back to the parking lot there were lots of families starting out on the trails.

We were home by 1 pm and I was surprisingly tired for the distance we’d covered (and my hip muscles are reminding me today the skiing is not the same as running). While I wish we’d been able to spend all day out skiing, our 1.5 hour ski was the perfect start to the season. We’re away next weekend but I’m hopefully that conditions will still be favourable for skiing in December.

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Happy to be outside on a warm November day

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