Real Ski Report: Cross country conditions take a warm-weather hit

With warmer temperatures and some fresh snow at a number of resorts, this could be a great weekend for getting out in the mountains, says the CBC's Paul Karchut.

Resorts see more snow, though many XC areas a 'write-off'

Paul Karchut takes on Mount Iconoclast

6 years ago
Duration 0:44
Incredible view from B.C. Selkirk Mountains

With warmer temperatures and some fresh snow at a number of resorts, this could be a great weekend for getting out in the mountains. Paul Karchut is back from a week in the backcountry with this week's Real Ski Report.

We've seen a warm-up, but in places it's swung a little too far. Cross country conditions have taken a bit of a hit.

Meanwhile, B.C. resorts like Fernie, Kicking Horse, Revelstoke and Kimberley have been flirting with the rain line this week. 

  • Paul got to summit a peak he's been wanting to ski for years. Mount Iconoclast is the second tallest peak in the B.C. Selkirk Mountains. Watch his adventure in the video above.

Fernie received 37 centimetres of fresh snow this week, while Revelstoke wins out with 44. Panorama received 20 centimetres, while Kicking Horse saw 30. 

The warm weather has been a good thing for the snowpack, says Fernie skier Ross Jansen.

"The weather systems have definitely changed," he said.

"It's gotten considerably warmer. [The snow] is a little bit different consistency than we've had so it's a little bit heavier, but it's really covering stuff."

"There's good skiing all the way down the hill, and good powder skiing at the top of the mountain."

Jansen cautions that the roads in the area are treacherous.

Temperatures should cool off a bit before the weekend. 

Not as much snow at Alberta resorts

Lake Louise has seen a steady supply of snow this week with 22 centimetres. The resort's XL Terrain Park will also open this weekend.

Castle Mountain Resort received just 10 centimetres on Wednesday and Thursday, while Sunshine is enjoying 16 centimetres of new snow. 

​"It's covered everywhere, but the whole snowpack is pretty firm on the resort," said John Hornak. "Coverage is good everywhere except for Goat's Eye. It feels like we need just a little more snow."

Warm weather worsens cross country conditions

Lower elevation trails really took the brunt of the warm weather this week, but ski blogger Bob Truman says there's still some decent skiing.

"Trails in the south end of Peter Lougheed are in good shape. It was borderline there, and then what really saved them is they got fresh snow, so they were able to groom," Truman said.

In the north end of the provincial park, they also got a little bit of snow on top of icy conditions."

Truman calls Ribbon Creek a "write-off" and doesn't recommend West Bragg Creek either. 

Lake Louise and Yoho are in good condition, he said. 

Touchy avalanche conditions

There's a considerate avalanche hazard at and above treeline in the national parks, and moderate risk at the treeline in Kananaskis Country. 

"All of [the new snow] has either been affected by warm weather or strong winds in the last few days," says Mike Olstrom from Kananaskis Public Safety.

"We are approaching all of the terrain in Kananaskis Country as if it was considerable [risk]," he adds. 

This weekend also marks Avalanche Awareness Days. You can visit Avalanche Canada's website to find an event near you. 


Paul Karchut

CBC Calgary

Paul is the host of Daybreak Alberta, heard across the province every weekend. He's been with CBC since 2005, twelve years of which were spent as the director of the Calgary Eyeopener. You've also heard his national car column, Karchut on Cars, on morning shows across the country for years. Join Paul weekend mornings across Alberta from 6-9.