Got Snow? Winter Sports 2022-23

Nice new family member! We are on our third Golden now. They are great outdoor dogs although being a bit of a heavier breed they can struggle in deeper backcountry snow (we don't do that with ours) and can overheat in hot weather (we chose more shaded hikes with lots of streams and lakes in those conditions). Ours have always loved xc skiing with us, and fortunately we have a great dog friendly area for that only 40 minutes away in the foothills, where dogs are allowed off leash on the 60 km of groomed trails. Yesterday on said trail network:

She sure loves the snow. Face first in to any pile, or laying on it far longer than seems possible with a naked little belly.

Don't think I'd ever take a dog backcountry skiing. I know people do, but it just seems like adding an unnecessary variable to an already dicey situation.
 
We enjoyed a great 5 week run of fine skiing conditions, more or less locally in the foothills, getting out 4-5x a week to take advantage!
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A refresh of cold snow.
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Sunny skiing in the aspens.
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Picnic time!
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Something to smile about.
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The decent foothills snowpack gave some good nordic backcountry touring as well.
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New snow made for fun skiing on the fatbike trails.
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Yet another day on the groomers. Go!
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But as they say- all good things must come to an end. Things not looking so good here, 5 days ago, but once in more sheltered terrain we found good skiing.
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But the downhills were beginning to get a bit sketchy. In addition to being refrozen and icy, this hill is much longer and steeper than just the final pitch shown here. Jo is doing a fine job here of keeping it under control on the skinny racing skis! With this week's weather forecast, that might have been our last foothills ski of the season...
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There's still plenty of winter snow left along the divide, though.
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Great conditions for a favourite meadow tour across a pass into BC.
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Perfect weather for lunch with a view.
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We topped off our week of skiing with a tour on groomed trails, yesterday with friends to a favourite viewpoint. Spring was definitely in the air, but ski season isn't over yet!
 
Back to the skiing thing the last 3 days after nearly a week of bike riding:
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New snow gave a needed refresh to the trails a Ribbon Creek, where dogs are allowed, on leash. Some untangling required here after a squirrel ran across right in front of Piper's nose, giving a few tense moments as she was tethered to the waistband of my pack.
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That same storm also brought our more local network into play for a couple of more days at least, after it seemed to be fading fast.
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Piper's favorite ski zone, as dogs are welcome off-leash here.
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There was no way we could resist the much longer drive yesterday, to ski to the Kananaskis Fire Lookout on overnight grooming in perfect weather! No dogs allowed at all here on the groomed trails.
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It's a 500 vertical metre climb with ever expanding views. With perfect snow conditions, the long descent is going to be awesome fast fun!
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Almost there!
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There, looking at the view south into BC's Elk Valley.
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Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes on the Alberta side. We spent a hour up here just lounging around in the warm spring sun, sipping tea and taking in the views.
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Parting shot before the long drop back towards the trailhead. With consistently tricky avalanche conditions, and a much lower and weaker than normal snowpack which has made for a challenging season for our local backcountry skiing- we've done much more xc skiing this winter. Not that there's anything wrong with that!
 
Grooming had ended for the season on our local xc trails, but last week, a timely spring storm freshened things up for one final ski close to home in the foothills:
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And next- a beautiful day for a favorite loop in the mountains close to the divide, with perfect grooming and weather:
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And that may well be a wrap! A variety of factors including warm weather, the poor snowpack around here this season, and Jo having a small outpatient surgical procedure late last week (she's well on the mend already and will be able to ride her bike by next week) are combining to bring our ski season to an earlier than usual conclusion. But, you never know...
Meanwhile, that same warm weather quickly dried out the trails in our local park, making for some great riding yesterday, and the first of the spring wildflowers.
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Our house sits just back from that line of dark spruce on the skyline.
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This is our little local ski area, open on weekends and during school holidays, the photo taken by a drone earlier today. Everything is bare except for the trails. Last day of skiing was Monday. When I skied on Saturday there was at least two feet of snow on all the trails. While the big guys struggled this crazy winter, our little area outdid them all winter.

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