Skogan Pass FKSA

Submitted by Mike W
(trip) Date: Wednesday Nov 24, 2021

Just past Marmot Creek

About 100m beyond Marmot Creek. This was the first and only Skiers Only sign.

High Level on the right

Bottom end of Skogan Loop on the left. Spot the deer!

Top end of Skogan Loop on the left. Snowmobile hasn't packed this end of the loop.

Skogan Pass



Participants:

Just me.

Discussion:

Skogan Pass FKSA (First Known Ski Ascent) this winter, and not a single boot print! I had a few hours to get out this afternoon, and decided to check conditions on the Skogan Pass trail. Parked in North Lot #3, which is behind the Day Lodge. -2C in the lot at 1300, -10C at the pass at 1530. Brought my metal-edged fish scale BC-NNN 89mm shovel-width skis. I normally call them my light-touring skis, but I've been recently admonished that they are backcountry touring skis, because light touring skis fit into a ski track. What do you think, dear Reader?

The crux of the trip was dealing with the Nakiska staff. Although the resort was closed to the public today, they had some special ski programs going on, and had a ticket-checker posted at the walkway between the Day Lodge and the Guest Services building. Even though I said I was accessing the Skogan Pass XC trail, he wouldn't let me by without a ticket of some sort and sent me off to Guest Services. It seemed it had something to do with their "Vaccine Passport" program, whereby everyone on resort property is supposed to have a ticket that among other things shows they've been vaccinated. Guest Services didn't know what they were supposed to do. It appears I was the first XC skier to appear (or get caught!) this season. They said they needed to ask the Area Manager, who was away today. They were unaware that the Skogan Pass trail goes right through the resort. They suggested I park at Ribbon Creek! They also said if I wanted to cross the resort, I'd have to buy a $5.25 "access pass". After handing me a map of how to get to the Troll Falls trailhead I thanked them and went on my way. Fortunately I was somehow teleported to the Hidden / Skogan Pass trail junction via a route that avoided being challenged by resort staff. Your teleportation results may vary. My plate is pretty full for the next few days. Is anyone up to contacting Parks to see if Nakiska can really block Hidden Trail access to the Skogan Pass Trail and/or charge a $5.25 access fee!?

Now back to the skiing. Skogan Pass is snowmobile packed all the way, and by the looks of it, all of Sunburst and some of lower Skogan Loop as well. The snowmobile packing is pretty smooth on a hard crust base, with 1-2cm fresh snow low down, increasing to 4-5cm higher up. From the Hidden / Skogan Pass trail junction, conditions were poor, just enough snow for going up, but really marginal for going down. When you meet up with the snowcat track about a km further up, conditions improve to fair, although the snowcat track itself is really treacherous with a couple of cm of powder over bare ice interspersed with a few rocks thrown up by the cat. Conditions continue to improve the higher you go. Above the High Level junction, conditions were good. Fairly windy and cold, -10C, at the pass. Unfortunately I didn't have time to ski High Level and Sunburst on the way down, and had to go straight down Skogan to the parking lot. By this time, the resort was deserted.

On a final note, there is a lone "Skiers Only" sign on the Skogan Pass trail, but Parks still lists it as open to hiking, biking, and horses!

8 comment(s) posted

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Comments:


2021-11-25 - comment by Mike W

Re Tanya "For parking, I always choose the furthest parking lot away from the lodge (parking lot 4 or 5), walk further up the road to the maintenance shed, and then pop out right at the bronze chair."

From the N end of the maintenance area it looks like you can go 25m to the east and get onto the Skogan Pass trail without going by the Gold Chair. Then you only have to worry about getting stopped for walking on the maintenance road!



2021-11-25 - comment by Jeff

As mentioned Hidden Trail to Ruthies goes right in front of the day lodge to connect to Skogan Pass. For years we battled with Nakiska to keep this open and to keep our way finding signage up. There has been issues with people xcountry skiing up the trail to mid mountain lodge and getting some turns in. Nakiska has always turned a blind eye to this perhaps due to Covid something has changed. As Bob mentioned parking at lot 4 and skiing from where Hidden hits Nakiska is the easiest access. (Do you need a parking Pass if you park there?)
There is also a trail that leads from #1 north parking that hits Skogan just below the old seasonal ice floe.
Skogan is multi use until Dec 1 then it becomes skier only from Ruthies Junction up. The signs go up but there is no enforcement behind the signs it’s there to encourage non skiers to go elsewhere.




2021-11-25 - comment by Tanya K

Alright, very long winded email sent to Nakiska. Will let you know when I get a response.

Even if we start at Ribbon Creek, the Hidden Trail goes straight through the Nakiska property and the lower Skogan Pass trail is often unskiable from Troll Falls hiker traffic.



2021-11-25 - comment by Tanya K

I always start from Nakiska. When you ski with kids every metre of climbing counts! Then again, we've always had Nakiska season passes too in previous years so I felt I had the right to park there and be on the property.

I remember the one time I tried to ski the Skogan Pass Trail when Nakiska was closed to skiing and I got called out on social media the next day by the resort when they reminded everybody that skiers were not allowed to be on their property when the resort was closed. They probably assumed I was skiing on their actual runs.

For parking, I always choose the furthest parking lot away from the lodge (parking lot 4 or 5), walk further up the road to the maintenance shed, and then pop out right at the bronze chair. Of course who knows how this will go this year if the lifties at the bronze chair will come yell at me.

I will message Nakiska. I have a good relationship with management there.



2021-11-25 - comment by Mike W

Per SteveR's comment, the back of the main lodge route won't always work because they've put up fencing there. But yesterday there was an open gate. Bob's route from the NW corner of P4 sounds like the best bet.



2021-11-25 - comment by JonW

Please be understanding to the ski hills. They are having to operate under the Province's restriction exemption program and each one has had to develop a detailed plan for how they are going to do this. For Sunshine and it sounds like Nakiska, this involves checking the vaccination status, test result, exemption or other, for each person entering their lease area. Given that they have to pay staff to do this, it isn't something they want to do, but it is something that they are required to do in order to operate. For Skogan I would suggest accessing it without entering the ski area (at least until they have worked out how to deal with XC skiers). For Sunshine, I would imagine that if you simply show your vaccine record to the guys at the base station, you would be fine, although as of yesterday the 'ski out' is closed to skiers.




2021-11-25 - comment by Bob Truman

Further to SteveR's comment, there is a path through the trees from the west end of P4 that will avoid the hassles. The path starts where the car is parked in the photo.



2021-11-25 - comment by SteveR

Thanks for the heads up about being (unreasonably!) harassed by Nakiska staff. There have been reports of similar encounters with skiers ascending the Sunshine ski out. Like you did, we typically "cheat" and access the Skogan area from one of the lower Nakiska lots. The often crowded area at the entrance can be avoided by cutting around the back of the main lodge on foot before putting skis on and descending to pick up the xc trail system.



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