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Goat Creek and a bit of Middle Spray

Report Submitted by Sara M
(trip) Date: Friday Feb 09, 2024

Submitted: Friday Feb 09, 2024 at 19:10


I started from the Goat Creek trailhead in somewhat miserable conditions - it was only -9 but the wind in the parking lot was bitterly cold and the lack of sunshine didn't help. Luckily, things got better as soon as I started skiing and got out of the wind. The ungroomed start of the trail has very thin snow over ice, but the surface snow is nice. At the start of the grooming, the snow layer was still pretty thin. No issues for the skis, but sometimes my poles skittered on thin spots. The snow got better and deeper as I headed downhill towards Banff.

I was planning to ski to the Banff trailhead and back, but I got distracted when I got to the Middle Spray junction. There were tracks heading up the road... I decided to give it a go. The skier tracks ended fairly quickly but the crust was supportive so I kept going. This part of the Spray road was pretty was pretty bushy when I skied through it a couple years ago, and it was worse this time with the low snow levels.

Total distance: 37.00 Km

it's not all this bushy, but some of it is

At this point, I was hopeful that I could make it to the warden cabin approximately 13km from the Goat Creek junction. I remembered that the road was much more open closer to the cabin, so I was willing to put up with the willows and little trees until things opened up. Finally, I got to a spot that seemed to mark the end of the bushy crap!


Unfortunately, the super-supportive crust also disappeared. With long skinny track skis, this wasn't going to work out. I knew the rest of the road to the cabin had pretty much the same sun exposure as this spot, so I cut my losses and turned around right away. This was just over 5km from the Goat Creek junction.

no more supportive crust :(

I headed back to the groomed trail and continued down to the little shelter where the east and west Spray River trails meet. After a nice snack in the sun, I returned back up the trail to the Goat Creek trailhead. My car thermometer read -5 but in the direct sun it felt much closer to 0! V40 wax worked for me all day.

crossing Goat Creek

crossing Spray River

clouds burning off the mountains up the Spray Valley

1 comment(s) posted


2024-02-10 at 17:17 - comment by SkierRoger

Hey Sara.

I wanted to thank you for a great trip report!

We've had so many lately (not complaining), it's been a challenge to read 'em all.

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Happy to share my +ve experience...

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