bikes canada general moosling trip reports

The annual Skogan pass family epic

Every summer since we grew our small person, we have biked up to Skogan Pass from Canmore. First time was when he was one. And now he is four. So we have done it *counts* FOUR times! (I am a genius)

It’s about a 45km round trip, with a fair bit of climbing. This was the first time he’s come close to participating in moving himself along though – which is good, as he’s starting to get heavy!

On the whole, he’s been spending most of his time on the trail-a-bike dangling with his feet in the air, rather than on the pedals. We came up with a solution for this later in the ride…

With the un-scenic and slightly un-official portion of the ride out of the way, we picked our way around the creek, and started riding uphill.

Enthusiasm and energy levels were a little low today. So thankfully the weather was nice, and there was a lot of food to distract everyone from the fact they were riding up an enormous hill.

About halfway up, the switch was made, and Lincoln started towing the wasp boy (he looks a lot like a wasp, with his legs all dangling down like that.

At the summit we ate some more, then had a brief game of child tossing (instigated by the child, who was most upset when we wouldn’t keep doing it). And then a roll all the way back down the hill.

We were part way down the hill when we came up with this brilliant duct-tape themed idea. Because what else do you use to solve the problem of feet that won’t stay on pedals?

After some initial unhappiness with the idea, the boy was fine with it, and he actually (finally!) started pedalling the bike. So, success! (The scrinchy face above is the result of eating a nutbar at a snack stop, not despair over having trapped feet.)

Hopefully next summer we’ll be making the transition to doing all of our bike trips with the trail-a-bike… or _a_ trail-a-bike at any rate, I’m not really sold on the one we have.

bikes canada general moosling snow trip reports

Skogan Pass

After a little Moosling skiing near the Ribbon Creek carpark, we took off towards Skogan Pass on Saturday morning. Lincoln and I on classic skis, and Alex riding the fatter of his fat bikes (the Moonlander) towing the Moosling in the Chariot with ski runners mounted. Moosling skis stashed in the back of the Chariot. Moosling stashed in the Chariot.

Bee lining up to Nakiska can be tricky. Particularly when you’re towing an extra 30-35kg. Once we reached Nakiska, and then the groomed trails beyond, things got a little more civilized.

The Moosling did some skiing on the way up. And walking. And hurling himself into the snow at the side of the trail and proclaiming “Help! I stuck!”

Conditions were great though, especially for November. Not perfect, but if a few rocks were the worst the day had to throw at us, we thought we did pretty well.

Once we reached the groomed trails, there were only a couple of short uphill sections where Alex had to hop off and push for a bit. There were definitely other climbs that required rest breaks though – it’s good training I tell him.

I had some fun messy around with waxes. Usually I skate ski. The few times I’ve headed out on classics, it was invariably patterned bases. In Australia the conditions are so frequently spring-like that only the genuinely mad get into waxes. Because it invariably involves klister. So I have almost no experience, and the witchcraft behind it all drives me batty, reminding me why I love the simplicity of a well-behaved, predictable skate ski. But I shall learn!

The Moosling has even started taking on downhills. No mean feat when you consider he’s wearing Nordic ski boots strapped into his old toddler skis (his first proper set of Nordic skis should be here for Christmas).

It doesn’t usually end well, but at least he’s trying.

Then sometimes a boy needs a break from all this learning, and he’s back to what he knows best.

Then finally, the pass! And time for lunch.

Toddlers: ruining family photos since 1876.

Then it was time to learn the Charleston, layer up, and commence the descent. Unlike Moraine Lake Road, Skogan Pass has a wonderfully long and fast descent to pay you back for all that climbing.

Distance: 21.5km
Elevation gain: 766m

bikes canada general moosling trip reports

The traditional early season family epic up Skogan Pass

It was around the time of the year when we start getting impatient to do longer rides. The trails in town are dry. Surely some of the trails further out of town are dry too? And so we set off up Skogan Pass, hoping the snow at the top would have cleared.

We didn’t get away super early, despite the threat of worsening weather in the afternoon. The scenic powerline trail was as scenic as ever, as we pedalled from downtown Canmore towards the Skogan Pass trailhead. The Tout Singletrailer has been making everything easier, even wide double track like this. The start of Skogan Pass was clear. Half-way was still totally fine. But then at that fateful bend to the south, just two kilometres from the summit, and the snow began.

After some silly antics to push the bikes through the snow, we gave in and walked. A kind grizzly had left tracks through the snow for us, so we didn’t have to do our own post-holing. Vicious sharp crystals in the snow tore at our legs though, rubbing them raw, red and angry.

At the pass it started to snow, so we briefly admired the view and then started the trek back downhill. The snow turned to rain, and for a while things got quite miserable , but the weather improved as we reached the bottom of the trail to the pass, and the sun started to dry out our soaking wet clothes. Once we hit Canmore the weather was downright lovely again.

Distance: 45km
Elevation gain: 1100m

canada general moosling snow

Skogan Pass

Our wonderful plan to get an early start back-fired a little, as we set of skiing in the freezing cold. It didn’t take much convincing to make a stop at Nakiska for a quick hot chocolate before we continued. By the time we re-emerged there was a little more sun around, and it felt a little less like we were about to freeze our toes off.

As the sun rose higher it even turned out to be a nice day. The trail had been groomed yesterday, and the going was easy.

We ate lunch in the sun at the pass, admired the hoar frost, and then flew back down the hill, dodging the walkers and fallen learner-skiers that had swamped the trail.

bikes canada general moosling trip reports

A very bikey weekend

On Saturday, a plan was hatched to ride “Kananaskis 8”, a route described in one of the trail books. I’d never heard of it. After a few kilometres of riding, I had a fair idea why. Although the trails might have been great in the dry, as it was, it was a corrugated mess of sloppy, muddy horse track. Do not want! So we decided to bail out onto the Prairie View trail, and rode up Barrier Mountain (this was all Chariot and Moosling-free, otherwise the mud would have been even more fun).

Then as none of us had ridden Razor’s Edge before, we thought we’d finish up that way, and then bike along the highway back to the car. It would have worked much better if it wasn’t so hideously windy. In a typically windy area, riding a technical trail along a ridge, on an especially windy day – well it was interesting. The last section of trail we walked, and the wind was catching at my bike and blowing it into the air.

Sunday was a family outing with the Chariot, biking from Canmore out to Skogan Pass (about 45km return, with 1300m of climbing). Instead of continuing out along the old road beyond Three Sisters, we turned towards the highway and followed a rough road that sits near the highway, and is a lot flatter and more sensible riding than the higher option we’d ridden before. There was still the big climb up to the pass, but at least we weren’t already exhausted from hauling the Chariot up and down a steep “road” with fallen trees across it.

There were still a few snow patches higher up, but nothing the Chariot couldn’t be ridden across. And then there were summit baguettes and scroggin, and flying back downhill again (briefly interrupted when we saw a cinnamon-coloured bear cub, and waited until he got off the trail and went back to hang out with his mum).

(Sorry for the slightly dodgy quality photos, I haven’t been taking my good camera out biking, so it’s strictly phone photos)