Trail Cafe: Trip report - Telephone Loop with Dana


Title: Telephone Loop with Dana
Trip type: skiing
Summary: A cross country ski trip with Dana at 11yrs old as she is just starting to get out with me. A well maintained trail an hour or so SW of Calgary. We did not go the full loop.
Author: M. Tanton
Date of Trip: April 7, 2018
Country: CA
Province: Alberta
County/City/national park/etc: West Bragg Creek
Location Route: Telephone Loop
Distance: about 12 km
Weather Conditions:Perfect, somewhat overcast, -8 Deg C or so
Directions to Set in or Trail head: Coming south on Hwy 22, turn West into Bragg Creek across the Elbow River, turn Left, and follow the road for several km until it ends at the West Bragg Creek trails parking lot
Partners: Data
Group experience level: Novice
Author's Experience level: Intermediate
Authors Trip Rating: Good
Trip's Good Points: Good snow (esp. for this time of year), well maintained
Trip's Bad Points: snoeshoers and fat tire bikers smooshed the sky tracks pretty bad in places
Author's Email: myrlmungeattrailcafedotcom (remove 'munge', convert 'at' and 'dot' accordingly

profile graph
speed graph
Download Track, in GPX format (right click select "save as..." or 'download' as required)

Map copyright Alberta parks (?), 2018

Trail Description:

Today I'm out with Dana an 11 yr old girl. We have been out the last two weekends on some track set trails which were easy enough. This is her third trip with me and other than that she has gone around the school yard, so for her this one is a bit more challenging.

It is April the 7th , a week after they officially stop maintaining the trails in Bragg creek. This year there has been lots of snow, with some just the day before. The signs waiving people off for biking and snow shoeing in the ski trails have expired as of April 1st.

This trail is part of a larger set of trails which is maintained by a group of volunteers, with at least three associations being involved. The most obvious up grade is appearance of new trails in the area over the last couple of years (not just at West Bragg creek, and not just cross country skiing), and the new sign-age on the trails. If you are heading out consider bringing a bit of cash to leave in on of the donation boxes.

Telephone trail starts at the North East side of the West Bragg Creek parking lot. The first section is a fairly short, and used by all type of trial users, I'm not sure if it is ever track set or not. Today it is definitely not, or if it was it has been crashed flat by the snow shoers, walkers and bikers. this first section is quite wide, and a gentle rise for 100m or so along the edge of the parking lot before turning into the trails area. In short order you have several trail options.

It is clear the first section of Telephone loop is well packed down by the fat tire bikes, but Hostel loop has only had skiers on it recently. no evidence of being track set, but still a nicer option to start out on. It rejoins with telephone in 1.6 km later, so off we go.

Part of the East half of Hostel Loop
Part of the East half of Hostel Loop

Hostel loop has side by side tracks, but at least today is not track set. It does not occur to me that the past two weekends of skiing with Dana was on reasonably easy trails, with a hard track set. Dana does not really know how to turn. so on the first hill with a turn in it she goes straight, as luck would have it I was beside her. She runs into me grabs on and is pushing us to a big tree right at the outside of the bend. So, with all the grace of a we can muster, down we go to make the stop.

This section is reasonable for a novice, with a bit of up and down, with a general elevation gain. A fore shadow of what is to come... actually a pretty good warm up/practice for a new skier. Once at the junction with Telephone loop it is clear that the bikes have continued down telephone, and the recent ski tracks continue on the remainder of Hostel loop. However there are clearly some skiers that went up Telephone loop, about 50% of the tracks are 'damaged'. I wanted longer day today and we opt for Telephone.

The trail is definitely narrower than the Hostel loop. the bike tracks have also made it a fair bit slower, but we don't really notice as it is for the most part the trail is mostly up or down hills in this stage. Not all up, not really steep just mostly. To be honest I don't remember much about the run between Hostel and Snowshoe hare intersection. It is only a 0.6 km section.

Telephone Loop at Snowhare jcn
Telephone Loop at Snowhare jcn
As we stop for lunch a group of snowshoers are just ahead of us at the Snowshoe Hare trail intersection, a dad and two kids in around 11 or 12 yrs old. They've come up the snowshoe trail and head up telephone loop. We stop for a quick lunch/snack. That was a bit of a mistake, they head off side by side and obliterating what is left of the ski tracks on the trail. So a minor inconvenience but still somewhat frustrating, but the cyclists leave the trail further up, and had we headed out first we have bad a nicer time of it with the glide. Oh well, it would have been just that much more nice, but it was still good.

She said something like, 'Dad you're right skiing is hard work'
She said something like, 'Dad you're right skiing is hard work'
This section has a bit harder hills steeper with more turns, and the trail is narrower. A fun single track no doubt when track set. fun even when not. The trail got a few screeches out of my daughter coming down one of the hills. One hill she chose to walk down. Over all I was really impressed with how well she did today. It was a fun bit of trail. Also on this section the tree cover thins out a bit in places and you get a bit of a view to the north east.

Bit of a view sometime after teh Disconnect Junction
Bit of a view sometime after teh Disconnect Junction

I often ski track set, and I found I really enjoyed following the tracks of 2 or three people ahead of me on reasonably fresh snow. I'm not sure if this track set in general. I do intend to come back next year during the period they do run the track set machine and find out. Either way I expect to enjoy the trail.

We reach fence with a gate in it 4:00, I'm not sure if this is the junction with the "Long distance" trail intersections. There is no map, so probably not however it should be fairly close to it. It took us 2 hrs of skiing in to get to this point and it is later than I thought, so we start heading back.

The trip back is a bit faster than the way in as there is more down than up this way, making it back to the car around 5:30. As an added bonus we see a martin scamper across the trail in front of us.



Part of the East half of Hostel Loop


More Hostel


Hostel, aproaching the junction with Telephone


Hostel, a section stopped by snowshoers


Looking down SnowHare (snowshoe) trail from Telephone Loop


Telephone Loop at Snowhare jcn


Telephone loop looking back at Snoehare Jcn (clockwise)


Telephone trail... still chasing the snoeshoers


Telephone loop, looking back at out tracks


Bit of a view sometime after teh Disconnect Junction


She said something like, 'Dad you're right skiing is hard work'


Fence and gate - our turnaournd point about 6km into the trail

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Content Copyright © M. Tanton 2018

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