Little Middle Sister Col
Alas, a constricting work schedule is severely limiting my ski days. As it was looking like I’d be working Sunday as well as Saturday, J suggested a quick hit of this prominent line from town. I’d be able to fit in a ski as well as be able to brag about skiing it from almost anywhere in town. A win win, as far as I’m concerned. J got the beta from Mr Buszowski and brought A along for the ride.
A phone snap of the proposed line from J’s driveway. Photo by J.
Unfortunately my camera wasn’t in working order after getting wet the previous week. Some mad screwing and unscrewing didn’t have it reassembled in time so all photos are from the cell phone. Sorry aboot dat eh.
We parked up at Hubman and started hiking up the Highline trail by 5.30. The trail is well cleared of vegetation so mad skiers have easy clearance. Where the trail splits however isn’t so great. Some bear tracks in the snow had me sweating. An obvious junction took us up Three Sisters Creek, sticking on the right side, then the left, then the right. We didn’t really know where to go. After a bit of a sketchy cliff traverse with some coal deposits visible we swapped runners for ski boots and started skinning. We took our skis off again fifty meters up the creek to cross it once more. The snow was iso this low so travel was miserable and vegetation was tight.
Another obvious junction split left and we followed it. The trail then split again and I confidently dismissed J’s suggestion to stay left and set off right. You wanna follow the left track always. We had a team meeting and decided to never let me lead again and punched straight up to the fan of the line. The isothermic snow had given way to a villainous crust which whispered cruel torments to our ACL’s. This would be bad on the down.
J spying a line across the valley in case we ever find ourselves on a north facing patio. Next time. A was shouting something about being the best skinner on the mountain which was obviously a lie; I am.
Putting that aside in the box labelled ‘Problems for Future Me’, I bravely punched up towards the line. Within twenty meters the crust gave way to 20cm's of powder. On the last day of April. Within view of Canmore. We were confused and glanced around to see if someone was playing a mean trick on us. No one came out of the snow to tell us we got punk’d so after a couple of high fives we skinned on up to the top. Travel was good with the powder making for an easy skin track. The run is a deceptively mellow 30/35 degrees max at the very top and quickly gives way to a face splittingly great 25 degree open chute.
Canmore, or as I like to call it, Cham Lite. Just needs a gondola to access the five or so primo ski lines around town.
We didn’t manage to make it all the way to the col, a wind slab made us stop just below the ridgeline. After transitioning I gingerly skied down, stopping at a prominent ridge to get some snaps for the ol ‘gram. Fantastic skiing conditions all round. I can’t believe we got powder this late in the year at such a low elevation.
J learning to turn without jumping. It’s a tough skill to learn, but he’s getting decent at it.
The ugly crust reared its head and we had a hell of a time getting out. Things had warmed up and the ski out was difficult to say the least. J elected to skin downhill and all things considered this was probably the smart option. We were pretty stoked to get to our runners on. Passing other recreationalists on the trail we were all too happy to stop and spray about our latest adventure.
The line is further than you think. My GPS recorded a 12.5km round trip with 1100m of gain. Quite a bit further back in the woods than it looks but on the whole not the worst way I’ve spent a Sunday morning. With this line in the bag and this one visible from almost all of Canmore’s more prestigious watering holes J and I are well on our way to becoming the most (un)distinguished skiers in town.