Excellent May Powder skiing in the alpine

Wapta Traverse Banff Yoho & Kootenay National Park

Tom Wolfe , Monday 10th May, 2021 12:10PM

I spent the weekend guiding a quick Wapta traverse. We started at Bow Lake Saturday morning and spent the night at the Scott Duncan. Early yesterday morning we continued down below Mt. Niles to Sherbrooke Ck and the highway.

Conditions were excellent for this time of the year. Snow coverage treeline and below is still surprisingly good with only one or two spots where you would want to take your skis off for a few meters -- pretty amazing.

In the alpine we found up to 20 cm of dry powder snow and nothing but great skiing everywhere. Below this was a thin crust overlying moist snow to 2800 m on north aspects. Coverage on the glaciers is excellent with the Balfour High Col being the best I've ever seen it.

Avalanche activity in the high alpine was limited to small sluffs from the new snow. My main concerns would be TL and BTL elevations and steep solar aspects; but none of that affected us.

Overnight freezes Friday and Saturday were not good but the snowpack held together well nonetheless and made for great travel with mostly supportive crusts down to 2000 m Sunday morning. Below that we were thankful for the harder snow on the Sherbrooke Lake trail to take us down to the road.

Bow and Sherbrooke Lake are both solid ice and easy travel right now. Bow Canyon is straightforward with even a marginal overnight freeze.

It's a pity that the ACC huts aren't getting used more this spring. Coverage and conditions continue to be excellent, and guess what? Scott Duncan cost us $27 with taxes for the entire hut!! Yes, twenty-seven dollars for as many people (family members now I guess with the new covid restrictions) that you can fit in the hut.

All along Hwy 93N you can still ski from the road and when you get to the alpine you'll be glad you made the trip. With today's weather it would be about as perfect as it gets.

All the best
Tom Wolfe
Mountain Guide ACMG/IFGMA
www.sawback.com

Source: Mountain Conditions