Skied Epinette and Newfoundland trails this past weekend to spend Saturday night at Jackfish Cabin.
Trails were apparently last groomed January 26th: untouched since then due to a broken groomer. Multiple snowfalls (and lots of deer activity) had almost completely obscured any prior tracks. So we were breaking our own trail through deep snow. It was a real slog this year: less like skiing and more like hiking with skis on. We found ourselves marching up the hills and also marching down most of them, with very little glide.
Tough conditions notwithstanding, it was great to finally spend a night in Jackfish again, now that it has reopened. Big improvement over last year, when we had to pack in our own tent. Be warned that, as usual, the firewood at Jackfish and Cabin 3 is soaking wet, since the Park just dumps it in a heap to be buried in the snow, rather than stacking it or sheltering it.
Skied out Sunday following the same route we’d broken on the way in (directional suggestions be darned). We were happy to find that the final 3km had seen others skiers besides us: a bit of a reprieve at the very end.
The road to the trailhead was impassable and the Hwy 5 shoulder wasn’t ploughed either. So we had parked on the Epinette road just off the highway, making our ski an extra bit longer. The downside of the car being visible from the highway was that some passerby obviously worried for us and called it in, because we emerged to multiple messages from the RCMP on my voicemail and that of various family members… despite the fact that we, and our license plate, were registered in advance with the Park.