Kane Valley Skiing – January 2022

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17 Responses to Kane Valley Skiing – January 2022

  1. Ian W says:

    Greetings Skiers: Here is your trail report for January 31, 2022.

    It’s been a full 10 days since I last posted a report. Blame Mother Nature for that. Above seasonal temperatures and a dearth (scarcity) of fresh snow has made for less than desirable skiing conditions in the Kane Valley for much of this month. Those that have gone out have had to exercise extreme caution with icy conditions and a multitude of wind-blown debris on the trails.

    Fortunately, things took a turn for the better last night and this morning as the Kane Valley received between 3-6 inches (8-15cm) of fresh snow, and the temperature remained just below zero for the entire day. While I had to be content with skiing at home today, club member Ken Conway-Brown managed to get out on the Kane trails, and gave me a detailed account of his experience.

    Ken parked at P5 and skied Aspen, Porter Bypass, Sundown, Lower and Upper Ravine, Tolko, Connector and Skyhigh. He reported that the fresh snow was a blessing, both in climbing uphill and skiing downhill. For a good part of the time, he said his entire skis, tips included, were hidden in the snow – always a fun experience. He cautioned that Upper Ravine – now open thanks to Vern Latremouille – should only be tackled by climbing it uphill until some grooming and packing have been done. Ken’s other cautionary note was that areas immediately under big fir trees continue to be icy, and should be navigated slowly and carefully.

    Ken’s recommendation was that trails that have significant uphill and downhill sections should be left ungroomed for the time being, while more moderate trails, such as Kane, Matthew’s Loops and Ravens Ridge might benefit from some grooming and track-setting. That is what is planned for tomorrow (Tuesday).

    With a very busy month of February ahead of me, I am uncertain how much actual skiing of the Kane Valley I will be able to do in the next few weeks. Therefore, I’m really calling on other skiers (club members or non-members) to contribute to this blog by posting their experiences. Let us know the when (date) and the where (what trails), the weather conditions, the ski conditions, the good, the bad….and yes, even the ugly!

    Happy trails!

  2. jh says:

    Parked at p2 and skied Mathews loops. Started today at noon. The snow was a bit softer than hard ice so falling was gentle. There are icy bits under some trees and control took some effort on the little hills but the sun was shining and the temperature reasonable for a very pleasant outing.

  3. Lorna says:

    We had a very entertaining day in the Kane Valley yesterday! Peering down ice fishing holes, waiting for the excitement of a nibble, dogs frolicking on the lake, ladies skiing, snowshoeing and all picnicking! Then Vern cutting out trees on Ravine and I went for a ski. Surprisingly conditions can change daily, so it was fast, but controllable with some hard snow plowing down the steep hills. Looked like lots of people enjoying the outdoors! Vehicles at all the parking spots.

  4. Ian W says:

    Greetings Skiers: Here is your trail report for January 21, 2022.

    I wish I could be the bearer of good news, but unfortunately the nice trail conditions of Thursday did not carry over to today. Sub-zero temperatures overnight turned the tracks on Kane to ice that did not thaw or soften up even in the afternoon. The tracks were extremely slippery and very fast. I’m glad I skied Kane north to south and not the other way around. Even the ungroomed/untracked snow was dense and crusty, making it difficult to slow down.

    After skiing Kane, I did Skyhigh, Tolko and Hill’s Homestead. The climb up from Jake’s Junction was no problem as my twin-skin skis gripped the crystallized snow very well. It was a different story coming down the other side however, as the snow was very fast, and it was almost impossible to snowplow. In addition, the snow underneath trees was rock hard and extremely slippery. My falls were too numerous to count.

    I finished off my ski outing by doing both Matthew’s Loops. Once again, the few climbs were relatively easy, but the downhills, even the small ones, were precarious. You just have to tuck real low, be prepared for anything, and be ready to bail into the soft snow on the sides.

    Once again, the call goes out to Mother Nature to bless us with some fresh snow and cooler daytime temperatures. Sadly, neither are in the immediate forecast. I’m not sure what more we can accomplish with the groomers. With each pass, it just further hardens what already is too hard.

    If you do decide to ski the Kane Valley this weekend, exercise extreme caution and come prepared. Here’s a tip: to protect my injured back today, I put some extra padding in my backpack. It really worked. The times I fell on my back, the impact was absorbed by the backpack. Try a pillow – I’m not kidding.

    Happy trails! Be safe!

  5. Mischelle says:

    Kate , Lorna and I skied Thursday Jan 20 from P2 on Kane to P5 and back It was a beautiful ski with that fresh inch or so of snow and sunshine Kane is so perfect for a quick easy ski Saw the groomers were out so hope the weekend holds to get out again

  6. Ian W says:

    Greetings Skiers: Here is your trail report for January 20, 2022.

    Mother Nature must have heard our pleas. The Kane Valley received several centimetres of fresh snow overnight. Combined with today’s mild temperatures and mix of sun and cloud, it made for a very good skiing day.

    Amongst those enjoying the pleasant ski conditions were NNSC executive members John and Kate Anderson. Kate and friends skied Kane from P2 to P5 and back, while John had the dogs on the north side of the road on the Harmon trail.

    Speaking of the lengthy Harmon trail (6.3 km), the fresh snow provided an opportunity for Gary Ware and I to get up top and groom this underused jewel of the Kane Valley trail system. It is absolutely beautiful, whether skied east to west or vice versa. In addition, we crossed the road at P6 and groomed all of Aspen for the first time in a long while, as well as Sundown, Porter’s Bypass and Lower Ravine. The snow base is substantial on all of these trails. On our return trip to P3, we not only did Harmon again, but also groomed Gulch, Vale, Crossover and the western-most section of Ravens Ridge between Lunch Box shelter and the Crossover junction.

    We’re going to leave the trails as they are for at least a day or so, with some groomed out and others still fresh-snow-covered. Skiers can take their pick and mix-and-match. A short loop I’m getting more and more fond of is: P1 – Ravens Ridge – Asp – Menzies – Ravens Ridge – P1.

    As we groom, we are constantly trying to make the trails wider and hopefully safer. We want skiers to be able to snowplow down or herringbone up hills, or sidestep if need be. In trying to groom wider, we (mostly me) sometimes miscalculate and bury our machines in powder. You can have a chuckle when you encounter these locations.

    The grader was busy at work this afternoon sprucing up the Kane Valley Road. With logging traffic still using the road, the wider it is the better.

    Some people have been asking about the Perimeter Ski Challenge that was introduced last year, and was successfully completed by seven or eight individuals in total. The challenge was to ski the entire outside perimeter of the Kane Valley trail system in one outing – a distance that last year was calculated to be approx. 29.77 km. We can put the challenge out there again for those so inclined. It will be a tad longer, with the return of the North trail to active status. The new length is approx. 30.87 km. Whew! That’s a lot.

    For those uncertain what the Perimeter Challenge would consist of, let’s say you begin and end at P1 (a logical choice). You could ski: P1 – Ravens Ridge – Lunch Box shelter – Gulch – Harmon – Panorama shelter – North – Harmon – P6 – cross the road – Aspen – Sundown – Upper Ravine – Hill’s Homestead – Matthew’s Loop West (southern half) – Matthew’s shelter – Matthew’s Loop East – Chute – P1.

    Of course, you could begin and end your perimeter ski at P6, or you could go the opposite direction. There’s a broad number of possibilities. Keep us informed if you give it a go, and especially if you’re successful. Bravo to any who do!

    Senderos felices!

  7. Mischelle says:

    Hello fellow skiers I managed to get out for a short ski out and back on Overeasy while my husband was icefishing on Sunday It was great to get out and the trail was fast I really want to give a huge shout out to Ian Webster for not only all the grooming , trail maintenance , fun to read trail reports and now all the wonderful signage everywhere . Love love love the new shelter signs Well done Ian thank you so much You make the club proud

  8. Ian W says:

    Greetings Skiers: Here is your trail report for January 19, 2022.

    This morning and afternoon, ski conditions at Kane Valley were not very good at all. Trails were hard-crusted, icy, fast, and strewn with debris from the big melt. Someone skiing today would need to be very capable, experienced and daring. Metal-edged skis would be very helpful, as well as a big pillow attached to the backside.

    That MIGHT all change overnight however, as snow began to fall around 4 p.m. this afternoon. If it continues overnight, and doesn’t change to rain at some point, it could be a winter wonderland again by morning. Fingers crossed.

    Ken Conway-Brown and I did some grooming of trails today, but more reconnaissance and cleaning up than anything. We bucked up and cleared a giant pine tree that had fallen across Hill’s Homestead, and did our best to try and widen the likes of Hill’s, Tolko, Connector, Skyhigh and Overeasy.

    Continue to watch out for logging trucks on Kane Valley Road.

    Happy trails!

  9. jh says:

    P1 started at 11am to Menzies, Gutch, Ravens loop. The hard fast surface did not feel like spring today. The only time I felt truly in control was going up Gulch bypass as my skis would not grip going up the packed trails or dig in while trying to slow coming down. We definitely need snow to change the texture of the trails. Stay safe. jh

  10. Ian W says:

    Greetings Skiers: Here is your trail report for January 17, 2022.

    It was a balmy day in the Kane Valley, with midday temperatures reaching +8 degrees. Truly felt like spring ski conditions with early-morning ice turning to wet, mushy, granular snow by the afternoon. A waxer’s nightmare!

    The less-than-ideal skiing didn’t deter some special visitors from Armstrong, B.C. A special shout-out to Greg and Cammy Pieper who dropped by and made the best of the situation, skiing most of Kane before tackling all of Hill’s Homestead, which has not been recently groomed. They seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves, and said we had a good deal more snow than Stave Lake, located by Lac Le Jeune. They were also able to report of a big tree down on Hill’s, south of the historic homestead site. We’ll try to clear that away as soon as possible.

    Gary Ware and I were out grooming today. We refreshed Kane from P2 to P5, both Matthew’s Loops, Ravens Ridge, Chute and Gulch. These trails are definitely your best bet for skiing during this run of abnormally mild weather. Groomers hope to be out again on Wednesday, although the forecast is for more possible rain. Ughh!

    The amount of tree debris (branches, twigs, lichen, needles, snow bombs) on trails is quite distressing, and dangerous. Please ski with care. The only real solution is new snow on top. Come on Mother Nature.

    Please keep us informed of your ski experience, and things that need to be addressed out on the trails. Your comments can be invaluable to others.

    Happy trails!

  11. Ian W says:

    Greetings Skiers: Here is your trail report for January 15, 2022.

    It was a beautiful day in the Kane Valley, reaching a high of +5 degrees under sunny skies at 1:30 p.m. That said, skiing conditions were not the greatest. Where we were able to groom and lay some track (Kane, Vale, Ravens Ridge, Matthew’s Loops), it was respectable, but most ungroomed trails remained fairly icy, with lots of snow bombs and tree debris.

    We had planned to do extensive grooming today, but our plans got aborted when the big skidoo and groomer got royally stuck on Matthew’s Loop East. It took four hours of hard work to rescue the two machines. A word of warning to anyone skiing Matthew’s East: Watch out for our spill site on the south side of the loop; it remains badly roughed up and potentially dangerous. We’ll try to get it patched up as soon as possible. A huge thank-you to Chris Walder who picked up and delivered a pair of come-alongs to us so that we could get our machines out.

    So pleased to see still more dogs (and their owners) enjoying the north-side trails. They all look so excited and happy to be out in the wilds together.

    With the weather forecast saying milder temperatures and little new snow all this coming week, we will try our best to get to get out and groom most if not all the other trails in the Kane Valley system. It’s been a challenge, with the heavy snows and bitter temperatures of December followed closely by rain and above average temperatures in the early part of January.

    Happy trails!

  12. Ian W says:

    Greetings Skiers: Here is a trail report for January 14, 2022.

    I was up in the Kane Valley for four hours today doing various maintenance projects. The recent run of mild weather has reduced and compressed the snow pack significantly, and the couple of days of rain earlier in the week have glazed the top surface of the snow, making the skiing quite a bit faster in places and less forgiving. In addition, a lot of snow bombs and various bits of tree debris (branches, twigs, needles) have fallen on the trails. Despite these obstacles and challenges, there were still a few skiers and snowshoers out today, enjoying the spring-like conditions.

    Special shoutouts to Stef and Michelle Zabek, who were snowshoeing out from P2, and to Naomi Bruce, a Peterborough, Ont. transplant now living and working in Merritt. Naomi was out enjoying the dog-friendly trails on the north side of the road today with her two delightful retriever-cross pups, Ember and Fia.

    Ken Conway-Brown and I will be out grooming Saturday morning, seeing if we can rejuvenate some of the more popular ski trails (Kane, Matthew’s Loops, Ravens Ridge). One of our machines is actually called a ‘tenderizer’. Rather funny, really. Begs the question: How would you like your trail? Rare, medium or well done? How about overeasy?

    One of my little projects today was FINALLY getting two new shelter signs up. In recognition of the ‘tour de force’ work of NNSC lifetime members Murphy and Katharine Shewchuk and Gerry and JIll Sanford over the years, the shelter at P2 has been officially named SANFORD SHELTER and the shelter at P3 has been officially designated SHEWCHUK SHELTER.

    Just a reminder again that the most economical way to enjoy unlimited skiing of the Kane Valley trail system is by buying an annual membership to the Nicola Nordic Ski Club. An individual membership costs just $50 for the season, while a family membership costs only $90. The family pass is good for two adults and any children under 19 and living in the same household. Membership forms can be found online at http://www.nicolanordic.ca or at Breathe Bikes on Quilchena Ave. in Merritt. Payment can be made by mail, by e-Transfer, or in-person at Breathe Bikes.

    If you haven’t or don’t plan to purchase an individual or family membership, or are just visiting from out-of-town, please note that there is a one-day user fee of $10/person in order to ski the Kane Valley trails. This can be paid at Breathe Bikes, by mail, by e-Transfer, or by putting the money in any of the lock boxes located at parking lots P1 (above the road), P2, P3 (above the road) and P5 (below the road).

    Happy trails, and hope to see you out skiing real soon!

  13. jh says:

    this afternoon I parked at p1 and skied Mathews, gulch, and ravens. Can’t find anything kind to say about the snowshoe footprints that went all the way up Gulch and parts of Ravens Ridge marked ski trails. Surely a respectful snowshoer can tell the difference. Heed Ian’s words and watch the little frozen snow bombs that don’t look very menacing. The snow made the skiing fast between the debris brought down from the trees. jh

  14. Ian W says:

    Greetings Skiers. This is not an official trail report for January 11, as an injury on Saturday while reffing hockey has kept me away from the Kane Valley for the past few days. I’m hoping to be back in the saddle, skiing and grooming, by this coming weekend, but everything seems to take so long to heal when you’re old(er).

    Unfortunately, I had to miss the Nicola Nordic Ski Club’s Chili Sunday event because of my injury. From the reports I’ve received, it sounds like it was a grand time with terrific weather, great snow conditions, and plenty of enthusiastic participants. A huge thank-you to the organizers of this annual event.

    The sudden warming trend has resulted in lots of melting in the Nicola Valley, and I suspect in the Kane Valley, too. Rain is in the forecast for tonight and Wednesday. Our idyllic skiing conditions will probably be lost for a while. If you do venture out, please be extraordinarily careful. The greatest hazard might well be the ‘snow bombs’ falling from the overhanging trees. These can be deadly if you are struck by one, and equally dangerous if encountered on the ground. They tend to be a heavy lump of snow that can deflect or stop skis very suddenly. Keep your eyes on the road.

    We’ll try to get out grooming as soon as possible, but the aforementioned snow bombs, along with above-zero temperatures make the conditions tenuous. Stay tuned.

    Finally, a special shoutout to the Nicola Valley’s infamous Thursday ladies group (they have another name, but I forget what it is) who went out on an eight-person-strong night ski last week with headlamps a-blazing. Well done, Gals. Perhaps we should call you the ‘Ladies of the Night”.

    Happy trails.

  15. Ian W says:

    Greetings Skiers: Here is your trail report for January 7, 2022.

    After two days of dealing with Mother Nature at home, we were back grooming trails in the Kane Valley today. We continue to be blessed with abundant snow. Another 15 – 20 cm has fallen in the last 36 hours. In places, the snow accumulation is 80+ centimetres. The skidoos and grooming machines are having their struggles.

    Ken Conway-Brown and I managed to do the following trails one or more times today: Vale, Ravens Ridge, Chute, both Matthew’s Loops, Asp, Tillicum, Menzies, Kane, Overeasy and some of Gulch. It was mostly packing and grooming of the fresh snow; in a few places, we set track. You’re going to have to be patient with us. We’ll try to get to as many trails as we can, as quickly as possible. In the meantime, enjoy the snow and the wonderful outdoors.

    Just another reminder that active logging is still going on west of Harmon Lake, with logging trucks active on the Kane Valley Road Monday to Friday from the early morning hours to late afternoon. The principal contractor, Greg Ware, has told his drivers to be mindful of recreational traffic on the road. Please drive defensively.

    A special shout-out to the young Kelowna couple who arrived at P3 late this afternoon, all set for an evening ski with headlamps, and an overnight in a cute, little Bushwhacker camper. Their plan is to have an evening campfire and supper at the P3 shelter.

    Club members and non-members who ski the Kane Valley. Please pack a shovel on your outings, and if you see a skier/grooming access point (marked by glowing red stakes) that has been walled up by the grader/plow truck, please take a few minutes to shovel it out and create a ramp that skiers can walk up and the grooming machines can ride up. The same applies to paths leading to outhouses. If you can help make them a bit more accessible by shoveling, that would be great.

    Just two more sleeps till the annual Chili Sunday celebration on January 9 at P2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check out my previous blog for all the delicious details.

    Happy trails!

  16. Ian W says:

    Greetings Skiers: Here is your trail report for January 4, 2022.

    I spent yesterday (Monday) at home shoveling and plowing snow and catching up with chores. Don Parno was out skiing the Kane Valley, and reported very good conditions with a high of -4 degrees. Don skied Hill’s Homestead and said it was fast and well-groomed.

    Vern Latremouille and Ken Conway-Brown were out grooming yesterday, and accomplished a great deal. The highlight was a double pass with both machines on Overeasy. Already, it is the best I’ve seen it in years.

    It was pretty brisk (-18 degrees) today when I arrived at P1 for a day of skiing (at last). I skied Ravens Ridge – Tillicum – Neil’s Valley – Vale – Lunchbox Shelter – Gulch – Gulch Bypass – Gulch – Overeasy – P5 – cross the road – Kane – Lower Ravine – Bertha Shelter – Upper Ravine – Hill’s Homestead – Skyhigh – Kane – Matthew’s Loops – Chute – P1. Got all that? Approx. 18 kilometres.

    Neil’s Valley, Gulch Bypass and Upper Ravine were all ungroomed trails and tough going in knee-high snow. Upper Ravine currently has four trees down across the trail, so avoid this one until we can get everything cleared up. We’ll keep you posted.

    A lot of trails are looking really good: well-groomed and track set. A good job today by Gary Ware and Don Parno.

    That said, watch out for fallen clumps of snow from overhead trees and branches especially on Kane They can be quite hazardous. For those who generally avoid Chute, now is the time to ski it. It is smooth, powdery and not too fast. You can control your speed.

    A belated shout-out to the guys at Nicola Chainsaw and Nicola Motorsports: Dave, Daryl, Ray, Grant, Lauren, Mark and Austin. They look after the club and its equipment so well, and always go the extra mile.

    Be warned: A storm is due to pass through Wednesday night/Thursday early morning, with the possibility of 15 or more centimetres of snow.

    Happy trails!

  17. Ian W says:

    Greetings Skiers: Here is your trail report for January 2, 2022.

    Today was by far the busiest of this young ski season in the Kane Valley, with a multitude of skiers, snowshoers, children and pets enjoying all that Nature’s bounty has to offer. P2 was a veritable beehive of activity, as several families gathered for a good old-fashioned bonfire and cookout.

    Once again, the weather in the Kane Valley was distinctly different from that in the Nicola Valley below. There was little to no wind or blowing snow up top, especially in the trees.

    Approx. 4 cm of fresh snow had fallen overnight, making Sunday a winter wonderland. You couldn’t ask for better cross-country skiing conditions. As we wrapped up activity today, the snow was beginning to fall once again. Up to 12 cm are expected in the next 24 hours.

    Gary Ware and I had both grooming machines out together for the first time this season. We managed to groom and set track (where appropriate) on Kane, both Matthew’s Loops, Chute, Vale and Menzies. We also did another run round Hill’s Homestead, which remains narrow in places. A big shout-out to Janet Harper who soloed Hill’s this afternoon, as did Ken Conway-Brown yesterday. It is truly a magnificent loop with wonderful scenery, especially in the vicinity of the old homestead itself. And if you want to explore a bit further still, try a side trip on Connector or Tolko.

    Our new policy for this season of allowing pets on all trails north of/above the Kane Valley Road is receiving rave reviews. As one individual said to us today, “After 17 years of skiing round and round Matthew’s (Loops), it’s so nice to explore some of the other trails with our dog. There are so many of them.”

    Seeing so many vehicles at one time at P2 brings up the issue of parking protocol once again. To avoid chaos and vehicles getting stuck or trapped, might I suggest that when you arrive, get your vehicle turned around, and then angle park with the rear of your car/truck backed into the snow banks around the perimeter. That should make for easy departure when the time comes. If you have to get things out of the back of your vehicle, then do so before fully backing into the snowbank. Likewise, when it’s time to leave, pull the vehicle forward a bit, load up, then go. Kindly avoid parking in the middle of the parking lot.

    I just got the details about the Nicola Nordic Ski Club’s annual Chili Sunday, scheduled for this coming Sunday, January 9. The time is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the location is P2 (Parking Lot 2). There is generous parking (see above for guidance), an outhouse, a shelter, and two fire pits. It is also the starting point of perhaps our easiest ski trail (Kane) and also the popular Barton’s snowshoe trail.

    Attendees are asked to bring enough chili for themselves, their group and perhaps one or two other people. It will all be added to the communal pot, and is guaranteed to taste oh so good! The ski club will supply the buns, drinks and goodies. However, folks are welcome to bring extra left-over Christmas goodies to share. Please bring your own eating and drinking paraphernalia (plates, bowls, cups, spoons, etc.), and an armful of firewood would be welcome.

    The Chili Sunday event is open to anyone – club member or not. Young or older. With respect to Covid protocols, the event is outdoors which is a plus. Social distancing of two metres will be encouraged. Masks are not required, but may be worn if desired.

    Finally, Kate Anderson has once again volunteered to lead a cross-country ski lesson at 1 p.m. for anyone young or older wishing some instruction. The beginning of the Kane trail is absolutely perfect for a first-time experience.

    C’est tout pour maintenant. Happy trails!

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