Pass Powderkeg Ski Area
Heading out for a week-long road trip, Zosia Zgolak and I stopped for a quick ski at Pass Powderkeg Ski Area on the outskirts of Blairmore, Alberta on 29 December 2019.  Having driven through Crowsnest Pass countless times, I have always been curious about this obscure little ski hill which caters mostly to local families.  Snow conditions were somewhat marginal in the area on this day, and as such, the majority of the runs were closed.  Undeterred, we grabbed a couple of free lift tickets for the bunny hill before skinning up beside the beginners' tow rope and continuing beyond on one of the closed runs.  Before leaving the bunny hill, we chatted with a ski patroller/instructor who gave us some directions for getting to the top of the ski hill.  She did not seem concerned that we were traveling uphill or planning to venture onto some of the closed ski runs, but she did strongly recommend that we carry a trail map in case we got lost somewhere on this little ski hill!

Past the bunny hill, we enjoyed some solitude as we skinned up the runs near the eastern and southern boundaries of the ski area.  Other than one very steep section (Rad's Drop), we had few difficulties climbing to the top of the ski area, and one of the upper runs, though technically closed, was even groomed for some strange reason.

The actual high point of the ski hill is slightly out of bounds in a small grove of trees near a designated mountain biking trail (net elevation gain of 191 metres from the parking lot).  Although the snow coverage here was thin, we took a small detour anyway to tag the high point before re-entering the ski area near the top of the upper T-bar.  We removed our skins here and skied down Chinook, the lone run that was open for skiing on the upper mountain on this day.  Returning to the base area, we took advantage of our free beginners' lift tickets and skied a few quick laps of the bunny hill before packing up and hitting the road.
Hmmm...maybe we should have brought our snowshoes... In terms of snow coverage, things are already looking grim only 1.5 kilometres from the ski area.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Lake Louise or Sunshine this ain't! Zosia sets off toward the bunny hill (centre).  Besides the bunny hill, the only ski run open on this day is Chinook which is the one at far right.
Although more snow was needed here, the existing snow quality was not bad. Just beyond the bunny hill, Zosia finds solitude along Lower Spina Trail.
Not quite ready for skiing yet! Zosia prepares to climb up the steep run known as Rad's Drop.
My face almost matches the colour of my pants! Views begin to open up as Sonny reaches the top of Rad's Drop.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

This is actually somewhat outside the actual ski area. Zosia reaches the high point (1608 metres) of Pass Powderkeg Ski Area.
Rip it, Zosia! Zosia carves some turns on the ski run known as Chinook.
Looks like we had the whole ski hill to ourselves! The town of Blairmore sits at the foot of Pass Powderkeg Ski Area.  Visible to the northeast across the valley are Greenhill Ridge (left) and Bluff Mountain.
Free skiing...'nuff said! Zosia uses the free beginners' lift to do a few laps on the bunny hill.