Boundary Ridge
On 18 December 2021, Daniel Dufresne, Shaun Luong, Aga Sokolowska, Wil Tabak, Zosia Zgolak and I did a ski traverse of Boundary Ridge in Alberta's Kananaskis Country Public Land Use Zone.  The ridge is usually accessed via an official trail which is part of the West Bragg Creek trail network.  Although a hike which utilizes the trail is described in Gillean Daffern's Kananaskis Country Trail Guide (she refers to the objective as "Fisher Ridge"), we drew most of our inspiration from a mountain biking trip report by Bob Spirko.  I suspect that the trail is more popular with hikers and mountain bikers, but I figured that we could also make it up there on light-touring or cross-country skis if there was enough snow.

Starting from the southwest corner of the West Bragg Creek parking lot, Daniel, Shaun, Aga, Wil, Zosia and I skied through a maze of trails to the south, and with the help of ubiquitous maps located at all important junctions, we were soon climbing up the signed Boundary Ridge trail.  Snow coverage on the ridge was not superb, but it was adequate enough for skiing on this day.  A recent windstorm knocked down many trees partway up the ridge effectively choking the official trail.  As such, we were forced to carry our skis and thrash through quite a bit of blowdown before finally giving up on the trail and taking to a large cut block on the west side of the ridge.  We made better progress here and followed a marked equestrian route all the way to the high point of the ridge.

After taking a short break on top, Daniel, Shaun, Aga, Wil, Zosia and I followed the edge of the cut block as we descended the south end of the ridge.  Again, snow coverage here was marginal, but we were not too proud to pick up our skis and walk if necessary.  At one point, everyone backtracked uphill to search for one of Wil's climbing skins which had inadvertently fallen off his ski.  Fortunately, the missing climbing skin was successfully retrieved, and we had no other problems descending the rest of the ridge and intersecting Iron Springs trail.  From there, we followed Iron Springs trail briefly before taking a connector to Elbow trail which we followed back to Sundog Loop trail and subsequently the trailhead.  In contrast to what we encountered on the ridge, the skiing on these trails was excellent, and the highlight of the day for me was a glorious downhill run just before Elbow trail intersects Sundog Loop trail.  While Shaun had to head home early to do some Christmas shopping, the rest of us convened at the Powderhorn Saloon in Bragg Creek for a very nice après-ski to round out the day.
Where's the "You Are Here" pin?

Aga, Shaun and Wil wait as Daniel and Zosia consult the map at the trailhead in West Bragg Creek.


Boundary Ridge is actually part of the Trans Canada Trail network.

And they're not even using climbing skins--truly hardcore! Daniel, Shaun and Aga ascend Boundary Ridge trail which barely has adequate snow coverage for skiing on this day.  The trail is probably more popular with hikers and mountain bikers.
Thank you, Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association! Convenient maps are located at all important junctions throughout the West Bragg Creek trail network.
It gets worse... A recent windstorm in the area forces the group to circumvent or step over blowdown.
Someone needs to come through here with a chainsaw... Aga and Zosia resort to carrying their skis due to the abundance of blowdown choking the trail.

Better than having no views at all!

Far-reaching views open up behind Aga with Moose Mountain visible at far left.


The skiing is marginal here, but it beats bushwhacking! The sun briefly makes an appearance over Boundary Ridge.
Won't ever be confused with the Matterhorn! The top of Boundary Ridge is just ahead.
Merry Christmas, everybody! Standing near Boundary Ridge's high point (1608 metres) are Aga, Daniel, Shaun, Wil, Zosia and Sonny.
Barely skiable!

The group follows a cut block down the south end of Boundary Ridge.  At centre in the distance is McLean Hill.

Elves on speed!

Wil and Sonny wait their turn as Shaun zips down a steep hill.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Wil has lost one of his climbing skins here and doesn't even know it! The thin snow coverage does not deter anyone from skiing down this slope.
But not for long!

The group returns to civilized skiing on Iron Springs trail.

Looks kinda like a human centipede!

The group herringbones up a short but steep connector between Iron Springs trail and Elbow trail.

Gees, it's uphill both ways!

The group heads north along Elbow trail.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...

At a split in the trail, Zosia, Shaun and Daniel wait for Wil who will decide which way they will go.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

From the split, Wil follows Aga up the more difficult trail.

Rippin' it!

Aga picks up speed coming out the other end of the split.

Smacznego! Bon appétit! Eet smakelijk!

Zosia, Daniel, Aga, Wil and Sonny partake in an après-ski at the Powderhorn Saloon in Bragg Creek.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Not destined to be a classic ski ascent but quite fun nonetheless! Total Distance:  10.1 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  4 hours 37 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  200 metres

GPX Data