Skogan Pass
Shaun Luong, Zosia Zgolak and I skied to Skogan Pass in Alberta's Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park on 27 February 2021.  Zosia and I had already skied to the pass in 2018 via the groomed trail from Nakiska Ski Resort, but this time, we wanted to try it from the north.  Since the approach from the north is not groomed, we opted to use AT ski gear which would be better than light touring gear for the descent if conditions were choppy or icy.

From the interchange with Trans-Canada Highway at Dead Man's Flats, drive south on George Biggy Sr. Road for 1.4 kilometres and turn right into Pigeon Mountain Day Use area (toilet and picnic tables).

Starting at the south end of the day use area, Shaun, Zosia and I skied past a gate and soon reached a signed junction under a power line.  The trail to Skogan Pass mostly follows the power line right-of-way for the first 3.5 kilometres, but there are a couple of detours into the trees to climber's left.  Although we bypassed the first detour by staying in the right-of-way, the second detour was necessary to circumvent a deep ravine.  The somewhat undulating trail eventually veers away from the power line and traverses around the headwaters of Pigeon Creek before climbing up to intersect the trail coming from Nakiska Ski Resort.  The pass is only a short distance from this last junction.  Throughout the approach, we had the benefit of following fresh ski tracks up until the last kilometre or so before the pass (whoever made the tracks left the trail to venture somewhere up the south end of Pigeon Mountain), and even then, we could still follow some old tracks that were not yet obscured by recent snowfall.  Upon arriving at Skogan Pass, we wandered a little further south to get out of the wind for a short break.

For our return trip, Shaun, Zosia and I simply skied back the same way.  Admittedly, the trail is a bit frustrating to descend as there are many flat or uphill sections throughout its entire length.  While Shaun and Zosia opted to lock their heels for a few sustained downhill sections, I descended entirely with free heels.  Back in the power line right-of-way, we made the mistake of following some tracks that appeared to short cut the second detour, but confronted with the deep ravine, we realized that there was no easy way across and had to backtrack to the detour.  The remainder of our ski back to the day use area was problem-free.
Prevent forest fires...of course!

Shaun and Zosia ski past the gate at the trailhead.

I feel sleepy already!

Shaun and Zosia begin the long climb to Skogan Pass.

Short cuts not recommended! The trail mostly follows the power line right-of-way for the first half of the approach.
I didn't realize elk and bighorn sheep were endangered... Shaun skis under some open slopes near the south end of Pigeon Mountain.  Technically, these open slopes are off-limits annually from December 1 to June 15 to protect critical winter habitats for elk and bighorn sheep.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Still a long way to go! Skogan Pass is visible at right.

Very nice except for the annoying power lines!

Here is the view to the northwest from Skogan Pass.


It took us a long 4 hours to get up here!

Zosia and Shaun arrive at Skogan Pass (2077 metres).

Why are my feet backwards??

Shaun, Zosia and Sonny pose for a group photo at their lunch spot just south of Skogan Pass.

We should have wandered over to Matt Hobbs' secret viewpoint for an unobstructed view! Here is a power line-obscured view of Wind Ridge with The Three Sisters at left.  The previous weekend, Zosia and Sonny visited Windy Viewpoint, the open bump at the east (right) end of Wind Ridge.
I still need to climb Lougheed 1 and 3...

Here is a view of the first three peaks of Mount Lougheed from the trail near the south end of Pigeon Mountain.

Don't expect to make a lot of turns on this trip! On the ski out, Zosia enjoys some easy cruising along the trail.
I'm envious of his new light G3 SEEKR skis! Shaun turns a corner coming out of the forest.
Don't forget the detour to avoid the ravine! The ski back along the power line right-of-way is fairly gentle with a few annoying uphill sections.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Shaun and Sonny come across an interesting denizen along the trail.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Just kidding. It's hard to pick up speed on this trail! Sonny takes advantage of a downhill section to pick up speed.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

It's probably overkill using AT gear for this trip. Total Distance:  18.6 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  6 hours 34 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  681 metres

GPX Data