Fernie or Canmore (Kananaskis) June 2016?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fernie or Canmore (Kananaskis) June 2016?

    Hey Guys,

    I know there are lots of threads on visitors to western Alberta/Eastern BC and I've read a pile of threads till my eyes started to bleed and in some ways am just as undecided as I was when I started so many options, too many options.

    So, I'm hoping for some suggestions, not lots, but just a couple and I can dig a bit more with maybe a bit more direction.

    The wife and I are coming to Golden June 15-25th 2016 for the Golden 24. Flying into Calgary from Toronto, renting a van and driving over. I'm racing the 24hr solo and she is doing the 8hr solo. Training has already begun, I have almost burnt out my programmable trainer already!

    After the race, assuming we have any legs at all left we are planning on some more relaxed riding and we have narrowed it down to either Fernie or Canmore but that is where the problem lies, we can't decide which.

    We are not the downhill/bike park type of riders (although she is pretty quick!) more cross country, between the 2 of us I'd say strong intermediate with some black thrown in for our combined abilities (we will be riding together), I am a stronger rider but we will be together so no point doing double blacks... although I watched a video of the Razors Edge in Kananaskis and that we just might try if we head there.

    I'm riding a 4" travel bike and she is on a carbon hardtail but she would entertain the thought of renting a FS if necessary.

    We will be camping after the race as well, I can find the parks closest to either location on my own, but would also take a recommendation there as well if someone has personal experience.

    Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

    Dennis
    Somewhere lost in the Bush!

  2. #2
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    Fernie has more trails very close to town, but Canmore likely has more long trails within a short drive once you include Kananaskis Country about 20-25 minutes to the east. Canmore is on the way back to Calgary from Golden (about 70 minutes from Canmore to Calgary - except for the end of weekends when it could be 2-3 hours if there's traffic accidents), so it would shorten your driving time back to the airport, so you could ride longer on your last day.

    The town of Golden is at 750m elevation, Fernie is 1000m elevation and Canmore is 1375m elevation so that thinner air will likely make the post race recovery a bit slower and many of those Rocky Mountain high rides more lung busting.

    Many of the black diamond rated trails in the Rockies are DH/freeride trails, not black diamond XC trails, so you may find that XC bikes are quickly outgunned, and many of them will not intersect other XC trails so if you pick the wrong trails you may have a long walk out or just a lot of dismounting and finding a way around obstacles or other TTFs. Chatting with the local bike shop crowd about trail choice is always a good idea.

    So other than that, flip a coin, there'd be enough ribbons of dirt in either place to use up the last of your post race legs.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks Rocky, that is exactly what I was looking for.

    We were in Crested Butte 2yrs ago, I rode up and down the 401 trail actually managed pretty good in that super thin air (14000') and raced the following weekend in Steamboat, don't think I was fully recovered from that climb of the 401 that week later though, I managed both races (Steamboat Stinger Kingbee) but it wasn't pretty!

    D
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    Not sure about Canmore, but Fernie is more downhill & all-mountain trail riding; lots of up and down... Though there is something for everyone there and it's a beautiful town with an extensive network... There are also some amazing true XC trails in the Cranbrook and Invermere area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kulharin View Post
    Not sure about Canmore, but Fernie is more downhill & all-mountain trail riding; lots of up and down... Though there is something for everyone there and it's a beautiful town with an extensive network... There are also some amazing true XC trails in the Cranbrook and Invermere area.
    We are actually visiting a friend in Invermere after the race for a day or so... She does not ride and said she knows nothing of riding in the area although she is an avid hiker. Maybe 2 full days there is warranted...
    Somewhere lost in the Bush!

  6. #6
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    The two Johnson trail loops on the road to Panorama are great, there is also the 20km Spirit Trail (loop) on the east side of Columbia Lake. All fast, flowing, cruisey trails in some remarkable countryside.

  7. #7
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    Fernie blows Canmore away. Lots of great descents are doable on an XC bike.

  8. #8
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    Golden to Fernie has millions of trails....so does Golden to Calgary....

    Personally I would minimize driving....that means driving down to Invermere then back via Hwy 93 to Canmore....

    At least three or four days of riding in Invermere.....some driving to trail heads.

    Probably three days of riding without driving a lick in Canmore...

    If you then went to Bragg Creek or Calgary (about 50 km east of bragg) easily another five days of riding...

    BTW the riding days is probably more than a little conservatively estimated.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by osteo View Post
    Hey Guys,

    I know there are lots of threads on visitors to western Alberta/Eastern BC and I've read a pile of threads till my eyes started to bleed and in some ways am just as undecided as I was when I started so many options, too many options.

    So, I'm hoping for some suggestions, not lots, but just a couple and I can dig a bit more with maybe a bit more direction.

    The wife and I are coming to Golden June 15-25th 2016 for the Golden 24. Flying into Calgary from Toronto, renting a van and driving over. I'm racing the 24hr solo and she is doing the 8hr solo. Training has already begun, I have almost burnt out my programmable trainer already!

    After the race, assuming we have any legs at all left we are planning on some more relaxed riding and we have narrowed it down to either Fernie or Canmore but that is where the problem lies, we can't decide which.

    We are not the downhill/bike park type of riders (although she is pretty quick!) more cross country, between the 2 of us I'd say strong intermediate with some black thrown in for our combined abilities (we will be riding together), I am a stronger rider but we will be together so no point doing double blacks... although I watched a video of the Razors Edge in Kananaskis and that we just might try if we head there.

    I'm riding a 4" travel bike and she is on a carbon hardtail but she would entertain the thought of renting a FS if necessary.

    We will be camping after the race as well, I can find the parks closest to either location on my own, but would also take a recommendation there as well if someone has personal experience.

    Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

    Dennis

    I think it comes down to how much driving to the trails do you want to do?
    Calgary/Kananaskis/Bragg area has more trails and longer potential loops but you have a 25-50min drive depending on the distance. Plus, as mentioned above, the TransCanada is busy on the weekends.

    Most of the trailheads in Fernie are rideable from town. The individual trails there are usually shorter so to get a decent loop, you have to link a number of them together and they tend to be steeper climbs.
    Invermere is nice as well but doesn't have as well developed of a network as Fernie or Calgary. It is worth a stop to ride, for sure.

    I love the riding in both spots, though.

  10. #10
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    As ripper stated Fernie blows away everywhere you mentioned, unless you are camping outside of Bragg Creek. Beauty of Fernie is the ability to ride to pretty much everything from town, great vibe too, the town bleeds bikes in summer.

  11. #11
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    Since you are in Golden and going to Invermere…….. Here is a few links to help you decide that Fernie is a great idea……

    Welcome to the Fernie Mountain Bike Club | Fernie Mountain Bike Club

    and

    Kootenay biking from Pinkbike site

  12. #12
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    Either place is great. Canmore has lots of options and K-country is great as well. West Bragg and Moose mountain are good. Fernie is my favourite place to ride. It's typical mountain town XC.

    In terms of Razors Edge. I've ridden it multiple times and it's most definitely not a XC trail.
    My wife is a strong intermediate rider and I would never take her on it. There are sections that are harder to walk down than ride down. Very fun but challenging. I would recommend having someone who knows the trail take you on it.

    Have fun at the Golden 24. I'll be there in a 5 person team.

  13. #13
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    There are plenty of worthy riding in K country, just not Bragg. Being an ex-Ontarian I like Bragg but friends have gotten me further south of Bragg riding Multi-purpose trails.

  14. #14
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    Powder Face Ridge, Elbow Loop, Jewel Pass or Prairie View (some grinding climb there), Moosepackers Trail, a lot of long rides.

    Quote Originally Posted by binrat View Post
    There are plenty of worthy riding in K country, just not Bragg. Being an ex-Ontarian I like Bragg but friends have gotten me further south of Bragg riding Multi-purpose trails.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    Powder Face Ridge, Elbow Loop, Jewel Pass or Prairie View (some grinding climb there), Moosepackers Trail, a lot of long rides.
    Those are great but further south, Sheep River valley area down to Hailstone Butte area.

  16. #16
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    Man, back to so many options!!! We won't be on the TransCanada during the weekend, all our riding will be during the week so I think trails and roads should be a tad calmer. Riding from our doorstep also would be nice but not imperative as long as it is not more than a 30min drive to the trail head at the most (same as what we have here at home).

    But as said above in Fernie if the general loops are small and we can add them together that works as well.

    aricthered - I'll heed your caution and not bother take the wife on Razor Edge, no point in either of us getting injured so far from home. We raced Steamboat Stinger 2yrs ago she did the Mtn Bike (I did both) and she crashed, separated her shoulder and walked/rode out 13k after that.. it has taken her almost 2yrs to get her confidence back up... not risking that again.

    Now I have some names of trails I can look up so that will help.

    Thanks guys!

    Dennis
    Somewhere lost in the Bush!

  17. #17
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    My wife and I will be in the K-country area in August looking for xc riding trails. She is a intermediate rider and I have raced cat 1 mountain bike in the past. I was wondering about carrying bear spray. Should we bring some?
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  18. #18
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    Bear spray is a good idea, K-Country you could find black bears or even a grizzly.

    Alberta Parks Be Bear Smart

    Bear sightings west of Calgary have official urging caution - Calgary - CBC News
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  19. #19
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    Bear spray is an excellent idea. Pretty much standard issue for most riders around here. Remember, you can't fly with bear spray, airlines aren't overly fond of it. But all the shops around here sell it. Also check out WildSmart - Living with Bears, Cougars and Wildlife in the Bow Valley

  20. #20
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    Thanks, for the help I'll get some.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrid View Post
    My wife and I will be in the K-country area in August looking for xc riding trails. She is a intermediate rider and I have raced cat 1 mountain bike in the past. I was wondering about carrying bear spray. Should we bring some?
    Yes, bring bear spray. Better to have it and not need it compared to needing it and not having it.

  22. #22
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    lookmat that I'm the OP for this thread! bear spray was strongly suggested to us as well from some friends. So, picked up a can, took off the packaging and cut the zip tie (no returning it), and as mentioned airlines frown on it being on their planes.

    Thankfully we didn't need it, so we ended up giving it to a shop owner that was really helpful.

    Have a great time!
    Somewhere lost in the Bush!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by osteo View Post
    lookmat that I'm the OP for this thread! bear spray was strongly suggested to us as well from some friends. So, picked up a can, took off the packaging and cut the zip tie (no returning it), and as mentioned airlines frown on it being on their planes.

    Thankfully we didn't need it, so we ended up giving it to a shop owner that was really helpful.

    Have a great time!
    We are driving from Idaho so no worries about the airline, just wondering any difficulty crossing the border into Canada with the bear spray?
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  24. #24
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    Probably not if it is labeled as Bear Spray and not just pepper spray, but you might want to declare it and present it so it isn't discovered in a search. Here's the regulations from Canada Border Services

    http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publicati...9-13-2-eng.pdf

    Weapons

    Prohibited weapons

    18. In order for a good to be classified as a prohibited weapon, it must fall within the Criminal Code definition of “prohibited weapon”. Only those weapons may be classified
    under TI 9898.00.00.

    (c) Any other spray designed to be used against humans (e.g., “pepper spray”) – These are chemical agents, often packaged in the form of aerosol sprays, made with the active ingredient capsaicin. Pepper spray is also known as OC (oleoresin capsicum) spray or OC gas. It is used to cause temporary incapacitation through irritation of eyes, skin, mucous membranes, and/or respiratory system, sometimes causing temporary blindness. In addition, some devices labelled as “pepper spray” may also contain Mace and/or tear gas.

    Exception: Aerosol or similar dispensers that contain substances capable of repelling or subduing animals (e.g. dog or bear repellent) are not considered prohibited weapons if:

    (i) the label of the container indicates specifically that it is for use against animals only; and

    (ii) the provisions of the Pest Control Products Act are met.

    (iii) In order for a device or dispenser to be considered to meet the above criteria, it must be apparent that the device was designed exclusively for the control or use against animals. The manufacturer’s label and specifications will be deemed as the design of the product. The misuse of these or any other similar device may nonetheless be punishable under other laws.

    (iv) Please note that there is no minimum quantity or capacity requirements (in terms of grams or milliliters) in making the determination with respect to animal repellents.


    Certainly with headlines like this, carrying bear spray in the Parks would not be frowned upon. Worst case is you surrender it at the border and buy it locally.

    Alberta bear attacks have some on high alert - Calgary - CBC News
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

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    Hi all, thought I'd chime in on bear spray as we are heading to Fernie tomorrow. We've been in Rossland, BC for a week now and have seen 4 black bears while riding! When we arrived locals told us sightings were rare. I guess we are "lucky". Anyways we have a can of spray in the pack and a bear bell now. Ran the 7 summit's trail this weekend and no problems. Looking forward to a week in Fernie tomorrow. Someone just told us about the "Lazy Lizard" trail. Sounds fun.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcharrette View Post
    Hi all, thought I'd chime in on bear spray as we are heading to Fernie tomorrow. We've been in Rossland, BC for a week now and have seen 4 black bears while riding! When we arrived locals told us sightings were rare. I guess we are "lucky". Anyways we have a can of spray in the pack and a bear bell now. Ran the 7 summit's trail this weekend and no problems. Looking forward to a week in Fernie tomorrow. Someone just told us about the "Lazy Lizard" trail. Sounds fun.
    Wow! We rode not 10' beside in during the Golden 24, she was just hanging out watching the racers, pretty cool on one hand, sorta scary kn the other.

    We went to the Bean Pod and the owner there gave us some good trail suggestions, the girl in The Hub was good, but he is closer to our age (mid 40's) so was a bit more practical. He also suggested the Lazy Lizard, a fun trail up and I can imagine a wicked trail down (8km of climbing/descent) but it was pissing rain when we got to the top and I had a near slick racing tire on the back so we took the road down, we should have ridden it again before leaving!

    I know the Single Track 6 just had it as part of their race yesterday! An indication of how good it is!

    D
    Somewhere lost in the Bush!

  27. #27
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    Yea I saw the Single Track 6 and looked up their routes on Strava for reference. Another good one to use is the Fernie Enduro. It looks like it was a 3 day event. Between those 2 we should keep busy for a few day. Time to pack up and drive there!
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrid View Post
    We are driving from Idaho so no worries about the airline, just wondering any difficulty crossing the border into Canada with the bear spray?
    We just got back from Fernie where we crossed the border at Eastport. Border guard didn't even pause when we said we had bear spray. Apparently a non-issue as I read on the internet. Same thing coming back to US. Have fun!

  29. #29
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    Looking to ride bragg creek this weekend. Also was thinking to ride goat creek trail to banff and legacy trail back to canmore. Was gonna either bike from canmore to the trail head or bike back to the trailhead after. With the closure now near canmore would that be dangerous? We'd be riding the road not trails though. Or is it better to leave cars?

  30. #30
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    The "road" is a long steep gravel grunt cut into the slopes of the mountain. I wouldn't really recommend riding it on a holiday weekend (but people do). The cars and the dust will be more dangerous than the bears on that road

    Canmore Banff Bike 'n Hike Shuttle Is a local shuttlecompany, if that's easier than riding or shuffling cars.

    The primary reason for the bear warnings and closures is the big crop of buffaloberries. The bears are face first in the bushes, not paying attention, and don't react well to sudden surprises (bikes). So encounters on a road are theoretically possible, but not very likely.
    Last edited by CanmoreBruce; 07-28-2016 at 07:27 AM.

  31. #31
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    Sorry! Lots of typos and autocorrects. My first time attempting to reply to a post using my iPhone. Doesn't really seem to work very well (doesn't work at all in mobile view, and difficult to use the desktop version on a phone screen).

  32. #32
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    That climb from the Nordic Centre up to the trail head is just plain ugly, unless it has rained quite recently it is Baja dusty and loose gravel and potholes so people in vehicles are often watching for potholes more than bikes. And the goofs in the 4x4 pickup trucks tend to blast along at a speed that creates maximum dust cloud. That long diagonal scar is most of the road.

    Something else to be aware of at this time of year is the likely arrival of the late afternoon thunderstorms, they sneak up on you from the west behind the mountains, and in the space of 20-30 minutes the sun can vanish and you can get a real gully washer of a rainstorm that lasts 20-60 minutes.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Fernie or Canmore (Kananaskis) June 2016?-canmore-panorama.jpg  

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    I couldn't have said it better myself! The only time I ride it is in the early spring, when it isn't busy, and the road surface is damp. It would actually be really miserable and quite dangerous to ride it during a summer weekend.

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    Yup mobile view doesn't work very well.

    Thanks for the headsup! I will leave a vehicle or take the shuttle instead.

    I hope the weather doesn't get too ugly this weekend... Might get interesting.

    Thanks again guys!

  35. #35
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    Carry a light waterproof jacket along, the temperature can drop quickly if a thunderstorm rolls through at these elevations, you don't want to be wet if that happens. It looks like the weekend is only forecast to be in the 13-18C for highs.
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    Thanks for all the advice. Defimitelynglad we didn't plan to tie up that gravel hill! Steep and long as he'll. Brought that rain jacket and it sure helped too. Altho I only needed it for 10 mins, since 94th storm missed us. As soon as we arrived in banff it started pouring lol

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