Are you looking for some good challenges to keep your ski exciting at Dawn Mountain? There are several popular Strava segments that are worth a try, in true Nordic style. At the risk of losing all of my records, here are my recommendations for a lung-busting good time.
Starting at the bottom of Marmot at the junction of Moose, Marmot is a gradual, but tough, climb right up to the intersection of Chickadee. This climb is 800m with 51 m of elevation gain. Don’t think you’re done until you’re right at Chickadee and the base of Cougar Cub. There is a trail, Cougar, that breaks off to the right just below the top of the climb, but that is not the finish, you still have about 100 m left!
Super Charger is also a complete trail, but not a loop – attack it in a clockwise (south to north) direction. It features both climbs and descents, technical corners and even little rollers that you can get air on! A total of 500m with 33m of elevation difference, the segment starts with a stiff climb but there’s lots of fun to follow. Be careful at the very end of the segment where you’ll be making a high speed intersection with the “green” Beaver trail. I recommend you plan to stay right until you bleed off some speed.
The Moose Climb segment is an alternative to Marmot Climb. This version of Moose climb starts at the intersection of Moose and Pegasus, actually “most” of the way up Moose proper, but includes the toughest climbing. This is also 800 m with an elevation gain of 59 m. The end is where Moose connects to Chickadee and you see all the happy recreational skiers wondering why you’re busting a gut.
There are three great segments that involve Raven.
This is the traditional direction for Raven so it’s a very popular segment and “easy” to complete… as much as 4.8 km with 70m of elevation difference is easy to complete. The segment ends with the monster “Lower Raven Climb” segment, so save some juice for that. The segment starts at the start of Raven at the bottom of Hawk Owl & Caribou intersection. It ends where Raven connects with Caribou, after a short but sweet downhill (not a complete loop).
Not surprisingly this has the same distance and elevation difference as in the traditional direction. This direction is arguably more difficult with a longer climbing section at the end… and fewer people do it. The clockwise direction course record is held by a top Canadian cross country skier (biathlete) and is a full four minutes faster than counter-clockwise direction. The counter-clockwise direction is definitely a slower direction, due to the additional climbing.
Lower Raven Climb
The Lower Raven Climb starts at the end of an approximately 400 m flat stretch and climbs to the high point, 900 m later and 44 m higher. The flat stretch is very obvious as the rest of the trail is quite rolling. The high point is also obvious as there is a clear descent following it. This section is certainly the crux of the Raven Trail and the reason many skiers think twice before skiing it.
Keep all of these in mind the next time you want to challenge yourself at the Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre.