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Who christened the trail known as the "Back Door?"

Report Submitted by bob truman
(trip) Date: Friday Nov 17, 2023

Submitted: Friday Nov 17, 2023 at 22:17


The "Back Door" is a term we hear frequently at this time of year. Helen Read is responsible for naming the trail. It sure rolls off the tongue better than “Kananaskis Fire Lookout Access Road.”

While I’m at it, I’d like to give recognition to Helen for some of her other contributions to xc skiing in the SkierRoger domain.

She submitted dozens, if not hundreds, of trip reports when I was moderating and this has continued on SkierRoger. Her detailed reports have helped many skiers decide on their next-day destination.

This could also have been titled “Tribute to the Cookie Lady.” She thanks the groomers with her delicious homemade cookies when she encounters them on the trail.

On one of Helen’s trip reports she mentioned “If I were able to come back in my next life as anyone else, I would want to be a Pisten Bully driver.”

In the past, I’ve referred to her as the “ Iron Lady.” She skis in excess of 1000K every winter(1265K last winter) She’s 76 years old.

Helen is to blame for naming the loop that we now know as the SkierBob Special. It’s my all-time favourite and I thank Helen for this bit of infamy and recognition.

I met Helen for the first time on Nov 24, 2011 on Elk Pass where she was breaking trail in deep snow.

Celebrating 1000K at Cascade Valley. Feb 28, 2017

Bringing treats to MaSid at the snow couch near Elk Pass. Feb 19, 2018.

Helen is looking small on this elaborate couch constructed by MaSid. Dec 19, 2018.

Helen retrieves her scarf on the Bill Milne trail. Feb 23, 2019.

Helen had lost her scarf the previous day. George found it and tied it to a tree.

Moraine Lake Road. Nov 16, 2016.

Feb 19, 2019

Yoho Valley Road. Dec 16, 2017

March 11, 2015. Photo by Chuck.

4 comment(s) posted


2023-11-18 at 06:52 - comment by SteveR

Nice write up, Bob. She's got great taste in beer! I've yet to meet Helen out on the trail, but it seems like we were not too far behind as we followed her solo track in the fresh snow at the Back Door on Thursday morning.

2023-11-18 at 08:43 - comment by Chuck

Thanks Bob for bringing that Day in the Past back to life with your cover photo!
We remember it well, celebrating our exploration of the Ottertail Fireroad.

Helen and Jeannette

2023-11-18 at 10:27 - comment by Marilyn

Lovely retrospective Bob about a wonderful person who makes everyone feel welcome and included whatever the group or activity.

2023-11-18 at 14:06 - comment by ulrikeski

I've had the pleasure of meeting Helen on the ski trails. She is a great inspiration with her zest for cross country skiing. Keep it up, Helen!


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