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Snowshoeing on the Ski Trails of Peter Lougheed Park

2011-03-05

Thursday March 3rd, a group of friends and myself witnessed two snowshoers who blatantly disregarded the safety of their fellow trail users. They began their hike in the Boulton Creek area and proceeded up the middle of the Whiskey Jack ski trail, and from there on up to the Fire Lookout. Both of these routes have some of the steepest hills in the Park’s entire system of groomed xc-ski trails.

Last week most trails in the Park were carefully trackset for the annual 47 km “Cookie Race”. Since then very cold temperatures kept skiers at home and new snow has covered most of the set tracks. From the photos it is clear that this snowshoe track in fresh snow will harden overnight to provide a difficult downhill trip for skiers on light xc-skis. While this is a concern for all, it is a particular concern for seniors who use these trails.

On every day of the week there is a Seniors’ Outdoor Club from Calgary skiing and snowshoeing in the Park ( two clubs were out yesterday ). As a member of one such club and as Chair of the Calgary Coalition of Seniors’ Outdoor Clubs, I have friends who have switched from xc-skiing to snowshoeing. They would prefer to ski but are worried about falls which could end their weekly outdoor activities. About 50% of our members now snowshoe. They are respectful of the ski trails and usually use KC’s designated snowshoe trails or they pioneer their own routes all from the same parking areas, but away from the ski trails.

In conclusion, xc-ski trail conditions are important to all skiers. It is generally agreed that snowshoers should NOT use the designated ski trails ( this is KC policy!). When snowshoers do use these trails they should keep well over to the RIGHTHAND side , especially on hills.

Maurice Gaucher

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