- Tessa – ready to ski at Mt Shark Mar 11, 2009
Tessa and I had a great time out at Mt Shark today. The trails had all been trackset and groomed yesterday. The air temp was -12 with sunny skies. In a few places there was some wind-blown snow in the tracks, but nothing more than a minor inconvenience(more below).
DOGS ON THE TRAIL
As a dog-owner I need to respond to Steve and Richard who left some relevant and thoughtful comments about dogs on my previous post. I am willing to share the trails with the dogs and their owners, but before I became a dog-lover I have to admit that I didn’t have the patience for them, and if I had been a skier back in those days, I would not have appreciated having to look out for off-leash dogs on the trail. We’re fortunate around here to have so many trails and I believe we can share them in a way that would be fair and equitable to everyone.
It’s unfair to any skier to be put in a situation where a loose dog could cause an accident on the ski trail. Now, I am quite willing to slow down when passing/meeting dogs on the trail. In fact, I usually stop and pet them, but we can’t expect everyone to have that attitude. As Steve and Richard mentioned, something pro-active needs to be done before there is a serious accident. It would be nice if every dog was well-trained to go to the side of the trail when directed to do so, to let a skier go by, but I think it’s unrealistic to expect that.
I certainly can empathize with dog-owners who like to ski with their dogs. I haven’t skied much at West Bragg this winter, but it is probably the place most popular for people with dogs. I wonder if they could designate one or two trails just for people with dogs? Any skier going on these trails would have to “yield” to the dogs. All other trails would be for skiers only, or possibly for skiers with dogs on a leash. Do you know if anyone has brought this issue to the attention of the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association?
My statistics for this blog show me the words which people use to search. “Dogs” and “dog-friendly” come up a lot, so I know there is a need for trails where you can take your dog.
Another suggestion would be to talk to Lyle Wilson at Nipika to see how it works there. His place is totally dog-friendly and you can ski with your dog off-leash. I don’t imagine he gets the hordes of traffic that West Bragg gets, however.
I hope we get some more comments, especially if you have ideas on how this problem could be worked out. What is your attitude when you see a dog on the trail?
Back to Mt Shark: Just as we reached the end of Watridge Lake Road, we met a group of six skiers emerging from the shadows of the forest on their way back from Mt Assiniboine. They had already been skiing for six hours! It must have felt good to get on the corduroy of the groomed trails after being in backcountry conditions for 23K.
The trail down to the lake, which is usually glazed, bare, and icy was in perfect condition today. There had been no skiers on the trail to Karst springs as I could see lots of fresh snow over it and no skier-set tracks were visible.
We also did the red/black 5K trail and part of the purple/red trail. Everything was in excellent shape. I’ll post some more photos later.
I also did some skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre today. It keeps getting better there. I skied the low elevation Bow Trail, then the highest elevation Rundle Trail, and everything in between. All good.
Bob’s helpful tip: When skiing on groomed and trackset trails which have wind-blown snow in the tracks, it’s usually faster to ski on the corduroy. The snow in the tracks is usually soft and very slow, whereas the snow won’t accumulate on the corduroy. I experienced this situation at both Mt Shark and at the Nordic Centre today.