-Upper yellow of the Chester-Sawmill trails-
Chester-Sawmill vs Mt Shark
I don’t know how many of you have had the pleasure of skiing on the Chester-Sawmill trails when they were groomed and trackset. The last time any tracksetting was completed there was back in early 2008.
The 15K perimeter loop(consisting of the Yellow and Blue trails on the map) would easily be in my top 5 favourite places to ski. You can access them from Sawmill or Chester Lake parking lots. The drive from Calgary to Sawmill is about the same distance as Calgary to Elk Pass.
A couple years ago I posted my lament about the end of grooming on these trails, and received this comment from Steve Riggs:
“It was a favourite due to the long season, great views, and interesting fun skiing. Far more enjoyable for the recreational tourer than the fairly boring Shark system, which nobody that I know ever goes to.”
You can read the entire post and see more photos Smith-Dorrien trails. They were known as the Smith-Dorrien trails, but I think my present-day readers will have a better idea of their location by referring to them as Chester-Sawmill.
In this era of budget cutbacks I can only fantasize that we may one day be able to ski on the Smith-Dorrien system. On the other hand, if climate change creates fewer skiing opportunities in places like Ribbon Creek and Pocaterra, wouldn’t it be nice to have this area, with its mega snowfall rejuvenated for track skiing?
Ideally, it would be the best of both worlds to have both venues available to us, but I’d gladly trade the Mt Shark system for this one if I had to make the choice.
I realize that Mt Shark is one of the few places where the trails are groomed for skating, and where we can take our dogs. I’d miss the dog aspect.