Snowshoers have their own dedicated trail to the top of Elk pass, yet they choose to use the ski trail, which lessens the enjoyment and can even create dangerous conditions for skiers. We’ve received some insightful comments on the issue which are posted below.
It would be great to hear from some snowshoers who could give us some insight into this phenomenon.
I’ve come to the conclusion that snowshoers would use the snowshoe trail if we started skiing on it. I think Alf has a good point when he asks, “nobody has packed down the snowshoe trail and actual snowshoeing is too much work?”
If I was a snowshoer, I’d have mixed emotions about being on a ski trail. I’d see all those skiers having way more fun, and I’d be very envious. I might be willing to put up with the sideways glances from skiers, however, because of the ease of walking on those nice tracks.
Peter Haase(on facebook):
Over the past five years or so there has been an explosion in the numbers of snowshoers out in the Rockies. I’m not against snowshoes, I have a pair and use them when ski conditions are poor. My complaint is that when I first learned to cross country ski about 40 years ago, the instructor gave us tips on the ethics of skiing, such as the down hill skier has the right of way etc. But today most snowshoers plunk down there $100 at MEC, Canadian Tire or 10 bucks at the rental shop and off they go. They are not skiers, because if there were, they would realize how boring snowshoeing is in comparison to skiing. The problem is that many are using the traditional ski trails as winter trails. Parks are trying to discourage snowshoers from using trackset trails, but are deeming the skier set trails as multiuser. Here in lies the conflict, soon after a group of snowshoers use a ski trail it become difficult or dangerous to ski on. Case in point, last winter I suffered a knee injury skiing out of Boom Lake on a frozen set of Snowshoe tracks. A couple of weeks ago I skied Redearth Creek and a trio of snowshoers marched three abreast up the trail including on the trackset. The snow was still soft, so it was less pleasurable and not yet dangerous. I think that the time has come when skiers need to write the parks to demand that the traditional ski trails be declared off limits to snowshoers. There are lots of trails that are completely unsuitable to ski, but would be great on snowshoes.
Alf Skrastins(comment on this blog):
I took a photo of the official Elk Pass Snowshoe trail from Elk Pass. There is not a single snowshoe print along the entire length of the “hydro-line” section. Why is that? Why do the hordes of snowshoers insist on stomping right up the ski trail instead? Is it because none of the junction trail maps show any snowshoe trails? Is it because the snowshoe trail is sometimes on the ski trail and sometimes not… without any signage to explain the difference? Is it because the Hydroline portion of the Elk Pass Snowshoe trail is mind-numbingly boring and tedious? Or is it because nobody has packed down the snowshoe trail and actual snowshoeing is too much work?
At the north Elk Pass-Hydro Line junction, a little girl pointed at the snowshoe trail coming out of the woods from Fox Creek and asked her mother “where does that trail go?” Her mom said “that’s not a real trail, it’s just something that snowshoers broke on their own”. There is no signage around to dispute that observation.
It can’t be because it is boring or unscenic. Hydroline is open and exposed and offers magnificent scenery. The photo on my blog header was taken on Hydroline.