Fat bikers causing mayhem on Blueberry Hill

by Bob Truman on November 25, 2017

in Fat bikes, Kananaskis, PLPP(P Lougheed Park)

Post image for Fat bikers causing mayhem on Blueberry Hill

-How many rules are being broken in this photo of Blueberry Hill?-

Considering I often ski alone, late in the day, and in extremely cold weather, I’ve always been accepting and prepared to freeze to death on the trail or be eaten by a cougar. God forbid, however, that I’m finished off at the hands of a fat biker. 

Fat bikers on Blueberry Hill at the end of the grooming

I was enjoying the fast downhill on Blueberry Hill, rounded one of the many turns, and to my horror two dismounted fat bikers were using up the entire width of the trail about 50 metres in front of me, oblivious to my presence. My high school math skills told me I had about 3 seconds to stop or hit the ditch. 

Ruts and ridges left by fat bikes on Blueberry Hill

Stopping was impossible, and not wanting to be impaled on a tree, I chose to yell. I was blessed with a forceful, powerful voice and it served me well today. I yelled at the top of my lungs and the two bikers scattered like rats in a dark room when the light is turned on. 

Fat bike ruts on Blueberry Hill

I know a skier who lost his larynx to cancer, who frequently skis Blueberry Hill, and posts trip reports here. Glad it was me on the trail.

Any regular reader of this blog will know I’ve been a proponent of fat biking on groomed ski trails where it’s safe and where it’s allowed, but neither criteria applied today. In addition to being a menace to downhillers, they also left a number of large, deep ruts and ridges on the corduroy. 

I skied right back up the hill, hoping to impart some information. There they were, at the end of the grooming, all seven of them. I said that fat biking on Blueberry Hill was an incredibly dangerous situation for downhill skiers, and that it wasn’t allowed in PLPP in any event, but they were not receptive, and were dismissive of my concerns. 

As I turned to ski away, one of them yelled, “It’s not our fault if you’re just learning to ski.”

I could hear a cacophony of hostile yelling and shouting as I skied away.

I talked to one other skier who said he just about hit their off-leash dog. 

I enjoy seeing dogs on the trail…but not here.

At the Elk Pass – Blueberry Hill junction, the ringleader of the group, Corey, came to talk to me. He said they didn’t know fat biking wasn’t allowed in PLPP. 

Would it be too much to ask fat bikers to do a little research on the trails they are planning to ride? I googled “Kananaskis Country fat biking” and there it was, right at the top of the list which gave the trails where it’s allowed, with one glaring exception: 

Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
Currently NO trails approved for fat biking

Corey asked where I thought fat bikers should go, now that it’s so popular. The above-mentioned Google search will give you the names of 51 trails where fat bikers are allowed, in eight different areas. Almost every hiking and ski trail in Banff National Park is open to fat bikes, so that adds dozens more. They would have driven right past Ribbon Creek where they could have gone up Skogan Pass if they like steep trails. 

He said they were sorry for what happened. The fat bikers then continued up Elk Pass. Yes, UP. After I had pointed out that Fat biking wasn’t allowed in PLPP.

******
Margot, who was descending the trail as I was climbing, encountered the bikers and left these remarks:

“I also was surprised to see them as I quickly descended down Blueberry Hill and said conditions were too fast for them to be on the trail.”

Lyle Opseth also ran into the fat bikers on Blueberry Hill. He relates the incident…

“Thanks Bob for informing the fat-tire cyclists on Blueberry of their mistake. I was also descending down Blueberry when I nearly ran into them. I had just passed you as you were heading up and said “Hi. Nice to see you again.” as I passed by though you didn’t recognize me.

Although I didn’t know that fat-bikes were not allowed in PLPP I did know that no one obstructs an entire ski trail on steep downhills whether he or she is a cyclist, skier, snowshoer or whatever. I silently cursed them for their stupidity as they scattered just in time. They should have figured out the danger from that incident alone. Their lack of etiquette was extremely dangerous and they need to learn proper rules whether they are in PLPP or going up to Skogan Pass. I have met some skiers coming down from Skogan Pass at high speed as I’ve skied up and proper knowledge and observance of etiquette is essential to prevent injuries.

It was even more unacceptable that they shouted at you (an experienced skier) that it’s not their fault your just learning to ski (and you’re on a ski trail!!!) and nor to continue along the trails once you’ve informed them they are not to be on the trails.”

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Martin November 29, 2017 at 4:05 pm

I enjoy both activities and agree that they should not have been on the trail. However, you should also be skiing in control because it could have been a family with children instead.

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2 Bob Truman November 29, 2017 at 4:18 pm

There is a code of conduct among skiers. The uphillers are aware that downhillers could be coming along at any time and will stay out of harm’s way. Taking a family with kids on the steep part of Blueberry Hill where the kids are blocking the trail? With all due respect, that would be considered negligent parenting.

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3 Thorsten November 30, 2017 at 2:11 am

With all due respect, you are missing the point, Bob. Your argument that the fat biker created a dangerous situation is flawed because as a responsible xc skier you should always have remained in control, i.e. don’t ski so fast that you cannot stop within sight distance. I certainly have broken that rule numerous times before when I got carried away by good conditions, it’s just not a good argument to use in this discussion.

Your point is well-taken and I am guilty of going fast on the downhills. The fundamental issue is that Blueberry Hill is groomed for skiing. Fat bikers use the middle of the trail between the two tracks which is necessary for a skier to use for snowplowing on a downhill. An ascending skier would be in the up tracks and well out of the way. The two activities are incompatible on steep hills that are groomed for xc skiing. Two other skiers(that we know about) had issues with the fat bikers while descending. You’re correct, the two fat bikers blocking the trail, while irresponsible, was peripheral to the real issue. -Bob

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4 Gus November 28, 2017 at 6:41 pm

I’m not a fan of the public shaming. I get writing the article but I’m not a fan of posting pics and names. My general take is that people that public shame have never experienced the other side of it. I find it crazy if you make a mistake or do something dumb and someone has a camera (and a blog) at the ready that image is now who you are. This makes me think that I’m going to have to start taking pictures of people everytime they are blocking the trail (or doing something else dumb, like having their dog loose in the west Bragg parking lot) This has happened to me skiing and biking numerous times. Why can’t people just talk and move on. I don’t get making this into a massive divisive issue.
Don’t make mistakes out there people. Big brother is watching!

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5 Thorsten November 27, 2017 at 2:42 pm

No excuses for the bikers to be on the trail, but as was mentioned before, there is also one key rule in cross country skiing that makes it safer for everyone on the trail, the Sight-Distance Rule: ski only at a speed where you can always safely stop.

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6 Ian December 2, 2017 at 12:10 pm

I don’t believe it’s quite that simple. I’m sure Bob could have stopped for an injured skier blocking the whole path, at the very least by falling intentionally himself at first sight. But one makes different assumptions about what people who are upright and able are going to do, and the expectation is that they will follow etiquette in staying aware of descenders and voluntarily getting themselves out of the way. I can also understand people briefly losing that attention, and I never feel annoyed at needing to shout “Track!” once if their response is apologetically quick to get out of the way.

Being in control on descents on quick track skis is just not a binary thing. At no point would I ever expect a descender to make dramatic avoidance maneuvers except in a real emergency, nor would I ever suggest they were on the wrong equipment on groomed trails of any level of challenge.

While it’s not directly relevant, I learned to ski in Norway where the first etiquette lesson you learn is to roll out of the way first thing after a fall. It’s wired in so well that even with an injury that is the first instinct. I miss that. It meant that I could follow even a stranger down a fast descent with only a moderate separation instead of waiting for them to approach the bottom before I began my descent.

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7 Dave November 26, 2017 at 9:01 pm

It’s like a pinkbike.com comments section here;) But in all sincerity, and as someone who is both an avid mtb/fat biker and xc skier, it sucks this happened. I agree that better signage will help, but in the age of the internet, there’s no excuse for ignorance. Fortunately to the xc skiers, the physical trail damage will be short lived (unlike the terrible equestrian damage to the WBC trails earlier this year), no one was seriously injured, and hopefully the incident will lead to better coexistence going forward. And to the Fat Bikers, just to needle you a bit for your boneheaded move, you missed an absolute epic day up on Jumpingpound Ridge…. but could’ve used a crew that size to help groom the trail!!

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8 jonathan November 26, 2017 at 2:08 pm

well, xc skiing has been subsidized and given privileged access to our parklands for a very very long time. It is okay to evolve and start sharing our resources with other user groups. That means allowing them on our ski trails, and/or allowing winter bike trails to be built/used. The lowest impact on the environment would be to use existing infrastructure (ie ski trails).

Also, the conflict was all about being stopped on the trail. Oblivious skiers could have been stopped on the trail, at the same spot, too.

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9 Cheeky November 26, 2017 at 3:42 pm

NO jonathan. The conflict was certainly not ‘all about being stopped on the trail.’ What a lame attempt at reframing this.

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10 Irene November 26, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Hi Jonathan,
There are plenty of other trails for fat bikers. I was hiking in the Elbow Valley this afternoon, and a couple came whizzing by on their fat bikes with big smiles on their faces. They were on one of the designated biking trails that came across from the West Bragg Creek area.

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11 Steven November 26, 2017 at 1:51 pm

I am glad that more experienced skiers than me (I am boringly intermediate) are beginning to see the dangers. I had an encounter on Whiskey Jack two years ago that left me shaken but was told “oh live and let live”. I love biking, don’t get me wrong, but there are places where the fat tires should just not be.

And yes, at the time I wondered about people like Ray and what would have happened had I not been able to shout.

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12 Steve Riggs November 26, 2017 at 12:07 pm

I think that bikers (my summer plumage), as well as snowshoers and walkers, need to comprehend a few things about xc skiing…
Skiers can feel a bit under siege lately, with trails that were originally designated as ski trails (and still are for the most part) often suffering from a more recent onslaught of other users who have no understanding of how their tire tracks or footprints can affect the enjoyment, or in some instances- the safety, of xc skiing. That is why xc skiers are so passionate about protecting the groomed surface, especially under melt-freeze conditions!
Another potential cause for conflict that bikers may not realize- is that uphilling skiers yield to those coming downhill, whilst in the MTB world, the reverse generally holds.
In my opinion, and I often ride in winter too- with so many other options available, bikers should just simply not use the groomed trails. Elk Pass however, as part of the “Great Trail” or Trans Canada Trail network, may eventually have to become a designated multi-user route. Before that happens though it would need widening, as I can’t see the Goat Creek solution working on Elk Pass, due to the busy skier traffic in both directions.

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13 James November 26, 2017 at 11:19 am

Just think, if Bob hadn’t been there to document and photograph this situation, the miscreants would have gotten away with it, and word would get around to other lawless types and it would certainly create a serious accident. Publicity and shaming is about all we have to enforce the rules.

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14 Alf Skrastins November 26, 2017 at 11:05 am

Sounds like everyone needs to get out for a nice ski or fat-bike ride (where appropriate). The points have been made.

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15 Greg Paulhus November 26, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Best comment of the thread…

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16 Jennifer November 26, 2017 at 10:54 am

Came here to see how the start of the year is going. I’m a novice skier and need to get out soon. Seeing this makes me nervous. I want to start challenging myself but I don’t know how I’d manage something like this! On the other hand, I don’t want to ski exclusively at the Nordic Centre.

Glad to hear you’re enthusiastic about getting out on the trails. As a novice, stick to some of the easier trails where it wouldn’t be a problem even if you met a fat biker. Right now, the only one I could suggest is the Great Divide at Lake Louise, or the initial 2.6K on Moraine Lake road. For easier trails in Kananaskis, check this article(we need more snow for most of these). Beginners Guide to Ski Trails in Canmore and Kananaskis.
-Bob

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17 Pamela November 26, 2017 at 10:40 am

This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, that Calgary Cycle will take their group ride on trails they shouldn’t be on. They have a long history of poaching trails not open to fat bikes in the winter, even taking groups through avalanche zones, and then bragging about it online. They have no regard for the safety of other bikers, skiers, hikers, etc. This group constantly gives fat bikers and mountain bikers a bad reputation while out on the trails and their actions will only harm trail access for these users in the future.

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18 Robin M November 26, 2017 at 10:27 am

Just went on the web. Enjoyed this subject. I wonder how to resolve the High Rockies trail use in winter – Avalanche sections are marked re winter riding. Groomed cross country ski trails are not for fat biking regardless how attractive they look.. Is signage the answer? Rob

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19 Corey K November 26, 2017 at 9:59 am

Skier Bob, we met yesterday. My name is Corey Kruchkowski and I want to respond to your blog post with my perspective, even though yours has already gone viral. I like to think most people would be interested in both sides of the story.

First off, the fat bikers you encountered were not participants in the Calgary Cycle group ride. Earlier in the day my partner and I had cancelled the planned ride due to marginal conditions, and the group you encountered was a collection of my close friends and riding buddies who decided to stick around and follow me to try and get a ride in somewhere with decent snow. Like you being tied to this blog, my activities tend to get tied to Calgary Cycle – even when I am recreating on my own time with some old friends, as I was yesterday afternoon.

Due to not being on the clock so to speak, I wasn’t in any position to ask the fellow with the dog to leave it in the vehicle. Nor was I responsible for his safety or well being, due to our waivers being null and void at that point. That being said, the dog was definitely offside and shouldn’t have been out there. As a generally responsible backcountry user I probably should have said something. Next time I will.

As far as safety is concerned, I would respectfully propose that your rate of descent is what caused the safety concern. You were moving very quickly and I hate to think what would have happened should you have encountered a fallen tree or a downed injured skier instead of my friends. They were able to move out of your way very quickly, a tree or injured party not so much. With respect, your recollection of the events is rather sensationalized, but I do respect your right to your own interpretation.

Later on when I came down and found you and cooler heads prevailed, you agreed to make your blog post neutral. Not negative. I agreed to seek further clarification on the “legality” of fat bikes in PLPP. We shook hands and I told you my name because I felt that we had an understanding and we parted amicably. I now see that is not the case.

Are fat bikes “illegal” in the PLPP? I doubt it. One outdated website makes mention, but in the half dozen times I have run into Conservation Officers in the area with my fat bike they simply wave or smile at me. A large portion of the High Rockies trail is in the PLPP, and my understanding is that it was deliberately constructed with low angle climbs to facilitate winter cycling. My understanding is that the High Rockies trail technically extends to the top of Elk Pass.The Elk Pass Lodge web site mentions access to its lovely locale via bicycle. When does the summer/fall/winter changeover occur? There are still technically 3 weeks until winter begins.

I recently saw a plan to designate a significant portion of the PLPP to mixed-use winter trails involving fat bikes. The sport is growing.

In any case I’m sorry you had a negative experience due to my actions yesterday. You have my full name and email now, feel free to forward it to the authorities should you feel that is a prudent step. Don’t drag Calgary Cycle’s name through the mud. They are a fine shop that contributes a massive amount of time and money to trail advocacy. My actions yesterday were on my own time, not theirs.

Corey

You really know how to spin, no pun intended. I have not made mention of Calgary Cycle. I was unaware of their existence until others mentioned you were affiliated with them. Take up your Calgary Cycle issues with the people who mentioned it.

I did not agree to making this a “neutral” blog post. After you realized your actions would be made public on this blog, at the picnic table you asked begged me not to post anything. I said I was going to post exactly what occurred, and that’s what I’ve done. I said it was a safety issue and it needed airing.

The fact that you can ride a trail just because you want to, doesn’t make it safe to do so.

Thanks for the ski lesson. The fact is, I had already met five fat bikers on the trail, and was going slower than usual because of them. They should not have been two abreast at the bottom of a downhill. There are enough hazards on the trail without fat bikers becoming another one. It would have been a whole different outcome if I didn’t have a loud voice.

When I see a skier down on the trail, it’s easy enough to go around them, but I actually stop and ask if they need help, and I will backtrack if necessary.

Why didn’t someone in your group warn me there were still two more bikers on the trail? It’s a common courtesy among skiers to do that. -Bob

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20 Irene November 26, 2017 at 10:43 am

It states clearly on the Alberta Parks Kananaskis website that fat biking is not allowed in PLPP:
“Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
Currently NO TRAILS approved for fat biking”

https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/kananaskis/kananaskis-country/activities-events/winter-activities/fat-biking/

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21 ChrisSG November 26, 2017 at 10:55 am

With respect, Corey, you’re not doing yourself any favours with your post.

You need to step up and be a good ambassador for your sport and community. Biking on trails where fat bikes aren’t allowed is the opposite of this.

You want land owners to keep allowing access or open up new trails and access? Then follow the rules. Act responsibly. Educate your fellow bikers.

And for crying out loud, don’t bike on groomed for classic x-c trails! Never mind safety, that’s just obnoxious.

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22 Justin Steele November 26, 2017 at 11:02 am

Oh Corey. Leave it at I’m sorry, it was an error in judgement and thanks Bob for saying something.

Honestly, what do you think you are going to achieve posting on a cross country skiing web site?

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23 Martin November 26, 2017 at 11:15 am

Like many skiers, I bike too, mountain and road, I also ski with my dog, but I don’t take my bikes or dog to PLPP in the winter and I will not be shopping @ Calgary Cycle either!

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24 Jim November 27, 2017 at 11:45 am

Given their response, it would appear that they are as self absorbed and arrogant as Corey. A boycott of Calgary Cycle might help tgeach them manners.

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25 Cheeky November 26, 2017 at 1:04 pm

You REALLY want to learn how to spin? See Calgary Cycle’s myface response: ‘We feel that we have failed to support Corey enough to ensure the quality and etiquette of our rides.’
Now THAT is some exquisitely crafted prose!

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26 Newton November 26, 2017 at 1:27 pm

Bob needs a Go Pro to capture these moments.

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27 Ian December 2, 2017 at 11:31 am

I am fully in support of Bob on this one, but I do respect Derek’s apology fully on behalf himself and his shop. Cheeky, you pulled that line out of context, misleading me until I actually got to read the full apology. The failure of support Derek is referring to is one of up front etiquette guidelines, not of backing Corey’s actions and responses regarding this incident.

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28 Greg Paulhus November 26, 2017 at 1:39 pm

If only the whisky Jacks could talk…

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29 Henry L November 26, 2017 at 9:36 am

I’m the only one to comment on this so far.

It irks me that some of these morons hid within the security of their little rat pack and hurled profanities at Bob.

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30 Corey K November 26, 2017 at 10:01 am

Bob threw F-bombs. People yelled. Later on I shook hands with Bob and we both apologized for the initial interaction between the two parties.

You’re a liar. I did not apologize for anything, I had nothing to apologize for, and I used no profanity. The only thing that got your attention was when I said I’d be posting your photos on my blog. You apologized, but how sincere was it when you turned right around and continued riding up Elk Pass?

From the comments on the Facebook mountain biking sites, you seem to have a “reputation” among your peers. -Bob

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31 Paolo Bressanin November 26, 2017 at 9:17 am

Hi Bob:
Thank you so much for the pictures and the dedication that has taken to document this kind of activity taking place on x-country trails.
I have just sent a note to Minister Shannon Phillips and I encourage everyone to do the same, the overwhelming noise will get the message that this is not acceptable at all.

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32 Martin Jones November 26, 2017 at 8:33 am

There are rules for each activity, in general they are there to enhance the experience not hinder. To me this is blatantly obvious, why would any of us set out with the intention of ruining their own day and other sport enthusiasts?
We are so lucky to have an abundance of outdoor destinations for every type of summer and winter sport, we are really spoilt for choice. It’s so easy for each of us to make the right choice and have a really great day.

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33 Mark November 26, 2017 at 8:32 am

It isn’t a great excuse but signage does need to be updated. There are bike only trails in K Country where I’ve encountered horses coming up the downhill sections (where bikes can easily reach speeds of 40kph) so this isn’t the only trail where signage is a problem. Hopefully the group you bumped into today get the message and let others and the fat biking Community know to keep off that trail.

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34 Georgina November 26, 2017 at 7:59 am

This was a totally bad start to a peaceful Sunday morning! What the F? The worst part of all this is that is was an organised ride by a prominent bike store in Calgary. Hall of Shame nominee, for sure!!
I agree with Parks responsibility to beef up the signage. I hope it doesn’t take some disastrous encounter where someone is badly hurt to get Parks to act on signage.
And as far as Greg’s comments to Bob that he shouldn’t be skiing on the equipment he is using, that just illuminates his total ignorance of the sport. There is really no argument or defence in this encounter that excuses the fatbike gang and blames Bob.
Have a great Sunday everyone!!

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35 Greg Paulhus November 26, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Trust me Georgina, I’ve been skiing trails in Kananaskis and Banff/Yoho/Kootenay for over 25 years and I am not ignorant of “the sport”. My concern about Bob’s post was that if he felt he couldn’t avoid two people on fat bikes how could he avoid someone spread eagle on the trail. I was not blaming Bob for his encounter with the rogue fat bikers, not sure where you got that, only suggesting other tools that might be useful on today’s busier trails.

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36 Greg Paulhus November 26, 2017 at 6:24 am

Speaking as a skier who also fat bikes when the skiing isn’t great, I can feel your pain when one of the few trails in the area with good snow gets messed up by non skiers. Lately it seems to be pedestrians who somehow find my freshly broken tracks no matter how obscure of a place I go. Go back to Blueberry Hill today, I’m sure the fat bike tracks will be the least of your worries.

Now I have to wonder why you seem so enraged that the two bikers were blocking the trail? Yes that is poor etiquette but surely you have encountered other skiers or snowshoers doing the same. What about a skier with less skill than yourself laying in a big heap after a yard sale on the way down? What if they were injured, would you just plow into them if they couldn’t get out of the way? Maybe the problem is using sketchy racer boy ski gear on trails where having more control might be required. Consider using metal edged light backcountry gear in places like this, you’ll be safer on the downhills and the little marks the fat bikes make won’t bother you as much. Works for me.

Thanks for your comment. Odd, though, that you expect me to change my gear because there are fat bikers illegally on the trail. I wasn’t enraged, I was concerned for everyone’s safety.

The problem with fat bikers, which is not a problem with skiers, is that they use the middle of the trail between the two tracks which is necessary for a skier to use for snowplowing on a downhill. An ascending skier would be in the up tracks and well out of the way.

A good example of a safe trail is Goat Creek where there is only one ski track. This allows the fat-bikers and snowshoers plenty of room on the far side of the trail without destroying the track.

The fundamental issue is that for Blueberry Hill to be safe for skiers and fat bikers it would require a different grooming configuration.

When I see a skier down on the trail, it’s easy enough to go around them, but I actually stop and ask if they need help.

The people who are enraged with these fat bikers are the respectful fat bikers who follow the rules and realize this is a strike against them. Go read the comments on the Facebook group “Ride the Rockies” and you’ll see what I mean. -Bob

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37 Greg Paulhus November 26, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Bob, I don’t expect you to change your gear because of rogue fat bikers, that is just silly. What I do expect is that other skiers are in enough control while descending on two way trails that I have enough time to get out of the way. The point I was trying to make was that if you felt you couldn’t safely avoid two bikers on the trail avoiding someone spread eagle on the trail might be a problem. My suggestion of light metal edged skis for some trails was serious. When I started skiing these trails 25 years ago, other users weren’t really a problem. Now you have snow shoers, winter hikers and of course way more skiers out there, maybe a little more control isn’t a bad thing.

Point well taken. -Bob

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38 Peter November 26, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Hi folks, Jay..

Respectfully if you take a step back though both are breaking the rules, a dog on a trail from a trail impact perspective has markedly less of an impact than a gaggle of bikers. In warmer conditions the fat biker can disrupt a trail quite significantly. From a safety perspective a biker who is pushing their bike up a hill is a little more to navigate than a skier.

Now I may raise a few eyebrows here, but I feel at Peter L they should dedicate trails to fat bikers and not have the two mix .. But in areas they can.

In the end I do not believe these chaps were likely aware of it and if those pics get to parks with identifiers there is a significant fine from this moment of ignorance (defined as willful neglect to check on regulations versus being naive) … in the end a fatbike can and does more damage and it is wise from a risk perspective to eliminate the two on the same trails.

ALSO —Fat bikers should be dedicated to their sport and build their own trails and not ride on the years of dedication and work of cross country ski communities.

FINALLY— being an ER physician it is unwise to mix these two communities in the same environment. Formula for a bad outcome!

I welcome the fat bike community to get off their (?) backsides :)) and build trails they can personally claim .. these are the arguments that hold a strong position from the ski community, that these are dedicated ski trails and the fat bike community should establish their footprint versus invading an established sporting environment. That arguments and the intelligence of not mixing these two activities hold weight.

Best to you

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39 Jay November 26, 2017 at 1:33 am

Hey skier Bob, absolutely love your blog! Use it all the time.

But before you cast the first stone, I only think it’s hilarious you chastize fat bikes for not following the rules when if I look up, the Alberta Parks regs clearly state “In winter, dogs not permitted on groomed ski trails in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park”

But hey. Get pissed at whom ever you want because, you know. That’s not your sport. And flaunt the rules in your preview pic.

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40 Jonathan November 26, 2017 at 3:59 am

From my reading of the article it appears that the dog was with the fat bikers not with Bob!

Indeed, the dog was with the fat bikers. It’s clear in my update, so I’m not sure how Jay misconstrued that one. -Bob

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41 Doug D November 25, 2017 at 11:28 pm

Since I’ve encountered you several times while riding my fatbike, I know you aren’t just a princess trying to keep the new sport off “your” trails. This type of encounter makes me annoyed since it has been shown time and again that conflict is a poor way to get trail access.
While I agree that there should be a way to fatbike Elk Pass and access the fabulous trails South of Elk Lakes, poaching the trail is not the right way to do it. I’ve been up Elk Pass a bunch of times before they banned fatbikes and never had an issue, I’m also a skier though, so I know not to stop and hog the trail.

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42 Chris H November 25, 2017 at 11:17 pm

Alberta Parks could easily put the fear of God into fat bikers thinking of skiing in PLPP by posting a sign which says “SkierBob on the trails…with camera.”

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43 MaSid November 25, 2017 at 10:51 pm

Wow! Ignorance is not a reason, it’s an excuse, and more often than not probably a lie as it is very easy, as bob pointed out, to educate oneself. It’s unfortunate that better signage may be necessary because of a handful of people. It doesn’t take much thought to not stand at the bottom of a down escalator, yet it happens. So thanks bob for taking the effort to inform. End rant. But I would fork out for the cost of a fat biker scoop attachment for the pisten bully, lawnmower bag style, with appropriate labelling.

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44 Shaun November 25, 2017 at 10:49 pm

I am an avid fat biker and stuff like this annoys me to no end. We as mountain bikers have to fight so hard to gain trail access in provincial and national parks and it’s idiots like this group of bikers that ruin it for the rest of us law abiding, respectful riders. There’s absolutely no reason to have to ride on groomed ski trails. And the fact that it is an organized ride sponsored by one of the largest bike shops in Calgary is hard to fathom. Thanks for making the rest of us look bad!

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45 Alf Skrastins November 25, 2017 at 10:36 pm

A few clarifications on this topic:
Dogs are not permitted at all on the Elk Pass Snowshoe Trail. So the excuse of starting out with a dog on the snowshoe trail is invalid.
Fat Biking is also not permitted on the Skogan Pass trail either…so that is not an option for them either.
Fully half of all the fat-bike trails in Kananaskis Country are found at West Bragg Creek, where off-leash dogs are also permitted. However, in the midst of the current brutal Chinook, there is not much snow at WBC.
Parts of the High Rockies trail are specifically designed with mountain biking in mind, including winter fat-biking. However, I challenge anyone to even find a reference to the multi-million dollar High Rockies Trail on the Kananaskis Country website.

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46 Anita November 25, 2017 at 11:17 pm

The High Rockies trail should be very well known to mtb riders in Calgary. This group of fat bikers were part of an organized shop ride by Calgary Cycle, a shop that should be very well versed in trail access to the fat bikes they sell. It might be a good idea to let the shop know that they erred and that a more qualified rider leader should take over.

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47 James November 25, 2017 at 10:15 pm

I did some googling myself. The leader of that group knew damn well what he was doing. Just getting a little “creative.”
This was posted on Facebook yesterday from one of the Calgary bike shops:
“Group Ride! With this warmer weather, we’re going to have to get creative! We have a few options in higher elevations that will still be good for the chubby bikes. We will be voting on location in person. Meet at the Petro-Canada on Highway 1 at the far end of the gravel road Saturday morning at 10am. The wheels never stop turning and the trail never ends!”

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48 Peter N November 25, 2017 at 10:22 pm

Let’s visit the bike shop …

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49 Wendy November 25, 2017 at 11:07 pm

As one of Calgarys leading MTB stores with an amazing new facility they should be aware that they have great influence on how fat biking is perceived, and received by the outdoor community. We all need to share and play nice in the sand box and this doesn’t do much to foster the feeling that they are willing to play by the rules.
Although I’m sorry Bob had to experience this firsthand, I’m certainly glad that it happened to a skier who is extremely skilled at the sport of xc skiing. It could have been disastrous outcome had it been someone with less experience.

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50 Newt November 25, 2017 at 11:23 pm

Calgary Cycle.

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51 Margot McMechan November 25, 2017 at 9:34 pm

I also was surprised to see them as I quickly descended down Blueberry Hill and said conditions were too fast for them to be on the trail. I saw them again at the top of Elk Pass and asked about their dog. They said they started on the snow shoe trail where dogs are allowed.

From this I would infer they knew the ski trail was off-limits. A groomed ski trail must have looked pretty good after slogging up the first part of the snowshoe trail. -Bob

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52 Pete November 25, 2017 at 9:05 pm

I’m sorry to hear you had to go through that Bob! Obviously parks needs to make it clear that fat biking isn’t allowed on the PLPP ski trails by placing signs at all the trail heads. Unfortunately the new high Rockies trail (where fat bikes are allowed in the summer) ends at Elk pass and follows the Elk pass trail. I’m not sure how parks can solve that problem. Perhaps by building a fat bike only trail to the pass?

Good points. This crew used the excuse of there being no signs at the trailhead but I don’t know if it would have helped. They ignored the “No dogs” sign. -Bob

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53 Peter N November 25, 2017 at 9:22 pm

Agree completely, although building a separate trail is obviously a long-term solution, if even possible. Short-term, we need large and very clear signage at all parking lots prohibiting fat biking. At a few trail junctions in PLPP, there are small signs regarding trail etiquette. They are oh-so-Canadian-polite, such that they are hardly noticed. What’s needed are large European style traffic signs with a diagonal VERBOTEN slash across a fat biker! 🙂

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54 Pete November 25, 2017 at 9:31 pm

The reality is that even with signs people are knowingly going to break the rules. I’ve met people illegally riding dirt bikes on hiking trails in the past. Last spring I was cycling up hwy 40 beyond the closed gates and met a couple of guys on motorcycles (they knew they were breaking the law but did it anyways). Perhaps conservation officers need to patrol the ski trails and start handing out hefty tickets for infractions.

I was hiking on Skogan Pass two years ago and encountered this dude on a motorbike -Bob

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55 Pete November 25, 2017 at 9:48 pm

I remember you posting that. Just like I said, people are going to do whatever they want to do. The province needs to hire more conservation officers to patrol and ticket these people. Maybe that would make them think twice about what they’re doing.

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56 Peter N November 25, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Did you report the fat bikers to Alberta Parks?

This blog post will make the rounds of the Alberta Parks authorities, have no doubt, but yes, I talked to Adam at the Discovery Centre. -Bob

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