Dreadful news for cross-country skiers
Parks Canada will cease to groom some of the most spectacular xc ski trails on earth starting this coming winter. Craig Chapman, chairman of the Field Community Council, said it would involve cutting 16 hours a week of work for four months.
“Chapman estimates Parks is only saving $8,000 with the move, which affects thousands of skiers who visit the trails every year.”
Read more in the Rocky Mountain Outlook, Field residents angered by Parks Canada decision
I received an email from Helen Barry who operates the Old Church Guesthouse in Field:
“The tracksetter is only hired to spend 16 hours a week in Yoho so it’s not a really big deal. As you know, the girls (Marilyn and Denise) and a few others looked after track- setting for many years until Parks wanted to take it over 2 years ago. So the girls happily gave it up and The Field Cross-Country Ski Club sold off all their equipment, and they are not interested in starting up again. The other part of it is the seasonal closure of the Visitor’s Centre at Field. We got along without it before it was built 20 years ago, but it feels like a connection to the World to us, and my winter guests definitely use it to know what’s open, what’s track-set, when the next Yoho Blow is coming, etc..”
This decision seems shortsighted at best. It will not only affect cross-country skiers who enjoy the Yoho trails, but will adversely affect many small businesses.
This is a very, very difficult issue. I understood completely and utterly the concerns of Field residents, and yes, $8000 seems like a pittance when one considers how much money is wasted hourly by the federal government. My wife and I love skiing in Yoho, and dropped into the visitor centre almost every time we were there simply because of the ambience.
Yet, we skied there at least 10 days this winter, all on week-ends, and not once did we see anybody on the trails (except Emerald Lake) or at the visitor centre. Deep down, I think we knew that we couldn’t have a groomed Kickinghorse Road or Yoho Valley Road all to ourselves forever.
Hey, we feel a real sense of loss over this, but there has to be another way “sans government” to make this happen. We buy downhill passes every year; we would happily buy nordic passes for the parks if it could help fund things like this.
All my best to the fine people of Field; we will still be there as much as possible and as always support your businesses as much as we can.
It’s a shame that a country as wealthy as Canada has to cut (the already small) budgets for its National Parks that attract visitors from around the world. We went to Emerald Lake last winter for a few days, and we would not have gone there, if they didn’t have any groomed trails in the area. Same story for some of my colleagues here in Calgary. I think they are going to see a lot fewer visitors in Yoho next winter.