The West Bragg “sh** show”

Mountain road at West Bragg Creek(file photo)

Mountain road at West Bragg Creek(file photo)

The below comment was posted on the Dog-friendly ski trails page. In the interests of full disclosure, I am a dog-lover and I would go skiing at West Bragg just to see all the dogs, but Kelly has a different opinion:

KELLY CARTER November 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

“I was really disappointed with the excuse the language “shit show” I saw at West Bragg Creek, with the trampling all over the trails, pedestrians walking all over the ski tracks, and the “wanna-be” amateur Ski-jooring groups getting yanked all over the trails by their dogs out of control. After a few outings at this area, I stayed away from it like the plague. What a shame, as I live in South West Calgary and front door to West Bragg Creek parking lot is about 25-30 minutes.

There are widely divergent attitudes and opinions about how to use the West Bragg ski trails

There are widely divergent attitudes and opinions about how to use the West Bragg ski trails

Is their any formal training being given to these Ski-Jooring “wanna-be’s” so they can be formally trained on how to control their dogs? Or will I just have to watch out for not getting an eye poked out from an out of control ski pole, and/or just freeze in my tracks until they pass by, I have had my laugh and I can continue on the trial?”


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  1. I was at West Bragg Creek on Sunday. I counted 94 vehicles in the parking lot. There were people on the trails mountain biking, dog walking, hiking, trail running, snowshoeing and XC skiing. Everyone appeared to be in a great mood and were having a wonderful time enjoying the outdoors.
    There are now 108km of trails at West Bragg Creek, so everyone spreads out pretty quickly. I hiked a loop that included the new Snowy Owl snowshoe trail and only ran into about a dozen people… all of them smiling!

  2. Horses leave some mess and it would be nice if the parking lot at least could be kept clean. Cows are much worse though, in quantity and quality. But those are not really winter issues. Dogs, walkers, bikes and skiers are all minor inconveniences at worst and completely tolerable to me. Take in the landscape and fresh air and enjoy. Live and let live.

  3. I’m in favour of dog owners cleaning up their pet’s poop from the trails. I always wondered, however, why horse owners were never required to do the same. It looks like that’s about to change in Banff: “A draft plan to govern trails in the Banff townsite calls on Banff’s commercial horse tour operator to be required to immediately pick up horse poo from the trails.”

  4. They should just close West Bragg creek as it seems that no one is happy about other users there. The Fat Bikers are complaining about regular bikes, non dog owners complain about dogs and the skiers complain about everything. Seems to me the easiest thing to do is just shut the whole thing down and then everyone will be feel the same, unhappy. We need 5 more parking areas on the eastern slopes with awesome trails like West Bragg to spread out the population of Calgary as it learns to play outside.

    • Why is it that Calgarians are blessed with the opportunity to recreate in one of the most beautiful places in the world, but I see some of the most miserable people out on the trails. The “snobification” of recreation that has happened in this area in the last 10 years is disheartening. People can’t go out and enjoy themselves anymore without finding something to complain about.

    • Sort of like Nimbys I call it NAIDD ‘No Activities I Don’t Do’. Nose Hill Park is a classic for it. Saw a couple guys on unicycles on the trails the last couple of weeks…..WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? Oh wait, I don’t care. No interest in doing/trying it myself but it’s cool to see.

  5. We here are of two minds. For those of you who wish rover to just be rover, I get that, and its great to see your dog having a grand old time. But if you are going to be out in a public place, you need to have control of your dog. Having come close to shish kabobbing someone’s best friend in the back country and reading about the lunatic who thought it was a fine idea to leave his pooch out at the Stanley Headwall while he went for a quick 5 hr lap on the ice, I fear that there is more than a kernel of truth to the saying that there are no bad dogs….

  6. Um…what is “ski-jooring”?

  7. Hey Bob, you knew this post would get a big reaction. A bit of entertainment, while we all wait for snow.

  8. The tracks at Bragg Creek are often not the best due to heavy use, fat tire bikes, meandering walkers etc. I don’t think the dogs are a big deal, and there are plenty of trails around without dogs allowed.

    I have far more encounters with skiers getting in the way than dogs, and West Bragg is far from a technical serious ski area. It is in Calgary’s back yard, and attracts all sorts of beginners and families. If there is a place appropriate to have dogs, it is West Bragg.

  9. You can be a dog lover, but still dislike dog friendly trails. My experiences show there are some dogs that are great on trails, and MANY dogs who are not trained or controlled by their owners and shouldn’t be on ski trails. Dogs darting all over the trail, standing in the trail, jumping up on skiers….are not enjoyable or safe to ski around,,, imho. Since there will always be irresponsible dog owners, (it’s not the dogs fault), the answer is to ski elsewhere. Easy fix.
    However, even more frustrating are skiers who stop or spread themselves across the tracks blocking trail junctions to adjust clothing, have a snack and generally socialize, while expecting “moving” skiers to have to step out of the track to get around them, are pretty darn impossible to avoid….ANYWHERE. So how do we fix THAT!!!!

    • Just to clarify…..In my comments about human skier trail etiquette, I was referring to trails in areas like PLPP, and I don`t mean the beginner trails there, either. People who can ski well enough to get up the more challenging trails, should know better than to block the tracks and junction areas, as should “leaders” of youth groups, etc.
      Bragg Creek, because of the terrain and proximity to Calgary will always be a family/beginner type of gathering place, and we all had to start somewhere.

  10. A Facebook comment from Kim Titchener: “Hey friends. I’m all for creating areas for dog owners to bring their dogs. (On-leash). If you are in the parks, you can go on-leash at pipestone& mnt shark. The reason I say on-leash, is that off-leash there is potential for your dog to be taken by a cougar, coyote, or a bear still not denned. Your dog can also disturb wildlife in the area & impact animals During a seriously difficult time for them (winter).”

  11. Man, the only thing I hate more than dogs on a dog friendly trail is raisins in my raisin toast. Grow up, Kelly.

  12. A Facebook comment from Cassandra: “I refuse to go on any trail that is not dog friendly. If I’m going to be exercising outside why wouldn’t I want to bring my dog with me? Sadly, where i live there are only two dog friendly trails. So for those who don’t enjoy meeting a friendly pooch along the way there are numerous other options for you. Leave the dog friendly trails to those that are “dog friendly””

  13. The solution is simple get of the mountain roa.

    The majority of W Bragg skiers tend to be within a few km of the parking lot, its so easy to escape the crazy people, as a dog lover I know its not the dogs fault, they have all the common sense their owners may have forgotten to bring to the trail !!

    • Well said, Bob! Thank you. I have a dog that I occasionally ski with in Bragg Creek, but for a good day of skiing I leave him home and head for the mountain trails. Around Calgary we have a FEW options for XC trails in our mountains, and 99% are dog-free. Some people.

  14. A Facebook comment from Lindsay: “I hope the rules never change. I love skiing with our dog and my family; it’s our weekly weekend outing all winter and we choose to ski pretty much only where we can take our dog, otherwise we can’t squeeze in the time to walk her and go xc. It’s also her big run every week. Twice if we are lucky.”

  15. Kelly I just read your rant and I too say “Shit Show” ; since when does every dog lover have to take their dog with them to enjoy an activity, GET REAL DOES THE DOG NEED TO GO TO WORK, THE STORE, THE GYM, THE BAR, THE HOCKEY GAME !! oh I forgot we have evolved to the f’n Me Me world where me get’s to do anything me wants

    • I’ve seen dogs permitted in the pubs in the UK, where it seems to be a more dog-friendly place. Is it really so awful to have a less-sterile environment? If its peace & solitude you’re looking for on the trails, there are many less-popular options.

  16. Though we are not trackset yet Kelly, after the next snow, COME VISIT us in OKOTOKS at Crystal Ridge Golf Club where we set 7+ km classic track. Its close, picturesque and dont worry, NO DOGS ALLOWED!

  17. In Hinton, where I grew up, essentially all of the trails are dog-friendly and I’ve never noticed any degradation of the tracks because of it. Mind you they don’t see nearly the traffic that around Calgary gets.

    Skijoring is tough though – I have a dog that knows all of the commands (gee, haw, whoa, giddyup, on-by, wrong side), and I still won’t do it anywhere near the city for fear of close-lining an unsuspecting skier if he gets on the wrong side. I made the point of grooming my own trail in Edmonton just so we would have a place to safely skijor. One thing that’s nearly essential is one-way trails.

  18. A Twitter response: “It’s the Wild West! You can clearcut log but can’t cut deadfall or Christmas trees. You can also hunt within feet of 100’s of users.”

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