Consequences of no grooming in Kananaskis

This letter which I received from Gaetan Turmel in Quebec should give some pause for thought:

To everyone concerned, I follow this debate from my far away Québec. The reason is that every winter, my wife and I spend a month in Canmore.

In our Quebec City area, we are well served with many centers and nice trails, but……we enjoy the overall Bow Valley experience and spirit. 

Also, I read about that 24$ billions deficit, no small matter. But as a retired analyst and portfolio manager, I know that expenses are only a part of an equation. The true test is revenues less expenses. Here, I’m used to pay an average of 17$ per day for skiing.

As an example, if I was offered a 300$ season pass for CNC, PLPP, Mt Shark and Ribbon Creek, I’d happily sign for that. As nice a center as CNC can be, I’ll never ski 15 times at  this sole place over a month (once or twice is OK). I know there’s Goat Creek, Spray River, Cascade, Lake Louise and others, but they aren’t on par. 700 skiers would suffice to cover that 200 000$ grooming expense.

I roughly estimate that we spend between 7000-9000$ every winter in Alberta, not counting plane tickets. We rent a car, a condo, buy groceries, gas, go to restaurants and get other conveniences.

Without a diversified and appealing offer of ski trails, it will be goodby to Crazy Weed, Iron Goat, Communitea, Sage Bistro, Nourish Café, Rocky Mountain Bagel, Arts Place and others.

Think revenues as well as expenses!

               Wishing us all the best while you reflect upon it,   Sincerely   

Gaétan Turmel    Ste-Pétronille   Qc


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  1. I encourage everyone here to write a letter to their MLA about this. A good template can be found at
    In writing mine, I found the 2017 Alberta Recreation Survey at It finds that 9% of Albertans participate in XC skiing, same as the percentage playing ice hockey, so around 400,000 people. As an analogy, imagine what would happen if you closed half the hockey rinks in Alberta and made people play hockey on gravel parking lots.
    I recognize that there are issues in charging a fee for groomed XC trails, but it is the only hope for a long-term solution for tracksetting that is not subject to the whims of politicians.

  2. This campaign is getting lots of volunteers and attention. Consider donating to get a lawn sign, using the template to write to your MLA or even joining as a volunteer. We need every body when can help!!

  3. I am in favor of user fees. If one can afford the cost of a vehicle to travel to PLPP or other far flung areas then a nominal fee to cover the cost of grooming the trails is completely justified. I have paid to XC ski in many areas in BC and even in Washington State, so implementing a similar system here shouldn’t be difficult to instate by the government and be supported by those that enjoy the trails

  4. User fees for parks creates a barrier to the park. I’m all in favour of a trail fee for skiing but people should be able to hike or sight see for free. This country is for all of us, not just those can afford it.
    Our taxes (both business and personal) should buy us something.

  5. I feel this email should be forwarded to the respective Canmore businesses, perhaps cc’ing dear Miranda Rosin.

  6. VOTE GAÉTAN TURMEL in 2020-21!

  7. Totally agree with you Gaétan , I am living Calgary and from Beauport Qc and right one there we pay roughly 20$ a day for nice cross country center , you are welcome back but yes if all we pay a cheap pass we can maintain a grooming !

  8. Very valid point about revenues. I’d like to also caution people on jumping to the “I’d have no problem paying for use of the trails”. There are many Albertans right now and even during boom times who do not have a lot of money and I’m concerned that a demographic who may be more well off (do we have stats on who uses the trails, who would like to use the trails) will speak on behalf of all Albertans. Especially those who would want to cross country ski but cannot find the means to do so. So I’m not in favour of putting user fees on every single activity that occurs. I’m more in favour of 1) diversifying our economy and truly building resilience to the boom and bust of resource base industries 2) implementing a prov sales tax (let those who like to buy a lot of stuff, which has a direct impact on the sustainability of the planet pay proportionately and 3) perhaps implement a small entrance fee to provincial parks / recreation areas that gives enough choice (daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, annual rates)

    • Implementing a provincial sales tax would just lead to people spending less money elsewhere. If person A makes $X a month, then they can only spend (maximum) $X per month. So if they have to pay for a sales tax, that would mean that they would need to cut some other expenditure, which would end up hurting the overall economy (think restaurants that don’t get as many customers, or stores that don’t sell as much, etc, etc). I’m an avid backcountry user, and would much rather have all backcountry users pay a fee for that, rather than force a province of 5 million people to have to subsidize the hobbies of a small portion of the population.

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