Ice floe on Bill Milne is impassable

The ice floe on Bill Milne would look similar to this photo from 2019.

Update: I’ve been informed by Tracksetter Jeff that a reroute has been groomed to bypass the ice flow, same as the one we used in 2019. 

We haven’t been inconvenienced this winter with ice floes, but an ice floe-less winter was too much to expect. Thanks to Kazzy for the trip report and the ice floe update.

“We parked (initially) at Kovach and skied south to the ice flow – it must have grown since the groomer’s report as there was no way around it without getting wet feet/boots/skis so we back-tracked. Then we drove to the Golf Course and did another section heading back north to the iceflow. Immaculate grooming everywhere.”

In the photo, it looks like you could ski around it, but I tried, and all that happens is that you sink down into slush and your boots get wet. 

Grooming is occurring in the Ribbon Creek area as I write this at 7 pm. So far, Hay Meadow, Ruthie’s and Lower Skogan Pass have been trackset. 

Loppets and Races

Golden, BC Dawn Mountain Challenge. The dates are Feb 19-28 and it’s hosted by the Golden Nordic Ski Club.

Don’t forget about the Virtual Yoho Nordic Challenge which is ongoing until Feb 24. 

Think Before You Sink: the following was posted by Bragg Creek Trails:

Bragg Creek Trails wrote the following on Facebook:

This was the scene 1 hour after tracksetting

“While most of us have been curled up in our nice, warm homes, the groomers have been out preparing our trails for an epic Family Day Weekend. The pictures shared came from a user on Strava yesterday.

One shot shows the pristine track set on Telephone Loop, the other two the complete devastation of tracks witnessed ONE HOUR LATER! This is a multi-use trail so this post is not about casting blame or throwing accusations. This is an opportunity to share a message and educate users on something we hope will resonate with all.

THINK BEFORE YOU SINK – for the love of the trails and for the respect for one another. Fresh snow, freeze/thaw cycles, rain…there are many elements from Mother Nature that impact our trails all year long. With a surge in users, let’s all try and be respectful of our groomers’ time, each other, and our trails and THINK BEFORE YOU SINK!”


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  1. Historically, Telephone loop (along with many of the trails in WB) was designed specifically as a ski trail by Don Gardener in the late 1970’s. It was not groomed consistently until a few years ago when the GBCTA took over responsibility for it from Parks.

    The east half of it has been deemed multi use which has led to heavy amounts of foot and bike traffic.

    Maintaining this as a groomed ski trail is proving to be impractical, and we see it as being possibly delegated to a primitive ski trail. Our efforts to provide a quality experience for tracked skiing are better suited to areas that are restricted to skiing only.

    In an effort to be all things to all users, the original intent of this trail has been lost.

    • Hi Boomer – You said that the east half of Telephone is multi-use. Isn’t the west half also? The trail map shows winter use as ski, hike, snowshoe, and fatbike, just like the east half. Or are you saying that the east half just gets a lot more multi-use wear-and-tear than the west half?

      It would be a shame if tracksetting stops entirely on Telephone Loop, although understandable if the entire trackset typically gets destroyed within a day. Is it a problem of educating non-skiers to stay on the corduroy, or is it a problem of it being impractical for the current amount of non-skier traffic to be restricted to a relatively narrow corduroy strip? And then there’s the related problem of educating walkers and fatbikers to stay off the trail entirely when it’s too soft. (This would be analogous to educating users to avoid muddy trails in the summer.)

      A compromise might be to just pack east Telephone for multi-use, allowing non-skier access to loops that include Long Distance and Disconnect. And groom/trackset west Telephone for ski and snowshoe use only. It’s rare for snowshoers to destroy trackset, and in soft conditions they don’t sink into the snowpack any more than skiers do. For most skiers, this would give them a “semi-primitive” ski trail as they start off on east Telephone, finishing off on trackset beyond the Long Distance junction. Skiers who just want to ski on trackset could do an out-and-back on west Telephone.

  2. The thought occurs: If it is a multi-use trail then why set ski tracks? Or think for even one second that non-skiers should stay off our precious ski tracks? I think the non-skiers should be free to enjoy a trail without having to tiptoe around ski tracks. Guess I won’t make any new ski friends with this remark.

    • Hi Doug – The original comment on wasn’t posted by an angry skier; it was posted by Bragg Creek Trails (BCT) who are responsible for the trail use rules and groom the trails. Multi-use doesn’t mean anyone can do whatever they want on any part of the trail under any conditions. In the case of Telephone Trail, all users other than classic-style skiers are supposed to be on the corduroy next to the trackset. That way, everyone, including skiers, can enjoy the trail.

      Although Telephone Trail is relatively narrow, BCT has presumably determined that the corduroy is wide enough to accommodate non-skiers without undue hardship. So it’s not surprising that BCT would be disappointed that all the time, work, and money (gas, equipment wear and tear, etc.) they put into grooming and tracksetting the trail went to waste within an hour. When non-skiers are passing each other on that trail, it might be necessary for one user to step off the trail entirely, or onto the trackset if stepping off the trail isn’t feasible. The trackset isn’t sacrosanct, but a stretch of continuous damage as shown in SkierBob’s last photo is easily avoidable.

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