Mar 13, 2021: Skiing from the winter gate to the back door on Hwy #40 would be about a 9K trail. Thanks to Alf Skrastins for this great idea:
The Nordiq Alberta ski pass program has been a huge success. It has provided us with exceptional ski grooming plus the bonus of extra funds that could enhance skiing opportunities for next year.
The value of those surplus funds are not enough to purchase much equipment or to build much new trail.
So, my suggestion is to make better use of what we already have. Decades ago, Highway #40 was groomed for skiing from the winter gate to the Pocaterra “Back Door”… it was known as the Lionel trail.
Given the popularity of the Moraine Lake Road, grooming Highway #40 should be a no-brainer.
Ideally, the winter gate would be moved south by a few hundred metres to provide a paved parking lot. Add some portable toilets and a portable trailhead kiosk, and you’ve got a functional trailhead.
I would suggest that the highway could be groomed for multiple uses. Classic track setting would create an ideal “easy” trail. And it would create an obvious loop with Pocaterra trail.
A wide skate lane would provide an opportunity for skate skiers. A separate groomed lane could be created for fat-bikes, hikers, snowshoers, skijoerers, winter hikers, etc.
That is a small infrastructure cost, no additional grooming equipment… but more grooming staff time… and it would produce a tremendous addition to the PLPP trail network.