With the arrival of new snow and more on the way, there is no better time to start thinking about winter trail use and etiquette. Kimberley trail systems typically host five or more different winter activities, and managing the interests of various user groups requires more than a bit of self-monitoring and support from everyone.
In Kimberley, the winter trail maintenance program is run by the Kimberley Trails Society with support from the Kimberley Nature Park and Friends of Lois Creek groups. Hundreds of volunteer hours go into trail maintenance every year. To pack the trails, a dedicated group of groomers operate a narrow grooming machine called a SnowDog. There are also devoted classic skiers who put a lot of energy into setting ski tracks that often go well beyond the groomed loops.
Winter trail use etiquette starts with awareness. Nobody likes postholes or deep ruts in the winter trails – or being yelled at by another trail user. There are no trail police, so don’t try to be one. Please encourage everyone to follow these guidelines:
Discontinue travel if you are punching through the snow (known as post-holing.) Foot traffic is welcomed on groomed loops and packed trails, but travel without snowshoes is not recommended unless the trail is well packed. Do not walk on classic ski tracks, or create large holes in the walking tracks.
Snowshoers can create their own path if they wish to utilize deeper snow, and they are welcome to use the groomed loops. Snowshoers can have a positive impact on trails, especially after recent snowfalls, by clearly demarcating the walker side from the ski side. On double-wide trails and roads, snowshoe on one side leaving room for a ski track on the other side. Do not snowshoe on classic ski tracks.
All trails that are appropriate for foot and snowshoe travel are open for winter biking. Tires wider than three inches are strongly encouraged. Groomed loops specifically for fat biking, foot traffic and snowshoeing are set in the Nature Park and Lois Creek trail systems.
Cross-country skiing is acceptable on all trails, and all trails that are wide enough will have a ski track set by users. If you are the first one through after a snowfall, please continue to put the new track to one side.
For updates on trail conditions and further information please refer to Trailforks, Kimberley Trails Society, or the Kimberley Winter Trail Conditions page on Facebook.