Cross-country skiers at Larch Hills were asked to avoid the Metford Road route due to human-caused damage that occurred over the weekend.
Ruts found along Metford were believed to have been caused by a pickup truck that accessed the trail system on Friday or Saturday night, Dec. 11 or 12, from the gated entry to the dog trail.
Suzy Beckner, president with the Larch Hills Nordic Society, said it appeared the gate, which was chained but not locked, had been opened and the driver made their way to turn onto Bilbo’s Bog before getting stuck. She said it appeared the driver piled branches on the snow to get out.
Because there hasn’t been much snow, Beckner explained the tires dug trenches down to the dirt, damaging the groomed ski trail.
“Any vehicle activity on the track-set trails damages the work that’s been done to keep them skiable,” said Beckner. “Basically, they make it a safety hazard and they make it a pain for our track setters who work very hard as it is…”
Beckner said the RCMP have been contacted as there have been a couple of times when the on-site caretaker has seen a vehicle in the parking area at night doing donuts.
“Maybe we need more education, information getting out in the community that it’s not actually a place that you use to drive your vehicle on once the ski season has started,” said Beckner of the ski trails.
On a positive note, Beckner said interest in cross-country skiing has picked up dramatically this winter.
“We’ve definitely surpassed our highest number of members already,” said Becnker. “I think by Nov. 30 we were past where we were at with the early registration deadline last year.”
Beckner suggested that locals who might normally travel over the winter, or be inclined visit the ski hills, are sticking close to home and taking advantage of the local cross-country skiing trails.