15th Anniversary Newsletter & Membership Renewal Campaign
– November 23, 2008
It is hard to imagine, looking out the window today, that in one of the earliest starts ever, trails were groomed and in excellent shape in early December last year! The early arrival, and frequent replenishment of near record snowfalls, made trail maintenance challenging and skiing conditions nearly perfect all season long. We learned some valuable lessons about grooming last year and significant upgrades and changes are in the works. Our mandate to provide quality trails at an affordable price continues to drive our agenda. A new partnership with the City of Ottawa will see us better able to meet this mandate. You can also help us reach these goals by renewing your membership early and considering volunteering a couple of hours of your time. The strength and longevity of this club has grown because of the people involved.
Trail Work and Re-Routing
Many thanks to Peter Sawyer for getting the tractor around most of the trails in early November. Only a few sections that were not accessible to the tractor remain to be trimmed by hand. If you want to volunteer a few hours to walk a section and help to complete this job, please call Jim Smedley at 613-832-4119. Some sections of the Campground and Perimeter trails will be altered to improve grooming and trail continuity. An updated map will be posted on the website soon.
The heartbeat of the WCNSC – Grooming Update – A Very Busy Fall
The lessons learned from last year’s big ‘dumps’ are contributing to significant changes on the equipment front. The ‘Bombi’, our 40+ year old machine, remains the central pulling power of our grooming equipment. In the deep snow conditions, the old groomer proved to be too heavy, resulting in a lot of strain on the Bombi. The Club’s reserves were used to purchase a new 80″ Ginzogroomer from Yellowstone Track Systems. Research has shown it will provide very good trail conditions and not put the same strain on equipment. It will be so much more efficient at conditioning trail surfaces that the Skandic snowmobile will even be able to pull it in light conditions! A road trip to Sault St. Marie, one beautiful weekend in October, was completed to get our new little “ginzo-baby”!
In addition, the Bombi itself is receiving some needed “massaging” to keep it functioning smoothly. This includes the replacement of bearings involved with the main drive and steering systems and a complete rebuilding of the tracks. These projects are ongoing and could use some help. If interested in volunteering a few hours to assist with track re-assembly, call Bryan at 613-832-0627.
Also (as if we are not busy enough already), we have decided to build a roller/compactor to help with early season trail preparation and regular snowfall packing. This piece of equipment was partially made possible by the generous donation of a large plastic culvert by Carson’s Construction. You have probably seen these large pipes along the edge of the Queensway over the past several months. You may even have seen two guys parked along the road one day this fall, looking like they were stealing one! In fact, Carson’s allowed us to pick it up ourselves.
These decisions to purchase and upgrade equipment were made because we believe they will greatly improve our ability to groom more efficiently and to provide a higher quality ski surface.
Don’t try to second guess trail conditions by looking out your window!
The snow conditions you see from the kitchen or living room window are seldom the same as the conditions on the Perimeter Trail! The Park is quite a sheltered little enclave and it has its own microclimate. Snow accumulations and conditions vary greatly across this region and it is nearly impossible to predict the quality of the ski experience on these trails. Aggressive grooming creates a refrigeration effect that will protect trails through mild spells and extend the ski season.
If uncertain, check the website before you head out skiing. The conditions are posted after every grooming or significant weather event. Please recognize that you may see an older date on this “Current Conditions” part of the site – this simply implies that the conditions have not changed since the site was last updated.
We are very lucky to have use of a building within Fitzroy Provincial Park. The facility is equipped with a kitchen, washroom, fresh water and an area for ski waxing and tuning. Executive members will have a key and will try to have the facility open when skiing. If members want to use the facility at times that it may not be open, please call Bryan @ 613-832-0627. Otherwise, posted events on the website continue to be the only times the clubhouse is guaranteed to be open.
It is worth noting that many of the vault privies within the park are open and can be used in an emergency. Don’t forget to carry a little TP in your fanny pack!
Walking on Ski Trails
The number of visitors to Fitzroy Provincial Park that walk on ski trails is relatively low; however, members occasionally encounter people that are not actually skiing down the trail. Please remember the WCNSC agreement with Ontario Parks does not entitle skiers to have exclusive use of any part of Fitzroy Provincial Park. For the most part, Park visitors recognize the ongoing efforts that the club puts into maintaining a quality skiing experience and as a sign of courtesy, they choose to walk or snowmobile on the non-groomed trails and roadways. It is our goal to educate and promote to the community this wonderful winter experience, the sensitivity of ski trail grooming, and the volunteer efforts put forth to provide quality outdoor recreational opportunities.
NOTE: Becoming a member supports the ski club more directly! The number of visitors to Fitzroy Provincial Park that walk on ski trails is relatively low; however, members occasionally encounter people that are not actually skiing down the trail. Please remember the WCNSC agreement with Ontario Parks does not entitle skiers to have exclusive use of any part of Fitzroy Provincial Park. For the most part, Park visitors recognize the ongoing efforts that the club puts into maintaining a quality skiing experience and as a sign of courtesy, they choose to walk or snowmobile on the non-groomed trails and roadways. It is our goal to educate and promote to the community this wonderful winter experience, the sensitivity of ski trail grooming, and the volunteer efforts put forth to provide quality outdoor recreational opportunities.
Small Fee Increase
Membership fees have remained unchanged for several years. The small increase this year, affecting only adult costs, will help make the club more prepared to handle equipment replacement costs in the future. Adult fees are being raised to $30 from $25. All other fees remain the same. The Family maximum will increase from $75 to $85. Child, teen and senior fees remain the same.
Parking/Day Use Pass
The City plow maintains the main parking area at the park gatehouse/office. Despite the fact that Fitzroy Park remains officially closed over the winter, ski club members, guests and day use skiers are permitted access through the signed agreement with Ontario Parks. When a person or family supports the ski club by purchasing a membership, they are issued a vehicle pass that should remain on their vehicle dash when in the park. Also, vehicles displaying an annual Ontario Parks Pass are permitted access to the park. ALL SKIERS are required to sign in the register, located at the far end of the parking lot, for every visit. Please record the date, skier name(s) and vehicle license number. Day Use skiers are asked to support the efforts of the WCNSC and place a per skier donation in the attached receptacle. Five dollars per skier per visit is suggested.
NOTE: Please take the time to register your skiing in this manner. These statistics are important for the long term survival of the club. Accurate visitor information statistics are required by Ontario Parks and The City of Ottawa. This data is linked to funding submissions that we complete for the City.
Special events will be posted on the website calendar as needed. Most members seem to prefer the flexibility of skiing when personal schedules allow rather than conforming to club events. Waxing clinics, orientation for new members, and introductory lessons are available upon request. Call Bryan @ 613-832-0627.
Many thanks to Sherri Audet for the long hours she spent putting together a partnership agreement with the City. Her efforts will help to ensure that we continue to be recognized as a volunteer club that is providing a valuable service for this part of the region. To support the long term stability of this partnership, we ask that you take the time to send in comments. In particular, we love to hear stories that recognize the quality skiing experience available at Fitzroy Provincial Park! E-mail or check for a soon-to-be ready feature for feedback on the website. In addition, we need to recognize the support we receive from Ontario Parks. In particular, the staff at Fitzroy go out of their way to ensure the ski club has a quality winter experience. Many thanks to Rob, Jeremy, Chris and the staff of Fitzroy Park.
Many thanks continue to be directed toward a few people that give up hundreds of collective hours to ensure the club runs smoothly. Members of the executive include Sherri Audet as treasurer, Jim Smedley as Secretary and Randy Belore as equipment manager. Randy continue to be very supportive with countless hours put into repairs and building of equipment. Thank-you Randy!
That’s all the news for now! I hope you find the trails and facilities in excellent condition this winter. With any luck, “mother nature” will bless us with another ‘old fashioned Ottawa Valley Winter’. Please don’t forget that this is a volunteer organization! If you feel you have the time and skills to help – I would love to hear from you.
119 Dunhaven Dr.,
Box 8008, RR#2