These are photos of some residents trying out fat biking at the Omineca Ski Club in Burns Lake. According to the club, there has been a “serious conversation” among club members about whether to introduce fat bikes to their groomed trails. The fat bike demo event they had on World Snow Day, Sun. Jan. 21, was a way for club members to see how the bikes maneuver on the trails and interact with skiers so that they can make informed decisions about fat bikes being on the trails in the winter. (Wren Gilgan photos)
The Omineca Express reached out to the Nechako Valley Sporting Association (NVSA) to get an answer to the question:
”How does NVSA feel about Fat bikes using the groomed range trails?”
Here follows the response received from Paul Collard. He prefaced his answer by saying that he could only offer his personal view, not that of the Nechako Nordics or NVSA, “as the issue hasn’t been raised to either organization.”
“Not a simple answer. The promotion and support of non-motorized outdoor recreation is what the NVSA has as it’s mission statement. So in general, the use of Fat bikes is to be supported.
“Clubs and commercial cross country ski operators are still trying out different approaches as to how the two disciplines can happily co-exist at the same venue.
“In Prince George there are many bike specific trails in existence, like Piderny, so there is not pressure at this time to incorporate them at [their groomed ski trails at] Otway.
“In Vernon, at Silver Star, they have been developing bike specific winter trails. I have also witnessed conflicts at Canmore Nordic Centre where Fat bikes got onto the competition trails during an important International biathlon. I think this is partly due to ignorance by visitors renting bikes in town.
“Concerns with mixing ski and bike use on the same trails involve danger from collisions, and ruts being made by bikes if the snow is at all soft. This would include fresh soft snow, and any time temperatures are above zero. Policing these factors would be very difficult in a club like ours as there is no oversight of users, and things are done on the honour system. At present there are no plans or space to create bike specific trails. As Vanderhoof already has a pretty extensive bike specific trail network, this would be the obvious resource to groom for fat bikes.”
On behalf of both NVSA and Nechako Nordics, Sonya Zurevinski’s response was “At this time the NVSA nor the Nechako Nordics ski section have been contacted regarding use of the ski trails for fat bikes. At this time the ski trails are not set up to accommodate fat bikes and skiing on the same trail network.”