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Grooming Requirements for the Gatineau Park
By:  Craig Storey   (2008/03/28)


There's very little public information about the Gatineau park ski trail grooming requirements. Now all skiers can be better educated in what is formally required thanks to Pippa Lawson who obtained the Request For Proposal and contract for maintenance of the Gatineau Park, through a formal Access to Information request to the NCC. The RFP/contract covers far more than ski trail grooming – it's for year-round maintenance of park facilities. It's for five years, with a possible 3 years extension at the sole discretion of the NCC. The ski trail grooming requirements are quite extensive and excerpts are included below. You may also refer to the following 3 documents.

pdf.gif - Gatineau_Park_Winter_Trails_Grooming Contract (PDF)
- Annex1 - trail_maintenance_table (PDF)
- Annex2 - conditions_form (PDF)

Grooming Requirements include:

  • Begin seasonal maintenance once snow is 10cm thick
  • Maintenance after 6pm so as to have trails ready by 9am each morning (exceptions possible where conditions require)
  • Snowmobile maintenance of tertiary trails OK before noon
  • Must use "mechanical grooming methods required to produce optimum daily ski conditions suitable for classical and freestyle skiing"
  • "trails must be mechanically groomed across their entire width, with each border determined by the start of vegetation and/or an abrupt change in elevation….."
  • "tracks should be as linear as possible, with angles and curves forming a continuous arc All uphill portions, as well as certain downhill portions, should be trackset while slopes of 10% or greater should not be trackset unless the NCC indicates otherwise"
  • freestyle lanes at least 2m wide;
  • double tracks 1.3 m. apart, measured from centre of one track to centre of the other
  • remove from full width of trails any stones, dead or fallen trees, trimmed branches….
  • Cover bare patches with snow within 12 hours of them becoming bare
  • Re: difficult weather conditions – return trails to skiable condition as quickly as possible

Priority 1 Trails:

  • No more than 5cm of snow to accumulate on trail service (groom within 12 hours)
  • If no new snowfall, but base is deteriorated: "trails must receive a full range of treatment (renovating, grooming, track-setting) twice during the week and once on Sat and Sun mornings
  • Icy conditions/extreme cold: "Use grooming machines to restore, condition and track-set between 10 and 50 km of trail daily so offer a minimum number of skiable surfaces on a continuous basis"
  • Spring skiing; alternate thaw (day)/freeze (night): "Perform some or all treatments on all of these trails to produce level, smooth, track-set surfaces"

Priority 2 trails:

  • All accumulations for over 5 cm must be groomed within 24 hours of reconditioning of Priority 1 trails
  • If no new snowfall but deterioration, same as Priority 1 but only once during week required
  • Icy conditions and extreme cold: no intervention required
  • Spring skiing; thaw/freeze: "Perform some or all treatments on these trails at two-day intervals to produce level, smooth, track-set surfaces"

Priority 3 trails:

  • "New snow accumulation must exceed 10 cm to complete a full series of treatments. Work must begin immediately after the snowfall and within 48 hours"
  • Where no new snowfall, trails should be conditioned, leveled and track-set at least once every 7 day cycle
  • Icy conditions and extreme cold: no intervention required
  • "renovate and track-set these trails at three-day intervals to prevent icy surfaces"

Ski season (trail maintenance period): mid-November to mid-April

Trail conditions should be at their best between 9am and 6pm

Unless there is new snow, trail equipment should not be present on the trails between 9am and 6pm

Standards and configurations:

"Gatineau Park is considered to be a leading North American cross-country ski destination. More than 200,000 skier/days each winter are registered. Maintenance standards must be equal to this reputation and performed according to industry standard."

"Variations in temperature will be monitored on a daily basis to predict possible impact on ski conditions and adequately plan work sequence and timing….."

Interesting Reading. . .
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