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Gatineau Park ski grooming complaint.
By:  E. Nesbit   (2009/03/02)

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We're not out to get Demsis, we believe they can and should do a better job. We also believe that ultimately the NCC must account for poor conditions and take steps to correct the problems. While we've been asked to act as spokes people for this cause, we're not sure what impact we can have at this point. The last time we tried to do so the NCC told us we were just a small group of racers with a self-interest, and ties to previous groomers, so we didn't really represent the views of "average skiers". We'll continue to try to have a dialog with the NCC and Demsis, but the "average skier" needs to voice their concerns. Here is an excellent example of the poor grooming problems in the park this winter. It's also an excellent example of how you should voice your concerns; with photos, locations and trails skied, time and date and the official park grooming reports!

To: info@ncc-ccn.ca
CC: info@demsis.ca
Subject: Gatineau Park ski grooming complaint
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009

To Whom it May Concern,

I am writing to complain about the extremely poor ski trail grooming in Gatineau Park again this year. The grooming quality deteriorated drastically when Demsis took over the job in 2007 and unfortunately has yet to improve. I am a season pass holder this year again, and am once more fed up with the inconsistent and poor quality of grooming on the trails.

Despite the many good snowfalls we have had this year, the tracks are not properly set. Demsis is using insufficient pressure (no doubt to save money on fuel), so tracks do not stand up to the skier traffic and deteriorate prematurely. I observed the same problem last year, something that was never a problem when the previous contractors did the grooming. When the former contractor groomed there were always deeply set tracks, and 2 sets of classic on each side of the parkways and at least 1 set on each side of narrower trails. This is very inconsistent with Demsis' grooming. Tracks often just stop mid trail, ruts, ridges, and holes are never repaired by groomers.

This past weekend, February 22nd, while staying in one of the overnight cabins in the Philippe area, we experienced the worst grooming I have seen in two decades. There was fresh snow and the NCC website at 3pm Sunday Feb. 22nd listed Trail 50 as groomed. We heard the groomers during the early hours of Feb. 22nd, but when we skied during the day the grooming was absolutely awful, and in some places dangerously bad.

Trail 50 from P19 to 55 was listed as groomed, and indeed we saw groomers had passed, yet only 1 set of tracks was set, and these varied from being on one side of the trail to sometimes in the middle of the road, or disappearing completely.

On trail 55 (shared) the grooming machines had destroyed all the tracks and laid new ones down the middle of the road in some places, or a single ski track or no tracks in others. The blue section of 55 was not groomed at all. The erratic nature of the tracks and their weaving and intermittent pattern was not only very dangerous for skiers but suggests there is a serious and dangerous safety issue with those operating the grooming equipment.

This poor quality grooming cannot go on. As a taxpayer and customer, I am considering demanding a full refund for my pass come April. I am attaching photographs as evidence of the problems described above and I expect the NCC to take swift and immediate action to rectify this appalling situation.

E. Nesbit
Ottawa

A copy of the days NCC grooming report.


Near the P19 parking lot.


Trail55-southeast section (AFTER grooming!) - 1:30pm


Trail #55green at Taylor Lake - 2pm.


Trail #55 near #50 - 2pm.


Trail #55 southeast section (AFTER grooming!) - 2pm

 
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