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Comments on Demsis Grooming of the Gatineau Park XC Ski Trails
By:  G. Foerstel   (2009/03/02)

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
Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2009 8:21 AM
Subject: Comments on Demsis Groomng of the Gatineau Park XC Ski Trails


Here are some comments about the Demsis Grooming (specific and in general).

I've skied the trails for decades and have been on the trails hundreds and hundreds of times. I know the trails intimately. I'm an expert skier and have come to expect top notch grooming.

Also I'm a paying customer (i.e. season pass holder) and have been so for many many years.

Here goes:

1) Why has the 1B not been groomed yesterday? It is icy and uneven mixed with fresh snow making for somewhat sketchy ride. It is a fun loop yet has not been touched in over a week. The rest of the network around it was done yesterday (at last!!). I am expecting too much here? I mean it is about 1 km or less. Simply stating the trail is not recommended is a cop out. (This is bizarre this trail was always always groomed in the past)

2) Classic tracks appear too close to after downhills or are not set in very 'easy' downhills. They are start at an angle to the trail sometimes (i.e yesterday #1 Ridge @ #4 trail) Sometimes there shoud be a track in each direction, but there is not. It seems the track setter does not have a lot of experience as a skier. Am I right? If you're experienced in XC some the track setting is downright confusing and inconsistent. Is it the same operator all the time? Does Demsys decide where and when to lay down tracks. Was there any attempt to emulate the tracks setting plan of old (i.e Lafleur)?

3) Why are some of the traditional "backcountry" trails all of a sudden being groomed? (i.e Skyline and many others...) We love these special trails and they don't need a machine to get them into shape. They exist unto themselves and have a special quality. This is destroyed when they're groomed. If skiers want a groomer there are the other trails. Who made the decision to groom back country anyway? Lafleur never touched these trails.

4) Frequency of grooming has gone way way down which can directly affect the quality of ones ski on the trail. This is applicable the groomed trails only. Don't touch those back-country!

5) There are "ridges" or "humps" in the lanes tracks of ridge road and the parkways. This can throw off a skaters balance and rhythm and is quite annoying.

6) There is often evidence of snowmobiles which can bugger the trails. Are they dragging that thing that smoothes out their tracks?

In summary Demsys has a long way to go to come close to the stellar grooming services previously provided by Lafleur. They can do much better.

If they can't measure up you've lost me as a customer and quite possibly many others.

I would be very interested to hear your replies to my questions and I eagerly await your response.

G. Foerstel

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