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A few comments on the grooming in Gatineau Park this past year
By:  B. Gauthier   (2009/03/17)



I want to make a few comments on the grooming in Gatineau Park this past year. First, I compliment you on the great job you did recovering from the rain and freezing temperatures that could have made the loppet impossible to ski. I know there was some discussion as to whether the course should have been moved to the parkways, but as a first time participant, I was quite happy to finish the 53km quickly and strongly.

On the other hand, I have been disappointed on many occasions with the poor or simply lack of grooming. I have been skiing in the park for six years so I have a clear idea of the level of grooming performed by Lafleur. Two weekends ago (Mar 8) I skate skied trail #50. The skating track was groomed at two levels: one level took up 2/3 of the width of the trail, and a second level (the remaining 1/3 of the width) was fully 8 cm higher that the rest of the track. It was impossible to ski over the change in elevation and, consequently, the classic track on one side of the trail was unavoidably destroyed by skate skiers. My skiing companion took pictures and if you would like to see them, I will arrange to have them sent to you. This past weekend, on Saturday (Mar 14) I skied (0830 to 1230) from P10 to McKinstry – conditions were acceptable given the time of year. When I returned on Sunday morning (0900) intending to ski to the fire tower one last time this season, I was thrilled to see the excellent grooming along trail #1 and then, so disappointed when I arrived at the western intersection of #24 and #1 and found that the grooming stopped. The trail to McKinstry was so ridged and icy that I had to turn back. #24 was nicely groomed. What happened to #1 blue?

In past years, in the spring, I used to hit the trails around 0630, as soon as the sun was up, and the trails were ALWAYS freshly groomed, seven days a week. Is the problem that you don’t have the workforce to do the trails, do not have the expertise, or do you simply not want to spend the money? Something is terribly wrong here, and it is not just the ski team that is complaining; one hears it in the parking lots, on the trails, in the coffee shops and bars: the grooming in the park in not satisfactory. Why not?

Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy letter.

Sincerely yours,

B. Gauthier
(four-year season pass owner – not sure it will be five)

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