Two of our local fat bike riding enthusiasts, Mike Mahoney and Mike Langford, have teamed up on this recent Winter Trail Pilot Project. With the support of the Hinton Mountain Bike Association and the Town of Hinton, this project will allow the grooming of some of our favorite established backyard trails!
The grooming will be done with a small snowmobile which is handy for mobility and keeping our trails narrow. Absolutely no trail work needs to be done in order to accommodate the grooming, nor will there be any erosion or damage to the existing trails.
The groomer is towed behind the snowmobile and it is exactly the same type of groomer that is used by nordic centres to groom for cross country skiing. The only difference is in the width of the groomer - only 30 inches (76 cm) wide, the ideal width for non-motorized winter activities such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, bicycling, hiking, dog walking and trail running.
Grooming is a slow process, the snowmobile runs approximately 5 kms/hr towing the groomer as it rolls and packs the trail down. Once groomed, it takes a few hours to "set up" or harden, then it is ready for use. Grooming will be done mostly at night when there is less usage, and a better chance for the snow to set-up.
There a several benefits from this pilot project:
- There will be no cost to the town as Mike Mahoney has volunteered his time and money for this project. The HMBA has agreed to review progress in one years time, and if the project is a success, the association will become financially active with the project.
- A groomed winter trail will further promote healthy, "green", carbon neutral activities within our community.
- There is a potential to draw more tourist dollars to our town.
- The HMBA and the town of Hinton are pushing for Hinton to be a "Alberta's Mountain Bike Mecca". What better way then to make mountain biking a year-round sport?
- Dead-fall will be removed throughout the winter thereby reducing the spring workload for the trail crews.
The area that would be groomed include a connection of several small trails in the Happy Creek zone. Trails that will be part of the groomed loop:
- The J
- GS connector
- Phil's Thriller
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