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End of Winter Season Update

In winter 2018/19 we saw a decrease of over 2300 user days to our managed areas.

Operations began on Schedule with the first grooming and collections beginning on Dec 1. Our last day of official grooming operations was April 7, 2019.  We hoped to get farther into April with grooming operations although with the early season logging at Clemina and very warm spring, we began to lose snow on the access trails and had to end operations early. 

Logging operations being held in Clemina Creek during the months of November and December affected season start up.  We did not get Clemina available for public use until Christmas and this affected December visitor numbers.  Clemina is looked at as a more family friendly location and the unavailability of this location likely changed plans of some of our users.  This logging also resulted in the snowpack melting quickly off our groomed trail system when the unusually warm spring set in and resulted in an earlier closure than normal.

Our late season numbers began to fade drastically at a much earlier time that we usually see.  This is likely due to the warm temps and lack of fresh snow levels.

This was not an easy year to talk about snow and to promote epic conditions.  VARDA will not exaggerate our conditions and we try to inform our users with the most accurate and up to date information as possible.  It was a difficult season to discuss snow levels, but we did have a lot of clear sky days that we leaned on for some promotion and excitement.

Looking forward, we have a busy summer ahead. 

  • We are working with our government representatives and members of the forest sector to work on a long-term solution for the Clemina Creek area as we try to alleviate any future negative affects of logging operations within the area.
  • The new Allan Creek shelter will also be a strong focus and we are very excited to complete this shelter which will stand as a memorial for our fallen friend, snowmobiling advocate and mentor, Tony Parisi. This new shelter will be ready and open for the public by the first ride of the 2019/20 season. 
  • The stronger focus on the Mountain Caribou planning and agreements between the Provincial and Federal Government known as the Sec 11 agreement is currently going through public engagement and VARDA and the Village of Valemount are working hard to be involved and educated during the process. We have a long and successful history of working with government and managing snowmobile areas that are affected by wildlife or commercial closures.  We believe the work and diligence put into these agreements and our successful history will help us as the government works hard to try and protect this iconic animal.
  • The upper and lower Westridge trails and shelters are also on our list of action items this summer. We intend to have a detailed look at these assets and complete any works needed to ensure they are sustainable for long term use.
  • As many know, VARDA has been working on developing mountain bike trails within our community and this has had as surprising affect on our community. We developed the trails for our community and in turn created a new sector of our tourism economy.  This summer we continue to add to this trail network and plan for the future.
  • ATVing is still strong in the valley and VARDA is looked to for information on locations and use in the area. We have endless old forestry roads to explore and many of them lead to amazing views and scenery.  We try to continue to update information on our website and provide as much beta as possible on sustainable use of ATVs in the area. 

VARDA‚Äôs focus is public recreation first and foremost.  Our key goals are focused on community and public education to help backcountry use and improve the backcountry experience for all user groups.  We are here to help manage, develop and promote opportunities for responsible backcountry use and we continue to look ahead at the next opportunity. 

VARDA could not be as active as we are without the great support from the businesses and people within and outside of our community.  We are extremely honoured with the level of support that we receive.  We would like to thank our members and supporters for your continued interest in our success. 

While we are sad to see winter go, we are stoked on the change in seasons and eager to switch gears and get some work done.  Please do not hesitate to contact us any time with questions, suggestions or even just to say hello.

Ride safe