Vandalism reported at Ski Club

Submitted by Rainy Lake Nordic Ski Club

Rainy Lake Nordic Ski Club maintains a system of trails at Rocky Inlet for skiing, snowshoeing, and walking. The club has been in operation for about twenty years, offering an affordable option for people to be active outdoors skiing, snowshoeing and walking. People of all ages enjoy the trails; club volunteers put in hundreds of hours each year to keep things in tip-top shape. 

The trail system supports a multitude of uses and we try to balance the needs of all users. We do, however, have some guidelines: no snowmobiles on the trails, no walking on groomed ski trails, and no dogs in the winter. These guidelines exist to protect the condition of the trails for the safety of our members. The reality is that to keep good, safe ski trails you cannot allow other activities. 

Over the years we’ve observed that some people do not respect these requests. I’m referring specifically to people walking on the ski trails with dogs in the winter. I have seen signs of this many times: two sets of human tracks and one set of dog tracks going down the center of the trail. As the snow hardens around the footprints it creates a hard, frozen hole that is unsafe for skiers. These people either don’t know (or don’t care) that this poses a great risk: ski tips can easily get caught in a footprint or pawprint, causing a fall or ‘wipeout’ that has potential to be serious. As president of the club I’ve had people report that this has happened to them and I’m grateful that no one has been seriously injured, at least not yet. 

On Saturday November 27 we had a work day to prepare for ski season. Volunteers installed additional trail signage to help users better orient themselves, as well as several “No dogs in winter” signs at various points on the trails in hopes that this would help address the safety issue related to dog-walkers.

On Monday I was notified that sometime between Sunday morning and Monday morning the “No dogs” signs were torn down by someone, we don’t know who. I’m guessing that this may be related to the walkers, and although I may be mistaken it doesn’t negate the fact that it’s a dangerous situation.

This is vandalism, plain and simple. I am disappointed that anyone would place their own perceived entitlement ahead of the safety of skiers.

If you have any information about this, please reach out to rlnordic@gmail.com. Our primary focus is to provide the best experience possible, which is a challenge when dealing with this kind of behaviour. Can you help us solve this problem?