Brian Browning, with fellow “fat bike” fans, check out the Shuswap Cycling Club’s new Snowdog trail groomer at the South Canoe trails. (Contributed)

Brian Browning, with fellow “fat bike” fans, check out the Shuswap Cycling Club’s new Snowdog trail groomer at the South Canoe trails. (Contributed)

Snowdogs to run on Salmon Arm’s South Canoe trails this winter

Groomers will increase usability of trail system for bike riders, runners, snowshoers, hikers

A new dog team will be making its way through the South Canoe trails this winter.

Over the summer, the Shuswap Cycling Club acquired approval to run their new Snowdog trail groomers in the South Canoe trail system, making its snow-covered trails usable by riders of fat tire mountain bikes, snowshoers and even runners.

Avid “fat bike” rider and trails steward Brian Browning purchased the cycling club’s first Snowdog groomer and got to experiment with it last winter.

“It worked out so well because all the people that run and snowshoe and hike out there, the trails were really packed down and accessible to everybody,” said Browning, explaining the groomer creates a 22- to 24-inch track that isn’t slippery.

Seeing the value of the compact, nimble trail groomer, the club launched a campaign to purchase a second Snowdog. It raised about $2,600 through a Gofundme page, and received a $2,500 grant from the Shuswap Community Foundation. BigSteelBox donated a box to store the groomers in at the trails.

In addition to the trails, Browning said another goal is to groom from the bottom of Metford Road up to the tower at the three-kilometre mark, connecting to where tracks are usually set for cross-country skiers.

When the fresh snow falls, the task of taking the Snowdogs out on the trails will be shared by a group of Shuswap Cycling Club volunteers and anyone else who wishes to help out.

“Everybody is gung-ho – it’s all volunteer time,” said Browning. “That’s what the trails are all about… The Shuswap Trail Alliance of course oversees it all and co-ordinates it all, but a lot of the work on the trails is all done by volunteers.”

Read more: New machine grooms snow covered mountain bike trails in Salmon Arm

Read more: Proposal to groom South Canoe trails for ‘fat bikes’ gets council approval


lachlan@saobserver.net
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