Click on trail map for a larger version
Alpine Snowshoe update – new trails and safety
By Heidi Schwarzkopf
For those of you who have already discovered the joys of Snowshoeing at Alpine, this is probably old news, but for those of you who have yet to discover the hidden valleys and creek routes through the alpine property and adjacent lands, read on!
It is great to see that so many people are enthusiastically trekking up and down the hills. Each year I have seen this sport grow. It is easy to put on a pair of snowshoes to go for a couple of hours walking along the designated routes and trails. I see groups, small and large, solo hikers out for a refreshing jog or run up and down the Switchback trail, and plenty of children among the snowshoeing crowd. Most members are now familiar with, or at least aware of, the trail between Craigleith and Alpine which zig- zags up the escarpment and leads to the plateau where there are many routes and trails going along the ridge and looping through the forest. One of the great treats is to climb to the top and then visit the Ashanti Cafe in the Upper Chalet for a coffee or a hot chocolate!
I started snowshoeing about seven years ago when a knee injury prevented me from skiing. I used snowshoeing as a rehab activity until I would be able to ski again. After 2 seasons of snowshoeing I was ready to go back to skiing. Unfortunately, I reinjured the same knee and decided to quit skiing for good. I miss it, but put a lot of energy into my new found sport. I try to make it challenging and fun, going with family and friends on routes of varying difficulty.
One day, while climbing the steepest part of the snowshoe route up Parade where there is a blind corner, a snowboarder came sailing off of a jump and we almost collided. I decided after that it would be safer if I climbed the hill going through the woods south of the terrain park. I have used this route, for the past 5 years, and from a safety standpoint, feel it is much better than getting a snowboard in the head!
A few new routes have been cut and marked on Alpine Property this past fall by the club’s terrific operations team. The pink ribbons and red dots on the trees designate the trails, and each one feeds into other existing trail systems off of the Alpine property. It is possible to use the Alpine trails in combination with the Bruce Trail and what I will call the Yellow Ribbon Trail. (which is part of the 5 K and 10 K Snowshoe challenge put on by Craigleith snowshoe enthusiasts). Walks can vary in time from 90minutes to 4hours depending on how fast you want to go. These route offer a safer alternative to walking on the ski hill.
Dress for the weather and for exertion. Layers are best, light gloves, hiking socks, and most importantly, a hat. Be sure to bring a few things with you, such as a bottle of water and a snack (you will want that if you miss lunch!)Planning ahead and carrying a few extra items in a fanny pack will not hurt. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. Cell phones are great, but be warned that reception is limited once you get into the deep valleys.
If you are interested in a guided walk on any of the trails please contact me, to set up a time and I would be delighted to accompany you. firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Snowshoe/Hiking Route general description:
The series of routes described here start on the North Side.
To the left of Parade at the bottom of the hill there is a wooded area between the 2 chalets and the ski hill.
The trail begins at the poles tied with pink ribbons. Follow the markings uphill until you reach the top of the first ridge. There you will have a choice to go left or right.
Takes you back to the Main Lodge down the back of the ridge and down toward the Mathe and Schwarzkopf chalets. There are only pink ribbons on this part, but the route zig-zags and is fairly gentle.
Takes you up the side of the terrain park (Parade).
There is a crossing point part way down Snowpoke. Safety Tip - Here you must stop and see whether or not the way is clear. Skiers and snowboarders come quickly around the corner and will not see you until it’s too late to stop.
Continue following the trail on the other side of Snowpoke for a few minutes and you will come to another choice.
Takes you on a zigzag route down the valley to a culvert (this is where the trails meet from the North and South sides), and this is the beginning of the Lover’s Lane trail.
The trail winds through the valley on the right side of the creek, crossing it a few times before meeting the yellow markers, and then the white markers of the Bruce trail.
Takes you up further to the top of the North chair and joins up with the Loree Forest Trail (this is part of the Bruce Trail system, and the Yellow Ribbon Trail. This trail is well travelled and also has many choices. A map is available on the Craigleith website under ” Experience Craigleith” ...”Snowshoe”)
Snowshoe Safety walk in a single file if you are on a ski hill. It is not always easy for snowboarders or skiers to stop safely when they come upon a group of snowshoers going in the opposite direction.