These signs are NOT rules but just suggestions or courtesies to help educate the general public on suggested uses on the groomed trails. These signs are not meant to offend anyone and no one should be outraged that these signs are up because they are not taking away anyone's right to use the trail or telling people to do anything they are merely suggesting that some uses are better than others at certain times. These signs are not meant to pitch one user group against another and it would be a shame if people perceived it that way.
So having said all that people can still bike with skinny tires, walk without snow shoes or wade through waist deep snow to enjoy the trails. We are suggesting that everyone follow a few basic principles so the groomed surface will last longer and more people can enjoy it regardless of how you use the trails.
Only have to follow one suggestion really. If the snow is too soft to support you then it would be better to stay off the trail for that day till it hardens up or use devices that support your weight such as skis, snow shoes or fat bikes. If you are on one of these devices and still sinking through then we still suggest you not use these devices and stay off the trail.
If the majority followed this suggestion it would extend the life of the trail. But as we have said it is just a suggestion and it is the right of the user to use the trail as they see fit on provincial property with one exception being Brookvale Nordic Center where there are designated ski trail just for skiers, designated fat bike trail just for fat bikes and designated snow shoe trail just for, you guessed it, snow shoes. Other uses of these trails are prohibited.
These are temporary signs and more appropriate descriptive signs are being developed.
Here are some other suggestion mostly amied at the fat bikers.
1. If you’re leaving a rut, turn around
If there’s one cardinal rule of fat biking on groomed fattrack, it’s “don’t leave ruts in the trail.” Now, how to avoid leaving ruts is the key (see below), but if you’re out for a ride and find that you’re leaving a rut in the trail–turn around, and try again a different day (or during a different time of the day).
2. Use tires that are at least 3.8″ wide
When riding on fattrack, choose tires that are at least 3.8″ wide. Generally speaking, the wider the tire, the better.Note that tire width correlates to the weight of the rider, saying “larger riders should run minimum 4.5-inch tires.”
3. Adjust your air pressure to the conditions
As a general rule, the softer the conditions, the lower the air pressure you need to run in your tires. Again, air pressure is dependent on rider weight, and a heavier rider may need to use a slightly higher air pressure than a light rider. As a rule of thumb, we recommend 1-4 psi for a “soft groomed surface,” and 6-8 psi for “hard surface and base. However, in soft conditions, I’d recommend starting around 4-5 psi and working down from there. It’s easier to start a touch higher and let out air than it is to add air to your tires in the middle of a ride.
We recommend 6-8 psi for hard conditions, others suggest “there is rarely any real benefit to riding tire pressures over 5 psi on snow… really!” Definitely disregard other sources that list tire pressures as high as 10 psi.
4. Don’t ride on a freshly-groomed trail
Freshly-groomed trails are rarely ready to be ridden immediately. Instead, CPEI Trail Division says, trails “need time to harden, or ‘set up.’ The time required for a trail to set up depends on several variables, such as temperature and humidity, but it always requires a period of falling temperatures.”
If you ride a freshly-groomed trail, leave a long rut in it, and then the trail sets up, your rut will be frozen in place, ruining the experience for everyone that comes after you.
5. Don’t post hole through a groomed trail
“Post holing” is the act of hiking in deep snow without snowshoes, leaving deep footprint holes behind you, which resemble post holes. If you reach a hill that you can’t pedal up on your fat bike, make sure that you walk in the unpacked snow off to the side of the trail.
However, in some places where the snowpack is very deep, you could easily sink in to your waist (or deeper) when you go off the packed trail. In such a situation, walking off the trail may be impossible. The best choice in this situation is, again, to turn around and not leave foot prints.
6. As the weather warms, avoid thawing conditions
As the weather warms–either with a change in weather patterns or as spring approaches–trail conditions become more variable, with “freeze/thaw” conditions taking over. When the temperatures climb above freezing, make sure that you don’t ride when the trail is slushy–again, don’t leave ruts.
To avoid leaving ruts in freeze/thaw conditions, ride early in the morning when the trails are still frozen and packed. While the temps may climb above freezing, that doesn’t mean the trail immediately starts to melt. Snow temperature tends to lag 2-3 hours behind air temperature. Even if the air is sliding above freezing, the snow is still a bit colder and tends to hold its shape and structure fairly well. However, expect variable conditions, and plan your route accordingly. Areas with direct sunlight will soften and deteriorate more quickly, while forested or shadowed trail will stay firm for some time, even if it’s getting warm. This makes a mid-morning or lunchtime ride possible, especially when there was a cold overnight low.
7. Make sure that fat bikes are allowed on the trail you’re riding
Up until this point, we’ve primarily been discussing fat bike-specific fattrack, although most of these points apply to any groomed trail. But if you’re heading out to ride and you’re not sure if the trail you plan to ride is open to fat bikes, make sure you check the signs and trailhead kiosk.
Nordic ski trails are often very fun to fat bike on, but not all nordic ski trails are open to fat bikes. The same goes for snowmobile trails, snowshoe trails, and more. Legislation and regulation vary significantly across the nation, so do your homework.
8. Don’t ride over nordic Ski track
While all of the above guidelines apply to riding on cross country ski trails as well, a specific consideration for nordic trails is to absolutely never ride across classical or skate skiing nordic ski tracks. The classical track is a parallel set of lines groomed into either side of the ski trail.