For those new to the sport, you may want to start out at the golf course. The Club maintains 2.5 km of double track at the golf course in the form of a Figure 8. The golf course track is multi use where snowshoeing, winter hiking and dogs are permitted.
Once comfortable on Nordic skis, you may wish to hone your skills on the Boivin Creek trail. The first 1.5 km is relatively flat and then you come to your first hill. The hill provides an excellent opportunity to work on those snow plowing skills.
The majority of Boivin Creek users set the lower hut, which is referred to as the Boivin Hut, as their destination. A ski trip to the Boivin Hut affords the skier an opportunity for fresh air and exercise along with incredible mountain views. Round trip is approximately 7 km and 150m vertical elevation. Skiers are welcome to stop by the hut and have a snack or just warm up by the fire before turning back. The return trip entails an exhilarating downhill ski run back to the trail head.
Those wishing more of a workout can continue on to the upper hut (referred to as the Wildcat Hut). Total trip to the Wildcat Hut and back to the trailhead entails 14 km and 300m vertical. Travel solo, where you can go at your own pace and enjoy the sounds of nature. Or, plan a group outing for even more fun. As with the lower hut, the Wildcat Hut features a wood stove, benches and an outdoor privy.
Following logging in the mid-2000’s, the forestry company turned over the logging road to the ski club. This road (referred to as the "Upper Trail") is maintained by the Club and offers an alternative route to the Wildcat Hut. The Upper Trail connects to the main trail via junctions at the 2 Km and 5 Km points on the trail. The Upper trail is steeper than the main trail and adds about .5 km to the one way journey. Spectacular views of Phillips Peak are afforded from the Upper Trail.
Some skiers like to ski to the 5 Km junction via either the Main or the Upper Trail and then return on the alternate trail resulting in a 10.5 Km loop outing.
Elkford trails generally have good snow from December 1 to April 1 but this is subject to Mother Nature. Grooming occurs as soon as snow permits and is followed up as required (generally once or twice a week during winter months).
Grooming of the Elkford trails is accomplished by a snowmobile pulling a grooming device. The Club snowmobiles are special purpose machines, designed for pulling a load uphill without overheating. The track on the snowmobile is wider than normal to avoid getting stuck and to create a nice wide grooming surface.
Prior to 2007 grooming equipment consisted of a compaction drag, pulled behind the snowmobile. Following a heavy snowfall two snowmobiles go up and down the trail to pack the snow. The compaction drag is pulled behind one of the snowmobiles to flatten and compact the track. The final step is to pull the tracksetter behind the snowmobile to create two lanes of skiing track for Classic Nordic skiing.
Although some people like to “skate ski”, unfortunately the Boivin Creek trail is not wide enough to accommodate two Classic tracks along with a skating lane. Skate skiing breaks down the edge of the track which could result in loss of control for the Classic skier. Those wishing to skate ski are welcome to ski at the golf course.
For best results, speed of the snowmobile is maintained around 20 km/hr during the grooming and tracksetting. Each step in the process (packing, grooming and tracksetting) takes about 1 hr, for a total of 3 hours. This duration can be extended following a heavy snowfall or if downed trees are encountered on trail. The golf course requires about an hour to groom and trackset.
The Club purchased a Ginzu Groomer in 2007. The Ginzu is pulled behind the snowmobile and does the job of both the compaction drag as well as the tracksetter. The Ginzu features a comb device which leaves behind a ‘corduroy’ surface. The corduroy surface facilitates snowplowing on the downhill sections. The Ginzu Groomer incorporates two rows of knives which may be lowered into compacted snow to help break up the crust.
Original grooming equipment (compaction drag and tracksetter) continue to be utilised at the golf course for trail maintenance.
Where possible, trail grooming is performed during non-peak times. A sign at the Boivin trailhead kiosk indicates whether or not trail maintenance is in progress. Another clue is if the mobile sign, at the start of the trail, is moved off to the side.
Skiers are requested to please yield to grooming equipment when approaching, or being approached by, grooming equipment. It is not possible for the groomer to pull around the skier while setting track.
- 2007 Yamaha VK Professional Wide Track Snowmobile
- 20” wide track. The Club is currently in the process of replacing this machine with a new Skandic.
- 2016 Ski Doo Skandic SWT
- Super wide track, 24” wide track
- Two compaction drags and two tracksetters.
- 140 lb weights are loaded onto the tracksetter prior to cutting the track. This equipment was constructed in the 1980’s by local fabricators. One set is kept at the golf course
- 2007 Ginzu Groomer
- Fabricated by Yellowstone Track Systems, 60” wide.
- Funding for trail grooming (fuel, machine maintenance, insurance etc) comes from membership fees and trailhead donations
- Funding for equipment and facilities purchases comes from generous grants and donations received from the:
- District of Elkford
- Columbia Basin Trust
- The Elkford Project Society
- as well as membership dues and trailhead donations.
- the District of Elkford donates equipment time annually to assist with trail grading and rock removal
The following projects were generally carried out with materials provided by corporate donations (see Funding section) and labour provided by Club members and volunteers. New bridges replaced aging structures, originally constructed for exploration and/or logging activities.
- The ‘lower’ bridge over the Boivin Creek was constructed in 2001
- The ‘lower’ or Boivin Hut and outhouse were constructed in 2002 (this replaced a lean-to structure)
- The ‘upper’ bridge over Wildcat Creek was constructed in 2003
- The ‘upper’ or Wildcat Hut and outhouse were constructed in 2004 (this hut replaced one built by Club members in 1992 which burnt down early 2004)
- The ‘intermediate’ bridge over Wildcat Creek was built in 2014
- Remedial bank restoration ahead of the pumphouse was carried out in 2015 (a section of trail was wiped out in the 2013 flood)
- Andrew Gulyas’ Grade 10 Class carried out painting and staining of the Boivin and Wildcat Huts in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
In addition to special projects noted above, members and volunteers carry out maintenance on the Boivin trail during Summer / Fall, as follows:
- Removal of trees that have blown down on the trail
- Cutting of firewood for both huts
- Brush trimming on both sides of the trail
- Culvert installation and drainage improvements as required
- Removal of rocks that fall onto the trail
- Hut and outhouse repairs/ improvements
- Sign maintenance
- Trail edge markers and snow fencing on sections of trail subject to blow in
Volunteers are responsible to ensure that they are adequately trained for the job at hand. They should wear appropriate safety equipment and work safely. Persons performing chain saw work should receive training and certification. It is important to record the number of hours worked on the trail for the Club’s annual reporting to the Ministry.
There is a kiosk at the Boivin Creek trailhead. Information provided at the kiosk includes: trail map, regulation signage, any warnings, notification of trail maintenance in progress.
A visitor box contains membership forms and log sheets. Visitors are welcome to sign their names and leave comments, summer and winter.
The Boivin Creek Trail is located on Crown Land and, as such, members of the Elkford Nordic Ski Club are stewards of the Province.
A formal agreement was drawn up between the Club and the Province in 2002. This agreement is updated every 5 years.
The Club is responsible for ensuring that the trail is maintained in accordance with minimum standards as set out by the Province. The Club is also responsible for ensuring that volunteer work performed on the trail is carried out by qualified persons in accordance with Provincial safety standards.
The Province, in turn, carries insurance in the event a volunteer work gets injured while working on the trail. Outdoor enthusiasts have a general dislike for rules and regulations. Cross Country skiers are no different.
The trail is developed and maintained for the enjoyment of Cross Country skiers. It has been found necessary to invoke minimum regulations for the enjoyment of persons for which the trail is maintained.
The Province is fully supportive of trail regulations as set out and clearly signed by the Club.