Trail Checks

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Sam Moffat Photo

My favourite memories of work are from when I was on Trail Crew at Fernie Alpine Resort. We would rise with the sun, watch the sky change and see the first light hit Mt. Broadwood as we drove towards the ski hill. Almost immediately we would set out into the woods. Being amongst the forest and working with my brother Sam and our best friend Connor is what made that job so special.

For the first two yeas our duty was to ride the chair and walk the trails with a handsaw and our digging tools. The years after we started building new sections and new trails. It was an amazing job. Surrounded by friends, dirt and trees all day, test riding our ideas for other people to enjoy.

I remember the best days of that job were after a storm. Before the lifts would open our crew would be dropped off by a truck to ride the trails to make sure there were no fallen trees. We would ride by ourselves, packing a handsaw to take care of any small trees and also some flagging tape and a radio to let the Saw Crew know of any big trees down.

One of these mornings I was checking the Ever Dangerous Downhill in Curry Bowl, the most secluded trail on the mountain. When it comes to skiing or biking I only have one speed. Once I get going I find it very hard to take it easy. Even though this was a trail check I was riding my normal speed.

Near the top, I rode into an open section. As I came around a corner I noticed hoof prints in the middle of the trail. Those are huge!  I thought and kept going into another corner.  As I blasted through the berm I saw the fur that left those tracks. I hit the brakes, skidding in the mud, hardly slowing down. It was a moose with huge antlers laying on the trail. I slide right into it’s back leg, hitting him with my front tire. Before he could get up, I planted my foot and pivoted my bike. As I took off through the brush I looked back seeing the confused moose stand up. He was as surprised as I was. I am just glad he didn’t hear me coming.

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