Dogs and a “superior” cross country skiing experience

January 15th, 2011

Dear Breia,

Thank you for your informative response to my earlier post. I have skied at Breia for many years, both when dogs were allowed and more recently, since they were banned on all trails except the Canal Trail. I must disagree with your contention that dogs seriously degrade the condition of the trails.

In my experience, there are many factors that determine trail conditions – amount of use by skiers, weather conditions, and yes, dogs. Fortunately, the trails at Breia are groomed quite regularly and to be honest, I have never felt that the trails were in poor condition because of all the paw prints, or fecal matter. In the three or so years since the ban on dogs was instituted I have enjoyed skiing with my dog along the Canal, and without her at Egypt Road and Jackson Hill, and I do not recall ever thinking that the trails were “superior” at the places were dogs were not allowed. I typically ski at Breia about 10 times per year.

I had always assumed that the ban on dogs was partly related to the problems that dogs can cause as they interact with each other and with skiers who are not comfortable with dogs. I think those are very legitimate concerns and for those reasons I believe it is a good idea to ban dogs in some areas.

I am sure that some skiers at Breia are keen to have the best possible trail conditions (although many of those skiers may be going elsewhere to enjoy “skate” skiing). However, many of the skiers I see at Breia appear to be “casual” skiers who might be willing to share more of the trails with dogs. In particular I would like to see the Domser Road area opened back up to dogs. This area, which connects to the canal trail, is not heavily used, and is often in less than pristine condition anyway. I would be interested to read on this blog the thoughts of other skiers about dogs in this area and also possibly along the Great trail, another trail which is not heavily used and which often is not in perfect condition.

Thank You

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