History of Meadow Mountain Snowmobile Restrictions
Before Selkirk Snowcat Skiing began operating in 1975, the “Back Meadows” had been used as a spring playground for a handful of locals with their Skidoo Elans, Olympics, and TNTs. These pioneering “Sno-Goers” would band together in late March and after several hard days of trail breaking finally make it to the Meadows to putt around the flats, enjoy some hot chocolate and schnapps and relax in the somewhat dilapidated forestry cabin. Once Selkirk Snowcat Skiing began its operations, access to the meadows was markedly improved via a groomed cat road. Selkirk assisted those early sledders with fixing up the cabin to provide a shelter for their guests when needed, and so the locals could more easily enjoy their time in the meadows, and even spend the night.
Over the years, the popularity of snowmobiling continued to increase as did the speed and power of the machines. And in the late 1990s, after a few close calls and one injured sledder, it became evident that snowmobiles and snowcats do not mix, especially along the steep hills and blind corners on the cat roads in the Selkirk tenure.
To enhance safety in the Selkirk tenure, an Order in Council was instituted in 2002, and subsequently enacted into BC law under Prohibition No. 9, in 2003. This law restricts snowmobiling every year inside the Selkirk Snowcat Skiing tenure from December 1 through April 16, except in the Back Meadows and forestry roads leading to and from the meadows. This law was the result of input from the BC government, Selkirk Snowcat Skiing, and local snowmobilers. In the spirit of sharing, it was agreed that Selkirk would make available a portion of its tenure known as “The Back Meadows” for snowmobiling. In exchange, snowmobilers agreed to respect the closure of the balance of the Selkirk tenure. And as part of a “Gentleman’s Agreement”, Selkirk agrees to the following:
- Plow Deception Rd and provide a designated parking area for unloading and loading;
- Groom the main forestry road from the Selkirk driveway to the A Frame Road twice per month from December through April (road conditions permitting). The original Gentleman’s Agreement required road grooming only twice per season;
- Clear the ingress and egress and the area around the Forestry Cabin, as needed;
- Provide firewood to the Forestry cabin (upon request and if time and conditions allow);
- Provide aid to stranded, injured and or lost sledders, and Selkirk regularly assists sledders by dragging out stuck sleds when buried deep in the snow (time and circumstances permitting).
Selkirk takes great pride in its positive relationship with the vast majority of riders who sled in its tenure. Occasionally, through the easy access provided via the groomed cat roads, some riders feel compelled to venture outside the designated meadows area and into the restricted ski terrain which the company depends on for its continued success. This negatively impacts both ski quality and skier safety, and ultimately could impact Selkirk’s long term viability as a premier provider of clean lines of the best snow anywhere on earth.
Selkirk Snowcat Skiing is an important employer in the area providing employment to 40 full and part time staff. In addition, we pay almost $35,000 in annual tenure and skier day fees. We purchase from local suppliers as much of our products and services as possible, and we contribute to the social well-being of the area by opening our business to Selkirk College and LV Rogers High School outdoor programs. We also donate generously to numerous local charities and Kaslo Search & Rescue. And in recognition of our mutually beneficial relationship, Selkirk Snowcat annually donates to the Nelson Sno-Goers as a thank you for their on-going support of our agreement and to encourage them to spread the word about sharing the backcountry.