Finding White Track’s former glory

Lisa
Lisa Goudy
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Published on June 22, 2014

Four volunteers haul wood as part of the cleanup of the White Track Ski Hill area in Buffalo Pound Provincial Park on June 21, 2014.

Published on June 22, 2014

Derek Barr (right) follows two other volunteers during the cleanup in the White Track Ski Hill area in Buffalo Pound Provincial Park on June 21, 2014.

Published on June 22, 2014

Cutting and trimming the grass were two of the many activities done during the White Track Ski Hill area cleanup in Buffalo Pound Provincial Park on June 21, 2014.

Published on June 22, 2014

Derek Barr (left) and Joe Milligan (right) discuss what to do next during the cleanup of the White Track Ski Hill area in Buffalo Pound Provincial Park on June 21, 2014.

Published on June 22, 2014

During the June 21, 2014 cleanup in the White Track Ski Hill area in Buffalo Pound Provincial Park on Saturday, volunteers work on a river crossing.

Published on June 22, 2014

The White Track Ski Hill in Buffalo Pound Provincial Park has been closed for 10 years. On June 21, 2014, a group of 50 volunteers came out to clean up the trails and the area for future use.

About 50 volunteers help clean up the area at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park

Jocelyn Froehlich concentrated at the muddy path as she steered her truck toward the top of the hill.

“In a perfect world, the ski hill would be open and it would be a four-season,” she said, adding the White Track Ski Hill area has been closed for a decade. “We’re trying to restore it. The biking is just getting more popular.”

She hiked down a trail called Heaven on Saturday at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, the mud squishing underneath her shoes from the recent rainfall. The humidity increased. She headed down to where about 50 volunteers, including 17 pilots-in-training, came out to clean up the White Track Ski Hill area and trails and build river crossings. The Moose Jaw Pavers initiated the idea.

“I used to live out here in the winter. Every weekend taking ski lessons and actually, it really got you ready for being in the mountains,” said Froehlich. “It would be my dream that that become a function again. There is a group in Moose Jaw who is working together to come up with business plans to re-open the hill.”

Along with her husband Matt, Froehlich has biked through the United States and Alberta, but the trails at Buffalo Pound are still a “hidden gem” that she loves.

“It’s so beautiful, but you don’t see it from the provincial park. You really need to venture out and get on your bike and explore the riverbeds. It’s really cool down here,” said Froehlich. “It’s perfect for snowshoeing. You’ve got to try it. You can just wander through everything and you see a lot more because it’s so open without the greenery. You’d be able to see the river.”

Derek Barr was one of the volunteers helping to clean up the trail. He is the trail representative of the South Saskatchewan Mountain Bike Club.

“It’s going to be really nice. It’s going to be a nice feature,” he said. “I use the trails. Part of using the trails is maintaining the trails.”

When the area was a booming business, he used to come to the trails almost every week.

“Once people really started coming here in mass numbers, the trails wore out that much faster,” said Barr.

Joe Milligan, park, recreation and interpretation specialist with Saskatchewan Parks, was onsite to help out as well. Saturday’s work made up about 30 hours worth of regular workdays at Sask. Parks.

“I honestly feel that Buffalo Pound has an opportunity to be a major biking hub not only in Saskatchewan, but in Western Canada,” said Milligan. “Our goal is to clean the trails up ready so they can have a safe and positive recreational experience on Buffalo Pound Trails.”

It’s Milligan’s hope that it will increase the use of the trails. People will notice a difference from the work done on Saturday, he said.

Froehlich added there are plans for “major expansions” at the park to develop new trails starting this summer. It will go nicely with Moose Jaw’s future bike skills park.

She will never forget the first time she came to the White Track Ski Hill area.

“When I was three years old, my dad brought me out here for the first time to ski and I actually had video of my first day out here,” said Froehlich. “It was awesome.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

 

Organizations: South Saskatchewan Mountain Bike Club

Geographic location: White Track Ski Hill, Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, Moose Jaw Buffalo Pound United States Alberta Saskatchewan Western Canada

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  • Layne Elder
    June 23, 2014 - 22:51

    I actually use to work at White Track in the winter as a maintenance worker strictly for the ski hill. From making snow to grooming the hill. I was in my late teens when I worked there so I was sorry to hear that it had closed.