High Branch Pruners, Clippers, Sawyers

THANKS TO LARCH HILLS VOLUNTEERS WHO HELPED prune & brush track set trails this fall. Work started for a seventh season on Oct. 9, 2018 and wrapped up on Nov. 7, 2018 with snow in the forecast. There are approx. 4K of trails left to do at 1200M elevation next fall: upper Skytrail plateau to N. Hub, Alder Lane, LH Rd from N. Hub to Cec’s and the east side of Larch Lake Loop.


WE PRUNE HIGH TREE BRANCHES to about 8-9M height using the Club’s five amazing, very effective 21 foot extendable Silky Pole Saws.      “Why Silky Pole Saws are so great” – a short (<3 min.) You Tube video.

We pruned lower branches and tree whips with long handled loppers and folding saws. We cleared the cut branches and stems off the trail. Safety-trained, experienced Volunteer chain saw operators cut small diameter trail–side trees which were removed from the trail. The Volunteer Trail Crew’s work wraps up with a Pot Luck Dinner celebration as the first big snowfall settle in on the trails, as the bears go to sleep and as we start skiing at Larch Hills! SINCE 2012 we’ve invested over 118 days and 1672 volunteer hours to high branch prune and brush about 30K of Larch Hill’s track set trails (approx. 4K per year). 30K represents over 88% of the estimated 34K of track set Larch Hills trails that would benefit from high branch pruning & brushing.

In January 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 a total of 230 hours were devoted to pre-Loppet “flash pruning” and brush sawing whips on the 17K and 30K Loppet routes. These hours are included in the 1627 hours total. See the map below showing trail work completed on Larch Hills’ track set trails: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Some members of Larch Hills Jr. Racing Team with Coach Phil Wallensteen
clearing pruned branches and stems off Willow Switch October 27, 2018 “Take Back the Hills” 
Larch Hills Jr. Racing Team – Midgets, parents and coaches clear pruned branches and stems off Ermine Frolic Loop – Oct. 28, 2017 “Take Back the Hills”  

JOIN US for a day or more:

As of November 7, 2018 high branch pruning trail work for the 2018 pre-ski season wrapped up. Fourteen work parties were held on consecutive Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. We car pooled from Salmon Arm at 8:30 a.m. or met at 9 a.m. at the Chalet Parking lot. We worked ’til about 1 p.m. or as our time allowed. For more info. and to confirm work day changes due to weather contact George Zorn at 250-832-9335 or Craig McBride (250) 833-6626 to car pool from Salmon Arm.

Note: 2018/19 registered LHNS members who volunteer are covered by CCBC Insurance only until October 15, 2019. Please renew your LHNS membership for the coming season before October 15, 2019 to maintain CCBC Volunteer’s insurance coverage.

Thanks to Tom Hansen, Mark Corbett, the RAP Base Crew, Certification Course Fallers, John Thielman and Larch Hills HB Pruners for “Umbrella Tree” removal on lower Stig’s Loop and Chalet Loop in October 2015. Thanks to Mark Corbett’s RAP Base Crew for “Umbrella Tree” removal on Skytrail’s hills in June 2016 along with track set trails ‘speed junctions’ sight line improvements (e.g.: Hotshot – Ermine Frolic junction, bottom of Jay Walk Hill sharp corner on Ermine Frolic Loop).    

    • 3.3K of high branch pruning & brushing completed Oct. 9 – Nov. 7, 2018:Camel’s Hump (320M), Plantation Place (557M), Heart Break Hill (400M), Willow Switch (890M), Panorama (1060M)
    • Sight line improvements and other: Ermine Frolic on corner below Ridge Run junction, Sky Trail – west side corner below lower Pileated Promenade junction, LH Rd. east side corner below Catamount Canyon junction, Danger tree removal on Ermine Wiggle’s bottom west side, branch cutbacks on upper LH Rd’s ‘no pruning’ segment east of Cec’s Cabin (Tracksetters’ request) 
  • About 10 trail work sessions ended with 1-2 hours of slab pile chain saw cutting and stacking firewood at the new wood shed.          

October 9 – November 7, 2018 Volunteers: Ed Bouma, Jim Cadden, Dave Evensen, Joyce Johnson,
Bent Kristensen, Craig McBride, Chris McMahen, Doug Noakes, Kerry & Leona Orchard, LHNS Ski Team Peewees and Bantams, Parents and Coaches, Pat Smith, George Zorn

2012 – 2018 Volunteers (alphabetical order): Roger Beardmore, Ed Bouma, Frank Bristol, Jim Cadden, Ian Clay, Lynne Collins, Mark Corbett and RAP Crew, Keith Cox, Pat Danforth, Ken Earl, Kristen Earl, Mark Elamatha, Dave Evensen, Jim Hoskins, Pat Hutchins, Joyce Johnson, Bent Kristensen, LHNS Ski Team with Parents and Coaches, Craig McBride, Chris McMahen, Mitch Milgram, Duncan Moore, Jim Nadler, Peter Navratil, Ron Neden, Doug Noakes, Blake Noble, Kerry Orchard, Leona Orchard, Birtie Ostby, Ray Ostby, Alois Schonenberger, Pat Shea, Shuswap Trail Alliance’s JCP Winter Trails Crew 2012, Gerda Sieg, Pat Smith, Rob Taylor, Pauline Waelti, George Zorn

Map of track set trails treated to November 7, 2018:
3.3K pruned 2018.  ~4K left to do in fall 2019: 

    • Skytrail Plateau – upper Pileated Promenade to North Hub: 1510M
    •  Alder Lane: 400M
    • North Hub to Cec’s Cabin: 840M
  • Larch Lake Loop (Moonwalk to Larch Hills Road): 1450M

Click to enlarge

What are we accomplishing? Some benefits of this work:

  1. Safer, slightly wider trails for skiers
  2. Increased light and snow interception on trails
  3. Fewer frozen “snow bombs” in the tracks and on the combed trail width from overhanging branches during freeze-thaw conditions (emphasis on the hills) – safer for skiers on the hills
  4. Improved sight lines for 2-way skier traffic on sharp corners and at junctions (e.g. Hot Shot – Ermine Frolic, sharp corner at the bottom of Jay Walk hill and north of there on Ermine Frolic Loop,… )
  5. In the fall of 2014, early January 2015 and 2016 and 2017, just before the RK-S Loppet, 230 volunteer hours were also invested “dressing up” the 17K and 30K Recreational Loppet routes.
  6. Fewer branches obstructing the PB track setter
  7. Our work focus has been on track set trail hill sections to make these safer for skiers (eg. Baby Moonwalk hills, Sky Trail hills, Hot Shot, Stig’s Loop hill, upper Larch Hills Rd. hills below Cec’s Cabin plateau, Heart Break Hill, Panorama, Camel’s Hump)
  8. As of November 2018 work is completed on the “Core Area” trails (Chalet to South Hub plateau) where most skiers enjoy skiing most of the time (eg. Cottonwood Cutoff, East Dales, Ermine Frolic Loop…)

Work done and still to do:

30K pruned and brushed (2012 to Nov. 7, 2018) = 88% of total. There is 4K left to do in 2019 = 12%.