High Branch Pruners, Clippers, Sawyers

THANKS TO LARCH HILLS VOLUNTEERS WHO HELPED prune & brush track set trails this past fall. Work started for a tenth season on Oct.  12, 2021 and wrapped up on Nov. 8, 2021. Total volunteer work hours: 60. We did sightline improvements on hill section blind corners and branch pruning and brushing on north Willow Switch hill and outrun, Baby Moon Walk hill from Panorama Junction to Willow Switch Junction, Sky Trail hills, Hot Shot and Ermine Frolic Loop.

What do we do?

Using Silky Pole Saws  we prune high tree branches reaching over the ski trails. Our reach is about 8 to 9M high.  “Why Silky Pole Saws are so great” -  watch this <3 min. You Tube video.

We prune lower branches and tree whips with long handled loppers and folding saws. We clear cut branches and stems off the trail. Safety-trained, experienced Volunteer chain saw operators cut small diameter trail–side trees which are 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!

Over the past 10 fall seasons since 2012 we’ve invested over 137 half-days and over 2000 volunteer hours to high branch prune and brush about 34K of Larch Hill’s track set trails (approx. 4K per year). 34K represents 100% of the estimated 34K of track set Larch Hills trails that would benefit from high branch pruning & brushing.

With the help of the Larch Hills Jr. Racing Team and Parents removing pruned branches at the “Take Back the Hills” work parties over 2000 hours of LHNS volunteer hours have been contributed to tend the track set trails since 2012.

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”  

Fall 2020: We took a break!

As of November 1, 2019 high branch pruning trail work for the 2019 pre-ski season wrapped up. Eleven 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.

Interested in helping in the future?
Please contact George Zorn at 250-832-9335 or Craig McBride 250-833-6626.

Our Club is “Powered by Volunteers”  – THANKS to these 39 hard working, friendly Trail Volunteers and two support groups!

2012 – 2021 Volunteer High Branch Pruners, Clippers and Sawyers (alphabetical order): Roger Beardmore, Ed Bouma, Frank Bristol, Jim Cadden, Gord Carter, 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, David Millard, 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

Umbrella Tree Removal: 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).

4K pruning, clipping and sawing completed in 2019: orange lines on map 

    • Skytrail: upper Pileated Promenade to North Hub: 1510M
    • Alder Lane: 400M
    • N. Hub to Cec’s Cabin: 840M. A 300M old forest section not treated.
    • Larch Lake Loop: Moonwalk Junction to Larch Hills Road: 1450M
    • Note: Mom’s Trail has not been treated.

Click to enlarge

What’s been accomplished?

  1. Safer, slightly wider trails for skiers
  2. Increased light and snow interception on trails
  3. Umbrella tree removal and overhanging branch removal to reduce frozen “snow bombs” in the tracks and on the combed trail width during freeze-thaw conditions. Safer for skiers on the hills.
  4. Improved sight lines for safer 2-way skier traffic on many sharp corners and junctions: e.g. Hot Shot – Ermine Frolic, sharp corner at the bottom of Jay Walk hill and sharp turns on Ermine Frolic Loop, merging junctions on Larch Hills Rd. at Larch Lake Loop and East Dales, sharp turn on Larch Lake Loop at Moonwalk junction.
  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 was 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…)

As of November 2019 our goal of 34 K of Track set trail is completed.
On-going trail maintenance will continue…,
“Powered by Larch Hills Volunteers”.