High Branch Pruners, Clippers, Sawyers

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Work started for a sixth season on Oct. 10, 2017 and wrapped up on Nov. 1, 2017 due to heavy snow falls Nov. 2 and Nov. 9 and -10C. THANKS TO LARCH HILLS VOLUNTEERS WHO HELPED prune & brush track set trails.


WE PRUNED 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 wrapped up with a Pot Luck Dinner as the first big snowfall settled in on the trails, as the bears go to sleep and as we start skiing at Larch Hills! SINCE 2012 we’ve invested over 104 days and 1423 volunteer hours to high branch prune and brush about 27K of Larch Hill’s track set trails (approx. 5K per year). 27K represents over 75% of the estimated 36K 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 1423 hours total. See the map below showing trail work completed on Larch Hills’ track set trails: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and to Nov. 1, 2017.

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 1, 2017 high branch pruning trail work for the 2017 pre-ski season wrapped up. Twelve 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 Jim Nadler at 778-489-2273 to car pool from Salmon Arm.

Note: 2016/17 registered LHNS members who volunteer are covered by CCBC Insurance only until October 15, 2017. Please renew your LHNS membership for the coming season before October 15, 2017 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).    


2.5K of high branch pruning & brushing completed Oct. 10 – Nov. 1, 2017

  • Ermine Frolic Loop (excluding a 280M no treatment zone for comparison south of the Jay Walk east side junction with the Loop)

  • Sight line improvements: bottom west side of Metford Rd. hill across from Shortcut junction and Bilbo’s Bog – Metford Rd junction   


October 10 – November 1, 2017 Volunteers: Jim Cadden, Dave Evensen, Bent Kristensen, Craig McBride, Jim Nadler, Doug Noakes, Kerry & Leona Orchard, LHNS Ski Team Midgets, Parents and Coaches, Pat Smith, George Zorn

2012 – 2016 Volunteers (alphabetical order): Roger Beardmore, 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, Bent Kristensen, LHNS Ski Team with Parents and Coaches, Craig McBride, Mitch Milgram, Duncan Moore, Jim Nadler, Peter Navratil, Ron Neden, 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, Rob Taylor, Pauline Waelti, George Zorn 

Map of track set trails treated to November 1, 2017:


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, just before the RK-S Loppet, 192 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 to Cec’s Cabin plateau)
  8. We are currently (fall 2017) working 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:

27K pruned and brushed (2012 to Nov. 1, 2017) 75%.    9K still to do 25%.