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Tracks and toothbrushes: Don’t share them!

Posted Friday, January 6, 2017

Miss Manners has something to say about winter sports etiquette: Don’t share tracks.

Here’s what we mean.

It’s 8:30 in the morning. The overnight snow stopped falling at dawn. A brilliant sun has risen and a foot of fresh powder has filled up the woods and fields at Mountain Meadow, Hollow Fields and Kennedy Park.

You throw your snowshoes in the car. At the trailhead, you see that a cross-country skier has already broken trail … what do you do?

With apologies to Highlights magazine:

  • Goofus snowshoes on top of the ski tracks.
  • Gallant breaks his own snowshoe trail alongside the ski tracks.
  • Gallant will have to work harder. But that extra effort means the next skier to come along will have smooth tracks to glide along, instead of choppy, ankle-twisting bowls.

Is it OK for skiers to use a broken-in snowshoe trail?

Miss Manners says no: Follow the golden rule. You don’t want the snowshoer to use your tracks, so don’t use his. If you like the idea of linear ski tracks that might be usable for days or weeks to come, put in the work to set them yourself. Then pray that everyone who follows has good manners.

Hikers, it should go without saying, should never post-hole their way along ski trails. Ideally, they’d stay off the snowshoe tracks too, and create their own third path.

Dogs are a wild card. You can’t keep most of them off a ski track.

Fortunately, their prints are small enough that they usually don’t completely wreck the glide.  

But for Pete’s sake, clean up their poop!