As a result of service cuts last year, the Resort Municipality of Whistler cut its snow plowing program on various lesser-used Valley Trail sections, including the new section that links Spring Creek to Cheakamus Crossing.
It was common to see strollers being pushed along the side of the highway in that section last year, and several complained about the safety of the situation. The municipality has reinstated plowing to that section of the Valley Trail as well as two other sections. However, depending on the amount of snowfall, some sections may be abandoned if municipal crews can't keep up with the weather.
According to the municipality, "The RMOW will attempt to snow clear the following trails, which were not maintained last winter. Depending on the weather, the trails will be maintained in the following order of priority. If a trail is dropped partway through the winter, there is a high likelihood that it will not be maintained for the remainder of the winter due to ice build-up."
In order, those trail sections include: Nordic Bridge south to Alpha Lake Park; Spring Creek to Cheakamus Lake Road; and Alpha Lake Park to Twin Lakes Village.
Fitzsimmons Walk to Spruce Grove Park and the new Mons Road section will not be cleared.
Last season was a big one for snow with the second highest total snowfall in Whistler Blackcomb history. It was a huge year for snow in the valley as well, with plows logging far more days on the highway over the 2011-2012 winter than an average year.
As well, the new LED lights that have been installed between Spring Creek and Cheakamus Crossing should be turned on soon. The supplier shipped the wrong transformers with the poles, according to the municipality, and the new ones arrived last week.
The new light poles are cheaper and are roughly 60 per cent more efficient than the traditional light poles used on other sections of the Valley Trail.