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Niverville Rec Encourages Residents to Embrace Winter

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Winter Activities Crop
A groomed cross-country skiing trail is open in Hespeler Park. Sara Beth Dacombe

Niverville’s outdoor parks and public spaces feature many options for winter activities. There is an outdoor skating rink at the Niverville Arena, snowshoeing and snowshoe rentals available through the town’s website, a groomed cross-country ski trail at Hespeler Park, and tobogganing.

Cassandra Falk, recreation programmer for the Town of Niverville, says the low amount of snow so far this season, however, has created some challenges, especially when it comes to the cross-country ski trail.

Cross-Country Ski Trails in Niverville

Cross-Country Skiing

The trail runs three kilometers in length around Hespeler Park, with an additional trail located in the trees from the main parking lot to the splash pad. However, due to the mild weather, which has caused some evaporation and melting, and the low level of snowpack, the trail is fraught with patches where grass pokes through and the glide is considerably diminished.

“We’re still working through some areas, and unfortunately it is patchy right now,” says Falk. “But when we get some more snow, we’ll be able to fix that up.”

Fortunately, a few days of snow is in the forecast—and by the time you’re reading this, it may have already started to fall.

The trails are maintained by a new cross-country trail groomer, purchased in 2020 in accordance with the town’s plan to host the Manitoba Winter Games in 2022.

“The organizing committee has purchased the groomer to leave as legacy from the Games,” says Angela Janz, co-chair for the Games. “This groomer is already in operation, and trails have been opened as of last week in Hespeler Park. Town staff are creating and maintaining the trails, and getting up to speed with how the new groomer functions.”

The town is also considering purchasing a snow-making machine which could be deployed during seasons of particularly low snowfall.

“Right now nothing has been purchased, but we are looking at it as being a potential in lots of areas,” says Warren Britton, facility manager for Niverville’s Community Recreation and Resource Centre. “We obviously do have a fear that a lack of snow in 2022 could be detrimental to the Winter Games and [purchasing a snowmaker] could alleviate some of the stress with it.”

Currently, the trails do show some use by both skiers and walkers. This is unfortunate, considering that walkers leave footprints which can disrupt the quality of the experience for skiers.

The trails aren’t too hard to find, but some Niverville residents who’ve used the toboggan hill at Hespeler Park have said they had no idea the town had cross-country ski trails. Only a few residents said they knew the town offered snowshoe rentals.

Snowmobiling

Yet another resident said the only winter pastime they enjoy is snowmobiling. Indeed, snowmobile tracks are prevalent in the parks around Niverville. But Niverville Recreation warns that there are not supposed to be any motorized vehicles in the park, and they are trying to increase awareness about not walking on the ski trails.

“Only town vehicles or our park maintenance equipment are allowed to drive off the road into the park,” says Falk. “There should be no walking or motorized vehicles impacting the trails because it really affects the quality of the trail.”

Additionally, the operation of snowmobiles on school properties and in town parks is prohibited. Operators of snowmobiles are permitted to operate snowmobiles on street boulevards or private property within Niverville for purposes of taking the most direct route in and out of the town, provided that permission has been obtained from the owner of such private property.

Falk recommends that any snowmobilers wanting to get gas should avoid entering town to access Country Snacks. Instead, she points to the Shell station on the outskirts of town, which has a more accessible location.

Snowmobilers of Manitoba (Snoman) provides maps of marked trails and further guidelines as to safe snowmobile operation in the province.

Snowshoeing

For anyone wishing to enjoy walking in the snow in Niverville parks, there are snowshoes available to rent from the town office.

“Snowshoers can really explore,” Falk says. “You’re basically free to go wherever there is snow, being mindful of where the public property and private property begins. The benefit of snowshoes is you can go across deeper sections of snow, or you could go alongside the cross-country ski trails, just not directly on the groomed trails.”

Outdoor Rink

Niverville’s outdoor rink has a schedule with specific times allotted for pleasure skating or playing hockey and ringette, with the town providing some nets and equipment. Sticks and pucks are permitted on Mondays and Wednesdays, as well as the first and third weekends of the month.

Pleasure skating is permitted on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as the second and fourth weekends of the month. Individuals or groups must maintain at least a two-meter distance from other skaters, unless they are from the same household.

The schedule and guidelines are posted at the rink.

Falk wishes to remind people that Niverville Rec’s Facebook page has the schedules and it a good resource for people looking for the most recent updates.

“We also have rental information available for the snowshoes on the town website under the recreation tab,” she adds. “Eventually we hope to offer cross-country ski rentals, but there’s been a delay. We’ve ordered new equipment, but there’s such a high demand for it right now, so the distributor is working on sending that to us.”

For more information

Visit Niverville Rec on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/niver...

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