Lack of snow is expected to keep the Dakota Ridge winter recreation area closed past the rescheduled opening date of this Saturday, Dec. 21.
“Due to mild weather conditions, we’re going to open when we can,” parks planning coordinator Sam Adams said Tuesday. “But, looking into my crystal ball, it doesn’t look possible to open up this weekend.”
The opening was originally set for Dec. 14, but was later moved to Dec. 21 based on weather forecasts that Adams said, “have been terrible.”
Snow cover on the Dakota Ridge plateau has been uneven and sparse, with Adams finding “no more than four inches (10 cm) in the best spot” during an inspection last weekend.
As a result, some trails will likely open before others.
“I think that our main cross-country trails would be the first thing to open because they’re not covered by trees,” he said.
Adams said the public should stay tuned to the Dakota Ridge Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Dakota.SCRD) for updates, adding that a significant snowfall won’t lead to an instant opening.
“It’ll take us a couple of days to get things going and get up and running.”
Dakota Ridge, he noted, is in the same boat as every other Nordic skiing destination on the Lower Mainland, except Whistler Olympic Park where about one km of trail has been opened with the help of snow-making equipment.
A shortened season at Dakota Ridge now seems inevitable, even if the snow, when it does come, sticks around in the spring, Adams said.
“What usually ends up happening is it’s that time of year and people turn their gaze to gardening and kayaking,” he said. “In April there’s been tons of snow up there, but people aren’t going up. They’re gardening instead.”