By Andru McCracken

Josh Ball finds his way down Boomstick after an epic snowfall. /ANDRU MCCRACKEN

Like any other wintertime backcountry amenity, the trail to Crystal Ridge needs maintenance, according to VARDA (Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association) manager Curtis Pawliuk.

“Fairies don’t come and maintain the area,” he said. “Hopefully it is clear we need support from users to keep it in the shape we want.”

Crystal Ridge is a fairly unique sled-assisted ski area that gets a lot of traffic, especially after a big storm. Users snowmobile in approximately 14 km to access the ski runs.

A few weeks ago the area received over 50 cm of new snow giving skiers and snowboarders the chance to experience an epic helicopter skiing conditions.

In total only $20 was dropped in the donation box.

“We’re hoping that the users will see the value in the maintained access and begin using the donation box either in the staging area or by stopping by our office,” he said.

The area is groomed with its own groomer worth $20,000 and the cost of running the machine isn’t cheap either.

“It’s a thousand dollars to groom it [including] staff time, equipment and fuel,” he said.

Pawliuk said snowmobilers come prepared with cash.

“Crystal ridge needs to be the same way,” he said.