The writer of the letter “Trail etiquette for snowshoers” [November/December, 2014] seems to feel that cross-country skiing should be given preeminence in the use of a foot trail once ski tracks are laid down. I could certainly agree while using established and signed ski trails throughout the Adirondacks, but when on multi-use foot trails during the winter, “trail etiquette” is not so clear-cut in favor of skiers. A ski track on a foot trail does not a ski trail make.
I use all methods of trekking on my favorite multi-use trails in the foothills of the Adirondacks. During the winter, there are “booters,” snowshoers, and skiers using the same trail for whatever reason. These methods are all appropriate since the trails are marked with red, yellow, and blue foot-trail markers.
I do not consider it unsportsmanlike for a skier following me to make ski tracks in my snowshoe tracks. Likewise, I don’t think a skier should think it unsportsmanlike for a snowshoer to walk in their ski tracks. To claim that a foot trail becomes a ski trail simply because someone makes ski tracks over the trail is the height of snobbery.
To be sure, when the foot trail is wide enough and there are ski tracks on one side of the trail, I will snowshoe to the other side, keeping clear of the ski tracks. That’s just being courteous.
Snow lovers should not be at each other’s throats merely because they have differing ways of enjoying winter. What they have in common should be enough for all to enjoy.
Ed Haley Rome