Planning and Designing Cross Country Skiing and Winter Trails in an Era of Climate Change

This presentation will review fundamental trail design considerations for skiing and winter trails.


Speaker: John Morton, Principal and Founder, Morton Trails

Cross country skiing includes an estimated 10.2 million participants, up from 3.5 million in 2007, making it one of the fastest growing trail-based activities. Other winter activities, such as snowshoeing and winter mountain biking, have also become popular in areas with reliable snow. As these activities become more popular, traditional locations have less predictable snowfall, emphasizing a need to re-think the planning, design, and management of Nordic skiing and winter-based trail systems. Based on examples from across the United States and internationally, this presentation will review fundamental trail design considerations for skiing and winter trails, with new techniques and approaches to address issues of warmer winters and less snowfall. These approaches include considerations of site location, trail width, surface, gradient and slope aspect (orientation), grooming equipment, snowmaking, and alternative surfaces. Additionally, the presentation will provide management approaches to diversify and provide financially stable trail-based winter activities, including both opportunities for competition and events as well as recreation, along with four-season use of trails.

View This Presentation Online

More Articles in this Category

O. L. "Leff" Moore and the Development of the Innovative Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area

O. L. “Leff” Moore was the “father” of the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area, the most innovative motorized trail system in the eastern United States. Leff was the recipient of the 2008 Hulet Hornbeck Award at the 19th International Trails Symposium.

Tennessee Off-Highway Vehicle User Survey

The characteristics of OHV users in Tennessee, types of OHV use and trip characteristics, and the perceptions and preferences of OHV users were studied.

Rejuvenating kunanyi/Mt. Wellington's Great Short Walk

The City of Hobart has been rejuvenating the historic Organ Pipes and Pinnacle Tracks on Mount Wellington in Tasmania.

Wetland Trail Design and Construction

This manual describes the common techniques for building a wetland trail.

Rio Grande Trail Corridor Study: Trail Surfacing Report

This report sorts through the various choices for the most "economical and sustainable" types of trail surfacing options along the proposed Rio Grande Trail corridor from Belen to Sunland Park, New Mexico.