“…Many strokes, though with a little axe,Hew down and fell the hardest-timbered oak.”-Shakespeare, King Henry VI
This is the story of how Eb's Trails came to be, written by Eb himself. It was first published in 1983 in a booklet by the Nordic Ski Club titled "54 Years of Sliding & Striding: a Capsule History of Skiing in Saskatoon 1928-1982". We've shortened it here; Eb wasn't a guy in a hurry when it came to telling stories.
"Eb’s Trails, a network of cross country ski trails, are located 16km north of the town of Duck Lake. These trails evolved over a number of years and were started by myself, Eberhard Fass, otherwise know as Eb.
"During the winter of 1972-73 between leading ski tours into the Adamson Lake area and exploring new areas to lead ski tours into, I skied into the Eb’s trail area several times trying to link the various existing trails together to form a loop. By the end of 1973 I had become sufficiently familiar with the area to form a small loop of approximately 4km which in some places went through some very dense brush.
"In January or February of 1974 I took the first group of people, all customers of my newly established enterprise, Eb’s Boat & Ski Shop, around this trail. Several more groups followed. That winter I got to know the area better making some changes to the trail and laying out a new trail connecting all the largest hills. This new trail, now known as Look-Out Ridge Trail, was however not cut until a few years later.
"During the 1975-76 Winter season I incorporated several hills into what was now becoming known as Eb’s Trail. With the help of two friends, Al Johnson and Wenzel Platz, we cut most of the worst small brush. Almost all of the original cutting was done on skis, and my skis which I am still using show the marks where I slipped with my hatchet. That winter more local people as well as my friends and customers started to use the trail.
"The following winter 1976-77 with the help of a new friend, John Porter, I established a new entrance to the trail, running approximately diagonally from what is now the south parking lot to the existing north-south trail. The trail was getting well used now so the following fall I contacted Mr. Russ Brunt of the Dept. of Tourism and Renewable Resources in Prince Albert to get permission to put up a sign and widen the trails. He told me that I could not get permission as an individual, but that they might give permission to the Saskatoon Nordic Ski Club. I told Bob Katarynych, then the President of the Club about that and he promptly wrote a letter to the D.T.R.R. and got the permission we wanted.
"I then made up a sign and with the help of the Club organized the first of many work parties to widen and improve the trail. I produced the first map of the trail that fall, which thanks to a large, angry bull was not too accurate. Somehow this bull not only managed to increase my heart rate but also my distance estimates, so that on my paper I ended up about a thousand feet further east than where I started from.
"During Christmas 1977 with the help of several friends we cut half of the Look-Out Ridge Trail which I had marked several years earlier. The other half was cut in the Fall of 1978.
"For the next few years we continued to improve the trails and looked for ways to extend the trail system. In late summer of 1980, under the direction of John Sheard, then Club President, we organized several work parties to survey and cut a new trail. The new Beaverlodge Trail crossed an overgrown slough and a beaver cutting. It took a tremendous amount of work to cut through these areas.
"In the fall of 1981 the D.T.R.R. established a second parking lot with shelter at the north end of the trail system. For the first time they also became actively involved in trail cutting. Eb’s Trail, the Look-Out Ridge Trail and the portion of the Beaverlodge Trail leading to the north parking lot, were cut over with a flailmower by a very conscientious D.T.R.R. crew, making great improvement to those trails.
"A short new trail, the Misto Loop, was added at the north end the winter of 1982. In the Fall of 1982 we redesigned the first portion of Eb’s Trail and put in an access trail from the north parking lot.
"I made thirty routed out cedar signs indicating trail names, distances, directions and steep hill warnings. It took nineteen fence posts and a Sunday’s work by a crew of six to put them into place. Hopefully we can continue to expand and improve the trails in the years to come for the enjoyment of all cross country skiers."
See a map of Eb's Trails today here.