May 27, 2018

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Popular skating trail could reach 10 kilometres in length

PHIL HOSSACK / Winnipeg Free Press</p><p>A topless man jogs enjoying the warm sun as Winnipeggers gather on the newest part of the River trail wednesday.</p>

PHIL HOSSACK / Winnipeg Free Press

A topless man jogs enjoying the warm sun as Winnipeggers gather on the newest part of the River trail wednesday.

The Red River Mutual Trail may stretch as far as 10 kilometres this winter, a length last achieved in 2009.

The popular Winnipeg skating trail, which starts at The Forks and extends out on both the Red and Assiniboine rivers, reached 9.5 km in 2009, said The Forks North Portage Partnership communications spokeswoman Chelsea Thomson.

The goal is it will soon reach just as far, with the trail’s maintenance staff hoping to extend it along the Assiniboine to Arlington Street and south on the Red River to the St. Vital Bridge.

“We’ll do our best to reach those sections, but it’s not guaranteed yet,” Thomson said Wednesday. “We’re hoping.”

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The Red River Mutual Trail may stretch as far as 10 kilometres this winter, a length last achieved in 2009.

The popular Winnipeg skating trail, which starts at The Forks and extends out on both the Red and Assiniboine rivers, reached 9.5 km in 2009, said The Forks North Portage Partnership communications spokeswoman Chelsea Thomson.

The goal is it will soon reach just as far, with the trail’s maintenance staff hoping to extend it along the Assiniboine to Arlington Street and south on the Red River to the St. Vital Bridge.

"We’ll do our best to reach those sections, but it’s not guaranteed yet," Thomson said Wednesday. "We’re hoping."

In 2008, the trail claimed a Guinness World Record for longest naturally frozen river trail, clocking in at 8.54 kilometres. This year’s conditions favour a similar length, Thomson said.

Low water levels on the Assiniboine River meant the river froze earlier in the season, she said, and there hasn’t been much frazil ice to contend with. That type of slushier ice is caused by fast-moving river temperatures and requires more work on the part of trail workers to clear and smooth it over.

Those factors, coupled with less snowfall, have made it easier to open additional trail sections, Thomson said. "We weren’t constantly shovelling off the open trail portions."

As a break from frigid temperatures coaxes more people to lace up, Thomson said its important people remember to look at The Forks website to check river conditions before hitting the ice.

"We ask that they access the trails at the open access points only, for safety reasons," she said.

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Updated on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 5:37 PM CST: Updates

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