Racers participate to race on the frozen Big Lake recently.

Racers participate to race on the frozen Big Lake recently.

Conditions ripe for Xeni Gwet’in snowmobile races

More than 40 people raced in the snow on frozen Big Lake in the Nemiah Valley.

It had been almost a decade since Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in Nemiah Valley enjoyed the opportunity to host a snowmobile race.

“For nine years we didn’t have the right snow conditions, but this year we could finally hold our fourth annual,” said organizer Colin Williams.

More than 40 people participated earlier this month, racing on frozen Big Lake.

Shocked by the turnout, Williams said originally he’d planned a 22-kilometre race in another area of the valley but the visibility was so poor that at the last minute it was changed to the lake.

Williams, 34, grew up in Xeni Gwet’in and in the winter uses his sled pretty much every day, he said.

A single father of two boys, he works mostly in fisheries and firefighting.

Grateful for the help he had from others in the community to put on the races, he singled out his parents — June Williams and Edmund Lulua — for being the biggest help.

“We also had some great sponsorship from businesses in Williams Lake for our loonie auction which we put on to fundraise for the race,” he said.

 

James Lulua Jr. photos                                It has been nine years since the snow conditions have been ideal to host snowmobile races at Xeni Gwet’in First Nation.

James Lulua Jr. photos It has been nine years since the snow conditions have been ideal to host snowmobile races at Xeni Gwet’in First Nation.