Members of the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club are doing a little snow dance as they have plenty in store for the 2019/20 ski season for all levels and ages of skiers.
Work has been ongoing throughout the spring and summer on a new Adventure Trail at the WLCC’s ski area, Bull Mountain, tailored to be a fun area to facilitate easier access to varied terrain such as hills, bumps and corners, to support developing skills for new skiers.
The WLCC partnered with Cross Country B.C. and its main Jackrabbits sponsor, Kal Tire, who provided $3,000 in a grant for the development. Progressive Harvesting Limited, meanwhile, handled the many hours of equipment time and operation to help build the trail, along with many volunteers from the WLCC, who also helped with planning and development.
“The plan is to pack it [once snow arrives] but not do a huge amount of track setting so it can be an area for the kids to play in the snow and be close to the lodge,” said Bev Rook, WLCCSC director and Bull Mountain Racers coach, noting the trail will have four entrances/exits.
“In total it probably covers about 600 to 700 metres of new trail.”
The new Adventure Trail is located within sight of the WLCCSC’s main lodge and warming hut.
“We’re excited for the snow to come now,” she added. “The kids really like to play on the hills, and to explore, so this should be a nice addition.”
Rook said the WLCCSC is training some great, young racers, as well, as two of the club’s skiers, Grace Turner and Anika Wallin, recently travelled to Sovereign Lake in Vernon after being invited to a cross country skiing super camp where they joined some of the top skiers in the province.
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At the camp, held Nov. 7-11, Turner and Wallin — both members of the Bull Mountain Racers and on behalf of the WLCCSC — were recognized for finishing second in the country in the most improved club category, and third in Canada for progression in athlete performance.
Robin Dawes, the WLCCSC’s ski school program co-ordinator — a new addition to the cross country ski club last year that allowed schools to come ski at Bull Mountain — has also been busy laying the groundwork for another successful season.
“It went very well last year,” Dawes said. “Better than we could have hoped and the schools and, in particular, the kids, were very enthusiastic and I think they’re all looking forward to coming back again.”
Dawes said educating school-aged youth on the fun, and merits, of the sport was an extremely rewarding experience for her.
“It was just a lot of fun watching the kids progress,” she said. “Most of the schools came for three sessions and you could see the improvement in all of them. The ones who’d never been on skis progressed, and so did the ones who had some skiing experience already.”
She said the WLCCSC is currently looking for volunteers and coaches to help with this year’s ski school program.
She estimates, depending on snow conditions, the ski school program will begin having classes visit Bull Mountain in early January.
“If we can get them going before then, though, that would be wonderful,” she said. “The program really accomplished everything we had hoped it would, and I think it sparked a lot of interest and brought a lot of people out of the woodwork to help volunteer and coach, but we’re always looking for a few more coaches.”
Additionally, the WLCC is now inviting skiers and the public to its annual open house and ski swap Saturday, Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Williams Lake Library meeting room.
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Ski swap gear drop off begins at 9 a.m. There will be memberships for sale and bunnyrabbit and jackrabbit registration tables on site. The open house and ski swap will also be the final chance for skiers to earn a $10 discount on a season membership, and to be entered for a B.C. punch pass or gift certificate from Barking Spider.
Deb Burdikin, registrar with the WLCCSC, said she’d encourage people to purchase their memberships early to support the club.
“This year we’ve added a new membership for families to give a discount for larger families to ski at Bull Mountain,” Burdikin said. “It’s something we’ve never had before and hope it will make it more financially viable for families to get a membership.”
This year’s new day use fee for a family is $25. For anyone under the age of 18, the cost to ski is just $5 a day, down from $10 in previous years.
Burdikin encourages anyone interested in cross country skiing this season to visit the WLCCSC’s website at www.williamslakecrosscountryskiclub.ca.
“Everything is up and running on the website, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone out at the open house,” she said.
Registration can also be done online through the Zone4 website at www.zone4.ca where forms can be downloaded to be mailed in, or dropped off at the open house.