Young skiers race at Bull Mountain during last year’s Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club’s Elementary Races.

Young skiers race at Bull Mountain during last year’s Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club’s Elementary Races.

Cross country ski club providing many outdoor opportunities

There’s a winter wonderland waiting to be explored right in Williams Lake’s backyard.

There’s a winter wonderland waiting to be explored right in Williams Lake’s backyard, said Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club communications manager Kirsty Gartshore.

“We can choose to hide behind the curtains and watch TV, stay warm and just survive the cold, dark season but it’s possible to do so much more,” Gartshore said.

“Cross country skiing is a great way to get out and embrace what nature throws at us instead of hiding from it, and do our bodies some good while we’re at it. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in Canada, so come see what it’s about.”

Bull Mountain Ski Area is located 16 kilometres north of Williams Lake on Highway 97 and offers 28 kilometres of groomed trails including 3.5 km of lit trails until 10 p.m., three smaller trail loops where dogs are allowed off leash, an adventure trail with life-size cartoon characters and a 4.3-km snowshoe trail.

The WLCCSC has several events and activities planned for this coming ski season, beginning with an open house on Nov. 21 in the Williams Lake Library meeting room.

“This is a great way to meet our executive and other members,” Gartshore said. “Light refreshments will be provided, as well as information about our trails and programs.”

There will be a registration table where families and individuals will be able to sign up for club memberships or Jackrabbits.

“A draw will be held for those buying memberships prior to or on the day of the open house and for prizes we have 10 individual day passes to Mt. Timothy, as well as gift certificates from Williams Lake sports equipment stores,” she said.”

During the open house the executive will be open to feedback from its membership on the direction they would like to see the club go during the next five years.

“We want to know what our members’ priorities are,” she said. “Is it programs, improved facilities, more dog trails? We’ll have a table dedicated to canvassing opinion about that so we encourage all to come out and let us know how they feel.”

Following the open house, on Jan. 10, the WLCCSC hosts its annual Family Fun Day and invites the public to try cross-country skiing, free of charge.

“Ski boots and poles will be available to borrow at no charge and instructors will be available to help you,” Gartshore said. “On this day we often meet people new to Williams Lake who want to find out what us Cariboo people do in the winter time. Sometimes, they are even new to snow.”

On Feb. 28, following the success of its inaugural season, the Elementary School Ski Tournament will return to Bull Mountain.

“It’s a friendly competition between all the elementary schools in Williams Lake, including home schoolers,” she said, noting participants need to register through their respective schools. “We finished up with a lunch and bonfire last year and it was such a great family atmosphere.”

Also new this year to the WLCCSC is a new racing team, the Bull Mountain Racers.

Anyone ages nine and up is invited to join, including adults.

“The team is planning to attend five competitions throughout Central B.C. this winter and only one is limited to children,” she said, adding practices will be three times per week on Monday and Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons.

The WLCCSC also offers adult lessons, taught in packages of two on Saturdays and Sundays.

For youth, the WLCCSC offers a Jackrabbits skill development program for children up to 12 years of age on Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. from December through to early March.

For more on the WLCCSC visit www.bullmountain.ca or, to inquire about Jackrabbits, contact Rob Sutton at skijackrabbit@gmail.com.

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