A few members of the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club grooming team — Sean Seabourne (from left)

A few members of the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club grooming team — Sean Seabourne (from left)

Ski club prepares for season

The Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club is hosting an open house this Saturday, Nov. 29, in preparation for the upcoming ski season.

The Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club is hosting an informative open house this Saturday, Nov. 29, in preparation for the upcoming ski season.

Along with light refreshments, the open house — which runs from 9 a.m. until noon at the Williams Lake Library — will provide an opportunity to register for the ski season, get information about the club, including its Jackrabbits youth program and the club’s new grooming equipment.

And with the recent snowfall in and around the city, WLCCSC president Sean Donahue said preparations and planning will likely begin shortly on the ski trails at Bull Mountain.

“A lot of effort goes into preparing our world-class trails for all levels of ability,” Donahue said. “We have 28 kilometres. Three-and-a-half kilometres are lit, and we have trails designated for dogs.”

Last year the club — which has roots dating back to the early 90s — acquired its first snowmobile equipped with grooming equipment and retired its snowcat, which was operated by Mike Plante for almost 20 years. Most recently, the club purchased another snowmobile to accompany its single grooming device.

“This is way more cost effective,” Donahue said. “Through [groomer] Sean Seabourne we’ve developed a volunteer grooming crew that really do a great job at preparing the trails.”

Rob Sutton will be heading up the Jackrabbits program this year, and will be at the open house to provide information to interested families. The Jackrabbits program — for youth from four to teenage years — runs Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons from December until early March, however, younger skiers only have sessions on Sundays.

The WLCCSC will also be hosting lessons for adult beginners and intermediates this season with the first sessions scheduled for Jan. 10-11. More lessons will follow subject to demand, Donahue said.

And on Jan. 4 from 1 until 3 p.m. the WLCCSC will host its annual Family Fun Day, an opportunity for the entire family or individuals to try cross country skiing with no cost and to try out equipment.

There’s also a Wednesday night group that skis on an informal basis which carpools to Bull Mountain from Barking Spider Mountain Bike Shop meeting at 6 p.m.

The club’s website, www.bullmountain.ca, also features an opportunity for interested individuals to register for the upcoming season online, and has a blog featuring trail conditions, plus information about upcoming events, programs and a link to its Facebook page.

Additionally, the first 25 people to purchase an adult membership will receive a free day pass to Mt. Timothy Ski Area, and cross country equipment packages will be available for purchase.

Registration forms will also be available shortly at Red Shred’s, the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, Caribou Ski Source for Sports and at Barking Spider.

And with snow in the forecast, Donahue said he’s optimistic skiing could get underway soon.

“We’ll probably start packing [the trails] this weekend, but if we get enough snow this weekend there could be skiing Saturday or Sunday,” he said. “Depends how long the snow continues. We need about 20 centimetres or so to begin skiing.”