This past winter, over two hundred students took part in the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club Ski School. The WLCCSC launched the program in the winter of 2018/19 and completed a third consecutive year of operation in 2020/21.
The WLCCSC Ski School is aligned with Cross Country BC and Nordiq Canada’s Ski S’kool Program. The program took place at Bull Mountain and involved students of various ages from several schools, including five classes of Grade 7 students from LCSS. According to teacher Frances McCoubrey, the program was a huge hit.
“The kids were so pumped about it,” she said, smiling. “There were a couple of children who start off nervous about it, but by the end they feel so confident and proud of themselves, which is great.”
Frances is a Grade 7 Outdoor Education teacher at the Columneetza Campus. When asked what a typical day at the hill was like, she replied with enthusiasm:
“As we (students and teachers) arrived, the volunteer staff of the ski school would welcome us and explain the day plan. We would then get gear and split up into groups led by a trained instructor. In the morning, we would learn different techniques and, in the afternoon, the students would ski around the forest trails with their instructors. Then, the students would head back by the day hut for some hot chocolate and time around the campfire.”
Emma Boehm, 12, a Grade 7 student, said her favourite part of ski school was learning how to control her speed. “Also, the people there were really nice.”
Avah Akeson, also in Grade 7, said that just having the opportunity to ski was really fun.
There were many volunteers including co-ordinator Robin Dawes of WLCCSC. In total, 441 volunteer hours were spent making the program enjoyable and educational.
This season the program was financially supported by the Williams Lake Community Forest and the Cariboo Woodlot Education Society. The City of WL and CRD helped with equipment, while Taseko/Gibraltar and the Red Cross generously sponsored invaluable major COVID-19 cleaning devices.
Local sports stores such as Cycle Logic, Caribou Ski Source for Sports and Red Shred’s are all very supportive, as well, making this truly a community success story.
Overall, the program was a blast and I think it’s safe to say staff and students will be excited to ski again next year.
Ella Kruus is a Grade 8 student at Lake City Secondary School Columneetza Campus.