A distant dream has become a reality for the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club, who plans to have a new lodge constructed for the 2022/23 ski season at Bull Mountain.
The club recently learned it had received government funding to the tune of $430,000 through the Targeted Regional Tourism Initiative from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport to support the growth of recreation and outdoor tourism opportunities in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region.
“For this to happen has been an answer to a lot of our prayers,” said Rick Nelson, head director with the WLCCSC, a not-for-profit club.
“To have a facility out there is going to make us a tourist destination.”
Recently, the club had been fundraising tirelessly with the goal of building a new storage facility as its current stationing hut and storage C-can were proving to be insufficient due to the club’s membership and trail use growth over the past several years.
“Now our plans have changed,” Nelson said. “We still would like to build a storage facility but this will definitely come first, and give us a place to have our rentals, a meeting area for people, a patio and lounge and viewing area.”
The new lodge’s location is planned to be in the stadium area at Bull Mountain, located about 100 yards away from the parking lot. The stadium area plays host to a number of the club’s events, including jackrabbits, loppets and other ski races.
Nelson said the club is currently in the process of contacting contractors to do the work, with plans to build a timber-frame visitor lodge and ski rental facility to accommodate the some 28 kilometres of ski trails, snowshoe trails and dog trails.
“This building will be a great addition to our ski area and create a better visitor experience,” said board member and ski coach Beverly Rooke.
“We will now have a larger and newer building to support local and regional skiers and programs such as Jackrabbits, Ski School and adult ski lessons, as well as welcome visitors from around the province and afar. The past season saw a great increase in people getting outdoors to enjoy the Nordic ski trials at Bull Mountain and this funding will help provide a lodge with more modern amenities and showcase our local timber frame talent.”
Nelson said with the addition of a lodge the Cariboo has the potential to become an iconic B.C. Nordic ski destination and help increase regional tourism in the winter.
He noted, in addition, the new infrastructure has the potential to be used for corporate, community and provincial events during all four seasons in the future.
With work on the new building expected to begin later this year and completion set for December of 2022, Nelson said the club is hoping to expand the project further and is currently looking for sponsors, in-kind donations and additional grant funding.
Anyone interested in helping to contribute, or learning more about the project, is asked to call Nelson at 250-392-6053.
“The new building is just going to compliment everything we’ve already got going on there,” Nelson said.
“It’s going to be great.”