Submitted by Dan Clark
Look around the Platzl and there is little snow to be seen, but the skis and smiles are out at the Kimberley Nordic Club (KNC). The club officially opened this weekend with skiers out enjoying many of the trails and kids nordic programs getting started despite minimal snow.
The story behind the conditions at KNC is a combination of planning and hard work. Over the weekend KNC president Tony Hetu described these efforts, “The Kimberley Nordic Club has spent another summer working hard to make our facility even better with parking lot upgrades and reworking of some corners for safety. KNC staff and volunteers have mowed the trails and laid down wood chips so we can all enjoy some early season skiing.”
This weekend, skiers from around the East Kootenays converged on the trails at KNC for the best nordic skiing in the region. Invermere’s Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club travelled to Kimberley twice this weekend to ski. Their coach Ted Bigelow reported, “Nordic skiing at KNC is top drawer for early season. It was worth the trip and it was great to see volunteers out grooming on a cold winter night!”
The Fernie Nordic Racers also travelled to ski in Kimberley this weekend. “We had a great day skiing at the Kimberley Nordic Club,” said coach Johnny Shaw about the experience. “With no snow in Fernie it was fantastic to take advantage of the great grooming, fantastic trails and comfortable facilities offered here. Sunny skies and stunning views were an added bonus. We love nordic skiing in Kimberley!” he added.
Kids programs also started up this weekend at KNC. The Jackrabbits program is for skiers from 4-9 years of age and this year is the biggest group in the club’s history. This is a similar story for the Track Attack program for skiers from 9-13, and the Nordic Racers for skiers from 13-19. In total, the Skills Development Programs have 100 kids and youth participating in a full season of winter sport on snow. Sunday afternoons are a busy time at the club, with hundreds of people, young and old, enjoying the trails.
Jackrabbits co-coordinator Emilie Cayer-Huard kicked off the first session on Sunday afternoon. “We are all set and very excited for another great season of Jackrabbits. With additional sessions being offered on Tuesdays after school and a shiny new fleet of rental equipment available for a very affordable price, we strive to make the program convenient and accessible to local families. We are also so fortunate to count on a dedicated group of volunteer coaches, who will be sharing their passion for skiing with nearly 70 kids. Jackrabbit is really about the community we build around cross-country skiing; everyone is involved from kids, to parents, friends and grand-parents. That’s what makes this program so unique!”
The club now has staff manning the kiosk from 10-3 every day of the week until opening full days once there is further snowfall. The lodge is open and available and the lights are on for night skiing until 9pm daily. Admission is by donation until there is more snow. Skiers are encouraged to ski with caution as coverage is shallow with occasional rocks and needles on the trails.