Cross country ski club breaks membership record

Cross country ski club breaks membership record

They glided into a new record thanks to the early-season start

It’s a record!

After an exciting build up in membership last year, which fell short of the season record, the Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club has finally signed up enough members in a year to beat its all-time record.

Club secretary-treasurer Cathy Vandenberg signed up the last three members last week and discovered the record as she logged the data that night.

“I just went to click on the stats, and I went ‘holy cow! That’s 363, that’s great!” said Vandenberg.

“Our membership is at an all-time high… And we’re not done,” she said, noting that it’s still pretty early in the ski season.

The 363 members this year break the 360-member record from 2013, a number the club was tracking pretty closely last season which ended with 354 members.

Club lead groomer Dean Bergstrom and club president Liz Thorne agree that the increasing membership is due largely to the early dump of snow in November.

“It’s probably because we had that early snowfall,” said Thorne. “We had this huge dump of snow, everybody gets in the mood, and we had an early-bird deal going as well.

“Normally we get a rush of memberships with the first snow and then it trails off, but after the snowfall we had beautiful cold conditions and the snow was beautiful to ski on.”

But Thorne says a number of new people have joined the club too. Some have recently moved here, including two families from South Africa, and others are people who’ve lived here and are simply picking up the sport, she said.

Now building off their success, the club is pushing for some small developments at the Onion Lake ski trails. The bought a new SnowKiti groomer in 2015 and is now fundraising for a second snowmobile groomer for the lighter snowfalls, and for a new rental shed.

Right now, the only storage space they have isn’t even ten feet wide, which they moved into eight years ago when they wanted to move the rental skis from Kitimat to the trails.

“The girls have to have a proper place to work out of,” said project lead Dean Bergstrom. “That little wee shed, man, when people are coming to get rentals… it’s hard…. there is no room to move.”

They’re set to buy two sea cans, 20 feet by eight feet, which they’ll put side by side on the northeast side of the stadium area beside the main building.

“They’ll have five or six times the space,” said Bergstrom, adding that it will make rentals go much more smoothly.