Over 200 people came to the action-packed Family Funday event at the 100 Mile House Nordics Club grounds on Feb. 17. The attendees were treated to cross country ski-races, a mascot Birkebeiner with its own spin, a stuffed animal search, and the South Cariboo Search and Rescue team also dropped by to teach kids about Avalanche probes and transceivers.
“Family Funday has turned into our ‘signature event,’” said Craig Davidiuk, the spokesperson for the event. “There are a couple [of] goals of hosting this event. We want to offer families and the general public the chance to try our trails out for free. In addition to that, we offer a bunch of activities that everyone can participate in regardless if they ski or not. The goal is to create deeper ties within our community and showcase our club, so I feel we really did great on both of those items.”
Davidiuk also said it was great to see the youth cross-country skiing, a sport that has been struggling to attract younger participants. Kids from clubs in Williams Lake, Clearwater and Quesnel were invited to participate as well.
In total, 25 kids participated in the races.
“This event and others we host are geared towards re-building of our racing program which has really dwindled in the past five years,” he said. “The Nordics have dedicated a lot of time and resources into expanding our reach so we can attract more kids into our Skills Development program and in turn get our racing program rebuilt. This is year two of our plan and it’s working incredibly well.”
It was also an opportunity for the club to show off their new mascot, Foxy Moonbeam. Foxy is based on a black fox who frequents the trails often and watches the skiers as they go by. Foxy is on all accounts, a beloved figure at the club, especially among the younger crowd who cheered the fox on during the Birkebeiner.
Based on a historic event of a long and treacherous trek of a group of Norwegian people who carried a two-year-old Norwegian king to safety from Lillehammer to Trondheim in the early 1200s after his father’s death, the Birkebeiner is now an event celebrated by Nordics groups worldwide. However, 100 Mile House gave it a new spin. Foxy Moonbeam and Bullwinkle took on Frosty the Snowman and Bonhomme in a course that made them change a (fake) baby’s diaper midway, with the antics causing much giggling and laughter from the spectators.
The two animals ended up winning the event.
The event as a whole was much bigger than last year, according to Davidiuk.
“We had more community involvement by bringing in Search and Rescue to do avalanche demos and the stuffy search.”
He added that the club had their first meeting regarding the event in April and kept the momentum ongoing, saying that it meant a little more work for the members who take the summer off but in the end – the extra work paid off.
In total, 30 people were involved in organizing the event, spearheaded by Karen Johnson-Puckett.
“Our future looks incredibly bright,” said Davidiuk, when asked how the event’s success bodes for the club. “There were a number of people who have never come to our clubhouse or skied before who came to this event. Last year, we won a contest for the biggest gain in membership by any club in B.C. And while we’re not quite at those numbers this year, membership just topped 200 people which is pretty amazing considering our town’s economic challenge.”
He also added that the club thanks every supporter, volunteer, sponsor and/or donor that the club appreciates their efforts.