Around 155 people decided to take advantage of the 100 Mile House Nordics Club’s invitation to the trails for Family Day on Feb. 12. Day passes were free.
“The big thing is we want more young families involved with cross-country skiing so we host family day and offer free passes,” said Barb Matfin, the secretary and a part-time coach at the cub. “That’s our goal – we want to see more young people skiing and snowshoeing.”
Matfin also said the snowshoeing has helped grow the club, particularly with the older crowd but the real goal is to get younger people more involved so the club can return to its glory days of holding races with competitors and spectators in the hundreds.
“We used to have 400 people here racing, this place was just nuts,” she said, remembering a time when there were rows of tents of skiers waxing their gear. “It looked just like the Olympics here.”
The club, according to Matfin, has one of the best facilities in the province and at one time, was the largest club. They also hosted the Canadian Junior Cross Country Skiing Championships in 1988 and 1996.
Last year, roughly 200 people showed up for family day. The drop in numbers is a bit of a disappointment but with the success of the Ski S’Kool program, a program where 160 Grade 3 students come to the trails for lessons, Matfin believes the club is close to reaching its goal.
There is also the Skill Development program for kids who want to learn how to ski seriously.
One reason Matfin believes the turnout was lower than last year was that of the weather.
“The cold weather this morning freaked out everybody. I was posting on Facebook all morning “get up here, it’s beautiful. Don’t be sitting on your couch,” she said. “People have to realize that if it’s a sunny, cool day by noon it’s freaking awesome up here. The sun is shining and it’s wonderful. So what if it was – 30 this morning, by noon it’s fantastic.”
However, she added she was thrilled to see new young families try out the sport during the event.
The club also received a Provincial Family Day Grant for $900 to help offset the costs of hosting and organizing the Story Walk/Ski part of the day, hosted by Kimberly Vance- Lundsby.