For the first time in ages, the 100 Mile Nordics are getting ready to race.
The club is preparing to host the Teck Northern Cup #4 races at the 99 Mile cross-country trails next February. Organizers hope the entry-level race, sanctioned by Nordiq Canada and Cross Country B.C., will renew interest in cross-country racing, particularly among youth. The 100 Mile area, which has top-notch racing trails, had been a favourite spot for racers before it fell off the circuit some time ago.
Organizer Gary Carlson said the club, which has been around for about 40 years, used to hold at least one major race event a year but they slowly petered off. Cup races are still held across the province, in areas like Kelowna, Prince George, Kamloops and Smithers, he noted, and hopes a growing interest in the sport will give it a boost in the South Cariboo.
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“We’ve had nothing (for years). We held the BC Cup at least every year, the Western Canadian Championship, National Championship … we’ve had some fairly big races,” he said. “This race will allow the club to get an idea of what running a race is like. 100 Mile was always a favourite place for people to come. That’s kind of gone by the wayside and we’re starting from the ground up.”
The Northern Cup will generally draw skiers from the local area although organizers will also reach out to clubs Williams Lake, Quesnel, Clearwater and Kamloops. As it’s sanctioned by Nordiq Canada, the club organizers will adhere to the specific race criteria. Since it’s not a BC Cup, skiers will not be able to accumulate Canadian points in this race, he added, but they can use it as a training ground. Race distances will vary between one and 10 kilometres depending on the different age groups.
“The interest level for cross-country ski races in the province has never been higher,” Carlson said. “One of the ideas of holding this is to get more kids into racing. We’re at the minimum hoping to get more people out skiing. Hopefully, it will start to snowball from there.”
The club is also offering an officials course on Oct. 24 which can be taken by anyone, even non-skiers. More information can be found at http://www.100milenordics.com.
Meanwhile, the club is preparing for the new country ski season, which will have challenges in light of the pandemic. “This year is going to be a little trying with the COVID thing,” he said. “The season will start when we get snow. We’re just not sure of the state of the day lodge. It’s hard to know what we’re going to be allowed to do.”