While there may be a few individuals who haven’t been looking forward to that fluffy white stuff that has blanketed our area over the past few weeks, more than a few look into the hills excitedly and can hardly wait to get the right wax onto the skis before heading out to glide on local trails that have been developed and maintained by the dedicated members of the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club which operates out of the Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre.
Daryl Wilson, in his fourth year as president of the club, can barely hide his own excitement as he prepares for the upcoming campaign.
According to Wilson, the club will host some traditional events this year such as the end of season marathon in March. This final event of the season happens over a variety of distances from five to 50 km. At that time, the club gives out some of its yearly awards and skiers can choose their own level.
There are also a couple of Northern Cup races scheduled for Dec. 30 which will be followed by a biathlon Dec. 31. These races will be the trials for regional teams for the B.C. Winter Games.
Wilson explained that in biathlon there are two categories — junior and senior. Athletes may go twice, once in each category.
“Right now we are setting up a free day somewhere around the 20th of January. Anybody can come and try it. There are a couple of places around town where people can rent equipment,” he added.
Wilson feels that the trails have improved over the years and this season will be no different.
“We were very busy this summer with trail maintenance and some logging up there so with the snow were having, the trails are going to be great this year. We have been able to do some maintenance on them so we can get an early start and then the snow came, so it’s going to be really nice,” he said.
“With us logging, we have a bit of a late opening. We have to get off some of the trails before we can open them. We have lots of volunteers that will come up and help for clearing and brushing.
“Last year’s membership was around 530 skiers and this year we hope to be up to 600 members. We’re hoping that the good snow will help us get the numbers up,” he said.
Wilson also spoke of the hopes on local athletes.
“We have a couple of kids in biathlon who should do really well this year. For those people who have never done it before, there are a couple of nights when people can drop in. For adults who want to try it, on Wednesday nights there is the masters for adults who want to come in and try it.
“We have our jack rabbit program that starts in January for our kids to come in and try it. A lot of the instructors are ex-racers so they have a lot of experience,” he said.
Wilson would like to encourage people to give it a try.
“We’re close to town. We have about 50 km of track and we have lit trails to use at night. There will be lots of snow so it will be a great year to try it,” he said.