Ski Club gears up for winter

The Smithers Ski Club is gearing up for the season, with a new coach ready to help young skiers and snowboarders reach their potential.

The Smithers Ski Club is gearing up for the season, with a new coach ready to help young skiers and snowboarders reach their potential.

Jan Wengelin originally came to the Smithers area years ago to coach at the Club. From there he spent a number of years coaching the B.C. provincial team, then at the national level in the U.S. and Canada.

Ski Club president Gary Huxtable said he’s hoping the team can start to rebuild towards what they used to be. Over the past few years, the club has focused on younger skiers in the Nancy Greene program, hoping to keep them excited about the sport as they reach the age for the Alpine program. Huxtable said the results are starting to show, as kids are sticking around. This year’s dry land camp has 18 young alpine athletes taking part, almost triple the amount that joined in last year’s pre-season conditioning camp.

“We’re not losing kids at the 11 or 12 year old stage,” he said. “Our main focus as a club is really on our young set of kids, to make sure we have a good group of kids coming out of the Nancy Greene program.”

The race season for the Alpine program begins in late January, and the Nancy Greene program, for kids aged five to 11, begins right after the new year. Sign up for both will be offered during this Saturday’s annual ski swap, one of the main fund raisers for the volunteer-run Smithers Ski Club. The swap runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the Walnut Park Elementary School gym.

Huxtable said Smithers and area residents have always been great at coming out and supporting the Club’s fund raising events.

“Without the community support in our fund raising efforts we wouldn’t be able to run the club,” he said.