Snow time like the present at Nickel Plate

Cross country skiers and snowshoers on track at Nickel Plate

Cross country skiers and snowshoers have been plying the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre outback since in early November.

And with a 200-member injection this season things are only getting busier.

According to Nickel Plate general manger Murray Farbridge there’s a growing interest in the two outdoor sports and recreation activities, but feels this year’s half-price, Canada 150 promotion is also a factor because afterall, people like a good deal.

Last Sunday the centre hosted it’s annual Welcome Day which gives the public an opportunity to for free lessons and equipment rental in both disciplines.

“We were just slammed, it was great,” said Farbridge about the turnout. “It was a really good day.”

At an elevation of 6,000 feet, the centre boasts one of the longest seasons in the Western Hemisphere, last year’s going to the end of May.

“The official closing was April 2 (in 2016) because generally people are sick of skiing by then but we had a lot of snow,” said Farbridge with a laugh.

Related: Skier set for challenge

The centre has a membership of over 700 ranging from ages two to 85 and offers a weekly skill development program called Jack Rabbits for youth four to 12 years.

“It sells out every year and we have 73 kids this year and they ski every Saturday and are divided by age group and experience,” said Farbridge. “It leads right into our junior racer program.”

Nickel Plate has already had two races this season the first was Dec. 2 which was a fundraiser for junior skier Fred Albrechtson.

Fred, who was ninth in last year’s national juvenile boys event, will be representing his club and B.C. at the national competition in March in Thunder Bay, Ont.

“He’s climbing the ranks, he’s our young star,” said Farbridge.

Started in 1989, the centre has grown to 56 kilometre of trails that are groomed daily during the season and over 16 kilometres of marked snowshoe trails.

Volunteers are responsible for much of the work and that included the construction of the 4,000-square-foot lodge.

Nickel Plate hosts annual skier visits of more than 27,000.

 

Leah Snider and Cary Dowler lead their group of skiers.

Gabriel Safford, 3, gets some help with on the downhill run from Summerland’s Andrea Meuhlchen during instruction day at Nickely Plate Nordic Centre last Saturday.

Who says cross country skiing is a lot of work, certainly not two-and-a-half-year-old Eloise Carriere who gets a lift from dad Fabien.

Young skiers prepare to head on the trails. Mark Brett/Western news

Young Jack Rabbits circle for the next round of lessons.

Balance is a critical element of learning how to cross country ski and is among the first things instructors teach.

Members of the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre junior race team and coaches talk strategy before heading out on their training run at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre.

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