Cross country ski club hosts adult lesson
By Brittany Willsie
The Rocky Mountain House Cross Country Ski Club welcomed adult skiers for beginner lessons over the weekend.
During introductions, each skier shared with the group why they were interested in lessons. Some wanted to be reacquainted with the sport since they enjoyed it in their childhood, some were excited to learn proper technique after being self taught and some were looking forward to skiing for the first time.
CANSI (Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors) certified instructor Lori Davis began the lesson on Sunday, Jan. 23 by familiarizing participants with cross country skis and poles. She then led a warm up where participants worked on their balance and movement in skis.
Chelsey Straub, registration coordinator and coach with the ski club, said they’ve had more interest in cross country skiing due to the pandemic.
“Because of COVID, people are wanting ways to get out and enjoy being out of their house. We definitely have a lot more people that have acquired skis somehow, but need to learn how to use them. So interest has really grown,” she said.
Adult lessons are intermittently offered by the ski club, but they regularly offer lessons for kids. The club has 50 pairs of children’s skis that are used for lessons. They also have a variety of adult skis available for rent, most of which were donated to the club.
About the club
The club now has around 150 registered members, but there are more people who enjoy the club’s trails on a drop-in basis. Their main location, at the Pine Hills Golf Club, has six to seven kilometres of trail. There’s also five to six kilometres of trail at the David Thompson Pony Club and more trails at the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site.
All of the trails are groomed by volunteers using equipment that was originally used to set the track at Whistler, B.C. for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Past president Ron Leaf said the ski club has been operational for around 35 years, but did not become a registered club until 2019.
“The club that existed, existed in name only,” Leaf said.
As the club grew and got more legal liability, the executive decided to get a formal standing which would allow them to apply for grants, if needed.
Despite many years being unregistered, the club has received a lot of support and been very successful over the years.
“We’ve been really fortunate over years that between club donations and our club fees, we’ve been able to not only cover the instructor fees and expand our equipment for kids, but also replace the snowmobile. A lot of that has to do with just the support we’ve got from the golf club and the pony club that allow us to use their facilities and support our activities basically free of charge,” Leaf explained.
There are currently five members on the club’s board. Autumn Marchbank is the club’s president and a coach, Shelley Anderson is the secretary and treasurer, Laura Button is the skills program coordinator and equipment manager, Chelsey Straub is the registration coordinator and a coach and Morgan Kent is the communications director.
The club is currently seeking a vice president and an events coordinator, and is also looking to expand their membership and activities.
“The thing about cross country skiing is it is a lifelong endeavour,” Leaf said.
“Individuals who cross country ski live longer and live healthier, so there’s a number of benefits. It is rare for you to pass someone when they’re cross country skiing where they’re not smiling. You will never see a grumpy cross country skier.”