The Whiskey Jack Nordic Ski Club celebrated the grand opening of its new day lodge at Beatton Provincial Park on Saturday.
“I’m just so happy that this day is here and that it’s a beautiful day,” said Eliza Stanford, who has led the club’s vision and planning for the new facility over the last six years.
Club members, supporters, dignitaries, and sponsors gathered for Saturday's celebration under sunny skies, which included tours of the new facility and a barbecue.
“People want it to be like other cross country ski areas that are more developed,” Stanford said of the opportunities to grow the sport at Beatton park.
“They wanted more trails; more easier trails, more difficult trails, they wanted wider trails. They want a place to be warm, they want lessons, all of these things.”
“We’re trying our hardest to meet all of those demands” she continued.
“It’s been a constantly evolving club but I feel like now we're in a place where we can focus a bit more on our programming because we’ve been so focused on infrastructure for the last 15 years...Now we need to focus on the people.”
That includes putting more of the club's energy now into building up its kids program, training people to give lessons or groom the trails, and making sure rental equipment is working and there to meet the public’s needs.
Though it may still be September, snow and winter are certainly on the way. The club plans to have the lodge open every weekend during the ski season.
Stanford encourages experts and beginners alike to visit. The lodge will be open to all.
“If you know how to walk you can learn how to ski, and if you’re really uncomfortable skiing we have snowshoes that you can rent,” Stanford said. “Give it a try, you might like it.”
“Winter is here whether we like it or not, so we might as well like it. Having a facility like this means that you’re going to like it.”