Ski club excited for season

The Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Association is getting ready to rock the upcoming season, and to get ready, the club gave local skiers a bit of a preview on Saturday when they hosted a Family Fun Day at the Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Trails.

Nearly 30 kids came out on Saturday to be introduced to cross-country skiing, talk about the basics, as well as go for a short ski.

"The club is growing and this is the sixth year of our youth program," said president and head coach Dr. Chris Garwah on Monday. "This year we thought we'd kick start the season with a Family Fun Day. Up on the trails we had an introduction to cross country skiing. Many returnees came back, we spoke a bit about the sport, we talked about how to purchase skis, and then we took them for a short ski.

"It was a great day."

The Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Association rents skis and equipment to children free of charge, and its youth program is set to start on the first Saturday of January, then run every Saturday afternoon until March.

The Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Trails are situated roughly 10 minutes southwest of town on the Radar Lake Road where there are 25 km of groomed trails for both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

"Conditions have never been better, it's fantastic out there right now," Garwah said. "We're looking forward to our upcoming season. It's a growing sport and we're expecting to see a 20 per cent increase [in our membership]. It's very exciting.

"It's an incredibly affordable sport and it's one of the best aerobic sports you can do," he added. "The Olympic athletes in this sport have the best V02 max of any other sport. It gets you out, it's tangible in the fact that you're up there and back in a couple of hours."

There's also a cross-country skiing technique that's getting more and more popular each year, which the association caters to on its 18-foot wide trails.

"Cross-country skiing is typically left right, left right, but there is a technique called the skating technique that more and more people are getting into," Garwah said.

"I've been doing it for years and it involves basically no grip on your skis. You skate on your edges and use skating techniques to go around the trails."

Snowshoeing has also grown more popular in B.C. in the past five years, and the Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Association has separate, more intimate trails for snowshoe enthusiasts apart from the cross-country ski paths.

Garwah would like to remind the public that in order to use either the cross-country ski trails or snowshoe trails, you must be a member with the association, which pays for the maintenance and upkeep of the trail network.

The association is also looking for more volunteers. Many parents have recently stepped forward to help out, but the more the merrier for the Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Association.

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact Dr. Chris Garwah at The association will also be holding an instructor's course Jan. 17 - 19, which will teach the basics of the sport and is directed at individuals interested in coaching children.

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