It’s a record!
After an exciting build up last year, which fell short of the season record for membership, the Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club has finally signed up enough members in a year to burst its all-time record.
Club secretary-treasurer Cathy Vandenberg signed up the last three members last week and discovered the record as she logged the data that night.
“I just went to click on the stats, and I went ‘holy cow! That’s 363, that’s great!” said Vandenberg.
“Our membership is at an all-time high… And we’re not done,” she said, noting that it’s still pretty early in the ski season.
Now at 367 members for the year, the numbers break the 360-record membership from 2013, a number the club was tracking closely last season but which ended with 354 members.
Club lead groomer Dean Bergstrom and club president Liz Thorne agree increasing membership is due largely to the early dump of snow in November.
“It’s probably because we had that early snowfall,” said Thorne. “We had this huge dump of snow, everybody gets in the mood, and we had an early-bird deal going as well… Normally we get a rush of memberships with the first snow and then it trails off… but after the snowfall we had beautiful cold conditions and the snow was beautiful to ski on.”
But Thorne says there’s a number of new faces at the club. Some have recently moved here, including two families from South Africa. Others are people who’ve lived here and are simply picking up the sport, she said.
Now building off their success, the club is pushing for some small developments at the Onion Lake ski trails. It bought a new SnowKiti groomer in 2015 and now the club is fundraising for a second snowmobile groomer for the lighter snowfalls.
A a new rental shed is also on the radar. The current shed has a small storage space less than 10 feet wide, which the club moved into eight years ago when they wanted to transfer the rental skis from Kitimat to the trails.
“The girls need to have a proper place to work out of,” said project lead Dean Bergstrom. “That little wee shed, man, when people are coming to get rentals… it’s hard…. there is no room to move.”
The club is set to buy two sea cans, 20 feet by eight feet, which they’ll put side by side on the northeast side of the stadium area beside the main building.
“They’ll have five or six times the space,” said Bergstrom, adding that it will make rentals go much more smoothly.
The club just started a raffle with three intricate pieces of woodwork made by JJs WoodArt, including a cedar bench with a towering eagle carved into one side.
“Our goal is to have that rental shed going for next season for the girls,” Bergstrom said.
Meanwhile, jackrabbits continue as the club gears up for its first race of the season Jan. 27. Races will be split by age groups, rather than the previous mass start or alternate start, in order to make it more fun.