Dean Bergstrom packs the Onion Lake ski trails in the Snow Kitti last Saturday, Nov. 25.

Snowpack opens Onion Lake ski trails early

Even with the rain, the Terrace-Kitimat ski club is expecting the snowpack will stay

Thanks to the big recent snowfall, cross country skiers are enjoying an early season at the Onion Lake ski trails this year.

Even with the rain last week, the nearly three-foot dump of snow (90cm) on Nov. 18 has left a solid snowpack on the trails for skiers to enjoy.

Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club president Liz Thorne said it’s rare they get out on the trails mid-November.

“[Only] a few times we’ve skied by the middle of November, but [we’d be] having to watch out for rocks and sticks,” she said, noting that they’d be grooming small amounts of snow with the snowmobile groomers.

“With this dump, we put the big machine on the snow right away,” she said. “We’ve got an incredible base out there right now,” she added about the snowpack late last week.

“Even with all the rain on top of it, once you get [a base] packed down — and we did get it packed down — we’re in really good shape,” she said.

As of last weekend, the Moose Highway was in good condition for skiers.

Thorne added that grooming has been a bit rough sometimes because she’s in training with the big groomer. The slush can make grooming challenging as well.

But things are looking good at the club, with membership at 161 for the pre-season, and registration open for the Rabbits kids program which starts in January.

One improvement at the club this year is the new access and extension to the 6K Doggie Trail, which was finished this summer by Community Forests and club volunteer Anthony Vandermeulen. (See prior story here.)

Though not open yet due to logging, the trail has an extra 600 metres, allowing skiers to access the loop right across from the parking lot and avoid the main logging road.

Thorne says it is a beautiful stretch of trail.

“It’s a nice winding trail with just a few little tiny hills,” Thorne said.

“I’ve walked it and.. it’s a great ski trail, it’s just really interesting… its got the corners, it winds through the woods and its beautiful forests in there. It’s got the little hills, but they are very, very small, because we try to keep the dog trail at the beginners level so that people don’t have to worry about falling.”

Thorne says the club has been worked well with Community Forests on the trail work, but logging has not been finished so the Doggie isn’t in good condition.

Overall, Thorne is pleased to be on her skis early and she’s eagerly hoping for a long winter season.

“We’re really looking forward to having a long ski season this year, with lots of snow,” she said.

Registration, information about the club and events, and regular grooming updates about the condition of the trails can be found at snowvalleynordics.com.

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