Cross-country skiing is coming to Lacombe.
The Lacombe Cross-Country Ski Club held their first meeting last Monday to make plans to start building a cross-country ski track in the city. “We’re looking to draw in as many people as possible to come be a part of it and to work alongside of us,” said Club President Brent Bouwsema.
The new track will be built on the course at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club with the full cooperation and backing of the Club itself.
“One reason they’ve been so amicable to us using their land is there are areas of the course that are more sensitive to having people ski all over it. So the hope is that if we can build a track skiers will stay on the track,” said Bouwsema.
The track will be made entirely by volunteer members of the Club and will have a focus on being something both experienced skiers and newcomers will be able to enjoy.
“It’s not only just a community club, it’s a family club also,” said Larry Michielsen, the Club’s vice president.
“I have two small kids and we cross-country ski. In order to go cross-country skiing on a track we actually have to go to Red Deer, that’s the closest. So I thought why not have it here?” Bouwsema added.
According to Bouwsema, the idea to have a cross-country ski club has been floating around the City for years but it wasn’t until now that someone decided to put it into action.
“I noticed a number of years ago when I started cross-country skiing there were trails through the golf course but nothing was advertised,” he said.
So Bouwsema contacted the golf course, who told him they let skiers use the space as long as they stay off the greens and out of the sensitive areas of the course.
“They allow anybody to use it but not very many people knew that.”
So he started skiing the course a couple of years ago and he said that while for the most part the skiing wasn’t too difficult, a big snow fall could make it pretty tough.
“It didn’t make it unenjoyable but I thought this is a beautiful space, let’s make this enjoyable for more people. Let’s get something started.”
So he grabbed a couple of people he knew would be interested and the Lacombe Cross-Country Ski Club was born.
Now, he said, the only barrier to actually getting started on construction is the snow itself.
“We’re just waiting for enough snow to actually start doing what we’re doing,” he said.
This year, they said, the tracks will be pretty simple in design. But as the Club learns more about track setting and gains more confidence, they’ll begin to add pieces.
“We’ve got some expertise on our committee but we’re all kind of easing our way into it because we don’t know 100 per cent what it’s going to be like,” Bouwsema said.
“We kind of are going to start with a perimeter trail, because that kind of creates the maximum length and then once we’re kind of used to doing track setting we are actually going to start creating trails through the middle of the golf course.”
One trail the Club wants to build in particular, he said, is a short trail with gradual inclines that is aimed at families.
“We want to encourage families to come out and teach their kids.”
According to Michielsen, cross-country skiing is a great way for families to spend time together.
“Cross-country skiing is a family sport. It’s anywhere kids can go five-years-old or younger all the way up to 80-years-old or older,” he said.
It’s also a great way for people to get active.
“It’s outdoors, so fresh air. That’s why I started back in 2008. My favourite time to go is under the full moon,” he said.
This year, they said, the Club isn’t planning on hosting any big out trips for their members, but that’s not to say that those kinds of events won’t happen in the future.
“At this point we’re keeping it really simple, we’re not creating any large events or anything. We just don’t have the ability to do that yet,” Bouwsema said, adding they will probably host a couple of events at the golf course.
“We probably will create a few events this year, so people can keep in contact with us and watch for when those events happen.”
The Club has about 40 members right now, and Bouwsema and Michielsen said they would like to see that number continue to grow.
Membership costs $5 and anyone interested can get in contact with the Lacombe Cross Country Ski Club on Facebook or on the web site at www.skilacombe.com.