Though a little more snow is in order for the season to truly be underway, Red Lake District Cross Country Ski Club president Rebecca McCullough says that it won’t be long before all of the trails are groomed and ready for use.
“We need a little bit more snow for it to be comfortable for skiing. We don’t want people to be destroying their skis with things sticking through the snow,” says McCullough. “Typically we don’t open up the [McKenzie] Island trails until the new year once the municipality has opened up the ice road.”
In the meantime, volunteers are at work grooming the trails through Centennial Park and the Red Lake golf course.
This year the club and its members will once again enjoy the return of the Fritz Bartelt Memorial Loppet on Family Day (Feb. 16) and a moonlit night ski.
McCullough says a season kick off and a ski waxing clinic are also in the works, and dates will be announced once they determine when all of the trails will be open.
Membership applications are available on the club’s website (www.skiredlake.ca) as well as at Red Lake Outfitters where pass are available for all of the maintained trails for $50 a person or $100 for a family package (two adults and children).
“The trails wouldn’t be able to stay open if it wasn’t for membership fees that pay for the gas for the snowmobiles…It’s a completely volunteer run club,” notes McCullough.
To encourage more people to try out the sport, the club now has skis available for rent at Red Lake Outfitters.
“You need equipment and it’s the big barrier for people who are interested or would like to try it, but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on skis if they don’t know if they’re going to like it,” explains McCullough.
Starting in January, children ages four through 14 can learn the basic techniques of cross-country skiing through the Jackrabbits Program put on by the club.
To stay up to date on trail openings, conditions, and events, visit the club’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/redlakecrosscountryskiclub.