Whistler Nordics gearing up for ski season 

Focus on social aspect key to upcoming season

click to enlarge PHOTO BY TOSHI KAWANO / COURTESY OF TOURISM WHISTLER - waiting for snow The Whistler Nordics Ski Club is gearing up for another winter season.
  • photo by toshi kawano / courtesy of tourism whistler
  • waiting for snow The Whistler Nordics Ski Club is gearing up for another winter season.

Even if the snow arrives later than expected this year, the Whistler Nordics Ski Club (WNSC) could have a head start on training.

"I think what's interesting — and it's a bit of an experiment this year — is that Whistler Olympic Park stored some snow last year," said Brent Murdoch, president of the WNSC.

"It's a fairly traditional practice in northern European countries, to stockpile snow over the summer, bury it in a huge pile of sawdust, and then pull it all out in November and make a small ski track as soon as the weather is favourable," Murdoch explained.

"Whistler Olympic Park will be doing that in the next few weeks, and that will hopefully get us up to speed, get us on snow a little sooner than normal."

But training for the season's races is just one part of a two-part goal for the upcoming season, Murdoch said.

"Then there's the social side... hosting social events like candle-light skiing, and activities that try and make the club a little bit more social and interactive," he said.

To help accomplish that, the WNSC will be bringing back Toonie races this year at both Whistler Olympic Park and at Lost Lake.

"We've sort of gone away from that for a little bit, but we're trying to bring that back," Murdoch said.

"It's a big, fun event where everybody can come out, and whether you want to race, or not, you can just have a good ski and then enjoy each other's company after."

But the real meat of the season will come through the competitive events hosted in partnership with Pemberton's Spud Valley and Squamish-based Sea to Sky Nordic Clubs.

"We collectively host a series of races through the year, and it changes every year," Murdoch said.

"This year we've got a Coast Cup race at the end of November and then a NorAm race in mid December, and then some more Coast Cup races in January and February."

The highlight of the season, Murdoch said, will be the annual Sigge's P'ayakentsut mass-participation ski event — the date has yet to be determined.

While the sport of cross-country skiing seems to be growing in the corridor, not all of those skiers are members of the WNSC, Murdoch said.

"They don't need to necessarily join Whistler Nordics to participate in cross country skiing, because Whistler Nordics doesn't own or manage the trails... it's all done by Sports Legacies or the recreation department at Whistler," Murdoch said.

But through enhancing the social aspect of the sport in Whistler, the hope is that more people will become members of the club.

"We hosted a couple events last year and they were just so highly enjoyed by everybody in the club, and other people that came and sort of showed up," Murdoch said.

"We all realized that really, we're missing this part, and we need to get back up to speed with that."

To get involved with the WNSC, visit www.whistlernordics.com or head to the WNSC office at the Lost Lake PassivHaus.

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