Last week, snow graced Burns Lake and surrounding areas with an early presence, blanketing everything and while it is not snowing quite enough for skiing, the Omineca Ski Club is already gearing up and busy preparing for the season.
“So right now we are making sure that the trails are ready for snow and ready for grooming; so that means we are going to all trails and clearing any trees that have fallen on the trails, pruning trees, cutting down the grass; we are also gathering firewood for the lodge, and making sure all our equipment are ready for winter,” said club president Agathe Bernard.
However the club, like all other organizations and clubs, will need to have a Covid safety plan in place that would comply with the provincial as well as Cross Country BC guidelines.
“A big part of that is to identify areas where we could have the higher risk for covid. What’s good for our club is cross country ski is considered individual sport which means people can continue skiing and doing whatever they were doing before. One of the things we have to do is to make sure all the places where people gather, including the wax cabin is safe and has cleaning protocols in place,” said Bernard adding that ski rental would however be a little tricky this year.
Usually the club rents out ski equipment and boots by assigning them to users but according to Bernard that system won’t work this year as rental equipment needs to be sanitized between each use and the way the club has rented equipment in the past, they won’t have as much control of sanitizing the equipment. She said that the club was now looking at finding ways to do the rentals in a safe way.
The club is also hoping to have their January ski race and do other events like St. Patrick’s Day Skiing as these events are all outdoors and naturally socially distanced. Bernard thinks however that the club won’t be able to do their usual Candy Cane Ski before Christmas as handing out candies would mean higher contact between people. A decision to cancel the event hasn’t yet been made and Bernard assured that the club would continue looking at provincial guidelines and how things go when deciding on the various events.
“We are planning to offer lessons for children over 12 for sure but in a different format and we are still deciding about adult lessons but it is something we have done in the past and would depend on the availability of volunteers to teach, ” said Bernard.
Omineca Ski Club, is a volunteer-based club with its members acting as volunteers.
“We love winter; we love snow and I hope more people join in. If there was a year when people would be looking to get out, this was it and I would argue that skiing is the best way to do that,” she said.