This season, Omineca Ski club is introducing a Ski Ambassador program to encourage beginners and newcomers.
”The idea for the ski ambassador program came about because I really enjoy cross country skiing and want to share that enjoyment with others. I realize that it can be an intimidating activity if you have never done it before, or even if you have but haven’t been out to these trails — it can be nice to have someone show you around,” said Karen Broadworth, a member of the ski club, who has come up with this unique program.
How the program would work is that a person who is keen to try skiing but not sure how to start could either call Broadworth or one of the other ski ambassadors. The ski ambassador will then meet you at the ski club, following all the COVID-19 procedures that are in place. The measures that the club is taking and that would be implemented for the ambassador program, would be explained beforehand on phone to make sure people know what to expect.
The ambassador will give some ‘get started’ tips & tricks — for example, how to fall and get back up, going uphill, downhill, stopping etc. After this, the ambassador will take the participant on a trail that is appropriate to their skill level.
“We will do our best to outfit people with skis if they don’t have their own, but it will be subject to availability since we are doing seasonal rentals with our equipment this year due to COVID-19,” said Broadworth.
This year, the skiing club will not be holding ski swap and won’t have any drop in rentals available either. Instead, they are going to do rentals for the entire season that will be available only to members. The club will give away rentals on a first come first basis and then the members will have to take the skis, boots, poles home with them.
However, for the ambassador program, if skis are available, people will be able to get their hands on these skis for the two sessions. Under this program, a beginner or a newcomer can do two sessions, after which if they are still interested, they will have to sign up to become a member with the club.
“The idea is, once you try, you will be like ‘Oh my god this is so awesome I want to go back’ and that’s why we are doing this program,” she added.
The club already has a COVID plan in place under which they are asking users to stay home if not feeling well, complete an online self-assessment before arriving, stay home if traveled outside or Canada, live with someone who has COVID-19 or is showing symptoms, keep physical distancing at all times, leave the club as quickly as possible after skiing, respect the maximum capacity of four in the wax cabin and bring their own sanitizing kit to reduce points of contact. The club is also providing sanitizers.
The program will be free of charge, however people will have to pay the day-use fee.
”Hopefully this introductory session will show them that skiing is a great outdoor and COVID-19-friendly activity that they will want to continue,” said Broadworth.
The program is expected to start by mid to late-December, depending on weather conditions as Broadworth wants to take beginners out during good trail conditions.
“Omineca is really nice and we have trails for beginners too so there is something for everyone,” she said adding that skiing in the dark is also fun. “We have about two kilometres of trails that have lights and so you can go out there, and the lights are on until 10 p.m. Sometimes it takes a little bit of motivation to get out of the house once it is dark but once you get it, it is really quite lovely.”
The club already has 186 members for the season as opposed to the 181 members by this time last year.