It’s an exciting time for the Fernie Nordic Society (FNS), according to their chair of the board, Megan Lohmann.
The group held their annual general meeting on Sunday (July 10) along with a volunteer appreciation celebration, the latter of which they haven’t been able to do for two years due to COVID.
“It was an opportunity to have a larger celebration and gather socially, finally, and celebrate over food for a year where we were able to return a little bit back to normal, offering our kids program, and the adult lessons, and our ambassador program,” Lohmann said.
She said it was a celebration of the efforts that had gone formally unrecognized for a couple of years.
“We really wanted to acknowledge that.”
The day’s events began with a walk led by Marty Williams of Aq’am, which was the first of its kind for the FNS.
“This was an opportunity to take the next step and introduce the concept of land stewardship from the Ktunaxa perspective to our members,” Lohmann said.
She spoke of a community feel of the FNS, which she said is reflected in the ages of the skiers who get out on the trails, ranging from kids to a cohort of members over 80.
They also had their first racer compete at the national level for the first time in the history of the club, she said. That was Wes Robinson-Shaw, who raced in Whistler at the 2022 Canadian National Championships/US SuperTour Finals in March.
Looking to the future, the FNS is beginning to design their winter programming, and are starting to coordinate a weekly opportunity for their kids coaches and race coaches to come to together to work on their skill sets and knowledge.
“(We’re) really trying to create a lot more of that community feel and support for our volunteers,” Lohmann said.
They are also trying to open up programs to train with their race team, for those in the public “that want a little bit more of a challenge.”
In response to demand, they are also looking at expanding the number of days they offer kids programs.
Regarding facilities, they received a $822,000 grant in fall 2021 that will go towards infrastructure projects over the next year.
The Free Press asked Lohmann about the Galloway Lands proposal that would seek to develop the land that the FNS operates on should it ever proceed.
“We’re just keeping ourselves as informed as possible on the next steps around that, and we’ll continue to engage with the proponent and the land owner,” Lohmann said.
She re-iterated the value of the FNS’s volunteers and members to the success of the club, as well as their land partnerships, including one with the Fernie Golf Club.
Lohmann said they are moving into a new phase with formalizing their programs, grooming, and looking to improve trailhead facilities, and look forward to engaging with their members over the next year.
“It’s an exciting time for the Fernie Nordic Society, and (we) just really appreciate all of the support that we’ve been provided by the community.”
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