In the woods off Highway 3, cross country skiing racers slithered through the forest at the Nordic Society’s Community Fun Race this past Saturday. The free event, open to both members and non members, encouraged people of all ages to come out and enjoy the snow on cross country skis.
The Nordic Society, a registered nonprofit, has been operating since 2006. It is their mission to extend their passion for Nordic skiing to as many people as possible through community events, trails, partnerships, and membership programs. It is via events such as this one that they enlighten the public to the joys of cross country skiing, both for pleasure and racing.
“Originally [these events] were started to introduce kids to the idea of racing, because a lot of people are a bit nervous about racing. But when you have a really fun event where the idea isn’t to come in first, it really makes it enjoyable. Maybe they’ll stick with it, maybe they’ll want to be on the race team,” said Sam Sedlowsky, event coordinator and Fernie Nordic Society board member.
Commencing at 10:30 a.m., partakers with and without experience participated in one of three races. The first race was a Hot Chocolate Run, where a child partnered with an adult, skiing one kilometre and three kilometres respectively. The second race was a relay race, with each leg of the journey being a challenging three kilometres, adding up to a total of 12 kilometres per team. Finally, the last event of the day was the sprint race, with a 300 metre course for children and a 750 metre course for adults.
“This is our eighth community race. It is just a chance to get everybody in the community out and having a little bit of fun. We use the word race, but it’s not really. It’s just an event,” said Sedlowsky, with a huge grin on her face. We’ve got food by donation too, and all the proceeds are going to the Fernie Nordic Racers.”
Being a nonprofit, volunteer driven organization with only one paid administrative staff member, the Nordic Society greatly appreciates donations.
This was but one of the Nordic Society’s winter events, with others including a monthly full moon ski and family ski day. Sedlowsky also reminds the public about their involvement in Griz Days, where all of their trails will be accessible at no charge. The Nordic Society’s final event of the year will be the Fernie Flying Viking challenge, a 50 kilometre race up to the ski hill and back. For more information and events, visit their website at fernienordic.com.