A $25,000 Community Gaming Grant will help the Fernie Nordic Society begin the process of mapping and designing new trails for the Elk Valley.
The trails will be created to meet Cross Country Canada’s criteria for races at the regional, provincial, and national level, allowing Fernie to host high-caliber racing events. This will not only be a welcome boost to tourism and the local economy, but will also provide world-class ski trails in the winter, and family-focused mountain bike trails in the summer.
“Nordic skiing is a wonderful outdoor activity during the winter months and clearly a growing past-time in the Elk Valley,” commented Bill Bennett, Kootenay East MLA and Minister of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development. “I am very pleased the government is able to support the Fernie Nordic Society, wish them continued success, and look forward to another great ski season in the valley next year.”
In the fall of 2012, the Fernie Nordic Society began a competitive bidding process to identify a designer to help design trail options for Nordic skiing in the area. They discovered Reidar Zapf-Gilje, one of the top Nordic trail designers in the country, who has agreed to work with the society on the development of a new trail plan. Most notably, he was involved in Nordic trail designs in several capacities for the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including the design for 50 kilometres of Olympic training and post-Olympic recreational ski trails.
The Fernie Nordic Society’s membership has grown by 35 per cent this year alone. They have over 300 members and registrations continue to be processed. Their Kids Skill Development program has expanded by a whopping 85 per cent over the past six seasons, having grown from 10 kids in their first year of lessons to almost 70 kids to date.