The Fernie Nordic Society (FNS) skates toward another successful year with big upcoming events and even bigger participation than in previous years. The FNS is hosting a race in the Kootenay Cup circuit and has almost reached last year’s total membership by mid season.
“We are well over 500 members already this year, which is well ahead of where we were at last year. Last year we reached around 575 in total and we are on track to beat that this year for general membership,” said Megan Lohmann president of the Fernie Nordic Society.
She believes that this year’s increased membership is not just because of the weather. Trails built over the summer allow both skate and classic cross country skiing from new access points like Fernie Alpine Resort.Another driver is the new warming hut.
“I think it helps that our trails are now connected to the resort. You can ski from Mount. Fernie Provincial park, Fernie Alpine Resort and access the Elk Valley Nordic Centre that way,” said Lohmann. “We have a new warming hut that we just got the building permit completed for this week. We had our first fire in the woodstove a few days ago. That is going to be a great draw. We also continue to maintain the golf course this winter as an easier location for new skiers or [those that] want something low-key with amazing views.”
FNS is preparing for the Kootenay Cup event they will be hosting at the Elk Valley Nordic Centre on Feb. 13.
“For this race we are using the Elk Valley Nordic Centre. We completed some additional trails over the summer to help create a couple of more natural loops for racing purposes and added more varied terrain,” said Lohmann. “What we have now is over 8km of trail at the Elk Valley Nordic Centre that is appropriate for recreational and race purposes. It is groomed for skate and classic, which will both be categories at the race.”
This is the second year that the Fernie Nordic Society has an official competing team in the Kootenay Cup, and has high hopes after the team won the series last year. The team ranges in age, and train weekly.
“We have a race team that trains three to four times a week and that has doubled in size this year, we now have 14 kids racing. They are 11 and over and travel to all the Kootenay Cup races and are looking to defend the title this year,” said Lohmann. “We won last year, which was a really big deal. It was the first year with an official race team.”
The Feb. 13 event would not be possible without the many volunteers helping out.
“We have a committee that is lead by our chief of racing, Clark Weber, he has worked with Cross Country BC and they are really helping guide the process of determining all the different functions that need to happen on that day to make it a success.”
The Kootenay Cup race is an example of what goes into a season for FNS.
“It’s a result of an active and engaged board of directors, volunteers that include coaches and trail maintenance people. We work with a few organizations and people that help us build trail and allow it on their property. We really appreciate the support.”