By Ezra Black
Sparwood’s Sunset Ridge Ski Society (SRSS) is introducing an affordable way to get kids involved in cross-country skiing this winter.
The society recently purchased about 25 pairs of skis, boots and poles for children. It will be renting the equipment to aspiring skiers for $55 plus a $150 damage deposit for the entire season, said SRSS director Shelly Hume.
“We are really hoping that our new rental program for children will attract more families and members,” said Hume of SRSS, which has about 50 members. “Cross-country skiing is an affordable, fun sport that can be enjoyed by the whole family and we have excellent groomed trails right outside our back door.”
“We are hoping for a good snow year, as snow has been sparse in the last couple of years,” she added.
This year, the SRSS added an additional 2.5 kilometers of skiable trail on land the society leased from the District of Sparwood.
“Sparwood has been a tremendous support,” said Hume. “Allowing us to lease land for new trails this year and supplying an operator and equipment to grade our new trails.”
The society is always looking for volunteers to help with trail cleanup, grooming, administrative duties and equipment repairs, said Hume.
They are also looking for anyone experienced in managing a non-profit society or volunteers willing to assist with lessons. Email email@example.com for more information.
Hume is also asking off-highway vehicle users and snowmobilers to watch out for skiers on the society’s trails.
“Each year we have problems,” she said. “We would ask the motorized users please respect our trails, a lot of time is spent grooming the trails and they can be destroyed in minutes.”
Established in 1995 the SRSS was formed to manage the cross-country ski trails after the town’s downhill ski hill ceased operation.
Hume said the Kinsmen Club of Sparwood originally developed the trails back when the community had a downhill ski area complete with a tow bar and lodge. The alpine ski hill was closed many years ago due to increasing cost of insurance, she said, and the lodge is no longer standing but the cross-country trails remain.