Turtle Mountain Nordic Ski Club excited about the winter season

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The Turtle Mountain Nordic Ski Club offers programs and activities for athletes of all skill levels to help develop the local cross-country ski community.

Casey Gunther, club co-chair, said it’s been an exciting time at Turtle Mountain Provincial Park as there’s already a fair amount of snow in the park and skiers can’t wait to hit the slopes.

The sport is growing in popularity, he said, and the fresh snow on the ground is encouraging people to think of new ways to be active and explore the great outdoors.

“We had a lot of people in the area who had been skiing for many years and we decided to organize ourselves,” Gunther said. “We thought it would be beneficial to provide programs for the children and for us adults as well. ”

Gunther didn’t grow up cross-country skiing but enjoyed being in the woods and on the trails. He enjoys participating in a sport that can be played with children of all ages and helping them develop a love for nature.

“It’s a great way to be active because winters can be quite long if you can’t find something to do. It is a great sport to get out and stay active during the winter months.

This passion for the outdoors inspired the launch of the Turtle Mountain Nordic Ski Club about three years ago.

The creation of the organization was driven by people who had children who were starting to want to ski, he said, and people in general who were looking to enjoy the sport together.

The Turtle Mountain Nordic Ski Club is a member of the Manitoba Cross Country Ski Association. With this membership, he can access youth programs, as well as books, toques, neck warmers and other perks. The Manitoba Cross Country Ski Association is also able to offer training to any interested instructors.

The club also works closely with the community of Boissevain to provide access to sport. This includes access to a large offer of rental skis that are available for those looking to try their hand at the sport.

Currently, the club aims to develop the offer of adult programs.

The club has been able to bring together cross-country skiers of all levels and ages – some are three years old while others are 70 years old.

The organization is just starting to increase its membership after seeing snowfall. Gunther said that over the years it has averaged around 50 to 60 members and that they hope to see plenty of people signing up this year.

The club is also committed to helping newcomer Canadians explore Turtle Mountain Provincial Park on skis. It has been a rewarding experience helping those experiencing their first Canadian winter to find joy in the coldest time of the year, said Gunther.

“It’s a good challenge when you come from a hot climate.

“It’s a great activity to do and to see how happy people are when they go out in the woods and on the trails is a wonderful thing.”

The Turtle Mountains have a large and diverse network of trails maintained by Provincial Park staff. There is a huge range of trails available, from short loops, to trails over 20 kilometers, to other spaces that even allow overnight trips.

There are also various warm-up shelters along the trails, including the James Lake Backcountry Cabin.

“They do an incredible job of keeping the tracks groomed and we have a great relationship with them,” Gunther said.

The club was limited in the activities it was able to undertake in the winter of 2020-21 due to COVID-19. Lots of people were skiing and there was an increase in the use of the slopes, but the club was unable to offer programming as part of the public health measures at the time.

“It was great to see people go out, but we definitely missed the social side, like most sports and activities,” Gunther said.

In 2019, the club organized a cross-country ski and big-tire bike race. Gunther said it was a lot of fun and they were looking to try again in February.

For those wishing to join the club, visit the online reservation platform via zone4.ca and search for Turtle Mountain Nordic Ski Club to register. The club can also be reached via Facebook or Instagram.

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»Twitter: @The_ChelseaKemp

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