CALGARY — While Canada’s summer Olympians take the podium, young cross-country and biathlon development athletes clamber for a Calgary training facility for the upcoming winter. WinSport Canada’s June 2016 announcement to install a tube park through the cross-country ski trails at Canada Olympic Park has left Foothills Nordic Ski Club and other local clubs scrambling to find an alternate venue for their 2016/17 winter programming.
Without suitable training facilities within the city, the training and competition goals of young biathlon and cross-country athletes are hindered, as precious hours are spent traveling outside of the city for regular training sessions. According to Alberta Development Team athletes, Anna and Ben Pryce, “Terrain loss in Calgary could mean driving to Canmore four times a week,” which the Pryce’s feel is, “simply impractical” for reaching their goals and taking their skiing to the next level.
Sustaining a healthy population of Nordic development athletes, who themselves have opportunities to take the podium, means providing access to suitable facilities for all ages and development stages within the city of Calgary (1988 winter Olympic host).
Foothills Nordic Ski Club is taking decisive action to ensure its members and all Calgarians have access to cross-country skiing in Calgary this winter by launching its Snow Making at Confederation Park crowdfunding campaign (www.gofundme.com/foothillsnordic) that kicks off on August 15. A successful campaign will see Foothills implement innovative, hydrant-based snowmaking along with snow farming and harvesting techniques – maximizing the longevity of natural snow.
Committed to the community, the non-profit Foothills Nordic has volunteer groomed ski trails at the City of Calgary’s Confederation Park Golf Course for over 20 years, to the benefit of its over 700 club members and all Calgarians, but Calgary’s chinook-influenced winters make snowmaking a necessity for delivering reliable programming and continuous ski days.
Former Canadian Cross Country Ski Team member and Foothills Jackrabbit Kevin Sandau says of growing up in Calgary, “I was fortunate enough to have accessible skiing within the city. Skiing and racing my entire life has shaped who I am, the people I’ve met, and my desire to live a healthy lifestyle. Now with the uncertainty of reliable, safe and consistent ski facilities within Calgary, we will lose out on grassroots programs that would create the next generation of Nordic enthusiasts.”
ABOUT FOOTHILLS NORDIC SKI CLUB
Foothills Nordic Ski Club (FNSC) is a not-for-profit, full service ski club based in Calgary, Alberta. Incorporated in 1964, FNSC has a long history of organizing and delivering programs geared towards cross-country skiers and biathletes of all ages and performance levels. The Club has an annual active membership of 720, ranging from Jackrabbits and Biathlon Bears to High Performance athletes, Masters level recreational skiers and para-Nordic skiers. With a 9-member Executive, approximately 70 cross-country and biathlon coaches (both paid and volunteer) and over 200 active volunteers, the Club’s initiatives also include the staging of major events and races in Calgary and the Bow Valley. Foothills is an 8-time Canadian national cross-country aggregate club champion, and is a member of Cross-Country Canada, Cross-Country Alberta, Biathlon Canada and Biathlon Alberta.
For more information:
Foothills Nordic Ski Club
Kevin McLean, President
Snow Making at Confederation Park: https://www.gofundme.com/foothillsnordic or http://bit.ly/2baPHrE
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.