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After two-year hiatus, Inuvik Ski Club re-opens

Former jackrabbit Gilly McNaughton and first-time skier Nolan Rainville hit the trails Jan. 31 for the Inuvik Ski Club’s opening weekend. Trails are groomed and equipment is operational for skiing after several years of hiatus.

After several years of hiatus, Inuvik’s Ski Club is officially back in operation.

A few brave skiers took to the trails on a chilly -33C afternoon Jan. 30 to test out the freshly groomed trails, which run throughout the hills of Inuvik.

“As daylight increases and the temperatures warm up, our hours of operation will reflect that,” said ski club president Carolyn Hunter. “So we will be more accessible throughout February and March.

“We kind of have to phase back into being an open operation. We don’t have any formal programming ready to go yet, but we’re hoping to offer some informal programming to engage members.”

The last time the ski club was in operation was in 2018 when they held the 50th Top of the World Loppet.

With the ski season already half-done, the club won’t be offering the entire range of services it once did — no Jackrabbit classes, for example. However, equipment rental will be offered at a first-come, first-served basis and lights will be kept on up to the tunnel.

Informal programming such as a family day on the weekend are being planned to fill the gap. Members who own their own skis will be able to access the chalet off hours by way of a special code and will be responsible for sanitizing the building before they leave.

Ski club student Brooklyn Heidl-Day shows off the Inuvik Ski Club’s rental equipment. Fully stocked for youth skiers, the club has a selection of equipment for adults and is hoping to get a grant to purchase more.
Eric Bowling/NNSL photo

One thing that will be different for skiers this year is the chalet — normally a popular place to gather and socialize, the building will be limited to six people at a time and primarily used for changing to keep in line with Covid-19 restrictions.

Another thing Hunter noted skiers should be prepared for is the low snowpack this year. Normally the region gets at least another foot or two of snow by this point, so many of the trails may have roots or other obstructions that will need to be navigated.

“There hasn’t been a lot of maintenance over the last couple of years and there’s required maintenance in the summer,” said Hunter. “Some of the trails won’t be in perfect condition. In addition, we’ve had a very, very low snowpack this year —unprecedented low.

“We don’t even have enough snow to even set tracks yet.”

Regardless, Hunter said the club was open and renting equipment for all. An adult pass for the season will cost $75 — $60 for Youth and Elders, and a day pass will cost $10. Ski rental are $10 and a family pass is $125.

Eric Bowling/NNSL photo

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