There’s never a bad time to go for a ski in Yellowknife in the winter, even if you think it’s too cold to do so.

But the Yellowknife Ski Club opened its doors once again to the city at-large to give people a chance to hit the trails and take in the scenery.

NWT Ski Day happened at the club on Feb. 13 with free trail usage for the entire day to anyone who wanted to strap on a pair of skis. It was on the house, courtesy of funding from the NWT Recreation and Parks Association through the Active, Resilient, Connected Grant Program.

“The grant allows groups to put on three events for the community and this was our third one,” said Kerry Wheler, the club’s events manager. “We combined it with some Valentine’s treats, cookies and some hot chocolate.”

Skiing and goodies

Katherine Ades was the organizer for the day, she added, and got everything together.

As Wheler mentioned, there were plenty of goodies inside the club’s chalet but skiing was the name of the game and that included some who may have been out on the course for the first time. To help with that, Overlander Sports jumped on board and provided 15 complete sets of gear free of charge to people who signed up early enough.

“We recognize that one of the factors holding people back from skiing is gear,” said Wheler. “We offered up the free gear for the day, courtesy of Overlander, and people signed up by contacting myself and we put them on a list.”

One of the big highlights, said Wheler, was the double-track sets, side-by-side grooves so people could ski beside each other if they so desired.

“Our groomers did such a great job and we thought it would be nice with Valentine’s Day or for some friends to ski together,” she said.

Skiing and resolutions

Another one of the activities on the day was the adult lessons led by instructor Rob Mathews and that’s where you would have found Mayor Rebecca Alty and her sister, Kierra Alty.

Her Worship said taking proper lessons was something she had always thought about doing.

“It wasn’t a resolution but I do up a list of of things to do each year and one of those things was ski lessons,” she said. “I’ve been skiing for the past couple of years and I was worried about it being February and being so cold. You can get cold standing around but Rob is really good and kept us moving and you’re warm in no time.”

Mayor Alty figures once she gets this skiing thing down, she and her sister are going places.

“We were joking that once we get the technique, what’s stopping us from being Olympians?,” she said. “No one is taking us seriously, especially with the hot chocolate and two-bite brownies we were having.”

But in all seriousness, Alty said she’s happy to see so many people out and enjoying the trails in all areas of the city.

Skiing and that personal connection

“Rat Lake is the hidden gem of sorts with the tent out there for people,” she said. “The residents of Range Lake have been clearing snow and it’s just great to see lots of people taking advantage of the trails around.”

Around 70 people went through the club that day, said Wheler, and they were all met by people who were familiar with the surroundings.

“John Stephenson and some volunteers were there greeting people, showing them how to navigate the trails,” she said. “It was that personal connection and it means a lot to someone who’s there for the first time.”

James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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