Winding Down on the Trails

As we head into spring and summer, the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Cub starts winding down – sort of.

In April, as the snow melts downtown, the average Whitehorse citizen, sun- and heat-starved, gets the idea that skiing is toast for the year.

Well, not quite. With the ground well frozen and with all the packing and grooming the club has done over the winter, the trails hold their snow well, especially those that are mostly shaded.

Hardcore skiers at the club have been known to find enough snow to ski on our trails in early May, and skiing until mid to late April is the norm.

So don’t put away those skis yet.

With temperatures below freezing at night and above freezing during the day, the avid skier sometimes has to get his or her timing right. Ski too early in the day and trails can be rock hard. Too late and they can be a bit too soft.

If you are new at this warm weather skiing game, check our website or give the ski club a call and we can provide some advice. We’ll tell you what has been groomed and where and when to get out.

However, all good things to come to at least a temporary end. Inevitably, so will our ski season.

While skiing might come to a halt, the club and its many volunteers remain active.

Summer is the season when we get a chance to do all that trail tuning that is so important. Grooming equipment is checked and maintained, as are our buildings.

This is the time when we do upgrades and general maintenance, fixing things that have been taking a beating from the winter weather.

The club board is active as well, working out plans for next season, looking at what worked well last season and trying to make things even better. We spend time sorting out new programs and events to feed the appetites of our ever-growing membership and working with our super club sponsors to ensure we stay financially healthy.

The club membership generates a huge list of great ideas each year. Prioritizing these and sorting out how and what to implement is always an interesting exercise.

Scheduling all those events and races is also important. Race schedules are worked out in conjunction with Cross Country Yukon and we try and squeeze all the races and events into some sort of logical order, keeping an eye on what the weather is likely to be in any given month.

And, of course, as we work on trail maintenance, we also carry on our ongoing liaison with the many other groups who use the facilities every summer, as well as with the City and Yukon governments as we work to solidify our land tenure.

But secretly, we long for the start of the next stellar ski season.

This will be my last column for the 2010-11 season. Many thanks to the army of wonderful volunteers and sponsors who make this the best ski club in the country.

See you on the trails.

Claude Chabot is executive director of the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club. If you have questions about the club or its extensive network of trails, you can reach Claude at [email protected]

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