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Ski club shake up
New equipment and new energy upgrade in the works

Sarah Ladik
Northern News Services
Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Inuvik Ski Club had a rough time last year but is bouncing back strong going into another season.

NNSL photo/graphic

Rosalind Crump, left, Andrew Haas, John Stortz, Bobbi Scott, and Fraser Pearce make up the new board at the Inuvik Ski Club, which hopes to be announcing new funding for equipment and energy upgrades in the near future. - Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo

Last fall, the club's snowmobiles were vandalized and the clubhouse broken into. However, board members have regained momentum and are now working on securing funding for new equipment as well as solar panels to help offset the rising cost of power.

"We've had an interesting year," said club president Andrew Haas.

"But we've been able to come back with programming and now we have some exciting new changes to look forward to."

Vice-president Fraser Pearce said that funding is in the works to replace skis and other equipment dating back 20 and 30 years. Although it's not a done deal yet, he said he would keep his fingers crossed for a conclusion in the near future.

"It would be good for our school and Jackrabbit programs," he said.

"Hopefully it will make it easier for people to get into it."

About a dozen people attended the club's annual general meeting Oct. 18 at the ski club. It was a good turnout, several board members said.

Haas said there were around 70 members last year and the plan is to increase that number exponentially in the coming season. He encouraged attendees to in turn encourage anyone they see using the trails to get a membership. Individual registrations cost $60 or $100 for a whole family. The family package also gets members access to programs for children like Jackrabbits and Track Attack, weekly sessions that teach children the basics of cross-country skiing before taking them out to the trails.

"We had from a dozen to 20 kids out last year for Jackrabbits," said program organizer Connie Blakeston, noting that attendance is largely dependent on what other sports are going on at the same time because children who ski are also likely involved in hockey, figure skating, or swimming.

"If we can get the right time, we can get more kids. Everyone who comes always seems to really enjoy it."

Along with new ski equipment, Haas said the club is also close to getting money to install solar panels. They would be connected to the power grid, which would allow the club to rack up credits during the summer they would be able to use to offset the cost of power in the winter. One of the key benefits of membership is having access to the switch for the trail lights which, while making night-skiing in the winter months a lot more fun, also contributed to the $2,860 power bill for the year.

Conditions allowing, the first event of the season will be a kickoff Nov. 14. Other planned events include a Valentine's Day Ski and the annual Loppet in April. Members new and old, however, suggested new initiatives from wax and wine evenings to moonlight skis and teen nights but Pearce cautioned against biting off more than they can chew.

"The big thing that we as a club need to do is to keep up the momentum," he said, adding that there is often a plethora of good ideas at the beginning of the season but that sometimes they don't come to pass because the board can only take on so much by itself.

"It's awesome to see new faces here today; we need people involved in the planning and on the ground to make it all happen."

More than anything, the ski club is looking to spur new and returning interest at all levels. With a few new faces on the board, its ranks have swelled to fill all positions, something Blakeston said was not a common thing. Still, Haas said there is room for volunteers in a variety of capacities.

"I'm very proud of what he do here," he said.

"We're getting a lot of youth particularly out into nature in a safe way. There are maps, signs, it's hard to get lost out there and it's a great way to promote an active, healthy lifestyle."

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