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Making-Tracks

Kelowna Nordic ready for 'Snovember'

Trails ready for grooming

This is the first in a multi-part series on what is new and different at the 12 downhill ski resorts and cross-country ski areas in the Southern Interior. Columns on Big White, SilverStar, Sun Peaks and Nickel Plate are already in the lineup.

It's officially “Snovember!”

That's when the 12 downhill resorts and cross-country ski areas in the Southern Interior encourage everyone to do a snow dance or some other ritual designed to produce enough snow to launch the winter outdoor recreation season.

Some, like Constant Companion Carmen (CCC), want to head south as soon as the temperature drops. However, when you think about it, winter in the Southern Interior's valleys doesn't really get into high gear until the beginning of December, and then there is only 16 to 18 weeks, more or less, until March and April and the return of spring to the valley bottom.

When the Sheriff was working full-time, he could only ski or snowshoe on Saturdays and Sundays—usually downhill on one day and cross-country or snowshoeing on the other. That's why he can hardly wait to dig out the rock skis in Snovember and again feel that exhilarating rush of boards cruising down a snowy slope.

"I'm super excited. It's going to be a great season," John Davina told the Sheriff this week.

However, as president of Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club he said, “We were concerned with finding and employing a groomer but we received interest from nine applicants!"

For the 2023-24 season, the club has three full-time groomers, two part-time and a new grooming plan. With more than 75 kilometres of ski trails, they will groom 50 kilometres during the week and more on weekends.

Groomers will focus on the trails members have said they love to ski, and those trails will be registered on a new grooming app called Nordic Pulse.

"Members will see what trails have been done as they head up to Nordic,” said Davina. “Please check our new website at kelownanordic.com to view real-time grooming and the webcam for weather reports. Kelowna Nordic is also proud to have 24 kilometres of trails for skiers and their canine friends. And the 75 kilometres of snowshoe trails are canine friendly.”

He added Kelowna Nordic’s rolling terrain and numerous loops have been compared to those in Norway, Sweden and Germany by those who have experienced them both.

“Come and give them a try, you’ll see that Kelowna Nordic is closer than you think," he said.

Most of the trails on McCulloch Road, off Highway 33 past Big White Road, are in great shape and thanks to a dedicated core of volunteers, sight lines around some corners have been improved for skier safety.

"We had lots of help. All four cabins (and eight biffies) have been cleaned, the cabins stocked with firewood, and they are ready for both skiers and snowshoers to visit. There's also lots going on in the background with membership drives and fund-raising for a new groomer. Both snowcats have been serviced and are ready to go. And we're doing future long-range planning, etc., etc. This would all be impossible to do without an awesome board of directors and many members stepping up!"

A complete roster of events will run from opening day (to be announced), including Demo Days with Fresh Air, two moonlight ski and snowshoe nights and two special member-and-guest events. The Stride and Glide fundraiser for Kelowna General Hospital is slated for Feb. 10 and the popular Cabin Cookie Tour will return on March 2.

Kelowna Nordic will continue to help members improve their skills with two separate master’s classes to be held in January and February for both classic and skate skiers. Registrations for these masters social ski lessons will be accepted starting in late November. In late January, instructor Emanuela Bandol will host special clinics, for beginners to intermediate skiers for those who want private instruction.

An adult season ski pass cost $160 until Sept. 30 and is now $180. A snowshoe season pass was $60 and is now $70. Adult day passes are $18 and $9.

•••

As promised, the Sheriff has one more funny story about a recent 26-day outdoor recreation holiday in Europe.

This story should be set to the theme music of the Lone Ranger television series from the 1950s. (For those unfamiliar with the William Tell Overture, the cadence is used as the punchline in the joke: What music accompanied the Lone Ranger on his way to the garbage landfill. "To the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump, dump.”)

The funny story involves a cruise ship excursion. After checking in, passengers were told to wait on one side of the ship’s theatre. The best two seats on the bus are right behind the driver so the Sheriff suggested he and CCC wait at the top of the theatre stairs to be right behind the excursion coordinator and be the first on the bus.

Six other passengers had the same idea and also stood beside the coordinator despite being told repeatedly to please sit down.

CCC laughed, went to another entrance/exit and stood at the original entrance/exit to be the first to follow the coordinator. The Sheriff quickly followed but a Spanish couple cut in front of CCC.

"We're more fit than they are. We'll take them on the gangway," whispered CCC. Cue the overture.

The Spanish wife was panting and fell behind but her husband quickened his step, looking behind several times to see how close the Sheriff was. The husband got into one lineup to show his ship ID but the Sheriff went to a shorter lineup and dashed into the port waiting area.

The husband cut through a crowd waiting there for another excursion and regained the lead. Arriving at the bus, he had the audacity to ask the ticket checker if he could save two seats for friends.

"No reservations, sir," he was told.

By this time, his wife had arrived and threw her handbag to him. He jumped into the primo seats and tossed her bag into the next two seats behind him. His two friends got into those and handed him the wife's handbag.

Breathless, the Sheriff and CCC took the two seats on the other side of the bus right behind the tour guide. When the bus stopped to let us off, the Spanish wife got up but the husband smirked and waved the Sheriff and CCC off first.

Then, the Spanish couple and two friends decided to stay in town for lunch so their prized seats became available for the scenic ride back to the ship— until the guide placed her small suitcase on those seats to collect the tour headsets.

Haha. Cut the overture music.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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About the Author

J.P. Squire arrived in the Okanagan Valley from flatland Chatham, Ont. in the middle of the night in the spring of 1980. Waking up in the Highway 97 motel, he looked across the then-four-lane roadway at Mount Baldy and commented: "Oh my God, there's mountains." Driving into downtown Kelowna, he exclaimed: "Oh my God, there's a lake."

The rest is history. After less than a month in Kelowna, he concluded: "I'm going to live here for a long time." And he did.

Within weeks and months, he was hiking local hillsides, playing rec hockey at Memorial Arena and downhill skiing at Big White Ski Resort. After purchasing a hobby farm in the Glenmore Valley in 1986, he bought the first of many Tennessee Walking Horses. After meeting Constant Companion Carmen in 1999, he bought two touring kayaks and they began exploring Interior lakes and B.C.'s coast.

The outdoor recreation column began with downhill ski coverage every winter as the Ski Sheriff but soon progressed to a year-round column as the Hiking, Biking, Kayaking and Horseback Riding Sheriff.

His extensive list of contacts in Okanagan outdoor recreation clubs, organizations and groups means a constant flow of emails about upcoming events and activities which will be posted on Castanet every Sunday.

You can email the Sheriff at: [email protected].



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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