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Discovering new trails
Ski club takes year-end trip to Fort Nelson, B.C.

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, May 2, 2013

A trip to unfamiliar trails wrapped up the season for a sports club in Fort Liard.

NNSL photo/graphic

Abigail Duntra skis along one of Fort Nelson's cross-country ski trails on April 3. The Tracks and Trails Cross Country Ski Club of Fort Liard took eight youths on a day-long skiing trip to wrap up the season. - photo courtesy of Ollie Williams

The Tracks and Trails Cross Country Ski Club took eight youths to Fort Nelson, B.C., on April 3 to ski on some of the community's ski trails. Roslyn Gardner Firth, one of the founding members of the club, said she wanted to give the most dedicated members of the club a chance to experience some different trails.

"They were beautiful," she said of the trails.

"It was a beautiful day."

The youths spent approximately an hour and a half skiing a five-kilometre loop before having lunch and then swimming in a local pool. The skiers were used to covering between two to three kilometres during the weekly skiing sessions the club held throughout the winter. Members of the Fort Liard RCMP detachment volunteered to set the trails around the community, Gardner Firth said.

An extra practice session was held some weeks and, on some weekends, ski trips were organized to the club's warming hut, about five kilometres away.

Dylan Steeves, 12, was one of the skiers who went on the trip to Fort Nelson.

"It was pretty fun," he said.

Trail was smoother than in Fort Liard

The Fort Nelson trail was nice and smoother than the ones in Fort Liard, he said. It was good to have an opportunity to ski somewhere new, said Steeves.

Steeves, who went to almost every practice this season, said he enjoys discovering new trails and meeting new people while skiing. He learned how to ski with the club about three years ago.

Cross-country basics picked up easily

Gardner Firth and her husband Robert Firth founded the club five years ago after moving to the hamlet.

One of the reasons the couple chose the sport is because the basics of cross-country skiing can be picked up easily. Youth can get on skis for the first time and be proficient in two to three days, Gardner Firth said.

"It's a very easy sport to learn," she said.

"It's a perfect sport for our environment."

Gardner Firth estimates that at least 50 youths in Fort Liard have learned how to cross-country ski in the past five years as a result of the club. The club has 25 pairs of skis, boots and poles for people to use while they are learning.

Between five and 12 youths came out to each of the training sessions this year, she said.

Steeves said he is already looking forward to next year's ski sessions.

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