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Nordic skiing seeing more people on the trails this year

January 7, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

With so many sporting activities and leagues cancelled this year, Nordic and cross country skiing is seeing a big increase in the numbers of people either hitting the trails more often or trying the sport for the first time. While downhill ski centres have been forced to close, cross country clubs are remaining open for the season although many activities at clubs have been cancelled this year.

Unlike Alpine skiing which has snow making capabilities, cross country skiing relies on Mother Nature to provide the snow. Club members take over and pack down the snow and groom the trails to make them usable and create a hard packed base for the season.

“The person who does all our trail grooming, Ross Martin, will take a review of all our trails and he might close it at night or during the day depending on conditions,” explained Gerry Gregoire, president of the Mono Nordic Ski Club. “We are totally dependent on Mother Nature and how much snow she gives us. We use snowmobiles and grooming machines. Typically this time of year they are building a base.”

Cross country and Nordic skiing provides an inherent measure of physical distancing just by the nature of the sport so the trails were allowed to stay open when the province when into shut-down mode, although there are still many protocols that must be followed by people using the trails at Monora Park.

“Under the lock-down they closed Alpine ski resorts but left cross country open,” Gregoire explained. “The reason for that is people can come and go, we don’t have to go on a chair lift or anything like that. They can remain in their own social bubble. They still have to follow all the social distancing parameters and have to be screened before coming to the trails and people are not permitted to gather. The skis themselves really provide social distancing. If you’re passing someone on a trail, you still have to give them the two metres distance.”

The lock-down allows for skiing on the trails but due to the restrictions on public gatherings the Mono Club along with every other cross country club in the province had to cancel most activities and 

competitions they normally host each season.

“We normally have Ladies Day and we won’t be doing that in January,” Gregoire said. “We won’t be having our race program and our annual race. Our race team can’t train in a group. We can’t do our big family day which we usually do in February. The year has changed but it’s all good that we’re trying to protect everybody. We belong to Cross Country Ontario as our provincial governing body. They run a race program and we found out in November that the whole race program has been cancelled this year.”

On a good note, many people are discovering cross-country and Nordic skiing as a new sports since most other activities have been cancelled.

“People are getting out and trying the sport. I think this will lead to an increase in numbers in the sport over the next few years. It’s giving a higher visibility to the sport.”



         

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