Nordic Ski Club Loppet returns after hiatus Sunday

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Skiers took off from the starting line at the Prince Albert Nordic Ski Club PA Kistapinahnik Classic Loppet on Sunday morning at Little Red River Park.

The Prince Albert Nordic Ski Club hosted their PA Kistapinahnik Classic Loppet for the first time in two years on Sunday at Little Red River Park.

Roy Fremont of the Prince Albert Nordic Ski Club said it was exciting to see everyone back at Little Red. The event had 81 skiers registered for the 7.5 kilometerm and 15 kilometer runs on the trails at the park.

We were capping it at 100, so we are happy that we got 81,” Fremont explained. “With COVID, it has created some challenges: no mass start and there was no in house dining. You are just going to grab your chilli and go. We are very happy with the turnout, we are happy with the weather, a great day.”

Fremont added that the weather on Sunday was pleasant, which made for a good day on the trails. He said groomers were up late the night before getting the trails in perfect condition.

The event brought in people from all over the province.

The overall comment on the trails is that these are some of the best trails in the province, if not in Manitoba, Alberta maybe even BC,” he said. “They are really, really good trails. Everyone is quite happy with them.”

While some sports and recreation clubs have struggled during the pandemic, Fremont said the Prince Albert Nordic Ski Club has thrived. I big part of it is location. He said more people are looking to spend less time indoors.

Well luckily our sport involves being outdoors,” he said. “By and large you are solitary or with a friend or two, so the COVID thing as skiers go is pretty much non-existent.”
During the first year of the pandemic, the club saw membership nearly double from 380 to 600 members. Fremont said they had to expand some of the parking lots and make some trails easier to accommodate some of the newcomers still learning the sport.

This year, the members ship total has approached 500 people, so the club is still well-above average.

We are pleased with that,” Fremont said. “With the extra money coming in we are able to upgrade our fleet of grooming machines, which is important to have good equipment to maintain our trails. The club is doing very well.”

The club is also trying to have a more visible presence in the park by adding new signage on trail heads and in parking lots.

We would like people when they come into the park to see Little Red River Park: Home of the Prince Albert Nordic Ski Club,” Fremont said.

We think it’s important to have a visible presence so that people can realize there are ski trails here and maybe we should be cautious about using them in the winter. In the summer, it’s a free for all, but in the winter, we would like people to stick to the walking trails and the snowshoeing trails.

It would be nice to have a nice big sign over the park entry,” he added.

Fremont said that one member of the club originally from British Columbia enjoyed the experience on the trails because they are more narrow than in her home province.

She didn’t say comforting but it was just a nice, different experience on our trails. She just loves them. She says they are fantastic,” Fremont said.

The event did not have results recorded, according to Fremont.

The event was open to youth and adults with youth under 16-years-old entries for free.

Thanks to the volunteers of course, without them we can’t host events like this. We have got our fingers crossed for the rest of the day to be like this and for people to have had a really good time out on the trail,” he said.

They also appreciated the work of the crew from the Cosmo Lodge Bistro for preparing chilli and a bun for competitors.