Ski club in small BC town hosts West Nordic Championship

More than 400 athletes from BC, Alberta and Washington State compete in East Kootenay this weekend at the West Nordic Championships, one of the largest annual ski meetups in North America.

Kimberley Nordic Club welcomes athletes of all ages competing in three different racing styles.

“It’s very exciting to be hosting Westerns in Kimberley,” said Pauleen Forren, the club’s head coach, during Friday’s races in the town of Kimberley, about 165 kilometers east of the Alberta border.

“It’s a huge race and it’s great to see riders from all over Western Canada coming here to Kimberley.”

West Scandinavian Championship volunteers, which will run from 3-5 February, were photographed on the first day of the races. (Corey Bullock/CBC News)

This is the first time the club is holding such a large-scale event and has been planning to do so for years.

Volunteers as well as coaches and athletes work to ensure that the races run smoothly.

“There’s a lot of preparation time, I know they’ve been planning for this event for years, but in terms of volunteering, we just need a good group of people who are eager to help each other and learn a new skill.” ,” said volunteer Kat Henry.

Mike Thomas, assistant technical delegate at Nordiq Canada, helps organize the races.

“It’s great to have so many people here enjoying the facilities and exploring Kimberley,” said Thomas. “Some of the people here are skiing for fun for the first time, so it’s great that Kimberley is able to showcase what she’s got to people from everywhere.”

Nearly a century of nordic skiing

The history of Nordic skiing in Kimberley began more than 90 years ago.

According to the Kimberley Nordic Club, racers would ski the streets of what is now known as the Blarchmont neighborhood.

Cross country ski racers are pictured skiing the streets in Kimberley, BC.
Cross-country racers pictured skiing the streets of Kimberley, BC Scandinavian skiing in town began over 90 years ago. (Dan Clark/Kimberley Scandinavian Club)

A few decades before the club was founded, cross-country skiing in Kimberley took place on the town prospecting trails.

Today, northern skiers enjoy dozens of well-maintained trails on Northstar Mountain.

Pictured is Blarchmont Ski Jumping Area in Kimberley, circa 1938.
The Blarchmont Ski Jump is pictured circa 1938 in Kimberley, BC. (Dan Clark/Kimberley Scandinavian Club)

‘Conditions are very bad’

Athletes have been training for what they call Westerns for weeks, some skiing six days a week in preparation.

“It’s fun to be here for the Westerns, there’s a bit of a higher level of competition, but there’s no stress for us, we’re going to come here and have some fun,” said Ben Thompson, an athlete with the Canmore Ski Club. .

WATCH | Small-town BC ski club makes history by hosting championships:

History is being made for the small town BC ski club

A ski club in Kimberley, BC is hosting the West Nordic Championship.

Zara Butker of Salmon Arm agrees.

“I’m really excited to race here because it’s my first time here,” Butker said. “The conditions are very pristine, the snow is beautiful, it’s not icy, so it’s really exciting.”

Charlie Bruce from Kamloops is one of the oldest rivals.

“As an older athlete it helped to start early, I think they let the old people go because they knew very well that we were going to get through these young rounds who ski very well,” Bruce said.

“It’s been a great experience, good turnout, Kimberley has definitely welcomed this event with open arms and you can’t say enough about the organizers.”

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