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Ski club gets help from Echo Lacombe

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

 There’s no snow on the ground yet, but the Lacombe Cross Country Ski Club has already got some help with trail grooming.


On Saturday at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club, the Echo Lacombe Association announced they would be giving the ski club a grant for $2,300 to put towards a low-gear Ski-doo and renovator groomer.

“We’re very excited for this opportunity,” said ski club President Brent Bouwsema, who noted this was the first they’ve received out of a number of grants they’ve applied for.

“I’m thrilled it’s a local grant. This is our community and this is where we are so it’s neat that the money stays in town. This will give us the opportunity to make better trails this winter and coming seasons.”

The funds cover half of the cost for the trail grooming equipment –worth $4,600 – while the rest is being covered through fundraising by the ski club.

Thus far, the ski club has relied on homemade equipment to flatten and pack the snow on the trails. The problem, Bouwsema says, is they often have to wait for at least four to five inches of snow to create new trails in the winter. If warmer weather hits, ice builds up, which can be intimidating for less experienced skiers.

“The difference with this equipment is that it actually will tear up the trail as well. It’s got metal teeth on the front of it so we don’t have to wait for fresh snow to create new trails,” he said. “With this we’ll be able to cut that ice and create new trail that will be much easier for a broader range of skiers.”

The trails are located around and within the golf course, including roughly five kilometres around the perimeter and another four kilometers on paths within the course. For the future, the ski club is also looking at putting trails around some of the nearby lakes, as well as the J.J. Collett Natural Area.

The grant is part of the Echo Lacombe Associations’ mandate to give back to the community. Previously, they’ve given grants to the Lacombe Performing Arts Foundation for the Echo Lacombe stage in Lest We Forget Park, and the Good Neighbour coffee bike.

According to Echo Lacombe Association President Drayton Bussiere, the grant applications are starting to gain momentum, as is Echo Energy, which was first established in 2013.

“We’re working really hard to get as many people in the community of Lacombe signed up with Echo Energy – gas and power. That just enables us to do more of these types of projects,” he said. “As long as there’s a benefit to the community, then we’re interested in helping out.”

By Sept. 1, Echo Energy had secured 290 electricity accounts and another 222 for natural gas. The goal is to reach 350 accounts by year’s end, which would provide $35,000-$40,000 for the Echo Lacombe Fund.

While the number isn’t large given the size of the City of Lacombe, Bussiere says the opportunity that comes from that group of people is quite large.

“The more subscribers we get, the more we’re able to help the community,” he said. “You’re buying gas and power anyways, so why not buy it from a provider that allows you to support your community at the same time?”

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