If the cold weather has you feeling cooped-up and stir crazy, the Lacombe Cross-Country Ski Club may have your cure.
This Sunday, Feb. 24 from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m., all are invited to hit the trails and get to know more about the club and other skiers in the community during their fourth annual Ski Social.
“It’s hard to believe we’ve done it four years in a row, but we try to do it every year,” said ski club President Brent Bouwsema. “It’s just an event to catch our members and people who aren’t members and come together, meet each other and have a good time skiing.”
The ski social will take place up at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club where the club maintains about seven kilometres of single track and skate lane ski trails, that are accessible for skiers of all ages.
While the event is free to attend for all and is not specifically for members, they will have $10 memberships for sale on site. Money goes towards the grooming of the trails, as well as the maintenance and upgrades for necessary equipment.
With the extreme cold temperatures over the past couple weeks, however, the club hasn’t been able to groom, but they are hoping warmer temperatures will soon be on their way, and the ski social can act as an informal return to outdoor activity.
“The thing we try to promote is wintertime activity. You wouldn’t know it the past few weeks, but we should be out in the cold, enjoying exercise, but we all find that it’s very valuable to get out in a time when most people struggle to exercise because they don’t have anything to do,” said Bouwsema.
“You can go to the gym, and that’s fine and that’s good, but to actually be outside and in nature, we find there’s so many benefits – not only physically, but mentally. It tends to be quiet out there, you can think to yourself, and you’re not struggling with daily things. It’s quite peaceful.”
A group ski, for those who are interested, will be held at 1 p.m., and those looking to warm up can purchase a hot dog, warm drink and a cookie for just $2.
For more information, visit skilacombe.com or find them on Facebook at Lacombe Cross-Country Ski Club.
Stay off the trails
As much as the Lacombe Cross-Country Ski Club wants to encourage outdoor activity, they do ask that those partaking in wintertime walking would stay off the ski trails.
Club President Brent Bouwsema says it’s been a particular issue this year, with footprints destroying the tracks and making it harder for skiers to enjoy the very trails created specifically for them.
“It makes it difficult to ski, because your skis don’t stay in the tracks,” he said.
The ski club also creates a wider “skate lane” trail for skiers who want to use the skate style or free-technique style of skiing. While some walkers will stay on that trail, he said every footprint creates a hole, and if a ski catches it wrong, it can completely throw off the skier.
“It’s unsettling. You get into a certain rhythm when you’re skiing. To find that suddenly you have to adjust because someone has walked on the track, it makes the experience not as good,” he said.
“There’s a lot of really good walking trails in Lacombe, especially around the lake, so we encourage people to look at the City of Lacombe website and the maps on there to see where they can walk, rather than on the ski trails.”
He said it takes the club about three to four hours of volunteer time to track set and groom the trails, and it can be very frustrating to find someone walking on those trails after it has been groomed.
“We don’t want to discourage people from using the golf course in the wintertime. It’s a great place for snowshoeing and skiing even off our trails, but we want to discourage people from walking on the (ski) trails – especially with their dogs. They tend to kick up the snow even more than boots,” he said.
“Some of it is education. People need to know what they’re doing is damaging the trails.”