• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • Skiers prepare stadium and trails ahead of snow making

      October 10, 2017

      Photo by Vince Fedoroff
      VOLUNTEER EFFORT – Skiers and parents turned out on the weekend to clean the ski stadium and trails around the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre, as well as add new features. For the first time this year, new snow making equipment will be used to lay down a base in the stadium with the intent of making it available for use earlier in the season.

      More than 60 volunteers showed up on the weekend to begin preparing the stadium below the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre and connecting trails for snow making.

      Alain Masson of Cross Country Yukon said today the official celebration of the new snow making equipment will be held Nov. 4 but they’re hoping to begin making snow later this month.

      The crew did a general cleanup of the stadium and the trails leading up to the wax room inside the centre, said the organization’s sport co- ordinator and coach.

      Masson said work was also underway to begin adding new features like bumps and jumps in the stadium to make a play area for young skiers and also provide local skiers with the type of terrain they’ll encounter in the new sport of ski cross.

      Ski cross involves a series of challenges on the course and has been around for a handful of years but was just introduced at the cross country ski nationals last year, he said.

      Masson said the national and international ski community is still developing the rules but having the physical features needed in the stadium will provide the skiers with the ability to train for the event.

      Mount Sima’s Tyler Nichol, the ski hill’s main groomer who also helps with designing features, was there on an excavator to assist with building the bumps and jumps and he’ll have a couple of more days this week to finish, he said.

      Masson said they’ll be using their new snow making equipment to lay down a base in the important areas of the stadium, and along the trails connecting to the wax room.

      In a normal year, he explained, the stadium takes longer to be ready for use because of its wide-open exposure to wind and the sun. Trails a couple of kilometres away are usually ready for skiing much earlier because they’re not as exposed to the elements, he said.

      Masson said they expect to begin training volunteers on the snow making equipment Oct. 20.
      It’s likely they’ll start at night to ensure they have the desired temperature.

      “We want about -5 (or colder) to be efficient,” he said. “You can make snow at warmer temperatures but our target will start at -5.”

      Masson said the equipment was purchased for approximately $153,000, with $130,000 coming from the Department of Economic development and the rest generated through fund-raising efforts by the ski community and local supporting businesses.