The large events of the season are over, but members of the La Ronge Ski Club are still expecting to make use of the trails until the end of April.
“It was a better than usual season for snow and a worse than normal season for cold temperatures,” said board member Hilary Johnstone. “We can’t have it all, but we prefer to have the snow.”
While those on the local Nordic racing team attended strength tests and high-performance snow camps in September and October, the skiing season in La Ronge began Nov. 19 when the club held its first practice. Johnstone said there were 20 throughout the year, noting the final training session was held last month. From December until the end of March, Nordic skiers attended events in Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Waskesiu and Red Deer, Alta.
The ski club also hosted three events which Johnstone said attracted hundreds of the athletes including the La Ronge Sask Cup in December, and the Don Allen Saskaloppet and the School Ski Championships in March. Like many races in Saskatchewan this year, she noted the championships had to be postponed by a month because of the extreme cold weather in February.
“Cross Country Canada has set out guidelines and rules, and because of their insurance, we can’t ski below certain temperatures,” Johnstone said.
During the winter, Johnstone added volunteers and crews with the Lac La Ronge Province Park were able to re-open large sections of trails which were closed due to damage from the 2015 wildfire. The Saskaloppet trail from the lake to the Don Allen trails were cleared, but she said more work remains.
Throughout the summer, the club isn’t very active but Johnstone said Nordic races are encouraged to keep staff in shape. Cross Country Canada will be having spring and summer camps, and athletes are also invited to compete in the local canoe races and annual Freeze, Breeze and Wheeze Triathlon. Johnstone also said a wrap up meeting will likely be held this month to discuss how the season went.
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