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New Nelson program increases access to cross-country skiing

Nelson Nordic Ski Club has received funding to teach beginners
The Hlushchenko family, who arrived in Nelson from Ukraine last year, enjoying a cross-country ski trail near Nelson. Photo: Submitted

Submitted by the Nelson Nordic Ski Club

Thanks to a recent grant from the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA), Nelson Nordic Ski Club has created a program to help individuals served by community organizations such as Nelson and District Women’s Centre, ANKORS, Nelson CARES Society and Bigby Place, as well as a family of Ukrainian newcomers, to learn the fundamentals of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at the trails at Apex, Busk and Clearwater, south of the city.

The initiative is part of a CPRA program entitled Reaching Each and Every One: A Community Sport Intervention. Nelson Nordic recently received grant funding through this program that aims to support the initiation of community level interventions on programs, events, and/or policy changes that remove barriers and increase sport access, participation and retention rates for equity deserving groups, in particular Black, Indigenous, racially diverse, 2SLGBTQQIA+, low-income and newcomer populations, as well as people living with disabilities.

Louise Poole, a past-president of the ski club and current ski instructor, is co-ordinating the program.

“It is a very gratifying experience to have these groups come out and learn an activity, be outside in our beautiful forests with flowing rivers along the trails and having fun,” she says. “We all know how important nature is to positive mental health and well-being.”

A family of recent Ukrainian arrivals is loving their experience and the twin eight-year-old boys have even participated in the club’s weekly Jackrabbits program. They also look forward to racing the Teck Kootenay Cup races coming up on Feb. 25 and 26.

“I am happy,” says Oleksandra Hlushchenko. “I cannot live with no activity. Cross-country skiing makes me happy and eventually stronger, with better stamina.”

She adds that the program gives people more than exercise.

“The coaching gives us a source of life, happiness and energy.”

The ski club hopes to introduce more people to Nordic skiing and snowshoeing through the program in the weeks to come. For more information please contact