Ski and snowmobile clubs getting ready for winter
Tyllore Martelle - Staff Writer
With the winter season and snowy weather fast approaching, the local ski and snowmobile clubs are hard at work getting trails prepared.
With the two sports being popular in the area, the organizations are making sure the trails will be in good shape for the start of the season.
Member of the Nordic Nomads ski group John Davies shared some of the ways the club is making sure their trails are cleared.
Currently, about 12 volunteers are working on clearing the trails of blow down that happened over the summer months and are clearing the brush off the ground. Davies himself and some of the other volunteers are trying to get out at least once a day in order to get it all completed.
Davies estimated that clearing the trails takes, on average, 300 - 400 hours.
He recognized Brian and Jennifer Hancharuck for their hard work spanning about 30 years when it comes to cleaning off the trails each fall. He noted that the two try to make it out every couple days.
Davies figures the trails will be done around the end of this month or the beginning of November. He noted that the trails are in pretty good condition this year and they have lots of new volunteers out to help.
He added that during the Christmas Craft Fair the Nordic Nomads hold a ski waxing clinic for anyone who needs their skis waxed or wants to learn how. Additionally at the craft fair, the registration for the children’s ski program known as Jackrabbits is available.
Nordic Nomad memberships will be available at Al’s Sports starting in November. The club is always happy to welcome new volunteers and Davies emphasized that everyone is valued for the hard work they do. Having a good number of volunteers is what helps the Nordic Nomads keep their membership fees down.
The Ontario Power Toboggan Association (OPTA) is also currently in the process of clearing trails and sorting out the upcoming season’s events. Manager of the OPTA April Ayotte said the club is undergoing many changes and is looking forward to being able to welcome new people and new ideas.
Ayotte urged anyone who is currently using the snowmobile trails to contact the club if they come across any downed trees or debris.
Ayotte pointed out some of the upcoming events the club has planned for this year. For the first time, the OPTA is planning to hold an open house for the public at their clubhouse on Abram Lake Road. The club is one of few clubs that own their building and Ayotte said that is something they are proud of and want to share with the public.
The event will host four different snowmobile dealerships from across Northern Ontario, Pearson Auto Sports (Yamaha) from Ear Falls, Railside Sports and Marine (Arctic Cat) from Dryden, Red Lake Marine (Polaris) from Red Lake, and Lakeside Marina (Ski-doo) from Red Lake. These dealerships will have snowmobiles and parts at the open house.
The open house is intended to be family friendly and will include a hot dog roast and the ability to sign up for the snowmobile driver’s safety course.
The Lac Seul Police Service will attend to promote safe riding practices. The open house will take place December 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The club is planning to have a float in the Christmas Parade, have a Family Day event, and, of course, their annual Poker Derby, which Ayotte said is the club’s biggest event. The club will be holding a raffle for a 2018 Ski-Doo Renegade 600 that will be drawn the night of the Poker Derby social.
Ayotte thanked all the current volunteers and added that the club is always pleased to welcome new volunteers and they enjoy promoting the proper and safe use of the many trails that Sioux Lookout has to offer.