Ski club Vice President Kelly Favron says his club vision is for a multi-season, affordable, family recreation site to keep people healthy and active.
With 220 members and more improvements all the time, the Morice Mountain Nordic Ski Club is steadily sliding toward that end.
“When I joined the club five years ago we only had 82 members,” said Favron, adding that he’d like to have a steady 300 person membership in the future.
Favron says he wants to have a lot going on at the club, with skiers bumping into snowshoers and seeing ice fishers on the lake and with a racing team running again.
He’d like to be a thriving club with lots of events, such as moonlit skis, and have other community groups such as summer camps, girl guides and cadets use the ski club cabins for social events and training.
1988 ski club President Frank McDonald says they used to have travelling musicians do coffeehouses and such at the club cabins.
Favron plans to rebuild a warming hut on Beaverpelt Lake and to fix up the main day lodge with a new roof, insulation and siding and add heaters, ski racks and a kids corner, he said.
They plan to put new windows in the Alpine Cabin and maybe a mosquito-netting porch for summer use, he said.
Favron says they want to build a connecting four kilometre trail between the Alpine Cabin and the Houston Hikers’ Story Lookout Cabin, and build more trails around the Alpine Cabin for skiers in winter and hikers in summer.
“The Alpine Cabin is right on the doorstep of all kinds of backcountry opportunities that haven’t been explored yet,” said Favron.
The ski club built five kilometres of snowshoe trails this year, which could be used in summers by hikers and runners, said Favron, adding that they want to add more snowshoe and hiking trails as well.
Favron says the trails are great places to see wildlife, including snowy owls, snowshoe hares, grouse, and if you’re lucky, lynx.
Lynx have been around as long as the ski trails, said McDonald.
“We’ve been seeing the lynx for forever – spring, summertime and wintertime – but because there is more people there now, the sightings are more common,” McDonald said.
Favron adds that this year there is a mother and two full-sized kittens so there have been numerous sightings.
One man skied up behind the mother lynx laying right on the ski trail, and he talked real slowly, saying ‘Hello kitty,’ and watched the big cat slowly, lazily look around and look at him, Favron said.
He says lynx are animals of habit and these lynx, not fed or pet by people, seem very comfortable around skiers.
The ski club is focusing more and more on being a family recreation site and Favron says one step this year is adding signs to tell people about the adventure park built last year.
“It’s kind of a corn maze but in the timber,” said Favron, adding that it is surrounded by groomed ski trail so children won’t get lost, and it will be good for both summer and winter use.
Favron says people can come in and out of the trails in all different places, and they will put up chimes and noise makers, as well as cutouts of animals or cartoon characters.
They also have a groomed open area with hills for kids to ski around or sled on with crazy carpets.
Favron says he wants to build a children’s play area in the main cabin and get a swing set outside for parents with younger kids to use while others in the family are out skiing.
“That’s how we’re wrapping it in on the central area around the cabin. It’s really big for families and young kids and has all the amenities there to keep the kids interested,” Favron said.
Favron says this year they are running a ski donation program, asking companies to donate money for ski equipment to add to the ski library – a collection of skis, boots and poles for free member use or low rental rates, and used for children in jackrabbits.
“We’ve served the community for the last 25 years, so we want to do more and hopefully with getting all these skis in, we’ll be able to offer more and have kind of a rebirth of the skill development program,” said Favron.
Favron says they are eager for more volunteers and coaches and are looking for someone to be the skill-development coordinator, entertainment coordinator/event planner.
Anyone interested can contact Kelly at 250-845-0097 and for more information see http://www.xcskimoricemtn.com/ or the Morice Mountain Nordic Ski Club page on Facebook.