The Morice Mountain Nordic Ski Club has undertaken massive projects this year to make the trails accessible year-round, and not just have them limited for the ski season.
The club started work around the Silverthorne Lake to level the trail and add boardwalks. This is mainly being done to improve the quality of the trail around the lake and have a year-round easy access.
“We also built our snowshoe trail around the lake; we did a lot of work to build it up, surface it with gravel and just pack it in so that way we can also have families come to ride, bike, walk around there,” said club President Greg Yeomans.
The club received several grants this year, one of them was the Rural Divident Grant from the province, worth $33,600. They also received money from the Dungate Community Forest, the Bulkley Valley Credit Union, Coastal Gas Link, donations from Camfor in the form of gravel and some things from Blast Enterprises. The club also chipped in with a bunch of money.
“We are trying to do a few things — we want our trails to be more accessible to multiple seasons and that involves improving the drainage on them, surfacing so you can use them for biking and right now after a few projects, we have over 10 kilometres of trails that are surfaced so it sets us up for multi-season use. This will also be easier for earlier access to skiing because you don’t need so much snow so if the trail is nice and smooth then even in 15 centimetres of snow we can have skiing. Typically we have to wait longer before you have to get into skiing and this is just an additional thing for users and adds to the potential of the site,” said Yeomans.
The club has been busy installing culverts and improving drainage. A lot of work is being done at the campgrounds as well. Currently, there are crews working on picnic tables, fire rings, parking sites. According to Yeomans, the area was not very well set up and people couldn’t even park a trailer or a camper easily so the plan is to set up the entire area, make a separate section for day use, improve water access, fix up the shelter and the fireplace in these.
“Just a ton of ideas going on; it is not just about skiing but the full recreational potential for the area. I think this area could be one of the best or one of the best cross-country ski sites or recreational site because it just has so much potential with lakes and mountains on it, beautiful views and so many things that other places don’t have,” said Yeomans.
To utilize the full potential of the area, the club also announced a running challenge this year however due to Covid, it is now a virtual event. Interested participants can use the app Strava to put in routes and segments and compete with others. There are options for a 3K running event, a 10K running event and then there is the 22 kilometre route which has a 900 metres vertical climb, making it a very challenging route.
“This year we can’t host an event because we still have the public order that limits gatherings to under 50. But we are hoping that in the future this event will draw hundreds to the community, and fill up bed and breakfasts. Not a lot of people know what’s here in Houston. It is not a big recreation draw. This is a real opportunity for the community to diversify and utilize what it has in its backyard. This running event is designed to get the area better known,” said Yeomans.