Whitehorse’s Free Day on the Trails is back for another year at the Mt. McIntyre Recreation Centre, but this time a month earlier than in the past.
Thanks to the new snowmaking equipment this year, the stadium and a 900-metre loop are filled with snow and ready for this Sunday.
In the past, the event to introduce people to the sport was always held in December to ensure there was enough snow, Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club manager Corinna Warren said.
Hosted in collaboration with Coast Mountain Sports since the inception of the event about eight years ago, the day on the trails offers skiing and snowshoeing lessons for anyone willing to try out the sport.
“It’s a nice way to try to introduce new people to the sport of cross-country skiing,” Warren said.
The free lessons in the snow-filled stadium, Warren said, are helpful for people new to the sport – or new to snow for that matter – to learn the ropes.
“For people who have never been in skis, rarely been on snow that are new to the Yukon or people who felt a little bit intimidated to come and try, it’s a great opportunity to introduce the club and trails and the sport itself,” she said.
Coast Mountain Sports will be providing their rentals for free including their complete Fischer & Salomon demo fleets, which Warren said will allow them to rent skis and boots throughout the day and otherwise they wouldn’t have enough.
The free event will run from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. with ski classes and the chance to ski on your own for those more advanced.
There is also a how to snowshoe session, with free snowshoe rentals, between 1-2 p.m encompassing a guided trail walk.
With the help of the two snowmaking machines, Warren said skiing has been able to start early this season with the club’s youth programs in action since the beginning of the month and more programs getting underway this coming week.
The brand new Harvey’s Hut will also officially open within the next few weeks, Warren said. The original hut burned down in Sept. 2016 and the hut cost about $20,000 to replace.
The hut is a rest stop shelter and a staple on the Mt. McIntyre skill trails. The new landmark stands at 265 square feet, 100 square feet larger than the original.
Skiing is still a hit or miss on the trails further away from the club, Warren said, but it is up to mother nature now.
The snowmaking equipment did the job filling the stadium and its work is done for the season, Warren said.
“They ran for about a week straight in the stadium,” Warren said. “Just to fill the stadium with snow and a 900-metre loop, that was the goal. Now that that’s been accomplished they’re turned off until next season.