A local outdoor club in Vanderhoof has seen a 25 percent increase in membership as a result of the pandemic.
“A lot of the winter sports in the community were adversely affected by COVID restrictions and people opted for cross country skiing because our sport, to a great degree, was not impacted,” said Richard Burkholder, chairman for the Nechako Nordics. There are currently 300 club members.
People have been able to enjoy cross country skiing in Vanderhoof at a reasonable cost, as the club was able to work with provincial health protocols in place, he said.
With 26 registered coaches and many volunteers, the club has had an agreement with SD91 to run a Ski S’kool program for all grade 3 students in the Vanderhoof area for the past five years.
The school district has provided busing and supervisors for the elementary school students, said Mary Burkholder, coordinator for skill development for the Nechako Nordics. And the club provides one lesson every four weeks using volunteer coaches.
With grant money and subsidy from school Parent Advisory Councils, the club has managed to purchase enough equipment to adequately outfit all students and staff participating, she said. Additionally, in some schools the Nordics give one lesson a year to grade 2 and 4 students.
Meanwhile, the club is also planning on signing a contract with Earthen Ware to purchase more cross country ski equipment for their rental program. The contract will go through once the club receives some funding. Club officials have received a letter of support from the District of Vanderhoof for their grant application to Northern Development Initiative Trust.