Cross-country ski trail fun for everyone

            The Town of Preeceville has always had some moderate ski trials for individuals to enjoy but they were short and not maintained properly and that led to limited use.

            Lou Roste and Russ Peet set out to change that with the formation of the Preeceville Nordic Ski club. Roste who had never tried cross-country skiing was introduced by his daughter Jen to the sport.

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            "A few years ago, I had never cross-country skied," he said. “I had always gone to the mountains for downhill skiing with my family. But then my daughter had taken up the sport of cross-country skiing and lent me a pair of classic skis to try for myself. I quickly realized, after some encouragement, that I really enjoy the tranquil beauty of cross-country skiing. So I went online and found plans on the Internet and built my own trail groomer to pull with my snow machine. It worked well so I then purchased my own skis and went about finding a place where I could ski more."

            There was one short designated trail behind the hospital on the outskirts of Preeceville already established but with permission from the town, Roste used the trail and cut out many more trails to join up to the existing trails, all the way down to the bird trails. The town has been very encouraging and provided signs to post the four kilometres of trails. The trails are very scenic where they begin at the wildlife park and go all the way to the hospital and back down through the bird trails and provide an excellent nature hike.”

            After seeing the need to further improve the trails, Russ Peer and Roste, who were active on the trails, formed the Preeceville Nordic Ski Club. They approached both the Sunrise Health District and the Town of Preeceville for grants. With some of that money, they purchased a 44-inch rough cut mower that is pulled behind Roste's quad to help maintain the trail. The trees that were cleared off the trail were cut up and split with the help of volunteers and donated to the wildlife campsite.

            The trails are groomed 10 to 15 times per season and are maintained through volunteer hours put in by Roste. Since he has picked up on the sport, he usually goes out once a day to enjoy skiing in his backyard.

            "We currently only have two members in the ski club and we would like to encourage others to join," said Roste. "We want to build a warm-up shelter and would like to widen the trails. The main purpose for this is to accommodate the individuals who do use the trails for skiing. These trails are awesome for walking as well, but the tracks for the skis get ruined. If we widen the trials it will be easier for people to walk and to avoid the trails set for cross-country skiing. We also have some issues with snowmobilers using the trail. The snow machines totally destroy the ski trails. We want to encourage snowmobilers not to use the posted trails out of courtesy for the cross-country skiers."

            Cross-country skiing is a great winter activity that seems to be catching on and the club wants to continue to provide groomed trails in this beautiful part of the country for everyone to enjoy, he said.