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Local ski club to get new equipment

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The new year has brought with it some new opportunities for the Rainy Lake Nordic Ski Club.

It applied for a grant through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which recently was approved.

“The club is so grateful for this Ontario Trillium Foundation grant money,” club president JoAnne Formanek Gustafson enthused.

“Our proposal included a new mower for fall trail prep, a new snowmachine equipped for trail grooming, and more ski equipment,” she noted.

Formanek Gustafson said the club had lost some ski equipment due to regular wear and tear, so they feel as though replacing the equipment will help to get more people active.

“New trail maintenance equipment will allow us to do a better job of trail prep and grooming, thereby maximizing the season for our trails,” she reasoned.

“The focus is on getting more people active and this grant will help us do that!”

As far as trail preparation goes, Formanek Gustafson said the trails are in great shape. But she also conceded the bitter cold of late is making it hard to ski.

“Even the classic [trail] condition deteriorates around minus-20 and skate ski requires warmer temperatures than that,” she noted.

Formanek Gustafson said the club is seeing high use on the trails when it warms up.

“In the first couple weeks of January, we took in about $1,200 in day-use fees,” she recalled.

“The snowshoe trails are good in almost any weather because they are quite sheltered, except for a few sections,” she added.

“I know a lot of users will head out for a walk even when it's too cold to ski.”

The local club already has a great pool of volunteers but Formanek Gustafson said anyone interested in helping out can volunteer at any time.

“We often put a call out via e-mail, or on our Facebook group page, when we need volunteers for work days or to help with events,” she remarked.

“Anyone able to volunteer a few hours for this type of work can subscribe to our e-mail list by sending a message to rlnordic@gmail.com,” she added.

“Our Facebook is called 'Rainy Lake Nordic Ski Club.'”

Formanek Gustafson also said the club always is grateful for donations of seasoned firewood as that's an ongoing need.

“Another way that people can help is by adopting a 'zero waste policy' when they come to the club by using reusable drink bottles and taking their own garbage home with them,” she added.

“This is a great help," she stressed. "It means that our volunteers don't have to take garbage or recyclables away, and the club doesn't have to pay for disposal.”

Formanek Gustafson also wanted to share the word that the club is out there and offers plenty for winter outdoor enthusiasts.

“Skiing, snowshoeing, and trail-walking are just a 10-minute drive from town and are a great way to get active,” she enthused.

If you are looking for a bit of advice or help in getting started, contact the club at rlnordic@gmail.com

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