The Red Deer Ski Club is beginning to gear up for the 2017-18 ski season and will be hosting a live registration on Sept. 30th.
The club, which runs out of the Canyon Ski Area, is looking to grow the sport of alpine skiing in time for when Red Deer hosts the 2019 Canada Winter Games, of which events will take place at Canyon.
“The Red Deer Ski Club is a volunteer organization which has been around for a number of years,” President Lyle Johnson said. “We have had a lot of good skiers come up through the ranks and we have qualified coached for ages four to 20. We have coaching for different ages and different levels of skiing.”
According to a press release, participation depends on children being able to get up the blue t-bar and down the beginner area at Canyon. Competitive skiing is at the skier’s discretion.
“Races are voluntary,” Johnson said. “They can pick and choose whatever they want to go to. We encourage ski racing at the races and the fees we charge are for the training.
“Our standard training day is on Saturdays and it runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for all our groups. We also have extended programs that run on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. and on Sundays as well.”
Johnson stressed that any level of skier can take part in these programs.
“We encourage the option of racing but we also have a learn-to-ski program,” he said. “You don’t need to be a great skier or a racer to join the ski club. If you want to go further with the racing, that’s great, but if you just want to enjoy it and be a recreational skier, that is available to everyone. Our training is at Canyon Ski Hill. Sometimes, especially with older groups, we do training in places like Nakiska, Norquay or Sunshine.”
Skiers who want to race competitively have the opportunity to compete throughout the province.
“As far as racing goes, Red Deer is part of the North Zone in Alberta,” Johnson said. “For the U12 ages, the races are primarily in Edmonton at places like Snow Valley, Sunridge and Rabbit Hill. We also have the Jasper Junior Olympics, which is a two-day event in early March. For the U14 Provincial Program, that includes racing in the mountains at Nakiska, Norquay, Panorama and Lake Louise. That is the same for the U16 category.
“For the regional program, which is not the Provincial Mountain Series – they race at the Edmonton courses as well as a few of the mountain courses as well.”
Johnson is hoping the 2019 Canada Winter Games will bring a renewed interest to the sport of skiing.
“We are open to more growth in the sport,” he said. “We have been maintaining our numbers, but we would love to have more skiers. I can mention as well, Canyon Ski Hill has added some runs for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. With that comes ski-cross, which falls under the alpine part of the ski program. Red Deer will be hosting the ski-cross for the Games – so we are trying to incorporate that into our program.”
Johnson added, “The live registration is September 30th and we recommend that to anyone who wants to join the Club. They can get information and sign up. We also have online registration. It is a good idea to do the online registration and then come to the live registration.” There is a link to register at rdskiclub.ca.