World Snow Day

We’ll celebrate World Snow Day on Sunday, Jan. 17, with free trail use for non-members. In lieu of a chalet gathering, we’ll have free snacks for pickup at the trailhead. Normally, we also offer free ski rentals courtesy of Overlander Sports and YK1. We won’t be able to do that this year. Instead, Overlander has kindly offered to discount their regular ski and snowshoe rentals from $25/day to $15 for the day. Please help us spread the word!

We are also seeking volunteers to ski the trails that day with people new to our club. If you have some free time and would enjoy showing someone around, get in touch with Kerry Wheler:

Blachford Lake Lodge Spirit Awards

Our 30th annual Blachford Lake Lodge Spirit Awards went to several young skiers last weekend. 

The Blachford Lake Lodge Jackrabbit Spirit Award was created in 1989/90 by the original lodge owners, Freeland and Bob Stephen. Both men had children in the program and saw a need to recognize young athletes who demonstrated spirit and positive attitude and attendance. We believe these are the longest continuous awards in the N.W.T. ski community. 

This year’s winners for Anya Marshall and Barrow Wray for Bunnies; Quinn Vander VEen Kielstra for Level 1; Finn Marshall for Level 2; Vaida Marrai and Leah Stephenson for Level 3; Jack Lyall for Level 4; Ana Maria Villegas for Mixed Ages; and Carys Lyall for Go Ski. Yes, those Lyalls are siblings. Props to Devin for having such great kids. 

Thanks to all our volunteer coaches for making last year a great ski year. (And to Alex Lothian for the photo of our Level 2, 3, 4 and Mixed Ages winners.)

Canadian Tire – thank you!

Our annual Herringbone Award, which goes to a business that contributed in-kind services to the club in the past year, went to Canadian Tire this year for their generosity in donating $1,000 towards our brand new ski club uniforms, as well as another $1,000 in in-kind donations for much-needed chalet equipment (including a brand new coffee urn!). This award also marks our appreciation for their Jumpstart program, which offers grants to help families buy sports equipment for their kids. Thanks to Karen Butorac et al for all their help! (And to Alyssa Titus for the photo.)

Early bird rates extended

In honour of winter arriving, and the ongoing need for socially distanced activities, our board voted to extend the early bird membership rates this year. Early bird rates will now run until Nov. 15.

Sign up here.

Rates are:

  • Family – $320 ($300 Early Bird)
  • Individual Adult – $140 ($120 Early Bird)
  • Individual Youth (5 – 18) – $60
  • Individual Child (<5) – $20

And make sure to sign up for our newsletter to learn the latest about our youth programs, adult lessons, events and trail conditions. 

Our COVID-19 season plan!

The board discussed and approved a plan Nov. 2 for carrying on with our season while preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

You’ll find our full Exposure Control Plan here. This document will be reviewed and updated as needed. It will also be posted on the bulletin board inside the chalet. 

I’ve listed highlights below. 

Chalet highlights

Good news; the chalet will open soon with new signage! Members are welcome to use the chalet to change and leave gear/equipment in while skiing. 

However, we are asking members to please limit their chalet usage, especially on Saturdays between 10 and 3, when our programs are running. 

Members are also asked to:

  • sign in upon arrival;
  • follow posted maximum capacities per zone or room (i.e. wax rooms, washrooms);
  • stay home if ill;
  • not enter the chalet if self-isolating for any reason;
  • clean and disinfect touched surfaces before leaving;
  • BYO coffee/hot chocolate. The communal kitchen is closed for now. 

We will continue to rent the chalet to user groups who demonstrate adherence to CPHO guidelines. 

Program highlights

Our program leads will send details to all participants, but here are a few of the high notes.

  • HP, Track Attack and Jackrabbits will run primarily outdoors this year. Skiers must arrive dressed and ready to ski.
  • We’re adding two more access points to the trails so each Jackrabbit group can meet away from others (that is, we’ll use the biathlon stadium and the trail entry near the grooming shed as well as the main stadium).
  • The chalet will be used primarily for bathrooms, warmth and indoor dryland training where a WSCC risk assessment allows.
  • Jackrabbit snacks and Track Attack lunches will be cancelled for now.
  • Our Ski Parents program will not be offered until indoor physical distancing restrictions are lifted. 

As mentioned, these rules will be updated to follow the latest public health guidelines. 

Big thanks to programs director Bernadette Knox, facilities director Credence Wood, volunteers coordinator Alyssa Titus, treasurer Tania Hercun and all-around volunteer John Stephenson for working hard on this plan!

Registration for our 2020/2021 ski season is open

Registration is now open for the 2020/2021 ski season!

Early bird fees apply until Nov. 9, 2020. 

  • Family – $320 ($300 Early Bird)
  • Individual Adult – $140 ($120 Early Bird)
  • Individual Youth (5 – 18) – $60
  • Individual Child (<5) – $20

Families who need some extra help to cover program fees and equipment are invited to choose the option to apply for a Kidsport grant, which we can then help you with. Kidsport NWT will provide families up to $300 per child to cover program and equipment costs.

An alternative option is Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program, which offers up to $300 per child two times a year for registration fees, equipment and transportation. 

What about COVID-19?

While we have outlined some broad strokes for our COVID-19 season plan, we have not yet defined what exactly our programs will look like. So far, we know that:

  • We’ll aim to keep programs mainly outside, using the chalet for bathroom breaks and warmups only.
  • In addition to the main entry to the stadium, we’ll post signage on the trail access point near the grooming sheds (just to the right of the main entryway) and on the biathlon range so that we don’t get bottlenecks of people heading into or out of the trails.
  • We’ll follow all current public health rules, meaning a maximum of 25 people in the chalet at a time, no sharing of kitchen items (so no hot chocolate making this year); and some sort of sign-in should we ever need to do contact tracing. 
  • We have applied for funding to hire someone to help us manage the chalet during high traffic times, though this may not be necessary. 

When we do have a full plan developed, we’ll share it with our members and post it here on our website. Our programs director, Bernadette Knox, is taking the lead on this. Thanks Bernadette!

Snow Show a no go

Due to COVID-19, we will not be holding our annual Snow Show and used ski equipment sale. 

In lieu of the Snow Show, we invite anyone who wants to learn about our club to call up one of our ski ambassadors to learn more about our programs:

  • Kerry Wheler, events coordinator, coach, long-time skier and mom of two: 867-446-5448
  • John Stephenson, director-at-large and honorary lifetime ski club member, 867-446-4521
  • Sara Minogue, communications director, 867-446-1432.

In lieu of our annual used ski gear sale, we invite people to make use of our Yellowknife Ski Gear Sell/Swap Facebook page, or call any of the above ski ambassadors for advice on how to find skis. 

Member perks

In addition to access to our trails, our chalet and wax room and our social events, however those look this year, ski club members get a 10% discount on ski equipment and related accessories at Overlander. (Conversely, people who rent skis at Overlander are entitled to use our trails for free for the duration of the rental.)

Virtual annual general meeting – June 17

We’ll hold an annual general meeting the evening of Wednesday, June 17. The meeting will be held via Zoom.

The agm is an opportunity for members to hear the latest from our board of directors, check in on our finances and take part in board elections. This year, we’ll be presenting our new five-year strategic plan for members approval (download the YKSC draft strategic plan). We’ll also be handing out our annual volunteer awards. (Read the agenda: YKSC AGM Agenda – June 17, 2020.)

You can read our annual report for the year, including the financial statements, here

While most of our board members are keen to stand for re-election, we are saying goodbye to our programs director Steve Reitsma. In the last few years, it was Steve who brought back adult group ski lessons. Steve also helped organize our new team uniforms, and served as a parent volunteer with Track Attack (which he plans to keep doing). Thanks Steve! 

This means we’re actively seeking a new programs director. We’re also seeking a vice president, a role that is currently vacant. And we welcome challengers for any of our board roles. If you’re interested in joining the board, read more about the roles and responsibilities here, read up on our club governance generally here, and feel free to drop a note to for more information. 

CANSI Level 1 course … in December

Update: this course, originally planned for March 13-15, has been postponed until December of 2020. CANSI-certified instructors will be able to re-certify then. 

We’re organizing a Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors (CANSI) Level 1 training course. 

The course is geared towards strong skiers that are able to demonstrate solid classic and skate technique. A classic skier who is not a strong skate skier can still be qualified as a Level 1 Classic instructor.

The course will run 20 hours, starting the evening of Friday March 13, with eight hours of instruction Saturday and Sunday, both indoors and outdoors.

CANSI courses can cost $350 to $500. We’re subsidizing this course at:

  • $50 for program coaches and members willing to teach adult classes for the club;
  • $100 for club members that just want the qualification;
  • and $150 for non-members.

The course is open to skiers as young as 16.

People who want to participate will also need to purchase a $100 CANSI membership, which includes access to teaching aids and other goodies. 

If you are interested, please reach Rob Matthews at 765-8668 or 

Yellowknife Ski Races Feb. 29/March 1

Cookie medals for everyone at the Yellowknife Ski Races next weekend! 

The Yellowknife Ski Races are a family friendly event with categories and distances for all ages. This year’s races will also serve as the NWT Territorial Ski Championships, featuring skiers from out of town. Classic races take place Saturday, starting with bib-pickup at 12:30; free races take place Sunday. Get all the details on the 2020 YK Ski Race Notice (revised temperature).

Registration is now open and closes at midnight, Thursday Feb. 27. All participants must register (even the little kids). 

We’ll have complimentary hot chocolate and fruit inside the chalet on Saturday. Unfortunately, our Sunday food vendor, One of a Thai, will not be able to make it. 

The temperature cutoff is -20 C for Bantam and older (born 2008/2009) and -15 C for Peewee and younger (born 2010/2011), as per Nordiq Canada rules. Our race jurors will make the call at the ski club on race day. In case of cancellation, we’ll encourage everyone to enjoy a recreational ski.

We need volunteers! Sign up here for Saturday, and here for Sunday. For more information, contact events director Kerry Wheler:

Sunday lunches!

We’re holding Sunday lunches all through February, thanks to the NWT Literacy Council’s Community Connections program. Enjoy a ski then drop by the chalet between 12 and 2 for hot lunch served upstairs. 

This Sunday, Feb. 9, we’ll have Mexican Sunday lunch. On Feb. 16, we’ll have fare from Palestine and the Middle East. On Feb. 23, the Sudan. 

Plates are $20 for adults, $10 for kids. 

Natsnet, Karen and Munira served an Eritrean Sunday lunch in January. (Submitted by Karen Johnson)