Cross-country skiers looking to learn new skills and stay active this winter are encouraged to come out to an open house promoting the sport on Thursday.
The event will be held at the Bonnyville-Cold Lake Cross Country Ski Club for October 1st and will be hosted by longtime skiing coach Les Parsons, who’s also helped coached Olympians.
“We’ve got the interest, we’ve got the ski resources, and we’re just trying to rally the troops and say, let’s get going and get something that we can offer to people to meet their needs,” said Parsons.
“In fact, a lot of people have been asking about this since last winter, so I’m just responding to all their requests. People love having ski lessons.”
Parsons is a U of A graduate that participated in the university’s ski team, and later taught at Lakeland College, which is what would put him in contact with future Olympian and Vermilionite Becky Scott, a gold medalist during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.
He’s worked with Scott on her venture Spirit North, which is meant to empower young Indigenous people through sport.
While there are currently cross-country ski clubs in St. Paul and Lac La Biche, Parsons is putting his focus on Bonnyville and Cold Lake to help build ties with each community’s indigenous populations.
“I’m trying to build a relationship between our indigenous community and the general public, the non-indigenous people and create one friendly club that includes everybody,” said Parsons. “We want like-minded people who love fresh air and exercise who would like to get involved in any capacity, even if they’re raw beginners.
“We wanna promote this as a sport for life.”
Pierre Lamoureux of the Lakeland Ski Club is also going to be involved with the proposed club, but the duo will need to look at turnout numbers before they can move forward with anything concrete.
“We just want to gauge people’s interest and have them ask questions about how it works,” said Parsons. “If people want to rent or buy equipment, or they want to do all these different things that we might be able to teach, etc.
“People don’t need to be shy.”
If you want to attend it’s happening at Thursday, October 1st at 7:00pm at the C2, but can also attend via Zoom with this link.