“El Nino ” was the word for the predicted weather this year. But nobody knew for sure what that meant for us. Unseasonably warm temperatures, high freezing levels, the word you never hear on ski reports, “rain” ???
It turned out pretty good didn’t it? The snow just kept coming and with a base well over 200 cm, 2015/16 will go down as a legendary year. This time last year our parking lot was mud. This year we just keep clearing the snow off it. The trails opened for skiing November 13th and we hosted an elite race training camp for 2 weeks with amazing conditions. “Welcome Day” was held in early December with free rentals and lessons for the public. Our friendly staff at the ticket/rental shop are there everyday to serve visitors and our 560 plus members from 9am to 3pm daily. Nickel Plate is the highest altitude daily groomed trail network in Canada. Who knew in a summer town like Penticton?
The snowshoe trails are busier every year with 5 fantastic marked trails that range from 1 hour to 3 hour routes. Snowshoeing now makes up a third of the nordic centre’s participants. A seasons pass can be purchased for just $54 plus $18 insurance and $166 for a seasons ski pass. Our skill development youth program ran for 10 sessions on Saturdays from December to March. Big thanks to our coordinator Janelle Paromchuk and the dedicated coaches and volunteers who instructed 73 eager kids, aged 4 to 12. The ski playground had terrain park features added by our grooming team with rollers and jumps that were popular for skiing and tobogganing. The junior race team had a good season with local athlete, Fred Albrechtsen representing the club in the BC Winter Games. Our coach Jerome Jang is retiring and big kudos to him for all his hardwork organizing the BC Winter Games from February 26-28th and coaching the junior team. The school ski program expanded again this year and ran midweek from January through March led by Mike Townley and an experienced group of leaders. More than 1700 school kids from the South Okanagan had the opportunity to go cross country skiing up to three times.
Our first big event in February was our Nickel Plate Loppet all ages ski marathon with 93 participants from age 6 to 75. Geoff Waterman was our loppet director and put on a great race with incredible winery prizes. This was followed by hosting the nordic races at the BC Winter Games February 26th to 28th. There were 85 xc ski athletes in the Games and a dedicated group of 76 club volunteers to pull off this event. They did an incredible job, thank you! Our cat operators Keith and Franz both wake up way too early to groom the trails and they both manage to participate in the loppet and get out and ski the trails. Social events included a Valentines Wine and Cheese night in the lodge skiing with the facility lit up with paper lanterns and headlamp skiing, followed by some great music provided by Stuart Mcleod, Bill Suchy and Hugh Richter.
Now that we are into spring skiing in March, the days are long and the snow still accumulating ,with the best tracks early morning so get up here. The Elevator relay race is on March 26th starting at Okanagan Lake and finishing at the Gunbarrel winding through our trails on the cross country ski leg. Our last day of grooming is the end of spring break on Monday March 28th, not because of lack of snow , but more to do with the biking, golf and tennis in town. Remember if you are tired of shopping at the mall, drive up above the clouds. There is never a bad day at Nickel Plate!
Nickel Plate Nordic Centre