Cypress Hills Cross Country Ski Day
Apr 5th, 2012
Over 50 people attended the 2nd annual Cross Country Ski Day in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park-AB March 3rd 2012. It was the latest event in the Park’s efforts to help grow cross country skiing in South Eastern Alberta, in support of the Active Alberta policy and the Plan for Parks.
The event was supported in large part by local volunteers, with special thanks to Tamera and Tor Anderson, Gregg Campbell and Paul and Robin Harrington and family. The morning saw staff and volunteers building a cross country ski park complete with jumps, bumps and obstacles. The entire field had been groomed, but a lack of snow prevented track-setting. Otherwise it was a perfect combination of a warm, sunny weather and lots of smiles, laughter and games. People of all ages participated from kids skiing for the first time to seniors who wanted to try out our new sets of rental cross country skis.
In recent years, the Park has been focusing on developing winter activities. In addition to buying 30 pairs of rental skis, a new groomer and acquiring a well-used but functional snow cat, the Park has also been investing in staff and volunteer training. One park staff member became a CANSI instructor, and a snow grooming course was slated for February but cancelled for lack of snow. District Manager Peter Swain is confident it will happen next year. “It’s really important that we expand both our own skills and knowledge and that of the community to build on cross country skiing. And the support we’ve been getting from Cross Country Alberta, other provincial parks and locals has been extraordinary, so I’m sure we will be successful”.
For the future, Swain sees the park developing more cross country trails for both classic and skating. “We’re going to be asking the community what the needs are, and incorporate them into larger planning processes. We’re the only location nearby that can offer skiing, so it’s important that we get it right”. Hut-to-hut skiing, loppets and a Jackrabbit program are also on the horizon. Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is a high plateau located in the South Eastern corner of Alberta, about 45 minutes outside of Medicine Hat. It has downhill skiing, snowshoeing and icefishing and is a popular winter destination. More information can be found on www.cypresshills.com.