Cross-country ski equipment swap on for Saturday

If that intense little snowstorm overnight Friday morning wasn’t enough to get you in the mood for winter, the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club has a trick up its sleeve.

The club is hosting its annual ski swap Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Otway Nordic Centre.

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Looking to replace those old boots or maybe scoop a great deal on a pair of slightly used skate skis, then the head west on Otway Road about five kilometres from the Foothill Boulevard bridge to the club’s headquarters.

This year’s ski swap will be outdoors near the Rotary Lodge to reduce the pandemic risk. People should come prepared with masks to make those ski equipment transactions as safe as possible.

This weekend is also a good time to buy season’s passes for the Otway ski trails, which will be on sale during the ski swap at reduced early-bird prices. Last season the Caledonia club had about 1,800 members and was the second-largest cross-country ski club in the province. Use of the trails increased late in the season when the club remained open for recreational skiing despite the COVID crisis.

The club membership rate for adults/seniors, including a $19 Cross-Country B.C. membership, is $216. After Nov. 9 the cost will jump to $238. The early-bird rate for junior skiers aged 6-19 is $50 (with an adult membership) or $139 (without and adult member) or $153 after Nov. 9. Full-time students and adaptive skiers will pay $139, and that will jump to $153 after the deadline.

Kids under age 6 with an adult member will ski free of charge but are required to pay the $19 CCBC fee.

Family memberships for four (two adults and two kids) will cost $490, rising to $536 after Nov. 9. Each additional member will be charged $19.

Otway has 55 kilometres of groomed trails and is currently expanding its terrain to include a new 15-kilometre backcountry loop trail on Cranbrook Hill. The new trail will eventually connect the dog-friendly trails on the east end of the facility with the Greenway Trail on the western boundary. A two-kilometre section that runs up a steep slope from Top Dog to the Lynx trail has already been cleared and will be skiable this season.

The club also offers access to single-track snowshoe trails. Season memberships range in price for $19-83.

The Caledonia club is heading into its third season with snowmaking capability. Initially installed to cover the stadium/biathlon range areas in its first year for the 2019 World Para-Nordic Skiing Championships, the addition of 13 new hydrants over the summer will allow the system to cover four kilometres of trail with artificially-produced snow.

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