June 12, 2016
Kids (and adults) need a place to play OUTSIDE, in the WINTER AS WELL!!! Nakkertok is a non-profit cross country (X-C) ski club based in Cantley, Quebec, with members from across the Ottawa-Gatineau region, and beyond, including Kingston, Almonte and Val des Monts. In 1971 it was fields (of dreams) and woodland and a ski vision of several families. Now almost entirely through volunteer efforts and member fees, we have developed: 75 kms of ski trails, including 4 kms of lighted trails; a “play park”; a snowshoe network; a chalet; a multi-purpose building and several trailside cabins. "If you build it they will come, and with snow they will ski! From the founding families we have Canadian heroes: polar explorer and World Cup racer Richard Weber; and Winter and Summer, Olympian, Sue Holloway. They have been inspired by the “Nakkertok family” and continue to be involved in the club. 2X Olympian and World Cup medalist Perianne Jones is the latest member to make her mark internationally. Our 1400 members, range in age from 3 to 83, with 350 children and 28 adults in our Learn to Ski Program, 225 youth racers, 75 adults in our Ski4Life program, and 50 teens in our Adventure program. We promote skiing outside our community with our XC Ski Fast Program which this year introduced 2,100 youth to the sport by partnering with local schools and sports clubs. We provide X-C ski grooming services that enable the broader community to ski, such as on the popular 16 km urban, Sir John A MacDonald Parkway trail in Ottawa. We host the Eastern Canadian Champs with 800 racers and their coaches from all parts of the country, (including 9 provinces and 2 territories) and our “Cookie race” attracts 450 kids from the local region. Our race team just won the National Club Championships for the 7th year in a row. We are committed to “skiing 4 life”, developing friendships and enjoying a healthy, outdoor, winter life style. We have been able to thrive through the strong and active volunteer commitment and contribution of our members. Sue Holloway, Olympic Medalist and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame member says " Nakkertok was my childhood playground, where I developed my love of sport and the outdoors. Each year I coach with the next generation, so they can build their friendships, and test their limits, in our lifelong sport".
We have done extensive research, liaising with equipment manufacturers, and have begun fundraising, to bring snowmaking to our site. The grant would allow us to immediately make the necessary trail upgrades and purchase and install an appropriate snowmaking system for 4 km of our trails and our kids’ “play park”. We would also bring in earth moving equipment to upgrade the trails so they are more suited for summer activities, and improve our ”bumps and jumps, play park” configuration. A complete outline of our basic snowmaking system proposal is attached and more detail can be provided. Like hockey and swimming, we can’t rely on Mother Nature to provide the right conditions for play. Climate change is having an impact; we have had to cancel our early season ski race 3 of the last 5 years! Our members have had fewer days to ski and it has diminished our ability to deliver our programs.
It would have a tremendous positive impact locally and regionally. It would: - increase our ski season by 30%, and ensure snow for the the important holiday period; - ensure safe and enjoyable skiing through the season for our members and enhance our ability to run the full range of programs in low or adverse snow years and conditions; - guarantee our ability to host major and early season X-C ski races with appropriate snow cover, without extensive shoveling efforts; - allow our racers to have daily, quality, early season training, with minimal travel to early snow, decreasing the stress and cost of preparation for the upcoming season; - increase the use of our trails for summer dryland training, running races and other activities; - let us organize earlier season races and programs that can help fund snowmaking operational costs; - enhance the enjoyment of our ski “play park”; - qualify us to bid for the National Championships; - help us attract new skiers to the sport. Snowmaking for X-C skiing is a significant project that is unlikely to be replicated multiple times in any region. Accordingly, we are exploring with other local clubs, ways they could also take advantage of this at our facility. The grant would allow for greater snowmaking capacity that would help make this happen. We are grateful to Kraft Heinz and TSN for this opportunity. We will maximize the promotion of their involvement further at our club and events, should we be successful.