Local ski club prepares for more visitors

Submitted by Opeongo Hills Nordic Ski Club.

Finally, some good news for this pandemic winter! Opeongo Hills Nordic Ski Club is preparing for a busy season with more visitors and season members than ever. Most long-time snowbirds are foregoing their annual escape to warmer destinations this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. According to ski shops, they are gearing up for a healthy outdoor winter activity that fits in with safe social distancing: cross-country skiing. Above photo shows ski lesson in progress in the background at Opeongo Hills

And more good news … Opeongo Nordic is the grateful recipient of a grant for $5,200 which will be used for new updated signage. The club’s thanks go to Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO) and the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association (OVTA) for partnering on the grant application, and also to the Government of Ontario for creating the Tourism Recovery and Innovation Program (TRIP) program which provided the funding through the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.

The TRIP program objectives include increasing the quality and quantity of outdoor experiences, increasing collaborative promotional initiatives around travelling safe and travelling local, and increasing community understanding of and support for the visitor economy. These goals all mesh with the club’s mandate to provide and promote interesting and scenic groomed nordic ski trails for public use.

OHTO is a not-for-profit organization mandated and funded by the Province of Ontario to increase tourism within the counties of Haliburton, Lanark, and Renfrew and portions of Frontenac, Hastings, and Lennox and Addington. Tourism operators will find more resources at www.comewander.ca/industry. The organization strives to unite and collaborate with the tourism industry to help make the region Ontario’s top destination.  For its part, the ski club will provide a fun, safe and healthy outdoor winter experience in Brudenell, to bolster Renfrew County’s growing reputation as a winter tourism centre.

Club volunteers will soon install the sturdier and more weatherproof signage. Skiers will easily get their bearings with a glance at the nearest trail sign. The trail map has been re-thought and redrawn, providing more details about distances. User-friendly, it reflects all recent additions to the trail network. The new, printable map is already posted on the club’s website (opeongo.com), and on it you’ll find a colour-coded suggestion for an 11.3 km ski route around the perimeter of the club’s trails.

Season memberships are cheap. You can ski all winter for only $73 per individual adult. You’ll pay at least that for just one day at a downhill area. Family and youth memberships are also available — visit opeongonordic.com. Day use fees (no membership required) are $10, or buy a book of five day passes for $35. These will soon be available at Grandma’s Pantry in Killaloe and Mad Outdoors in Barry’s Bay.

A final word of advice for all anxious sun-worshippers worried about feeling trapped in the cold: the key to a happy and healthy Renfrew County winter is to dress warmly, be active outdoors every day, and embrace the beautiful snow country we live in. Nordic (cross-country) skiing is the perfect outdoor winter activity, especially for these pandemic times, and the nature of the sport (really long skis!) supports companionship with a safe social distance.

Aside from a three-person limit in the yurt and all-new signage, the ski season at Opeongo Nordic will be just like any other. In other words:  great!

MacKay,M.(2020,Dec.4) Local ski club prepares for more visitors [media release]

photo supplied

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