The other ski expansion

The new lift on Grey Mountain isn’t the only ski expansion to get excited about: Blackjack Ski Club has a new project.

  • Oct. 18, 2013 7:00 p.m.

By Ida Koric, Rossland News

The new lift on Grey Mountain isn’t the only ski expansion to get excited about: Blackjack Ski Club has re-opened some classic terrain, and enhanced the existing trail system.

Access to the Ophir trail system was compromised by the construction of the reservoir, but after a summer of hard work, skiers will again be able to enjoy the lung-busting climb to views of the Rossland Range.

Last year’s warm December resulted in rutty, muddy sections along low-lying trail segments, which caused a delay in the start of the season. A fundraising campaign was started, generous donations from local businesses Teck Trail Operations, Kootenay Savings, Red Mountain Resort, Nelson and District Credit Union, Gerrick Cycle and Sports and Big Red Cats soon poured in.

The club used this opportunity to seek fund-matching grants from Columbia Basin Trust and the Southern Interior Development Initiative. Before they knew it, Blackjack had enough of a surplus after the trail improvements to continue the dreamed-of expansion to the far side of the reservoir.

“Trail improvements mean better snow, which means an earlier cross-country ski season,” Wannes Luppens, executive member responsible for fundraising and memberships, explained. “An earlier season is great for our membership, and consistent, reliable snow also opens up opportunities for hosting events.”

Only a small handful of cross-country venues in Western Canada have the capacity to host race events in December, and these recent improvements will help secure Rossland’s status as one of those locales.

The Haywood NorAm is coming to Blackjack this year; an event that features hundreds of racers from all over Canada, as well as dozens from the U.S.

“It’s a very big deal,” Luppens said. “So many athletes come to these events because they are desperate to get some early season points. We will see athletes come trickling into Rossland several days before the event.”

If Blackjack consistently receives a reliable early snowpack, its national appeal will continue to grow, which is a great benefit to local businesses and area tourism.

Red Resort and Blackjack are teaming up this year to produce a multi-sport brochure for the area. Rossland will be marketed as an all-around winter fun destination, encouraging families to plan week-long holidays where they can take advantage of world-class downhill, cross-country and snowshoeing, all within a snowball’s throw of their accommodations.

A total of 677 Blackjack members signed up last year, which meant that one in six Rosslanders were a committed crosscountry skier. The club hopes to see even more new members excited about the expanded trail network.

For a mere $160 (adults), locals can have season-long access to the best low-impact full-body work out there is. Season’s passes are on sale now, with three early-bird prize draws coming up on Nov. 3 and Nov. 15, as well as Dec. 1. Some of the amazing prizes include Big Deal 3-Packs from Red, Mountain Nugget chocolates, ski lessons, gift certificates from Gerricks (up to $350) and the Alpine Grind, cat skiing with Big Red Cats and a Blackjack season’s pass.

Forms can be found on-line at

For those who would love to get started but don’t have the gear, the Snow Shoe and Ski Swap is coming to the Prestige Nov. 2. Equipment drop-off is from 8:30-10:30 a.m., with sales beginning at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Sue at 250-362-2116.


Just Posted

Looking to rent affordable housing in Greater Trail?

The website lists non-profit housing options available in the Lower Columbia

Woman raising funds to save historic Rossland piano

Rare Steinway piano was in Miners Hall for a century, but was headed to the dump

Rossland tax break bylaw called unfair, council mulling changes

New businesses competing with existing ones can no longer apply for revitalization tax

Trail man arrested, drugs and cash seized

Crime Reduction Units from Trail and Castlegar executed a search warrant on Rossland Avenue

West Kootenay opinion sought on health care issues

Rural Evidence Review getting strong response to survey call-out

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Improve your life and theirs, adopt a cat from the BC SPCA

The BC SPCA holds an adult cat adoption promotion

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

Most Read