By David F. Rooney
They’ve talked about it for years and now the Nordic Ski Club’s dream of establishing a world-class cross-country ski area at Mount MacPherson is one giant step closer with the City’s formal backing of an application for $125,000 in Economic Opportunity Fund money.
“It’s been kicked around for years and years and years but we’ve seriously looked at it for just the last three or four,” said project proponent Dave Kaegi.
The EOF is a major development fund administered by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s board of directors. In order to go to the board the proposal must have the backing of City Council and Area B director Loni Parker, who has said she supports it.
The 118-year-old club has already received $75,000 in funding from the Columbia Basin Trust so, presuming the CSRD directors approve the City’s recommendation, this gives the club $200,000. Kaegi said that if the club puts up $50,000 — which it can do as it has been sitting on $80,000 it could spend on a new groomer — he can apply for $250,000 in matching Tourism Infrastructure funds.
“I’m pretty confident that at the end of the day we’ll have $500,000 we can use to leverage more money for the project,” he said.
And if the club wants to do it right it will need more money. As originally envisioned, the project calls for a two-storey day lodge, a maintenance shed and residence for a full-time caretaker. The price tag, including services, is about $1.2 million so the club will need to find about another $700,000. Fortunately, if their application for tourism infrastructure funding is successful they’ll be able to offer other agencies a half-million reasons to back the project.
The proposed day lodge will make the Mount MacPherson trails a mecca for cross-country skiers in winter and for mountain bikers in summer and autumn. Its network of trails are regularly praised by everyone who uses them for skiing and for biking, with Revelstoke Mountain Resort executive Rod Kessler — who is himself aan avid mountain biker — calling them world class and among the best he has ever used anywhere.
Here are three renderings of the proposed facility created for the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club by Rob Buchanan: