By Natelle Fitzgerald
Club Manager, Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club
Winter nights are about to be made brighter for Revelstoke’s X-country skiers. The Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club’s (RNSC) new trail lights at Mount Macpherson Trails are ready to go. The lights will provide skiers with access to six kms of well-lit, groomed trails from dusk until 9:30 pm seven nights per week.
Outgoing RNSC President, Dave Kaegi, who spearheaded the project, says he hopes the lights give more people the opportunity to ski. “A lot of people haven’t been able to X-country ski before because they’re busy working during the day. This will be a chance for them to come out and try it. Now that we have lights, we’re going to have instructional programs in the evenings; the Lodge will be open so people can come in and warm up; I envision it to be a happening spot at night,” he says.
The $225,000 infrastructure project includes 89 light posts with LED lights, flood lights in higher traffic areas and an underground wiring system. With funding from the Columbia Basin Trust, the City of Revelstoke’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund and Columbia Shuswap Regional District- Economic Opportunity Fund, the RNSC began work this summer and completed the project this fall. Lit trails will include The Mickey Olson Loop, Evelyn’s Choice, Dynamite Trail, Titan Trail, Terrain Park, Main Stadium and part of the Main Loop.
The RNSC has grown in recent years; memberships and day use have increased and the Club has seen the addition of a Day Lodge and maintenance barn. Despite the Club’s success, however, Kaegi says the lights remained a dream until very recently. “When we did a feasibility study in 2009, people expressed interest in the project, but the cost was exorbitant,” he says. “The technology with LED lights wasn’t there. The ongoing operational costs, at that time, would have been fivefold higher.”
Advances in LED technology eventually brought the cost within the Club’s reach. The new, remarkably efficient system can be run on a 40 AMP service, Kaegi says. To put this in perspective, a typical home requires a 100 AMP service.
In addition to the new trail lights, the RNSC, in partnership with the school board, recently acquired 50 pairs of X-country skis and boots, both skate and classic. The equipment will be used for school programs and will also be available for rent at the Lodge. Along with the Club’s Ski League programs and annual events, the RNSC will also play host to the Teck BC Cup #2, a two day race for athletes of all ages, on January 24 and 25, 2015. This is a big event for Revelstoke, with organizers anticipating as many as 400 athletes.
It looks like it’s going to be a great season with lots of new opportunities at the Club. For more information about the RNSC or any of our programs, visit our website at www.revelstokenordic.org. We hope to see you out under the lights!