The Castlegar Nordic Ski Club celebrated their 50 years anniversary on Thursday Nov 24, 2011 at the Fireside Inn with a buffet of assorted fancy dishes organized by Nancy Kalawsky
Conrad Brattebo set up a large section with a 50-year history of the club – badges, pictures, newspaper articles, awards, and other assorted memorabilia. A slide show of the ski area and activites was shown, also a display of Castlegar Nordic Ski Club jackets and pants for sale.
There was a very good turnout, mostly older members who had developed this club, and all the hard-working executive members socializing and answering questions.
At 7.00 the fall general meeting took place with president Vince Fayant in the chair. The first item of business was a presentation of a plaque to Conrad, the last charter member, in recognition of 50 years of service to the club. Following his thanks for the award Conrad gave a history of the club. He started by mentioning it was bittersweet to be the last charter member and he hoped all the other charter members are skiing up in the sky, he hopes they have some good waxes up there (smile). The meeting went well , lots of info, and well-organized, and we are now up there skiing. and enjoying it.
The club was organized when the Sons of Norway Nordic Lodge 76 was initiated on Sept. 30, 1961. It was named the Sons of Norway Sports Ski and Soccer Club. membership cost $1.00.
Teaching of cross country skiing for children (Jackrabbits) and adults was promised. Racing, Trolloppet (a friendly family race of Norwegian origin, still takes place every year. “Ski for Lite” an international race for sight-impaired and blind skiers, is also a big part of the organization, jointly by S.o.n. and Castlegar Nordic Ski Club when held in Castlegar.
The original ski sites were the Kinnaird Park area, and the hill side across from Castlegar Mohawk, Castlegar Golf Course, and also at the Biathalon Course and the summit of the Castlegar Salmo highway. They later moved to Sheep Lake (now Nancy Green Lake) where parking, camping, tables, toilets and a shelter were developed. The name was changed to Castlegar Nordic Ski Touring Club. The membership fee rose to $5.00.
With help from the local Forestry service a ski tracker was designed and built, and with the help from Rene Bermel of the Castlegar Skidoo Club, they did the tracking. At that time the trails of Glenmerry, new Norwegian and Ivor trails, were developed, and the Sons of Norway cabin were built.
They had many activities – even a ski jump for the children – but guess who used it the most? The adults! Later on a small used snowcat for tracking was purchased. In 1975 yearly Viking ski troll Badges came into use.
The Ben Shaw Ski Club, Mud Lake had problems and joined the Castlegar group, which then moved from Nancy Green and Glennmerry to Mud Lake. Due to Mud Lake being the better headquarter area, including better parking, more members were attracted and and new equipment including skidoos, a tracker and a roller packer was acquired.
Conrad Brattebo informs that “Over the last 18 years we were lucky that we got Vince Fayant to take over the helm. With a very good executive and good members to help, we started to build an equipment building and storage shed. We also changed the name by deleting Touring – it now became Castlegar Nordic Ski Club.
“We now have a very well organized ski club with aproximately 700 members and 50km of groomed trails featuring skating, classic, and beginner sites. We have a new trail head cabin the Viking Centre, also three shelters were rebuild – Glenmerry, Ben Shaw, and S.o.n . Nordic.”
The ski club was originally started by the Sports Directors Armand and Conrad. Later followed by the the election of Presidents (1975) Ivor Reinsbakken – eight years, (1983) Jacco Hartman – seven years, (1990) John Orr – two years, (1992) Dennis Holden – three years, (1995) Vince Fayant 16 years.
Respectfully submitted by Conrad Brattebo, club historian.