Black Jack set to break new ground at biathlon area

Black Jack set to break new ground at biathlon area

ATCO Wood Products helps out Black Jack in clearing new tracks

The Black Jack Ski Club will build a new recreational trail at the Hanna Creek Biathlon Area over the offseason.

The trail will be suitable for both classic and skate techniques, and will be paid for with funding from the Columbia Basin Trust ($32,000), the Regional District of Kootenay Columbia’s (RDCK) Area B ($20,000) and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’ Recreation Sites and Trails BC ($5,000).

“The existing trails were basically designed for competition and so we want to put in a recreational trail to round off the area,” explains Jan Luppens, Black Jack’s president. “The reason it’s so attractive is because it’s higher up, so we have a longer season, earlier snow, … more snow.”

Luppens says the club is working with ATCO Wood Products.

“They will do the logging and then we will build the trail and we hope to get it ready for the new season,” he said. “So 3.2 kilometres, it’s modest, but it will create a loop around the knoll with great views of the Columbia Valley and the Rossland Range.”

The new trail was discussed at Black Jack’s annual general meeting on Thursday, and the club also went over some highlights from this past season.

Luppens said they had a record year both for the number of members and the number of kids participating in the skier development program.

There were 776 members for 2017-18 and 118 kids who participated in the development program.

There were also over 300 student visits with the schools over the season.

The club also hosted a successful Haywood NorAm Mini Tour in December with about 223 skiers participating.

“That was a bit of a record as well,” said Luppens.

He also mentioned that it was a successful year for athletes Julien Locke and Remi Drolet.

Locke came just shy of making it to the Winter Olympics this year and did very well at the NorAm event hosted in Rossland, winning a sprint race by mere inches.

Luppens is also excited about the makeup of the club’s board of directors, which added two new members on Thursday. He says the board has a good mix of old-timers and people who are new to Rossland.

“We have two old timers and all the other people are new, and some of them are relatively new to the area,” he said. “So the torch is carried by people that come from outside, actually.”