Membership has its privileges

The Black Jack Ski Club is offering big incentives for new and returning members.

The Black Jack Ski Club is mobilizing for another great season of cross-country skiing, and offering big incentives for new and returning members.

While Black Jack enjoyed over 600 members last year, the numbers were down from the previous record-breaking season.

“We are trying to do things a bit earlier this year just to see how that affects things,” said Wannes Luppens, Black Jack executive member.

This year the club is hoping to attract more skiers from surrounding areas like Trail, Castlegar, and Beaver Valley, and is offering a pile of early-bird prizes to entice cross-country ski enthusiasts.

“Trail participation has always been a bit elusive,” said Luppens, who would like to see all residents of the area take advantage of the facility.

The club will hold three draws before the Grand Prize draw on Dec. 1. The early-bird draws go Oct. 10, Nov. 10 and Nov. 20, and include prizes from local businesses such as Better Life Fitness, Butch Bounty, Loolu’s Lost Sheep, and Bear Country Kitchen, ski lessons from Lesley Beatson and Andy Morel, to a Black Jack ski pass and a Powderhound cross-country ski package.

“Membership does get you entry into the early-bird draw. That was something new too, instead of doing one big final draw right at the deadline, we’re kind of spreading out and just trying to get people to sign up earlier and get a buzz going earlier.”

The Grand Prize draws include an adult ski pass at Red, a Big Red Cat skiing day, a night at the Waterfront Fairmont in Vancouver, and a night at the Prestige Resort in Nelson.

Membership funds go right back into the club, and its maintenance, which covers daily grooming and fixed costs for equipment, utilities, and groomers.

The facility has over 40 km. of groomed trails, a large main cabin, two warm-up ski cabins, 2.5-kilometres of lighted track for night skiing, a biathlon range, a doggy loop, and a terrain park for kids.

Black Jack is an incredible facility that promotes health and fitness for the whole family, says Luppens.

“For a small town it’s surprisingly good. We’re right up there in terms of the top spots certainly in the province for quality of snow, length of season, quality of grooming, amount of trails, variety of trails, all those kinds of things . . . There’s also very few spots in the province that you drive five minutes and you’re there.”

The club is especially proud of its kids program, which starts with the Bunnies, age 4-5, Jackrabbits, 6-9, and Track Attack, 10-12, and progresses through to junior racers and biathlon athletes interested in competing.

“There’s about 80 to 90 kids in the program, so with that you get a whole bunch of volunteer parent-coaches, you’ve got Dave Wood one of the best in the world, you have this whole structure of coaches and volunteer support – it’s amazing.”

Last season the skiers were on the trails by mid-November and enjoyed a total of 161 ski days.

Early-bird memberships purchased before Dec. 1 are $160 adult, HST included, $375 family, $110 Seniors, $75 for age 75 and over, $65 age 6-18, and under six is free. Day passes for non-members are also available.