Kimberley Nordic Club Celebrates New Trail Groomer
The Kimberley Nordic Club manages a premier facility, which is seeing significant investments thanks to prudent management, the Columbia Basin Trust, the provincial Resort Municipality Initiative, and the City of Kimberley.
With 36 kms of groomed trails, night skiing, a public ski lodge and ski waxing facilities, the Kimberley Nordic Club (KNC) is a destination for over 5,800 members and visitors annually. The club is well organized and Kimberley members represent over 10% of the population.
Sales Rep from Prinoth, Allan Graves with mechanic/groomer, Wayne Hockley. Chris Newel Photos
But it’s tourism that is hot.
The 2015/16 season saw over 130 memberships from folks based outside Kimberley/Cranbrook and over 4,700 day visitors, an increase of more than 30% over the previous season.
To maintain high quality conditions the club requires the right tools. The upcoming 2016/17 season will see a big shiny, new to KNC, 2013 Snowcat on the trails replacing their well-worn ’97 machine.
Club member Chris Newel noted the new Prinoth BR 350 machine boosts a nine litre, 350 hp Caterpillar diesel engine, as opposed to the old 275 hp machine. The tiller is over 17 feet wide.
“The old machine was almost 20 years old and had over 10,000 hours on it. To be put into perceptive on how much it was used; it takes about three hours to groom the trail network,” he said.
The Snowcat investment is complimented by work the city is undertaking this fall to mitigate legendary Nordic Centre parking lot potholes by spreading and levelling asphalt grindings recycled from the $4.5 M reconstruction of Gerry Sorenson Way.
Ross Banner, Kimberley Nordic Club Treasurer is animated. “We are excited about this critical infrastructure investment through which we will continue to offer excellent Nordic skiing. And we appreciate the support of the community and our funding partnership with the city, the Province of BC, and the Columbia Basin Trust,” she said.
Don McCormick, Kimberley Mayor agrees. “The Nordic Centre is an awesome asset with the trails providing a premium experience. It is no surprise that visits are growing. This is exactly what the RMI fund is in place to support,” he said.“Over two million international visitors have come to B.C. in the first six months of 2016, a 12% growth over the same period in 2015. Kimberley is clearly part of that success with a 30% increase in day visits over the previous season. Investing Resort Municipality Initiative funding into a new snowcat machine will encourage even more skiers to visit Kimberley, supporting jobs and keeping the local economy growing,” stated Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.Kimberley is one of 14 designated resort municipalities in BC and benefits from the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI), a provincial program that provides small, tourism-based municipalities with funding to invest in tourism related infrastructure and amenities in order to grow their visitor economies.According to Economic Development Officer Kevin Wilson, “Kimberley has received $830,382 in RMI funding since joining the program in 2007.”
Lead image: Back R to L: Derm Kennedy, KNC President; Prinoth Sales Rep, Allan Graves; Kevin Wilson, Economic Development, City of Kimberley; Kaylyn Gervais, CBT; Mayor Don McCormick; and Ross Banner, KNC Treasurer. Photos by Chris Newel