Nfld. & Labrador

Bright lights ahead for Grand Falls-Windsor ski trails, thanks to new funding

Ski trails in Grand Falls-Windsor will undergo a major refurbishment, with a five-kilometre expansion and the installation of night lights.

Cross-country skiers, mountain bikers to benefit from government investment

Members of the Exploits Valley Ski Club will have better trails and more of them next winter because of $677,000 in funding from the federal and provincial governments for upgrades to the trails near Scott Avenue in Grand Falls-Windsor. (Facebook)

Cross-country ski trails in Grand Falls-Windsor will be getting an upgrade this summer, with the federal and provincial governments teaming up to spend $677,000. 

The money will be used to upgrade the existing trails near Scott Avenue as well as to construct a new route.

In addition, the Exploits Valley Cross-Country Ski Club will get a new clubhouse, and four kilometres of trail will have lights installed to facilitate night skiing. 

The trails near Scott Avenue in Grand Falls-Windsor will be refurbished, with five kilometres added along with lights for nighttime use. (Facebook)

Grand Falls-Windsor Coun. Mike Browne, who chairs the town's recreation committee, said Monday's announcement is a boost for the entire area.

"This is fantastic news," he told CBC's Central Morning Show. 

"It has been an initiative of the local ski club for a long time and it has finally come to fruition."

The federal government's portion of the funding totals $477,461, which is paid through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

The Newfoundland and Labrador government kicked in $200,000, while the municipality's portion was boosted by large donations by two local businesses, Grand Toyota and Donnini's Pizza.   

Participation has surged in last few years

Browne said the upgrades will promote physical activity in the area and further strengthen the growing sport.

"Just a few years ago there were 50 people involved in the local ski association and today there is well over 400," he said, credited the local ski association's efforts.

The work will create a year-round facility, which will include the development of a five-kilometre mountain biking trail, the installation of lighting on the ski trails and a brand new ski hut.

Work will begin this spring and should be completed by the fall.    

The Exploits Valley Ski Club has grown from 50 members to over 400 in just a few years. (Facebook)

Browne said he expects anywhere from two to four new jobs to be created because of the refurbishment and expansion.

"Jobs aren't easy to create, but between the federal government and the province we will be getting some new jobs as a result of that announcement," he said.

Browne said the investment will be a great boost for the town.

"It will attract new people to our town, it will attract visitors to our town and if anyone is thinking about moving here that ski trail will be on the top of the list as one of the attractions," he said.

"The expense the town incurred we hope will draw new people to the town, both to live here and visit in the winter and the summer. It will pay big dividends that way for the town of Grand Falls-Windsor." 

with files from the Central Morning Show