Early snow attracts elite skiers to Labrador City
Skiers take to Menihek Nordic Ski Club to train for upcoming masters event in U.S.
Many parts of Newfoundland and Labrador haven't seen a trace of the white stuff yet, but in Labrador City, it's a winter wonderland — and a skiers one, too.
The Menihek Nordic Ski Club opened for the season even before the latest dump of snow fell late this week.
Bring it on, says club president Gerry Rideout.
"Oh yeah, we're excited about the snow," he said.
He said the early November open this year is actually late compared to the mid-October opening of the last few seasons.
But, Rideout said, it's full steam ahead.
"We got masters coming in to ski, our masters camp, because the world masters this year are in Minneapolis [in January] and there's not many places around to train," he said.
He said a few places are open — like Canmore, Silver Star Mountain Resort and Sunpeaks Resort — but those are thousands of kilometres away on the other side of the country.
New technology and look
The ski lodge's facade has gotten a facelift — thanks in part to federal and provincial funds announced in September —and a new brushcutter will make a big difference, Rideout said.
"You tow [it] behind an ATV and you can [clear] a trail in a day, you know. What a difference," he said, adding it used to take weeks in the past to clear all the runs.
And for the competitive skiers, there is a new way to find out how fast you can get down the mountain.
"We got 200 chips, where you put a bracelet on on your arm or your leg or whatever. So when an event is on the go you know what time everybody's doing no matter where you are on the course," he said.
"And it's connecting with the cellphone, so you just take your cellphone and look ... at the results as soon as it's finished."
Rideout is confident winter will stick around now in Lab City and hopes Mother Nature proves him right.
"Once [the snow] comes down here, it stays," he said.
With files from Labrador Morning