Don't blame it on the rain: Ski races go ahead amid a downpour

As the saying it goes, it was a great day for ducks. Sadly, not a great day for skiing.

Races decide who gets to go the N.L. Games next month

While it may not look like it, Pippy Park hosted a cross-country ski race on Sunday. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

As the saying it goes, it was a great day for ducks. Sadly, not a great day for skiing.

In the pouring rain about dozen cross-country skiers showed up at the Pippy Park Winter Activity Centre on Sunday morning to take part in a race to see who gets to represent the region at the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games.

Cross-country skiers vying for N.L. Winter Games team 1:50

"It's been an incredibly difficult winter for snow," team manager Yolanda Wiersma said.

"There just hasn't been a lot of snowy weekends so we had a difficult time scheduling this. We had a whole crew of volunteers out on Friday night and through the night making snow."

The warm temperatures and rain on Sunday didn't leave much of that snow.

Volunteers with the Avalon Nordic Ski Club, along with the racers themselves, pushed the remaining snow into a course, albeit a short one — just about 150 metres, but long enough to get the timed races underway. 

Avalon Nordic Ski Club volunteers shovelled together a race course. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Clare Youden was one of the hopefuls there on Sunday. The 14-year-old is trying to make the team for a second time, having already competed at the last 2014 N.L. Games in Clarenville. 

"It's pretty slushy out there and there is not a lot of snow, just enough to scrape together a race course," Youden said. 

Para cross-country skier Jeremy Jones agreed. 

"The snow was a bit rough," he said. "It was hard at first but it got easier as I came along."

Para cross-country skier Jeremy Jones pushes himself across the finish line on Sunday. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

It seems the only thing that didn't get damp Sunday was the spirits of skiers, coaches and volunteers. 

"It's a challenge to be a skier on the Avalon Peninsula, and I think everybody in this club knows that and we just make the best of it," Wiersma said.

"We are happy to just be outside and being active and having fun."

With the time trials complete the team should be finalized later this week. The 2018 N.L. Winter Games get underway in Deer Lake on March 10.