It’s not all downhill from here

The Trust has provided $1.8M in funding for nordic and downhill ski facilities in the region


Athletes on the podium during the BC Winter Games in Terrace.

Winter is arriving throughout our region and people are eager to clip into their ski bindings and experience the serene surroundings that snow brings. Northern Development is proud to support the organizations that build and maintain ski trails and encourage people to get outside during the winter months.

Since 2005, the Trust has helped 22 downhill and Nordic ski organizations in its region complete 40 unique projects by providing $1,868,312 in funding. This support has, for many facilities, increased the amount of time skiers can enjoy on the trails and increased the user experience by creating a higher-quality recreation area.

Such is the case for Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club, located midway between Terrace and Kitimat. In 2009, the Trust committed $60,000 to the club to assist with upgrades prior to the 2010 BC Winter Games held in Terrace. With a budget of $322,000, the club accomplished a lot of meaningful upgrades that continue to have long lasting impacts to both communities.

“Not only did our membership double after the Games, but our day use and rentals doubled too and have continued to climb,” shared Liz Thorne, president of the Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club. “Our kids’ program, B.C. Rabbits, has grown to 60 plus kids and coaches and only stays at that level because that’s all the coaches we have… the fact that we’ve grown from four dozen pairs of skis and boots eight years ago to 200 plus speaks volumes. People are always asking where they can buy equipment and clothing and it’s great to be able to direct them to local businesses.”

Hart Highlands Winter Club is another ski organization that benefited from receiving a grant from the Trust, which enabled them to purchase a snow gun. At the beginning of the 2017 season, their hardworking volunteers were so dedicated to creating a strong base that some volunteers spent the entire night “at least 20 different times, making snow,” said Jess Hudson, hill manager. This dedication paid off and the Hart Ski Hill was open for a record 100 days during the 2017/18 season, drastically increased from the previous year’s 17 days.

“We would not have made it to our record without all the manmade snow… it gave us a base of more than six feet of combined [manmade and natural] snow in various areas,” Hudson continued. “With increased revenue we can increase snowmaking infrastructure. Last year we used fire hoses which would melt the surrounding snow. This summer we installed underground pipes, so we just need to move the gun around, increasing efficiency for volunteers.” Hudson also said that the Club’s membership is on track to double over last year and they are focused on doing more for the community as the organization celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Elsewhere in the north, the Trust’s funds have helped install snowmaking equipment at six different facilities, upgrade grooming equipment and improve trail lighting. All these updates improve upon the trails that already exist. Now, clubs rely less on unpredictable snowfall and can manage a minimal snow base with grooming equipment.

We’ve supported nearly two dozen ski clubs throughout Northern B.C., we encourage you to support clubs in your community by visiting them and experiencing the trails they build and maintain.


Infographic detailing some of the investments made by Northern Development in ski facilities.

"Having Northern Development Initiative Trust as a source of funding is a very reassuring feeling. To know that there’s a source that understands that you can’t start building much before the end of March due to snow cover, so you don’t have to explain this, just makes life a bit easier for volunteers. To know you’re not competing with big organizations down south is a good feeling too."

Liz Thorne, president of Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club