Omineca Ski Club Expands Biathlon Training and Tournament Hosting Facility In Burns Lake

In 2009, Omineca Ski Club received a $10,000 grant from Northern Development through the Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program towards this $67,700 project. This has been a funding partnership of Omineca Ski Club, Northern Development, Burns Lake Community Forest Ltd., and Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society

2012-The Omineca Ski Club is located 6 km south of the village of Burns Lake located in the heart of the Lakes District near the geographical centre of British Columbia. Founded in 1927, the Omineca Ski Club lays claim to being the oldest cross-country ski club in British Columbia and possibly the oldest club in Canada. The club membership has grown as the local population has increased, especially over the past twenty years – currently the club has more than 300 local members, and its trail network has hosted four Canadian National Championships over the years.

In 2009, the Omineca Ski Club constructed a new biathlon range that will now place the club among the premier destinations for biathlon competition in British Columbia. The club uses the range to promote the sport of biathlon in the community and to provide a high quality training environment for local biathletes. Increased awareness in the sport is attracting new members and regional competitions to the area every year.

This project, which received funding from Northern Development’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities funding program, consisted of expanding the facilities of the ski club into the area adjacent to the cross-country ski stadium – an ideal location only 200 meters from the existing parking lot and lodge. The expansion included leveling the area, creating a safety berm on three sides of the range to create a backdrop for the targets, installation of light poles, purchasing of targets, constructing a warming cabin, and constructing a perimeter fence around the range.

Upon completion of the project, the Omineca Ski Club created the Omineca Owls Biathlon Club that already supports ten local members who, if this new infrastructure was not available, would have had to travel to other communities in the region. The range provides members with a training site that they enjoy using and has proven to be successful, with two of the Owls already qualifying for the BC Winter Games. It is one of three provincial locations to host the provincial Biathlon BC Cup in the winter of 2011.

"The completion of the range added a significant upgrade to the resources of the Omineca Ski Club. People respond to clubs that are diversifying and show vision and noticeably improve. The range is a very visible and unique addition to the club and is being widely praised by community members. The project has been realized and largely made possible through the financial assistance from Northern Development."

Pat Brochez, Biathlon Project Manager, Omineca Ski Club

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The promotion of biathlon in the Lakes District region is generating new revenue within Burns Lake by attracting regional, provincial and international attention that has already attracted several competitions to the community. Each of these competitions included over twenty competitors and their families, spanning multiple days.

The range created an environment where young athletes could be supported by access to high quality rifles and skiing conditions, producing an extremely competitive club provincially and attracting national caliber athletes. The majority of the Omineca Owls have already competed and placed in both the BC Winter Games and the BC Cup.

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