January 3, 2020
Winter Solstice has come and gone and daylight hours are lengthening as shadows shorten. For those looking for outdoor recreation opportunities, facilities with lighting beckon users to enjoy a pre- or post-work jaunt. For Nordic ski centres, enhanced lighting increases membership, provides additional training opportunities for competitors and decreases costs.
When Caledonia Nordic Ski Club applied to Northern Development’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities funding program in 2016 to improve five kilometres of Nordic ski trails that were build for the 2015 Canada Winter Games, it was easy for the Trust to see the value in this investment.
Increasing the distance of trails with LED lighting and retrofitting existing metal halide lights with LED bulbs continues to benefit the ski club, the community and competitors. During the 2018/19 ski season Caledonia Nordic saw an increase of 262 memberships, which means more people from the community are using the facility to stay active during the winter months.
In Prince George, the improvements to Caledonia Nordic Ski Club are also creating positive economic impacts generated through sporting events. In 2019, Caledonia Nordic Ski Club welcomed approximately 140 of the world’s best para Nordic athletes from 21 countries for the 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships. This 10-day competition was predicted to generate more than $5.3 million in economic benefit for Prince George and a total of $6.3 million for the province.
The improvements being made to the ski facility, including lighting, contribute to the organization being recognized as a quality destination for international events. Athletes competing in the Biathlon BC Cup and the World Para Nordic Skiing Championship benefited as competitors were able to have lit range and trails earlier in the day which provided the ability to rest in the evenings. The investments being made into the ski area are being noticed and complimented by visiting skiers and competition officials.
To date, Northern Development has committed more than $2.4 million to 25 unique ski facilities throughout its service region, including seven lighting upgrades. Funding for these projects come from the Trust’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities and Economic Diversification Infrastructure programs.
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