Makin' Trails

J.P. Squire

Spring stuck around for another week of February but don’t worry, March is less than two weeks away.

You know because this is Family Day weekend, a long weekend to get outdoors when the forecast is for warmer-than-normal temperatures with a slight chance of precipitation.

Nickel Plate Nordic Centre and McKinney Nordic Club in the South Okanagan have teamed up with the Rainbow Outdoor Collective (ROC) to offer complimentary cross-country ski trail tickets, rentals, lessons and transportation from Penticton (the latter Sunday only, limited capacity).

ROC was established this season through funding from Nordiq Canada with the hope of increasing diversity and inclusion in the sport of Nordic skiing. However, all purchases must be processed online through the Nickel Plate website:

The web page says: “To enter the ROC program, participants must agree to our core values and code of conduct as outlined below. Please read, agree to the terms, and receive a code to be used at checkout when you book your trail tickets/rentals/lessons.

“Members of the ROC agree to treat all individuals equally and with respect regardless of race, age, ability, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, socio-economic circumstance, athletic ability or body type/size.

“No matter who you are, you are welcome to ski with us. Whether you are a beginner or looking to become competitive, we will teach you how to enjoy the sport to the best of your ability and at your own pace.

“Everyone under the ROC program is expected to adopt these principles of inclusivity and acceptance of all individuals. We all play together, safe, respectful and non-judgmental.

“If you agree with the above, click the rainbow triangle (on the web page) to receive your coupon.”


Still in the South Okanagan, Nickel Plate Nordic Centre will hold its first-ever Lunch & Learn Potluck on Feb. 26.

“The esteemed professor, Dr. Todd Redding (Don’t worry, Todd’s not as stuffy as I just made him sound!) will provide an entertaining afternoon of food and information.

Todd is going to regale us about weather modeling and the myth of the Nickel Plate Norwegian Weather Station.

And, of course, it’s a potluck and food will start at 1 p.m.,” said Kevin Dyck, the club’s marketing and communications manager. Email: to let organizers that you are attending.

Nickel Plate is also thanking the grooming staff of Apex Mountain Resort once again. “Not only has Snowcat Pat provided our staff with invaluable mentoring, he came up with a machine to groom for us while ours was down with a mechanical issue,” said Dyck.

It was important because the Canadian national Nordic ski team trained there before heading off to continue its World Cup tour.

Nickel Plate is also making plans to establish its first, on-trail warming hut at Eagle’s Nest.

Colleen’s Cabin will be named in memory of Colleen Schneider who passed away unexpectedly last fall. The club is hoping to have the cabin ready for the 2023-24 season. More details will be announced once they are formalized.

On Jan. 28, the inaugural Founder’s Dinner honoured Schneider as one of those who have contributed so much to the founding and ongoing development of the club.


Fintry Provincial Park will again have funding for the services of a Manor House curator and a part-time business manager, thanks to a recent decision by the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

The regional board supported a request by the Friends of Fintry Provincial Park Society to restore its funding but it will be a $40,000 operating grant-in-aid for one year, conditional on the non-profit society providing annual financial information.

Starting in 2020, an annual grant had been phased out over three years and re-allocated to support non-profit Friends of Regional Parks organizations. Michael Berry, society VP, said despite a major effort his group had been unable to obtain new sponsors and funding. District staff opposed the recent request.

Since 2004, the regional district had provided the non-profit with $30,000 annually, a figure that grew to $39,000 in 2008, to support the group in hiring a director to work on “securing additional public benefits for the Fintry Provincial Park site.”

The society used that funding to hire Dan Bruce, who served as the group’s curator for the past 21 years, during which time he transformed the Manor House into what it is today.


Friends of the South Slopes will hold its annual general meeting on March 29 at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan (EECO) in Mission Creek Regional Park, 2363 Springfield Rd. in Kelowna. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting will start at 7 p.m.

More information will be released closer to the AGM date.


The board of directors of the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre is planning a series of community engagement sessions to discuss a strategic plan.

The next step is gathering more input so various focus groups of up to 10 will hear what members have to say. If more than 10 sign up for any one meeting, the board will start a waiting list and schedule additional meetings as needed. All participants will be entered into a drawing for a prize.

The next meetings are:

10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 25, a drop-in session at the lodge; and 6-7 p.m. on Feb. 28 in Vernon, location to be determined.

Members can also send their thoughts to:

J.P. Squire, aka the Ski Sheriff, is a retired journalist. Email: