OUR HISTORY

1960 - The Early Days:

It all started in 1960 when a group of cross-country skiers formed an informal club that met occasionally to leave ski tracks around the countryside. Fifteen years later,in 1975, the club established a network of trails between the south end of town and the Bear Mountain Downhill ski area. The Club also started setting and grooming trails throughout Kin Park when there was a demand for it.

Then, in 1988, Doug MacLennan and Pat O'Reilly initiated the establishment of the 1700 hectare Bear Mountain Demonstration Forest. During the next few years, trails were laid out within 500 hectares of this forest. This was the start of our nordic ski center as we now know it today!

1993 - But The Hard Work Was Just Beginning:

While some trail establishment and skiing occurred at Radar Lake the focus of activity shifted to our current location in 1995. In the interim, George Hauber and Pat O'Reilly with the assistance of volunteers had cleared the new trails to a 3 to 5 meter width. It may have seemed like overkill to those only familiar with the 'classic' skiing style, but the ski world was rapidly being overtaken by new athletes who had rapidly switched from single ski-skate to full skate-ski techniques. The new trails were wide enough to support this new activity of skate-skiing.

Since 1993, we had operated a completely viable club, with between 85 and 150 paid memberships, but truly we had benefitted about 500 skiers, many of who chose to pay individual day fees. We had cleared 23 kilometers of trail, built 7 bridges, placed 44 culverts, made 80 drainage improvements, built 2 heated shelters, constructed a log cabin, and installed the essential out-houses (thus increasing every-ones' daily ski endurance limits.)

2003 - Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Association Founded

In 2003, the Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Association was officially formed as a non-profit recreational association. There was no paid staff, and so it was up to volunteers to continue to provide access, facilities, and encouragement for all ages to experience the joys of cross-country skiing. Particular attention was paid to getting our youth involved.

By 2004, all trails had been widenned to 5 meters, at a cost of over $15,000, and the twin track Alpine II snow machine was purchased for trail maintenance.

2004 - 2008: Four Years of Steady Improvements and Ongoing Maintenance

Few of today's skiers are aware of the tremendous amount of dollars and volunteer work that had to be done over the years to provide the enjoyable skiing that many of us take for granted. The Association has to charge fees to cover some of these costs, but a very large part is donated by our community supporters. The BMNSA also asks our members to donate at least 10 hours of sweat equity each year to help out. Check HERE to see what tasks were accomplished in just four years.

2008 - 20012: We Reach Maturity and Envisage the Future

We are confronted with major expenditures, as we acquire a newer track Snowcat for trail grooming, complete with a snow tiller and classic-ski track setting pans. This stuff does not come cheap! In addition, a new fully insulated shop gets built, and caretaker's living quarters get established, fully self-contained, with solar power, water and sewer.

Trails get improved, with some parts widened to 7 meters, stumps removed, and drainage augmentations. Thousands of deadfall and danger trees are removed from along the trails, and several hundred seedlings get planted at strategic locations. Shelter locations also get needed upgrading, and despite that, a dozen picnic tables, and 7 km of trails for hiking, snowshoeing, classic skiing are added. How does all this happen? We reach 2500 hours of volunteer work by members, not all of which is done by Pat O'Reilly! Here's a detailed breakdown.

 

 

DONORS & PARTICIPANTS

Many, many individual volunteers from a broad segment of the community
Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Club members
Bear Mountain Downhill Ski Club
Action Industrial First Aid
Alberta Energy Corporation
AltaGas
Arnie Jonasen and Spir-L-Ok Industries
B.C. Forest Service partnership
B.C. Hydro (donated 1974 Bombardier snowcat)
B.C. Ministry of Forests
Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts
B.C. Winter Games Committee
Bernard O'Reilly Welding
Bob\rquote s Service
Caribou Road Services
Case Power and Equipment
City of Dawson Creek
Dave Caldwell
Dawson Co-op
Dawson Creek Athletic Association
Doug MacLennan
Educational Forest Society
Encana
Exel Heliarc Welding, John Sudnik
Firewood Sales
FRBC
FRDA II
Gary McCullough
George Hauber Contracting
Heather and Bob Newman
Henderson Roofing
Herb Nodes Construction
John Miller Mechanical
Kiwanis Club
Leo Offerson
Loiselle Ranches
Louisiana Pacific
Ministry of Highways
North Slope Enterprises
O'Reilly family
Paradise Valley Snowmobile Club
Peace Country Maintenance
Phil Erickson and crew
Peace Region Internet Society
Peace River Regional District
Powder King Ski Resort
Reg Norman Trucking
Rentco Equipment
Rotary Clubs
Rotary Mega Lottery
Signs and Things
School District #59 partnership
South Peace Chiropractic
South Peace Electric, Steve Mizeri
Talisman
Tiger Printing and Stationers
Tim Erickson
Tyler's Excavating and Contracting
Windsor Plywood
cooperation with seismic companies and AEC
30 additional small local companies and many private individuals

This is a flavour of the cooperation we have had. The list is much longer and is available if you are interested.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. When is the Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Facility open?
    A. Its open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week year round.

    Q. What are the major health benefits of cross-country skiiing?
    A. It is as good an aerobic workout as swimming -a great cardio builder

    Q. Is cross-country skiing hard? Is it something for seniors?
    A. Cross-country skiing ranges from easy to hard depending on how much effort you want to put in. Its very popular with seniors as they can participate at their own pace and ramp up based on their personal heath.


    Q. Can you get lost on the trails?
    A. All trails marked with trail names and a map at every trail junction. Skiers must be prepared to look after themselves, ski with a buddy.  There is no ski patrol on duty and no sweep of the trails at the end of the day.
     

 

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