WINNIPEG —; Instead of going into hibernation, one Winnipeg golf course comes alive every winter, becoming a hub for cross country skiing.
In the summer nine irons make the rounds at Windsor Park Golf Course, but they’re no where to be seen in the winter.
The Windsor Park Nordic Centre occupies the space from about December to mid March, depending on the weather.
Nearly eight kilometers of trails nestled among the trees offer a picturesque place to connect with nature, right inside Winnipeg.
“No matter where you live in the city, within 25 to 30 minutes you’re here essentially in the wilderness and you can go for a ski. Not everyone has that,” said Karin McSherry, executive director of the Cross Country Ski Association of Manitoba.
“We use the seine river terrain for some of our trails. It adds a little interest, a little bit of ups and downs.”
The Nordic Centre is home to several different programs, whether it’s for seasoned skiers or beginners learning the sport.
Sean and Kim Moran have been making the Nordic Centre a place to spend time together as a family three times a week.
“This season we started doing it again to get some winter fitness and do some activities,” Sean Moran said.
The full body workout from cross country skiing is a definite draw for newcomers to the sport like Melissa Armstrong.
“It’s nice to get outside, burn some calories and it’s great exercise,” said Armstrong, who invited a friend along to the Nordic Centre and stepped into a pair of skies for the first time in almost 20 years.
“If you love the winter and you don’t want to hibernate and you just want to be active and get outside and ski it’s very affordable and very accessible,” McSherry said.
The not-for-profit club has been operating at the site since 2000. Funding for grooming the trails, upgrading the clubhouse, rental equipment and instructors comes from trails fees, which run $5 per visit upto $135 for a family seasonal pass. A price that’s almost too low according to McSherry who suggests fees may have to be increased at some point in the future.
“The entire course is lit at night and we’re slowly getting improvements done in the club house. We’re hoping to get bigger and better as the years go by,” she said.
The Windsor Park Nordic Centre is operated by the Cross Country Ski Association of Manitoba. It’s a not-for-profit amateur sport association under the umbrella of Sport Manitoba. It has a contract with the city of Winnipeg to run the centre for the next five years during the winter months. McSherry is hopeful that will continue for another 10 years and beyond.
The trails are open seven days a week. A hidden gem in Winnipeg that a growing number of people are discovering each year.
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