Skiing lessons for both adults and kids made the opening day at Hallis Lake (Dec. 12), a hive of activity. Classes will continue in January. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Skiing lessons for both adults and kids made the opening day at Hallis Lake (Dec. 12), a hive of activity. Classes will continue in January. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Hallis Lake skiers sliding into 2021

The Cariboo Touring Ski Club, based just outside of Quesnel has seen higher demand during COVID-19

With snow on the ground and the holidays in full swing, Hallis Lake is seeing an increase in activity.

That’s according to Ron Watteyne, who is the publicity director for the Cariboo Ski Touring Club.

“We want to get more and more people out. During the times of COVID-19, people are not going anywhere, and stuck at home – get out and cross-country ski,” he said. “It’s a really good way to physically distance on the trails, and enjoy the fresh air outside. When you’re on cross-country skis you’re at least 2 metres apart.”

The extra 1,000 feet of elevation at the club means snow may melt in downtown Quesnel, but the powder will stay at Hallis Lake.

Watteyne said the club is hard at work to groom their 35 km long network of trails.

“We need a certain amount of snow before we can get out there and roll pack them, then you got to drag them, then set the tracks,” he said. “There’s a lot of work that’s goes on behind the scenes to get trails ready for the public, and the members.”

Some trails were inaccessible due to logging activity in December, but the club is now able to properly get them ready.

“The groomers are working every day to open up the rest of the trail system,” Watteyne said. “We probably have only 25 per cent of the trail system open right now, but we’re working hard to get those other trails open.”

Membership at the club is higher than last year, and more people are renting equipment, taking advantage of a half price promotion going on right now.

“It’s been quite busy,” Watteyne said. “People are starting to realize the trails are in pretty good shape.”

Ski and snowshoe rentals are now only $5 for adults, and $4 for kids. Watteyne said renting might be the only way to get on the trails in 2020.

“Talking to people trying to buy ski equipment, they’re having a tough time,” he said. “Rentals would be a good opportunity.”

Potential skiers can check out a webcam live feed of the weather at Hallis Lake on the Cariboo Ski Touring Club’s website.

Kids ski lessons are underway, and Watteyne added adult lessons will start in the new year, alternating between classic and skate week to week in January.

“If you don’t have time for physical activity, you better make time to be sick,” Watteyne said.

READ MORE: Waiting for the white stuff at Hallis Lake

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Dragon Lake Elementary was top school at Hallis Lake Ski Tournament

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