Rocanville cross-country trails are open this winter

January 3, 2021, 5:25 pm
by Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


Winter has arrived and with it comes snow, and although this winter won’t be full of events like in a normal year, there are still activities for people to take advantage of with their families.

The Rocanville Cross-Country Ski Club has been around for decades and its gearing up for another ski season by prepping the trails. It’s a popular spot for those who love the outdoors and has been called a hidden gem.

“We started out as a group clearing trails,” said Layne McFarlane with the Rocanville Cross Country Ski Club. “It actually started in 1991 as a group clearing trails and over time, I guess I was prominent in setting up a non-profit corporation, so there’s Rocanville Cross-Country Ski Club Inc.

“We have memberships, we’re registered through Sask Ski and our insurance coverage is all covered through them, so we pay $15 a member towards Sask Ski and that provides us liability insurance.

“We’re also eligible for grants through Sask Ski based on memberships. Probably the most members we’ve ever had was about three or four years ago when snow conditions were really good and we got up to about 120 members.

“We have a sign-in book on a volunteer basis and normally it’s $5 to go on the trail and it’s another $5 if you want to rent equipment—we’ve got a lot of our equipment from Fresh Air Experience. But three or four years ago there was about 1,200 people that had signed in the book.

“There’s a little box at the front of the club house where you pay and sign-in so we can keep track of how many people are using the trails. There’s lots of routes through the trails and if you do the entire thing it’s about nine kilometres.

“It’s mostly people from the local area, lots of people from Moosomin and Rocanville. It’s primarily people from our region that come out. Even last year with poorer weather conditions, we had 70 memberships and a little over 500 people that signed into our book.”

With the Covid-19 pandemic impacting everything these days, McFarlane says the ski club has taken the proper precautions to ensure the safety of everybody who wants to use their trails this winter.

“Originally we said no more than four people in the club house at a time because that’s where all the rental equipment is,” he said. “As a result of recent announcements, we’ve said only one family at a time to keep it to one bubble at a time.

“With rental skis and equipment people used to bring them back into the club house to put them back, but now we’re just going to have a ski return outside the club house and they will stay there overnight. For boot return, we have another box that will be inside and Dennis Hack—who lives across the road—is going to come spray the boots every morning and put them back in their place. If we got a good snow and it was really busy then I think we’d have to do it more often so we’d come twice a day to spray.”

Without many recreation options right now, McFarlane thinks the Rocanville cross-country ski trails are perfect for those looking for a Covid-19 safe way of getting outside and exercising.

“The activity itself should be really conducive to our Covid environment right now,” he said. “You get to be out in the fresh air and you’re doing your own thing. Cross-country skiing is a little bit like riding a bike, the person you’re with is either going too fast or too slow.”