The Nordic Destination Ski Challenge has returned this year to get community members excited about cross country skiing by competing to ski the farthest.
The challenge, run by the Sun Peaks Nordic Club, is intended to get participants to ski a certain distance over 10 weeks that would be equivalent to reaching a destination. Arlene Schieven, the club’s director-at-large, said the team destination is the American Birkebeiner Race in Wisconsin, 2,655 km from Sun Peaks.
“The teams are trying to put in as much mileage as they can to be the first one to reach that destination,” said Schieven. “It’s just a nice activity to get people excited about skiing more distance.”
Skiers can also sign up as individuals, with a goal of 830km to reach the Canadian Birkebeiner Race in Edmonton. Schieven said they have five teams and five solo participants so far this year.
Each week, participants tally up how many kilometres they skied and send their results to the organizers. To add a bit more fun, there are also weekly challenges skiers can complete in to receive bonus kilometres.
“For example, this week the weekly challenge is to ski the trail of the week,” said Schieven. “The trail of the week is the Stellar Jay Loop, which is a little bit of a more challenging loop. And then if you do that loop, you get an extra three kilometres to add on to your total.”
Schieven said as the season progresses, the challenges will get more difficult and will allow for a higher number of bonus kilometres. The challenges are released one week at a time.
The Nordic Destination Ski Challenge runs from Jan. 3 to March 13. The first week, the results between the first and second place teams were less than a kilometre apart, which Schieven said she thinks will push participants to ski further in the coming weeks.
“Probably you’ll see the mileage go up as people sort of get into the groove again and, you know, want to up their mileage once they see the other people’s results,” said Schieven.
Schieven said the club would love to have more participants and that the challenge is open to any members of the Nordic Club. Schieven said skiers can join late and be a bit behind, or keep it in mind for next year.
“The trails are in fantastic shape, so it’s a really great time to get out.”