The Fort Saskatchewan Nordic Ski Club has grown in the 2019 season.
Last year, the club had under 70 members. This year, they are up to around 90.
"Definitely having the snow this year has helped early because people are thinking about skiing now whereas a year ago, we really didn't have enough snow to ski here in Fort Saskatchewan until the last week of January. Mother Nature's been good to us this year," said club president Craig Lukie.
The club put more focus on advertising this year with sandwich boards put up around town to spread awareness.
Feedback from previous club members influenced the club to focus more on the recreational, family experience that comes with cross country skiing over the racing aspect. They added an occasional Wednesday and Friday night ski during the season as well as their Sunday lessons every week. The club is also offering more intro lessons for schools, something the club started doing in 2018.
"We're just trying to offer more opportunities to get people out and build a community of skiers in Fort Saskatchewan."
Lukie said there are many benefits to cross country skiing, aside from the obvious physical gain. The sport is open to all ages and can either be done either recreationally or competitively. Equipment can be provided by the club, making the sport far less expensive than most.
"You get outside, you feel good, you feel alive when you go out skiing. It's a rewarding experience for everyone."
On Sunday (Jan.27), the club is offering a bring-a-friend-to-ski day. That will run at the same time as normal lessons which is 1:30-3:30 p.m.