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Cross Country ski club launches new trails

Ethan Anderson and Brodie Huser take to the new cross country ski trails, located northeast of St. Paul. Janice Huser photo

ST. PAUL - After a rather cold January, and a few deep dips in the temperature throughout February, it was a welcome relief when the mercury climbed near zero degrees on Feb. 22.

And for a group of cross country skiing enthusiasts, the conditions were ideal for the official launch of the new WengzynowSKI Ranch Trails on Saturday. Located 17 km northeast of St. Paul, the trails are well worth the short drive. A variety of landscapes, along with groomed trails, were available to anyone who wanted to take in the day under blue skies.

A total of 40 people took part in the official launch of the trails, and among that group was myself and my nine-year-old son, along with some friends. The day offered an opportunity to do something I had been telling myself I wanted to try for a long time. I haven't strapped skis onto my feet since sometime in high school, and my son had never stepped into a pair of skis in his life.

So, with conditions looking ideal, and an invitation from the Lakeland Cross Country Ski Club to take in the event, we took the plunge. Looking back, I should have guessed that my nine-year-old would prove to be a bit of a natural on skis. While none of us were particularly graceful as we began our adventure along the trails, my son quickly claimed the front of the line, and didn't look back. 

At one point, we may have even lost him as we came up on a couple hills. But, as we continued on our way, we eventually found him waiting somewhat impatiently, at the bottom. It's amazing to watch a nine-year-old fall, over and over, and simply bounce back up. As for me, there was plenty of falling, but not much bouncing up. Although, as we went, I discovered easier and more efficient ways of recovering from falls.

While I certainly had a couple moments of doubt early on in our trek, as I stumbled and worked to find my rhythm, while we made our way back to the trail head I felt like I had challenged myself successfully, and it felt great to try something new. Sharing the experience with my son (even though the only words I said to him throughout the entire afternoon was "slow down!") is something I hope we both remember.

The next day, feeling a bit sore, I asked my son if he would go again. He said yes, but, only on one condition - that I pick up the pace next time. 

The launch event on Saturday took place from 1 to 4 p.m., and included young families pulling little ones in ski chariots, solo skiers, and those who have been involved in creating the trails. Skiers from Bonnyville, Edmonton, Elk Point, and St. Paul were among those who signed the guest book. Skiers also had a visit from the owners of the land where the new trails are located, Ron and Irene Wengzynowski. 

According to Joanna Lamoureux, the Lakeland Cross Country Ski Club board members always "work together as a team" to make events happen, and Saturday was no exception. 

"Chief of grooming, Wayne Krekoski, was eager to see how people enjoyed the trails he had laid out in this beautiful space of land," said Lamoureux.


Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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