Hundreds expected for Spirit North Indigenous cross country ski fest

Going through the hoops for fun, a young Spirit North program member tests his cross country ski skills. (File photo)
Leroi Bent attaches his skis before heading out on the trails at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre the site of this year’s end-of-season festival March 9. (File photo)
Ncicn Kruger of Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School leads the charge in the snowshoe race. (File photo)

Spirit North will be celebrating the third successful cross country ski program for Indigenous youth March 9.

Hundreds of kids, elders and dignitaries from the South Okanagan will gather at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre for the Multi Community Festival Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event will feature a celebration of First Nations culture, food, dancing, games and of course, skiing.

The complete Spirit North program runs from September to June and involves three schools, two from Penticton and the other from Oliver, which was added this season.

As well, there is a similar program in West Kelowna and there is also the possibility of a Vernon school joining next fall.

Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School and West Bench Elementary School are the two Penticton schools participating.

In total about 200 student take part at Nickel Plate.

READ MORE: Celebrating Spirit North’s second season at Okanagan nordic centre

Perianne Jones, the Southern B.C. program co-ordinator and former Olympic skier, has been with the local program since it’s start.

“We’ve really seen a big difference with the kids, lot of them have been skiing for three years and they’ve come a long way as skiers but also as kids,” said Jones recalling a recent session. “We were there with a group of (grades) ones and twos and we made it farther than we’d ever made it before then I realized we’ve been skiing with them since kindergarten.”

The students have ski time during the school day and as well, there is an after school program that’s been growing in leaps and bounds.

“They’re really happy to be there, that’s been a positive change for sure, before the program started I don’t think they were too sure about cross country skiing,” Jones said. “I think it’s different how it impacts each individual kid, for some students it’s huge and it’s really great for them to have something consistent that they can go out in the after school program as a group and do, even if they don’t go skiing it’s having that connection that opportunity that wouldn’t be there otherwise, is important to them.”

And it’s fun for the instructors as well.

“It definitely makes me feel like a kid again,” said Jones. “Often when the Spirit North leaders are out with the kids after school, sometimes we pinch ourselves and say ‘we’re so lucky to be able to do this.’”

The non-profit organization, founded by two-time Olympic medalist Beckie Scott, now operates from Manitoba west and reaches thousands of Indigenous children and their families.

Those families registered can also go to Nickel Plate whenever they want at no cost for the day or equipment.


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

cross country skiing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summerland approves solar project

Despite community opposition, council voted 4-3 for Cartwright Mountain location

Two positive COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm

The risk of exposure to the general public related to this farm is considered to be low

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Police search for suspect in assault on woman in downtown Kelowna

Kelowna police received a report a woman had been assaulted by an unknown man on July 12

‘Trauma equals addiction’ – why some seek solace in illicit substances

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Oliver Town Hall closed to public as staffer displays COVID-19 symptoms

One staff member at Oliver Town Hall is being tested for coronavirus

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Horoscopes for the week of July 13

Weekly horoscopes by Morgan Fava

Police keep eye on motorbike gang in Kelowna for poker run

The Throttle Lockers Motorcycle Club Poker Run was to have taken place on July 11

Most Read