The Beaurepaire Village residents association, Les amis du village Beaurepaire, finally got what they needed: enough snow to lay cross-country tracks in Beaconsfield.
“We thought cross-country ski would be a perfect sport, fun, physically-distanced and inexpensive so we wanted to build a really good trail, kind of nearby, that people could use,” said Les amis du village Beaurepaire president Brian Miller.
The ground level tracks snake around Christmas Park; in between the snow-covered soccer field and playground, and loop around and inside the baseball diamond.
It may seem like an unusual spot to cross country ski, but the creators want it to be accessible to all levels of skiers. They’ve coined it the ‘golden mile trail,’ but aren’t sure about its exact distance.
“We’ll try to make a whole bunch of loops so that we get close to a mile,” Miller said.
The trail is the first of its kind in the Beaurepaire Village.
The trails are created and groomed with a home-made tracker. After volunteers borrowed the idea online, they built it with two-by-fours in a workshop in a matter of hours.
“It’s all pretty basic and rudimentary stuff you can find at the hardware store,” volunteer Matt Steven said about the tracker.
The tracker looks like the outline of a wooden sleigh, attached with rope. Rows of plywood in the front flatten the snow before two wooden spikes at the back, that imitate the depth and width for the skis, carve lines. Depending on the quality of the snow, they can add weights to assist with the grooming.
Golden Sports, a sporting goods shop down the street, stocked up on cross country ski rentals in preparation for the track.
“We managed to get our hands on some of the equipment for some of the local families to be able to rent for their kids for the season,” Golden Sports owner Gordon Campbell-Kelly said.
The owner of the eight-year-old shop tried to keep up with the demand, but seasonal equipment rentals are already sold out.
A few residents who managed to get their hands on the sought-after skis took them for a test run on Sunday.
“It’s really fun, it’s a really great way to have some fun during the pandemic,” said 11-year-old Reid Klemm, who used the track with his brother Ethan.
Beaconsfield resident Jean Miller said she enjoyed how close the track was to her home.
“Oh gosh wonderful, because if you only want to go out for a little while, you just put the skis in the car and off you go.”
With the first tracks still fresh from the weekend, Les amis du Beaurepaire said it continues to be a work in progress.
“Who knows we might even try to make some trails in some other spots,” said it’s president.
He only hopes more people come to try it out and see where the tracks take them.