Wrapping up the season at Whaleback

Graham Oliver
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Graham Oliver

The winter of of 2014 will go down in Whaleback history as being the best ski season ever.

Usually our ski season does not start in earnest until early mid-January, but this season was an exception and, by early December, Whaleback was in the full-speed-ahead mode. By Christmas our BR250 wide track machine was grooming all the trails in the ski park and skiers were signing up in record numbers. The final membership total for 2014 was well over 400 which was a new record for our club.

In addition to being a great winter for skiing, our club also hosted a busy Calendar of Events including: Winter Games Regional Runoffs, Snowy Owl Classic, NL Masters Championships, Whaleback Loppet, NL Ski Marathon and the Whaleback Duathlon. The Biathlon Bears Program also held regular Saturday morning events and the Jackrabbit Program welcomed 65 enthusiastic jackrabbits to the trails on Sunday afternoons. Brian Dunphy also inaugurated a minor racing program and over a dozen young skiers took part in sessions twice a week. To encourage more people to become Winter Active at Whaleback, five beginner ski clinics were offered free of charge to first time skiers who wanted to give the sport of cross country skiing a trial run.

At the April 6 executive meeting, the 2014 ski season was given a comprehensive review. The financial report showed that the club stayed well within the budget and finished the year with a $1,500 surplus. President Doug Fowlow, who will be stepping down after eight years at the helm, pointed out that the obvious key to Whaleback’s success is the cooperative effort of club volunteers who continue to perform a variety of essential operational tasks ranging from trail maintenance to serving as chalet attendants during the week. Doug pointed out that when a call went out to the membership for volunteers to come out for a firewood-cutting work party last week, a dozen enthusiastic members showed up, complete with their own power saws and sleighs and, within four hours, enough fire wood was cut and stacked to heat the chalet for an entire winter.

While there is little doubt that willing volunteers have contributed greatly to the success of Whaleback Nordic, it is the steady hand of Doug Fowlow that has set the course for Whaleback Nordic to follow over the past eight years. Doug has consistently recruited executive members who were capable and willing to work diligently  for the benefit of the club. When Doug hands over the reins to his successor at this year’s AGM, he can be proud of the fact that he has left the club on sound footing with a healthy balance in our rainy day fund and with no outstanding debt.  

This will be my last weekly column for this ski season as Whaleback will close down formal operations on April 14, however with more than a metre of solid base on the trails and with the snowfields atop yonder mountains beckoning, the ski season is far from over.


View from the Whaleback is a weekly column that was previously published in The Georgian between January and April since 1981. It now appears in The Western Star

Geographic location: Western Star

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