Whaleback Nordic Ski Club Celebrates 50 years of Outdoor Recreation and Healthy Living in 2018.
The Whaleback Nordic Ski Club originally started out as the Stephenville Ski Club in 1968, primarily as a downhill or alpine ski group but quickly realized that the terrain around Bay St. George was ideal for cross-country skiing and by 1970 had incorporated and begun to develop a network of ski trails. The club has provided winter recreation programs, specifically cross-country skiing and snowshoeing to all ages ever since for the past 50 years.
The Whaleback Ski Park is located 4 km from the Town of Stephenville and includes 21 km of groomed trails designed for skating and classic skiers of all levels, as well as places to snowshoe. There is a 2.5km lighted trail for night use Monday to Friday. These trails are also used during the spring, summer and fall for hiking.
The primary goal of the club is to promote fun, fitness and wellness through winter activates. Whaleback currently offers junior development programs through volunteer coaching efforts. Certified by the National Cross-Country Ski Association, these leaders teach the Bunny Rabbit program for children 5 years and younger; the Jackrabbit Program for children ages 6-9 and Track Attack for youth between the ages of 10-12.
In addition to running its own programs, the club also partners with the Biathlon Bears Club, and the 708 Stephenville Royal Canadian Air Cadets to train for biathlon; their teams have had many successes at National and Provincial Biathlon competitions over the years.
Whaleback Nordic serves its membership and visitors with three paid staff members and more than 50 volunteers who generously donate their time and equipment to trim trails, cut wood and build bridges. Its comfortable ski chalet is operated entirely by volunteers during the weekdays whose duties include welcoming visitors and members, issuing day passes and rental equipment and making sure the wood stove is well-stocked.
Trails are maintained by a skilled operator using state of the art grooming equipment and are among the best trail networks in the country, receiving accolades from visitors across Canada. Whaleback Nordic has come a long way from its humble beginnings when trail grooming consisted of the strongest skier in the party breaking trail for those coming behind, and is justifiably proud of its achievements.