The Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club will have a new lodge for the 2022/23 ski season at Bull Mountain, thanks to $430,000 in government funding through the Targeted Regional Tourism Initiative.
The grant, from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, is designed to support the growth of recreation and outdoor tourism opportunities in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region.
“For this to happen has been an answer to a lot of our prayers,” said Rick Nelson, head director with the not-for-profit club. “To have a facility out there is going to make us a tourist destination.”
The club had been fundraising tirelessly to build a new storage facility to address recent growth in club membership and trail use.
“Now our plans have changed,” Nelson said. “We still would like to build a storage facility but this will definitely come first, and give us a place to have our rentals, a meeting area for people, a patio and lounge and viewing area.”
The new lodge’s location is planned for the stadium area at Bull Mountain, located about 100 yards away from the parking lot. The stadium area plays host to a number of club events, including jackrabbits, loppets and other ski races.
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Nelson said the club is currently contacting contractors, with plans to build a timber-frame visitor lodge and ski rental facility to accommodate the some 28 kilometres of ski trails, snowshoe trails and dog trails.
“This building will be a great addition to our ski area and create a better visitor experience,” said board member and ski coach Beverly Rooke.
“We will now have a larger and newer building to support local and regional skiers and programs such as Jackrabbits, Ski School and adult ski lessons, as well as welcome visitors from around the province and afar. The past season saw a great increase in people getting outdoors to enjoy the Nordic ski trials at Bull Mountain and this funding will help provide a lodge with more modern amenities and showcase our local timber frame talent.”
Nelson said with the addition of a lodge, the Cariboo has the potential to become an iconic BC Nordic ski destination and help increase regional tourism in the winter.
The new infrastructure also has four-season potential for corporate, community and provincial events.
With work expected to begin later this year and completion set for December of 2022, Nelson said the club is hoping to expand the project further and is currently looking for sponsors, in-kind donations and additional grant funding.
“The new building is just going to compliment everything we’ve already got going on there,” Nelson said. “It’s going to be great.”
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