By Estelle Noakes,
Part 2 of a two-part feature.
Skmana Cross Country Ski Club has been a member of Cross Country B.C. for more than 22 years.
Daryl Spencer was instrumental in the club becoming a society on Aug. 1, 1990.
From 1988 and for 12 years, a Jackrabbit ski program was sponsored by Skmana. Several levels of classes were offered and some children placed highly in provincial competitions. In the mid 1990s there were about 30 children in Jackrabbits and four coaches.
A key to the success of the club was the Starting Line in Chase owned by Brian and Trish David. For many years the store was an info centre for the club and also sold and rented skis. The Jackrabbit program ended when there was a lack of children using the program, coinciding with a lack of volunteer coaches. Some of the coaches who contributed were Cathy Hopland, Jim McLellan, Jean Jenks, Ian and Hamish Jenks, Kathy Spencer, Ann Grube, John Thornbury, Michelle Zwolak, Phil McIntyre-Paul and Brian Kay.
Skmana is a delightful skiing destination. The 18 kilometres of groomed trails wind around the lakes and through forest and meadows along old logging roads. The trails range from beginner to advanced. In addition there are myriad possibilities for those who wish to ski on ungroomed pathways.
Trails for snowshoeing are offered as well and, with the help of the Shuswap Trail Alliance, substantially more snowshoe trails were opened for the season of 2011-2012, with more opening in following years.
To reflect the growing enthusiasm for snowshoeing, the club has changed its name to Skmana Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Club.
Tobogganing hills are near the parking lot and a small one is near the cabin. The Skmana lakes area is co-managed between Recreation Sites and Trails BC and Skmana Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Club. A forest recreation site is on West Skmana Lake, with picnic tables and toilets. The info center for the club is G-Force in Chase.
What has sustained Skmana Ski Club for more than 30 years has been the many volunteers who have given so much of their time and energy. They are too numerous to mention but those who have have been exceptional. In addition to those mentioned earlier are Jim McLellan, Cathy Hopland, John Thornbury, George Carlin, Ken Sparrow, Ron Fairhurst, Ken Shaw, Darcy and Patricia Simpson and Brian David. The one person who has been a member since Skmana Ski Club’s inception, supported the club in all its endeavours and continues to do so, is Eileen Boscher.
George Carlin, who did so much for the club and supported it for many years, passed away in 2015.
The club’s membership has been around 100 but many other people ski and snowshoe by donation. Members come from the wide surrounding area of Chase, Adams Lake, Pritchard, North Shuswap and Sorrento, with many guests from farther afield.
Skmana is a small and homey club. Christmas is celebrated with a potluck, complete with mulled wine and a live candle tree to sing carols beside. Valentine’s Day features a chili potluck, mushy Valentine cards and an evening ski.
It’s a magical area for winter and summer recreation, just a bit off the beaten track, a place of solitude and peace.