Weekly Newsletter

Avalon Nordic

Newsletter 13

It is now safe to say that the (strangest) ski season has come to an end. And yet, despite the late start and the pandemic, a lot of good things did happen. We managed, for example, to pull off five weeks of lessons for both groups of skiers in the Bunny/Jackrabbit/Track Attack group. I skied around Pippy Park on one of the last days of lessons and it was wonderful to see the kids having so much fun. Another success was Butterpot, where many more people came out to ski than the first year Avalon Nordic took on all the winter programs in the park. We also successfully hosted an XCNL camp in January, with fantastic young skiers from all over the province attending. While we only managed to squeeze in three tours, but the ones that went ahead were a huge success (judging by the happy faces on the photos). Finally, the Outfitters/XCNL provincial marathon was a huge hit, uniting skiers across the province and likely to be one of the virtual Covid events that outlasts the pandemic.

If you are new to the club, Covid really did have an impact on our programs this year. One of my favourite things about skiing is having a chance to chat with other people in the North Bank Lodge or the clubhouse at Butterpot. I have made a lot of friends over the years — so will you if you stick with us. In normal times, we also have really fun social events; I am sure there will be a huge appetite for more of these when it is safe to do so.

We do have some club news I can share.


If your child is in the Bunny/Jackrabbit/Track Attack program and will still be 12 or under next winter, look for announcements about lessons in the Fall. If your child was in Track Attack this year, will be 13 years old next winter, and is interested in joining the Challenge Group this spring and summer for dryland training, please contact Yolanda Wiersma (ywiersma@mun.ca) for more information. Challenge Group is a fun collective of teens who are interested in learning to train for racing. 

We will be working on partial refunds for lessons due to the ones we missed. Please bear with us, as cheques will have to be drafted and mailed to quite a number of people (and our Treasurer is a volunteer). 


Even as Butterpot closed for the season, we received a grant from ACOA to complete badly needed repairs on our groomer. Thanks to club President Glenn Piercey for steering the ship on this one.


The XCNL training camp in Clarenville this weekend was a great success, with Claire Youden and William Sandlos participating from our club. Check the Avalon Nordic Facebook Page for pictures of the teens skiing in everything from summer (shorts and t-shirt) weather to fog.


There are a lot of volunteers who make Avalon Nordic run. And since we have no paid staff (except our instructors), we really could not do it without them. 

Thanks to Shawn Leroux for running the Bunny/Jackrabbit/Track Attack program. And thanks to our amazing young instructors and parent volunteers for being great teachers of the art of skiing. 

A big shout out to Erik Charron and Aiden Spoel for running the Challenge Group, and for making the experience seem more like fun than hard work (even though it is hard work). Aiden also offered some adult lessons, so many thanks for that. Thanks also to Will Fitzgerald for being our rep at XCNL.

Thanks also to the Butterpot grooming crew: Dave Robbins, Dave Porter, Colin Taylor and Tim Strand.  Not only were conditions fantastic at Butterpot this year, but we provided a crucial outlet for physical activity when almost everything else was shut down in February. Also thanks to Robert Seymour and his crew of volunteers for grooming the Upper Pippy trails for skiing and other activities. As always, we appreciate that the City of St. John’s grooms Pippy Park and provides rentals to many of the kids who take our lessons.

Thanks to Bill Walker for making the tours such a success despite trying circumstances. Normally we schedule 10 tours. This year with the late snow start and the early snow collapse, plus the ban on group recreational activities, we were only able to conduct three outings. In addition, our leaders kept scouting and reporting on routes while the ban was in place so we could be ready to go in case the ban was lifted. Thanks to George Power for the Clovelley early season outing (into 80 km/h winds), Richard Charron for a tour at Butterpot after a heavy snowfall, and Kevin Flynn for a tour of the southwest quarter of Pippy Park. Tours had between 6-12 participants. Also, special thanks to Pat Dabinett and Peter Armitage for being prepared to lead Pouch Cove Ponds and the Witless Line tours. These guys were ready to lead on several occasions during the ban, only to be stopped each time by Covid 19 regulations.

Finally, thanks to our board of directors: President Glenn Piercey, Vice President Jon Earle, and Treasurer Kris Aubrey-Bassler for putting a lot of work into running the organizational side of the club.

I will also thank myself (to head off any emails doing the same) for being Avalon Nordic’s Secretary and Minister of Communications. I ran a hard and determined campaign for the job, so it was my honour to represent the interests of those devoted to healthy outdoor sports during the winter. Look forward to seeing everybody on the trails next winter!


John Sandlos