Summer may be just around the corner but students at the Penticton Indian Band’s Outma Sqilx’W Cultural School are already looking forward to the first snowfall of the year.
That’s because Spirit North community leader Perianne Jones just happen to drop off an early Christmas present in the form of 20 pairs of snowshoes this week.
For the last two years, Spirit North, an Alberta non-profit organization, has operated an Indigenous cross country ski and snow showing program at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre.
“Now the kids and their teachers can use them during gym class during winter when there’s snow or if they want to bring them to Nickel Plate on ski day they will have the option or snow shoeing or skiing,” said Jones. “t will open up the opportunities for after school programming for us so that we can do right here at Outma rather than travelling all the way up toNickel Plate and we can also choose different locations in and around Penticton to make it a bit closer to have an adventure and explore.”
Started by Olympic medalist Beckie Scott, the program is two fold, get kids active and connecting the child to the land.
“This is amazing because it just adds to the opportunities that we’ve already had with Spirit North,” said Outma principal Steve Bentley about the gift of the snowshoes. “I’m so very grateful to the, it’s a great program and they’ve done just such a fantastic job with us.”
The program actually begins each fall at the schools where instructors go and work with the kids doing land-based training in preparation for the ski season.
Skis are provided for students and their families at no charge and which they can use whenever they go to the centre.