Pembroke, Petawawa top Nancy Greene/Paterson races at Alice Ski Hill

Alice Ski Hill hosting first Friday night ski on Feb. 3

By SEAN CHASE schase@thedailyobserver.ca

Updated 4 hours ago

LAURENTIAN VALLEY – The best young downhill racers in the region burned up the cold pristine slopes of Alice Ski Hill Sunday in their second meet of the season.

In the Nancy Greene League races conducted by the Upper Ottawa Valley Ski Zone (UOVSZ), the Pembroke Ski and Snowboard Club emerged in first place, followed by Deep River’s Mount Martin and Petawawa’s Mount Molson.

The Petawawa club dominated in the Paterson League races also held in Alice Sunday. In the boys division, Jacob Yantha and David Ashworth took the first and second places respectively. Faith Allard finished first place in the girls division, followed by second place Mia Zohr.

Skiers were blessed with a fresh dusting of snow as flurries buffeted the region. Organizers called the conditions for racers absolutely ideal.

“They’ve been speedy and we have wonderful conditions,” acknowledged Pembroke Ski and Snowboard Club vice-president Hali Clouthier-Gagne. “It’s been a beautiful day.”

Named after the Canadian Olympic champion, the Nancy Greene Ski League is considered a grassroots program that encourages alpine skiing participation and competition in youth ages four to 11. While Nancy Greene racers are timed as a team, the Paterson League racers, aged 12 to 16 years, are individually timed.

“We have some amazing talent coming out of these programs,” said Clouthier-Gagne. “We’ve had talent go as far as the national ski league. Out of this program comes wonderful instructors who come to the hill and give back to the hill. They teach the younger kids and bring them up through the program.”

The race day also included a fundraising barbecue, however, the Pembroke club’s executive hoped such venues raise the profile of the 50-year-old Ottawa Valley institution.

“Look at our mountain. It’s in our own backyard,” remarked Clouthier-Gagne pointing up to the top of the Alice Ski Hill as energetic young racers whipped down the runs. “They say if you can ski Alice you can ski anywhere. You don’t have to be a member of the club. We welcome anyone to come out and try us.”

The non-profit skill hill is run by a volunteer corps. It offers a clubhouse, canteen, t-bar lifts to convey skiers to the top and rentals, including skis and snowboards.

“Since we’ve established some interest in the hill, we’ve had some pretty good days,” she said. “Everything we do is to keep the hill viable and safe but we need the community’s support.”

This year, attendance is up at the Alice Ski Hill which will be hosting its first Friday Night Night Ski in years on Feb. 3. The runs will be open for skiing from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. If the event is well supported, Clouthier-Gagne said it could back as a regular event.

The next Nancy Greene/Paterson Race will also be held on Friday, Feb. 3 at Molson Ski Hill in Petawawa. The final race of the season will be held on Friday, Feb. 12 at Radcliffe Hills.

Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

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