Ski day draws 250 to Rail Trail

By Brenda Starkey

REPUBLIC – The 2018 Ski Day on the Ferry County Rail Trail shattered last year’s attendance record Saturday when some 250 people gathered to ski, snowshoe, bike and hike the trail from the north end of Curlew Lake.

This was the eighth annual ski day hosted by the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners. 

Organizers said a total of 233 participants signed in, up from the previous record of 150, and that easily 250 people showed up since many who brought their own gear or skied in from the south did not stop to register.

“It’s so nice to see this community effort get bigger and bigger every year. I only recognized some of the people there and I have lived here my whole life,” said Bobbi Weller, adjacent landowner and chair of the county’s Rail Corridor Committee. “All those old friends and new faces mingling, laughing and drinking hot cocoa, not to mention skiing, hiking and biking on the trestle over the lake. What a wonderful day.”

Participants were able to cross the 770-foot trestle and head south along the lake shore on the groomed trail.

Keith Wakefield groomed the trail, and Spokane Parks and Recreation and Altai Skis provided equipment and instruction free of charge for all those who wanted to participate. 

Timex and REI Spokane offered prizes for winners in a variety of categories.

The oldest skier was 79-year-old Bart Wert, who lives beside the trestle.

The best skier was Ciel Sander from Greenwood, B.C. Sander is on the ski patrol at Phoenix Ski Area and is the trail coordinator for Trails to the Boundary Society.

The youngest skier was Elliot Burt, 3, of Republic.

Organizers didn’t catch the name of the “most improved” skier, but his father said their family had “just moved to the area from Georgia.”

“What a heartwarming day,” said FCRTP’s Keith Bell. “This trail was built by two all-volunteer citizens’ groups with non-motorized grants from the Federal Highway Administration Transportation Enhancement Program and the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office. Donations and local volunteers and businesses have provided an amazing level of support. The Ferry County Rail Trail is routinely praised by the state as a model of what volunteers can do to ensure efficiency with state funds. Everyone involved has made this trail the success story that it is.”

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