Hundreds of Red Deer Public Schools students between Grades 3 and 12 participated in cross-country ski races earlier in February at River Bend Golf and Recreation Area. (File photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Try out skiing for free on Friday

If you’ve ever wanted to try out cross country skiing, head down to River Bend Golf and Recreation Area this Friday for free cross country ski rentals.

The event from 12 to 3 p.m. celebrates the enhancements made to the River Bend Golf and Recreation Area in preparation for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. The official opening ceremony begins at 12:15 in the River Bend Club House with complimentary food and beverages to follow with local entertainment.

Complimentary cross country ski and snowshoe equipment will be available for both kids and adults and information on local nordic ski programs and lessons. Stroll down the trails and see the biathlon range in action with competitors practicing for the North American Cup, Western Canadian Championships and Calforex Biathlon Cup, happening that weekend. Racing for biathlon occurs Saturday and Sunday and the public is welcome to attend.

Over the past year, select trails were widened to better accommodate skate skiing, winter biking and other multi-trail uses resulting in a lasting recreational legacy. A stadium area for spectators was constructed as well as a media and timing cabin, and the biathlon range was renovated.

These upgrades were necessary to meet technical requirements to host cross country skiing and biathlon during the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

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