Skiers will enjoy the four kilometres of widened, lit cross-country ski trails at Red Deer’s River Bend Golf Course long after the 2019 Canada Winter Games are over. (Contributed photo).

Widened, lit-up cross-country ski trails at River Bend to officially open Jan. 9

Anyone can attend and participate in the ski tour

The four-kilometre Light Park of upgraded cross-country-ski trails will open next week at River Bend Golf Course.

City councillors, the Canada Winter Games Council, Alberta government representatives and local ski club members will celebrate the completion of the $400,000 Canada Winter Games-related project on Wednesday from 5:15 to 6 p.m.

“We hope you are able to join us in celebrating and promoting the opening of the new Light Park and enhanced recreation trails,” say organizers.

A short program in the main clubhouse will be followed by the lighting of the park. At 5:35 p.m., the park lights will be switched on, outside the start-finish stadium.

Members of the Red Deer Jack Rabbits Ski Club and other skiers, who will be using the widened and lit track after its opening, are encouraged to bring their equipment for an active ski tour after the park officially lights up.

This is a 2019 Canada Winter Games Legacy project. While the course was created to host cross-country ski and biathlon events during the games, it will remain for the community’s use in years to come.

The Parkland Cross-Country Ski Club will be able to host national-level competitions. But other central Alberta users will also benefit, including fat-tire bike racers, mountain bike racers, competitive runners, and whatever other events emerge over time, stated Parkland ski club president Tom Marr-Laing.

Funding from various levels of government has not only enabled the trails to be widened and lit, but has also allowed permanent snow-making equipment to be installed.

There’s also a competition-level stadium added for the start and finish of events, as well as a time-keeper’s building.

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