Leroi Bent of Penticton at the Spirit North festival. (photo courtesy Angus Cockney - Western News)

Photos: Spirit North program celebrates at Okanagan nordic centre

The second Spirit North Indigenous youth cross country ski season ended this week

A second successful season of the Spirit North indigenous cross country ski program wrapped up this week at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre.

Over 200 kids from West Kelowna to Oliver attended the four hours of fun and games, food and stories not to mention plenty of skiing and snowshoeing along the many kilometres of trails during the year-end festival.

In addition to West Bench Elementary and the Penticton Indian Band’s Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School, SenPokChin School of Oliver and the PIB alternative school also participated this year, along with another school from West Kelowna.

A pilot program was started at Nickel Plate last year by the Alberta-based, non-profit Spirit North organization, which expanded operations this season.

Related: Celebrating Spirit North’s second season at Okanagan nordic centre

The fun actually begins early in the school year where instructors go out to the participating schools and work with the students on fitness goals then graduate to the lessons on snow.

The kids and their families can also go to the Nordic centre on their own time and use the equipment at no cost.

Related: Sharing the voices of the mountains with Spirit North

“Our mission is really to transform the lives of Indigenous child and youth through sport and we’re all about creating an opportunity for children who haven’t had the opportunity before to benefit from all the great things that sport can bring,” said Olympic medalist and Spirt North CEO Beckie Scott earlier. “This is so valuable if for no other reason then it’s just getting kids back outside on the land.”


 

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Some of the participants at the Spirit North year-end festival. (photo courtesy Angus Cockney - Western News)

Spirit North instructor Kevin Dunn gives students a lesson in ski instruction. (photo courtesy Angus Cockney - Western News)

Leroi Bent attaches his skis before heading out on the trails at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre. (photo courtesy Angus Cockney - Western News)

Levi Bent, in traditional regailia with son Leroi in the background, help with the setup for the Spirit North year-end festival. (Angus Cockney photo)

Going through the hoops for fun, a young Spirit North student tests his cross country ski skills. (photo courtesy Angus Cockney - Western News)

Students in the Spirit North program relax for a moment in the snow at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre. (Angus Cockney)

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