Kimberly Kaznowski, president of the Plumas Sierra Nordic Foundation, made a presentation and a plea to Portola’s City Council at its only December meeting.
The cross-country skiing group was formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit this year and is planning to begin a Nordic center at Grizzly Ranch. Kaznowski appeared to introduce the council to the group’s mission and goals and to request financial help in buying a Skandic snowmobile as part of the grooming equipment.
Plumas Sierra Nordic Foundation’s mission is to develop, promote and expand Nordic skiing recreation opportunities and education programs for all ages, skill levels, disabilities and incomes in Plumas County and surrounding areas.
Members envision sponsoring local Nordic ski teams in competitive events as well as promoting the sport non-competitively as a family-oriented, environmentally friendly and health-inducing activity. They also envision expanding the area’s groomed cross-country trail system beyond their beginnings at Grizzly Ranch.
Based on the growth of cross-country skiing she watched develop in the small town of Shasta after a similar center began, Kaznowski envisions that the sport would increase tourism in Portola and the surrounding area and provide a year-round destination that would help businesses whose incomes were compromised in the winter months.
In response to questions posed by the council, Kaznowski said that groups would come and spend the night in the community or the weekend and that it would also be a draw for families to make day trips to the area.
She said that introducing children to the sport was a primary focus, and originally members had planned to locate at Grizzly Creek Ranch on Highway 70 and Grizzly Road, but they were not yet ready to open during the winter months and not geared up to plow their roads.
On the other hand, Grizzly Ranch development was already heating their buildings and plowing their roads, making it an ideal place to begin.
“Rob Young has graciously offered the use of his facilities,” she said, adding that maybe later they would be able to expand or move to Lake Davis or to Johnsville, but the situation at Grizzly Ranch made it an ideal place to begin.
Not only could they use the pro-shop as a ski hut and the putting green for lessons, they planned to groom the roads, already cleared for future development when the economy returns, for ski trails.
She also mentioned that the Ginzugroomer, roller and tracksetter from Yellowstone and the snowmobile were portable and could participate in events away from Grizzly Ranch.
The equipment would make two types of tracks: a corrugated wide track for “ski-skating” and the traditional narrow double-track for cross-country style skiing.
The group has contacted local schools for their input and received $500 from Plumas Sierra Rural Electric and $2,000 from Plumas Bank. Far West Nordic Ski Education Foundation has pledged $300-$600 to support children’s programs once the center is up and running.
“The ball’s starting to roll,” she said. She added, “I hope this community will see the value of this.”
She told the council that the group wanted to keep its activities extremely affordable for the local community and especially for children.
Mayor Dan Wilson asked for specifics and was told that they were discussing $10 tickets for a day of skiing and maybe $5 for children.
“The board has to decide this, but these are the numbers they are talking,” Kaznowski told him.
Right now, the group is looking for financial help to pay for the Skandic they have ordered. The City Council seemed in agreement that the project was in the public interest and would likely be beneficial to the city of Portola, but Councilman William Weaver wanted the item carried over onto the January agenda in order to discuss possible amounts with his constituents. The other members of the council present agreed to defer discussion until then.
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