With the pandemic driving people outdoors this winter, new enthusiasm built around cross country skiing. The North Star Ski Touring Club (NSSTC) is here to foster this newfound interest in the sport and get folks involved in stewardship of Nordic ski trails.
While the pandemic made things difficult for the group, cancelling their planned ski outings and multi-day trips, they were able to maintain some level of activity. They migrated their board meetings to Zoom and hosted a featured speaker each month. This online format proved popular, as more people from across the state were able to join. Their membership remained steady, and they look forward to bringing new people into the fold as activities start up again.
Despite the pandemic, one significant way the group still supports stewardship of ski trails is through their grant program. Local ski clubs or groups can apply for funding to support projects such as trail grooming efforts, Nordic ski equipment or facilities, or engagement programs. A big focus of the program is to promote synergy among partners, encouraging collaboration with cities, counties, and regional ski areas. The NSSTC typically issues 7-8 grants a year from $500-$5,000. Applications are due March 31 each year, so the review process is underway for 2021. Scroll through the pictures for a few examples of past grant projects.