Weathering a crisis

Kenn Oliver
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Published on March 22, 2010

Shania Caravan, 14, from Gracia Gymnastics, Deer Lake (Western). Coach Kerri Anstey looks on.

Published on March 22, 2010

Emily Bland of the Grand Falls-Windsor host team goes up for the kill against Mount Pearl/South during girls volleyball action at Exploits Valley High Sunday, March 21, 2010. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 22, 2010

Bethany Parsons (11) of the Grand Falls-Windsor host team blocks a spike from Mount Pearl South's Michelle Compton during girls volleyball action at Exploits Valley High Sunday, March 21, 2010. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 22, 2010

Mount Pearl/South's Michelle Compton spikes against the guard of the host team's Donna Jewer (1) and Bethany Parsons (11). - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 22, 2010

Brad Manuel (7) of the Grand Falls-Windsor boys hocket team looks back to see St. John's/North goaltender Michael Collins sprawl to keep his backhand shot from crossing the line. St. John's would win the game at Windsor Stadium, 6-2. - Photo by Kenn Ol

Published on March 22, 2010

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Figure skater Ashley Bishop, Mount Pearl South.

Published on March 22, 2010

Figure skater Shannon Lilly, Labrador City.

Published on March 22, 2010

Emma Holmes competes for St. John's/North in the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games cross-country ski event at the Exploits Valley ski trails on Monday. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 22, 2010

Aaron Andrews of Corner Brook and the Western team performs on the parallel bars Monday during the boys' gymnastic competition at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 22, 2010

Aaron Andrews of Corner Brook and the Western team performs on the parallel bars Monday during the boys' gymnastic competition at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 22, 2010

Aaron Andrews of Corner Brook and the Western team performs on the parallel bars Monday during the boys' gymnastic competition at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 22, 2010

Corner Brook's Brian Brewer presents Pamela Budden with her medal after she clocked a time of five minutes and 16 seconds in her 500-metre Para-Nordic cross-country ski event at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Grand Falls-Windsor. -

Published on March 22, 2010

Fans of Exploits Valley High School, the Host team in the male volleyball competition at the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games, cheer on the home side during the gold-medal match against Western Tuesday in Grand Falls-Windsor. Western won the fina

Published on March 22, 2010

Members of the Eastern female bowling team at the Provincial Winter Games include (front, from left) Melanie Avery and Emma Manning; (back, from left) Sarah Short, Cassie Bishop and coach Rosetta Avery. - Photo by Dave Newell/Transcontinental Media/The

Published on March 22, 2010

Nick Ash (2) and Jacob Lane (14) of the Gander Collegiate Concordes go up to block a smash by Patrick Churchill of the South West Arm Academy Tigers during the bronze-medal match in the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games boys' volleyball competiti

Published on March 22, 2010

Central's James Collins (9) looks to pound the ball through a couple of Eastern blockers during the boys' volleyball bronze-medal final at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Grand Falls-Windsor. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 22, 2010

The 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games Western Male Volleyball Gold Medal Team. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 22, 2010

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Published on March 22, 2010

The 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games Eastern Male Volleyball Bronze Medal Team. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 22, 2010

Labrador goaltender Kyla Penney gets ready to pounce on a loose puck as teammates Charlene Duffett and Shannon Kalanko keep Western's Kristen Cooze and Franchesca Gibbons at bay during female hockey action at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter G

Published on March 22, 2010

Central region basketball coaches Ed Traverse (left) and Brian Kennedy get their Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games kits from volunteers Betty Boone and Gloria White (right) during Games turnaround day Wednesday in Grand Falls-Windsor. - Photo by K

Published on March 22, 2010

Mount Pearl/South hockey player Carlee Jesso lugs her sticks, equipment and suitcase as she enters the girls' athletes village at Exploits Valley School in Grand Falls-Windsor, turnaround day at the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games. - Photo by Ke

Published on March 22, 2010

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Published on March 22, 2010

Central's Blanchard and Avalon's Cody MacTavish hook up in boys' wrestling action at the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Grand Falls-Windsor on Thursday. Thursday marked the first full day of action in the second half of the Games. - Photo by

Published on March 22, 2010

Members of the Labrador wrestling team at the Provincial Winter Games include (front row, left to right): Stephen Penashue, J.B. Andrew, Rodney Osmond and Matthew Nuna; back row (left to right): coach Brian Tucker, Alex Penashue, Clinton Rich, Nicholas

Published on March 22, 2010

Samantha Morey (centre) and Victoria Roberts of Central take on Mount Pearl/South, whose team includes Kiley Hynes (left) in girls' badminton action at the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games Thursday in Grand Falls-Windsor. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/T

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Lack of snow might have been a problem if not for diligence and determination

Leading up to this week's Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Grand Falls-Windsor, there was concern about unseasonably warm weather wreaking havoc on the Exploits Valley cross-country ski trail system.

The problems faced by the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, if you will, but on a much smaller scale.

Some even feared cross-country skiing, the Games' only outdoor winter sport, would have to be moved, or worse still, cancelled. Possible alternate venues included a local park or trails in nearby Gander.

Leading up to this week's Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Grand Falls-Windsor, there was concern about unseasonably warm weather wreaking havoc on the Exploits Valley cross-country ski trail system.

The problems faced by the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, if you will, but on a much smaller scale.

Some even feared cross-country skiing, the Games' only outdoor winter sport, would have to be moved, or worse still, cancelled. Possible alternate venues included a local park or trails in nearby Gander.

But event convener Mark Whiffen never doubted the event would go ahead.

"We have a good base throughout the trail system which was worked on since the very first snowfall ... the trails were packed in really well."

Whiffen says conditions Sunday were almost ideal for the free/skate style events and today's classic style participants shouldn't have any concerns.

"In the free race, you're using the middle sections and passing. I'm expecting less wear on the track tomorrow," Whiffen says.

Nevertheless, should the weather work against organizers over the next few days, the course can deteriorate.

"When it gets mild, as it did later in the day, sometimes if it gets too soft it'll wear in certain areas," he says.

"It's just a matter of patching it up."

That may sound simple, but patching it up is no easy chore. In fact, members of the town's Department of Recreation and Parks division have been keeping the trails being used this week for the Games in tip-top shape since early February.

Unlike Vancouver, they didn't have the luxury of trucking or flying in mounds of fresh white powder. At first, snow from roadside culverts was used, but it proved to be too dirty and coarse.

So on a daily basis, up to six town staffers have been digging snow from shaded wooded areas and carting it to the trails.

One of the diligent trail groomers, Bob Buckley, couldn't estimate how much snow he's shovelled, but knows he's getting plenty of exercise.

"If I had to guess, I'd say we're hiking some 15 to 20 kilometres a day. So, I'm really glad this is going ahead," Buckley says.

Skiers themselves had mixed reactions.

"I've skied in better conditions," admitted St. Anthony native Katie Rumbolt, a part of the Western team.

"We raced at nationals last year in Ontario and the conditions were about the same, maybe a little more mud there."

"There are some bad spots on the trail, but it was fast," added Plum Point's Colton Tatchell, also with Western.

But on the whole, Whiffen says the feedback was positive.

"We managed it pretty well and got some advice from the technical delegate for the provincial association.

"And the guys on the trail have been managing it really well over the last couple of days especially."

koliver@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Recreation and Parks division

Geographic location: Vancouver, Newfoundland and Labrador, Grand Falls-Windsor Exploits Valley Gander St. Anthony Ontario Plum Point

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