UNBC, Caledonia Nordic Ski Club partner on varsity club ski team

UNBC student athletes in cross-country skiing and biathlon will be able to compete at the post-secondary level with the new Nordic ski team, a partnership between UNBC and the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club.

February 29, 2024
Nordic skier in red and white ski suit slightly crouched. Trees in background.
UNBC student Ben Gadd is looking forward to the opportunity to compete for the Timberwolves on the new Nordic ski varsity club team. Photo courtesy Ben Gadd.

Prince George, B.C. - Nordic athletes can now compete in Green and Gold. The University of Northern British Columbia and the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club are partnering to launch a cross-country ski and biathlon varsity club, beginning in the 2024-25 Nordic ski season. 

“The Timberwolves varsity club cross-country ski and biathlon racing team will attract elite Nordic athletes from across the country,” says UNBC President Dr. Geoff Payne. “This is an outstanding opportunity for aspiring student-athletes to come to UNBC’s Prince George campus, train at the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club’s world-class facility and join the Timberwolves family.” 

Under this partnership, the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club will provide student athletes with a training plan, expert coaching, waxing services (both on and off-site), as the athletes train at the club’s world-class facilities. The student athletes will be responsible for providing CNSC with out-of-pocket fees for trail passes and racing team membership. “This is such an exciting time for us at the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club as we've had the vision of re-establishing the UNBC Nordic Team for over a decade,” adds Kevin Pettersen, who was President of the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club from 2011 - 2016, when this vision came together. “Nordic athletes studying at UNBC will have an amazing competitive advantage as they have a world-class Nordic facility almost literally in their backyard where they have such easy access to ski and train while they are studying. Furthermore, as we attract national and international competitions at Caledonia, the UNBC Nordic Ski team will be able to compete with the best athletes both nationally and internationally on home snow." 

The UNBC Athletics office will take the lead on ensuring that all students competing for the UNBC cross-country ski and biathlon varsity club maintain the necessary eligibility requirements as per International University Sports Federation, Cross-Country BC, Biathlon BC, Nordiq Canada, Biathlon Canada and the various race organizing committees.  

“On behalf of UNBC athletics we are excited to partner with the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club in order to help make the UNBC varsity cross-country ski and biathlon club racing team a reality once again,” remarks Loralyn Murdoch, UNBC Director of Athletics and Recreation. “This collaboration with Caledonia ensures that student athletes participating as members of this varsity club can sport our colours and be representatives of UNBC during those designated races.”  

Pettersen notes that the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club has worked hard over the past decade to develop their facility and their focus with the student Nordic athlete in mind. Examples of this include: the endowed Nordic Leadership awards that already exist for UNBC student-athletes, the lighting of both the recreation and competitions trails for evening training, as well as an extensive snowmaking system that lengthens the training season.  

“We are also really looking forward for this to be a catalyst for the entire UNBC student body to have the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club as its winter recreational facility, and for the wider student body to both support the UNBC Nordic team during competitions, and to also come out be part of the incredible skiing community that we have at Caledonia,” Pettersen expresses.  “This is literally a dream come true, and we have immense gratitude for all who made this possible.” 

UNBC student Ben Gadd has competed at the national level in Nordic skiing and is looking to further his competitive career with the Timberwolves next season.  

"I want to thank UNBC athletics for this chance to compete in Nordic skiing again,” he says. “I think that this is an undervalued sport at the university level, and that there is a ton of opportunity here at UNBC, especially working with the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club. I am really looking forward to the coming season!"