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Cross Country Canada – CALGARY—From skiing at school to cheering on the world’s best cross-country skiers at the Ski Tour Canada, Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada is on a mission to encourage Canadians across the country to Embrace Winter in 2016 and beyond.


Thousands of Canadian youth across the country will now be introduced to cross-country skiing at school over the next three years, thanks to AltaGas reinforcing its support for the national body’s unique Ski at School program.


Designed to introduce more children to the sport of cross-country skiing while creating a more active Canada, organizers of the AltaGas Ski at School program will set ski tracks in the schoolyards while providing equipment and first-class coaching to youth as part of their curriculum for the week. This initiative started seven years ago in partnership with Foothills Nordic Ski Club in the Stampede City. It will now extend its reach and powerful impact to youth across seven provinces, thanks to the vision of AltaGas.


“One of Cross Country Canada’s core responsibilities is to pull kids away from video games and television sets, and inspire them to take on an active lifestyle with friends and family while embracing winter,” said Pierre Lafontaine,” chief executive officer, Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada. “The foundation of the Olympic or Paralympic dream for many athletes begins in the schoolyards and local communities. This program is a critical part of our larger goal to help Canada become one of the most physically active countries, while also not losing sight of building our pool of athletes for Olympic and Paralympic Games well into the future.”


To qualify for funding, Ski at School programs may be delivered during class hours or after school at school playgrounds or nearby, with the support of a local ski club. AltaGas extended its grant funding to two schools and five ski clubs across the country on Tuesday. The schools and clubs include: Foothills Nordic Ski Club (Calgary); Chelsea Nordic Ski Club (Chelsea, Que.); Hardwood Hills Nordic Development Centre (Barrie, Ont.); Saskatoon Nordic Ski Club (Saskatoon); Salem Elementary School (Sackville, N.B.); Omineca Ski Club (Burns Lake, B.C.); and Rocky Lake Junior High School (Bedford, N.S.).


AltaGas made the announcement of their extended support in front of the student body at Calgary’s Mount View School in advance of joining members of the Calgary Police Service and Calgary Fire Department, along with students and many of Canada’s best Olympic cross-country skiers, for a head-to-head Nordic Showdown relay race in the schoolyard.


“I was very fortunate to be exposed to sport, and specifically, cross-country skiing, at a young age in my backyard in Canmore,” said Sara Renner, Olympic silver medallist and community ambassador for the 2016 Ski Tour Canada. “You just never know what playground in Canada will give birth to the next great Olympic or Paralympic athlete unless you introduce kids to sport in a fun and positive environment. This program by AltaGas delivers those tools and helps us build the foundation of our sport’s future.” 


In addition to strapping on the skinny skis for a little racing against Calgary’s top cops and firefighters, Renner joined national team athlete Jesse Cockney in her return to the school playground to also raise awareness of the nation’s best cross-country skiers readying themselves to host the world for the historic eight-race Ski Tour Canada taking place, March 1-12.


The Ski Tour Canada 2016 will feature eight races at four iconic Canadian ski venues over 12 days. The first four stages will take place in Quebec (Gatineau, Montreal and Quebec City), while the second week of the Tour will feature the final four stages, and awarding of the FIS crystal globes, in Canmore, March 8-12.


“The Alberta World Cup Society is thrilled to once again host the greatest cross-country skiers in the world at the Canmore Nordic Centre,” said Norbert Meier, chairman of the Alberta World Cup Society. “The Ski Tour Canada will bring four exciting days of racing to Canmore, and we welcome the public with open arms to take in this free event, and cheer on our Canadian athletes.”


CCC is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 60,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, and Mackenzie Investments – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2Ten, CCC develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on CCC, please visit us at





Chris Dornan                                    

Media and Public Relations

Cross Country Canada

T: 403-620-8731