Idaho

Ski Club Founder Broke Trail

People call Glenn Truscott an uphill skier.

He’s the skier who worries more about over-dressing than about frozen fingers and toes, and he never looks for a chairlift. He considers hills as much fun to climb as to slide down.

That’s life as a cross-country skier - soul-cleansing exercise and solitude, which is why Glenn wasn’t sure anyone would join a cross-country ski club.

“Cross-country skiers are notorious loners,” he says.

Still, he decided to give a club a try when some friends from North Idaho College proposed it 10 years ago. These people knew they’d found something so great it was sinful not to share it. Glenn wholeheartedly agreed.

At first, the Panhandle Nordic Club was a handful of experienced skiers who revealed their favorite trails to each other.

They skied on ungroomed trails or shared tracks with snowmobiles, which wasn’t ideal. Individually, the skiers had no clout or enough strength or time to groom a trail. But together, they figured they could turn North Idaho into a cross-country ski paradise.

The state’s Park and Ski program loaned a snowmobile to the club and steered the group to the woods south of Fourth of July Pass. The friends cleared brush and branches for hours, then dragged through a weighted device to lay tracks.

Groomed trails led to interested skiers and more volunteer hands to do the work. The Panhandle Nordic Club adopted Fourth of July Pass and nurtured it into an enviable public trail system, complete with a warming hut and picnic shelter built by volunteers.

The membership list grew and so did club-sponsored events. A poker ski at the pass the first Saturday in February introduces the trails and the club to new skiers every year.

The club still surprises Glenn, who’s learned that cross-country skiing is as good in a pack as individually.

“I like the people. They renew my enthusiasm for skiing and for being around people,” he says. “They’re willing to pitch in. I come away lifted when I’m around them.”

A place to call home

Worley’s oldest generation is tired of maneuvering between fire engines to meet friends. The fire district’s meeting room has to serve as the senior center because it’s the only free space to meet in the area.

But seniors can’t cook there and can meet there only once a month.

A new center with a kitchen and space for City Hall, a library and an arts and crafts display is on the drawing board for this tiny town. A grant is available to get the whole thing going, but Worley’s seniors have to match the grant with $135,000 in cash, labor or materials.

In case you’re thinking Worley doesn’t need such a great building, consider that City Hall is in a 10-by-35-foot trailer that sat empty in the desert outside Boise for eight years before Worley bought it a year ago.

The city will pay for its portion of the building, but the money won’t count toward the $135,000 match.

Anyone out there with a soft spot for seniors or Worley or, maybe, a library? Call Gayle Dyer at 686-1258 to find out how you can help.

Free fun

It’s nice to live in a place where a sled or a pair of ice skates mean free entertainment all day in the winter or a swim suit or a pair of hiking boots mean the same the rest of the year.

I missed skating on Fernan Lake under a full moon this week because I was too tired from skiing on the free trails. It doesn’t get much better.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: What’s the best free entertainment in North Idaho any season? Describe it in detail for Cynthia Taggart, “Close to Home,” 608 Northwest Blvd., Suite 200, Coeur d’Alene 83814; FAX to 765-7149; call 765-7128; or e-mail to cynthiat@spokesman.com.

This sidebar appeared with the story: SKI CLUB The Panhandle Nordic Club’s sixth-annual Cross Country Best Hand Ski at Fourth of July Pass is Feb. 7. Call Glenn Truscott at 765-3415 for details.

What’s the best free entertainment in North Idaho any season? Describe it in detail for Cynthia Taggart, “Close to Home,” 608 Northwest Blvd., Suite 200, Coeur d’Alene 83814; FAX to 765-7149; call 765-7128; or e-mail to cynthiat@spokesman.com.

This sidebar appeared with the story: SKI CLUB The Panhandle Nordic Club’s sixth-annual Cross Country Best Hand Ski at Fourth of July Pass is Feb. 7. Call Glenn Truscott at 765-3415 for details.



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