Gleefully Gliding on a "Blue Evening"

Harry’s Loop

January 22nd, 2020

Welcome to the first post of our new blog, which is titled: Godtur.

For those who have been skiing and snowshoeing with Clarenville Nordic for many years – you will know that this Norwegian word was used by our past president, Corwin Mills, as his closing on many emails, or as a salutation to end a speech – especially one that followed a ski. Google it and see what you find.

As a side note, those who are new to Clarenville Nordic should also be made aware that our facility – the trails, Lee Churchill chalet, and huts – is named after our departed friend – Corwin, as the Corwin Mills Nordic Centre: “Where Everyday is a BEAUTIFUL DAY”.

This evening I found myself losing a race against time, but alas – I was out the door by 10:05 p.m. to squeeze in a ski on Harry’s Loop (named after club member Harry O’Gay), which is our 3.5km lit trail.

I was on a time crunch because the lights turn off at 11 p.m. each night (though I have to admit when I returned to my car at 11:15 tonight – they had not yet turned off? Perhaps Corwin was lending me some light for the rest of my ski). And WHAT a BEAUTIFUL NIGHT IT WAS! The conditions were marvelous with great grip-n-glide. I was in my GLEE!

Check the little video I did to capture some of the great sounds and sights of nordic skiing on a winter’s night like tonight.

Gleefully Gliding on a “Blue Evening” on Harry’s Loop- January 22nd, 2020.
Video: Richard Churchill

As I was gleefully gliding along in the tracks enjoying a classic ski, I found myself reflecting on how lucky I feel to have landed in Clarenville.

This is my 12th winter living in Clarenville; and I must admit that when I look back at the winter of 2009, and the joy I experienced meeting friends at Clarenville Nordic like Corwin, June, Gina, Bill, Pete, Joan, Harold, Harry, Don, Dave, Sylvia, Shirley, and many more friends – they made Clarenville feel like home for me; and it remains so today. MORE than ever. Clarenville Nordic has been an integral part of my decision (and Rebecca’s) to make Clarenville our home. I know from talking to others – this rings true for them too.

On a typical ski tour with many friends at Clarenville Nordic. The ski trail pictured is Bear Pond trail.

You see, the trails, huts, and facilities are one thing, but the camaraderie, memories, fun, and inspiration of active living are what truly makes our club unique.

When you join Clarenville Nordic – it’s like becoming a part of a family – and an AWESOME family it is, which is full of characters! The CNSC family has a history spanning several decades with stories as rich as any you will find on this island. For example, ask one of the first friends I met, who are listed above, about their ski tour to Great Harbour Deep. Or, ask Harry O’Gay about the caribou who made a residence on our trails one winter – he might just have a picture to share with you. Talk to Bill about the Syenite Race that used to draw HUNDREDS of nordic skiers from across the province. Apparently the dance competition at the social later that night was as strong as the skiing competition earlier in the day! We see remnants of that love of dancing at our annual Snowdance!

A friend of mine from back home in Portugal Cove-St. Phillips, Jared Osmond, who now resides here in Clarenville with his wife Rae and their 4 kids, said to me the other day after our Jackrabbit session (which has 73 skiers ranging in age from 3-12) “Richard – did you ever think we’d be so lucky to land here?” We looked at one another – quite aware of the incredible fate that two boys from “the townie bay” would come to call Clarenville home, and I replied: “No b’y – but thank God we did .”

Clarenville is an amazing town to call HOME.

Finally, I leave you with a poem I wrote back in the Fall of 2009 when I was just returning from a ski on a night much like tonight; along with the poem is a screenshot of the email I sent to my friend, Corwin, who I knew would appreciate my poetic dedication to nordic skiing. Tonight I could almost sense his ‘red coat’ skiing alongside me. (Check out Corwin’s Coat in the Lee Churchill Chalet – it is emblematic of his passion for nordic skiing.)

Thinking of the many great chats I had with Corwin.
Richard enjoys a chat with Corwin.

If you are looking for a great winter community to join, please consider joining us at Clarenville Nordic “Where Everyday is a Beautiful Day!” Embrace winter like our friends in Norway!

As Corwin would say; Godtur.

Richard Churchill

P.S. “Blue Evening” is a reference to the magic that is skiing with Swix Blue Wax for grip. It is as good as it gets.

This post is dedicated to my friend, Corwin, who made me feel so welcome during my first winter with Clarenville Nordic in 2009. He became a very good friend and mentor, as did his wife June, over the many years we enjoyed skiing together. Lastly, he taught me the valuable lesson of being welcoming to new members – as he was to me – such that one more person might get to know why he found such joy in winter (as well as all areas of life).

Corwin, in his symbolic red jacket, on the way to Grandfather’s bottom in February 24th, 2013. The beautiful backcountry of Clarenville was Corwin’s happy place. This is the final jacket Corwin skied in, which the Mills family donated to Clarenville Nordic in his memory. It can viewed in our main chalet. Godtur, Corwin.