Cape Breton Nordic – Adult Lessons Resounding Success

Welcoming new-comers to the sport

by Cross Country Nova Scotia, Staff, March 2, 2021

Cape Breton Nordic offered classic cross-country ski lessons to active adults in February, which included two weekly sessions. John Hudec, president of Cape Breton Nordic, and Daniel Murray, instructor, reached out to adults within the surrounding running and triathlon communities. There was immediate uptake for the introductory sessions.

“I always have been curious how well cross country skiing could integrate into CBRM’s incredible outdoor fitness community,” said Murray.  With my recent move to Sydney, it seemed like a great opportunity to test the waters with a ski lesson.  When I put the call out for lessons one evening, we had 18 sign up by noon of the next day.  It was a great lesson, with fantastic weather, and an even better team spirit.  I also had more interest in what I could offer for lessons, so now I’m scratching my head to see if I can make additional lessons happen.”  

Murray is the head coach for the provincial ski team. In 2020, Murray received the Bryan Scallion Award for top male aggregate time at the provincial cross-country ski championships. He grew up skiing at North Highlands Nordic.

John Hudec is president of Cape Breton Nordic. Hudec volunteers to bring outdoor enthusiasts together to enjoy a variety of activities year-round including nordic pole walking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. “Last year we selected three populations to target as groups we would like to attract to ski and snowshoe here at the Cape Breton Nordic Trails,” added Hudec. New Canadians, older adults and active community members such as runners and cyclists.  Covid has slowed us down a bit but this year we focused on the active community and inviting them to cross over and try cross country skiing. With Daniel Murray in our community now it provided a great opportunity to work with local running groups to provide this opportunity. It has been well received for sure. Our next partnership will be with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Recreation Department to provide specific initiatives for older adults.”

John Hudec is president of Cape Breton Nordic. He is also head coach of the Cape Breton University track and field team.

Introductory Lessons

Cross-country skiing increases your heart health and endurance. The sport is low impact, while engaging all muscles – an excellent cross-training sport that improves balance.

Lesson participants enjoying the session at Cape Breton Nordic, based at Seaview Golf and Country Club in North Sydney.

Cross-country skiing provides another training option to stay fit and spend more time outdoors during the winter months.

Cape Breton Nordic – Information

Enjoy a day at Cape Breton Nordic. Rental equipment is available.

Interested in purchasing a membership? (Click here)

There is 7 KM of groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. You are invited to bring your lunch or warm-up at the club house, during set hours.

Come out and be a part of the friendly atmosphere at Cape Breton Nordic. Sliding is also popular! (photo – Yolande LeVert)

Cross-Country Skiing as Cross Training

>Mix it Up with Cross-Country Skiing | Triathlon Canada Magazine

>Cross-Country Skiing is Ideal Cross-Training for Trail Runners | Trail Runner Magazine

>Ski Training for Runners


>Cape Breton Nordic | Facebook


>Ski and Snowshoe at Cape Breton Nordic

>Nordic Walking Lessons at Cape Breton Nordic

> More News

Season Extension Possibility at North Highlands Nordic

April skiing at NHN – conditions and weather permitting

by North Highlands Nordic, February 27, 2021

North Highlands Nordic – After yesterday’s announcement by Dr. Strang, new travel restrictions have been put in place for those living in the HRM and two neighbouring municipalities. This comes into effect February 27th, at 8:00 a.m., until at least March 26th. North Highlands Nordic will remain open for skiing and snowshoeing for those living in unaffected regions of the province.

We urge everyone in the affected areas to follow public health guidelines and cease all non-essential travel.We ask that you do not come to North Highlands Nordic if you live within those restricted zones.

Our intention, providing the weather and conditions permit, is to extend the season beyond our scheduled closing date and into April.

Fast Facts

  • 12 km expertly groomed 16′ wide trails by PistenBully tractor
  • Groomed for skate skiing, classic skiing & snowshoeing
  • Rental equipment for youth-adult-sizes for classic skis, skate skis, snowshoes + pulk (child’s sled)
  • Traveller info & accommodations (click here)
  • Highest snowfall precipitation often recorded in March
  • Currently, the Gulf of the St. Lawrence, upwind of the Island, remains ice free. This could make for a large Highlands snowbelt this year (click here).
  • Planned chalet for 2021-2022 (donate)
  • New for this season – groomer & storage building, access trail (click here)
  • World-class scenery and hospitality bar none, always included
  • Contact –, 902-383-2479


>North Highlands Nordic | Website

>Chalet Building Fund

>New Groomer / Storage Building & Access Trail 2020-2021

>Return to Restrictions to reduce spread of COVID-19 | Province of Nova Scotia, Announcement

> More News

Saltwire NS – Provincial Team Skier, Doyon

Doyon loves competing, introducing others to sport

by Saltwire Network Nova Scotia, Colin Hodd, February 24, 2021 (original article)

Lynden Doyon has been skiing since he was three years old. The first outing he remembers was in Cape Breton, skiing a mountain on Christmas Eve with his father Kris and Daniel Murray, who is now his coach with the Nova Scotia provincial cross-country ski team.

At 13, the Madeline Symonds Middle School student is only in his second year with the provincial squad. But he’s been training for this spot for much longer, starting out by joining group practices at the Martock ski resort in Windsor.

“I think that’s really where I got to know most of the people that were on the team,” says Doyon. “I started practicing roller skiing and skiing with the group when I was not on it, like Grade 5 and 6.”

Doyon officially made the team in Grade 7. Sometimes the transition to the next level in a sport can be jarring – new teammates, new coaches, new places. For Doyon, these things remained mostly the same. All that changed was his workload. And it is a workload.

If you, like me, are struggling to get off the couch for even one or two workouts a week, you might want to continue to sit down for this, because provincial team members do six workouts a week.

Outside of time trials, workouts have been all Doyon and his teammates have been able to do as races have been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. They’ve been getting out on skis as much as possible, but erratic snowfall has made that a challenge.

“Difficult might be the right word,” he says. “In these last weeks, we’ve had these snowfalls, lots of snow and then it rains right after the weekend. I think we had a week where we had all snow, but it’s really just been back to like fall training.”

Doyon is hoping to use this time to put in extra work that will pay off next season and hope that perhaps a race or two might happen at the end of the season.

The motivation is train hard this winter, because we won’t be able to compete at that level, and next year will be the real year,” he says. “The goal is Canada Games, nationals, make it to those, and then just do well at both events.”

For a skier like Doyon, the appeal of live races is twofold – competition and novelty.

“In the competition level, you could see your improvements or your losses or where you could make or lose time on the course,” says Doyon, who especially misses the Maritime Cup races.

“They’re always fun because you get to go outside the province and race against new people, there’s different places to ski. The classic race last year at Maritime Cup must have been one of the most memorable. That was a hard race.”

Doyon placed fourth in that race, a 7.5K classic ski, his favourite discipline. It says something about his approach that he considers the 7.5K race to be his favourite, but also the most difficult race for him. Last season he pushed himself to complete a 20K race in Kouchibouguac, N.B. He looks for the push and pull among teammates, like Cohen Norman, that drives success, and has been working to identify and correct weaknesses in his own execution.

“Cohen, he’s been challenging me and always trying to get me faster,” says Doyon. “The last couple years my balance would be a very big issue. I felt this year I really worked on the balance and now I can really skate ski with good technique.”

Doyon’s father enjoys watching his son compete but believes that kids’ sport should still be driven by enjoyment of the activity.

“I feel like it’s more important that they’re out and having fun,” says the elder Doyon. “Whether they win or lose, is it contributing to them wanting to do it again? And do it again next year, or do it again 15 years from now.”

Kris Doyon | Alumni, Nova Scotia Cross-Country Ski Team

Lynden still loves to be out on the trail, eager to introduce other people to his sport.

“It’s nice connecting and teaching people. If you’re out on the trail skiing, they’ll ask you how you do this or something. I think that’s what’s nice about it. You can help other people.”

Lynden powering down on the trail (left, photo – Ken Lane). The asphalt is a little less forgiving than the snow when you take a tumble (far right, photo – Daniel Murray).


>The Laker News | Head Coach Daniel Murray

>Saltwire NS | Provincial Team Athlete, McClure

>Provincial Cross Country Ski Team | Webpage

> More News

Saltwire NS – Provincial Team Skier, McClure

McClure still lovin’ the slopes

by Saltwire Network Nova Scotia, Colin Hodd, February 18, 2021 (original article)

The soft swish of Susan McClure and John Cameron’s cross-country skis across packed snow were echoing in their daughter’s ears before she was old enough to walk.

“Even before I could ski … my parents would pull me around in a pulk,” says 17-year-old Fiona McClure. “And then as I learned to walk, I learned to ski.”

There are times, for most of us, when we begin choosing the world we want. McClure can remember one such turning point.

“When I was eight years old, my family lived in Chelsea, Quebec for six months and I got to ski in Gatineau Park,” she says. “That’s when I really started actually loving cross-country skiing for myself and not just being dragged out by my parents as much. I always liked it but that’s when it was more an independent thing.”

For six months, the 200 kilometres of trails in Gatineau Park belonged to McClure, in the way public spaces come to feel personal. She now skis out of the Halifax Nordic Ski Club and for the provincial ski team. Nova Scotia’s warmer, wetter winter climate turns McClure and her fellow cross-country skiers into snowchasers.

Fiona McClure has been passionate about cross-country skiing since she was a very young child. She has received many accolades in the sport throughout the years.

“It hasn’t been bad this year. I actually skied (recently) at Dollar Lake, which is near the airport, and then also skied at Smileys Provincial Park; they’ve had a bit of snow,” says McClure. “Basically, just wherever there’s snow in the province we try to get there on the weekends. The snow is so unpredictable … it’s a bit challenging sometimes not being able to ski all through the winter. In Halifax, at Brunello Golf Course, they make snow, artificially, and that’s the only way we can reliably ski through the winter.”

Like many athletes, McClure can be brutally honest in describing her own performance. It can be shocking to hear, but it forms the core paradox of sport. Each athlete or team competes hoping to win, knowing that ultimately each competition will only have one victor.

“I’m definitely very middle-of-the-pack at the national level,” says McClure. “I’ve gone to nationals and Easterns for the past several years. I’ve placed middle range. I primarily compete in skiing because it’s something that I really love doing. I still want to get better at skiing and become faster and stronger, but I want to do that for myself and because it’s fun and I have that personal drive. But I don’t feel like I’m ever going to be a world cup skier or anything.”

McClure has, however, received accolades from her coaches and peers. In 2019 and 2020 she was named the Junior Female Athlete of the Year by Cross Country Nova Scotia. She’s won the Bryan Scallion Award as the fastest female skier on aggregate at cross-country provincials twice (2018 and 2020). 

Nobody has unlimited time, and so McClure’s passion for skiing has led her to some difficult choices.

“When I was younger, I did play a lot more sports. I had to choose what sport I loved the most and wanted to prioritize,” she says. “That was a bit of a challenge. I don’t play basketball anymore and I’m not as competitive of a runner as I once might have been. The provincial team just has a very positive culture, kind of like a family, so I wouldn’t want to ever give up the sport, because then you’re giving up the people as well.”

Fiona looks up the trail with a competitor close behind at the 2020 Nova Scotia provincial championships.

She hopes to continue her skiing career next fall at either Carleton, where her older sister Maggie skis, the University of Ottawa, or Guelph. McClure’s planned major is environmental science.

“I have always been more drawn to biology and chemistry, but then also the environmental aspect of it is something I’m really passionate about, so it kind of drew my interests together,” she says. “It does tie into skiing, because you need snow to ski and you need winter.”


>The Laker News | Head Coach Daniel Murray

>Saltwire NS | Provincial Team Athlete, Doyon

>Provincial Cross Country Ski Team | Webpage

> More News