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'It's really quite magical': Winterpeg's first pop-up ski library of the season

The library has more than 350 pairs of skis available, as well as ski boots, snowshoes, sleds and anything else needed for a fun time in the snow. (Source: CTV News Winnipeg) The library has more than 350 pairs of skis available, as well as ski boots, snowshoes, sleds and anything else needed for a fun time in the snow. (Source: CTV News Winnipeg)
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A Winnipeg non-profit has returned, offering free cross-country skis, equipment, and lessons to anyone looking to get out and enjoy the winter weather.

The first pop-up mobile ski library of the season, put on by Winterpeg and the Winnipeg Trails Association, was in Transcona Saturday afternoon. Anyone could show up, borrow a pair of cross-country skis and hit the trails at the Transcona Golf Club free of charge.

"We've been doing it since the pandemic," said Anders Swanson, project lead for Winterpeg. "We have donated skis, donated equipment from hundreds of Winnipeggers and we make it available for free, near you, so you can get out and have some fun in the winter."

The library has more than 350 pairs of skis available, as well as ski boots, snowshoes, sleds and anything else needed for a fun time in the snow.

The Transcona pop-up is the first of many Winterpeg events taking place around the city over the next few months. "If you look at the calendar, there's a lot of really cool, fun, interesting things," said Swanson.

In addition to the pop-up ski library, Winterpeg offers "active aging" sessions for older Manitobans, Indigenous-led programming, and both programming and equipment for persons with disabilities. "Sit skis for folks in wheelchairs, and wheel blades - there's some really neat adapted equipment out there," said Swanson.

He said anyone with any disability can try the adapted equipment during their Tuesday night sessions. "Whatever your mobility challenges might be, we can make it fun for you."

Swanson said they've had a lot of interest from newcomers, especially those who have never experienced winter before.

"Honestly, the moment they set foot on a ski, the moment they get out there, you see people's eyes light up, it really is quite magical," said Swanson.

The library will be in Transcona again on Sunday before moving to the University of Manitoba campus on Jan. 19. A full listing of locations is available on the Winterpeg website.

Swanson said visitors to the website can also register ahead of time, "We like it when people RSVP because it gives us an idea of what kind of skis and things that we need to bring.

"Just show up. Just come, have a good attitude," said Swanson. "We'll make sure the skis fit you, we'll make sure you have what you need to know to get started."

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