Vancouver Island cross-country skiing instructor has become a go-to source in COVID-times

·2 min read

A Vancouver Island man who teaches cross country skiing has seen his Youtube channel grow in popularity as people from around the world turn to the sport as the perfect pandemic activity.

Keith Nicol has been posting videos online for the past decade. Over the past year, the number of people who subscribe to his channel has grown from 4,500 to 6,500, and his videos now accumulate between 4,000 and 4,500 views a day.

“I would say that it’s really been a COVID-related thing in terms of kind of grasping the uptick,” said Nicol.

“I put it down to people having time on their hands, not travelling in the winter, and looking for something to do, so they’ll pick up cross country skiing.”

Nicol has a long history of teaching and running instructor courses in Atlantic Canada, where he lived before moving to Courteney six years ago. He holds a Level Four instructor training certificate for cross country skiing and a Level Three for telemark skiing from the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors. These are the highest such levels that the organization assigns for the respective sports.

(In other words, Nicol truly knows what he’s talking about.)

Nicol now teaches at Mount Washington. He said that his videos focus on the aspects of the sport that people struggle with, as well as key elements of technique.

“I teach up at Mount Washington, so I see people repeatedly having problems doing certain activities or certain skills. So I’ll say, ‘okay, well, maybe I’ll do a video on that,’” he said.

Overall, Nicol said that he’s very encouraged by the growth of cross country skiing, which experts estimate has grown by around 50 percent this year.

“I think it’s great, since it’s such a great lifetime sport,” said Nicol.

Nicol, who cross country skis almost every other day, also views it as the “perfect” COVID activity.

“I go up Mount Washington, and I’ll look at all of the people lined up the lift, and I’ll go, ‘Well, I’m glad I’m glad I’m cross country skiing today again,’” he said.

For anyone wanting to see Nicol’s cross country ski instructional videos, you can check them out at this link. Nicol also encourages anyone interested to reach out to him directly with video ideas at k2nicol@gmail.com.

Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.