By Dan Walton

Pioneer Staff

The valley is going to be jam-packed full of events during the final weekend of January.

On the frozen Lake Windermere, outdoor enthusiasts will have to choose between an ice fishing derby, organized pond hockey, and an ugly sweater curling bonspiel. Up at Nipika Mountain Resort, the annual Nipika/Toby Creek Nordic Loppet Weekend will be contesting the valleys Nordic ski racers.

The Kinsmen Ice Fishing Derby takes place for the 15th year on Saturday, January 31st. The fisherman to net the longest sucker or pike minnow has the chance to win a $500 grand prize,followed by a $300 prize for second and $200 for third (depending on the number of entrants). Other great prizes will be awarded to both adults and youth.

Its a great community event that brings out many local families and visitors in the valley, said Kinsmen chairman Steve Kuffler. And the money raised goes to support all of the communitys greatest needs.

Many fishermen will be jigging their rods from within a shack or out in the elements, but the only requirement in addition to registration is that participants have a fishing licence. Day licences are available for purchase online and through government office.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. at The Station Pub and costs $35. The derby starts at 9 a.m.

Beginning on Friday, January 30th, the BC Pond Hockey Tournament will be in action on Lake Windermere for the fourth year. It runs all weekend, and has been organized by the Columbia Valley Rockies for the first time.

The tournament was started in 2012 by an organizer from Rossland, who last year has handed over the event to the local Junior B team as a fundraiser for their club. Rockies president Al Miller said the team plans to continue running it every year. Well be taking the pond hockey tournament on wholeheartedly, he said.

Teams of six skaters (no goalies) can register for $550 this entitles them to five games of round robin, which will determine their standings for the playoffs on Sunday, February 1st. All participants will be given tickets for admission and a burger for the Rockies home game on Saturday, January 31st against the Kimberley Dynamiters.

The Columbia Valley Recreation Centre Society will again be hosting the annual Ladies Ugly Sweater Spiel, which asks female curlers to get out and play in their ugliest sweater. The bonspiels schedule coincides with pond hockey, running between Friday, January 30th and Sunday, February 1st.

For those looking to experience a different kind of winter atmosphere, Nipika Mountain Resort will be hosting the Nipika/Toby Creek Nordic Loppet Weekend. A 30-kilometre Classic race will be held on Saturday, January 31st, and a 20-kilometre Skate race on Sunday, February 1st. And for the first year, the resort is hosting the Teck Kootenay Cup Series.

The trails are in excellent condition, said Marni Kreutzer, events and marketing co-ordinator at Nipika. Lets hope the weather co-operates up to the weekend!