Big Thunder Nordic Ski Club began its life as the Thunder Bay Ski Club in 1970 and operated from Centennial Park until the late seventies. The club was established to promote the sport of cross-country skiing at both recreational and competitive levels in Thunder Bay and the surrounding area. The initiative for starting the club was to develop instructional programs for beginning skiers and to provide coaching programs for promising racers. The trail system at Centennial Park was planned and cleared by club volunteers and the park became a key facility for a number of races held each winter. These competitions included some important events, such as the National Senior Championships, National Olympic Trials and North American Championships. In 1976/77, the club moved operations to Centennial Golf Course and began developing new trails at Retto Lake on Spruce River Road. The Thunder Bay Ski Club was the first to offer Jackrabbit programs in the area.
When the Big Thunder facility was built and cross-country ski trails were opened, the club moved to the new site and changed its name to Big Thunder Nordic Ski Club (BTNSC). In the 1980s, the club was incorporated as a non-profit organization. While operating at the Big Thunder site, BTNSC was host club to two world cup events in 1989 and 1994, and to the 1995 World Nordic Ski Championships. When the Big Thunder facility closed in 1996, the club moved to Thunder Bay Nordic Trail’s Kamview Nordic Centre.