“You can’t beat this!,” remarked my friend Vic as we were strapping on our poles to leave the chalet for a long ski on Monday. A winter wonderland, sunny, with the trees still white with snow, the prospect of 30 kilometres of track-set trails ahead of us, and easy waxing.
Vic Emery, who has skied Nordic ski areas all over the world, is really impressed with the Larch Hills. Perhaps that is why he is back in Salmon Arm from London, England, having been here last January for the 30th Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet. And we locals all know how blessed we are to have this wonderful ski area!
The 31st Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet last weekend was again a resounding success. With 411 skiers registered we had a very colourful and busy scene on the hill Saturday morning. Amazing how all 411 skiers, in the space of 15 minutes, in four starts, leave the start area and it is clear except for timers and other volunteers.
Almost half of the participants were in the 13-and-under categories, which speaks well for the youngsters, their parents and their Jackrabbit and race team coaches. The sport is in good hands.
Every year, Larch Hills members are pulled in to accompany children from local elementary schools when they come up the hill on school ski outings. Jim and I were on deck when Bastion Elementary brought a couple of classes up just before the loppet. My group was made up of very keen and capable boys and girls who just wanted to get out there and ski – and hopefully find a big hill to practise downhill techniques on. Great fun.
Most of these kids will be skiing in the Pirate Loppet on Friday, Jan. 30 so we checked out the five-kilometre course, then headed for Rollercoaster. Unfortunately, it had not been track set and was crusty but that did not deter my gang of adventurers. We all managed the hill very well – tumbles and all. Good luck to all skiers in the Pirate Loppet. It is always so entertaining with the “swashbuckling” volunteers, most kids dressed up as pirates (and wenches), skull and crossbone flags, and the Monashee Mountain Men at the start line. A note to parents: When considering your kids’ clothing for the Pirate Loppet, think lightweight, and layers.
Many is the skier who has worn his/her snow suit for the event and has a miserable time because it is too hot. Take the snow suit, for sure, but save it for after – for playing in the snow, and hanging out having the lunch provided. With 400 skiers from grades three to seven from Revelstoke to Armstrong to Chase it promises to be a terrific day.
The race team is heavy into racing – from Okanagan Cups to BC cups to the Western Canadian Championships, Larch Hills Nordics racers have garnered excellent results. Come Feb. 21 the team will be in Kelowna at the BC Championships to defend last year’s provincial champion status. Go Larch Hills!
Go to our website: www.skilarchhills,ca for the conditions and daily trail report.
A Larch Hills Nordic Society meeting is set for Tuesday, Feb. 3, Room 1, Community Centre, 7 p.m. It will include a report on the status of our strategic plan. All current and prospective members are welcome.