Due to restrictions around COVID-19, access to the Larch Hills chalet will be limited for the 2020/21 cross-country ski season. (File photo)

Early snow means early cross-country skiing at Shuswap’s Larch Hills

COVID-19 requirements restrict use of chalet, postpones of events

Cross-country skiing got an early start in the Larch Hills.

Larch Hills Nordic Society President Suzy Beckner said the popular Shuswap cross-country ski area’s trails are already being groomed and put to good use, despite it not yet being December.

“It’s pretty exciting because this is the earliest we’ve ever been able to open,” said Beckner. “I’ve coached a ski team for nine years and we never once had a practice in November.”

Early snowfall isn’t the only thing making for unusual conditions at Larch Hills.

The Larch Hills Nordic Society has released its COVID-19 operations plan, which includes increased cleaning, cancelled events and limited access to the chalet.

“There will be some days when it will probably be busier in the mornings and people might want to avoid it,” said Beckner.

Read more: Column: Staying active while social distancing in the Larch Hills

Read more: Shuswap’s Larch Hills abuzz with rapattack crews

The chalet’s washrooms will be available for use and Beckner said porta-potties may be brought in to make sure there are enough toilets available so people aren’t going inside. The chalet’s kitchen will remain closed and cubbies will not be available for use. All skiers entering the chalet are expected to wear a mask.

Sanitizing protocols will be in place and hand sanitizer available for those entering the chalet. Seating will be limited and restricted to one bubble.

No overnight stays will be allowed at Cec’s Cabin. Day use only and a maximum of two people at a time is permitted at Cec’s and Pente’s cabins.

Popular community events including the annual lantern ski and the elementary schools’ Pirate Loppet have been postponed.

Beckner encouraged Larch Hills users who haven’t done so already to register as members. Annual membership fees assist with the costs of maintaining the facilities, equipment and trails at Larch Hills. To register, or for general information and daily trail conditions, visit skilarchhills.ca.

For inquires or to sign up as a volunteer, contact the manager,Karen Tanchak at 236-586-5711, or email manager@skilarchhills.ca.

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