Fantastic days for skiing

What a brilliant Christmas holiday season at the Larch Hills!

Eli Decker was the fourth Bantam Boys finisher at the first Okanagan Cup event in Revelstoke.

Eli Decker was the fourth Bantam Boys finisher at the first Okanagan Cup event in Revelstoke.

What a brilliant Christmas holiday season at the Larch Hills!

Seldom was the parking lot less than half full, and the chalet was bursting with happy families having lunch, sharing snacks, playing card games, getting ready to go out skiing/snowshoeing/sledding.

More and more I am finding I don’t recognize lots of folks in the chalet or on the trails, which speaks volumes to the fact that cross-country skiing is becoming more popular and that our Larch Hills area is the wonderful place people choose to come to.

In chatting with folks in the chalet during the Lantern Ski, Jim talked to one fellow who skis Sovereign but decided to take in the Lantern Ski here. He exclaimed that he has to come back to ski the area in the daytime – he was so blown away by the tracks, trails, ambience of the Lantern Ski route. Not an uncommon reaction from folks skiing the Larch Hills for the first time.

Our family Christmas was spectacular with younger son Mike bringing his young family up from Victoria for their first real experience with snow. Outfitted with ski gear for the three boys we headed for the Larch Hills. Cousins Maggie and Max, veteran Nordic skiers, took on the instruction and route planning for the group – including lots of downhill challenges like Larry’s Leap and Camel’s Hump – and by the end of the first day all were happy, committed skiers. This is old territory for Mike who was a Larch Hills race team member in elementary school and did his training on these trails. He certainly enjoyed meeting the new trails such as Sunshine, South Loop and Town/Lake View. Next year we hope to get the gang up to Cec’s Cabin and out Whoopee. I know the boys would love Panorama.

The Lantern Ski was a great success – 500 skiers/snowshoers/walkers – more than 250 visitors plus an estimated 250 LHNS members. Co-ordinator Ed Bouma reports the event raised $2037.80 for the LHNS and the food bank, and folks who registered were from as far away as St. Albert, Alberta, and California.

I talked to a gal in the chalet from Poland. Word gets around! A beautiful evening, magical lanterns and candle bags, great fire at South Hub, and Alois’ lovely candlelit Christmas tree on Metford Road. And we can’t overlook the goodies and glog in the chalet. Great LHNS tradition!

Sunday was the annual Larch Hills Fun Race, first race of the LHNS hosting schedule. Jim and I remember back over three decades to the Fun Race held annually on New Year’s Day at Skimikin when our boys were very young. Those trails were such fun and a challenge. The event got moved to the Larch Hills when the Skimikin snow became questionable.

Organizer John Thielman reports that 96 skiers took part in Sunday’s Fun Race. Winners of the Ian Jenks Memorial trophy (14 to 17) were Andrew Nash and Rachel May. Winners of the Hamish Jenks Memorial trophy (13 and under)  were Trond May and Julianne Moore. These memorial trophies are presented each year in memory of the two Jenks boys, members of the Larch Hills race team, who drowned in Little Shuswap Lake canoeing a number of years ago. Winner of the Stig Keskinen Family trophy was the May family. Although tied with the Moore family for points, the combined age of the May family members was greater –that was the tie-breaker! Jim and I skied the race and loved it – especially skiing in the sunshine over Bilbo’s and Frodo’s Bogs. Stunning!

Then Gullan’s famous glog – what could be better? We followed it up with a skate on Rosemond Lake. Great area we live in.

Multiple ski location options – Foreshore, South Canoe (Metford Road up to the LH system). Especially awesome with all this snow!

The LHNS meeting is  Tuesday, Jan. 12, 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the rec centre. Vote on the proposed chalet expansion.

Happy New Year! Reino Keski-Loppet on the 16th. Think snow!


Salmon Arm Observer

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