Larch Hills Ski Area alive with loppets, happy skiers

If you have never skied out to Town View make this the year to do it.

A happy Gullan Hansen, oldest participant in the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet at 82 years, is greeted by her son Tom at the finish of her 17-kilometre race.

If you have never skied out to Town View make this the year to do it.

The tracksetter guys have set track out along Lidstone Connection off Lakeview onto Townview trail. Once you get to the turnaround for the tracksetter you carry on down to the Townview View Point. It is well worth the trip – the view is spectacular! The entire arm of Shuswap Lake on which Salmon Arm is situated is spread out below.

One can follow Highway 1 as it heads into town, as well as North Broadview as it goes along through farmland and orchards. Lakeshore Road is visible – I picked out Coyote Park before Lakeshore disappears downhill to the north. The summer cycling routes in the valley are evident winding their way through the farmland. To the northwest in the distance one can see snow-capped mountains. Thankfully Townview View Point is situated on a logging road so there’s no chance that the view will be obliterated by post-logging new growth.

It has been a busy ski season in the Larch Hills so far. There was the Lantern Ski before Christmas, then the Fun Race on New Year’s Day, immediately followed the next weekend by the two-day BC Cup.

Skiers from all over the province were doing sprints on the Saturday and distance on the Sunday. I had the pleasure of working as a “herder” in the start area – helping get the skiers lined up in the correct order and at the correct time for their start. Such fun with the little guys/gals, for some their first experience racing.

Then it was quite inspirational as the older skiers, veterans of ski racing, knew exactly what to do and when.

A well-oiled machine, the Larch Hills race program folks put on events which garner complimentary comments from attending clubs from away. And the new sprint courses were well-received by the 300 racers from the 15 participating clubs.

The hill has been alive throughout the week with classes from many of the elementary schools in our school district. For some of these youngsters this is their introduction to cross-country skiing. Members of the Larch Hills Nordic Society are encouraged to sign up for a session with a class and take a number of them out on the trails.

I had the pleasure of squiring a group of students from South Broadview Elementary up Metford Road where we discovered the joy of herringboning up one of the new sprint hills and downhilling on the other side.

This group got so adept at this that we headed over to Rollercoaster to have the big downhill.

What a gas!

Proud of the gang being able to stay upright the whole way down!

This skill will come in handy for those skiing the Pirate Loppet on Friday.

It was so exciting to have two locals win the Male and Female Overall categories in the 33rd Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet.

Thomas Hardy sailed to a course record, and Alysson (Marshall) Hamilton showed her many years of international training and racing paid off as she took the women’s title in spite of very little training now that she is in med school.

Anne Keski-Salmi was on hand to award the Reino Keski-Salmi award to the top local skiers, Thomas and Alysson – always a tender moment as she presents the plaque with her brother’s engraved photo, the brother in whose honour the event is named.

Enjoy the skiing. Think snow!


Salmon Arm Observer

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