Larch Hills skiers shine in Ottawa races

At the Eastern Canadian Championships at the Nakkertok Ski Club in Ottawa, Larch Hills racers garnered a great number of podium finishes

I’m sure they didn’t know what hit them.

At the Eastern Canadian Championships on the weekend at the Nakkertok Ski Club in Ottawa, Larch Hills racers garnered a great number of podium finishes and in many races had a considerable number in the top 10.

In the Midget Girls race on Saturday, Larch Hills had four of the top six finishing positions. With competitors from all across Canada – Hollyburn to Whitehorse to Blow Me Down in Newfoundland – the field in these races was over 45 racers deep.

I can just hear some saying, “Where is Larch Hills?”

Great showing by these 16 Larch Hills Junior Racers back in Ottawa, completing their exchange with the kids from Nakkertok who came to Salmon Arm in December.

A couple of weeks ago, I came into the chalet to change my boots and there was a lively group of folks sitting at one of the tables having lunch – and speaking in a variety of accents.

Turns out this was a group of 10 first-time skiers from different parts of the world (see photo page 34): Chile, Ukraine, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Uzbekistan taking part in an Okanagan College program ESLSAP – English As a Second Language Settlement Assistance Program – helping new Canadians to improve their English skills and learn about Canada through participation in English Practice Groups and field trips.

This was one of their field trips. After all, being Canadian – especially in Salmon Arm – means snow and its enjoyment.

Co-ordinator Olia Bullen reports the group was very impressed with this outing and that it was a great team-building experience.

In talking to a number of them I can tell they will be back! Wonderful to know there is this free program in Salmon Arm through the College.

I’ve had the most terrific staycation this past two weeks.

With Vic Emery visiting us and wanting to train up for his 10th crack at the Norwegian Birkebeiner in mid-March – as one of  more than 80 competitors in the 80-89 age category – we have been skiing up a storm in the Larch Hills. We’ve skied 14 of 15 days, with a rest day halfway. Never ran out of set track, covering most of the Larch Hills trails both directions.

Took a wonderful backcountry trip with the Geezers up to Cec’s Cabin and over a number of the bogs on the Bog Route before heading down Greenway – magical experience with powder snow, cozy trail with trees laden with snow. As the snow and trail conditions became more challenging with the warmish weather we turned to skating and had a superb day on the South Loop where the Ginzu groomer had done its magic. Sentinel was beautiful with its coating of hoar frost. Can’t beat Larch Hills for such variety of experiences!

The Pirate Loppet is unique among ski events. Vic had never seen anything like it. Kids, parents, teachers, volunteers all dressed up as pirates for a wonderful day of celebrating being a kid on skis. After hobnobbing with various pirates milling about the chalet area, we skied up to Reino’s Run and positioned ourselves there to cheer on the kids on their five-km route. What a colourful scene!

For some it was an easy, fast ski. For others, it was a slow ski. But for all it was fun. A banner at the chalet read, “Shuswap Lady Striders: Over 5,000 hot dogs served to Pirate skiers over the years!”

Those hot dogs plus the numerous draw prizes capped a wonderful day for the 400-plus kids.

Think snow!


Salmon Arm Observer

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