Brrr! What a cold snap we had. It didn’t deter hardy skiers from taking advantage of the terrific conditions in the Larch Hills, especially with the arrival of our new track setter. Thanks to the club members, notably the treasurers (especially treasurer John Pagdin), who had the foresight a decade ago to put aside monies each year in a track-setter replacement fund knowing that this day would come.
Lots of activities are planned on the hill in the next few weeks. This Sunday is the 13th annual Santa Cruise event – free technique, distances for everyone culminating in a visit from Santa Claus and followed by the hotly-contested auction in aid of the areas’ food banks.
It’s a great start to the Christmas season. Register by 10:30 a.m. for an 11 a.m. start.
Last Saturday was to be the first Jackrabbit session; however, the temperature was too cold so the start-up is this Saturday. So wonderful to see the hill crawling with all these young skiers with their enthusiastic leaders. Of course, the Junior Race Team skiers continue their training sessions in the Larch Hills, readying themselves for a full season of races starting with the first Okanagan Teck Cup race in Revelstoke, Sunday, Dec. 29.
We are gearing up for the very popular annual Lantern Ski, Saturday, Dec. 28. About 230 lanterns have to be cleaned and filled, the lantern posts put up around the course, and the lanterns lit by a cadre of lamp lighters by 5 p.m. on the evening of the event. Quite ingenious is the method of lighting the lanterns. Each pair of lantern lighters has a 28 ounce tin can with the top cut off one end. In the middle of the side of the can a small hole is bored to hold a short candle. A wire handle is fashioned to carry the can with lit candle, which stays lit because it is enclosed in the can.
The candle is lit at the outset of the lighting session and, as each pair arrives at the lantern to be lit, the lighter takes a long match stick and lights the match using the candle in the can. We all know how difficult it can be to light a match on a wet match box and it is usually too cold to use a butane lighter. This method works well.
Jim Beckner came up with this idea a few years back when we were finding lighting these suckers very frustrating.
The 30th annual Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet is fast approaching. A bit of history: Our Larch Hills Nordic Society really owes its existence to Reino Keski-Salmi. As a young, successful cross-country ski racer, Reino was skiing out of the Revelstoke Club by necessity since his hometown, Salmon Arm, didn’t have a club.
Stig Keskinen and a committee took it upon themselves to start the Larch Hills Ski Club back in 1977.
Reino trained hard and became champion in the North American Ski Chase in 1979. He was a National Ski Team member and great inspiration to our club when he was tragically killed in a helicopter crash near Revelstoke in summer 1985 while on a forest-fire fighting crew. The Larch Hills Marathon, which we launched in January 1985, became the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet the very next year in honour of our hometown hero. Join us Jan. 19 in our annual winter nordic ski celebration.