It was a wonderful Christmastime in the Larch Hills with great tracks and welcoming moderate temperatures.
The number of skiers and snowshoers was testament to the growing attraction of both sports. Families from afar rented gear to enjoy our ski area, and many folks were introduced to the friendliness, accessibility and joy of skiing/snowshoeing the Larch Hills.
John Henderson had his usual cadre of volunteer trail hosts who greeted folks outside the chalet over the holiday, helping newbies to the hill orient themselves to the area and giving a friendly face to the place.
Our two forays onto the LH trails over Christmas was with the Victoria family, having their annual ski outings with their Salmon Arm cousins. As it is with most youngsters, they had a need for hills –good thing we have Larry’s Leap, Camel’s Hump and Roller Coaster to fulfill that need.
The Lantern Ski on Dec. 29 was a great success! Those who braved the falling snow were treated to the magic of lanterns glowing on the five- and one-kilometre trails. And Aloise Shonenberger’s candle tree was beautiful once again. It was a bit of a challenge keeping the candles lit what with the snow and the light wind. Ed Bouma, chief organizer of the event, thanks the upwards of 60 volunteers who helped make this annual event happen – from the filling of the lanterns crew to the setting up and lighting of the lanterns, to the welcoming hosts at the chalet who signed in non-club members, to the crew who made the chalet warm and welcoming with hot drinks and tables laden with potluck goodies from participants, to the take-down and clean- up of the lanterns until next year. A lovely annual Christmas holiday tradition!
John Thielman and his crew of volunteers put on the Fun Race on Jan. 1 – a great way to start the new year. More than 100 skiers registered for this event which has been going since the late ’70s – first at Skimikin then moving to the Larch Hills. There are two very special trophies presented at this event: the Ian Jenks Memorial Trophy and the Hamish Jenks Memorial Trophy, honouring two of our Larch Hills racers who drowned in a canoeing accident in the late ’80s. The Ian Jenks Trophy is for the top male and female skiers ages 14 to 17, this year won by Aidan Hepburn and Maggie Beckner. The Hamish Jenks Trophy is for the top male and female skiers ages 11 to 13, this year won by Trond May and Samantha Vukadinivic. It is wonderful, and important to keep the memory of the Jenks boys alive with these annual trophies.
Ramping up for the 33rd annual Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet. Jan. 14 will find 400 skiers and hundreds of volunteers on the hill for the event.
If you have not entered yet, go to the website skilarchhills.ca and click on RK-SL and follow the links. Or come in person to register at the Salmon Arm recreation centre, Room 1, on Friday, Jan. 13 from 2 to 8 p.m. That is also when those preregistered pick up their registration packets with bib for the race. It’s an opportunity to donate to the Heart and Stroke Foundation as well.
Perks for joining the gang skiing the event are: a free swim ticket for the pool – good until Monday night; beef on a bun at the finish line plus a plethora of other food, like hot soup, cookies, juice, hot chocolate; goodies and beverage at the awards ceremony at the recreation centre. It is indeed a festival.
Nice to have the Dawg Wagon back again this year.