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Trail Tales: Reflecting on a wonderful, busy cross-country ski season at Larch Hills

Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet back at Larch Hills on Saturday
Pauline Waelti enjoys backcountry skiing during a beautiful, sunny day at Larch Hills. (Contributed)

By Marcia Beckner

Special to the Observer

As we ramp up for the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet this weekend, we reflect on what a wonderful ski season it has been.

Starting late November with adequate snow, and the groomers out packing the trails, it moved into set track early December.

Since then, it has been wonderful on the hill - albeit a wee bit chilly at -27 C on the Winter Solstice evening, Dec. 21, when we skied out under the lights. As the Norwegians say: “There’s no bad weather, just bad gear!” So we bundled up and had a lovely ski. Magical under the lights!

Lots of happenings in December, and lots to come. The Lantern Ski on Dec. 29 was a grand success, attracting hundreds of skiers for the spectacular lantern and candle-lit route set out by a cadre of volunteers the day before and on the day. So many comments from folks about how magical it was, and how thankful they were for the experience. It is indeed a very highly anticipated and well attended event.

The Santa Cruise, held Dec. 18, raised a whopping $3,050 for the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Also in December was the first annual Volunteer Appreciation lunch hosted by the Larch Hills Nordic Society (LHNS) executive to honour the many volunteers that make the society hum. In attendance were our Mayor Alan Harrison and MLA Greg Kyle, both of whom in their speeches spoke highly of the LHNS and its contribution to the community.

Over Christmas, the conditions were superb, and so many families made it out to ski – many of those days in brilliant sunshine!

Saturday mornings in January and February are busy on the hill with the Jackrabbit program and the Ski Team. Terrific to see all those new nordic skiers – Jackrabbits as young as five years of age learning the techniques that will last them a lifetime, and absorbing the fact that skiing is fun!

Also, the popular Ski School program is underway where LHNS members pair up with classes from various schools in our district to accompany the classes in skiing the Larch Hills trails.

January sees a couple of major events on the hill. This Saturday is the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet. It will be the first time in person since Covid. Exciting times!

Then, on the January 28-29 weekend, we host the 2023 Teck BC Track Attack Championships for 9-12 year olds. Another fun-filled weekend!

Backcountry skiing is awesome. Heading off onto the bogs this Thursday with the Geezers. What a treat!

Think snow!

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