A chance to remember Reino

It’s always good to factor in extra time when one is heading up to ski.

It’s always good to factor in extra time when one is heading up to ski. One never knows whom one may meet and what interesting conversations one may get into. One day last week Jim and I noticed a fellow in the stadium who looked from “away.”

I asked him where he is from – it’s always interesting to find out where our out-of-town skiers originate, and why they choose Larch Hills. From Vancouver, he says, but his interest in the Larch Hills is historical.

This Pierre Z. tells us he was raised in Nova Scotia and cross-country skied seriously as a kid. One year he attended the National Cross Country Ski Championships in Mont St. Anne, Quebec. For all his nordic ski career, Pierre had skied only classic technique. At Mont St. Anne he discovered everyone was into the new technique – skating. Unfortunately, Pierre was right out of his league in this event. But he tells us that the one person to take time to talk to him and be friendly was Reino Keski-Salmi. Ever the gentleman, he took Pierre under his wing and made the event less daunting than it otherwise would have been.

So Pierre was here to ski the Larch Hills and connect with the memory of the fellow who had befriended him so long ago. We showed him Reino’s Run on the map and told him our stories of watching Reino train up here.

Jim and I finally got out on the trail – with a warm feeling of how Reino connects more of us than just those in the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet.

With 90 skiers on the Junior Race Team and 15 coaches, the Larch Hills is a force to be reckoned with on the nordic racing scene. This was no more evident than at the BC Championships held the weekend of Feb. 6 at the Telemark trails in Kelowna.

Again it was a sea of blue with the Larch Hills jackets. It was easy to pick out the LH Racers out on the course with their yellow-sleeved jerseys and snazzy tights.

Friday was classic mass  start, Saturday free technique interval starts, and Sunday the relays.

There were many trips to the podium, and Larch Hills had garnered a landslide of points to capture the provincial trophy over the many clubs in attendance – Hollyburn (Vancouver), Bulkley Valley (Smithers), Caledonia (Prince George), Strathcona (Courtenay), plus all the clubs in the Southern Interior. This is the third time in four years for the championship trophy!

I got to be part of the BC Championship action. I skied the 10-km classic on Friday – I was the only competitor in the women 60-69 year age category but headed out in the mass start with the younger Masters set and had a fine time. Then on Sunday, I had great fun on a Larch Hills relay team of Masters Women, named Beckner Sandwich since two of us three were Beckners.

It was a great finish to a successful weekend!

We have a team of Larch Hills skiers heading to the National Championships in Thunder Bay later this month. All the best to these athletes.

The annual general meeting of the Larch Hills Nordic Society will be held Tuesday, March 31. At that time there will be a report on the strategic plan which has been making its way through its various stages – including a club online survey – over the past few months.

Good skiing if you follow the tracksetter.  Spring is here!


Salmon Arm Observer