Magical Christmas break

What a wonderful Christmas break for skiers in the Larch Hills!

What a wonderful Christmas break for skiers in the Larch Hills!

From Okanagan Cup races to backcountry outings, we had the whole spectrum covered.

On the weekend after Christmas, ski racers from around the Okanagan gathered in the Larch Hills for the two-day Okanagan Teck Cup #1.

I got the privilege of volunteering on the start line as a “herder” – otherwise known as marshall – organizing skiers for their particular races as they came up to the start area. Such a nice bunch of kids – from seven years to adult.

On the Sunday there were sprint races with each age category having qualifying semi-final/final races.

Looking up into the announcer’s booth, one could see the nerve centre of the operation. Brian May and Rob Nash were hunkered over the printer, organizing the start lists for the next level according to the results from the last, given mere minutes to accomplish this. I was amazed how quickly and smoothly this went!

Jim and I celebrated New Year’s Day with a ski up the newly trackset Metford Road from South Canoe to the chalet.

Our group of eight skied up to Lake View, around Sentinel, down Woodlot Ramble to Sunshine, on to the chalet. A quick cup of tea then back along Skyview to Lake View and down Metford to South Canoe.

It took half the time to return to South Canoe from the chalet than it took to get there! Great way to start 2015.

The annual January “snow measurement” trip was taken last weekend. Off to the Summit for the first of the snow depth measurements done each January and March. There’s an interesting study being done by Keith Cox and George Zorn. A bunch of us gets to go along for the wonderful ski.

The powder snow was terrific – best ski down from the Summit ever! Then across a lovely bog – such a magical place. Down Greenway in powder snow, followed by Pole Camp Way and Ridge Run to the chalet.

Then it was backcountry trails all the way down to the chalet save for a couple hundred meters on Ermine Frolic/Larch Hills Road. Can’t beat that!

Cec’s Cabin is a wonderful ski destination and for some a great place to overnight.

Just before New Year’s, the Van Bergeyk and Klotz families skied up to Cec’s to overnight. What a wonderful family thing to do – albeit a bit crowded I would imagine with four adults and five children in the cabin. Awaiting a report…

The Lantern Ski was again a whopping success! If ever there was a magical evening this is it.

With a brilliant Three-quarter moon, headlamps were unnecessary. There were more than 180 lanterns to lead the way around the five-kilometre course and an additional 150 bag candles for the stadium and kids’ 1-km route.

The chalet was bursting with skiers enjoying the hot chocolate/cider and goodies – a respite from the minus-17 degrees outside.

Thanks to Ed Bouma for keeping the tradition alive.

Now thing sare ramping up for the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet on Saturday, Jan. 17. Sign up now. And it’s not only nordic skiers revelling in Larch Hills trails – snowshoeing has become uber-popular.

Families with kids, Lady Striders groups, folks out to explore the Larch Hills. Many thanks to those guys/gals who spend hours in the fall preparing these trails for snowshoeing.

‘Think Snow’ can abate for awhile!


Salmon Arm Observer