Trail Tales

Cross-country skiing enthusiast looks into all the activities at the Larch Hills ski area.

Tessa Elliott tucks into position for the next hoop during Larch Hills Fun Day Saturday.

Tessa Elliott tucks into position for the next hoop during Larch Hills Fun Day Saturday.

“I used hairies. What did you have?”

“Purple wax with a red stripe but I hear waxless worked fine for some.”

“I almost bit it on the big hill!”

“Kind of a grunt going up the last rise into the finish line!”

These were comments heard at the finish line at the BC Championships two weekends ago hosted by the Larch Hills Nordic Society.

Margaret Kitchen, who had been at the finish line throughout the Saturday races as collector of the racing bibs,  chuckled at the discussion I was having with the other masters skiers who, like me, had just finished our 10-km race and were having the usual hobnobbing session at the finish line.

“No matter what the age of the skiers, from the pee wees to the masters, the talk is the same – What wax? Hairies? Hills, falls, exciting details . . . quite funny, actually.”

It had been a challenging day for waxing – snowing earlier in the day, then warming up later. With the first of 360 racers starting at 11 a.m. and individual starts at 15-second intervals, beginning with the youngest skiers, my start time as one of the older masters competitors was 13:17:15 which meant that my wax would necessarily be different from the racers that went out two  hours before. Tricky it was. The Larch Hills Nordics waxing tent was set up for the event and the coaches and parents had been busily waxing the kids’ skis to get the best grip and glide for each racer. Thankfully, there were a few fellows available in the tent to confer with re: wax when my start time came near.

What was being suggested was “hairies” when waxes and waxless skis weren’t working for the skier. I was happy to do anything that would give me grip for the hills – but without compromising the downhills terribly. Hairies worked just great for me. After cleaning the grip zone with wax remover, George Jackson took the power sander to the grip zone, then topped it with a silicon rub. It was the first time I had ever used hairies. They gave me both the grip I needed to get up the hills and glide for the downhills. I’m a convert.

Pretty exciting that the Larch Hills Nordic racers brought the club championship trophy to the Larch Hills for these two years running. Previously, the Larch Hills had won it twice – 1983 and 1997. The challenge will be to bring it back to LH next February when the BC Championships will likely be hosted by a northern club. With five amazing coaches, 55 junior racers, and a cadre of supportive parents, the LH Nordics could well do it again. In sharp contrast to this racing weekend, last week the Wednesday Wenches took a lovely “bog tour” – off- set track. Breaking trail up Sky Trail we ran into an “almost hail” storm then broke out into sunshine at the North Hub. Wending our way through the forest we came out onto the first bog. Gorgeous! Sometimes moose are sighted in the bog area but we weren’t that lucky. For folks interested in trying off set track skiing the bogs are a good choice – flat, accessible from the main trails. Good to have fat basket poles for the trip.

Good luck to the LH Junior racers taking in the BC Midget Championships this weekend in Kelowna. Larch Hills Nordic Society annual general meeting is Tuesday, March 6, Room 1, SASCU Rec Centre, 7 p.m.

Happy skiing!!

Salmon Arm Observer