Skiers and the Heart and Stroke Foundation were all winners, as the 31st annual Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet raised spirits and more than $5,000 to create a 31-year total of $390,000 in support of heart health.
Saturday, Jan. 17 saw keen racers, ‘fun’ skiers, young, old, male, female, local and visiting skiers chattering and laughing with loppet exuberance.
Local weather gods again smiled upon the Larch Hills with adequately cold temperatures and fresh snow which the track setters skillfully groomed to perfect tracks.
More than 400 skiers, including 200 youth and racers from B.C., Alberta, Washington, New Zealand and Australia, came to challenge themselves on courses that ranged from one kilometre to 34.
At this multi-generational event, there was a 78-year span between the youngest skier, two-and-a-half year old Kai Cadden and the eldest, 80 years young Gullan Hansen, who has energetically skied every race throughout the loppet’s 31-year history.
The event was supported by more than 250 volunteers and 40 local sponsors.
The post loppet celebrations included a BBQ beef and hot soup lunch on the hill, followed by a community centre swim, appy hour, award ceremony and a family dance.
The winners of the 34 km race were: overall women – first Pat Pearce 2:07:09; second Sheila Corbett 2:18:29; and third Sarah Purslow 2:20:34.
Overall male – first Thomas Hardy 1:45:56; second John Connor 1:48:13; and third Camille Cheskey 1:50:41.
The winners of the 17-km junior races were: junior female – first Glynis Sim 1:05:10; second Jessica Brown 1:18:11; and third Annah Bucher 1:27:40.
Junior male – first James Hardy 55:41; second Aidan Hepburn 58:38; and third Garret Tremblay 59:26.
The top local females were Sheila Corbett, Elena Bruns 2:27:24 and Daphne Brown 2:42:38, and the top local males were Thomas Hardy, John Connor and George Jackson 1:59:52.
Other top junior category finishers included: four and under – Yana Bonthuys, Audrey Liebich and Maya Roberts, and Gideon Breugem, Ian Calkins and Mason Haak.
Ages five to seven – Madeleine Wilkie, Jeremia Bucher and Sophie Joerissen, and Dawson Bond, Max Calkins and Cole O’Connor.
Ages eight to 10 – Samantha Vukadinovic, Zara Bucher and Teslyn Bates, and Kaden Kwiatkowski, Mitchell Bond and Cameron Carelse.
Ages 11 to 13 – Julia Brown, Rachel Bates and Lucy Elliott, and Trond May, Japheth Bucher and Lucas Sadesky.
Full race results can be found at www.skilarchhills.ca and follow the link to Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet.