Larch Hills Nordic Ski Club’s Junior Race Team intramural champions for 2020-21 recognized on March 13 were: Maggie Beckner, Trond May and Isabelle Wilkie. (Photo contributed)

Larch Hills Nordic Ski Club’s Junior Race Team intramural champions for 2020-21 recognized on March 13 were: Maggie Beckner, Trond May and Isabelle Wilkie. (Photo contributed)

Column: Still time to enjoy spring cross-country skiing

Trail Tales by Marcia Beckner

Last Sunday, March 21, was a banner day on the hill!

We group of seven started out from the chalet at 1 p.m. just as it began to snow, and it snowed the entire three-and-a-half hours out. At Cec’s Cabin and on the Whoopees there were about six centimetres of new snow. All the trees were suddenly dressed in winter white. Magical! Nothing like a spring snowstorm to excite the nordic skier in us.

On our Tuesday ski, the snow was off the trees but the track setter with the PistenBully had done a wonderful job, letting us zip along effortlessly on the South Loop. Sunday’s snow had cleaned up the trails, previously littered in places with needles and leaves as a result of a windy day last week. Under the sun, the clearcuts off Sentinel looked like meringue. We tested them and will be skiing them later this week. With a layer of fresh snow over the firm snow underneath, we’re guaranteed to have a fun ski!

Saturday, March 13 was the Junior Race Team finale on the hill. With no competitions this winter due to Covid, the coaches have done a marvellous job of keeping the skiers engaged and excited about skiing and racing with inventive, creative activities including competitions of all sorts.

Throughout the ski season, the results were tabulated for each activity in the Intramurals. Ultimately the champion team – Maggie Beckner, Trond May and Isabelle Wilkie – was awarded spiffy nordic skier logo T-shirts for their efforts. Everyone, from the wee racer to the 18-plus racer, garnered an amazing cookie medal with an intricate skier design on each. We are so lucky to have such a dedicated, fun-loving, knowledgeable cadre of coaches guiding our Junior Race Team. All are looking forward to getting back into regular competition next ski season. We wish them all the best!

Read more: Column: Girls rock 100-kilometre ski days at Larch Hills

Read more: Column: Pandemic prompts more people to head for Larch Hills

Speaking of competition, our local paralympian, Natalie Wilkie, has been training and competing in Canmore this past six weeks. In Natalie’s words, “I was there for a month-and-a-half for training, with the big focus on my team’s Beijing simulation, which followed the race schedule of the Paralympics next year. We raced at Mt. Shark, which has an elevation similar to the ski area near Beijing (about 1,800 metres). It was ‘competition’ but only between me and my teammates.”

She added: “Afterwards, five of my teammates went on to Finland for the first/last official competition of the season and have been doing amazing! I decided to stay home for Covid related reasons.”

She’s looking forward to next year’s competitions and a crack at her second Paralympics, in Beijing.

When I pitch a ski outing to my ski season buddies, the response is mostly, “I have put my skis away.”

As the LHNS web site states, “We run out of skiers before we run out of snow!”

There is concern about driving up the road to the chalet with soft, break-up conditions. The LHNS web site states: “Roads have been worked on and are drying out. With warmer temperatures during the day they are still softening up. Please continue to drive with caution.” Yesterday, March 23, we counted 15 cars in the parking lot – vehicles of all sizes and capabilities. Just drive slowly on Edgar Road.

Think spring! And spring skiing is great!
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