The annual Lantern Ski event at the Larch Hills is a popular one with Shuswap skiers, who flock to the area to see the trails lit up in the dark of night. (Brad Calkins photo)

Column: Larch Hills offers plenty of fun over the holidays

Trail Tales/Marcia Beckner

As a cross-country skier living in Salmon Arm, I feel so blessed to have the Larch Hills half an hour away. When it’s drizzly and ugly in town these days you can be pretty much certain it is snowing up the hill. That is, if the temperature in Salmon Arm is around 4C degrees or cooler because the temperature at the chalet tends to be three to four degrees cooler than in town.

We have a good snow base for the Larch Hills trails, so a little warmth will not be hazardous to their ‘skiable’ status.

The groomer guys have been out with the snowmobile/stair-tread for some weeks now packing the trails, and with the Ginzu groomer to set some track when it is too soft to bring out the Pisten Bully.

This has made the snow on the trails so well packed that they are safe from disintegrating quickly. Then the Pisten Bully made its inaugural run of the season last week, and what beautiful tracks!

Flat in the centre for skating and lovely at the two edges for classic.

With the current warmer weather the PB will be taken out only when conditions are optimal for it. But we all know that colder weather is coming so the PB will be very busy, very soon.

Related: Trail Tales: Nordic society excited to unveil Larch Hills chalet expansion

Check the Larch Hills website for current conditions. Thanks to Ed Bouma, who writes the report every morning with weather, snow conditions, plus what trails are being set and with which machine. Visit then click on Conditions at the top to see these reports.

The much-beloved Lantern Ski is Thursday, Dec. 28 from 5 to 9 p.m. It is a magical time with lanterns stationed around the five-kilometre course and candle bags in the stadium. Skiers are encouraged to bring goodies for the community goody table – great way to share your leftover Christmas goodies.

Then we have our final 2018 event – the Fun Race – on Sunday, Dec. 30. With it being a classic race it is the perfect warm up for our Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet to follow in mid-January.

Start for the Fun Race is at 1 p.m., with distances from 1.5km for the youngsters to 10km for 19 and over. The Fun Race is LHNS’s opportunity to honour former members of the club, with presentation of three special trophies: the Keskinen Family Trophy for the top family result (three members); the Hamish Jenks Memorial Trophy for the top 11-13 year-old male and female and the Ian Jenks Memorial Trophy for the top 14-17-year-old male and female. Go to the LHNS web site to get complete info on the Fun Race and to enter.

Related: Trail Tales: Be sure to try the bogs

Into the new year, we host three big events – the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet, the Pirate Loppet, and the 2019 Teck BC Championships.

Watch for these events as the new year unfolds. Registration for the Saturday, Jan. 19 Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet is now available on the LHNS web site.

John Henderson is organizing his annual gang of club hosts for over the Christmas break. It is always a favourite gig of mine – meeting new folks and sharing info about our remarkable skiing and snowshoeing trail systems with them.

Join us for the Jan. 3 grand opening of the Chalet Expansion!

Think snow!


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In the foreground (left) is the original section of the Larch Hills chalet, with part of the expanded balcony visible on the right. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer) In the foreground (left) is the original section of the Larch Hills chalet, with part of the expanded balcony visible on the right. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

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