Beat the blues on Larch Hills

Get above the gloomy clouds and take in the sunshine while skiing or snowshoeing in beautiful surroundings.

As I write this, we’ve just passed the shortest day of the year.

It can be dark and dismal but we can be thankful for the snow, which adds brightness to the scene – and even more so when you head to the Larch Hills.

Anyone suffering from the Salmon Arm winter overcast syndrome needs only to go up to the Larch Hills to be rewarded with brightness of the white stuff plus frequently the area is above the clouds which surround the lake and the sun is out. So there is hope – head for the Hills.

On the Monday in the week before Christmas there was a huge dump of snow. Then Tuesday dawned bright and welcoming. What an amazingly brilliant ski that morning. The tracksetter had been hard-pressed to keep up with the snowfall the day before, but was out early Tuesday laying down superb tracks – which we followed all over the hill.

As we skied along the trails, there were points at which trees had fallen onto the trail on account of the weight of the huge snowfall. The tracksetter of the day has a chainsaw with which to deal with these trees and cleans up as much as possible, but their job is to set track so it is helpful if those of us coming upon these scenes stop to pick up the small branches and riffraff left behind. We’re all stewards.

The Lantern Ski was on Dec. 27. As you looked around you during the evening I’m sure you realized what a great amount of time and effort goes into staging the event –  cleaning and filling the lanterns in advance, setting up the lantern holders along the trail the week before, arranging for the apple cider at the chalet, lighting the lanterns early in the evening, snuffing out the lanterns at the end of the evening, collecting the lanterns and holders after the event, transporting them to the place where they live until next year’s Lantern Ski – all this plus locating and co-ordinating all the volunteers needed to pull this off. Our hats off to Louis-Marc Simard, this year’s co-ordinator, and the co-ordinators for all the past Lantern Skis – such a gift to the community.

The opening JackRabbit day was a blast! With 125 enthusiastic Rabbits gathering in the stadium adjacent to the chalet, who could be anything but blown away.

Not only were the JackRabbits gathering but the 70 members of the Junior Racing team had taken off for their workout, the Challenge group with leader Trish Wallensteen was plotting their weekly adventure, the Terribly Terrifieds, whom Phil Wright gently teaches the means by which to get down the hills, etc. were getting organized to head out.

It was a busy, connected place.

The community benefitted hugely from the auction held after the annual Santa Cruise race held Dec. 16. The bidding was fast and fierce with auctioneer Val Heckrodt at the helm, and after the dust settled the auction realized $2,446 to be shared among four food banks – the Salvation Army Food Bank and Second Harvest in Salmon Arm, plus the food banks in Enderby and Armstrong. A fine pre-Christmas tradition.

John Henderson has again co-ordinated Trail Hosts over the two-week holiday. Such a fun gig. Looking forward to visitors from near and far.

Think snow!