Marcia and Jim Beckner cross the finish line at the Merino Muster Loppet, New Zealand, on August 31, 2019. (Photo contributed)

Marcia and Jim Beckner cross the finish line at the Merino Muster Loppet, New Zealand, on August 31, 2019. (Photo contributed)

Column: Celebrating 50th anniversary by loppet hopping in the southern hemisphere

Trail Tales by Marcia Beckner

Marcia Beckner

Contributor

Ski season is in full swing in the Larch Hills.

With the recent dumps of snow the trails are stellar – both trackset and backcountry.

We are so blessed to have a cadre of tracksetters who are up the hill very early in the morning each day to make sure we have trackset trails – sometimes to the south, sometimes up around Cec’s Cabin, sometimes out to the east.

With such an extensive trail system we cannot expect to have all trails done each day. So just follow where the tracksetter has been that morning.

Jim and I actually started our ski season back in late August. We determined the best way to celebrate our 50th anniversary was to ski a couple of Worldloppets in quest of the gold pin that comes with completing 10 Worldloppets. Sitting at five, we felt completing two more would be a suitable anniversary treat. So, mid-August we headed Australia, to ski the Kangaroo Hoppet Loppet, a 42-kilometre loppet at Falls Creek, north of Melbourne. Travelling with Rob and Beth Savage from Salmon Arm was terrific since Rob grew up near Melbourne, has local contacts and knows the Falls Creek trails well. What different ski environs greeted us as we initiated the Falls Creek trails. Not the forests of Larch Hills, but sparse vegetation since the trails are understandably built at the top of the mountain where trails are viable.

Wind was a factor, especially on the day of the Hoppet Loppet where the wind was 30-plus km/hr., gusting to 50!

Jim and I plugged along in the diminishing classic tracks, affected by the wind and the skaters ahead of us – determined to finish but happy to take our time and relish the experience. Ultimately we reached the finish line, celebrating our achievement with Rob and Beth who kindly stayed to welcome us in.

Worldloppet passports stamped. Now at six!

Read more: Registration underway for Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet at Shuswap’s Larch Hills

Read more: In photos: Santa Claus comes to town

Read more: Ski with Santa fundraiser and beginner trail opening coming to Larch Hills

Interestingly, the Under 75 Women’s category was overlooked at the Awards Ceremony that evening and, since I had won the category – not many women over 70 skiing Worldloppets – I was determined to get my Kangaroo Hoppet Loppet mug! After some consultatio,n the organizers saw their mistake and I indeed got my mug.

On to our second August Worldloppet, the Merino Muster Loppet in New Zealand. The trails at the Snowfarm, just out of Wanaka where we were staying, and where the Canadian Para cross-country ski team trains –including our very own Natalie Wilkie – are even more exposed than the Falls Creek trails. No vegetation! But lovely skiing with great vistas, good tracksetting for both classic and skating, and little appreciable wind. Five sunny days of skiing the trails before the Muster made for great memories of skiing wide open terrain. The view of snow-capped mountains all around was breath-taking! Another 42-k loppet, and we skied along together, again savouring the experience. And again the international gang we were staying with in Wanaka were at the finish line to greet us, complete with Canadian flag.And the age category prize this time was a stuffy called Sam the Lamb. Both prizes are treasured momentos of our southern hemisphere Worldloppets!

Check the Larch Hills website for upcoming events. Happy Holidays! And ski on!!

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Brent Ross poses with his dog Jack who died over the weekend after asphyxiating on a ball. Ross hopes his experience serves as a cautionary tale to other dog owners. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm man warns others after dog dies from choking on a ball

Brent Ross grieving the sudden loss of Jack, a healthy, seven-year-old chocolate lab

The District of Sicamous is holding a contest to find the best-decorated homes and businesses in town.
Sicamous launches contest to find best-decorated home or business

Entry is open on Sicamous’ website until Dec. 11.

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

An Enderby restaurant and pub has been shut down since Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2020 as a precaution after a guest reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. (Howard Johnson photo)
Enderby pub shuts down after guest reportedly tests positive for COVID-19

The Howard Johnson hotel, restaurant and pub has been closed since Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29

Gingerbread creations are wanted for the Arts Council for the South Shuswap’s virtual gingerbread contest. (JarkkoManty/Pixabay photo)
Bake it right: Arts Council for the South Shuswap seeks gingerbread creations

Cash prizes available for different age groups in virtual contest

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Mayor Colin Basran at the announcement of the 2021 Tim Horton’s Brier to be hosted in Kelowna on Nov. 21. (Contributed)
Tim Hortons Brier not coming to Kelowna

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted Curling Canada to move to hub model, similar to the NHL playoffs

Robert Gibson, born November 24, 2020 is in BC Children’s Hospital. Photo contributed
Princeton baby fights for his life, with parents at his side

A Go Fund Me campaign has been started to help family with expenses

Grapevine Optical was the victim of an early morning break and enter Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2020. (Crime Stoppers Okanagan / Facebook)
Collection of designer sunglasses stolen from South Okanagan eye-wear shop

Crime Stoppers is seeking the identity of two male suspects

By this time next year, the BC Green Pharmadeuticals cannabis growing facility in Princeton is expected to employ at least 150 people, according to the owner. (File photo)
Princeton cannabis plant thriving despite lawsuit and bad press, says owner

Company expects to hire 30 more employees in the next two months

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Most Read