Grindrod Elementary students learn to cross-country ski at Larch Hills as part of the School District #83 ski program on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. (Marcia Beckner photo)

Column: Chalet like a home for Larch Hills skiers upset by break in

Trail Tales by Marcia Beckner

The reaction of kids and adults alike was quite vociferous as we viewed the senseless vandalism at the Larch Hills chalet last Friday morning.

Around 4:30 a.m., someone had broken the outside window to the office, rifled through the office stuff, pilfered the $100 there, and then, as a parting gesture, tossed the fire extinguisher through the window of the office door and vamoosed.

Our caretaker, Pauline, was aware of the intrusion only as the person left the chalet through the alarmed door and saw the dark truck leaving the parking lot. Sweeping up the office window’s shattered glass, we felt like this is our home that had been invaded. This place was built by so many marvelous dedicated volunteers, club members and local businesses, and that should take precedence over this senseless act.

Incensed as we all were – especially the school kids there for their ski day – we’ll fix the broken windows and spruce up the alarm system to prevent this type of incident from recurring. Anyone who has any idea who may have been involved in this break in, please call the local RCMP.

With the extreme cold weather over a few days last week, there was minimal activity on the hill. School ski outings were cancelled – nobody should be out at -20! Not safe for kids nor attending adults.

Crews continued to remove trees which had fallen onto trails due to the weight of the huge amount of snow we received. That work is principally finished but occasionally a tree will come down and the crew hops to. Thanks to the 100-plus volunteers who have dealt with the 1,000-plus fallen trees over the past few weeks. A huge effort!

Read more: Break in a “poke in the eye” to Shuswap ski club

Read more: January brings record snowfall to Shuswap’s Larch Hills

The school ski program is great fun. As a Larch Hills Nordic member I am among the many adult volunteers who help school kids when they come up for their nordic ski sessions. A couple of weeks ago, when skiing with a Grindrod Elementary group, one of the mothers reported that her nine-year old daughter had come up with the school last year and came home so excited about skiing that she told her parents the whole family should cross-country ski! Three kids and the parents got outfitted with gear and they all cross-country ski now. And the inspired daughter started Jackrabbits this past Saturday. Nice offshoot from the school program!

Great results from Larch Hills racers at the Western Canada Championships last weekend at Callaghan Valley near Whistler. Proud of the team! Some will be heading off to compete in the Noram Championships at Mont St. Anne next week. All the best to our LH racers. We’ll be watching Zone 4 for the action and results.

The 36th annual Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet goes this coming weekend, Saturday, Jan. 25. With the abundance of snow, return to moderate temperatures and the myriad volunteers making the event happen, we are promised a grand day. For the past few years we have had 400-plus skiers and can expect the same this year. Come up to the LHNS ski area and cheer on the skiers – some racing, and some skiing at their own pace just to be part of the event. It is a rather colourful stadium, and the expanded chalet is available to warm up in, if need be.

Ski on!

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