This small igloo could be seen at Larch Hills back in February of 2021. (Marcia Beckner photo)

This small igloo could be seen at Larch Hills back in February of 2021. (Marcia Beckner photo)

Column: ‘There’s no bad weather, just bad gear’

Trail Tales by Marcia Beckner

“There’s no bad weather, just bad gear!”

We were first introduced to that saying when in Norway some years back, and it has been our mantra ever since.

This Christmas break’s super cold spell had some folks hunkering down indoors and staying warm inside, but those outdoor enthusiasts among us were out skiing and skating – dressed appropriately for the weather. Wool socks, wool sweaters, down jackets, warm toques and buffs, warm mitts (with Hot Shots in them for those whose hands are really sensitive to the cold). Sometimes out skiing in the Larch Hills one could be so wrapped up in layers one could be unrecognizable! Not that there were many folks out skiing but it was wonderful to be able to be out – with the proper gear.

There are many options for skiing these days. Tracksetting in the Larch Hills has been terrific over the break, and the backcountry is wonderful. Given that the Salmon Arm Bay has frozen over, there has been skiing and skating for the past 10 days. At first, we could skate through the light dusting of snow. Then when the snow got deeper, the shovels came out and a number of ice rinks emerged around the lake – especially down below Raven. Lots of hockey being played! Creatively, links were shovelled between rinks to make connections easy. Many kept skating through the snow – adventuring out into and along the bay. We put on our skis and have had great trips to the wharf from Raven and out into the bay. We have also skied the margin of Shuswap River in the Mara area, taking advantage of the unusual happening of the Shuswap River freezing. We certainly live in a winter wonderland!

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Due to extremely cold weather, the Lantern Ski was postponed from Dec. 29 to Jan. 8. The weather forecast is pretty good for that date so get out and enjoy this wonderful evening on the Larch Hills trails, 5 to 9 p.m.

Due to Covid concerns and restrictions, the Reino Keski-Salmo Loppet is again going virtual this year. The loppet was originally going to happen on Saturday, Jan. 22. Now, with it going virtual, all the distances will be signed by Jan. 15, and skiers are invited to ski their chosen distance – 10-km, 17-km, 34-km, 30-km, in the two weeks between the 15th and 30th. Each skier times themselves and sends the time into our manager, Karen, at the LHNS website, www.skilarchhills.ca.

Results will be posted on Zone 4. There will be no awards, but there will be draw prizes, chosen among the skiers who report their loppet times. Skiers are encouraged to take photos of themselves along the trail, or at the chalet, and send them in to Karen. She will then make a slide show of our virtual loppet participants – it will almost make one feel there was really an in-person loppet!

The Jackrabbits and Junior Race team will be making their own plans for the virtual loppet.

School ski programs start next week. Members of the LHNS are asked to join in and give the teachers a hand when the school buses start arriving up the hill with a gaggle of youngsters, many of whom have never been on the Larch Hills trails, let alone cross-country skis! That’s where we volunteers come in. Each of us is given a group to ski with and introduce to the hill. Many schools have their own cross-country ski equipment with which to outfit the kids – a bonus! It’s a lot of fun skiing with these kids. Invariably, there are very vocal requests for downhills, which take us to Camel’s Hump and other glorious, exciting runs, after we have gotten our ski legs, after a session or two.

Enjoy the snow! Stay warm!


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