Column: Tireless effort of volunteers critical to successful Shuswap loppets

Trail Tales by Marcia Beckner

By Marcia Beckner

Contributor

When we arrived last Wednesday to join the Wenches in their weekly outing, the parking lot had a surprising number of cars given it was mid-week and there was no major event happening.

Turns out there was a number of activities underway. The Shuswap Lady Striders had just left for a ski, George Zorn and Keith Cox were running a safety course, a class was up for the morning with the school ski program, there were snowshoers out shoeing up the trails and then there was the group of us Wenches.

The Larch Hills Nordic area has appeal to a wide population. Never a dull moment on the hill!

The Pirate Loppet last Friday was one snowy event. But then skiing is all about snow, eh? It’s just that the snow fell all morning as the skiing youngsters, loppet organizers and volunteers prepared for the 10:30 a.m. start. A great event, as usual, and kudos to the organizers and volunteers who make the annual Pirate Loppet such a success and great fun for the kids.

After the Pirate Loppet, Jim and I headed to Pierre’s Point for the signing of the memorandum of agreement which brings the reality of the West Bay Trail Connector – the proposed trail around the bay from the Salmon Arm wharf to Tappen – one step closer. The public was invited to witness the signing. Given our history with SABNES and the foreshore trail out to Raven, the prospect of the trail continuing to Tappen is very exciting.

Read more: Hundreds race, thousands raised at Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet

Read more: In photos: Young pirates storm the Shuswap’s snowy Larch Hills

Read more: January brings record snowfall to Shuswap ski area

The igloo is back! Peter Mair and Hermann and Louise Bruns built a beauty on Bilbo’s Bog on Sunday. Larch Hills Nordic Society members were invited to help build an igloo this winter but I missed sign-up, so I missed the opportunity to learn how it is done. Hoping there will be another igloo built by this talented group, and this time I’ll be there to help and to learn. Igloo-building – an invaluable skill to have!

The 36th Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet was again a grand success with 467 skiers in a multitude of age and distance categories – recreational and competitive, and a course record set by loppet winner, our own Thomas Hardy. And the Heart Fund was bumped up by more than $3,000, making the 36-year total more than $440,000. Well done! A highlight for many was the video produced by the talented trio of Sarah and Adam Lauze and Trevor Wallensteen. With state-of-the-art drone and GoPro technology, the trio captured the loppet from all angles with expertise and humour. Their resulting video was eagerly awaited at the awards ceremony Saturday evening. How they put together such an entertaining, exciting and wide-appeal video of the day in just a few short hours is truly remarkable. Kudos to the team!

Go to skilarchhills.ca to see the video plus the videos of the past few years.

As loppet co-ordinator Louise Bruns was thanking the loppet volunteers for their work, she mentioned to the awards ceremony crowd how much work had been done dealing with the great number of trees down on the trails due to heavy snow fall around New Years. She thanked the tracksetters, trail crew members and dozens of Larch Hills members who tirelessly worked to clear the trails. With that, the entire auditorium crowd of 400 leapt to their feet in a standing ovation. Well-deserved.

Lots of snow in the Larch Hills. Ski on!

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